1. Migrating to Australia, Good Meh??? (by Ken Soong, Media Rakyat)

2.  Why I quit my job and moved to Australia? (by Elizabeth Tai, Elizabeth Tai Dot Com

3.  Are we happier living in Australia? (by Denny Liew, Aussie Migration Tips)

4. Malaysia is destined for doom (by British Expat, Malaysiakini)

5. An Open Letter (A Different) British Expat (by Matthew Bellotti, Expatriate Lifestyle

6. Bad politics in Malaysia, only??? (by Ken Soong, Migration to Australia Good Meh)

7. M’sians are leaving because of bad politicians and bad policies (by Khoo Kay Peng, The Ant Daily)

8. Why the Migration Business is Booming (by Koon Yew Yin, KC Lau Dot Com)

9. Making a Business of Crossing Borders (An interview with Rayford Migration's Mr Yap, BFM)

10. Should You Migrate? The 64,000 dollar question (by Koon Yew Yin, The Malaysian Insider)

11. Should I go or should I stay? (by Ken Soong, KC Lau Dot Com)

12. The migration stories nobody wants to tell you (by Julia Yeow, The Malaysian Insider)

13. Thousands of migrants leaving Australia (SBS, World New Radio)

14. The Australian PR is not your golden ticket to life. Seriously. (Elizabeth Tai of www.elizabethtai.com)





Don't think that the second generation will have it easier than their migrant parents. Growing up Asian in a Western world is more challenging than we (first generation migrants) would like to think!

One of the drawbacks of migrating to a country whose culture is strikingly different from that of Malaysia/Singapore is that your kids will face a lot of culture and identity related challenges on a daily basis.

Listen to Eddie Huang (minute 18:50 of the clip) talks about how his dad felt after reading his New York Times best-selling memoir.

Watch Eddie (minute 26:48) talks about 'equal opportunities' in America.




What the mainstream media never told us...




Ken, Michael and Ilja talked to Stone Gye (an American-turned Australian entrepreneur who grew up in Japan and now residing in Melbourne) about his life in Australia. 




Migrating to Australia, Good Meh?

(published on Media Rakyat)

Added by admin on June 3, 2015

The age-old adage, “the grass is always greener on the other side”, does signal unwise and unrealistic optimism. Australia is a favourite destination for Malaysians wishing for a better life, but its sparkling and seemingly rich shores, as writer Ken Soon discovers, can be deceptive.

By Ken Soong

I am a Malaysian living in Melbourne, Australia. My brother, sister and I migrated here in 2004. Our parents came along as well. We applied under the “individual skilled migrant” category and later sponsored our parents. They were given a “bridging” visa from January 2005 until July 2012 before they were finally granted their permanent resident visa. This category of visa allows “aged parents” to stay in Australia on one condition – they must have “two-thirds” of their children living in Australia. Since all three of us were here, they had more than two-third majority.

This article is not about the technicalities of migrating. Rather, it is about the “why” of migrating. Most Malaysians who have migrated or have decided to migrate (soon) to Australia told me that their children would have a better future if they grew up in Australia. Back in 2004, I would have fully agreed with them. The idea of “becoming better off in terms of education, career, family life and life in general” in Australia was a no-brainer for me – of course we would be better off in Australia.


Australia has one of the leading education systems in the world.
Photograph: marco antonio torres/Flickr

Ten years on, I have come to realise that Australia is not as good as we have all made it out or hoped it to be. We have no one (not even Australia since it is only natural that every government presents its country to the world in the most favourable light) but ourselves to blame for our own failure to make a more objective assessment about our future in Australia as migrants. Most of us are still using a very outdated perspective, rooted in our recent colonial history, with which to see the world.

For migrants who came to Australia back in the 1960s, the 1970s or even the 1980s, their decision to migrate would have benefitted them much more than if they were to do it today. Back in those days, Malaysia was still not adequately developed, modernised and industrialised. Foreign direct investments, education and infrastructure were definitely a far cry from today’s standards. Particularly for the average Malaysian professional, his or her work would have been much more richly rewarded in Australia than back home.

