Brad – Marketer (Canadian who moved to Singapore)
I’ve been here 16 years and I’m trying to get my PR but it’s really tough. At the start, I was actually in Taiwan teaching English in Kaohsiung. I finished a one year contract with the school there and my one year work visa was going to expire. I had a great life there and I wanted to renew my visa so I had to leave Taiwan, go to the nearest Taiwan embassy, and the cheapest flight I could find was Jetstar from Taipei to Singapore. Hong Kong had a bad reputation for giving English teachers a hard time because it was so close to the Taiwan. So I came here, got a new visa and then went to Substation, went to Home Club, met some really cool locals and I didn’t have a job to go back to in Taiwan, so after five days, instead of flying back, I stayed another week and yea, it just kind of grew on me.
I met some awesome people here, I went to – at that time – some really nice drum and bass nights at Home Club, the +65 nights. Artists like George Chua and other experimental sound artists that used to play at the substation were the caliber of stuff I used to see at Toronto – really really good stuff. In Kaohsiung at that time, there was a few mainstream hip hop clubs and there wasn’t a great art scene.
It was really known as a dirty, industrial port city. It’s changed quite a bit since then. So, after extending a couple of times, I was like why not try to make it a goal over here. I flew back to Taiwan, got all my things out of my apartment, said all my goodbyes and came here, got a job here. And that was it, December 2005 was when it all went down.
After that, I was in my mid to late twenties, I started to get more interested in my career and kind of got bogged down by here. I fell in love with the Southeast Asia region – I still love it – and got to make really good friends here. And here we are, very much later, still here.
I’m pretty much a hippie at heart that ended up in a very capitalistic city state. I sometimes feel like a fish out of water here. I don’t want to go to club street and drink with bankers and play that game. The challenge for me is to find contentment, happiness and well-being in a place like this. I do it with a good group of friends, and travelling in the region – which I can’t really do so well anymore. Being grounded to my place, I have a small property in which I can do my gardening, and I have my plants, and this is what keeps me going here. If not, I would have probably gotten stressed out and left a few years ago.