Proud Immigrant (FOB)
We are all immigrants, have been or will be…
One phrase that can get me fired up pretty quickly is when an ignorant person says “Immigrants need to go back to their country!” directly or indirectly. Whether it’s towards immigrants, different ethnicities, foreigners or refugees that somehow seem to be taking advantage of the country welfare system or taking “their” jobs. Although I see this as prospective of Lack rather than abundance, I am not here to justify the actions of all immigrants today. I am just speaking from my own personal experience as an immigrant and an observer. Today I wish to reflect on history and highlight the values that we have learnt from our immigrant ancestors and the need for all of us to apply them into our lives today.
Reflect on your Past
I guess what irks me the most is those bashing immigrants don’t take the time to realize that if they looked a couple of generations back they will see that their own ancestors were hardworking immigrants also, and they wouldn’t be where they are without those immigrants. We all have to start somewhere and generally speaking immigrants have to start from complete scratch as they have left “everything” behind and even their knowledge and understanding may still be a couple of generations behind! (Or sometimes way ahead) We can even take it a step further to the natives of the land, that they too were immigrants at one point in history, and made themselves at home with little to no conflict from the current inhabitants or animals of the land.
Please remind me I’m an Immigrant
All immigrants and foreigners need a little reminder too. It is easy to forget the hard work of the past when we don’t have to toil the land and where everything can be handed out easier. Although labels are not fun but I will turn this into a good one. Let the word immigrant or FOB be a word that reminds you that you are being labelled in the same category as many diligent immigrants before you, who have overcome barriers, challenges and stereotypes to rise above and beyond. Such immigrants have founded such companies as “proctor and gamble”, “at&t,” “google” and so many more. To me the Immigrant title represents
- hard work
- risk takers
- leaders and pioneers
and so much more that we need to learn and live by!
Modern day Immigrants
Today immigrants don’t look the same. I guess the reason why I am very passionate about this subject is that I grew up in hard-working immigrant home. (So of course I have a slight bias.) My parents were immigrants to New Zealand in the late eighties seeking for a “better life.” Although they are citizens and have lived there for nearly 30 years, they still come across many challenges. They came to New Zealand to further their education, but because of difficult family financial circumstances had to join the workforce instead. There were many struggles for both of them to leave their homes, close family and friends behind and adopt to a strange new lifestyle, and finding work. They also had to learn a new language and therefore were referred to as (FOBS.) . Somehow they managed to raise kids in a bilingual home and culture, which was also very difficult for a child and teenager to balance two very different worlds. Fast forward 25 years they have had 2 of their 3 children graduate from college, the last one approaching graduation; they have legally adopted and are raising 2 more children, they have lived in their own home for over 20 years, the dad has gone back and completed tertiary education and they both are contributing to their church and community. They provided their children with opportunities that they never got, to learn piano, vocal, violin, cello, guitar, participate in tennis, netball, rugby cricket drama classes and so much more. My parents are only one of the MANY immigrants that have seized the many opportunities that this country has to offer. (And no they are not “fie palangi”)
What I am trying to say is that we all are immigrants in some point in our life, whether we are new to a school, to a job, a new community or even country. Let’s be kind and respectful to each other as we are all in this journey together. Whether we are new to a place or have lived there since the beginning of time; Let’s be adventurous, take risks, be industrious, creative and apply the Immigrant mentality by to our life taking life by the horns and making the most of every opportunity.
Lots of Love
How do you feel about being called an immigrant? How have you turned around negative situations into positive ones? Would love to hear your thoughts on this subject.