beuno99: I am quite interested in knowing what New Zealanders think about Singaporeans. Will employers give me a chance? What about the public at large?


I'm a Singaporean and am a web developer in primarily the open-source camp.

My personal experience has been quite good. A couple of years ago when I first arrived in NZ I had no problems at all securing jobs. In fact, quite the opposite happened - there's so many job interviews being lined up for me through recruitment agencies that I had to decline some of them. Most interviews I've attended resulted in a job offer. This is probably no longer the case with the current economic climate, but that suggests to me that Kiwis are generally open-minded towards Asians when it comes to skilled employment.

As for discrimination, I'm of the opinion that it exist everywhere to everyone if you look for them. Even in Singapore, Chinese nationals are being discriminated against by the locals who are predominantly of Chinese decent. It's not just based on skin colour - the Aussies and Pommies here in NZ get lots of flak too, but it's all in good spirits. If you can laugh at yourself, mate, you'll find the Kiwis laughing with you rather than at you. Asian driver jokes can be a good thing for me - I never had to be the sober driver after a Friday night's drink ;-) Outright negative racial slurs have been observed, but they aren't common and are usually from people who appears to be negative about everything and rather than be angry with them I rather sympathise with them.

I do initially find it quite annoying that because I'm of Chinese decent, first impressions from a stranger in the streets (even if said stranger is also Asian) is that I understand very little English and that I'm probably a Chinese student in NZ. I suppose that's because the majority of Asian people around me who looks my age are indeed students from China who has only basic comprehension of English. That doesn't bother me now because I've realised I can sometimes use that to an advantage... (*shows teary-eyed poor Asian student look*)

Many Asian immigrants tend to stick to themselves because it's more comfortable to stay with the familiar, but for me I believe in integration into the new culture that I've decided to embrace, and that probably helps form my positive opinion of NZ. It certain is not paradise - cost of living is ridiculously high, bureaucratic inefficiencies can be frustrating, and the number-eight wire approach to things can sometimes be a hair-standing experience - but it's a pretty damn good place to live in, or at least experience it once in your lifetime :)