Theodore Roosevelt famously said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.”
It couldn’t be more true.
People are intrinsically wired to believe that the grass is greener on the other side: we’re always unappreciative of what we have, and envious of the other party’s. It’s understandable, and it’s what makes us flawed.
Such was the case of a Malaysian man (let’s call him Tom) who came to Singapore to work. His story was shared anonymously on Facebook, and it succinctly elucidates this ethos.
It all began on the sunny island of Malaysia. Having worked for three years in our neighbouring nation, Tom retrospected and examined his financial situation.
He found himself repeatedly unable to save much because of his low salary as well as climbing prices of living.
To him, it was unfeasible to limp from paycheck to paycheck because that would mean that he would be 30 and still have no savings.
Malaysian Man Comes to Singapore to Work
After this episode, he made up his mind to take charge of his finances. With that, Tom set out to the Lion City in search of a brighter future and a bigger wallet.
Tom landed a humble job as a clerk. It paid well, so he flew out to work without much hesitation.
In Singapore, he found out that it was easy to save. Apart from the ridiculous housing and rent prices (that was in the past; imagine how he’ll feel about today’s rental prices), the rest were affordable. Food was cheap and transport was convenient, which made saving his money an easy process.
Even after deducting rent and monthly expenses, his savings were more than what he made in an entire month in Malaysia.
He scrimped and saved, with the plan of earning here but spending there. It was a good plan.
Unfortunately, there’s always two sides to a coin.
The People Problem
While his bank balance was getting bigger, his heart was not. He utterly hated the working experience here.
People here were cynical and toxic. They were sharp with words, and were especially good at bad-mouthing others behind their backs. Tom was put off by it. He used to be able to endure hardships and remain resilient, but here, he dreaded it.
It was uncomfortable for him to live in such a malicious culture.
Looking back, he missed the warm culture over the border. He missed his friends and family. He missed Malaysia.
If there were a way back, a way to reverse all of this, he’d take it.
Tom wants to resign soon, and prays that he can find a better company, one that is more welcoming. If not, he plans to head back to Malaysia.
Many netizens were in support of the man. They extended their concerns and encouragements, reminding him to stay strong and fearless. Some even shared anecdotes on their personal working experiences here as foreigners.
Oftentimes, we find ourselves at a crossroads: forced to make a choice, a tradeoff. Let’s keep the long game in mind and make choices that make us happy. That way, it’s more sustainable, more endurable, and more fun.
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