Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Patel-Motel

I spent a bit of time yesterday helping a recent immigrant get settled into her new flat.

She has a remarkable story. She came over to New Zealand 6-months ago from India in the hope of improving her and her family's life. She has left behind her husband and her 3-year-old son while she establishes herself. After completing exams and going through a process of practical on-the-job experience, she has recently managed to qualify to New Zealand standards and is working shift work part time until a full time position becomes available in her profession.

I got the impression that her modest 2-bedroom flat that is now sparsely furnished with a few x-motel items that I donated was a lot better than the environment she had left behind in India. The only item of significance she had purchased was an old 10-speed bike she needs to commute to work.  

What amazed me about her was her burning drive and ambition. She has a positive attitude and was extremely happy and grateful that she is living in a beautiful country with such a high standard of living.

Once reunited, this family will add tremendous value to society. I couldn't help fantasizing about a regime where we could selectively export some of our own ungrateful, non-producing members of society in exchange for ambitious immigrants. I wondered how the average deadbeat welfare dependent Kiwi that is overburdened with entitlement would cope after being parachuted into the middle of India?

With this in mind, today I purchased, Life Behind The Lobby a book that tells the story behind the 'Patel-Motel' phenomenon in America.

Incredibly, Indian Americans own about half of all the motels in the United States. Even more remarkable, most of these motel owners come from the same region in India and—although they are not all related—seventy percent of them share the surname of Patel. Most of these motel owners arrived in the United States with few resources and, broadly speaking, they are self-employed, self-sufficient immigrants who have become successful—they live the American dream.

I wonder to what extent this phenomenon has occurred in the New Zealand motel industry?

Click the "Get Widget" link below to place this widget on your website or blog!