Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Conversations in the Nepalese Diaspora

This is a summary of a set of conversations happening in the Nepalese diaspora. And though the content of this conversation is specifically Nepali, I feel the context of this conversation applies to all of South Asia.

 There are many Nepalese that have moved from Nepal to America. And once settled, many at one point or another find themselves asking this question: Is America heaven or prison for us Nepalese?

Us Nepalese have been in motion for a while now. We have been leaving Nepal to go to foreign countries for decades. Nepalese workers of all kinds and Laure Gurkha solderiers have gone to foreign countries. And these foreign gone Nepalese workers have returned back to Nepal with wealth and money for their family and community. In this way the community is enriched, family is enriched. This has been going on for many decades, if not further back.

Everytime Nepal's economic difficulties happen, droves of Nepalese leave for foreign countries. And everytime Nepal stabilizes, Nepalese return back to their home country so that they can pursue money making in their own country.

We want to pursue money making and building our careers in Nepal. But we can't.

That is why so many of us are conflicted and confused about whether we should go back to Nepal or stay in America:

And I read this thread that asked us how it is that we motivate ourselves while living in America:

I noticed that many Nepalese, not just me, are struggling with motivation. Many of us feel that we are being lazy.

So I started to start thinking that there are two kinds of Nepalese. One Nepali is motivated by the fire in his stomach. And the other Nepali is motivated by the fire in his heart. And I started to see...the Fate of the Confused Nepali.

Can two contradictory forces paralyze motivation?

In other words think of a young child. His parents are fighting. He respects both his parents. But all of a sudden his parents ask him to pick sides. Ouch. Painful. So now he is torn. His motivation is paralyzed. He loves both. He cannot choose. But the parents are adamant that he can't have both. How is he supposed to choose between them?

Now imagine that the two parents are not individuals but rather two groups. Two groups of peers. This is middle school. And the two groups of peers are putting pressure on the individual. The individual must choose sides. There is no middle ground. The political environment of the school is polarized and charged. There is no room for the middle.

And let's up the ante a bit more. Let's say that one of the groups are Nepalese that are motivated from the starvation from the stomach.
And let's say that the other group of Nepalese are motivated by the starvation from the heart.

And let's say that there are Nepalese who haven't adamantly chosen either polar group but rather find themselves in the middle--you know, the confused Nepalese. Could the sheer force of the two polar groups paralyze the confused individuals in the middle?

In other words think of the confused individual in the middle as a little iron ball. And the confused Nepalese (the iron ball) as those who are swinging from Nepal to America. And then the other confused Nepalese (the same iron ball) are swinging from America to Nepal. He swings like a pendulum. He swings from the magnet called Nepal and swings towards the magnet called America. So because of their confusion, they are swinging like a pendulum from Nepal to America. And then the other confused ones are swinging from America to Nepal.

The pendulum starts at the right most location. That is when you are first in Nepal, before you left America. That is position A.

And when the Pendulum is in the leftmost position, it means that you are you in America. That is position G.

 Position G: Living In America

Position A: Living in Nepal

Position D: Confusion

The left most picture is of someone currently living in Nepal wanting to come to America. And the right most picture is of someone currently living in America, wanting to go to Nepal.

At first this iron ball is in Nepal. He identifies with the Nepalese with a hungry stomach. Life in Nepal is very tough. You have to do whatever you need to struggle and survive there. You have to do hook or crook.

This individual will do whatever it takes not to 'Drown in Kathmandu.'

But now life in Kathmandu has become very difficult. There is Maoist threats, Nepal bandhs happening all the time, load shedding, no water, poltical chaos and economic chaos. So this individual wants to escape from all of this.
He swings like a pendulum. He swings from the magnet called Nepal and swings towards the magnet called America.

And this is how many of us have survived in America in a white collar job. Or we have survived in America in a blue collar job.

I was reading this thread that asked: Does Being Isolated (in a foreign country) make you psychologically weaker?

And I was realizing that it is all this pain that makes us want us to return back to Nepal and to be able to pursue our money-making and career business without it hurting us in anyway. Many of us are confused about whether we should live in Nepal or America.

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