Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Leaving America

Let me start out by saying that I am an ex-American. While still a citizen of the US I have not lived in the US for years. My wife is Chinese and her family is here. My child was not born here but grew up here and is not really comfortable in the rural US settings that I remember. Thus I am caught between the love of my native culture with the rhythm and pace of the small Texas town and the frenetic crowdedness of Hong Kong. I have thought long and hard about renouncing my US citizenship. But, changing your citizenship is, in many ways, like getting married. You are in the new country for "better or worse until death do you part." Indeed, it strikes me that it is easier too change your spouse than to change your nationality the difference being that to renounce your citizenship you don't need a lawyer.

That is why when I read article after article in paper after paper about people in the US who want leave the US because George Bush is the president for four more years I simply have to smirk. I don't know who will read this blog. But if you are one of the people who are considering this then let me as an American ex-patriot give you some advice. Stay where you are. It isn't better somewhere else. I know I've been there; I've done that. While my reasons for renouncing my US citizenship were, I think better thought out and based upon sounder logic than simply being frustrated that my party had lost an election it was still a mistake and it is a mistake that if you make it. You cannot call it back. Here are some reasons why

In some of the articles I've read people said they were tired of dealing with all the �Christians� and the context of the sentence clearly implied that they thought Christians were evil people. I'm not going to challenge their assumption. Not because I necessarily believe they are right but because I can say that unless they go someplace like Northern Europe, if there, it doesn't get any better. I am also assuming that if they think Christians are bad they will also think that the Buddhist here in Hong Kong who phonyhoney money to the gods of the underworld so that they can have a good life the next time around are also rather depraved. Indeed, the good-land Buddhism as practiced here with it's evil spirits and thousands of gods to bribe so that your stay in purgatory between incarnations is shorter makes the Southern Baptist look good. The whole idea of Chinese Buddhism is, as it is practiced by the locals, not necessarily as it is presented in English guides to religion, is that not only do you suffer less in the next life but you suffer less with more mo. but one of the ways you get a better life in the next incarnation is to BRIBE the gods of the underworld.

Hong Kong is most devoutly and overtly religious place I think I have ever seen not only the Buddhist but the Christians here are quite bold and try hard to evangelize. Christianity is growing at a rapid pace and Buddhism is trying to hold its own. And don't think the Buddhist here are not evangelistic. They are. Where else? South America? Get real they are 98% Roman Catholic and Catholic dogma is an official part of the state. Furthermore, they are not the nearly lapsed Catholics that are politically liberal that you find in the US. They take their faith SERIOUSLY. So these people in the paper want to run from a place where only about one third of the population attends a religious service once a week to a place where 90% plus of the population does? I am sorry. That is idiotic.

Other articles I read have mentioned people wanting to go to nations like Canada or New Zealand, that they the distraught voter feels would be more suitable with their politics. Really? What happens to the Canadian economy if three-million people or a million or �½ a million suddenly show up looking to live there? Prices go up and wages go down that's what. It is just that simple. The governments know this and they will not allow so many people to immigrate that they wreck their economy and overload their social systems. That means all the disgruntled liberal voters are going to have to spread themselves around. That means they need to think harder about where to go. That means they need to think non-English speaking.

When you think of non-English speaking countries they need to think about their children. If you were to go to a non-English speaking place are you willing to home school them like a fundamentalist Christian? I doubt very seriously that they will have bilingual English track in the local schools. Even if they do, (some schools in Hong Kong have such a program) you are not going to like the schools. Could your child do five hours of memorization work every night? I don't think so. That means private schools. Can you afford that? Doesn't that mean your kids will go to school with the children of the international corporation managers who are in that nation raping the resourcdestroyingstoying the environment for the benefit of the capitalist pig developed world? Does that bother ywould woould me if I were you. Especially since you'd probably have to work for one of those companies.

Or in the case of Hong Kong we come back to religion. The best private school in Hong Kong is one that was founded by Lutherans missionaries. I know some of the teachers there. Indeed, I know the direcpersonnelersonel. Nice lady. She attends a church with a Dallas Theological Seminary graduate Pastor. Yeah, fundamentalist in Hong Kong. Indeed, ECC it is quite probably the largest Protestant church in Hong Kong.

The Private schools here that use English fall into three categories: expensive, very expensive and cost more than Harvard. Can you afford to pay USD $30,000 a year for a private school in Hong Kong? If so you could probably find one near where you are that would be as good and less Christian. If you go with the less expensive international schools you get names like International Christian School, United Christian College, Christian Alliance International School and St. Paul's Convent School. Do you as a liberal see anything you don't like in those names? If I were leaving the US because there were too many Christians I would.

Are you a proponent of Gun control? May I suggest you don't go to any place in Asia. Yes Hong Kong has a very strict gun control law but the triads (local gangsters) still have some. I know first hand from shopping in Southern Thailand that you can purchase a used AK-47 for about USD $25.00 in the street markets. (I was only willing to pay USD $20.00 and the guy wouldn't go below USD $25.00) Try doing that in L.A.

Hong Kong and Japan are very safe but most places in Asia are not. Central and South America are worse. If you are concerned about your safety don't go there.

Racial prejudices are a world wide problem. Generally, it is worse anywhere else but the US. I mean that. If you have never lived outside the US you haven't seen prejudice

You want to see women oppressed try the middle East and Asia.

Pedophilia anyone? Go to Bangkok Yeah, 12 year-old girls and boprostitutestitutes there. Does that bother you? It should unless you're one of the people abusing those children.

A last reason not to go overseas is quite simply you will get trapped there. It happens all the time, and it happens in two ways. First, if you get that good job, and make a lot of money will you want to go back in four years to a job that makes �½ as much? Even if you have to live in a small apartment, in fear for your life aintoleranttollerant and abusive society? I didn't think so. Conversely, I know of a man in Wuhan which is a city in China. He went there 10 years ago to teach English on a two year contract. He has four children. He does not make enough money to fly back for vacations in the US. He can't really save that much because he doesn't make much. He can feed his kids and actually has a pretty good life in China but he can't leave because his standard of living wodramaticallyamaticlly. He and his family are trapped in China. Does that sound appealing?

What if an apartment that was 500 to 600 square feet cost you USD $3000.00 a month and each of your kid's school tuition was USD $1800.00 a month. What if for USD $110,000.00 a year you could barely afford an automobile? On top of all that, you would still have to fill out US tax forms every year. Doesn't sound so great anymore does it.

What about air pollution. How may days did the pollution index where you live hit 85? In most Asian cities and many South American cities that is an everyday event.

Remember the grass always looks greener but is because you are looking through your gesaltl gesault. Youlenseses lenses are tinted green by politic, envy or both.

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