The Challenging Journey Begins
End week of March, I went to attend Pastor Vic and Anusha’s wedding at Banting, Selangor, Malaysia and spent 5 days there. I flew with Tiger Airways from Singapore to Malaysia at S$72. Last year I crossed Malaysia-Singapore border by land, now I went airborne to avoid the traffic rush.
The duration I was in Malaysia, call for interview from a semiconductor company was received and set an appointment 2 days after my return date to Singapore. I travelled back by land through Causeway Link. Keep your EPEC handy for the Malaysian and Singapore Immigration. The Malaysian officer questioned my long stay in Singapore that I have to show my EPEC and handed over to another IO. Probably he is not familiar with EPEC or just wanted to finish the queue for the 2 of us are left in line and it’s nearly 12 MN. The second IO just stamped my passport after seeing the EPEC and it’s done.
Still no offer by midweek of April, I have to process my Long Term Social Visit Pass (LTSVP) online at https://ltpass.ica.gov.sg/eltsvp/main.do. Online payments are needed. That’s when credit card comes in handy. Medical exam is required and the cheapest is S$42.80 for HIV testing and chest x-ray at SATA Medical Center. I received the result 3 days after just in time for the appointment schedule at ICA to process my LTSVP. The 1 year multiple entry visa costs me S$100. My former college-mate costs him S$70 probably because he did not exit Singapore while I did. It took around 15 minutes to process my pass after giving the necessary documents to the officer. Yes, really that fast.
I did receive another interview invitation from an international school few days after my LTSVP processing. After the long and endless waiting period, I did not receive any follow-up calls from the 3 interviews I had. It’s really frustrating after hundreds of applications, 3 invitations was received but not a single positive outcome.
God’s Promise Prevails
It’s been almost 3 months already since I flew in to Singapore but still no job offer. I never experienced being jobless the rest of my career and only now that I did feel how to be in the world of the unemployed. But the irony of being jobless is I am well provided during those times. Despite the situation I am into, I have no idea to give up clinging to God’s promise and faithfulness. I must say at this point in time, I have been thinking already of a fallback plan for I have been spending close to Php100k! It’s God’s faithfulness and promise that kept me going though I don’t know when His perfect timing will be. Oftentimes I say to God, “You did not allow me to go to Singapore for nothing. I know You are a God who keeps promises.” Keeping in mind His words from Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you…plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and future”).
Mid May, another interview invitation was received. I have been waiting for God’s confirmation whether this interview will turn out to be a success or not. The day before the interview, out of the blue, a friend sent me a message in YM with this exact message “God has seen you struggling, God says it’s over. And blessing is coming your way”. These words proved God’s reassuring promises and I have a deep conviction that I will get this job. The day of my interview seemed to be very different from the previous ones. A great outpouring of rain happened the moment I arrived at the company premise and turned my shirt partly wet for the interview. The 15-minute interview turned out to be a very relaxed conversation. Later in the afternoon, I received a call from the HR informing me that I was considered for the position and the salary negotiation will soon follow. I was so thankful that after 3 months, I finally received a job offer. Yes, I have officially started my new job on July 2008 after a month of finalizing the necessary papers to legally work in Singapore.
The Job Offer and Pass Processing
May 28 I went to sign the Appointment Letter, Work Pass Application and other documents in Celestica. The Work Pass application was sent thru snail mail upon paying $10 for manual processing. Application can be done online which takes around just few days if not minutes. While waiting for the approval of my pass, I went to Vic’s place in Malaysia for 10 days vacation. Back then the company HR called me that the IPA has arrived just in time for my return to Singapore. I went back to SG onboard the Aeroline coach via the more relax land border at Tuas Checkpoint. The following day, I went to get my IPA (In Principle Approval) at the company office to process at Ministry of Manpower near Chinatown MRT. The IPA is a letter confirming that the work pass has been approved already and physical appearance and other processing is needed to get the card. It’s a 2-hr wait before my queue number was finally called for there were many people processing different kinds of passes at MOM. Medical certificate is needed but I signed a waiver since I have submitted a copy already when my LTSVP was processed. The LTSVP card will be surrendered and a 14-day stay will be stamped on the passport. One year of pass costs $30. After paying the corresponding amount, I have to rush to Work Pass Division at Tanjong Pagar for photo and fingerprint scanning. Need to go back 3 working days after to get my work pass ID at Tanjong Pagar. There are different types of passes, just check it out at MOM’s website.
Indeed a day after I have taken my pass, I start working already and a new leaf in my career commenced. How lovely it is to see how God’s marvelous plans unfold at such a perfect timing. There are lots of people whom God used to bless me and always keeping me in their prayers for my journey and I am very grateful to all of you.
And this shall conclude the series of Survival in Singapore. Read the previous articles.