Last night I had a dream. I dreamt that I was a middle income Chinese living in Shanghai. I’ve made a small fortune there. I have a wife and a tender child about to enter pre-school. We do not speak English. We envy those who could speak English fluently. My wife and I are determined to seek a better life for our child with proficiency in Mandarin and English. If we remain in Shanghai, there is little opportunity for our child to master English. It’s also too tough here competing with the millions of children not only in Shanghai but the whole of China. Shanghai’s population is already more than 23 million.
We plan to emigrate to another country. My school teacher wife and myself had a long discussion for the past week. Which country should we go to seek a better future for ourselves? We know that we could not live in China forever cuz there is too much social divide. The income wide is getting worst, corruption is rampant and it’s getting too over-crowded here. We know that the social fabric is showing signs of cracking under this one-party system. We need to emigrate to a better place to seek a better life. We only got one life. We want to make it good with our precious life.
We could always to US, Canada, UK or Australia. But then, these countries are all English speaking. My wife and I are graduates from Beijing University with PhD degreees but we can’t really communicate in English. Even though those countries may accept us, we will still have problem adjusting to such an alien culture and language. At the end of our week long discussion, my wife and I have decided to seriously consider Singapore as our final destination.
Ah that tiny red dot in South-east Asia called Singapore with only 5 over million people. We heard so much from relatives and friends that this island is predominantly Chinese and its only 710 sq km. We have not been to Singapore before. But from the tv, radio and newspapers, there are so much praises for their efficiency, rule of law, zero corruption, clean and advanced metropolitan society. “Putonghua” – they call it Mandarin – is widely spoken and used. We difnitely will not have any problem “integrating” into their society.
I also heard that the Singapore government welcomes Chinese with open arms. Within a short period of time, we could easily get citizenship with an immediate granting of PR status. It is a country with good prospects for us and especially our child learning English. The schools in Singapore teach in English and Mandarin is taught as a second language. That is what we want for our child’s education. I heard that the government is always seriously promoting the use of Mandarin which is one of their four official langauges. My wife could easily find a job either teaching in a government school or by giving private Mandarin tuition since she got a PhD in Chinese studies from Beijing University.
Singapore is now the world’s richest country. It is the best country for us if we really want to emigrate. The government is supportive. There are jobs readily available and we could get assimilated to the local population easily. Their pay compared to China is also very high. Their currency is five times our yuan. Many of our friends have gone to Singapore and they come back very rich cuz there are lots of jobs and the pay is so good. I really envy those who have gone to work or live in Singapore. There are millions of hungry people in China whereas most of Singaporeans are well fed.
There is another very important reason why we wish to consider Singapore as our adopted country. You see if my son stays in China, no matter how brilliant he is – chances of him becoming the Prime Minister of China are too negligible compared to Singapore. My son has to compete with more than 1 billion Chinese people. Whereas if he goes to Singapore, his percentage of successfully becoming the PM of Singapore will be much higher. 1 billion in China vs less than 5 million in Singapore obviously meant that the latter is within reach! Hopefully, Singapore will not change it’s law to forbidding those not locally born from holding the highest political office. Most countries except Singapore only allow natives to hold the highest office of the land. In US, only those locally born could become the president.
Of course, we must start as early as possible. My son will go through their education process till university. He will be a scholar. My wife and I will train him from young. To be the PM of Singapore, my son will also need to master Malay. We will get a tutor for him. Like all Singaporeans, my son will also serve in their army for two years. Hopefully, when he reaches mid 30s to early 40s, my son will be inivited to join the dominant party. If he can’t be the PM, President or Minister also can consider. Maybe, if he were to become a foreign minister, he would also bring glory to our family. Just imagine if he were to go back to our hometown as a Singapore minister, how would our folks back home look upon us? I am already looking forward to such a day.
The above scenario is possible only in Singapore. The same scenario is unlikely in China cuz it’s too huge. Moreover, you will need “guanxi” or connections with party elders if my son aspires for political position. Only those ‘princelings’ or children of past communist leaders stand a better chance of getting into their inner circles of party membership.
My wife and myself have big plans for our only child. In China, we are allowed only one child if we live in the city. Every parent wants their only son to grow up to be a great man. Nobody wants to have a daughter. My son will also face problem getting a wife if we live in China. Whereas in Singapore, the government is encouraging the citizens to have more babies by giving lots of incentives and goodies. Maybe if we emigrate to Singapore, my wife could also have another child. We can then enjoy all the freebies and getting citizenship will be much easier. The Singapore government doesn’t mind if we can’t speak Malay – which is their national language and I find it funny – to sing their Malay national song. Even my knowledge about their country is poor. As long as we could prove our educational background and show them we got lots of money, there should not be any problem.
Having given so much thoughts, Singapore is still the best option. Don’t forget that Singapore is the ONLY country outside China where Mandarin is given the official language status and widely spoken. No other country on earth openly support and promote Mandarin. We consider Taiwan and Hong Kong parts of China. Singapore is totally different where they are allowed to choose their leaders every five years. In China, we can’t choose our own leaders. There is only one party in China. I think Singapore is so much better in terms of human rights. At least it is better than China.
We will speak to our parents tomorow and inform them of our important decision to re-locate to Singapore. Eventually, we will also bring our aged parents along – my wife’s parents and my parents. Our siblings and relatives hopefully will also re-locate to Singapore. Our whole clan should move over. We will go there first to set up our base camp. Soon, we will all settle in this beautiful sunny island with all the first world amenities in terms of education, health care, housing, transportation and security. We really envy this predominantly Chinese country. How I wish that if only my beloved motherland, China is like Singapore. But, she is not. Those people living in Singapore don’t really know how to appreciate their leaders. The Chinese saying, “生在福中福不知福” translation here is true. We are admirers of the Singapore government. It’s the biggest tragedy in life to take things for granted and expect much more without sacrificing hard work.
They say that as humans, we all have dreams. This is my dream for a better life. Do you have any dream? What’s your dream?
Article was first published in the blog ‘Gintai_昇泰‘ on 13 Sep 2012. Republished with permission.