Tag Archives: Trump

Thank God I’m an Expat

Over 75 years ago, a dying Lou Gehrig gave his farewell speech at Yankee Stadium and immortalized the phrase

“Today..I consider myself…the luckiest man…on the face of the earth”. 

Although the words are a bit strong for my situation, I empathize. Unlike many of you, when I wake up tomorrow and take the bus, I won’t arrive at work knowing at least half my co-workers (or more) condone racism, violence and intolerance. Nor will Diane be groped, disrespected and taunted by a national leader who brags about sexual assault. I also don’t have to sit down my kids, look them in the eye and explain why the newly elected president threatens to send them away because of their religion. When we see a police officer, he’ll be the only one on the street with a gun. He’s there to protect us, not the ruling party’s political opponent from assassination threats by deplorable citizens. The Malay, Indian and Chinese citizens of my moderate Muslim host nation don’t get slurs hurled at them like Chink and “Terrorist”. And best of all, Diane and I don’t have to ponder leaving a new America destined for senseless internal violence, protectionism and trade polices certain to destroy everyone’s retirement portfolios (Of course, Trump supporters will never own a stock portfolio)

hateWhile I’ve never been so ashamed to be American, I should feel relieved that we planned on spending the next presidency in Asia anyway. Instead, my throat has a lump, my stomach is tied up in knots and I’m actually feeling a numbness that I haven’t felt since the morning of 9/11 (and we were lucky enough to be living in Calgary at that time). Uncertain why I even feel this way given that we’re pretty damn lucky to be retired and living overseas with a comfortable bank account at ages 51 and 45, helplessness engulfs my every muscle and I actually think I may cry. Literally. Diane is lucky; her personality allows her to accept things she can’t change while I ponder the consequences of a million things that might go wrong but probably won’t. Financial consequences aside, I can’t help feel sorry for the women, people of color, gays and lesbians, Muslims, Jews, Mexicans, Asians, brown-skinned people, and 49 million sane Americans that didn’t choose to place a stark raving lunatic in the most important and powerful position on the planet.

hilaryMostly I feel sorry for all of you whose grandchildren are almost certainly doomed to a planet that’s barely inhabitable. For those unfamiliar with events on other side of the planet, let me assure you that climate change is the single most important issue for every citizen of planet Earth. Here in Asia, they barely recycle, litter the seas with garbage, burn everything despite laws prohibiting open fires and every year produce the globe’s worst environmental disaster (the annual haze) in the name of profits. Yes, profits. The only thing Emperor Trump gives a shit about. And since he denies climate change, vows to bring back coal mining and wants to disband 30 years worth of clean air and environmental acts that keep your air clean, the world looks to America and the West for leadership. But I guess 52 million assholes didn’t see that little blurb about every single month this year being the warmest on record. How could they? They were busy coining the phrase “I grabbed her Pussy“. And it’s now perfectly acceptable speech for the world’s most powerful leader.

pussRecently I vowed to keep the politics off the blog because it’s about expat life, early retirement and travel. I designed to both entertain and inform. So please accept my apologies. Writing is the only way I know how to get my emotions out and the next 24 hours will need to sink in. With the U.S. markets set to open with a 700 point loss, 2008 will probably seem tame by the time January 20th gets here and I’m a bit panicky over the prospect of a large shortfall in 2030 when we’ll need to draw from the retirement portfolio we worked so hard to accumulate. But I digress. Obviously, over half of America doesn’t give a shit about anything but keeping white privilege alive. Thankfully, I’m an expat living in a tolerant nation and I’m glad to help anyone that’s bold enough to try something different. The MM2H visa is Southeast Asia’s most generous long-term retirement visa and while many Americans remain fearful of any nation where Muslims live, I assure you they are friendlier, more tolerant and better citizens than half your moron neighbors that just damaged American democracy beyond repair.

And one more thing. Good luck “moving to Canada“. I’m married to a Canadian so luckily I’m automatically eligible for instant permanent residency status (Unless Trump fucks that up also). For everyone else, I can tell you that Canada has its own problems and certainly doesn’t want an influx of refugees since they’ll no doubt wind up accepting the Syrians that America already committed to taking. And I guess that’s the end of the Trump University trial, all the sexual assault cases and ever seeing any tax returns despite the obvious conflict of interest with a president that holds financial interests in over 53 nations including Russia.

