Two Years in Singapore: Celebrating Milestones and Memories

It has been quite a while since I’ve last written, even more so a reflection piece. The last time was in August 2023. Now, after two years in Singapore, I find myself reflecting on the journey and experiences that have shaped my time here.

For those who do not know, I decided to migrate from KL to Singapore when I was offered an opportunity for work. The thought of migrating to a new city was both exhilarating and daunting. Would I be able to cope with my new job and its expectations? Would I be able to forge new friendships? Would I adapt to my new living space, the food, and the community?

Leaving KL, a city that had been my home for over a decade, felt like stepping into the unknown. It was reminiscent of the time I first left home for university, a mix of excitement and trepidation. The familiarity and routine that had become second nature to me were suddenly disrupted. The almost weekly squash games with my pals, the camaraderie with my work buddies – I had to bid farewell to all of it.

As I packed my bags, memories of KL flooded my mind. The bustling streets, the aroma of local delicacies, the laughter shared with friends over late-night mamak sessions – it all felt like a cherished chapter coming to an end. The city had been my playground, my comfort zone, and now I was about to leave it all behind.

The journey to Singapore was not just a physical move but an emotional one as well. It was a leap into a new chapter, filled with uncertainties and possibilities. The thought of starting afresh in a vibrant, fast-paced city was thrilling, yet the nostalgia of leaving behind a place that had shaped so much of who I was lingered in my heart.

on Career

After switching departments for the second time, I found myself feeling increasingly restless. It wasn’t due to a lack of performance on my part, but rather the monotonous routine and mundanity of the work that began to wear on me. I realised it was time for a fresh start.

They often say that once you’ve chosen a path, it’s difficult to change course. This holds true to a certain extent, unless you’re willing to start from the bottom again. As we transition into adulthood, this becomes easier said than done. With mounting commitments, we often find ourselves pursuing careers that pay the bills rather than those that ignite our passions.

The decision to move to Singapore for a new beginning was daunting. I questioned whether I would be able to perform in an entirely new environment, whether I would get along with my new boss and colleagues. Was truly greener on the other side? To my relief, it turned out to be better than I had hoped. The work was engaging, and Singapore, being a first-world country, held more events and opportunities compared to Malaysia. That being said, with the rapid rise and adoption of AI, the landscape is changing swiftly and unpredictably.

Despite the positive aspects, the journey was far from easy.

on Friendships

People always say that friends come and go, but those who truly matter will stay. It’s one of those life lessons they don’t teach you as a kid – how to navigate the ebb and flow of friendships. Looking back, it’s striking how true this is. These days, I barely keep in touch with a handful of friends from school or university. Even the work buddies with whom I shared countless late nights, the sweat and tears of demanding projects, and the camaraderie that formed the bedrock of our friendships, have slowly drifted away as we each move forward in our lives.

I remember those nights vividly – the laughter echoing through the office, the shared snacks during midnight breaks, and the collective sighs of relief when we finally wrapped up peak period. Those moments were the glue that held us together, creating bonds that felt unbreakable at the time. Yet, as we all pursued different paths, those connections began to fade, leaving behind cherished memories.

Even today, as new people come into my life and others leave, the pattern remains the same. We all follow our unique trajectories, shaped by the choices we make. Despite this, I am deeply grateful for the friends who have chosen to stay. Their presence is a comforting reminder that some bonds withstand the test of time and distance.

Reflecting on these friendships fills me with a warm sense of nostalgia. Each friend, whether still present or a fond memory, has contributed to the tapestry of my life, enriching it in countless ways. It’s a bittersweet realisation, but one that underscores the beauty of human connections.

on Finances

I wouldn’t deny that one of the main reasons for moving to Singapore was the allure of better financial prospects. For anyone coming from Malaysia, the currency conversion rate – three times stronger – holds undeniable appeal. I saw it as a pathway to achieving my dream of early retirement, allowing me to focus on the things that truly matter.

In Singapore, I finally had the opportunity to save a significant portion of my income and make my money work for me. This was something I struggled to achieve back in Malaysia. Despite the higher cost of living in Singapore, it’s possible to live modestly and still save. The real advantage comes when you bring those savings home, where the value is compounded.

Life has changed considerably since making this move. I still have the aim of writing more finance pieces, sharing insights and strategies to improve one’s financial independence. This endeavour not only helps others but also reinforces my own financial discipline and knowledge.

Through careful planning and disciplined saving, I’ve been able to inch closer to my goal of financial independence. The journey has been challenging, but each step forward brings me closer to a life where I can spend more time on what I love, free from financial worries.

on Family

One of the unexpected blessings of moving to Singapore has been the ability to travel home more frequently. Unlike my time in KL, where visits home were limited to once every quarter, I now find myself back home every other month. These trips are a cherished routine, whether I’m visiting my sister or spending time with my parents.

Each journey home is filled with a sense of anticipation and warmth. The familiar sights and sounds of my hometown greet me as I step off the plane.

However, these frequent visits come with a bittersweet realisation. Each time I see my parents, I notice the subtle signs of aging that weren’t as apparent before. The lines on their faces seem a little deeper, their movements a bit slower. It’s a stark reminder of the passage of time and the distance that still separates us, despite my more frequent trips.

The toll of being away from family is palpable. I often find myself wishing I could spend more time with my parents, especially at this stage in their lives. Every visit is a precious opportunity to create new memories and cherish the moments we have together. Yet, the reality of living in a different country means that these moments are fleeting.

Each time I return home, I notice subtle changes in the landscape. A new store or building has sprung up, or a tree that once stood tall is now gone. These changes makes home feel both familiar and foreign at the same time. It’s a strange sensation, as if the place I once knew so well is evolving without me.

Despite the challenges, I am grateful for the time I do get to spend with my family. Each visit home is a reminder of the love and support that has always been there, grounding me and giving me strength. The bond we share remains strong, even across the miles, and I hold onto the hope that I can continue to make the most of every moment we have together.

Final Reflections

As I reflect on these two years, I am filled with gratitude for the experiences and lessons that have come my way. Moving to Singapore was a leap into the unknown, but it has been a journey of growth, discovery, and resilience. Each aspect of my life – career, friendships, finances, and family – has been touched by this move, shaping me into a more adaptable and reflective person.

The challenges and triumphs have taught me the value of embracing change and the importance of staying connected to my roots. As I look to the future, I carry with me the lessons learned and the hope that I can continue to grow and thrive, making the most of every opportunity and cherishing the moments that truly matter.

This reflection is not just a look back at the past two years but a celebration of the milestones and memories that have defined this chapter of my life. It is a reminder that every step forward, no matter how uncertain, brings with it the potential for growth and the promise of new beginnings.

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