Monday, 17 September 2007

Educational opportunities, class mobility and nomadic chinese

A couple of months ago, SVB over at The Digerati Life wrote an interesting article on class mobility, especially as the generation in your family becomes richer or poorer. I read it when the article was first published and never gave it much though until recently.

My heritage is Chinese base, and a nomadic Chinese as well. As most nomads know, in years gone by, we travel for many reasons, but it is not usually for pleasure. We may have moved on because of economic reasons, or because there isn't enough food here or many other reasons.

This artifact of my character was brought up during a discussion over a recent family gathering. It seems that it is in our character to always strive to provide the best opportunity for the next generation of succeed and live a better life. To provide this opportunity general requires some sort of sacrifice on the current generations. The family discussed this point and looked at the generations present at the family gathering.

There were three generations present.

My parent's generation - We migrated to Australia so that our educational opportunities were increased as opposed to living is South East Asia and being educated there. I am not saying that the education system in South East Asia is bad, in fact it is particularly good. However, the opportunities to obtained a placed at world recognised university are difficult. Among other things, my parents sacrificed being close to their brothers and sisters and familiar surroundings for the kids, the next generation, would have a better foundation.

My generation - My parents sacrifice paid off as my brothers and I are in good jobs that pays well, and that has allow us to live a pretty comfortable life. With our well paying jobs, we are able to setup a nice foundation for our children to build upon to live an even better life than us.

My children's generation - My son is only coming onto two years, so all we can do is develop the opportunities for him. However, I hope that given the correct opportunities, he will be able to take it and provide a better life for him and his family.

SVB calls this phenomenon migrating upwards in class mobility. Migration downwards in class mobility is always a sad occasion in any family, and it could be dangerous. Sometimes a download migration is difficult to stop.


The Digerati Life said...

Very interesting thoughts you have. I am also from South East Asia. Moved to the US for better educational opportunities and ended up staying. It was a good move for sure. Many of my peers are still staying with their families under the same roof because of financial reasons. If I hadn't moved away, I have a feeling I would have been in the same boat.

tehnyit said...

Thanks for sharing your personal experience. When I was young, I would sometimes get a bit disappointed with the decisions my parents have made, and even be angry at them. Looking back now, I am glad that they made these tough and difficult decisions.

It is interesting how our views of the world changes as we get older.