During the first two waves of Chinese immigration to the United States, Hong Kong was the major point of departure for Cantonese speaking emmigrants seeking a better life in the U.S. This wave of immigration from Hong Kong to the U.S. has largely subsided, and the majority of Chinese immigrants in the U.S. are now Mandarin speakers from the mainland. But there is another immigration pattern between the two countries these days, and it’s going in the other direction.
I’m a U.S. citizen who recently immigrated to Hong Kong to work for two years. I work for a company that helps people in Hong Kong get into U.S. universities; unlike previous Chinese who have moved to the U.S., these students generally intend to get their education, and then come back to Hong Kong. This blog is about my experiences as a “reverse immigrant” in Hong Kong and my interactions with Chinese students hoping to study in the U.S. and then return home.
“Reverse immigration” is an allusion to “reverse racism.” “Reverse racism” is a term used primarily by racist white people in the U.S. It implies that racism has a correct direction and an incorrect, or “reverse” direction. Likewise, many Americans think of immigration as having a correct and incorrect direction. I just went the wrong way.
Some may argue that “reverse” immigration would be for me to return to Ireland/Scotland/England/Europe, since that’s where most of my ancestors came from. But that’s still not backwards the same way “reverse racism” implies backwardness. It’s not that I actually turned around and went back East. By crossing the Pacific instead of the Atlantic, I went backwards conceptually. I left the New Word for the Old World, and I went to an old world where I don’t appear to belong. Though my ancestors have been moving West for hundreds of years, at some point moving West lands you in the East.
I assume my readers are adults, and as such I assume they can use the internet to verify any factual claims I make. I encourage debate, and I don’t even require that it be civil. So if you don’t like what I say, or think it’s just wrong, you have two options: 1. don’t read my blog anymore, that’s how freedom of speech works, or 2. argue with me, call me out on it. I may then argue back, or even agree with you. Sounds like fun to me.