According to a news story I saw the other day, in the week since over fifty per cent of my fellow citizens were such nit-witizens as to Australelect the gruesome Scott Morrison/Morriscon con-servative coal-ition to yet another term in government, the New Zealand High Commission here has had a big spike in people eager to vote, as it were, with their feet, and Australeave for the saner, more civilised country of the Kiwis.
But though I sympathise with and even share these would-be Australasylum-seekers’ feelings, for a whole variety of reasons I wasn’t Australexpecting that I’d be able to follow their Australexciting lead.
Quite coincidentally, however, it turns out that I may well be Australexiting for personal rather than political reasons, as my wife, having completed her PhD thesis, is now in a position to indulge her adventurous spirit and spread her wings in the wider academic world.
Her first flutter at this was a bit of a flop, however, as she was attracted by a generous starting salary, low house prices and rents and the prospect of life by the beach to apply for a job in a university neither she nor I had ever previously heard of in Gladstone, a town on the coast of Central Queensland.
And though I’m perfectly sincere in my assurance that I’m happy to accompany her wherever she chooses to go live and work, just as she was content to come with me back when I had a peripatetic and at times peripathetic career, I was stone glad when the Gladstone job eventually fell through.
For several reasons, the first of which being that, though the so-called Sunshine Coast of Queensland is warm, climatically speaking, the place leaves me totally cold politically, as it, or somewhere uncomfortably close by, is the home of Pauline Hanson’s One Nation and other rabidly racist parties and their supporters.
Of course, anybody who’s aware of my own track record of Australexpatriate employment in places with appalling political climates will aptly make the point that Umno/BN-governed, or rather mis-governed Malaysia, where I worked not just one but several times, was hardly the spiritual home of secular liberal democracy.
And, though there’s no disputing this, I do have Malaysia to thank for the many great friends I made there, and for the fact that it was where I met and married my wife, and where subsequently our daughter was born.
Not to mention the fact that, as grotesque as the then-ruling Umno/BN regime was, and would very much like to be again, I have its outrageous degree of deception, corruption, and every other possible species of criminality to thank for inspiring me to write, rant, or, to employ the term that my old LinkedIn friend Nick Agnew recently coined for what I do, wrant against such evils in Malaysia and everywhere else, ever since.
As inspirational a locale as it may have been for my expressions of verbal outrage, however, not to mention for my wife’s choice of topic for her school of Government and International Relations PhD thesis, neither of us has any hankering to ever work in Malaysia again. And as long as we’re in the neighbourhood, Singapore is off the list too, for reasons that I expressed at length about twenty years ago in a Malaysiakini column entitled ‘Singabore’.
But my wife has discovered what appear to be exciting career opportunities in, of all locations, Australia’s national capital, Canberra, a city I personally find so much more tedious and claustrophobic than even Singabore that I can’t help thinking of it as Can’tberra.
Especially with the same old, shameful old Australian government so depressingly back in power there that so many of my smarter fellow citizens are, as mentioned above, seriously considering Australexiting the scene at least until the situation radically changes for the better.
The first place that my wife considered for her/our Australexit was, I suppose predictably enough, the UK, whose literally countless attractions include the fact that we’d see much more of my London-based son, daughter-in-law and grand-children, but on the downside seems to be fatally infected with that idiocy on whose name I’ve so obviously based the term ‘Australexit’, Brexit.
Which could well bankrupt or at least severely impoverish the former home of the world’s greatest – and, also if you were one of its unfortunate subjects, most grating – empire, and thus render the possibilities of its universities’ abilities to afford living stipends for expatriate colonial faculty staff entirely academic.
So my wife has extended her employment explorations far beyond Brexit-bedeviled Great/grate Britain, and in the process has thus far discovered opportunities for applicants in either her field of doctoral expertise, Government and International Relations, or the subject in which she has a wealth of teaching experience, Academic English, or both combined.
In countries including Afghanistan, China, Kazakhstan, and Japan, as of last time she debriefed me on her employment-seeking progress, and even more since, for all I know.
As I told you up front, the choice is entirely up to her as far as I’m concerned. But just for the record, and strictly between you and me, I’d rather it wasn’t China, or, as I think of the place as long as its people are so totally entrapped, enslaved and enchained by the dictatorial dick-heads of its capitalist and thus fake Communist party, Chaina.
But any of the other alternatives I’m aware of would be fine by me. Having briefly been to Tokyo, I’m aware that the people of Nippon don’t like us gaijin much, but at least they’re far more likely to mask their distaste for us behind a facade of politeness than, say, neo-fascists and other species of racists in Australia and many other countries are.
Kazakhstan is culturally and scenically fascinating, according to the Lonely Planet Guide to the World that I recently bought for my wife, and economically buoyant into the bargain. And it also affords my wife the opportunity to extend her linguistic range beyond her existing English, Malay and Cantonese to Kazakh or Russian or both.
While in Afghanistan, according to the description of the available jobs she’s found there, the university and its staff are confined to a 50-acre compound with razor-wire-topped walls and round-the-clock military security, except when they venture out to a strictly limited selection of off-campus locations, travel to and from which is permitted solely by armoured personnel carrier.
All of which sounds quite thrilling to me, indeed both of us. As does the possibility that, as dedicated smokers, we’re likely to be able to indulge our addiction far more cheaply in countries where tobacco may well be as deadly toxic as back home here in Australia, but not nearly so terminally taxic as to cost a killing AUD$30 or so per pack.
That having been said, however, if and whenever my wife finds a job in a seat of higher learning, my attitude to wherever it happens to be located will be a plain and simple ‘whatever’.
Because, all things considered, on balance I’d rather be an Australexiter or outright Australexile than continue to exist for yet another three years on a penurious age pension so grudgingly paid me by Centrelink, and under a regime as gruesomely rigged in favour of the rich over the rest as the Scott Morriscon-headed con-servative coal-ition will be inflicting on Austremainers.