Family ties brought this overseas Singaporean home

Ms Maryam Mokhtar's article ("Bringing overseas S'poreans back home"; July 13) struck a chord with me because I was an overseas Singaporean who returned home because of family ties.

After obtaining Australian permanent residency as a skilled migrant, I left Singapore for Melbourne in July 2005.

My reason for the move? To get out of my comfort zone and explore new frontiers while I was still young and able to.

In Melbourne, I worked for the financial services arm of an American multinational company, where my colleagues hailed from all over the world. The pace of life was more laid-back, with more space and more life options. I owned my first car and experienced four different seasons in a year for the first time in my life.

Life in Melbourne was all well and good, but I continued to stay in touch with Singapore by attending Overseas Singaporean Unit (OSU) functions.

What ultimately precipitated my return home in November 2010 had nothing to do with any of the experiences at these functions. It was family ties and the realisation that I had neglected my familial duties.

Shortly after returning to Singapore, I met my wife and we have since had a baby daughter.

I agree with Ms Maryam's observation that overseas Singaporeans are an asset and can bring much back to Singapore.

I am heartened that there are initiatives such as the OSU, which try to keep overseas Singaporeans connected to Singapore, and re-integration programmes to help recently returned Singaporeans settle back into life here.

Woon Wee Min

This article was first published on July 27 2014.
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