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Who am I : An Expatriate or a Returnee?


Top level Chairman's messages

Some time in May, I ran into Allan McLeod, Head of CDNIS and James Mistruzzi, Principal of Japanese International School at Aberdeen Boat Club.

During our conversations, I mentioned CCA¡¦s intention to establish the post of ¡§Director for Expatriate Affairs¡¨ and the fact that I was (and still am) looking for a suitable candidate for it. The idea was to have someone to deal with expatriates and handle their related affairs. Then the issue of who should be considered as an expatriate was raised. I found it intriguing as, apparently, Allan seemed to be of the view that I should consider myself (or words to that effect) ¡§an expatriate¡¨ as well.

I am a person who was educated and raised in Hong Kong, went to Canada to continue my tertiary education and returned to Hong Kong after obtaining my two degrees from UBC and my Canadian citizenship status.

It is intriguing, at least to me, to be considered as an ¡§expatriate¡¨ in such circumstances as it has never dawned on me in all these years that I should be considered as such.

One dictionary defines ¡§Expatriate¡¨ as a ¡§person living outside his own country¡¨. Hong Kong was my home before I left for Canada and the place that I returned to live after spending eleven odd years in Canada. As I am now living in my ¡§home country¡¨, it seems that I should be considered as a returnee but not an expatriate in the true sense and meaning of the word.

Certainly, any Canadians who came to work in Hong Kong and do not hold a permanent Hong Kong Identity Card should rightly be considered as an expatriate and I venture to say, even amongst those who have obtained a permanent Hong Kong Identity Card, are still expatriates if they were originally having Canada as their home country.

After the analysis, I am happy to report that in the context of the Hong Kong situation, I am not an expatriate but an returnee and my original idea of establishing a post of Director for Expatriate Affairs is proper and appropriate so that CCA can attract more expatriates as members.

Spencer Lee




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