Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Nice letter from a Singaporean in Belgium

Ladies and Gentlemen,
I append below a nice letter from a Singaporean lawyer who has left Singapore permanently because, like thousands of other educated and capable Singaporeans, Reynold too has had enough of Lee's "paradise" of the island of Singapore. It is my reckoning that the legal profession has suffered and continues to suffer the highest rate of attrition to emigration than any other profession in Singapore. Should anyone be surprised, since by their very training, lawyers have to THINK. I have the consent of Mr. Reynold Pereira to post his letter.

Gopalan Nair
39737 Paseo Padre Parkway, Suite A1
Fremont, CA 94538, USA
Tel: 510 657 6107
Fax: 510 657 6914
Email: gopalnair@us-immigrationlaw.com

Hi Gopalan,

Greetings from Brussels. My name is Reynold Pereira.

I came across your blog today and have actually been reading your articles in between my work. I relish reading 'real' articles about Singapore and its system. Are you still in the legal world?

Like you, I also practised law in Singapore until I decided I move to Europe with my wife back in 1998. We were first in Paris for about three years before moving to Brussels. We have now been in Brussels for almost six years and I'm currently contemplating applying for either French or Belgian citizenship. My wife is French and to save my skin I guess I'll apply for French citizenship!!

The plan had always been to move to Europe to find a better life. I guess I became disillusioned with practice after a while. I had all these high ideals about defending the underprivileged but after going through some trials and being on the wrong end of some strange decisions by the courts, I decided that I had enough.

In a way, I'm glad that I left Singapore. I do miss my family and friends and some of the old haunts like Adam Road hawker centre and Komala Vilas. But in terms of quality of life, I think Singapore is way down the list. We are quite happy in Brussels and strangely enough there are some old caf├ęs here which reminds me of the old 'kopitiams' in Singapore. My kids are happy and my first kid who will be going to primary one next year seems okay.

I do keep up with the developments that are taking place in Singapore with regards to the political field and sadly, nothing has changed. It's still the privileged few who 'kowtow' to the Lees that get things their way.

I've seen some of your blogs where you have asked people not to attend functions organised by the ruling party. I must confess that while I was in Paris, I used to attend these functions with another dissident Singaporean Indian lawyer (who is currently doing very well in practice in Paris) because for us, the invitation card was a coupon for getting 'free good food'!!! But I think, for most Singaporeans who have migrated overseas, their mind has already been made up and these 'makan' sessions would never be able to make them change their minds about returning to Singapore. It's the PAP and the media who have to change their ways but judging by the way things are going, it's unlikely to happen in the near future.


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