After 10 years in Darwin, Kaofu Choon has decided to come back to Singapore. For good.
Got a job here, quit his old one (he was just shy of the 10-year mark which would have earned him six months of paid leave, SIX months!), gave or sold off all his things, said his farewells and left his life there.
Yesterday morning he arrived back in Singapore with three bicycles in bags and a couple of smaller bags. Ten boxes are following on a ship.
* Unloading the bikes from Auntie Margaret's van
* The first lot
The decision was made, fast. Following his last visit four months ago in April, he applied for a job in Singapore, did an interview via Skype, was offered the job, accepted it in a day, tendered his resignation and packed up.
It’s like all the steps were already lined up and mentally and emotionally rehearsed, just waiting for all the right pieces to fall in place.
As I’m someone who never got to really live overseas and am still itching for a stint (will probably never happen though), it puzzles me why people who enjoy what seems to be far better lifestyles overseas want to come back.
Choon isn’t the only one. I know a few others, people who despised Singapore and left for greener pastures, who come back sometime around the age of 40 for what appears to be a worse life.
Choon is taking a big pay cut and he’s calculated that he needs to work an extra 200-plus hours a year. He also came back a day after the haze rolled in, from a place where the air is forever clear and crisp.
Here’s why I think he returned.
FOOD. Well as someone who doesn’t really care about what goes into my mouth, I think food is the silliest reason to come back for. Seems a lot of overseas Singaporeans think otherwise, but I still think people can come back occasionally to pig out on their local favourites. That’s not the main reason for Choon, though, I think.
* First meal back: Fu Lin Yong Tau Foo
FAMILY. So Pa had that lung episode in March. The only thing Choon could do then, was to send a hamper of nutritious goodies to Pa. It probably served as a reminder that our parents will only get older, and it might not feel very nice to be overseas when our folks need us around.
Lastly and most importantly, there is one person whom I think crystallized an alternative future, singlehandedly set all of the wheels in motion and made coming back for Choon the only viable option.
* Guess who?
It looks like Mum’s birthday wish for Choon might very well come true.