The general perception of Singapore and Singaporeans among Malaysians is that Singaporeans are very competitive in nature, especially when it comes to work and professional life. Intrigued by this and the possibilities that the future has to offer, Ryan Ng decided to move to Singapore in 2015 to seek out new challenges.
“Because Singapore is a city state, it has to be competitive by nature,” he mused. “This seeps through to the culture and the people living here, as evidenced by the fast pace of life and work in the country. But for them, efficiency is key. You do not only want to work fast, but you want to work efficiently.”
Ryan is currently based at LinkedIn, where he managed the Malaysian market before transitioning to be part of the Singaporean team. In his earlier role, he was able to fly back to Malaysia every month as part of his work. Now, he visits his hometown in Klang every few months or during big occasions such as the Chinese New Year.
Getting adjusted to the public transportation
One of Ryan’s biggest adjustments is getting used to public transportation, which is key to travelling efficiently across Singapore.
“You’d need to know which routes and combination of bus and MRT to take, but they’re very efficient, which helps you to plan your travel ahead of time.”
In his free time, Ryan loves to explore what Singapore has to offer. From the wonderful skylines (such as the Gardens by the Bay and the Marina Bay skyline) to the amazing nature, there are plentiful activities and places to do and experience.
As a foodie, he also enjoys exploring new hipster cafes and restaurants. According to Ryan, the best comfort food would be minced meat noodles and, in a close second, Singaporean laksa and chicken rice.
Building your support system
Understanding your objective and purpose while living and working abroad is key. Knowing why you moved there in the first place can help you to focus on getting the most out of your time as a diaspora.
“The easiest way to build connections is organically through your work colleagues.”
With an abundance of Malaysians working in Singapore, it is easy to get connected through mutual friends and networks.
Supporting the nation, one step at a time
At LinkedIn, Ryan had the opportunity to work with the Malaysian government and public sector to help with the rising issue of unemployment, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Through constant engagements and collaboration, LinkedIn signed MOUs with both HRD Corporation and Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) to help in upskilling Malaysians, and also shared insights to assist the government in making better-informed decisions when it comes to creating more economic opportunities for Malaysians.
Ryan believes that it is important to acknowledge the distinctive qualities that Malaysians have and to help empower the people to drive the country to greater heights.
“We need to start talking about Malaysia – to share the stories about Malaysia and Malaysian talents to other people and help to shape people’s perceptions. This can potentially help in the talent pipeline.”
This is in line with TalentCorp’s MyHeart, which aims to provide an inclusive platform for Malaysians around the world to share their stories, showcasing the best of Malaysians everywhere.
We are all anak Malaysia
Moving to Singapore has helped Ryan to understand and realise what he misses about being home in Malaysia. Ryan strives to have regular phone calls with his parents and extended families in Malaysia to ensure that his son, who was born in Singapore, can grow up knowing that he has family back home.
His hope for Malaysia is for us to be a more inclusive society, where we build each other up instead of tearing each other down.
“We need to see beyond the lens of races or religions,” he emphasised.
“When I go abroad and look back on my country, I feel a sense of belonging. The people, the culture, the food. It’s je se sais quoi. We are all anak Malaysia, and this is a feeling of community, closeness, and warmth.”
To connect with Ryan and other Malaysians abroad, join the MyHeart community today.