If a Sudanese or Afghan were to migrate to Australia today, then I can say with almost absolute certainty that their lives will be better off. But today’s Malaysians had better think twice. Jobs are moving in big numbers from Australia to Asia; Australian educational institutions are failing many of their own students, with many schools (even public ones) turning to attracting more students from China, Korea and other Asian countries for financial reasons; drug-related crimes and schoolyard bullying are becoming more rampant; and the total cost of income support (i.e. welfare) payment has now (as of 2014) topped A$70bil a year.

These trends and developments are here to stay, and the shift of fortune from the West to the East is an irreversible one. Investor Jim Rogers frequently remarked that if you were smart in 1807, you would go to London, if you were smart in 1907, you would go to New York, but if you were smart in 2007, you would go to Asia. (In 2007, Rogers moved his entire family to Singapore.)

So I wonder, why on earth are we still leaving Malaysia? What are we actually running away from? While most of us think that we are running away from some potential or real political threat, the actual fact might well be that we are running away from some real lifetime opportunities! With market saturation and an ageing population in the EU, US, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and China, the Asean region, with its population size, relatively young median age and richness in natural resources, is poised to grow like never before.


Calligrapher at work during the 2014 Sydney Chinese New Year Festival. The most populous city in Australia also has a significant migrant population.
Photograph: Adhi Anindyajati/Flickr

When jobs are getting scarce in Australia, why move there at all? Already we are seeing Malaysian migrants’ Australian-born children returning to Singapore and Malaysia to work in high corporate positions because they could not get that kind of opportunity back in Australia! Sending your children to Australia today does not necessarily mean that they will benefit from being exposed to different cultures, because there are now so many Asian students in Australian schools that they do not have to interact or mingle with their Australian classmates anymore! It also means that these children risk being exposed to the rising drug-related crimes on Australian streets, and by the time we retire, the Australian government would not have enough to support our retirements. Yes, Australia is famous for its social safety net. But this net has many holes in it, each of which is getting larger by the day!

Still, without fail, we Malaysians have somehow managed to convince ourselves that Australia has more of a future to offer than Malaysia. To be fair, I shall wait for another few years to find out, because the future I envisaged for myself in Australia is still not here. Will it ever be here? For my American neighbour and my British and South African friends, they are reasonably happy and satisfied here, but not so much for Malaysians, I feel. Maybe it will happen for us one day. Maybe.

Not many migrants want to admit failure in achieving their goals here. I know of at least two such migrants – one telling friends he works for ANZ Bank (one of the leading banks in Australia) in Melbourne and the other telling people he works for American Express in Sydney. In truth, both of them are working for two Australiabased call centres which provide outsourced customer relationship management services to their clients – who happen to be ANZ Bank and American Express!

Coming from Malaysia myself, I can perfectly relate to the “face” issue most migrants had to handle when they first started out here in Australia. Many of them came from relatively successful professional careers in their home countries after all. I have seen a former middle-aged Indian-Malaysian lawyer working as an insurance underwriter earning graduate entry-level salary, a former listed-company director driving a taxi, a former Filipino corporate accountant studying to become a nurse (because he could not find a satisfactory corporate accountant job) and a former Hong Kong University mathematics professor working as a sales representative in a mobile phone dealership – not because his English was not good enough, but because he did not sound Australian enough.

To migrate and live comfortably here in Australia, we need firstly to have the right knowledge – for example, the tax system here is very, as a tax accountant friend says, “oppressive”. One needs to be financially stronger first, otherwise one is here to throw good money away! Yes, we will get some income support and welfare payment, but that is like hoping for free medical treatment when we should not be bleeding in the first place.

To migrate or not to migrate – it is your call. It is your future at stake.

This article was excerpted and adapted from Migrating to Australia, Good Meh???, published by Gerak Budaya to help Malaysians make an informed decision on migrating to Australia. For those who have already made up their minds to migrate, the book also offers tips and success stories from migrants who have made it. Copies can be purchased in bookstores throughout Malaysia.




Why I quit my job and moved to Australia - by Elizabeth Tai

liz tai.jpg

Taken with permission from Elizabeth Tai's blog www.elizabethtai.com

February 2, 2016

I wrote this post in 2012, just a few weeks before I moved to Australia. Some time in 2014, my website (the Wordpress version, that is) was hacked and this particular post ended up having nearly 500 comment spam. Instead ofdeleting every single one of them, I thought the better way was to repost it.

As something extra, I'm also adding a commentary from the present in italics.)

