This Week Out There – May 4th – 10th

A selection of this week’s expat-related stories


Don’t Flip Off The Philippines

deportedThai national Prasertsri Kosin earned the rare honor of being one of a small number of Southeast -Asians ever to be deported from the Philippines, when he received his walking papers on Tuesday for insulting Filipinos on facebook, tarring them as ‘stupid creatures’ and ‘low-class slum slaves’. Not least among the takeaways from this short article is the confirmation that truly stupid people, say for example those who express bigoted views on facebook, often lack a well-developed sense of irony. Western readers also may find a small measure of relief in reading about an Southeast-Asian expat playing the asshole for a change.

Expatriation Through a Child’s Eyes

When a company assigns someone to work overseas for an extended period, it often means uprooting the whole family expatkid_1875646band setting up in a new country together. In the expat blogosphere, it’s fairly easy to find the stories and reflections of the “trailing spouse” (usually the wife) whose husband’s relocation thrusts her into the role of managing the family in an unfamiliar environment. The following post by 9-year-old Arabelle Rossi is the first time I’ve read a blog post by what you might call a “trailing kid”. Forced to move to Hong Kong when her dad was assigned there, she eloquently offers a child’s take on the fear, confusion, and angst of reluctant expatriation.

Heading for the Exits

533-1108063008-Getting-out-leaving-AmericaAccording to these two recent articles, record numbers of U.S. citizens are renouncing U.S. citizenship, and more and more are considering doing so because of tax policies that they believe are unfair. U.S. expats have for a long time been obliged to pay U.S. taxes above a certain income threshold on foreign earnings, even though they are paying local taxes on the same income. Also fueling the exodus is the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) enacted in 2010 to make it harder for U.S. citizens to hide money overseas but which has bedeviled expats who are merely trying to have money overseas.

Also interesting is the Forbes writer’s use of the term “expatriate” to refer to those who are renouncing citizenship. While technically correct, if the trend continues, we may need a new term to distinguish them from the more numerous group who merely live abroad.

You Can Take a Brit out of Britain…

A British expat has put together a list of Ten Weird Things Brits do in America, which spans the expected (watching old tomatoBritish TV shows) to the funny (adopting American pronunciations with the exception of “tomato”) to the odd (stalking suspected fellow countrymen in the supermarket). May strike familiar chords in expat readers. Or not. But here it is.

And how are you doing out there this week?

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4 comments

  1. “S.E. Asian expats being assholes for a change” – Lol.

    Actually, Filipinos (or the general Filipino netizens, at the least) are quite divided on this issue. Some say we are just too sensitive and the guy did not have to be deported. Some would say he saw it coming, and it’s just right to eradicate parasites in our country. My take though (being a Filipino) is that he did not have to get deported, just reprimanded or something – as if social media has not put him in enough bad light. However, I would have to agree with the company’s decision of terminating him. It is reputational risk, plus the company’s name had been dragged in a lot of forums even when it shouldn’t have been.

  2. FATCA is more nuisance than hindrance as the reporting only calls for a listing of all accounts until the average balance of one is over $200,000 and then it gets complicated.

    And one other Expat drawback is that you change a lot as a person , which makes it difficult to relate to non-expat friends, who then sometimes become former friends.

    1. Hey JT! Long time no see. Yeah, FATCA has caused me any headaches, but I did have to fill out an IRS form at a Korean bank (!) the last time I opened a small account. I’ve heard some foreign banks are refusing to take American customers to avoid hassles, but haven’t heard any such stories firsthand.

      THanks for dropping by!

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