Telephone:
+64 9 359 9319

Fax:
+64 9 359 9189

Physical Address:
Unit 2M, Level 2
55-57 High Street
Auckland City
Auckland, New Zealand

Postal Address:
P.O. Box 99606
Newmarket
Auckland, New Zealand

Immigration Blog

REGULAR POSTS FROM NEW ZEALAND & AUSTRALIA

The Difference between Singapore, Fiji and New Zealand

A few of you have emailed me asking what happened to last week’s post. Well I confess after two weeks of non-stop talking in Singapore and Malaysia and very little sleep I snuck off to Fiji for a few days of R and R with my family and also to ...

Iain

Share this post

The Difference between Singapore, Fiji and New Zealand

A few of you have emailed me asking what happened to last week’s post. Well I confess after two weeks of non-stop talking in Singapore and Malaysia and very little sleep I snuck off to Fiji for a few days of R and R with my family and also to ...

Iain

Share this post

The Difference between Singapore, Fiji and New Zealand

Posted by Iain on May 7, 2012, 1:09 p.m. in Living

 

A few of you have emailed me asking what happened to last week’s post. 

Well I confess after two weeks of non-stop talking in Singapore and Malaysia and very little sleep I snuck off to Fiji for a few days of R and R with my family and also to celebrate my brother’s 50th birthday.

I really love the place when unwinding and rest is what you need – it is so laid back, the tropical air is cooled by the consistent trade winds that blow off the Pacific, the ocean is like a warm bath, no one hurries because they operate on ‘Fiji time’ and best of all it is less than three hours flying time from my front door.

More than once while I was away the thought occurred to me that it seems only yesterday my brother and I were riding our bikes together, playing ‘go home stay home’ outside with all the other kids in our street, swimming in the local estuary, having fist fights (stories retold over the weekend to my sons by my brother….), playing in our ‘band’ with our tennis racquet guitars, causing all sorts of mischief during school holidays and listening to a young Michael Jackson sing about a rat called ‘Ben’.

Milestones like your older brother turning 50 and you barrelling up not far behind him make you think about the kind of life you want to lead because really, it might be a cliché but life really is short.

Having just spent another week in Singapore where the average life appears to be comprised of Birth, learning to talk, studying, studying, studying, studying, exams, studying, studying, studying, exams, University, studying, studying, studying followed by working, working, working, working, working, saving money, working, working, working, shopping a little, then dying (I don’t call it the human ant colony for nothing) I was pleased to just sit around in Fiji doing little other than eating, drinking, sleeping (the best bit), playing endless hours of cards with my sons and enjoying real family time.

I wonder how often Singaporeans do that. Or South Koreans. Or Chinese. And not feel guilt.

I ‘get’ Singapore I think. The city fathers attempted to build a prosperous society off the back of its people and to a large extent have succeeded but as a regular visitor I am left wondering at what cost. It is clear that many of its citizens and migrant workers do not share in this prosperity but struggle and lead pretty miserable lives with little to no assistance from ‘their’ Government. 

Like everyone I am moulded by my environment and culture. I realise that lifestyle – family before business - is a New Zealand thing where we take seriously balancing our business lives and our family lives. These aren’t aspirations or slogans that our Government puts out there but a real and defining philosophy shared I suspect by virtually everyone born (or who has moved) here.

Singapore is frenetic and the people I meet who are talking to me about a new start and new life are slaves to the capitalist machine looking for change. They give new meaning to the word workaholic and I do wonder if many ever stop and ask themselves ‘Why? Why am I working six day weeks and 11 hour days? I guess the ones coming to see me do.

I know the Fijians don’t.  They are quite the opposite and arguably could do with a little more Singapore going on in their lives! New Zealand fits somewhere in between the two and I needed to visit Fiji to remind myself that we almost have the best of both worlds here in New Zealand – the lifestyle and the relative prosperity. The Fijians have little prosperity and most people in Asia little lifestyle. 

My ongoing disappointment with New Zealand is that sometimes we lean a little too far towards lifestyle. There are too many rights and too little responsibilities.