So here's a look back in 2012, when I made one of the most important decisions of my life :)

June 30, 2012, was my last day at The Star, the newspaper that I've worked for as a journalist for 12 over years. This decision did not come easily as I loved my colleagues and bosses and the work that I do. I was also hugely aware of the privilege I have - that I could work as a journalist at a time when thousands of journalists are losing their jobs  left and right in the West.

But quit I did, and I will be leaving Malaysia for Australia on Aug 3.

My friends all wonder if I'm migrating. If migrating means moving to another country, then yes, I'm migrating. (And yes, I have a residents visa, not a tourist visa, so I won't be playing hide and seek with the border police.) But in Malaysia migrating has heavy connotations, one of which means "I'm tired of being Malaysian and ditching this country for good." And that's not me. Malaysia's not perfect, certainly, but I love being with my friends and family here and career-wise, it's been good for me here. I'd love to return one day. I'm just not sure when yet.

So, what will I be doing in Australia?

1. I will be studying and upgrading my skills.

I pondered about my future the last few years and realised that I wanted new skills - especially after reading about the fates of laid off journalists. I wanted to have more career options and to be more marketable.

At first, I thought about getting a Masters. I flirted with the idea of doing an Creative Writing MFA, but found out that most MFAs cost at least US$30k.

Around 2005, I made a vow to myself never to get myself in debt ever again after years of paycheck-to-paycheck living. For a year, I worked overtime and cleared RM20,000 of debts: credit card debt and a car loan. Since then, I have lived a debt-free life except for my housing loan which I hope to pay off aggressively by the time I'm 45. (Edit Feb 2016: I managed to do this in 2015, aged 38!)

So, the idea of forking out RM90k (and that's just for tuition fees) to sit for a graduate degree that does not guarantee better career outcomes seemed pretty batshit crazy to me. To me, a degree has to have good Returns on Investment or it's not worth the paper it's printed on.

And the masters degrees that are worth taking will cost me at least RM200k. (Choke.)

A good friend advised me to study short courses instead. It took me some time to dispel my Malaysian, prestige-hungry mentality (I want an MA or MBA after my name!) and agree that that's the wisest thing to do. So, I hope to be taking these courses in Australia (I may not take all of them):

  • Certificate III in Aged Care. (AUD1600 to AUD2000) - this two- to three-month course allows me to be an Assistant in Nursingin Australia. I'm seriously pondering a career in the healthcare field. I actually wanted to be a doctor when I was a teenager, but squashed the idea when I realised that my family couldn't afford it. This is a way I could see if a career in the health industry suits me in any way without straight away sinking RM200k in a nursing degree.
  • Technical Writing (AUD300)
  • 31 Days to Build a Better Blog  ($29)
  • And perhaps a few SEO writing courses
  • Travel Writing - at $350 this is really pricy and I'm not sure if it's worth the expense, but we'll see.
  • Editing Techniques (AUD330)
  • Intentional Blogging (free!)
  • Ebook formatting  - so far, I've not found anyone teaching this yet, so I may have to wing it by googling and asking around forums a lot.
  • I may also join the South Australia Writing Centre  to take some of their workshops. I'd also like to develop my creative writing skills.
  • A few theological courses at Paradise College of Ministries (AUD75 to AUD300 each)

The goal of all this, of course, is to I develop to be a writer that can write for modern technologies such as blogs, websites and to perhaps start freelancing as an editor one day. Also, to enhance myself spiritually :)

Edit from Feb 2016: As per my tendency to collect shiny pennies, I had such big ambitions to collect as many qualifications as I could to boost my resume! I didn't manage to do most of what I hoped to do because I was far too busy living and working (thank goodness), but I did surprise myself with some things, such as starting an MFA with Tabor college. Towards the tail end of my stay in Oz, I was enrolled in a CIM Digital Marketing course, but I was beginning to realise that collecting diplomas and professional qualifications wasn't my ticket to happiness.

2. I would like to get Australian working experience

Here's the thing. Things are pretty tough job-wise in Australia, and I don't have great hopes of landing the same kind of job I had. However, I'd like to discover how it is like to work in a foreign culture. The great thing in Australia is that you can get working experience while volunteering and there are community radio and TV stations where you can volunteer your time. In fact, I used to volunteer at a community radio station when I was a student in Perth. It was a blast, and I think this is an excellent way for me to get experience in the broadcast industry. Meanwhile, I'm willing to do any job to keep the money flowing in.

