Posts Tagged ‘Immigration’

(Published in Asian ImageConnections, Page 1, Jan 26, 2013)

Kaberi Chatterjee

Will someone please tell the new immigrants how to build credit in Canada? Because it seems the banks and financial institutions are hell-bent on making life miserable for the newcomers and no one really offers you a comprehensive package about credit building, which is so very important in Canada.

It’s been three long years I am in Canada and I still don’t know what exactly I should do to have a good credit. Some say I should pay off my credit cards and keep them in a vault; some say I should use my cards and pay them off before due date; some say I should get more cards; some say I should not have too many cards.

Some say you should have a lot of money in the bank to get credit; some say millions of dollars in the bank won’t help. Some say all you need is a good credit payment history; some say you need to have a good paying job.  How do you expect a newcomer to have a good job when newcomers are not given jobs since they do not have the much-haloed ‘Canadian Experience’?

Immigrants are allured everyday by the government to come to Canada, an apparent ‘Land of Opportunities’ and then they are left to find out about struggling in Canada on their own.

I am sure, like me, a lot of newcomers are flummoxed as to what to do. The government and banks keep silent, and will hit you below the belt with a ‘Not Approved’ Line of Credit or housing loan, when you apply for one. And to top it all, your credit score goes down every time you apply for a loan. What the hell does one do then?

Like in other countries you are ostracized if you are a criminal, drug addict or a gay, you are ostracized if you do not have a good credit history in Canada. Hence, it is imperative for every Canadian bank to educate newcomers step-by-step of how to build credit; when to buy a house, how to buy a house, how to invest, what kind of jobs will affect their credit negatively and more importantly, remove the much-hypocrite “Canadian Experience” badge! Immigrants come here with years of experience, are much more experienced than major Canadians, and perfectly qualified Engineers, MBA’s and doctors do not need to haul packages at a factory or serve coffee at a restaurant to acquire “Canadian Experience”. This hypocrisy on the part of the government needs to stop.

Being a true place for social integration, Canada can rise to a much higher degree and can stop its citizens from fleeing off to other countries after they’ve taken full advantage of the generous government’s resources, if only immigrants are given the respect they deserve. If you are using the immigrant-manpower to fill up your census, you cannot blame immigrants from taking advantage of your full resources and then going off to greener pastures.


Today someone told me a wonderful thing: You were an Indian by birth, but a Canadian by choice. You had no choice when you were born in India.

Way back, when I was marriageable age, and I had a suitable face to woo NRIs, I would not be bashful today to say I did refuse a number of them. I wanted to stay in my country. For 42 years. I was one of those ‘silly’ patriotic freaks who would be up on her feet for the National Anthem and hung the flag on nationally important days. My peers around me smiled rather empathetically at me. They were, by then, already into the hot-dog culture sweeping across the nation. I remained brazenly patriotic.

That is why it hurt the most. When you love someone deeply and want to remain loyal to; rooted to your cause despite diligent and repeated attempts by the vibes and jives around to throw you out; you feel betrayed, shunned, exploited, unwanted.

That is why I left.

When you trust your own people (read administration) blindly and they laugh at your trust; you wake up and turn your back to them one day.

I was the odd one out everywhere. Everything seemed very puzzling. I could never associate the teachings I received in my course of education with the teachings that were in the air around.

Journalism was where I expected to find the tenets of my education. Here is the media, I felt, through which I could give a vent to my anger about our abused system.

That was what I thought.

The reality hit me everyday for 20 years that journalism is just another profession. Yet I turned a blind eye to the inconspicuous truth. I thought, with my pen, I could change the world.

However, after discovering that the same parasites and worms of other parts of the society exist in journalism too, I decided to finally shut the book called India.

India is a beautiful country, but has very confused people. The British hangover still makes people believe that following the West (in these times, USA) is supposed to be their ultimate aspiration. Every Indian, since the time they are born, are taught that the language ‘English’ is your ‘father’ and the country ‘USA’ is your ‘mother’. They are taught ‘A, B, C’ even before they learn to say ‘Ma’ in their own language. They are made to learn ‘CAT=Cat, BAT= Bat’ long before thy learn their own mother tongue. The toddlers are taught that if you did not fulfill the two loyal duties towards your ‘father’ and ‘mother’ you have not achieved much in life.

So, even now, when India is one of the booming and threatening global economy, the ultimate status quo of a corporate individual is how many times has he been to the States. Which shopping complex does that particular Bollywood star shops from in USA and which university in the States one should apply for after brilliant results.

I am mediocre. My child is mediocre. I had realized he’ll be floating into the realms of nightmares if I have to incorporate him into this kind of a system. So I fled before the black holes of education and career choices came sucking at him.

Even his teacher frantically tried to stop me from coming to Canada. “You see, there is so little competition there, such low standards of education… your child will not learn anything there.”

I told her: “Dearie… I have been drowned and in due time, surfaced in this education system. And the sole ‘education’ I have is of the dreadful exams… of how we crammed up pages after pages of ‘knowledge’ into our brains and puked them on our question papers the next day. I, now, shy away whenever someone asks me what my educational background is… since I won’t be able to answer any question about my subjects if he/she asks. As all I learned and gained in knowledge in life was not from the ‘education’ I received, but after I left the educational dominion.

So with a country, that has such a wonderful democracy, secularism, wonderful constitution, a vast diversity of people, landscapes, religion, society, and yet a disorganized harmony existing among them, it is sad that the administration and law of the country are so impotent.

Impotency has eaten into the roots and every nerve of the structure, and now one wonders where to start the eradication process from — up or below. Because, now the cancer has spread so far that a few cosmetic surgeries like “economic boom”, GDP escalation or competing with other developed countries in N-factor and space domination, will not help the patient.

India will perhaps live, but Indians die everyday. And nobody cares.

I may have fled from the drudgery around me which pained me so much that it almost hurt, but it still hurts. I have adopted Canada as my homeland… but feel I have lost a battle. I thought I could change the world. For 42 years I fought for my motherland. And then I remembered the words: “You cannot change the world, but be sure the world does not change you.”

I came to my senses…