Sunday, 1 March 2015

That Outsider feeling

Prejudice in different guise has always been in the world and will likely remain notwithstanding the genuine efforts of governments and well-meaning  individuals the world over.
Victims of prejudice go through so much emotionally and while some are able to maintain their sanity, the not-so-rugged hearted slide down the slippery slope down the hole from which emerge persons with a grudge and hatred often directed at the group perceived to have pushed them off the edge but sometimes the hatred and aggressiveness is directed at society as a whole for 'endorsing' the injustice they suffer.

In an earlier article on the subject of racism, I narrated my experience in my country of birth where free movement between cities is met with tribal prejudice. This is hatred of a person of same skin colour, but because he/she has a name that sounds different, is treated like a second class citizen.
In addition to ethnicity, religion is often thrown in the mix and you then struggle to secure employment, develop your career and can even find it hard to rent accommodation because some landlords refuse to let to persons from a particular tribe.

I have come to realise though that this dislike and hatred of people that are different is human nature and exists everywhere from Russia to Sudan, Ireland to Nigeria, humans will continue to hate and consequently generate more hatred.
If considering relocating anywhere, the effect of prejudices is an issue to consider seriously.

Though I have been able to maintain my sanity having suffered prejudice in different parts of the globe, I now worry for my kids. I have seen kids born and bred in England subjected to racial abuse and told to go back where they came from and it makes me wonder how that must feel.
Its no secret that a child of negroid features has a limit to how high he/she can aspire to in Europe because that child's origin is outside continent.
A friend once said that as migrants we should take the blame for putting our children in such a situation- not fully accepted in their country of birth and unlikely to be accepted in any other country including their ancestral home.
Its hard to say why migrants remain in these countries inspite of the challenges. Each individual will probably have a different reason but sometimes its simply that the decision to leave your home country is much easier that the decision to return before retirement.

The outsider feeling has greater psychological impact on teenagers who ordinarily at that stage of their life struggle to discover who they are. Rebellious kids and as mentioned above the ones unable to cope with the 'rejection' by society end up seeking acceptance elsewhere and this is where gangs and drug barons step in. This is true in France, UK and United States where youths from minority neighbourhoods and ghettos have resulted to violence in recent years.
With so much online propaganda videos by militant groups today, this disillusioned youngsters sometimes fall prey.

Humans will always wander, seeking greener pastures however it is crucial to be aware of some of the life changing challenges you are likely to encounter before making the leap.

Monday, 22 September 2014

Dying To Get To Europe

Pictures like this appear too often in the media and usually the stories never end well. Boats filled with migrants mostly Africans capsize during bad weather or due to overloading ending the dangerous adventure across the sea between North Africa and Sicily/Italy or Spain.
The thought of the suffering of the victims including women and children is enough to give one nightmares. These boats are sometimes deliberately overloaded and capsized by the people smugglers for reasons best known to them according to the Telegraph.
These voyagers spend their life savings on the trip oblivious of the difficulty of life in Europe for migrants.
Persons who make the decision to take flight from their homes give many reasons. For people fleeing persecution and war, it is a case of making that choice between the proverbial devil and the deep sea but for individuals who simply believe Europe is El Dorado, here are a few examples of how migrants have become willing slaves in Europe.
Of course, there are the odd success stories of migrants surmounting difficulty and making a success of the transAtlantic adventure however, this is the story of one in every ten, and most often this individual is the fortunate one often educated, able to seize opportunities and is a hard worker.

The truth is, anyone who is unable to get off the mark in a third world country can expect to struggle as well in Europe and a life of crime is not an option because the long arm of the law is always lurking.
All day long at landmark locations like busy transport hubs in the capital of England for instance, most if not all of the front-line staff either cleaning or helping to run the railway and buses as drivers, guards etc. are migrants. 
These visible migrants see to it that the city remains clean for the citizens who hold the skilled jobs that are of course indoors in the warmth.
Amongst the migrants running the railway/underground and buses, helping to ensure that the indigenous city workers get to work / home safe and on time, are highly skilled Africans and migrants from other third world countries. A quick chat with these migrants will reveal that some are trained doctors, accountants and other professionals doing menial jobs more suited to persons who can neither read nor write.

