Point of Return


The other day, one of my close friends in Singapore asked me if I would ever consider returning to Singapore.

First I demurred. It was hard to give an immediate response, given that my affiliation with Singapore is still pretty strong – in term of my fondness for the discipline and cleanliness, the efficiency and alacrity, the paronoia of being left behind, the smallness of the place, the perseverance of its peoples, the incorruptibility of its government and the police, et al. If there was ever an “efficient utopia”, this was it !

It has been four years since we returned to India, but since I have been visiting Singapore regularly (atleast 4 times a year), and have been in touch with my friends there, I can say I have been in sync with Singapore more or less. I have seen the ups and several downs, and the current resurgence in terms of its real estate market !

However, in the final reckoning, I guess it would be difficult to return for couple of reasons – one is the schooling system, which differs widely between India and Singapore ; the other reason being old parents requiring local support. It has got nothing to do per se with the respective places of living – more to do with the family in the first place.

It is far easier to live in Singapore with all creature comforts to be taken for granted, unlike in India where sometimes one has to struggle for most everything. But things have improved over the past few years in India. Nowadays, Indians do not go purely for shopping to Singapore or Dubai or Hong Kong. Most goods are available locally at prices which are not much different. And, living accommodation has vastly improved. The one thing which is still difficult in India are the road conditions. That is not about to change anytime soon !

Well, people have different opinions. Many people will vote for Singapore even today. Even I will vote ! However, each person’s situation is different, and one has to take into consideration the personal issues and challenges before making a huge decision. I have taken a series of adventurous steps over the course of my working career, shifting countries and industries seamlessly, so further changes are not an issue. However, for the moment, India is the place to be in.

And, look at the sizzling economy. Singapore is also doing well, but on an annualized basis it is more like 5% GDP growth for Singapore whereas it is going to be around 8.5% for such a large economy in India (roughly 12 times the size of Singapore economy but with a population nearly 280 times more than that of Singapore !). One has to make a call……..for oneself depending on one’s situation, preferences, and opportunities.

Cheers

Vijay Srinivasan
27th April 2010
Mumbai

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