Thursday, July 08, 2010

Do Ex-Pats Hate South Africa?

(I've only just noticed how long this article is - apologies in advance for the rant)

.... and want it to fail??

So say many who have stayed behind in SA to "live the rainbow".

Some recent comments on the subject have angered me, not least because I personally know many of these expats and have garnered a variety of opinions from them over the last few years.

There are no doubt some naysayers for whom some twisted satisfaction is derived from South Africa's man-made crises. The motivation behind the wishing of harm on one's nation of birth purely for the Schadenfreude of saying 'I told you so' is best left to the individual's conscience (and therapist), but I'd like to weigh in on the subject and invite comments to see what other people think.

In my experience there are few nationalities that regret having left their home countries more than South Africans.

I'll return to that statement later. In South Africa I knew many ex-pats from other countries; the UK, France, Germany, Holland, Ireland and Sweden to name just a few. The reasons were many but the regrets were few. These Europeans largely felt they had a kind of freedom in South Africa that had been lost in their home countries. Many had just married South Africans. Some had retired, and they lived the kind of lifestyle in SA that those living in their own countries can only dream about.

But foreigners have it far easier than natives; all have more money, and this buys them privileges that locals do not have. Those who leave SA do so as much out of necessity as in search of greener pastures or career opportunities. It is, most significantly, not a choice that is made lightly.

My expat circle in Canada consists of professional people who talk about little else than home. Their sadness of having left their native land is almost tangible, and I cannot tolerate those who call them cowards or traitors for having left - that's the stuff of the ANC's "legislated patriotism" which, loosely translated, means that all Saffers have to roll up their sleeves and dig in because their country needs them.

One doctor said to me that he had tried that approach. He told me that he could cope with the risks of crime, the high taxes, the small material benefits from long working hours if it meant that he could live in the Western Cape - but not while the government is wasting his taxes on their own lavish consumption. He believes it a fraud that those in power lecture professionals on their state-sponsored 'responsibilities' while lazy bureaucrats take home far larger salaries.

If the government was sponsoring medics to train, then the state has some claim on them -such is the case in Malaysia for example. But they do not sponsor them. All these doctors paid their own way. All are still paying back the huge loans they took out to cover their fees. And all were sent to rat-infested rural hospitals where pen-pushers ensure their own enrichment at the expense of both patients and hardworking doctors. Where is the "patriotism" of the nurses who leave the Operating Theatre midway through procedures because their shift has ended? Where is the love of clan and country of the nurses who allow patients to die because they've been sleeping instead of on duty? Or of those who fill out the patients' charts in advance so they can sleep through the night instead of doing their jobs?

If you doubt those stories are true, please call up your GP and ask her/him.

But I digress; the issue at hand is love of country and whether living overseas is proof of a lack thereof. The contrast - in Canada, SA, and other places I've lived or visited - between expats who are glad to see the back of their home countries and those who, like those I've described above, deeply love and miss the land of their birth, is stark. Many would love to go back, but are under no illusions about what that would entail.

Many have no doubt found that their material circumstances have increased significantly and would be unwilling to give that up, but just as many would do so to walk familiar streets and beaches again (if it were safe ...).

I confess it bothers me that some expats want their country to fail, and continue, for example, to support the rugby team but not the football one. But I also accept that they have their reasons. They are also a minority. The majority of people I personally know would love to return if they could live their lives unmolested, but most know that this is a pipe dream. Crime, on the one hand, and ideology-driven ANC government policies on the other, means that "redistribution" - which is really forced labour - by legal or illegal means is a defining characteristic of the new South Africa.

And who can love that?

The main consideration that the previous government demanded from the impending ANC regime during constitutional negotiations in the early nineties was - or should have been - that its people would be left alone. This was not a policy failure but a practical one: how could it have ever been enforced? When you do a deal with the Devil how do you hold him to his side of the bargain? During the English Peasants' Revolt of 1381, it was quickly discovered that you cannot hold a king to his promises.

What was upheld was a new constitution that protected the individual from the encroachment of the State - a thoroughly Liberal document, in the true and good sense of the word. The State has kept encroaching, however, and those who stayed in SA after 1994, it can fairly be said, gave the country a fair chance. After 16 years of trying, most have grown tired and frustrated. They voted 'yes' in 1993 but are being treated as though they voted 'no' by an unforgiving regime, who singles them out for collective punishment.