There is also the invisible migrant who like freaks only come out at night and is rarely seen in public. From the factory worker who toils from dawn to dusk to the farm worker in the modern day ‘Plantation’ this group of migrants receive minimum wage if they are lucky and like prisoners have to seek permission just to use the toilet and often only get 15-30 minutes unpaid break for lunch. The short breaks according to some, are designed to keep the workers within the premises the entire day Monday through to Friday.
Other jobs role that appear the exclusive preserve of migrants include carers, night cab driving and road sweeping.
Essentially the migrants get all the jobs the citizens reject and of course the nature of most of these jobs require the migrant to be up at night/wee hours to get the job done in readiness for the ‘owners’ and tourists to commence the day. Just like in the days of slavery when slaves helped build the railway for the enjoyment of the  Europeans, today it’s the migrants that keep the cities clean and help make most European destinations 24 hours cities thus enhancing business growth and tourism.
This is the lifestyle some are willing to risk their life in their quest to make it to Europe whatever the cost. Needless to state that the illegal migrant's experience highlighted in another article is often a lot worse.

To the educated African, Indian, Pakistani or South American be warned, Europe is a magnet for talents jostling for few jobs and opportunities. After EU citizens have had their fill, the leftover is never enough to go round the influx of people from the rest of the world.

We read about success stories in third world countries on a regular basis so rather than submit to a life of hardship any individual dreaming of the ‘good life’ in Europe should be warned that there is nowhere in the world with streets paved with gold. Please pursue your dream with vigour wherever you are and do not be drawn to Europe where you risk being eclipsed by the competition as most talented migrants eventually discover.

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Moving house In London- Mounting costs

According to ‘The Telegraph’, work by the Resolution Foundation shows that 1.3 million households on low to middle incomes are spending more than a third of their net income on mortgage payments, rent and maintenance costs - forgoing other essentials such as food to pay their bills.The housing sector tends to classify housing costs as unaffordable if they take up more than 35 percent of net income.
The 1.3 million figure represents almost one in four of the 5.6 million low-to-middle income households of working age in Britain, according to the report.
I am probably not alone in blaming letting agents partly for the increasing rent in London especially. It is true that market forces play a major role in rent spiralling out of control in the capital but the agent as a way of outmanoeuvring the competition, often is first to inform a landlord that his property can command a higher rent.
I have never been a fan of letting agents because in my view they fleece you of money every opportunity they get and it’s hard to justify the fees they charge.
In addition to the unaffordable costs highlighted above, households that move house end up paying administration charges which sometimes are in excess of £300 depending on the size of the property you are renting. You also have to pay for check-out inventory not to mention the security deposit that keeps increasing no thanks again to the letting agents.

Whether moving to rented accommodation or your own home there is also the added cost of moving your property. Removal services do not come cheap especially if you opt for the professional removal companies.
This is of course the best option as you risk loss or damage to irreplaceable property by patronizing some of the untested man and van services who unlike most professional removal companies lack the right equipment, experience and personnel for the job.
Another option is to hire a van for a day and get friends and relatives to assist. This would be the preferred option where the household property you are moving is small, not requiring specialist attention and of course you have enough friends and relatives around to help out. If you are far from your family and close acquaintances you are not likely to get enough hands to move the contents of say a 2 bedroom apartment.When asking for help with moving household items you have to bear in mind that not everyone is blessed with the physique and energy to move bulky / heavy items on and off a removal van.

The hidden costs no one tells you about include the cost for updating your address on your driving licence, the administration charges payable to insurance companies also for updating your address on some types of insurance. If you are really unlucky you are made to pay a further additional premium for your contents and maybe your car insurance where the new address is deemed a worse insurance risk in the view of your insurers.
Children also need time to adjust and settle into the new accommodation. Kids sometimes struggle with the new environment especially if you have downsized or compromised on features like garden, balcony, kids lounge or overall size of the new accommodation.

There is also the cost to have your mail redirected to your new address which rises the longer the period you require the redirection. This is an optional expenditure but in actual fact you need to have the redirection in place otherwise you could miss out on important correspondence. It has been said that the internet is rendering correspondence by post obsolete but that has not happened yet with establishments like the NHS; correspondence by post remains an important means of communication.
A look at a typical moving home check-list will give further idea of the extent of effort and planning that goes into moving home. You have to notify your energy suppliers, banks, send out change of address letters and in some cases visit the offices individually to complete change of address forms.
From the man hours and energy expended during the home move, to the anxiety associated with the move during planning, execution and after the move including the challenge of settling into the new accommodation you always end up drained physically and mentally. However we all have to move home sometime so when you do be prepared.