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Back to Hong Kong: Return migration or transnational sojourn? - page 22 / 33

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22

life. For some it is a time to go home, including migrants whose life

earnings have been secured and saved in metropolitan centres of the

global north. The traditional view sees Greeks, Italians, Turks, and West

Indians, amongst others, returning from diaspora to their homelands. It

is here that the transnational longing of skilled Hong Kong returnees

leads to a novel trajectory through a seamless social space that crosses

oceans and national borders, passing from their native place of work to

their adopted place of rest. Interviews with a small sample of skilled

Taiwanese Australians planning repatriation to Taiwan suggested the

same spatial strategy of a double return, first to Taiwan to work, but with

the prospect of a later return to Australia upon retirement, if not sooner;

“many saw returning as yet another temporary move and anticipated

retiring or returning regularly to Australia” (Fei and Iredale 2002: 35).

Simon, still working in Hong Kong as we heard above, was already

thinking in the 1980s of moving to Canada upon retirement, just as

Albert Cheng, with whom this paper began, has retirement plans in

Canada even at the peak of his media career in Hong Kong. A

surprisingly large number, perhaps half, of the respondents in our focus

groups had the same forward planning in mind. Here then is a

particularly transnational double-take on the myth of return. There is a

well-recognised expression among this transnational population ‘Hong

Kong for making money, Vancouver for quality of life’. At retirement the

balance of these two valuations undergoes a significant reassessment.

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