the decision to become singaporean was not an easy one. on paper, singapore is great. definitely full marks for all the logical considerations in choosing a place to live in, especially for a family with two little ones -- things like good employment opportunities, relatively low personal income taxes, ease of starting and doing business, respectable quality of education, low crime rates, availability of healthcare facilities, a great public transportation network, and a plethora of food options.
my daughters will probably include playgrounds (every two blocks has one, it seems!) and beautiful parks among the pros, while i personally find the visa-free travel a great help especially with my work. but logic feels hollow compared to the emotional ties one has with their country of origin.
what really makes a place a home, more than just simply a place to live in for a while? to me, it's the desire to reach out, be in touch, and the commitment to co-create a way forward. it's strange how i didn't really think about these things when i was a citizen since birth. citizenship was just a line you filled out in forms, and the team you cheered for in games. i've only ever thought about the weight of it when i was presented with the choice.
there are many interesting stories in this small island country. and i'd like to think that our story will be a valuable addition to the multi-cultural patchwork that is continually being woven.
my tie to my filipino identity is even stronger than before, despite my decision to surrender all official documentations. as someone who has left home, i know that it is not something that can be simply given, taken, replaced, or bought.
home is a collection of intangible treasures more than tangible ones. it's where you've invested little fragments of your heart, and for better or for worse, my hearts are here.