And they're traitors for leaving? I take vociferous exception to that accusation. These are, in the main, law-abiding taxpayers who, while not necessarily believing the 'rainbow nation' claptrap, at least put their money where their mouths are and gave it a chance. They handed over their earnings to a State that spent them on nice cars and champagne parties, all the while being told that their money was going to help the blacks' lives improve. These are people whose private charitable ventures have done more to help and empower the poor than grandiose government schemes.

And they may indeed hate that government - but they certainly love South Africa.

25 Opinion(s):

Donatello said...

Good article Viking, I enjoyed reading that.

The Rooster said...

I think what they really hate is the fact that they feel like they had to leave South Africa.

Many because of terrible things they did in army and fearing retribution. Some because something happened to actually back up their neurosis. Some just because they were asshats and wouldn't tolerate blacks having human rights. Whatever the reason no one really wants to leave this paradise. Almost all find their quality of life is worse abroad, the people less friendly and are generally miserable. This is where the "hate" starts.

The easy solution is to pack up and come home and live the good life with the rest of us. Stop fighting it. Allow yourself to be honest with yourselves for a second. You're homesick. Ag we'll even put up with you and forgive you. You're not a bad person , you're just full of propaganda like poison. But we'll work on that together and get you right.

The first day back here with a castle in the hand, under the glorious sky while you braai some skaap chops will help you see things clearer. And as you and your fellow south africans are enjoying the sounds and grandness of Africa inevitably someone will pipe up with "ja boet" and you'll know you are back where you belong.

Peace and love
Rooster

VI said...

@Viking, an excellent article. You are correct, it is a strange place we South Africans find ourselves in. We undoubtedly reflect back and recognise how good our life was; and I don't mean at the expense of the blacks. I mean relative to the first world. We had great education, extra-mural activities, lifestyle etc. Then when we look at our new lives, we usually see a meddling State, over-regulation, hyper-competition and hostile, unfriendly locals. It becomes a battle between heart and mind. Most of us would love to return to South Africa, but there is nothing that would justify such a decision. The tragedy is realising that you can never have it all back; each year that passes sees further decay. And with the passage of time you see the South African kids lose their language, culture and sense of history.

Rooster is just an idiot, and he can bask in his bullshit as much as he likes. He will have many decades to "savour" South Africa's riches. Good luck to him. Dickheads like him, are one aspect of South Africa I do not miss.

There is no question that building a new life is tough. Despite my material position starting to rival what I was used to in South Africa, and the freedoms in my new country are many, I still experience a deep longing.

Viking said...

thanks, Donatello.

Rooster,
Yes, I think they resent the fact they had to leave.
I know many who left for say, two or three years to make some money so that they could come back to SA and are still deciding whether to do so.

Maybe, MAYbe, you could accuse those who left in '93-'94 of not giving the rainbow a chance, but not those who've left in the last decade.
I takes guts to up sticks and leave, but when you find out that living behind electric fences and burglar bars is just not NORMAL, it's hard to return to it.
Many do and I wish them well. Hope it works out. I wanted to stay but couldn't -
But it's simply not true to say that expats hate their country out of some psychological need to justify some 'treachery' on their part.

Viking said...

thanks, VI.

As I'm sure you'll be familiar with, we have regular braais around here, and although the food and beer is not quite the same, we make the best of it!

Jim Beam said...

There is no cure for ignorance and this banging on that those who leave are whites only tends to anger me as it becomes a racial argument and not a debate which holds any logic, hence no solutions can ever be found.

Yes I resent the fact that I had to leave as I saw no future in the country with blacks running the country into the ground while you lot of ill-minded whites cheer on the side lines of how great things are. That does not get us anywhere other than down.

Now let me add my legal disclaimer to the above by saying that I don't care if the government is white, black, blue or green. What I care about is that they are getting things done - this government is not.

Rooster there are no easy solutions. The only solution I fear for South Africa is going to be a violent change of government. More blacks are starting the see through the lies as they know they are getting ripped off by the government. How long before Xenophobia turns from hating foreigners to hating the government?

It's not going to end well my friend.

The Rooster said...

Rooster there are no easy solutions. The only solution I fear for South Africa is going to be a violent change of government. More blacks are starting the see through the lies as they know they are getting ripped off by the government. How long before Xenophobia turns from hating foreigners to hating the government?

It's not going to end well my friend.

------------

I'm going to talk to you as a friend and fellow South African.

