Thursday, 13 May 2010

hurt and lonely

so here is the link to me on back benches last night, talking about the burqa, again. if you haven't had enough of discussions here over the last couple of weeks, have a look.

i wrote on my own blog a couple of nights ago about the korean family in christchurch who committed suicide, the last tragedy being the father who killed himself hours before the funeral for his wife and children. more details are emerging, with the herald publishing translated excerpts from the last blog post of one of the daughters:

"Even though a person smiles all the time, it doesn't mean the person has no sorrow inside. I am only human too," Holly wrote in her final entry.

"Even if a person doesn't talk much, it doesn't mean this person has no thoughts, and even if a person doesn't make any excuses, it doesn't mean the person is guilty...

"I am scared of people. Just because we never say we are ... hurt or lonely, don't think we ... are not hurt and not lonely."

this speaks so much of the potential isolation faced by migrants, and what the lack of appropriate support systems might lead to. many migrants come to this country with the dream of a better life, and high expectations of what they expect to experience here. after spending so much time, money and effort on migration, it becomes really hard to admit that the move was a failure or that you aren't coping.

i'd be interested in hearing the interaction immigration nz was having with this family, as well as potential difficulties the girls may have been facing at their school. as i've seen others say, there were signals that this family wasn't coping. the question then is how do we, as a society, ensure that people such as this are able to access the help they need.

good to see that the mental health foundation are taking some initial steps, but there needs to be a broader response than that. any solution must include immigration nz, who are one of the biggest sources of stress. and i'd like to see more responsibility being put on schools who rake in good money from international students, but aren't always interested in putting in the level of pastoral care that's required for them to settle successfully.

i said two days ago and reiterate today that there are some really important questions that need to be asked around this incident. i hope that the coroner's office will be taking responsibility for that.


Deborah said...

Brilliant, anjum. I loved your comment about needing to work on what really matters.

For anyone who clicks through, anjum is on about half way through Chapter Two. And she's very, very, very good indeed.

stargazer said...

(well, as deep as a brown-skinned person can!). thank you so much deborah.

Jolisa said...

Anjum, you were great! I'm glad I clicked through to see that.

john said...

I was living in Taiwan in 1996, when Winston Peters made headlines there with his anti-Asian immigration comments. Consequently there were some interesting articles in the Chinese and English language media that looked more closely at the Taiwanese migrant experience in NZ, and the lack of any offcial support and the indifference of most NZers was highlighted in them((see the articles here for example: )).

It is most unfortunate to see that nearly 15 years later not much seems to have changed. A government policy of "give us your money, then you take your chances" seems to still be operative.
My heart goes out to this unhappy Korean family,and I hope that others don't suffer the same fate.