We, last year, decided or should I say I decided and persuaded my wife to relocate to Australia. I moved to Sabah awhile back to start a life with my new bride having been part of reasonable successful small business in Thailand. I had known my wife for many years via the Internet; the connecting factor being our common love for teaching the English language. Anyway, to cut a long story short, I moved. I wasn’t totally ignorant about the environment I was getting myself into. In fact, I had been to this part of the world a number of times, but like most ‘holidays’, perception is blinked from reality. Services that you take for granted elsewhere are unpredictable here. General day-to-day living is unremarkable and non stimulating for an enquiring mind. Race-based politics with a dose of religion thrown in for good measure dominates most of the news services, consequently an underlying sense of social tension bubbles under the surface always. If you don’t belong to the chosen ethnic group, Bumiputra, you’re an outsider for life. Technically, all ethnic groups born here are Malaysians, although in reality a semi unofficial social division exists with a first and second class race base system in place. The chosen ones are given advantages in securing places in universities, numerous scholarships and with employment opportunities as well as financial assistance in the form off special interest rates and other banking privileges.
For these reasons and my inability to work here due to immigration restrictions, I have wanted to return to Australia for some time. Here lies the problem.
My wife is a principal of a secondary school and apart from my obvious bias she is one of the better ones. In the 4 years she has been in her present school she has lifted the standard up by the boot laces and has gained the school and the state international recognition for her environmental awareness programmes.
She works with the energy of 10 of me and lives and breathes her school and its students although it has taken its toll physically and mentally.
I know she will have a much more controlled existence in Australia with time to do things for herself, but of course this means giving up her senior position and to a certain extent the Malaysian life style.
Moving can be stressful at the best of times. I should know, but fortunately she has been to Australia before, so knows what to expect to some degree; still as I said before, working and holidaying are two different things.
The paper work is finished and submitted and word back indicates things are proceeding smoothly. Zero hour is approaching.
Funnily enough it’s not only her who feels the weight of expectation. I have nothing to lose by returning, she potentially has a lot, but I fret about it a lot. Am I being selfish, only thinking of what is right and convenient for me or am I helping her escape a system that has taken its pound of flesh?
These questions will undoubtably twirl around inside our heads until we leave.