I chuckled ruefully while in Singapore at a news report online in which the New Zealand Government, almost apologetically, said that as part of its welfare reforms certain citizens who currently enjoy many hundreds of dollars a week in taxpayer funded ‘benefits’ would, when their eldest child turns some age I quickly forgot ‘have to be available to look for work’. Note, they did not say ‘will need to secure a job’. Nor even ‘would need to apply for a job’. Oh no, they went to great pains to tell these people they have to be ‘available’ to look for work.

Now what really does that mean?

The Minister all but said ‘Excuse me, we kind of would really like it, if you don’t have any objections of course, that despite the choices you have made with your own life, that your fellow citizens would be really grateful if it isn’t too much to ask that you at some point in the future think seriously, or even not that seriously, about perhaps finding employment so we don’t all have to fund the lifestyle that you created through your own lack of good decisions. If that’s okay?…..you don’t have to!’

In Singapore these people (who receive nothing from their Government anyway) would be thinking ‘Is having another child a good idea given my circumstances?’  because the alternative is their family has to pay to support them. In Fiji a strong socialist mentality built around a village culture sees collective support and punishment for social transgressions and the family takes the responsibility that in my own country we appear to have passed on to the state. Which for political expediency successive Governments have for too long accepted. Because to pass that responsibility back to families and communities usually means to be voted out of office.

I guess nowhere is perfect. Not Singapore, not Fiji and not New Zealand but of the three I am in little doubt New Zealand has got the balance largely right but there is still plenty of room for Government taking strong positions when it is for the greater good as Singapore has done. But perhaps in a less ‘take no prisoners’ kind of a way that doesn't make its own people slaves to the capitalist machine.

As you contemplate where you would like to grow old ask yourself if your country is going to be able to provide you with the income, the health care and dignity that you will want.

I do and so far I can find none better than right here in New Zealand.

Until next week (or later this week)

Southern Man 

Share this post


9 comments on this post
May 7, 2012, 2:58 p.m. by Mohammad Azham Abidin

Sometimes I don't even know why am I still in the office late at night... oh.. it's all the time...

Reply to this comment
May 7, 2012, 3:53 p.m. by cptan

Dear Potential Migrants!!!! Yes Singapore is full of stress and the Government is NOT subsidizing u for a living. Yes New Zealand is full of resources and is basically a RICH country. And Yet there are many returning migrants from New Zealand ! Why not that New Zealand is NOT a beautiful country, but simply it is much harder to get a JOB in New Zealand as compared to Singapore!!!! Yes I love NEW ZEALAND for a kinder society, but it is simply embarassing to depend on social security for a living, That is NOT RIGHT!!! I luv Singapore! It is easier to hold your dignity here with plenty of jobs. NEW ZEALAND is just a play ground for retirement. Unless the citizens are pushed to work hard, the economy will not grow and will be resource dependent to feed Singapore , CHina and all the hard working chop stick countries. U need people with drive to promote New Zealand into a great country rather than just a laid back rich country full of lazy citizen dependent on government support for a living.

Replies to this comment

May 17, 2012, 4:16 p.m. by Iain MacLeod
Mr Tan - you may wish to read this article http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=10806561
Reply to this comment
May 7, 2012, 4:48 p.m. by hebry

to cptan. soon your children and grandchildren will migrate to any country laidback lifestyle. you, will be left out to singapore.

Reply to this comment
May 7, 2012, 4:48 p.m. by hebry

to cptan. soon your children and grandchildren will migrate to any country laidback lifestyle. you, will be left out to singapore.

Reply to this comment
May 7, 2012, 4:58 p.m. by hebry

to cptan.

i love the way you fight and show love to your homecountry. your goverment is like a big company. love your company, but your company doesnt love you. if management doesnt like you anymore. you will be retrenched. just continue to fight what is right. do not migrate to any country. just stay put. keep ur children in beloved company. forever.

Reply to this comment
May 7, 2012, 5:54 p.m. by Mark

I believe someone here had not understood what Iain was trying to say: It's all about finding a balance between professional and personal life. Singapore is all work, very little in quality time with family and friends. I worked in Singapore for almost 5 years and I know what it's like there. It was all about chasing the buck. Consequently, being overworked in S'pore had caused me some health problems and I started to pose the question: "Is chasing the buck really worth it at the expense of my physical and mental health?"