Things are getting better. Just allow yourself to see it. I deal with black and coloured poor people every single day and the type of problems they have today are very different to before. Now they worry about what fashion label and cellphone they have not whether or not they will afford to eat. They have many problems but they are far better off than before. A good percentage of the youth have gotten themselves educated and aspire to far greater things than their parents could ever imagine for them.

Crime, whether you believe it or not, is way down. Murder by 44% since 1994. I think even as I write that it makes you angry, yet it remains a verifiable fact. The economy pushes on as one of the fastest growing in the world over a long period. More than that we have our first generations of black and white kids who schooled together and share non of the prejudices of the past and they're entering society as a powerful demographic.

Truly I say to you it's a great time to be a South African. Websites like this set about hating but never set the standard for what they'd like to see different. I propose we have reached that standard now that you can stop hating, realise things are getting better and be a part of it.


We miss you guys flaws and all. I'm no hippie. Almost all my friends are white. I don't share your prejudice or hatred probably because I went to a private school with other black kids from the age of 5. But you're far more similiar to me than anyone else. You're a white South African. You grew up with the same problems and quirks that I did. We've been through the same shit together. And when you're back here I'll be happy to high five you as a stranger the next bok try.

Guys your predictions of doom did not happen. Perhaps it's time to consider coming home. Fuck knows we need your white south african can do ways and skills. Don't give up on your country for something so petty as black people are in government. Tell me, when did a white saffer ever need a fucking hand out ? 'n boer maak a fokken plan.

It's not about patriotism but I think it's a special thing we're trying here on the bottom of Africa. A difficult thing. But some fucking how we're managing it. Why not join in ?

The Rooster said...

Come back my brothers. None of your predictions of doom and gloom have come to be. We're kicking ass down here. Hurry back in fact before you're old houses are all bought by the 50 k plus brits , germans etc moving here every year to this paradise.

Exzanian said...

Thanks Viking for a thoughtful and well written article. You are always a beacon of rationality on this blog....Great stuff mate!

Anonymous said...

Really enjoyed the article Viking, I guess we could debate about leaving and going back till the cows come home, but at the end of the day I believe if you are grossly unhappy go home.

It's a known fact that since people began travelling they have traveled to new places and settled. In the 1800's there was famine in Ireland so people left and went to America, prisoners were sent to Australia. In the great depression in 1929 people left their countries to seek job opportunities, no matter what the reason, crime, famine, unemployment, people will move to different countries, some will be happy and some won't.

Leaving your home country is hard and having to start over is even harder, especially when you see how South Africa has grown and your friends are all buying holiday homes and brand new cars and living lavish lifestyles, and here you are living in a foreign country driving a car that is 14 years old.

Everything is expensive, clothes, food, utilities and you just seem to work to pay the bills while your friends back home can afford wonderful holidays etc. so yes people do get a bit jealous and I suppose envious and wish to see them fail because they know had they not left in the first place they would be living the same lifestyle or perhaps be dead, from a stray bullet, car jacking, bank heist, home robbery or anything.

So would I give up my expensive life here and go back ... no way, life is what you make of it and just knowing that I have so much more freedom than I did back home will not make me go back. For the last 2 years I have left my car unlocked at least 4 nights out of 7, with my Sat Nav lying on the floor and no one has even attempted to open my car door, back home the car and the sat nav would have been gone the first time.

So I guess Rooster and the likes should not tar everyone with the same brush, everyone is different and everyone have their own reasons for leaving and for not going back.

Jim Beam said...

Of the countries studied, The Happiness Index reveals the six happiest are:

1) Mexico
2) Philippines
3) Argentina
4) South Africa
5) Romania
6) United States

Here is some of the answers as to why the poor in South Africa are happy and what is important:

1. Catching up with loved ones in the evening (39%),

2. Eating with the family (22%)

3. Chatting to friends or colleagues (17%).

4. Watching TV (14%)

When you are on some sort of welfare, you can do all of those things without much issues. The main sticking point with VISA was that people said they did not worry about incomes and housing - I wonder why?

Rooster the education system is failing. They simply lowering what you need to get a matric to make the stats look good. You getting kids with university exemptions who can't read and write correctly when they enter university hence their drop out rates are increasing.

Yes Rooster, I don't share a predjuce with you and I did not share anything even similiar to you - I am not white. As I said above, not everyone who leaves South Africa is white so don't turn it into a racial issue - its an accountability issue.

For all the educational advantages you whites had under aparthied Rooster, I think it was a waste on many of you, as even today many still can't even see the bear from the woods.

