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Political Instability

Discussion in 'Teaching abroad' started by StrangePanda, Aug 25, 2019.

  1. StrangePanda

    StrangePanda Occasional commenter

    I’m just mulling over a few things re the situation in HK. I’d be interested to hear from other teachers who have been living somewhere in uncertain times. What were your experiences like? How did you work out when the situation became too much/unsafe? Anyone experienced living, however briefly, under martial law? What kind of advice and assistance- if any- did the FCO give?

    I’m not excessively worried... yet... but there has been an escalation in rhetoric over the last day or two.
  2. bigfatgit

    bigfatgit Occasional commenter

    Don't expect any assistance from UK Embassy if they are anything to go by with the revolution in Egypt - most of their staff were on the first planes out

    We were told to assemble at the Marriot hotel in Zamalek which would have meant we would have had to travel through most of the hotspots to get there only to be put on a bus to be taken back through the troubles to the airport. They later said that this was a misunderstanding and they meant the JW Marriott which is nearer the airport

    It was also cheaper to book your own flight than take their flights

    Did we do any of that? Did we hell. We opened the ACE and partied
    StrangePanda and Helen-Back like this.
  3. T0nyGT

    T0nyGT Lead commenter

    HK is worrying and maybe it will put some teachers off working there in the future. The Chinese aren't going to let the country out of their grip without a struggle and they're using some very nasty tactics to get people in line. I watched a video of government hired Triads (this isn't a conspiracy theory, it's real) attacking protesters with sticks in the airport. I wouldn't want to get caught up as an innocent bystander in that.
    blueskydreaming and StrangePanda like this.
  4. StrangePanda

    StrangePanda Occasional commenter

    Yes- the FCO don’t even want to know/care who is living abroad. I dropped an email through their system, only to be told ‘oh, we don’t register British nationals any longer’. Reassuring...
  5. JL48

    JL48 Star commenter

    Yes, I always felt that the attitude of the various overseas missions towards the expat community showed the British political elite for what they are, and fairly reflected what was going on at home too.

    When working overseas I attended innumerable Australia days, Canada days, Terry Fox Runs and drinks at American, French, German and other consulates for one reason or another. The British were usually notably absent unless you were an important member of the local business community, in which case you would be invited to a black tie dinner and dance for St Andrew's Day.

    I also have vague memories of William Hague saying that a bunch of British Engineers trapped in Libya could go hang as they were expats that didn't pay UK taxes so couldn't expect any help. And when our overseas territory, Montserrat, exploded - I believe Clare Short muttered something about Golden Elephants. Very helpful.
    StrangePanda likes this.
  6. lifeinthe852

    lifeinthe852 New commenter

    I agree @StrangePanda - a worrying time to be working here. Interested to know if your school has addressed the situation with its staff?
    I suspect a number of expat teachers here will be looking elsewhere for next year if this continues.
  7. StrangePanda

    StrangePanda Occasional commenter

    Nothing has really been addressed, yet. I wonder if it might be soon. It’s the elephant in the room at the moment. How about your school?
  8. february31st

    february31st Established commenter

    Its the Economic Instability that is the problem for HK and China. Its when the business people in HK and Shanghai decide to leave the number of students in the international schools will drop like a stone down a well and there go all the teachers jobs.

    It will be interesting to see how many families do not return to Shanghai this year with the Trade War kicking off and foreign multinational companies start to cut back expat manpower in China. Many foreign workers with families working in Shanghai are already been replaced by single individuals as companies downsize their footprint in China.
    TeacherMan2019 likes this.
  9. lifeinthe852

    lifeinthe852 New commenter

    Not a word. I thought SLT would mention at the start of term but they didn’t and there hasn’t been anything said since. It’s the talk of the staff room, of course. We are lucky to be a little removed from it as we are not on the Island, but it’s still worrying - especially the escalation this weekend. We have kids too so moving is a big commitment because it means finding the “right” school/country is even more important for us (IMO).
  10. bigfatgit

    bigfatgit Occasional commenter

    The American Embassy was to the other extreme

    Used to get messages saying things like "A duck f@rted in Maadi. This was reported to the security detail at the embassy who investigated the incident thoroughly. No anti-American sentiment was found in the incident"

    I'm not actually exaggerating too much :)
    JL48 and blueskydreaming like this.
  11. february31st

    february31st Established commenter

    The American Embassy has a legal responsibility to look after its citizens the British Embassy will not even give you the time of day in the event of an emergency. In the event of an emergency the British Embassy would be the last place I would be heading to get out of a situation, I can recommend the Swedish Embassy for when the **** hits the fan.
    JL48 likes this.
  12. taiyah

    taiyah Occasional commenter

    Firstly, the individual has a responsibility not to put themselves in a position where the only absolute choice is an extraction via foreign services.

    Secondly, as one poster has said, these are protestors who 1) clean up after themselves 2) leave money in the vending machine they broke into and 3) hold ☔ umbrellas to shade the men and women breaking a door open. From a business point of view it is a worry but it's not the same as our British counterparts who were stuck in the ME during the Gulf war or other political situations in Africa.

    Keep calm, keep going. Just make sure you know where 2 embassies and consulates are.
  13. Mainwaring

    Mainwaring Lead commenter

    I empathise with BFG's comments about the uselessness of (most) British embassies, though I have to say that our consulate in Malaga is doing a great job of advising and keeping us informed about the Brexit fiasco. (This standard of care will be yet another plus for Dumbers when he returns from darkest Africa to take up his post as Head of the International School of Benidorm).

    In answer to the OP: Mrs M and I have lived through a cheerfully bloodless revolution in South America and a far from bloodless civil war which ended on our son's 13th birthday. During a nuclear standoff between India and Pakistan we shared bacon sandwiches in Delhi with the High Commission's skeleton staff (there's a joke in there somewhere) after the rest had been evacuated to Blighty. Would we do it all again? No, especially the parts that put our children at risk.
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2019
    lottee1000 likes this.
  14. Mainwaring

    Mainwaring Lead commenter

    PS: For political instability, look no further than the U.K.
    JL48 and lottee1000 like this.
  15. T0nyGT

    T0nyGT Lead commenter

    Having needed the services of the British Embassy in Greece several times I can confirm that they are as useful as your local betting shop in aiding citizens
  16. bigfatgit

    bigfatgit Occasional commenter

    That's very unfair on betting shops
    motorhomer and T0nyGT like this.
  17. february31st

    february31st Established commenter

    The British Embassy only ever gives two answers to any question, "That will cost $$$$ for the service" and "We don't interfere with your problems".
    bobbingtoncrescent likes this.
  18. bigfatgit

    bigfatgit Occasional commenter

    All we get here is a recording telling us to visit the FCO website
  19. bigfatgit

    bigfatgit Occasional commenter

  20. SecondPlace

    SecondPlace Occasional commenter

    Several years ago I got so tired of the British Embassy sending me emails telling me all the things they no longer did, that I started to send them emails letting them know all the things I would no longer be doing.

    Trying to actually get an answer from an embassy on anything is all but impossible. Lots of impersonal forms, lots of redirection and instructions to refer to websites. If the websites had the answer I wouldn't be emailing them....

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