Though it’s been about a month and 4 years since I’ve left BC in a car with the remainder of my belongings to Alberta, I still have the fresh bitter memories of the war of attrition I fought in the beautiful but hopeless economic wasteland- where outside being nurtured academically and financially advantageously, or provided connections, from a wealthy privileged immigrant, foreigner, or Old Money family, few opportunities existed in the retirement province with ever-escalating competition and rising living costs.
The graduate post-secondary education became the new undergraduate education with severe credential inflation. Many people, especially those from foreign families, went to post-secondary as simply from a cultural expectation that almost was like a religion, to get a job only as something to do, or literally to just get a piece of paper to bring to their families at their family and social circle gatherings that mimicked awards banquets. Otherwise, the hippie mentality of BC was commonplace- you were told to accept $30,000-40,000/year income and just be grateful to have a job– that is if you even had one. For “useful” educations like CPAs, or engineers, you were told to be happy with maybe $50,000-60,000 after 8+ years of total school.
The battle of attrition in higher education was a extremely stressful one and hopeless at best for getting into fields like law or medicine, where competition was fierce and the person beside you would happily cut your throat if possible without consequence. Those people were often in “useless” undergrad educations where little to no relevant jobs existed- and were looking at fields like law or medicine as a means to even be employed in something worthwhile, or again, to please their famous and social circles.
Many students came from privileged families and financially and academically nurtured backgrounds, such as elite private schools- and an average person coming from an average secondary school where kids just wanted to party and a guidance counselor urged you to reduce yourself to their level stood no chance. Higher education educators were to maintain strict scoring regulations and ensured only a certain proportion of people performed sufficiently, and another failed. You gazed into the eyes of a nemesis whose goal was to separate you from a small group of elites and destroy your future.
The average home price in the region was about 10 times the average household income (which as described above- relatively poor at best), and unlike other parts of Canada, home ownership was viewed as a luxury and a unrealistic proposition unless your family was rich. Similar to the idea of having a Ferrari- and a home often cost many times of that. It was not uncommon to meet people nearing their 30s still living in Mom’s Basement and riding transit in the rain. Even driving was viewed as a luxury by many office job people coming from a non-prilvilaged family.
If you complained, the hippie mentality of BC quickly was lectured:
Just be grateful. Other person A and B in the world somewhere are starving while you are not (or you may be too). [Live the BC dream-] get a BA, smoke weed in your Mom’s Basement and work at Starbucks.
Don’t work on self improvement or money, because it is to sin to otherwise. If you want to be better than most, you’re an evil to society. You are to be greedy.
Major corporations and other employers loved desperate, grateful people as cheap labor. Hippie cries were music to their ears.
The common person often seeks social acceptance and looks for guidance at their immediate social circles or whoever else they’re surrounded by:
It’s alright be in tens of thousands of student debt and making $13/hour, because that’s what happens to everyone else. Every other Asian (or white collar) person also went to higher education, so you should do it too anyways as a basic background. Don’t go into trades- they are dirty and implies you must have failed at school. Blue collar workers are inferior among the Asian (or white collar) people, even if they are happier and make more money.
It pained me in not only social circles, but in the dating world as well to be the inferior man who did not come from a wealthy, privileged family. I was not the guy to have a education, property, and vehicle funded by the Bank of Mom and Dad. Social gatherings were a mini awards banquet of who had the larger Bank of Mom and Dad and a comparison between the BMW or Mercedes their parents bought them last.
On the contrary, tall, older, hippie artsy men who smoked weed in Mom’s Basement and worked at Starbucks were commonly viewed as the desirables by hippie women to have some odd romantic click. They were the type to pick one over a hard worker with ambitions (who sometimes even looked better), as if to insult my pride. The pride of the working ambitious man was viewed as an evil and undesirable. Like a cancer, the inferior race (with respect to the social ladder) seeked their own kind.
I did not exhibit either clique, so life was lonely.
It overall pained me to be falling ever behind with time- finally, physically, and emotionally. I hated being inferior to many others. The worst was not being able to do much about it, aside from being told to just be grateful. Today ever since I left to Alberta for a new life- defying my own family’s wishes to fit the social and cultural cliches to be my own man:
I don’t particularly love my life, but when I read about those who decided to get a “normal” job being a banker/analyst/accountant/engineer/some office job (that they don’t even care much for)- after going to school for 4-8 years, nose deep in debt or still sucking on Momma’s tit when you’re into your mid to late 20s, to make $30-60K a year… and the only hope of ever entering home ownership in BC or Ontario is if your family has money… That’s when I say thank fucking god !!!!!!! Even if most Asian people look at you like a failure if you wear a hard hat instead of a lab coat or suit and tie.