Expat life has perks, as well as risks

As raised by Dr Yvonne McNulty ("Expat life not as rosy as it appears"; Oct 10), the death of the five-year-old child should not go without teaching us all a lesson about expatriate life in Singapore ("Man charged with murder of son, 5"; Oct 8).

I am an expat here, with my husband and children, and have been living abroad in various countries for more than 10 years.

Expats arrive here with the hope of improving their economic situation, and who would not do so when presented with the opportunity?

Expat life is a fantastic opportunity for many, where the rewards outweigh the risks.

But the risks can be high and, when things go wrong, it puts undue pressure not only on the family but also the Singapore community and its resources - as the death of this little boy shows.

Some of the risks for expats are hidden but include financial, legal and psychological impact on their families.

At this point, it is not just a matter of packing up your belongings and going back to where you came from.

Instead, the family is often stuck in Singapore, especially if the marriage ends in separation or divorce arising from financial stress.

It is time we got real about expat life here. It is not a picnic where families are living the high life.

Having the difficult conversation about how challenging expat life can be could well lead to people making better informed decisions, while saving others a great deal of pain.

Tracy Holden (Ms)