Tag Archives: Australia

Should I Move Abroad? A Letter to Expats

Today I am posting something a little different. I recently wrote a long and considered response to a question on Quora, and I have copied and pasted it below. The question is an important one for the increasing numbers of people who are living away from their country of birth, and are having trouble finding their place in the world, quite literally.
This is the question.
“Should I live in Australia for the rest of my life, or should I go back to my own country, China, and be with old friends or family? What’s good about living in Australia compared to living in China?
And below is my response.
Hi,
I am Australian, currently happily living in China. I have been back and forth a few times, so I understand your situation.
I have been through phases where I have had positive and negative attitudes towards both countries. At one point I hated China. At some points I have disliked Australia.
Therefore your attitude towards the country where you choose to live is paramount. Avoid “expat syndrome” like the plague. I have lived in five different countries/regions, and you will always encounter a large number of immigrants and expats who loathe their adopted country, and have contempt for the locals. It really doesn’t matter where they are, these people will find a way to belittle, shame and rage against the people. The locals are uncultured. They are uneducated, dirty, stupid! They will never condider me to be a Xcountryman! Oh, and they are so racist! (eye roll).
It doesn’t matter how much their host country has given them, or how good life there is, they still feel contempt for it. For them. They become haters.
If I had a penny for every whining expat/immigrant I’ve met mouthing these words I could retire today, a wealthy man.
Avoid these people wherever you find them (especially online, where they like to go to hiss and spew their venom, because that’s what’s little people do).
It’s OK to have your bad days and to go through this as a phase (I did for a short while in China). But make sure you see it for what it typically is (projection and bigotry) and choose to snap out of it. I knew a person in Australia who had been there for decades who just made themselves miserable regularly ranting about the country on Facebook. They saw themselves as intellectually and spiritually above the disgusting locals. They were miserable. However, the individual just couldn’t see that their rage was self-generated.
Learn emotional and social intelligence. All situations in life are a chance for the development of wisdom. Difficulties are actually good for us. They can help us to grow. But only if you develop the right attitude. Don’t project against the locals. Get to know them. They don’t owe you anything, and have no responsibility to connect with you or embrace you. The lamest lament in the long history of lame laments has to be “They don’t consider me to be one of them! I am always an outsider!” You are a foreigner, dude! Accept it! Ham it up! Have a bit of fun with it. Besides the disadvantages, there are a host of privileges you can embrace.
Having said this, consider your lifestyle preferences. A good attitude is important, but choosing a place that matches your interests and altitudes is equally important. You know what challenges to expect in China: bad air, environmental issues, rudeness in public spaces, pushing and shoving, increasing addiction to mobile phones, internet restrictions etc. But you can weigh those up with the advantages: friendly people (many, not all), lots to do in the evening, professional opportunities, great infrastructure and public transport…
Make sure you know what you want personally and professionally before committing to a place. In 2012 I left a good job in Hong Kong to return to Australia. However, I didn’t consider my professional options carefully enough. I returned to Oz without having a job to go to. This is not an ideal option. You may face a period of unemployment, or be pressured into taking a position you don’t like. I spent some time unemployed, as well as separated from my wife. My mother died. Not fun.
What are your professional goals for the next five to ten years? For the rest of your working life? Can the country support those goals? This is of paramount importance. If you fail to properly assess this area of you life, you are putting faith in the gods for something you’d be better off taking responsibility for yourself. Wherever possible take on extra responsibilities to advance your career. When I arrived at my current workplace I volunteered to develop curriculum for academic writing. Now I have opportunities developing in that area with publishers.
I now have a great job in China at a university, and am with people I really like (mostly!). I get decent pay, great holidays, and have numerous opportunities to travel and expand my connections in the “consciousness movement,” my other passion. I am getting books published in Chinese. I either love or accept the Chinese people I work with. I went through the hater phase, faced my demons and came out of it all a better person. I became prosperous in more ways than one. But to do that I had to take a good, hard look at myself, and become smart about my life and my choices.
In summary, it isn’t only the country you live in that counts. What is it that you can bring to that country? How much can you find in yourself, in terms of attitudes and aptitudes, that can contribute to that place? Can you be bigger than the little people and the great problems you will face, and rise above them?
Good luck with it, and even better planning.
Marcus T Anthony

Australia: The lucky country, or just pissed off?

