Welcome to the latest in our very popular Migrant Tales series – hundreds and hundreds of first hand accounts of the migrant experience of New Zealand.
Today’s tale was written by “Withered Sunsets” who has a degree in journalism and has lived on three continents. They tell a story of bullying, harassment, abuse and a fight against being ‘Kiwised’
Firstly, I would like to express my deepest thanks and gratitude to E2NZ for constructing such a wonderful website that serves as a therapeutic and insightful outlet for thousands of extremely frustrated and disillusioned migrants who have been misled and deceived by misinformation, propaganda and empty promises of a utopian paradise.
I accidentally stumbled on your website two days ago, and I have been hooked on it. All this time I thought that there was something was wrong with me I thought that I was crazy, insane and a failure in life. A big sigh of relief that I’m not alone and my experience is not unique.
I come from a long line of highly educated intellectuals (four generations of university graduates, including all women in my mother’s generation having at least a university diploma/degree as well as working in my native country of origin). My ancestral roots are Middle Eastern, from a war-torn country but thanks to my grandfather’s wisdom and farsightedness, my parents left my country of origin years before any real shit started to hit the fan. My parents are both upper-middle class and UK higher educated with broad work experience all over the world. After finishing a contract in Southeast Asia, my father decided to migrate to NZ so me (6 years old at the time) and my brother to-be-born would have “a world class education with the best healthcare and a myriad of opportunities” to succeed and successfully serve our ‘new country’. Little did my parents realise was that they would be badly deceived by the false paradise utopian image of NZ that would potentially ruin their lives and the lives of their children.
When I first arrived in NZ and was enrolled in a primary school in the mid 90s I absolutely hated it. Coming from a private school in Southeast Asia, we had so many printed workbooks and studied long hours, while in NZ we just played games and the teachers always picked on me and tried to bankrupt my father in some way, for example, my teacher told my father I had eye-sight and hearing problems and wasn’t attentive in her class – so my well-intentioned father spent hundreds of dollars trying to get me check ups and of course nothing was wrong with me. I was always ahead of my peers yet my report card and parent teacher meetings never seemed to reflect this. I was given average grades and this angered my parents. My dad used to always tell me that I have to work hard now otherwise I’ll suffer later in life, grades were everything and nothing else mattered. At school, nobody wanted to be my friend; my ‘friends’ were always two-faced locals from 90% dysfunctional families and my teachers absolutely hated me. Often when I confronted my teachers why they gave me average grades for attentiveness, they would reply that I looked incredibly bored in class… which was true, I always felt like I was in a mental prison, a concentration camp that was actively killing my brain cells and often I would find myself daydreaming and I would become disinterested in the lesson. To top it off, my biggest weakness was physical education (PE) and all the kids would make fun of me for being slow at running and not having the best motor skills.
Throughout my education, I was repeatedly bullied (physically, emotionally, verbally etc.) and abused by my peers. My parents did not know what to do, because in their native country bullying does not exist (if anybody picked on anyone else’s children the bully would be beaten up by siblings, cousins or the parents would pick a fight with the teachers and principal). My parents used to often write complaint letters about the bullying and the teachers WERE WELL AWARE HOW STRICT MY FATHER WAS so they would twist things around and manipulate him into putting the blame on me. Then the teachers would confront the other students about it, they would deny it, side with them, even when the bullying occurred right in front of the teachers. I endured years of beatings from my father all for nothing. As a result of feeling disenfranchised in both my own home and at school, I have felt suicidal since I was 9. I began to lose interest in my studies, overachievement, excelling in life – this led to my overeating, prescription-drug abuse and being diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder and having frequent seizures throughout my adolescence.
Luckily my father found a job elsewhere and I managed to get a break from NZ for a few years until about 4 years ago when we decided to come back and settle down again. I had just finished my Bachelors degree in Journalism and was looking for a job but had difficulty in doing so because I needed NZ references, at least 3 years work experience in my field. Not having a driving license was a hindrance, so I obtained my driving license and decided to do 3 months of voluntary work at a rest home to obtain work references in order to find a minimum-wage job via an agency to save money for a car and build up my CV and portfolio. About 2 years ago, I finally found a job and despite the fact I was kind, generous and great to my co-workers they were nice to my face, gave me tips to improve my efficiency at a dead-end job, but in-between that, they abused me, manipulated me and eventually exploited a misunderstanding between me and a so-called close friend to get me fired. Many times, I noticed my co-workers resented me so much for growing up in three continents, coming from a stable, caring, loving family, having a relatively nice (but old) car, dressing tastefully, how I can be physically attractive, single, unmarried/no kids and still living at home. I got so much crap for still living at home and being in my 20s – they failed to take into consideration that most millennials are underemployed, moving out is expensive and in my native country of origin all unmarried young people do not move out unless they are studying away from home, just married or have a well-paying job overseas.
Meanwhile, my autistic brother who was previously attending a private British International school abroad (and doing very well in school) before we came back he was enrolled in a local high school, where he was severely bullied by his peers and manipulated by boys he thought were his ‘friends’. This led to him getting into a fight, which led to him being kicked out of school, he was even tasered by a deputy principal. My parents decided to home-school him, by that time, he lost complete interest in studies/hobbies, which led to him having a severe mental breakdown and being hospitalised.
Our family has many other tales to tell about how we have been ripped off almost to the extent of being bankrupted by the crooks here in NZ. My family are in an unfortunate limbo with my parents being both of pension-aged, limited amount of savings, difficulty of moving, and my brother and I having no employment opportunities. Moving back to the Middle East is out of the question because it is simply unsafe and we would be easy targets for ethno-religious persecution, not to mention we are exiled and alienated in both NZ and our country of origin. The worst thing for my brother and I, is being ‘Kiwised’ – the Kiwi way of life is a contagious cancer that kills every last brain-cell and eventually you are stripped of any real sense of identity, industrious nature, a passion of providing meaningful service to the community as well as being an overall person with any sort of substance. I feel like my senses of passion, dreaming big and my overall spirits have been eternally crushed to the extent I have become so apathetic and deeply demotivated to do anything in life. I am keen to break free of this cycle ASAP to one day regain some sense of spirit to start a business from home to secure the very least something for my brother and I so we are at least able to carry on living here until we can finally move away in search of a fulfilling and meaningful nomadic life elsewhere.
I have met many migrants who have asked me why my family chose NZ. Like most people on this forum, the reasons were good education, healthcare, transparency, and the clean, green, democratic, egalitarian image. Despite internalising my resentment for this country and its circus freak show of politicians, after years of brainwashing, a PC education and censoring any constructive criticism to contribute to NZ, I had become Kiwised to the extent I did my best to always defend this country and often found ways to justify its shortcomings to any foreigners or relatives who confronted me about them. Tall Poppy Syndrome is the worst here one of my ex-colleagues had come to NZ as a refugee with his wife and only child and his child was severely bullied to the extent she committed suicide yet the issue of bullying was quickly swept under the carpet and all we heard of it was gossip and fake pity. Similarly, on my way to work earlier this year the railway lines were closed and then we heard about a local woman leaving a note in her car and standing in front of a train to end her life. This was also quickly swept under the rug. Rest assured, I will definitely be passing on this wonderful website onto any foreigners I encounter looking to migrate to NZ who are still mesmerised by its glossy photo-shopped, airbrushed, deceitful, cunning and manipulative imagery.