Migrating To Australia Good Meh???

Malaysians Ken and Michael Soong, who have been living in Australia since 2004, have written Migrating To Australia Good Meh???, a book that chronicles their experiences as new migrants down under.

Both brothers were studying in Australia prior to migrating. But unknown to them, student life in Australia and the life of a migrant are drastically different. As they explain in a recent New Straits Times article about their book:

“One of the main reasons why we wrote the book is because we realised that most people still perceive Australia as a good place to live, a better place, a better country and society. Migrants who go back for holidays or work trips to Malaysia seem to forget the realities when they relate their experiences to friends and relatives back home.”

The realities explained by the article itself include a “bruised economy, less than perfect policies made by the less than perfect politicians that put them in place, and the tough road of survival for migrants and their families.” The Song brothers add:

“Most migrants in their 30s and 40s migrate for the sake of their children. Migrants must make sure their children benefit from Australian education since they are putting on the back burner their own successful careers, or second careers, or the fulfilling lifestyle of the so-called work-life balance.”

Among the several other migrants profiled in the NST article was Denny Liew, a certified accountant with over 20 years of experience, including a nine-year stint in London, who said he had to unlearn everything:

“I was told by my migration agent to expect lower-paying, menial jobs when I migrate to Australia. Everything I knew, cannot pakai (use)… To be honest, job-wise, opportunities are much better in Malaysia. And there, we can afford to dine out. It’s not the same here – the cost of living is very high, what more for a family? We live moderately, but I clock off work at 4.30pm, so I have lots of family time. When I say I am going home, people say “Melbourne?” I say, “No, Malaysia.” “It’s still my home and I still love my country very deeply.”

The NST article ends by noting an open letter on the Song brothers blog to all Malaysians which says:

“Almost every three weeks, we have headline news on the Australian media about big corporations relocating to Asia, downsizing, re-structuring, closing down and job-cutting exercises… We left in 2004, burnt our bridges, sold our properties, left our careers in Malaysia only to realise that the only person who can give us a better future is ourselves and not any particular government in any particular country.”

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