I was 5 when I left Indonesia. Believe it or not, it was my choice to leave. I begged to go to Singapore with my elder sister. What was I thinking? I was too young to remember.
All I could remember was classes in Indonesia was boring for me… One of the teachers picked on me during class all the time. I remembered vividly, I was in tears when my Dad scolded me because I refused to go to school.
Years later, my Mom told me the reason the teacher picked on me was because we did not get “gifts” to the school.
Moving to Singapore required a lot of adjustments. Firstly, I could only speak Bahasa Indonesia & Hokkien back then. I had to pick up 2 new languages, English & Mandarin. Secondly, I had to be away from home. I cried myself to sleep for many nights.
The rest was pretty fun. School was interesting and making new friends. I read a lot during my free time because I did not have any extra classes. I wish I could have learn ballet, piano or martial arts.
Did I had a tough time in school? Who doesn’t? My struggle with being an Indonesian who hardly spoke Bahasa Indonesia. Fellow Indonesians would tease me for forgetting my language. Peer pressure of getting good grades (my parents did not really care much of my results as long as I did my best).
Overall, I think it benefited me more. I am able to speak fluent English and Mandarin. Better education gave me more opportunities in terms of job. I also get to meet more people from around the world and made some good friends.
After 26 years in Singapore, I am leaving… It is also my choice. I guess the best part of leaving is it made me realised how little time I spent with family and friends. What have I been busy with? Work, of course.
I realised people seem to find a sense of pride for saying they are busy. It has always been a rush for everything. I am guilty too but it will change.
I looked back at my past 12 years working in Singapore and I am so thankful for the great people I have worked with. People who have achieved great work and yet so humble. They even create visibility and recognition for others. That energy motivates me to be better. Paying it by doing the same for the juniors.
However, I also had some terrible experience working in very toxic environments. Glad everything is over. Lesson well learned.
I guess everything really happened for a reason. I looked back and everything makes perfect sense now. A new country and a new role. It is something that I am not prepared for. However, I will do my best and make it work.
Before I head for my next home, traveling to Japan, Taiwan, Europe & US for about 2-3 months.