Category: Travel


For the story preceding this article, click HERE.

I stayed a fine two years in Malaysia per my work contract requirement. It’s funny and interesting how I was not able to visit most tourist spots any resident expat normally could in a span of two years. Within that period I had gone to the US for a business trip and to Taiwan for a short company trip but ironically had never gone to Batu Caves, Genting, Kota Kinabalu, Langkawi, Melacca or other states within Malaysia.

Throughout my stay there I never forgot that the whole point I was working in Malaysia was to be able to find work in Canada, a stepping stone to fly to another country as I had previously planned when I wished to go to Singapore.

One of my housemates was a French-and-Arabic-speaking Algerian who also did not foresee getting into the same company as he came into Malaysia under a student visa. He encouraged my goal to fly to Canada but I hesitated because I felt not being a skilled worker would hurt my chances to try.

During my last year stay, I would frequently notice billboards displaying Air Asia flight discounts to cities in Australia. Coincidentally I also saw the movie, Australia, that year. However, I could barely get my free schedule to coincide with my friends’. Read: I didn’t like traveling alone. That same year I had reconnected with one of my best friends, Christine, who I had totally forgotten had been working in Sydney since 2007.

Maybe I was fated to visit there instead of flying to Canada. I hardly had any problems nor delays in applying for a tourist visa to Australia and had spent 7 weeks observing and trying to immerse myself in their way of life.

Looking back, I don’t think being put in Singapore would have given me the same string of profitable opportunities in work and travel. Things would have run an entirely different course. As the lyrics of John Lennon’s Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy) says, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”



I had read a good post by Heatherperk few days ago wherein she points out some of the unforeseen timing of events in her life. It reminded me of my own experience in the past regarding job hunting which also involved a great deal of traveling.

I remember 2007 to be a year when I applied for a few overseas job vacancies. My co-worker in the Spanish team and friend, Winnie, one day handed me a cut-out newspaper ad for a Spanish Help Desk vacancy for DHL Malaysia. I sent the agency my resumé but decided not to push through with the interview. Like my other co-worker from the same team, Laurice, I was more keen on finding opportunities in Singapore as a possible stepping stone to applying for a Canadian immigrant visa. Unfortunately my application for the Singapore Eligibility Pass Employment Certificate was declined by the Ministry of Manpower.

When the same agency had an opening for an overseas post in Alberta, Canada, I seized the opportunity to apply. Applicants were trimmed down to 15 for the final interview but they would only pick 3. I did make it to the final interview but did not make it to the top 3 cut. Around the same time I had applied, my two friends, Winnie and Louise, had already been accepted for the DHL Malaysia post.

I certainly did not foresee what would happen by August. I used to be seated in a cubicle next to a colleague named Tess who at the time recently gave birth to her first baby. She told me she had found an overseas work opportunity in Malaysia requiring Spanish communication skills on She was already screened but sad that she couldn’t leave the country because of her child. She suggested I contact the same company to submit my application. Surprisingly I passed the exam and before I knew it my working visa documents had been taken care of.

Who would have thought that I would land a job in the same country as my friends Winnie and Louise had albeit in a different company? I certainly did not expect that. But, yes, I did visit Singapore twice to visit my friends Laurice, Cathy, Buen and Eloisa during my two-year contract in Malaysia since these are neighboring countries.


***Also check out Unforeseen Timing: Canada or Australia


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