The Helplessness of Living In U.S. with no English skills

Why will anyone in the right frame of mind move to the U.S. when they obviously do not know English? This is one big question that I often ask myself when I see the older Chinese immigrants in Chicago. Because of a lack of English skills, there is no way to communicate with Americans. And because of the lack of ability to communicate, there is obviously no way they can get any job except for those that are more menial in nature.

The weirdest thing is, they came when they are no longer young, meaning they left their comfortable lives in eg. China, Hong Kong where they have no problem communicating with anyone, to a foreign country where they cannot communicate and have to try to find a job, most likely accepting a job that doesn’t pay that well, and is way tougher than their original job in their homeland.

Of course people say that they come to America to chase the American dream. But is it considered a dream life when you have to leave your comfortable job in your homeland to work as a cleaner in the U.S. albeit with a slightly higher pay, also with a higher cost of living?

I have spoken to these Chinese immigrants, and many a time the feeling I gathered when I spoke to them was that they are not happy in the U.S. Naturally. They cannot communicate; they cannot even express themselves when they were treated unfairly!

There was a janitor I spoke to who actually worked as a factory’s department head when he was in China. But when he came to Chicago about 10 years ago, he had to work from the bottom, settling for temporary jobs such as factory packer, Panda Express cook, janitor etc.

The reason why he came to U.S.was actually quite noble. He came for his son’s sake. He thought that his son would want to move to the U.S. in search of a better life. And according to him, the parents of the child have to live in the U.S. for 10 years before they can sponsor their child over. So he toiled over the years, waiting for the day that his son will join him in Chicago.

Yet the ironic thing is, when his son finally attained approval to move to the U.S, his son had already settled into his job in China and formed a family, therefore with no more intention to move to the U.S.

When I spoke to the janitor, something I felt strongly was his resignation to his fate in the U.S. That he will just have to keep toiling to make ends’ meet and hopefully one day save enough to head back to China to reunite with his family.

Recently, I also witnessed two Chinese immigrants being spoken to very condescendingly by their boss due to their subpar English skills. The boss’s behavior was absolutely appalling.It was downright demeaning. And it was humiliating. Yet the two immigrants could not rebut him or defend their rights, simply because if they did, they might lose their jobs, and if they lose their jobs, they might not be able to find another one. And this is incredibly sad.

It is a loss of dignity for the sake of their rice bowl.

Which begets my question again: Why don’t they go back to their original country?!!!

Is such a life really better?!

It has always been my view that one should go where one is wanted. The standard of living might be slightly lower in their original country, but one’s dignity is still way more important. I also hope that people can have a more caring heart. I mean, we are all humans,there is no need to treat others so condescendingly!!

 

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About Chasing Carefree

I am a Singaporean Chinese who moved to Chicago in 2015. I hope to chronicle my daily life, rants, travels and observations of the American culture on this blog.
This entry was posted in Cultural Differences, Daily Life in Chicago, Musings and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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