In China, Guangzhou, around a dinner in Buddha World (佛世界饭馆) with my girlfriend, the topic of state welfare arose.
Soon, we began to have a long conversation about Australia. I was telling her about Australian welfare, and work rights in China.
I told her some truth.
“You know, when I came to China to study in Jinan university, the Australian government would give me money for going outside of Australia.”
She asked, “Why would they do that? Wouldn’t they lose a lot of money?”
“Yeah. I guess it was a stupid policy. They changed it now so that you can only go outside of the country for four weeks each year and still earn an allowance, but they had the initial policy because a lot of Australians go overseas for health conditions, or to visit family, so they do not take their payments away while overseas. It is called portable income.”
She said, “That’s good.”
I continued “So, in the Jinan university time, I could go out of my country for six weeks, and as long as I flew back to my country within six weeks, then I would be able to get my payment restarted for another six weeks, so that I can go outside of the country and continue to earn an allowance from Australia while overseas.”
“But that would not be good for your study.”
“I guess so, but what I did was come to China to study for six weeks. Then I would fly to Australia to stay for one or two days, so that the government computers would reset to know I am back in Australia, and my six weeks of portability income would reset again. That way I would be entitled to six more weeks of portability income outside of Australia. It was completely legitimate.”
“…Once done in Australia, I would fly back to China and continue to study for the next six weeks. I repeated that cycle over a year while I studied in China. Because I can’t work while I am in China, so essentially, the government was paying me to come to China to study.”
Inspirational Western State Welfare
I explained the Australian welfare system to her.
“If you are a poor person in Australia, and you do nothing, and only play computer games your whole life, and you never get a job, but you save your government assistance money, then after twenty years you are still going to be able to buy a house.”
She started to have moments of truth.
Looking at me, as if to think, “That is a really good life,” she then opened up.
“Australia sounds like a really good country! That is why so many Chinese people go to Australia to study, and they want to immigrate there.”
“..Nobody ever tells us these things.”
“…We are always told that China is a great place to live in. We never question or think about or evaluate other countries.”
“…But after you told me that, I think that Australia would be a good country to live in.”
“…The story is very inspiring for people like me.”
The author of Diary Of A Mad Chaos from 1996 to 2018, The Lost Years book, Wubao In China (猎艳奇缘) book series, and Foreigner (华人) an exploration of race relations in Australia. Fluent in Chinese Mandarin, Macedonian, and English, the author currently resides in China, Guangzhou where he continues to make comparative analysis of the cultural differences between Eastern and Western societies.