Is Australia becoming a better country, or a worse one? There is no doubt that it is changing, that it has changed greatly in the sixteen-odd years since I left these shores to explore New Zealand and Asia as an educator and adventurer. It’s a question that I have to ask myself now, a mere three months after my return here from my self-imposed exile.

I never left Australia because I didn’t like it. In fact, quite the reverse. I left because I was too comfortable here, and at the age of thirty had never been overseas. It was time to move out of my comfort zone. I didn’t imagine that after taking up a job at an international school in NZ that I would then go on to live in east Asia for a dozen years. That wasn’t the plan. It just happened. I have always enjoyed exploring new things and challenging myself.

The reason I pose the question about whether Australia is getting any better is two-fold. Firstly, as a futurist with a general interest in helping to contribute to the future of Australia, I have a strong professional interest with deepening my understanding of how the country now operates.

More immediately, just this morning I read a fascinating article by John Silverster in WA Today. “The salad days of a white-bread kid” begins by describing Silverster’s 40th anniversary school reunion, and then moves into comparing Australia at the time of his high school graduation, and as it is today. His conclusions are not positive. He writes that we are less happy, less grateful, and much more angry. And yet..

We as a community have no right to be so angry. We largely escaped the global financial collapse, have good weather, a sound education system, one of the best public-health models in the world and more assets in the ground than a Mokbel on bail.

There is little generational unemployment, no massive ghettos in our cities, low crime rates and we live in a safe, democratic society.

But that is not sufficient for some. This is not so much about the haves and the have-nots but the haves and have-not-everythings. We want the biggest plasma, a spot at the front of the queue and the closest park at the supermarket. Our time is more valuable, our problems more severe and our stories more important than anyone else’s. We try to stuff suitcases the size of a Chevrolet Impala in aeroplane overhead lockers because we are too time poor to stand at a luggage carousel for more than two minutes.

We drive like extras in Death Race 2000 and see any move to be overtaken as an attack on family honour that must be thwarted immediately.

Perhaps Silvester generalises a little more than necessary, but much of the behaviour he describes can be observed relatively commonly.

Silverster also writes that he feels compelled to find the reasons for these changes. He takes a novel approach and asks police officers, and comes up with the following summary of general reasons for increasingly anti-social behaviour.

1) Deadbeat dads who disappear. Many young male offenders have grown up without a male role model in their lives. ”No one has ever shown them how to be a man,” one policeman said. ”We see 25-year-olds carrying on like spoilt 12-year-olds,” said another.

2) Ice. The spread of the drug has led to a serious spike in street violence. Police say male and female users become spooky-violent, leading to an increased use of capsicum spray and foam.

3) Internet. Increase in racial and sexual vilification, easy access to hardline pornography, hate-filled blogs on (un)social media, open invitations to crash parties and the new phenomenon of online bullying have left police to deal with a whole new culture of bad behaviour.

These are some observations well-worth thinking about.Certainly i have noted that people seem to complain a lot about things that are really not so bad. In Hong Kong, if you are unemployed or very old and have no income or family to fall back on, it is quite likely that you may end up as one of the 100 000 “cage people”, living in a metal cage not much bigger than the size of a single mattress, crammed into a room with as many as 16 others – and all without air conditioning in Hong Kong’s sweltering, humid summers. Indeed the median wage in Hong Kong is about the same money as you would get on the dole as a single person in Australia. And Hong Kong is not a cheap city to live in, often rating as one of the most expensive in the world.

The young in Australia also have an easy ride, relatively speaking. In Confucian societies it is typical to have four hours of homework after school – and then tutoring classes to top it off. It gets worse when you get into high school!

But people love to complain in Australia. I was standing next to a fellow about my age the other day, and he was swearing away, complaining bitterly that he had had to wait five minutes in line at Centre-link (the social welfare agency) before being attended to. I was severely tempted to tell him that in many countries you get little or nothing if you do not contribute to society. I managed to restrain myself. If I was getting something for nothing, I wouldn’t be biting the hand that feeds me because the food came slowly.

So much of the problem can be traced back to the nature of mind/ego, and the way it constructs the world, and constructs ‘self’.

I won’t attempt to explore the issues further at this point, but leave this discussion for a later time here on MindFutres.com. Feel free to add your own comments, below. I would be happy to hear them, given that I am now looking into this area.

You can read the rest of Silvester’s story via the link below.

Marcus

Read more: http://www.watoday.com.au/opinion/society-and-culture/the-salad-days-of-a-whitebread-kid-20121207-2b0om.html#ixzz2EVb8SSaR

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