Saturday, October 07, 2006

Difficult decision

In yesterday's comments WillbeFine pointed out the contradictory nature of my views on emmigration from this country. No, they had not gone unnoticed by me either.

But let me tell you, deciding to leave your home country and head to a brand new country 2000 miles away is NOT an easy decision. "Life-changing" doesn't even begin to describe it. You guys out there who aren't in this position are oblivious as to how lucky you are.

And it's not a clear-cut decision. There are Pros and cons either way. ...And that's for normal people, let alone BiPolars. For me, moving house from one side of town to the other side of town is a hugely unsettling event. Just ask Raine who is in the process of such a move.

Here are a small fraction of the Pros and Cons on my mind:

Pros (for saying in South Africa):

  • Both Mrs M and my parents are still here. They're too old to move, don't have the money and wouldn't qualify for any country's immigration criteria. These are their last years - a time when we want to be with them to assist and love. And, no, we wouldn't afford flying back every  4 months or so,  our currency is too weak.
  • My sister is still here. She has serious psychological problems and is presently dependent on my parents. She has ZERO other support system. What happens when my parents are gone??
  • Our dogs. I know this sounds trite, but Man, we love these animals and if we leave them they will be pining for us until the day they die. I just can't even contemplate saying bye bye to them.
  • Despite our current debt situation here, were we to sell the house we'd still rank as Middle-class citizens. Convert those rands to US dollars or Australian dollars, less the cost of the move (huge), and we'd enter our new country as really poor immigrants. And with the way our currency is heading it is getting worse by the day.
  • We love this country, we are immensely proud of the political reconciliation that we have acheived, and believe that Nelson Mandela is the greatest statesman in the world.
  • I can't ever begin to tell you about the crime situation here.  I'd need to write 20 posts on how violent, out-of-control and stressfull the situation is. I'll just give you 2 snippets off the top of my head. Last night we met with my cousin who works in a security gaurd firm. Her biggest clients (people that hire private security gaurds) are the South African police. In fact our local police station has a sign on it's wall: "These premises protected by Chubb security". On thursday night one of the headlines  (which narrowly  managed to squeeze out about a hundred other violent crime happenings of the day) was a 67 year old woman that was gang raped by teenagers, who then poured parrafin over her and set her alight to die. Horrific Huh? Not really,,, just another day in South Africa.
  • We have the biggest population of AIDS sufferers in the world. And a government that still insists that AIDS can be cured by eating beetroot and lemon.
  • For the past 15 years we have had to stand by and watch our northern neighbour Zimbabwe get converted from a once thriving and prosperous nation to probaly the worst dictatorship in the world with inflation sitting at 1 300 % and bicycle prices spiking because of regular fuel shortages
  • At least the zimbabweans that managed to flea, had South Africa to the South. We've only got the South Atlantic to the South.
  • Since 9/11 immigration policies around the world have tightened up. The majority of South Afircans CAN'T LEAVE. We'll be lucky if we can. The longer we leave it the less likely we'll qualify (host countries want young healthy immigrants, not people in their 30s and 40s).
  • Our next most likely president does not have a high school education and stood trials for both rape and corruption this year. Yet, to a huge proportion of this country (who also don't have high school educations) he is viewed as a hero.
  • He is keen to nationalise all big business in South Africa (aka Communism)
  • Affirmative action is so radical as to be racist. Middle Aged white males are virtually unemployable.
  • To illustrate the extremes of affirmative action it has been deemed that there are not enough black pilots so they're gonna "fast-track" their training, reducing the experience required to fly our aging planes.
  • The fact that I share these facts brands me a radical "fascist" racist pig consumed by "Afro-pessimissm". This despite the fact that I was violently opposed to Apartheid since the age of 13, and ecstatic that the noble liberation of democracy in our country had opened up a new, incredible "Rainbow Nation". 
As I said, this is the tip of the iceberg. I only write it here to apologise to WillbeFine about not having reached a definite decision yet.


  1. Yeserday was Archbishop Desmond Tutu's 75th birthday. I watched an interview with that amazing man on BBC world. And I agree with your opinion about Nelson Mandela. Compare him to any politician in North America and people will start laughing out loud; our statesman literally (no pun intended) pale in comparison.

    It's cetainly difficult to leave your home, I know. I've been living in South Korea since 1997. From how you describe Zimbabwe I can relate to your position, geographically anyways. But of course there's always Japan just a few hours away by ferry. I actually started my family here, while you would be taking your family with you when (and if) you leave South Africa. My only advice? Find a job that pays well enough to cover your move and support your family in the country you plan to emigrate to, and try it out for a year. I would definitely not plan on going to Canada and hoping to find a job there after you arrive.

    Here's a link to the photo site of a guy in PEI who takes a lot of pictures: ,if you're still thinking about the maritimes. My best friend from way back lives and works in theatre in Charlottetown, the capital and a major summer tourist destination. You've heard of Anne of Green Gables, haven't you? She's really big in Japan and is even well known here in Korea!

  2. There is no need to apologise for not making an extremely difficult decision. Even if you decided one way or another your circumstances might change and reverse that decision.

    Is it not possible to start the visa application process for a number of countries? It will probably take more than a year to complete the process and you will find out if you are successful or not. I believe Australia has an age limit of 45 unless you have a LOT of money in your bank account. Don't forget, you can always come back.

  3. What a godawful decision to have to make. My move was a happy event at least and only 45 minutes away. I cant imagine even considering what you are considering. I would probably end up hospitalized over it. All your concerns are hecka valid (including the dogs- in my family pets ARE family members and kept til death do us part....)Just for your info ..... in case you are consider the U.S.A. there is hecka violence here also. My last move before this this was because they had shot someone in front of my house. There are shootings daily everywhere. They seem to have become a way of life. No one discusses things or fistfights anymore they just go shoot one another. Its very sad. Just this last week while I was moving a man walked into an Amish school. ( The Amish are like the most peaceful people in existance) and shot a bunch of little girls. So please dont consider our country as a nice "peaceful" place. I am ashamed to admit it is not. We are over run with drugs and violence and the poor are getting poorer and the rich richer it seems to me.... Tho it IS undoubtedly much safer and a better place than what you are dealing with at the moment, you still have to be careful where you live. Tho we would be happy to have you :)


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