Edit from Feb 2016: Again. Shiny pennies! It turned out that when you have to work 35 hours a week to fulfill visa obligations and pay for the roof above your head, you don't have much time for volunteering! Still, I got to experience working life in Australia which was definitely very different from Malaysia's.

3. I want to travel

Visiting Coriole Vineyards in the gorgeous wine country of McLaren Vale, South Australia.

I never took a gap year. It just isn't in our Asian culture to do so. But living and working in Australia would allow me to experience Australia in a different way. In order to travel on a budget, I'll be using Helpx, a work exchange programme where you work in exchange for free lodgings and food. The best thing is - you get Australian work experience at the same time! Most of the work is on farms, but you can volunteer at cafes and bed and breakfasts too. What a wonderful way to experience Australia!

Edit: Living in Adelaide from 2012-2015 felt like one long, tumultous vacation. Still, I felt as if I didn't do as much travelling as I'd like. Being the travel whore that I am, there would never be enough travelling, really.








(The post below is taken from his blog)

Two weeks ago, as I was traveling to the city to attend a tax seminar I have come across a post from an old church friend in her Facebook timeline " Are you happy with your life" Her last sentence ends like this " I think I did it well enough living to my fullest of my life coz I don't want someone who care for me to be sad especially my late sister. If someone ever asks me the question, I would answer, YES I AM HAPPY WITH MY LIFE COZ I CHOOSE TO BE HAPPY " after she has completed her long awaited solo trip to Europe in the dedication of her late sister.

“Her post got me thinking... Am I happy with my life What does living life to fullest mean to me ?„
So I look up in Wikipedia and found happiness is a mental or emotional state of well-being characterized by positive or pleasant emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy. Quite often happiness is defined in terms of living a good life, or flourishing, rather than simply as an emotion. Some define happiness as contentment, but others focus on the difference between the hedonistic tradition of seeking pleasant and avoiding unpleasant experiences, and the eudaimonic tradition of living life in a full and deeply satisfying way. So happiness is a fuzzy concept and can mean many different things to many people. 

What about living life to the fullest? For my friend, it meant, to realising her dream trip to Europe before is too late and choose to be happy with what she has overcome and accomplished. I think for me, it means being able to stop at a moments notice and experience the JOY that comes from spending more quality time together with my wife and our two boys. The opportunity for everyone to progress a little further in life and reach new milestones that would not be possible if we choose to remain where we were. It’s about living with less distractions, less non-sense, less friction, eliminating the things that drain our energy and doing the things that awaken and nourish our soul. It’s about laughing, playing, learning, connecting and having a lot of FUN together in our migration journey.

“Living life to the fullest is about remembering that THE TIME TO LIVE IS NOW, because we never know when it’s going to end"

Just over three years ago, my brother in law lost his battle with cancer and passed away at the age of forty one. He was survived by his wife and three young lovely daughters and the youngest was only three. This shocking and unexpected loss immediately raised the alarm bell leading me to ask myself what is the point of acquiring a lot of wealth, but may not get to enjoy the fruit because I am too caught up in working hard for the future but failed to live my life meaningfully now.

Looking back at our life in Malaysia without a doubt we were living a very comfortable lifestyle, but this comes from paying the heavy price of taking on never ending work pressure and long working hours. Our kids were raised by Indonesian maids and we only get to spend meaningful time together during weekends. Having endured stressful lifestyle for years, which starting to weigh on my health I begin to ask is this the kind of life I would like to live in the next 10 years? Or I will be better off from quitting the rat race now and take on the challenge of starting a more downbeat life in Melbourne?

Unbearable traffic congestion, poor quality of education, yearly choking haze and living under constant security threat are other push factors that may have triggered my thought of searching for a greener pasture in another country. But the most compelling reason was due to racial extremism and supremacism that drove me out of the country. A small accident that has turned nasty as the culprit, a Malay fanatic instead of making good of his worker's unintentional mistake, who was responsible for breaking my car's rear windscreen. He responded by telling me to return to China because I am a Chinese "Pendatang". His stupidity did not end there as he continued to threaten and warn me that more unwanted dramas may come my way. The level of my frustration and disappointment over this disgraceful incident was beyond description. 

