SINGAPORE: A graduate of one of Singapore’s top universities had advice for everyone, writing in a social media post that the Singapore Dream can turn out to be a nightmare, depending on one’s choices.

The author of the May 19 post on the NUS Whispers Facebook page describes himself as a Singaporean millennial who received a government scholarship to pursue a PhD at NUS. However, he also expressed how let down by life he feels.

“But I never achieved the Singaporean dream. I’m almost 40 and still a virgin. I have no wife, no house, no children, no car, no nothing. I cannot find a job in Singapore, despite being a government scholar, and had to leave Singapore to earn an income, just like many foreign workers in low-income jobs in SG.”

Nevertheless, living abroad has given him perspective, as it often does. He has realized that “Singaporeans really have ‘everything’ but are not always happy or grateful.”

While some in Singapore society have been “left out” like himself, most of the NUS and NTU graduates he knows have comfortable lives, “if only they can look past their petty little problems in life, and not get dragged down by them.”

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He added that while “Singaporeans talk about ‘upgrading’ a lot, not only in housing but career advancement,” this is not always the case elsewhere, where there’s “no guarantee” of being able to live in a better home later on, or of even getting a promotion at work.

“Many people simply accept the possibility that they will be stuck for life, without being managers or executives,” he wrote.

In the same way, while many in Singapore can travel overseas on holiday once or twice a year to expensive countries like Japan, many people that the post author has met overseas have never even travelled outside their own country, even those who’ve earned PhDs.

“And despite all that, people can still find happiness on a day-to-day basis. People find happiness just by talking to colleagues, talking to family, talking to friends. Or making a joke about their problems in life.”

This is not the case in Singapore, where “personal problems are usually sad situations in the telling”, as many get bogged down by issues such as not getting along with colleagues or disagreements with their partners.

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“You cannot expect people to do things your way. You cannot change people But you can take responsibility for your own happiness, instead of putting the responsibility on others to make you happy, which is silly if you think about it,” he added.

He then went on with the following advice: “Put down the petty problems or let go of them. That colleague who offended you at work? Just forgive and move on. Failed to become manager in your company? Let go and enjoy your salary.

Got rejected by someone you are romantically attracted to? Let go and find someone else or wait for someone else. Government makes a decision you do not agree with? It’s not the end of the world.”

The post author ended by writing that small discomforts in life are “not the end of your Singaporean dream” because “Your spouse and children are still there. Your house, still there. Just enjoy life. You have “everything”.

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You don’t see it, but I know it.

If having “everything” bothers you, then let go. Not achieving the Singaporean dream is not a sad thing. It’s only sad because Singaporeans create this narration that life can only be happy one way. You can create your own reality. That is true.

You cannot change your situation, but you can change the narrative of your life. The Singaporean dream is just that… a dream, or a nightmare, depending on how you want to see it.” /TISG

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