JournalismPakistan.com April 08, 2013
Expats have a highly developed sense of masochism. Letting themselves down is a natural follow up to letting each other down, the last exercise being elevated to the level of a sport. This eliminates it as a subject for a column, that's a subject for a six volume saga so often have we witnessed the premature end of a professional career where those that knelt and grovelled finally did pull the edge of the rug.
For now, though, another sentiment in the let down genre. It has become a sort of accepted indictment to say that expats do not pursue excellence and are happy to be mediocre. Or, to put it more kindly, adequate. Just be good enough and keep your head down and you'll be fine. Don't blaze new trails or beat paths or whatever other active cliché is applicable. Over the years this myth has been perpetuated into a truism.
I often hear people make statements like: He'd never hack it back home (as if home was rife with genius and mediocrity never had a look in).
What do you expect, they are plumbers in their own country and they become managers here (we have something against plumbers, you cringe for one when the sink packs up and if they become managers so what?).
Things are different here, you know, we are severely limited and constrained so you can get away with it (no one ever tells you what ‘it’ is).
He wouldn’t even make it half way up the ladder in the real world (Is this a make believe world, what is this real world people yap on about? Look at your bills, aren’t they real enough?).
Media is no exception to this rule. It thrives on moaning and groaning. Writers whining about their parameters, advertising pundits gibbering on about creative muses getting bruised, generally everyone displaying a baffling but comforting smugness about being less than first rate. Right across the board. Never figured why we are so defensive.
The worst yet most common comment: we have come here to make money, not careers.
Hey there, brother, speak for yourself, I don't denigrate what I do and I don't do less than I would anywhere else in the world including home, which, regrettably is not holding its breath waiting for me to splash back into the pool.
(The writer is a Senior Editorial Advisor of Khaleej Times and the paper’s former Editor. He has also been the Editor of Gulf News, Gulf Today, Emirates Today and Bahrain Tribune)
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