Luckily, I’m an expat and as promised, I’ll soon be posting all the experiences we just had in Cambodia. Wishing to close out with something positive, I’d like to reiterate that here in Penang, xenophobia is nonexistent, hatred is unheard of and misogyny is not tolerated so I’d invite you to try life outside America. If you want to escape a nation hopelessly divided and filled with hatred, come join us. Malaysia will be happy to take you.

malaysia

Thanks to everyone for letting me express my profound sadness and cheers from Penang, Malaysia.

Monkeying Around Penang

Those of us old enough to remember school essays that were actually written with pen and paper probably had to do at least one standard version of “How I spent my summer vacation”. Here in the tropics it’s always summer and Malaysia is one of the few tropical nations sandwiched between two influential monsoon weather patterns which means there’s not really any seasons here with the possible exception of January through March when it’s almost always very dry. Usually planning vacations in Southeast Asia around wet and dry season, we hardly ever know what month it is here and were it not for internet radio and social media, we’d probably have no clue that summer is winding down. Celebrated as the last official weekend of summer, Labor Day marks back to school for North Americans but here in Malaysia, the end of August ushers in a slew of holidays celebrating everything from Malaysian Independence to the most important Hindu Festival of the year known as Deepavali.

paradeAs seasoned expats (all of 14 months), we’re not as inclined to investigate each festival because most expats check out whatever local holidays have to offer in their first year and decide which ones are worth coming back for. Sadly, very few Penang events are worth writing home about as far as we’re concerned so as we settle into our daily lives and try to save our cash for travel, we usually avoid the crowds associated with most holidays. Living in the nation’s most popular beach resort town means withering large crowds on public holidays but unlike the big city, big parades and spectacles are not really part of the festivities for most Malaysian holidays. Indian and Chinese holidays do have more glitz but Chinese New Year 2016 was amazingly devoid of fanfare In Penang and many locals blamed a weakened local economy combined with the first full year after the government implemented the GST (goods and services tax). Choosing to spend the Merdeka holiday with the island’s non human population of mostly friendly monkeys held more appeal to me than hanging out on crowded beaches anyway so that’s exactly what I did.

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Somebody Must Be Wrong

Watching yet another round of useless U.S. presidential primaries that helped solidify the inevitable shift towards a twenty-first century version of 1930’s Germany, the real life American Horror Story played out in three more states as American voters continue making the biggest mistake in the history of free elections. Flipping through Facebook looking for anything positive, I stumbled on a new report from Condé Nast Traveler that ranked Penang the number two place in the world to retire. Citing the convenience and ease of the MM2H Visa along with access to historic architecture, culinary delights, a thriving art scene, international standard health care and an English-speaking community of expats, this didn’t really surprise me that much although that’s higher than most rankings I’ve seen in the past.

The view from our condo

The view from our condo

Further noting Georgetown’s UNESCO status, proximity to Singapore and many beaches, the brief caption summarized some of the best highlights. While agreeing with many points, I’m unsure what target audience the magazine hopes to lure in. Given the millions of serious inquiries by Americans about moving to Canada should President Trump become reality, I’d almost swear it’s for disgruntled but sane American voters not so pathetically angry and broke like the newly created populist rebellion crowd. Add in the fact that they’d rank a Muslim country so high while conveniently forgetting to mention the official religion and you’ve almost got a scandal on your hands at least according to any CNN exit poll of Republican voters who almost unanimously agree with barring two billion people from the entering the world’s model of freedom.

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Mass Exodus; American style

Oh, Canada
My Home and Native Land

flagOK, it’s not my native land but it was my home for seven years and it’s the place I feel most comfortable in, despite my New York City roots and over 15 years spent in California. Hearing a lot about all the Americans from Miley Cyrus to the guy next door claiming they’ll all leave and head to Canada with a Trump victory, I thought I’d shed some real insight on the topic since for me it’s “been there, done that“. First, my post-Super Tuesday commentary.

Obviously having zero effect on the outcome, my comments on the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election went unnoticed as America came one step closer to electing Drumpf as the nominee, setting up an almost inevitable march to the White House. Knowing most voters in the conservative and rural states that voted on Super Tuesday probably don’t know the meaning of “expatriate”, this no surprise. Hypocritical world reaction from the European world leaders went from shock to disbelief despite the disturbingly high number of similar xenophobic racists that dominate the political circles all across the continent. With many nations having already enacted anti-Muslim immigration legislation and other isolationist policies designed to increase nationalism and foster racist attitudes among the masses, Bloomberg’s on-line app recently commented how Drumpf actually fits right in with the new 21st century attitude of hatred, fear and racial segregation.

extreme

While saddened by the current state of world affairs, it’s no surprise that America appears headed on the same path despite being the most powerful and influential nation on earth. With trillions of dollars wasted on military actions disguised as anti-terrorism acts, perhaps the money would’ve been better used on education. Statistically speaking, America scores dead last in almost every class of scholastic achievement making it possibly the world’s most ignorant developed nation. Intentionally designed to keep an uninformed nation in the dark, the Republican party covets the citizens least likely to ever benefit from Republican pro-elite policies favorable to business and Wall Street by standing on morals and not issues. Every country has right and left-wing types and under normal circumstances, there’s always been enough sanity (and educated citizens) to prevent sociopaths from taking the reigns of the world’s most powerful job.

