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How do expatriates manage without facebook

Social tools have taken such an importance in our daily life that it seems almost impossible to live without facebook, Youtube, twitter and the like. But such tools are not unanimously welcome around the world and some countries are actively engaged in hampering their use, which they consider a danger for political stability, moral code or religion. How do expatriates manage to live without Facebook when, as it's the case in China and other countries, the access to the website is forbidden?

The predicament is highly publicized in China, where the governement, in it's so called fight against pornography, has forbidden access to Facebook and Youtube and wherefrom Google is threatening to withdraw in face of numerous attemps to damage it's users' privacy. It is a matter of importance for expatriates who are large scale users of internet to connect with relatives and friends home and access to pluralistic sources of information. It is found inacceptable by our teenagers who sees the situation as a legimate ground to refuse an expatriation with their parents in China.

Such a situation is not specific to China. Other countries, such as Iran or the United Arab Emirates, also exert a tight control of the web. (Open net initiatives, an institution created by Harvard, is editing regular reports on how free access to the web is being secured or hampered in various areas of the globe.)

How do expatriates manage to live without Facebook?  The answer is that they don't even try to. They actually search and find solutions to access the site by other means.

Web afficionados have indeed rapidly figured out ways to beat the obstacles and are increasing using devices refered to as Virtual Personal Network (VPN) to access their favorite websites.

VPNs enable the user to tunnel a way to a servor which is located in a country with no restriction to the net. From this servor the user crypts his information and send them whis an anoymous IP adress to prevent monitoring. Those VPNS, according to an article from the New York Times are getting very popular, with softwares by Open terrace (freedur), Anchor free (Hotspot Shield)...

If your children don't want to come along to China. You can tell them that you should find a way to access Facebook.

Mandarin promoted in British secondary schools

The British Government announced on January 3 it's intention to promote the learning of Mandarin as a second language in secondary schools: " every British teenager should have the chance to learn Mandarin due to the growing importance of China in world events".

This step is characteristic of the changes currently occuring within the world economy, particularly with the continous rise of China which, according to the World Bank, should overtake Japan and become the 2nd world economy in 2010-2011.

According to a poll published by the CBI (Confederation of British Industry) in 2009, Businesses would be increasingly interested in staff who speak Mandarin: 38% of employers were looking for Mandarin or Cantonese speakers, compared to 52% for French and 43% for German.

Expat Survey HSBC 2009

HSBC recently published the second edition of it's "expat survey". The survey has been conducted amongst a population of 3100 expatriates in 26 countries. It provides a ranking of the countries most appreciated by expatriates based on their quality of life: accommodation, food, transports, education, cultural life and hobbies but also health, family life, social life,...

Canada is ranked 1rst, ahead of Australia, Thailand and Singapore. Countries where quality of life is less appreciated are the united Kingdom, Russia, India and Qatar.

In general, expatriates consider that living overseas provides them with a better quality of life.

Nevertheless, the particular areas of such an improvement are particularly versatile from one country to the other:

When citing the advantages of expatriation, interviewees emphasize financial aspects, quality of life and food before career opportunities and travels.

As the expatriation difficulties are concerned, they are mainly linked to being separated of family and friends, followed by language and cultural adjustments.

Malaysia striving to attract foreign talents

As the number of skilled workers remains a constraint and past efforts to attract foreigners such as the MM2H (Malaysia My 2nd Home) are meeting lesser successes, Malaysia is working on new initiatives to attract talents from abroad.

Said Prime Minister Najib Razak: "We will create more opportunities, more excitement and more buzz in Malaysia to attract the Malaysia diaspora and expatriates in the country".

The Malaysian Government is working on easing immigration rules, facilitating the obtention of visas for skilled workers'family members and granting Permanent Residence to foreign men married with Malaysian women.

More will have to be made in order to enhance the country's image. Malaysia was ranked 75 out of 215 countries in Mercer 2009 Quality of living Survey.

 

Obama to US companies: export in Asia

US president Barack Obama recently held a day long training session with nation's top CEO's, economists, labour leaders and policy makers in order to imagine ways for developping employment in the US. At the end of the session the focus is clearly on Asia, with an appeal to american companies to develop their business in the region:

"If we just increased our share of exports to Asia by 1%, that's about a quarter million jobs. If we increase it by 5% that's a million jobs. That fills a big hole. It doesn't cost us money" (President B Obama)

US job cuts at a record low in November

According to figures from the US labour department, US would have cut the fewest job in November (11.000) signaling a sharp recovery from previous months and repositionning the unemployment rate at 10%.

The production sector is still loosing jobs: 61.000 cuts overall, including 41.000 in Manufacturing and 27.000 in construction.

The services sector displays a green light, with 58.000 jobs created: jobs in professional and business services are rising sharply (+86.000), as well as in Education and Health services (+40.000), while still slightly negative in retail trade (-15.000).

Expats in Asia: the US$ vs Yen impact on cost of life

According to a recent survey by ECA, expats in Asia feel the pinch of a weak US dollar, as currency exchange rates push up their local living expenses.

With a rising yen, Japan cities are the most costly living places, Tokyo, Yokohama, Nagoya, and Kobe (in that order) trusting the four highest ranks in Asia.


Costly living city ranking
City
Asian Rank Global Rank
Tokyo 1 2
Yokohama 2 5
Nagoya 3 7
Kobe 4 8
Hong Kong 5 51
Shanghai 6 52
Seoul 7 55
Beijing 8 60
Singapore 9 78
Taipei 10 99

 

 Voir l'article ECA: Singapore rising up Asia cost of living ladder

Culture shock: strategies to cope with the expat's spleen

There are spleens that can be nurturing. Culture shock is one of them. Every expatriates experience it. None does it the same way. Some do not pay the least attention. Others fall deep in a period of isolation and detestation. At the end of the day, when mourning is over and one starts to perceive local manners, sounds and odours differently, there is a feeling of undeniable enrichment and peace showing the integration process is well underway.

While screening expatriation websites, I found on ExpatGoMalaysia.com(a website on Malaysia), an article that I found especially witty and pertinent on describing culture Shock and coping strategies to implement at each stage.

In another article (Culture shock), I described the 4 key stages of the adaptation process to the new environment: honeymoon, culture shock, reconciliation and adaptation.

During the honey moon phase, the author of the expatkl post, proposed to take advantage of it ( The honeymoon period is sometimes so short than one can forget to notice): play the tourist, send poscards (while you're still in a mood to write positive messages), organize your holidays 6 months in advance, join clubs, start learning the local language ...

During the culture shock period (desintégration), take care of oneself, stay as busy as possible, set up daily objectives (with as much mini victories), continue with language courses ...

During the reconciliation (reintégration)phase, develop your network, enjoy the vacation you had been planning 6 months earlier, continue with language courses ...

When on the adaptation phase, try new things, explore the country's culture, practice the language,...

In short, take a full advantage of your votre spleen to pave the way for you ideal!

 

 

 

Opening in singapore, a local antenna for "Entreprises Humaines"

"Entreprises humaines" is an association of men and women engaged in implementing more human practices in the workplace.

Its ambition is to be a reference showing how companies sustainable development is linked to the flourishing of those who work within or interact with them?

The association which, up to now, had been exclusively developping in France, has selected Singapore to create its first antenna abroad.

More information on the association and on how to join: billet forum (in French)

Online translation services

Tradonline.fr provides companies and individuals with an array of online translation services.

The originality of the concept, besides providing on line services, is to employ a team (no more than a hundred) of duly selected freelance consultants. An opportunity for teleworkers with an expertise in translation, who can additionally offer their being immersed in the very culture of the public the translation is designed for.

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