Grasses are not always greener at the other side

To live and work in countries like the USA or Australia is not a bed of roses

l  Usha Drukpa, Thimphu


People often think that living and working abroad is one glorious thing. In recent times, more people are leaving their decent jobs to work abroad without giving a second thought. But, if what those who live away from Bhutan say holds any water, than the life there is not as colourful as it looks like.

Passang Dolma resigned from her teacher’s post in 2014 and left to Australia with her husband. Her plan was to work there and mint money so that she can live a happy life after coming back home. Now she regrets for her decision.

“I never knew that life would be very difficult here. My job as a teacher was very respectable one in Bhutan. But here, I have take up all odd jobs,” said Passang Dolma.

In Perth, she said that they have to work as maids, waiters and sales-person. And that too are not easy to get.

“Employers here always prefer more experienced people. In many places, I was rejected for jobs. Now, life has become little better but still it is not easy and comfortable as in Bhutan,’”she added.

Palden Dorji has been living in Sydney for last three years and his story is not very different from that of Passang.

“I spent three months without a job and I think that was the worst phase in my life. I had to cramp in one of my friends’ flat and for many days I had to survive on one meal because I had no money,” said Palden.

Today, he works as a service-man in one of the car-wash agencies. “Earnings are good but life is very difficult here,” he added.

He said that money in Australia is in every minute spent. “Only when you are here that you will realize about the value of time. Here, we hardly get time to sit together and celebrate our birthdays because we have to be on move every hour,” said Palden.

Karma Lhamo who lives in New York said that living abroad is more to do with emotional endurance. “I left my two little children behind and came here thinking that I can earn more money for their brighter future. But only after reaching did I realize that it was a grave mistake. I miss them every single moment,” she said.

She mentioned that she has to work for long hours without rest sometimes. “Money is better here but what good is it when we do not get contentment at the end of the day,” she added.

Yangchen left six months ago but she had had enough of life in USA. “I will come back soon because this is not a life that I envied before coming here,” she said.

But not all embark to make money. Some travel to pursue higher education. Yeshi Dorji is in Perth pursuing his Masters’ course in public administration.

“I work when I get free time and earning is good. But we have many Bhutanese here who solely came here to work and make money. Some times, I feel pity on them,” said Yeshi.

According to the labour officials, it is not their job keep check on those who travel aboard on their own. “We only take care of those who leaves the country on Overseas Employment Program. But if need be there, it is the job of the government to intervene,” said the official.

While many who left to Australia have routed through proper channels, most who are in USA and other countries have travelled either as a tourist or on some official trips and never returned.


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