This is a clear indication to me that for the sake of my next generation, we need to leave before rising extremism creeping into our moderate society and escape from the growing religious fundamentalism and authoritarianism in Malaysia. The government has done very little in addressing these issues and if left unchecked is only a matter of time the situation will get out of control. I can only pray that the repeat of racial riots back in 1969 will not recur because we still have loved ones living in Malaysia.

On hindsight, I should thank this idiot for his action as it has turned out to be a blessing in disguised because if I have not left, I would have suffered more humiliation, but the only difference is this time it comes from people who are holding important positions within the government. If any of the government ministers here in Australia makes such statements they will be removed immediately from office. Our fourth prime minister has also openly voiced his dissatisfaction over the current political system and policies, but I bet they do not have the guts to tell Tun Dr. M to leave. They have failed to wake up to the fact that Malaysia will continue to lose talents and their irresponsible statements are not helping, but add further blow to the brain drain problem in Malaysia.

So how are we coping with our new life in the last two years? To be honest, telling people that I was not worried moving out from my comfort zone and step into unknown territory will be an outright lie. The greatest challenge was finding a job with a decent salary, but knowing my age will not work in my favour and without local work experience the possibility of achieving this task is going to be close to impossible. That's what I was told by friends and some of them who have lived in Australia. However a job offer turned up miraculously shortly after I have arrived in Melbourne. This remarkable development has instantly brings light at the end of the tunnel and made it viable and raised the hope for us to kick start our new life in Melbourne. The job may not be as exciting and challenging as I would have wished for, but is good enough to sustain our living expenses and given me access to acquire new skills which I believe will come in handy in the future. My wife has also gained her newly acquired baking skill, an interest that she is very fond of and passionate about. 

Apart from discovering her new found talent now she is enjoying every moment from nurturing our kids, especially the younger one who has turned eight this year. Had we remained where we were she probably still be drowned with project deadlines, meeting the boss's demands, stuck in meetings and coming home late. I can also feel our kids have changed, obviously for the better and moving towards the right direction. Having their mother to guide them instead of the maid made a huge difference and perhaps studying in the school here is also helping. I notice that their English has improved tremendously and they also have picked up the good habit of reading. While they are not studying in top schools, but is good enough for me as they have already benefited from a more conducive learning environment and better quality of education in Australia. 

Are we happy living in Australia? My honest answer is both Yes and No, but I would say more yes than no because we have gained best things in life that money can't buy, but also forced to let go a lot that we will miss deeply. This long journey also comes with enormous challenges. We have to go through the process of unlearn, and relearn how to live in Melbourne. The purchasing power of our hard earned savings instantly reduced to 1/3. Coping with the high cost of living and fallen household disposable income pressures and government policy uncertainty affecting our living standard. 

Australia's economy will undergo a crucial stress test in 2015, faced with a triple whammy from the lagged impact of plunging commodity prices, sharp declines in mining investment and renewed fiscal tightening according to Tim Toohey, chief economist, Australia at Goldman Sachs. The present government will continue with its crackdown welfare payments and raising taxes are next in line so that they can fix the ballooning budget deficit, which will further put upward pressure on the cost of living in Australia.

According to Roy Morgan Research (RMR), the Australia's leading Consumer, Industry and Market Research company, the unemployment rate in November was 10.0% not 6.3% a figure a lot higher than the official headline number. There was 1.26 million unemployed people and an additional 1.231 million Australians were under-employed, a new record high. This means we have more than 2 million people are looking for work or looking for more work in Australia. Although job growth has reached the highest level ever recorded in November, but is still not enough to soak up the additional workers from Australia’s rampant population growth. Therefore, we have a situation of stiff competition in a shrinking job market. For me who is still blessed with a job can't stop wondering when I will be the next on the chopping board. Unfortunately, this is the true reality living in Australia.  

We live in a world with unlimited distractions, challenges, emergencies and interruptions – it’s a miracle any of us stay focused, sane and on track towards what we want. It’s very easy to get caught up in the emotion of emergencies, distractions and thoughts that don’t serve us - we can easily lose sight of what is most important to your life and well-being. I believe we have made the right choice moving to Melbourne and the recent developments from Malaysia reaffirmed our decision. Despite having to cope with enormous challenges in Australia we are still happier living in Australia and our new home has also brought us one step closer to live life to the fullest.