New Year’s Eve minus two days


This morning

Took that on my way to the newsagent where I bought:


It appears from that lead story that the Hellenic Club could become even more popular.

Lamb shanks at The Hellenic Club – salivate!

For several months a stream of mostly young men and women, fresh off the plane from Greece, has been knocking at the doors of a large building on Lonsdale Street in the heart of Melbourne. The 1940s block houses the headquarters of Australia’s biggest Greek community. In scenes reminiscent of the great gold rush at the turn of the 20th century, the men and women have travelled to the other side of the world in search of a better life. Unlike Greeks of old, however, these new émigrés are noticeably accomplished, with hard-earned degrees won in some of the toughest fields.

"They’re all university graduates, engineers, architects, mechanics, teachers, bankers who will do anything for work," says Bill Papastergiades, the community’s lawyer president. "It’s desperate stuff. We’re all aghast. Often they’ll just turn up with a bag. Their stories are heartbreaking and on every plane there are more," he told the Guardian in a telephone interview. "A lot come here and are literally lost. We’ve taken to putting them in houses, five or six of them at a time, here in the centre." …

This year alone, 2,500 Greek citizens have moved to Australia although officials in Athens say another 40,000 have also "expressed interest" in initiating the arduous process to settle there. An 800-seat Australian government "skills expo" held in the Greek capital in October attracted some 13,000 applicants.

With Greece braced for a fifth year of recession, unemployment at a record 18% – and an unprecedented 42.5% of the nation’s youth out of work — the brain drain is only expected to grow. The Australian economy, by contrast, is predicted to grow 4% in 2012…

My eye was also drawn to Why pretend we know everything? It’s time to embrace uncertainty by Suzanne Moore. Oh yes, that’s my kind of thinking!


In addition…

Fascinating story in the December Atlantic Monthly: The End of Chinatown by Bonnie Tsui. Not only are Greeks leaving Greece, but Chinese are leaving the USA, bound for China.

… “Now the American Dream is broken,” Shen tells me one evening at the career center, his fingers drumming restlessly on the table; he speaks mostly in Mandarin, and Yu helps me translate. Shen has mostly been unemployed, picking up part-time work when he can find it. Back in China, he worked as a veterinarian and at a school of traditional Chinese culture. “In China, people live more comfortably: in a big house, with a good job. Life is definitely better there.” On his fingers, he counts out several people he knows who have gone back since he came to the United States. When I ask him if he thinks about returning to China, he glances at his daughter, who is sitting nearby, then looks me in the eye. “My daughter is thriving,” he says, carefully. “But I think about it every day.”

Recent years have seen stories of Chinese “sea turtles”—those who are educated overseas and migrate back to China—lured by Chinese-government incentives that include financial aid, cash bonuses, tax breaks, and housing assistance. In 2008, Shi Yigong, a molecular biologist at Princeton, turned down a prestigious $10 million research grant to return to China and become the dean of life sciences at Beijing’s Tsinghua University. “My postdocs are getting great offers,” says Robert H. Austin, a physics professor at Princeton.

But unskilled laborers are going back, too….