Saturday, 11 August 2012
Immigration 101 - Part Two
(6) When immigrants wont let go of the past:
One of my favourite verses - Luke 9:62 - in the Bible states 'And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back is fit for the kingdom of God'
I love the simplicity of it because one can also apply it to different aspects of life:
- A new bride/ groom who still reminisces about old boyfriends/ girlfriends is not ready to build a happy home;
- A secondary school student who longs for the simplicity of primatry school is not ready to work hard;
- A mother who continues to moan that she misses her carefree childless days, is not prepared to be a good mother;
- An athlete who continuously looks over his/her shoulder - to check the competition during a race - is likely to stumble
I cannot tell you how many times I have seen Nigerians send money home to build mansions in Nigeria while they inhabit homes that can only be described as 'painful to the eyes'. Some send luxurious cars back home........which relatives end up driving on their behalf.
This situation is not exclusive to Nigerians. I have Indian and Pakistani colleagues/ friends who complain about same: Parents who built fabulous houses in their home countries..........while they have brought up children in very cramped accommodation.........all in the name of building a retirement home or showing their peers that they are successes abroad.
In my opinion, maintaining a link to one's country of origin should never be at the expense of one's dependants. An immigrant who spends more time wondering what s/he is missing out on in the country s/he left.......is not ready to build a successful life in his new country.
(7) When Nigerians/ immigrants refuse to adapt:
I am a true believer in staying true to oneself.....However, I am also believer in the saying 'Give unto Caesar what is Caesar and unto God what is God's'
One of the most difficult things an immigrant has to face is the need to adapt:
- Regarding Employment: A need to update his/her skills or education
- Regarding Finances: A need to understand that western society is generally a cash-less society (good credit rating is important)
- Regarding Education: A need to understand the education system if you want your kids to excel
- Regarding A need to understand the 'unwritten codes' i.e. what's acceptable or not
However, quite a lot of immigrants expect the society to adapt to them....Not going to happen.
Restricting all communication, socialising and interaction to the familiar (i.e. only your community) is not really helpful as one might never get to understand his/her new environment.
(8) When Nigerians do not patronise other Nigerians:
I am always frustrated when I see fellow Nigerians who do not encourage other Nigerian business owners. s I am not talking about the businesses that deal in African food.....but the Nigerians who have other businesses.
Unfortunately, it seems Nigerians still prefer to patronize other nationalities when it comes to non-food transactions. I dont know if its a matter of distrust or envy but it amazes me when some Nigerians over here will pay double to someone else and then prefer to owe their fellow Nigerian.
(9) When immigrants think 'business' is a way out of dealing with 'the system':
I have seen numerous immigrants decide to go into 'business' because they feel that is a way to avoid the 'system' or be independent. I applaud this choice as much as I despair about it. I applaud this because I believe the spirit of entrepreneurship means successful business owners will motivate others and break boundaries.
However, I do despair at times because some fail to realise that not everyone is cut for business.
More often than not, if you ask some of my fellow immigrants what kind of business they have in mind, they are vague OR they base their business model on imitating someone else's business idea. Most don't think it through and the result is that most of these businesses fold up within a year. In my experience, a business MUST seek to address a need; MUST differentiate itself and MUST evolve to outlive its competitors.
The new phenomenon is that quite a lot decide to return to their home countries to start 'business'. I wont bore you with how many succeed and how many don't but believe me when I say that the vacumm left by a parent who spends most of his/her time in another country is not easy to fill.
I totally applaud the bravery of those who choose to start businesses - at home or abroad .........However, .my applause ceases in cases where the individual has chosen to invest huge sums in a business while they ignore the needs of their offspring.
(10) When immigrants forget about the other fingers:
'When a man points a finger at someone else, he should remember that three of his fingers are pointing at himself'
Immigrants often accuse their hosts of everything - while forgetting they are guilty of same:
- Complaining about racism...........???: How is that different from tribalism?
- Complaining that your hosts make fun of your skin colour............???: How is that different for the preference for lighter skinned Africans?
- Complaining about white parents who dont want their kids marrying Africans........?: How many Africans dont feel the same?
- Complaining about how expensive everything is over here..........: I agree..........but that's why things work
- Complaining, Complaining, Complaining ...........???: Just deal with the here and now.....no be your papa house be this so save your energy and hustle (This is not your father's house so save your energy and get a move on)
In the words of Vintage Nollywood ...........'To God Be The Glory' LOL
Stay blessed everyone