Jim Beam said...

Rooster whatever you are smoking mate, I want to have a standing order of it on a monthly bases please!

Crime down by 44% since 1994 must mean that the ANC is at least doing something right - fudging crime stats. I have 2 friends who are in the police force and they paint me a different picture - not a good one I might add.

The economy has not grown Rooster. It has shrunk since 1994. You only need to look at the ever increasing liquidations of small businesses annually and the decreasing tax base to see where it is going to end. Most people look at economic growth but fail to look at inflation. From 1994 - 2004 the economy has only ONCE reached 2% growth and on 3 years out of the 10 it declined.

As for the happy poor coloureds and blacks it might amuse you that last year VISA International did a study on what they called their Happiness Index. South Africa ranked high. It was only on closer investigation that they found out why. Almost everyone they spoke to was on some sort of welfare. There are 18 million welfare cases in a population of 60 million. Here is the Coca Cola Happiness Index ranking for this year:

Jim Beam said...

Rooster whatever you are smoking mate, I want to have a standing order of it on a monthly bases please!

Crime down by 44% since 1994 must mean that the ANC is at least doing something right - fudging crime stats. I have 2 friends who are in the police force and they paint me a different picture - not a good one I might add.

The economy has not grown Rooster. It has shrunk since 1994. You only need to look at the ever increasing liquidations of small businesses annually and the decreasing tax base to see where it is going to end. Most people look at economic growth but fail to look at inflation. From 1994 - 2004 the economy has only ONCE reached 2% growth and on 3 years out of the 10 it declined.

As for the happy poor coloureds and blacks it might amuse you that last year VISA International did a study on what they called their Happiness Index. South Africa ranked high. It was only on closer investigation that they found out why. Almost everyone they spoke to was on some sort of welfare. There are 18 million welfare cases in a population of 60 million. Here is the Coca Cola Happiness Index ranking for this year:

Of the countries studied, The Happiness Index reveals the six happiest are:

1) Mexico
2) Philippines
3) Argentina
4) South Africa
5) Romania
6) United States

Here is some of the answers as to why the poor in South Africa are happy and what is important:

1. Catching up with loved ones in the evening (39%),

2. Eating with the family (22%)

3. Chatting to friends or colleagues (17%).

4. Watching TV (14%)

When you are on some sort of welfare, you can do all of those things without much issues. The main sticking point with VISA was that people said they did not worry about incomes and housing - I wonder why?

Rooster the education system is failing. They simply lowering what you need to get a matric to make the stats look good. You getting kids with university exemptions who can't read and write correctly when they enter university hence their drop out rates are increasing.

Yes Rooster, I don't share a predjuce with you and I did not share anything even similiar to you - I am not white. As I said above, not everyone who leaves South Africa is white so don't turn it into a racial issue - its an accountability issue.

For all the educational advantages you whites had under aparthied Rooster, I think it was a waste on many of you, as even today many still can't even see the bear from the woods.

Trey Cruz said...

I don't get it.......
"South Africa" this, and "South Africa" that.
News flash to the hopelessly dense: South Africa no longer exists; there is only Azania, filled with brainless, lazy, arrogant hordes of primitive and crudely violent kaffirs and a self destructive rump minority of whites.

White farmers that still don't understand that they are among the walking dead....

White housewives that refuse to understand that their domestic help will soon slip the keys to their boyfriend of the day to rape and torture and steal and murder.

White workers that refuse to understand that their tax monies are being used to arm and equip their murderers.

Their self imposed delusional dishonesty will be the end of them.

It's positively Darwinian.

Islandshark said...

Rooster, your comments have been deleted for name calling and obscenities towards readers who frequent this blog, unlike you who only crawl out the sewer once in a while to come insult others.

JanM said...

I do not believe the majority of ex-pats want SA to fail or that they deliberately bad-mouth the country. If the truth sounds like "bad-mouthing", please accept it.

It is unfortunately also true that a large number of SA's (who stay behind) desperately want the ex-pats to fail, and I don't know why.

Jealousy perhaps?

How is anyone supposed to feel if he, or she, does something for the benefit of their children, and then stands accused of being a traitor, chicken, sissy, and all sorts of other choice names? Is the ex-pat to blame if he/she gets fed-up with all these accusations and bad-mouthing from South Africa's side and then retaliates by saying "I told you so" if something nasty happens?

Schadenfreude works both ways.

Anonymous said...

