Go to any hotel F&B outlet, and there is high probability of the server being a Malaysian (somehow, usually from Ipoh). Or in any MNC, there will tend to be a Malaysian you know.
Recently, my friend has been sharing with me that nearly 12 of his classmates are in Singapore. This got me to count on the number of my classmates here - there are 6 of us here in Singapore. That is about 15% of the class.
My Form 6 friends - many more. Some I've chanced upon at the bus station, while there was one I met on the same bus traveling back home!
What makes us Malaysians hop over to the island-state, while there is also a huge brain drain of Singaporeans themselves? I've heard & read the complaints by fellow Singaporeans (not all), and one just need to see the other side of the coin.
There are many reasons why Malaysians come over to Singapore to work or study. But these are just some which I think are shared by all walks of life. Here's a perspective from a Malaysian residing in Singapore :)
It's just the tiny Straits of Johor that separates the 2 countries. In fact, it is so near that the causeway is only slightly more than 1km (source: Wikipedia).
So to many Malaysians, especially the bulk from JB and Johor finds Singapore just next to home. Some even live in JB but work in Singapore, traveling back each day. Schoolchildren even travel each morning for a full English education here.
Even for the other Malaysians from the other states, it is still relatively near. And if we miss home - we just need to head back for the weekend.
Many food in Malaysia is found right here in Singapore. I can safely bet that at least 50% are similar if not more. There is the nasi lemak, roti canai (called roti prata here), char kuay teow, chicken rice and lots more.
Of course there are some variations of style of cooking - like the distinct & delicous Singapore's hokkien mee which is totally different from what is offered in KL (which is very nice as well).
Singapore's yellow white hokkien mee by qwazymonkey
KL's thick black hokkien mee, which also comes with its must-try sambal. By Eugene.
I admit coming here first and without knowing much food around, I found the food a lil different though they are supposedly the same. It took me a while to get adjusted at first. But once we are settled, it's easy to find where the good food are and the food is quite similar afterall (ok, maybe a change of taste buds a lil) :)
Singapore's Singlish is very similar to our Manglish although the use of 'lei' or 'leh' is a bit more prominent than our no. 1 vocab, the 'lah'.
Then there is the Mandarin, though it does sound slightly different & again different usage of words, but it is not difficult to understand each other. And we can understand their Malay language though it do sounds like is a mix of Bahasa Indon & Bahasa Malaysia.
And the famous Hokkien, which the southern states will be most familiar with.
4. Transport convenience
This I'm sure is agreed by many Malaysians and also other foreigners. Malaysians always say that "the Singapore public transport is so efficient-lah". In Singapore, one does not really need a car, if he/ she is willing to spend a lil more time to some destinations (depending on type of job - sales may need). However, the popular destinations especially in the town or major shopping centres are all well connected with the MRT or buses.
And good news - the government is now rolling new lines. This saves money on our part.
I guess the no. one reason why many come here to work is also due to the higher Singapore dollar. Just cross the causeway, and earn 2.3 times more than back home!
Save the dollar earned, and bring it back to enjoy it 'like a king'! If you used to hear Singaporeans say "Aiyo that one so cheap!", now you know why.
The Singapore dollar to Ringgit Malaysia is nowhere comparable to USD-S$ itself! Ie. if we work in Singapore and spend in Malaysia is much better than someone working in USA and bringing the green dollar back to Singapore! (1USD = 1.4SGD only).
Singapore $10 notes by Michesoo.
6. Cost of living
Now that we know the value of S$, it's also good to point out that apart from the high rental & house costs, the cost of living here is relatively cheaper - for someone earning the dollar and spending it in their own country.
For example, a Honda Civic here is about S$70k and above, while in Malaysia, a Malaysian has to fork out above RM110k. That is a huge 40k difference (no conversion).
Just the other day a friend joked "hey we should buy a BMW here". Well he is right in a way as one can buy the entry level one below S$200k, which is not what you can get back in Malaysia, if you are earning Ringgit.
The most expensive MRT ride is only below S$ compared to above RM2 for the LRT in KL.
There are many other reasons - like opportunity, working environment, etc which will differ from one person to the other. Some of my friends mentioned that they want to go back after xxx years, but up to today, they are still here, and doesn't seem to be returning back. Ahh, the grass is always greener on the other side. :)
PS: For Malaysians, don't feel this as anything against the country. I still love my country - this is just a share of thoughts that I notice :)