CommunityCerita Exclusive

I Am 26. I Quit My High-Paying Job In M’sia And Moved To Singapore. Here’s What I Think

‘Though it’s stressful, I never regretted It.’

Exclusive Story by WeirdKaya – Reproduction requires proper credit and backlink to us. Kindly acknowledge the efforts of our editors in sourcing and conducting interviews.

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At the age of 25, I took a significant leap in my career by relocating to Singapore. The transition was a blend of daunting challenges and rewarding experiences. Following my graduation in China, I, a Johorian, embarked on my professional journey in Kuala Lumpur where I worked for nearly two years.

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Tan jun wei 05
Photo provided to WeirdKaya.

In general, I discerned that the work culture in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore is quite similar. However, the saving is more favorable and solid comparing Singapore to Malaysia due to the gradually increasing exchange rate.

Some may doubt us or even label us as unpatriotic. Nevertheless, my flame of passion towards my home country will never be burnt out no matter where I am, especially when I look at the diversity, inclusiveness and of course the food.

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Tan jun wei 03
Photo provided to WeirdKaya.

In my opinion, the best career opportunities could be found in Malaysia. In Malaysia, you don’t need extra effort to adapt the cultural shock and working environment without worrying your residency and any changes of the foreign labor law and regulations.

Talking about the most attractive push factor for expat to relocate to Singapore, my opinion might be different from others. If the pay is the only criteria, you might put yourself in the struggling situation and sacrifice your interest and existing expertise.

From my point of view, at the very beginning of the career, personal growth and connection are the most crucial.

If your singular motivation to relocate to Singapore is monetary, you might find the transition challenging. There’s a potential risk of ending up in a job role that neither piques your interest nor leverages your expertise.

The aspiration to work in Singapore is a common sentiment among Malaysians, primarily due to the favorable exchange rate and the higher standard of living.

I am 26. I quit my high-paying job in m'sia and moved to singapore. Here's what i think | weirdkaya
Photo: Pexels

According to the Malaysian Employer Federation (MEF), there are currently 900,000 Malaysians working full-time in Singapore.

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This aspiration has led many outstanding Malaysians to leave their homeland in pursuit of improved living styles and better career development.

From JB to KL, now to Singapore

Tan Jun Wei, a 26-year-old Malaysian, is one such ambitious professional who embarked on an exciting career journey leading him from his hometown to Singapore.

Singapore apartment
Photo via Pexels

Jun Wei was born and bred in Kota Tinggi, a city known for its close proximity to Singapore.

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His journey started after graduating from a University in Shanghai in 2020. Immediately after his graduation, he joined the Malaysian headquarters of a well-known Chinese mobile phone brand as a management trainee in Kuala Lumpur.

Tan jun wei 04
Photo provided to WeirdKaya.

Working as a management trainee in the tech industry gave me an in-depth understanding of sales and marketing strategies. It was a challenging yet rewarding experience,” he told WeirdKaya.

In 2021, Jun Wei’s career took a significant turn when he resigned and joined a multinational corporation (MNC) based in Malaysia, where he was responsible for managing social media, writing articles, coordinating with designers and managers, executing campaigns, and creating content for various channels.

“I was exposed to multiple facets of content marketing in my role at the MNC,” Jun Wei remarked. “This diverse experience contributed significantly to my growth as a professional.”

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Moved to Singapore in 2022 but laid off after six months

In August 2022, driven by the allure of international work culture and wanting to broaden horizons, Jun Wei relocated to Singapore.

He began his journey in Singapore by working at a tech startup but was laid off after only six months on the job.

Tan jun wei 02
Photo provided to WeirdKaya.

Despite the setback, Jun Wei said he saw it as an opportunity for personal and professional growth.

In the face of adversity, I learned to be resilient. I realized that setbacks are an integral part of one’s career journey, which eventually leads to better opportunities.

Different work permits in Singapore

He also mentioned that Singaporean companies often have restrictions on hiring foreigners, requiring a certain percentage of Singaporeans to be employed in the company.

However, he highlighted that Malaysians are generally favored by some Singaporean companies due to shared culture, language, and a reputation for being hardworking.

Singapore building
Photo via Pexels

When asked about the expenses involved in the entire transition, he mentioned that one should budget around SGD4,000 (~RM13,767) for rental deposits, basic necessities, and miscellaneous expenses that may arise during the transition phase.

He also pointed out that there are different work passes available for foreigners working in Singapore. The Employment Pass and S-Pass are two separate work passes designed for professionals with high-level qualifications and technicians with mid-level skills, respectively.

On the other hand, Work Permits are for unskilled workers in labor-intensive industries with lower-level skill sets.

EP, on the other hand, is typically reserved for highly skilled foreign professionals who hold positions such as specialized executives, managers, or directors. Therefore, it requires you to have certain level of education and experience to fulfil the requirements.

Has more time with family

Currently, he is working as a marketing executive at an automative company in Singapore, contributing his expertise and making strides in his professional life.

Tan jun wei 01
Photo provided to Weirdkaya

As a Johorian, now I have more opportunities to visit my hometown more frequently compared to when I was based in Kuala Lumpur,” he added.

When asked about his career transition, Jun Wei noted that the transition from Malaysia to Singapore was challenging, but he doesn’t regret his decision.

Despite the higher cost of living, the higher wages in Singapore provide financial stability to me.”

“I enjoy my career in Singapore, but I believe the best job opportunities might still be in Malaysia, especially for career start and those who have family to take care of due to fewer work permit restrictions and a wider range of job options.”

In the midst of a dynamic and fast-moving talent market, Jun Wei shows his resilience and courage when he steps out of his comfort zone and deals with obstacles. His experience serves as a beacon of inspiration to those at the junction and a reference to those that are on a similar path. He is telling everyone that “the world is your oyster”.

The views expressed in this article are the interviewee’s own. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of WeirdKaya.

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