Many of my friends have converted their citizenship. Though China is developing fast and possesses bigger market and opportunities, Singapore as a city country still an unarguably better place to stay and work. The society is more secure, the salary is much higher, and the social relationship is more pleasant as opposed to the more complicated 人情 (relationships that we call “guan xi”) in China.
My main resistance for conversion lie in my national pride and my best wishes for the growth in China. This emotion is hard to express, but the thinking of giving up one’s own country doesn’t make me go easy. (I am not criticizing people who converted the citizenship. It is just a hard decision for me. And my difficulties are giving up is not without reasons.) Not just about the emotion connections, I also believe in the next 10~15 years, a Chinese passport will help me find the biggest goldmine to fulfill my dreams.
On the other hand, there are many reasons for citizenship conversion. Easier to travel, no visa is required for a Singapore Passport to vist most of the countries. It helps a lot for people who need to travel to different countries due to business reasons. It is especially attractive for people who owns “Hu Kou” from a not so well develop country side in China. Subsidized housing, Singaporeans enjoy heavy subsidize for purchasing HDB (government housing scheme) and less contraints for other real property investment. Subsidized childcare and mothercare after birth. The government give our strong incentives to local people give birth earlier and more. Cash and future education benefits are provided at the birth of the kid. A Singaporean mothers enjoys longer maternity leave as well as other medical expense coverage.
However, I guess the most compelling reason for most of my friends decision is the kids education. Compare to foreigners’ kids, citizens’ children enjoy every possible priorities to enter a more reputable primary schools. And for most oriented parants, kids are not supposed to lose their social competition at the starting line. Parants will seek every possible doors to increase the odds of their kids to be successful. Hence, converting to Singapore citizen and enjoy those “priorities” against foreigners is the first step.
During the discussion with my wife this morning, we suddenly realize the old saying “可怜天下父母心” (the hearts of parants everywhere). Parants always think about their kids and make decisions to maximize their well being. While our parants encourage or push us to convert in order to enjoy the stability and welfare of the country, we resist strongly with argument that we will be able to take care ourselves and benefits of new passport are not strong enough to cover our switching cost psychologically. When we start to think of having kids and raise them, their schooling opportunities become the single reason we need to rethink our previous decision.
We ignored advice from our parants, but considering making the exact decision for our kids.