If anyone has any aspirations of migrating to NZ and thinking of yachts and mansions, he or she will be very disappointed. That's not what NZ is all about.

When I do go to NZ, I only hope to find some decent employment, earn a comfortable living and basically be happy. I do not seek to earn millions (or billions) in NZ nor do I have dreams of driving the very latest luxury cars be they Bentleys or Maseratis. I wish to earn a comfortable living in NZ and enjoy hikes, trail runs and marathons with my family, no more no less.

Basically, if anyone feels comfortable living in Singapore and enjoys chasing the buck, then by all means, do so and best of luck.

Reply to this comment
May 7, 2012, 7:20 p.m. by hebry

to mark.

misunderstood or not clarified by ian. have you noticed the way ian wrote his message? many will think the way we think. he put more emphasis on whatvhe wants to deliver. he cannot hide that. to many redundant words, et cetera. if ian used your phrase. perhaps the readers will think the other way around.

Reply to this comment
May 7, 2012, 7:23 p.m. by hebry

to mark.

misunderstood or not clarified by ian. have you noticed the way ian wrote his message? many will think the way we think. he put more emphasis on whatvhe wants to deliver. he cannot hide that. to many redundant words, et cetera. if ian used your phrase. perhaps the readers will think the other way around.

Replies to this comment

May 17, 2012, 10:49 a.m. by Iain MacLeod
Okay so I can get a little wordy sometimes.....my point however was quite simple - if you could cross the work ethic of Singaporeans with the work ethic of New Zealanders you might find the citizens of both societies would be better off both personally and economically. To those that think everyone in NZ is on welfare this is rubbish. My point was only that too many people in this country are on welfare because the people vote in Governments that create these endless programmes which creates disincentives to actually work and contribute. In Singapore people aren’t on welfare programmes because they do not exist. Again cross the two models and you probably end up one whereby those that genuinely need help, get help rather than in NZ where many simply want help so get Government hand outs. I do not know if many Singaporeans leave NZ because they cannot find jobs but mine are not among them. All of mine so far have found jobs as far as I am aware that they enjoy and that are fulfilling. It is true that some might have had to take a step back in their career for a year or two so they can ‘prove’ themselves in the labour market but that happens to many migrants in many countries and is not something that only happens here.
Reply to this comment
June 29, 2012, 12:11 p.m. by Dr.Arsch

Why is this comparison even being made. Singapore and New Zealand are two entirely different cultures, and located in two different regions, with an entirely different set of strengths and weaknesses. Singapore has more people than the whole of New Zealand packed into less than 1% the land area, is located in a highly militarized area as compared to the isolated NZ and has absolutely NO natural resources as compared to NZ. It's not just about chasing money but the very survival of our country depended upon our hardwork. Malaysia hasn't exactly been that nice an cooperative a neighbor as what you guys have in the way of Australia. Our needs are way different. So let's not try to compare both nations please.

Reply to this comment

Make a comment on this post










 

It's just a thought...

Attend a

FREE SEMINAR

Attend a seminar as a starting point to learn more about the lifestyle of each country, their general migration process and a broad overview of Visa categories.

Register here

Do I stand a chance?

Complete a

FREE PRELIMINARY EVALUATION

Have a preliminary evaluation to establish which Visa category may suit you and whether it’s worth your while ordering a comprehensive Full Assessment.

Free Preliminary Evaluation

I'm ready to talk strategy

Complete a

FULL ASSESSMENT

Let us develop your detailed strategy, timeline and pricing structure in-person or on Skype. Naturally, a small cost applies for this full and comprehensive assessment.

Full Assessment

The Difference between Singapore, Fiji and New Zealand
STAY CONNECTED

Join over 35,000 people who subscribe to our weekly newsletters for up to date migration, lifestyle and light-hearted updates

CONTACT US
Auckland, New Zealand

Level 2, 55-57 High Street, Auckland, New Zealand

+64 9 359 9319 | Contact Form

Melbourne, Australia

Level 2, 517 Flinders Lane, Melbourne, Australia

+61 3 9628 2555 | Contact Form

LICENSING
New Zealand

All of our advisers are individually licensed by the Immigration Advisers Authority (IAA)

Click here for details

Australia

All of our advisers are individually licensed by the Migration Agents Registration Authority (MARA)

Click here for details