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Mr H
 
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Temporary Residence

03 December 2010, 15:07  - Mr H
I figured I should also throw in my little towel to this very wet debate about South Africans living in a foreign country.

I find myself unexpectedly in Hong Kong, temporarily, due to my work and career obligations.

The question therefore is what do I think of Hong-Kong vs South Africa? Truthfully, you can’t even begin to compare.

I guess this is should be the part where I go on and on about how safe, less tax, good education facilities, developed public transport network, mature citizenship and very cultured the country and / or the people are / have in this place; but I truly believe that for me – the experience of being in a foreign country has allowed me to value certain things about South Africa.

Primarily though, I value the spirit of being South African. This spirit comes alive when I step outside my SA home and I meet people who greet me whether they know me or not.

I am then constantly surrounded by it and it lifts me and propels me to march forward into a place of supreme serenity.

I also find it in the music, the songs, the food, the nature, the animals and laughter of its people. It is an inherent and implicit spirit that only upon leaving the country, one begins to recognise it.

However, there are challenges that Hong Kong also has which make South Africa a better country of residence. Some of these include extreme pollution of both air and sea, lack of land, population demographics, environmental sustainability and extremely expensive housing.

The only difference I have noted is that, unlike South Africans, Hong Kongers see problems, seek various solutions, debate at length and then implement rigorously.

They also (including politicians) hold themselves personally accountable for their decisions (and mistakes).

So then, I guess I can end off by bragging to everyone and wishing them good luck but I would like to propose a different view.

I think I am going to learn as much as I can from my temporary country of residence and then return home to instil a new culture in South Africans.

It is my wish also that other South Africans abroad use their time to identify things that they can import back.

I pray in the interim that those in the country propel the spirit to live and strive for freedom, in Mzansi, our land.

- Are you a South African living abroad interested in sharing your views? What is it like for a South African living in a foreign country or how do you view South Africa from a distance? Send us your columns to feedback@news24.com and you might get published in our new Beyond Borders section.

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