~by: Jewel Philemon~
the following is an email interview with a 46 year-old new citizen Raj (an actual but shortened name):
TOC: Where are you from?
Raj: I am from Chennai the capital of Tamil Nadu, India.
TOC: When did you become the citizen of Singapore?
Raj: I have been a PR (permanent resident) since 1999 and became a citizen in 2007.
TOC: What brought you here?
Raj: I first came to work in Singapore in 1998 as a IT professional in a MNC. Then in 2008, I set-up my own IT solutions company.
TOC: Is your family here? If so, how many of them are here?
Raj: Yes, my family is here. My wife, daughter and son are here. My parents visit us at least 2 times a year as well.
TOC: Is everybody in your family a citizen of Singapore as well?
Raj: No, I am the only Singapore citizen. My wife and daughter are PR and my son is on a student visa. My parents have long-term social visit visa.
TOC: Why have not your immediate family become citizens?
Raj: We have properties in India and so my wife cannot take up Singapore citizenship because Singapore does not allow dual citizenship. My daughter is 17 and my son is 13. They can decide for themselves if they want to take up Singapore citizenship when they turn 21.
TOC: Why is your son on a student visa and not a PR?
Raj: If he is a PR he will have to serve national service. Like I said, I will let him decide if he want to put his roots down in Singapore or go back to India when he turns 21.
TOC: Where do you live?
Raj: I live in a condominium in the east part of Singapore.
TOC: Is your wife working? And where do your children study?
Raj: My wife is a housewife and my kids study in GIIS (Global Indian International School).
TOC: Tell us a little bit about your friends here in Singapore.
Raj: We have friends who are from India as well as Singapore. My kids must grow up knowing their roots and our Indian culture, so we purposely go out of the way to stay connected with our friends from India, especially those from our own hometown. But we also want them to know Singapore’s way of thinking, so we also have some Singapore friends.
TOC: What are your hobbies?
Raj: I am very occupied with my business so no hobbies as such. But we never miss going to temple and we also participate actively in Bhajans.
TOC: What are some of the difficulties you have encountered in Singapore?
Raj: Many difficulties to name. Like when we first came we stayed in a HDB flat and my wife did not know how to hang out the washed clothes from the bamboo pole. Living and adjusting to so many different races of people is a very big challenge.
TOC: Is there anything else you want to say?
Yes. One of the reason I took up Singapore citizenship is because I want to contribute to this country. It has an efficient government and because of that, the country has prospered. We are accepted and treated well by most people in Singapore, but some also see us suspiciously. But I hope they will realise that I migrated here with my family just like most of their parents or grandparents did many years ago.