In the first Leaving Lotusland post, I gave a backgrounder to the social and culural situation within the Chinese community during the late 80’s and through the 90’s. Through the mid 90’s, just before the Asian bubble crisis, HK immigrants were getting their full citizenship and mulling over what to do with their lives, careers, and families.
Again, these stories surfaced in my mind after reading Richard Florida’s Who’s Your City?.
The following stories are more at prototypes, than actual stories. They are collection of reasons for leaving embodied in the stories.
The first family I’ll call the Chans (not their actual family name). When the husband and wife immigrated to Canada, they weren’t even married yet. They came with their respective families. The wife’s family some time in small town Alberta. The other was presumably in Vancouver. Both were studying university in Canada. As with most Chinese immigrants, the wife’s family gravitated towards the larger Chinese population in Vancouver. The husband and wife met, got married, and had a child.
Shortly having their first child, the Chans were examining their lives and decided a few things were important. One, it was hard to find work in what they wanted to do. Their English was good, but not fluent. Work was good and relatively unstressful in Canada. However, the real professional challenges did not exist in Vancouver. A more fulfilling career could be found in Hong Kong. They might have to work Monday to Saturday and clock in about 60 hours a week, but the work they desired was back in Hong Kong.
Culturally, family was very important. There were a few siblings in Vancouver, but most of the relatives were in Hong Kong. Even the parents of the Chans had gone back to be with their old friends. In order to raise their child with all their family around, the couple decided to move back to Hong Kong.
The other family, the Tangs (again, not their real family name), had moved to Canada because there was a lot of family here. There was a network of friends and family to socialize with. Both were school teachers, but they couldn’t enter the teaching profession in B.C. They had two children over 3 years.
The kids were about to enter elementary school and the Tangs were concerned about Canadian values versus Chinese values. Canadian values tend to be more liberal and there is a focus on the individual. The Tangs looked at young children in Vancouver and saw they were irreverant, disrespectful, and undisciplined by Chinese standards. Canadian schools had long given up teaching morals and right and wrong. Whereas, Hong Kong’s schools still had a focus on one`s place in society and the discipline and morals that follow.
So, for their children, they moved back to Hong Kong for cultural and educational reasons.
I’m sure I haven’t covered the whole spectrum of reasons for leaving Lotusland, but these are a few that I have encountered in the people around me.