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Coming Home

Many people ask me why I won't be staying in the U.S. after graduation this coming May. They list down the pros: Better job prospects, the lower cost of living and so on. I usually stop them before they start shooting off on the greater political freedom one enjoys in what they believe is the greatest democracy in the world.
Having spent the last few years here, I am well aware of all these – many of them true. A car in Singapore is something a person with average earning power can afford only sometime in their mid-thirties due to the high cost of automobiles. A place to stay – even a small apartment – takes a lifetime to pay off. It would seem easier to move to a place where these things are made more accessible to the average joe or joan.
I do not deny that America is one of the greatest democracies in the world. The fact that its people here have the freedom to air their opinions openly regardless of the political party in power is something at which I still marvel. Here at the U of A we have that guy running around school proclaiming that he is Jesus Christ, urging everyone to follow him.
Why would I want to go back to Singapore then? Because it is home. Sometimes I wish I could communicate this better to my American friends. Our way of life may be different – maybe even worse – but it is still our way of life. It belongs to us as much as we belong to it. Just as America laughs at us for banning the sale of chewing gum, we too find Florida's inability to count hilarious. Just because it is different doesn't make it bad.
Just looking at photos of the high-rise flats that most Singaporeans call home brings back so many memories. They are memories I hope to share with my children because they are so much a part of who Faith and I are. Is it too crowded in Singapore? Yes. Humid? Yes. Is the pace of life too hectic? Yes.
Is it home? Yes. And it's our responsibility to make it a better place instead of looking for one.

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