As head of a young family, a good work–life balance is of top priority to Avinash. The 34–year–old design engineer emphasises this when talking about his work in Digital Video Technology for Broadcom, a leading communication chip designer headquartered in California.
“I’m very happy to work here,” Avinash states. “There may not be a big design industry in Singapore, but my job offers a good deal of flexibility in the working hours, as long as I deliver.”
Balancing work and family
The doting father of a two–year–old boy relishes his position, which allows him to work from home often. “Most weeks I don’t even spend five days in the office,” he says. Part of this is due to the need to teleconference with other parts of the world at odd hours, as the company has offices throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia. There are also tight timelines where the work has to be done as soon as any input is received, whatever the time of day or night. Some days involve difficult hours, but the flexibility also means Avinash can find time for his family and himself.
“I spend most of my free time with my son,” he shares. “I also read when I can, and play tennis twice a week with my uncle and two friends at the condominium’s facility.”
The family enjoys a busy social life. They meet their friends regularly at one another’s homes; large gatherings are organised every few months. It was one of these friends, an ex–colleague, who enticed him to make the move to Singapore three years ago.
Settling right in
“It is easy to live here,” Avinash admits. He left his home in Kerala on the south–western Indian coast for work in Indianapolis in the U.S. years ago, spent 2.5 years working in Penang from 2002, and 3 years in Bangalore in 2007. “I’m comfortable working anywhere, with different people, in different cultures. Still, it’s good to be in Asia.”
In his current Physical Design department , Avinash works alongside three Malaysians, a Burmese, a Chinese, and a Singaporean. We meet on a regular basis and have meals together everyday. Only some folks utilise the flexibility. Most of the team is in the office on a daily basis.
Before moving here, the young professional had visited Singapore several times to see his friends and relatives. Then a swinging bachelor, Avinash initially found Singapore “too ordered”. Now, however, he has an appreciation for how “things fall into place – processes are simple, infrastructure is reliable”.
Avinash relates how his wife, who is in the finance sector, found it a breeze coming to work in Singapore. “The immigration process in Singapore is a piece of cake!” Avinash considers it a big plus. “I took two weeks for Singapore, and could get it done online.”
A taste for the city's diversity
The couple have just bought an HDB condominium in Admiralty, just 2km down the road from Avinash’s office. HDB, or Housing and Development Board, is the government agency in charge of public housing. Avinash’s wife does most of the cooking at home. Avinash comments, “It’s easy to find Indian food in Singapore. There is also a large variety of restaurants here, ranging from high-end restaurants to casual eateries. And I love going out with my Chinese and Malay friends to try different foods!”
Avinash drives a Nissan, even though he feels it’s not very necessary in Singapore, as public transport is convenient. “Considering how close to work I live, plus I drive away from the city, I’m the last person to complain about traffic here!” he laughs. His wife takes a company bus to her workplace.
A family friend from Kerala takes care of their son while the couple are at work, though Avinash notes he has the option of using childcare centres, which he feels belongs to a system that is “more organised” than in many other countries.
Planning for the future
When it comes to his son’s future education, the young father likes having a choice of paths: between one of the many International schools that Singapore hosts (including the Global Indian International School, which has three campuses in Singapore) or local schools.
“I like that we’re living in a First World city, close to home. We’ve been away from our parents too long,” says Avinash. The Ravindranathans return to India once or twice a year, and their parents in turn visit them in Singapore. The island’s status as a travel hub means they get many visitors, like old school mates, who often drop by on transit during their journeys. Indeed, the region beckons, and they have been to Bali, Phuket, Malaysia. Avinash declares, “Lots of opportunity to travel!”
A multitude of activities
On weekends, the family enjoys visiting the many parks around Singapore. Avinash reels off a list of favourites: Lower Seletar Reservoir, Upper Pierce Reservoir, Hort Park, the Tree-top Walk... “Parks are always nice, accessible, and have lots of space for my son to run around in,” he smiles. They also visit cultural and tourist sites.
“In Singapore there are many opportunities to get acquainted with different art forms. We like Chinese puppet shows, for example, and my wife and I used to attend these and other cultural performances often, until our son came along,” he muses.
He is closely involved in the Mudra Cultural Society, which showcases traditional Indian art forms. Kathakali, a dance-drama based on Indian mythology, was introduced to Singapore with a show in July and Avinash was in charge of the event’s magazine. 10 performers were brought in from premier institutes in India, drawing about 800 spectators in all.
Avinash believes more diversity can only improve the country. He says, “In Singapore, any activities you want to do, you can do.”
Article last updated in 2010