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Why it Matters to Expats

Always considering political topics off-limits in my little expat blog about retiring early overseas thanks to an unexpected layoff, lately I’ve reconsidered my stance. Knowing the first sentence may send you away, allow me a few paragraphs to explain why I believe the U.S. Presidential election affects expats every bit as much as those living on American soil. Having already lived 80% of one bad presidency on Canadian soil, Diane and I returned to the USA seven years into a George W Bush presidency and found a completely changed nation that we barely recognized despite following all the post 9/11 events from the fear campaign to the Iraq War from the comforts of the Great White Friendly Neighbor Next Door. Eventually accepting a changed world of TSA agents, racial profiling, unstoppable illegal immigration from our Latin American neighbors and right-wing racist attitudes towards everything Muslim, we figured leaving for Southeast Asia would put enough distance between us and the homeland to negate any negative concerns of the New America.

fascismSadly mistaken, the almost inevitable reality of a Donald Trump presidential nomination makes Dubya look like a pussy and everything he did and stood for pales in comparison to a dangerously scary tyrant dead set on rewriting American democracy to mimic World War II Era Europe. Aside from the obvious ignorant comments that mainstream media’s laughed off for the last seven months, Trump threatens every American around the world especially those calling a Muslim dominated nation home. (despite Malaysia’s record as the world’s most peaceful Muslim nation). Examples of the danger? Assuming Trump gets his way, it’s only a matter of time until Diane and I wind of on a Homeland Security watch list that subjects us to unconstitutional scrutiny should we ever decide to step foot in America again. Financially speaking, imagine an American economy that deports tens of thousands of workers doing jobs Americans feel are below them. Watch what happens when the rednecks that voted for “making America great again” wind up working the fields, Indian tech workers and other educated professionals all over the world get denied entry (because they look like Muslims) and expats around the world feel the brunt of a collapsing U.S. dollar and run away inflation.

If this sounds like conspiracy theory crap to you, you’re not alone. I thought so too. So to back up my arguments, I’ve posted a link below to the best article I’ve seen yet to help spread the word that’s written by a veteran journalist with better writing skills than me. Explaining in politically scientific but simple terms, David Brooks of The New York Times answers the question all us expats hear these days as we travel around the world (“Why does America support Trump”?).

whiteNobody saw Hitler as a real threat until it was too late and while we pray Trump won’t go as far as murder, what’s to stop him from making Asians and Jews or African-Americans the next group of “undesirables“? And don’t kid yourself by justifying that “there’s no suicide bomber Jews or Asians”. You’d be missing the point. Trump is a white elitist supported by every hate group in the USA including the Ku Klux Klan, skinheads, anti-black contingency and those that somehow feel Mexicans “stole all the jobs”. He’s the worst extension of a Bush policy that’s instilled a permanent sense of misguided patriotism and fear of terrorism into most Americans. Imagine ally after ally isolating themselves from America and closing their doors to would-be expats.

tradeWorse than that, America gets about 80% of its fruit and veggies from everywhere else thanks to government subsidies of corn favoring lobbyists and big industry. Expats understand why self-sufficient nations like Ecuador, Vietnam, Thailand and Chile are the bread baskets of America despite the unhealthy Cargill products sold to obese Americans (mostly Trump supporters) at Wal-Mart. Nations will slowly begin imposing trade restrictions and protectionist policies that hurt all Americans. And what’s after that? Using some false military action and hollow threats that will somehow be blamed on the Muslim world to force nations filled with those Trump loathes the most into sending all their food to a racist nation with a closed-door policy. Not a pretty picture for your grandchildren.

With Texas’ hundreds of electoral votes “conveniently” included in Super Tuesday, I’d implore anyone reading to please digest the article below. If you’re not American, blast it all over social media and maybe, just maybe, a miracle will somehow deny an ignorant electorate an opportunity to make the biggest mistake of this century.

Please click this link if you care about the future

Hoping this is the last word on the issue (at least on this blog), thanks for understanding and I promise the next post will be something related to our expat life in Penang.

Cheers from peaceful Malaysia