Good article ,I left 12 years ago still miss home, I have young children if it weren't for them needing a future and safe enviroment I probably still be is SA, sometimes my wife and I talk about the possibility of going home but as soon as you look at the situation in SA closely ( the fact that I personally can think of a safe stable African country besides mybe Botswana) we bite the bullet and stay where you don't have too lock yourself in your jail cell at night and have difficult time owning a firearm to protect your family.

Anonymous said...

Great article, Viking, and it brings this blog back to its stated purpose: to draw attention to how the ANC is ruining the country.

Rooster, I wish I could agree with you on everything, I also celebrate that there is now a black middle class which would not have been possible without the abolition of apartheid and the introduction of affirmative action, but it is true to say that education and health standards have dropped dismally and that there is a point beyond which affirmative action can only bring negative results. The World Cup has been a success primarily because Sepp Blatter, despite his other faults, was determined to make it work. What we need is a government that is determined to make things work by spending money on infrastructure instead of buying votes with social grants and constant, huge public sector salary increases.

Viking said...

@JanM

well, precisely.
People get raped and murdered and we report it, and we're the bad guys?

And schadenfreude does seem to work both ways - how many Capetonians sit on Camps Bay beach and laugh at their overseas mates walking in the rain in London and Birmingham?

Do they like rain, grey skies, tiny apartments with 70s lino on the floor and chavs fighting in the street outside? Not likely.

The Rooster said...

Been to 20+ other countries by the way. I wouldn't dare to have an opinion on South Africa if I hadn't.

The Rooster said...

Hah! Just last week he called me "c*nt plasm"
What a guy hey! What a brutha! This idiot has not stepped beyond the borders of SA and has the gall to spew his filth on this blog that he is supposed to discredit so much. Looks like he luvs this blog! Rooster, I dunno what pipe you been pulling on, but boy, when the withdrawal kicks in next week, I reckon you are gonna be seeing flying pink soccer balls mate!
Have fun with that!!!!

-------------------


You are a cunt plasm. And I think that's an awesome insult. But you're still a fellow South African and I'll tolerate you for that reason. You ever decide to stop being a doos and come home the castles are on me. That's how we roll down here. We're tough bastards but we're fair.

I think you will be back soon. And I'll be glad that you are. We're South Africans aren't we ?

The Rooster said...

And props to all of you admit you suffer a deep longing for my coutry. This place is something truly special. We miss you too. Now stop being such spiteful idiots and come home. The future is bright. But we need you lot to make it even brighter. There's no person in the world as valuable and can get things done as a white South African.

Come home my friends. Without you we're nothing.

Anonymous said...

Rooster, not even 2 days since the end of the World Cup and you already have xenophobia attacks (well not even after the end of the World Cup but on the last weekend of the World Cup, which the government simply dismisses as rumors), racist cops threatening to kill someone based on their race, 4 cops shooting and killing someone just because he is driving down the road the wrong way. Please find me another country on the planet where this happens in a space of 2 days, never mind directly after a World Cup! Oh yes I'm sure loads of people would love to live in such a wonderful surrounding! I don't know why you have such a problem accepting that SA faces some serious issues which desperately need to be addressed before the country ends up as Zim 2 or worse!

Exzanian said...

Rooster said: You are a cunt plasm. And I think that's an awesome insult. But you're still a fellow South African and I'll tolerate you for that reason. You ever decide to stop being a doos and come home the castles are on me. That's how we roll down here. We're tough bastards but we're fair.I think you will be back soon. And I'll be glad that you are. We're South Africans aren't we?

Rooster, you strike me as originating from lower class stock. Many I met in ZA, from the seedy suburbs of the East Rand to affluent areas of the West and North of Gauteng. So called educated whites, but their true class belied by their language. The kind where ma en pa liberally pepper their daily language with profanity and children grow up using the F and P word to attract attention...Call me what you want, it's water off a duck's back but
let me give you a tip, ad hominem attacks are absolutely "last resort" Can you understand that?
Yes, we may be South Africans, but I have no connection with you. You are a strawman creating strawmen, you have no substance, no depth, a whiny, whinging little goody two shoes with a black power agenda. You spend too much time on this blog, You're no peer of mine, stop the false flag bullshit comments and piss off...

Exzanian said...

Rooster said: Been to 20+ other countries by the way. I wouldn't dare to have an opinion on South Africa if I hadn't.

Yeah, but how many have you emmigrated to? reminds me of the saying "Jack of all trades, master of none" OLOL!!!