Another challenge here is relatively high cost of living in Perth compared to other capital cities in Australia. We were shocked to discover that Perth has the highest cost of living among the Australia’s capital cities. We have the most expensive coffee in Australia. The most expensive pint of beer (I’m glad Islam prohibits alcohol). The most expensive for eating out. The most expensive for simple pleasure like movie. Yesterday, we just spent AUD90 for a family of 5 to watch “Star Wars: Rogue One”. The most expensive for public transport and car ownership costs. And the list goes on and on. It came as a surprise because Perth is considered as the least developed capital and the nearest to Asia where all the cheap goodies came from. However, I was blinded by the fact that, Perth is the most isolated capital city in the world. Also the entire Western Australia despite being the largest state consists of only 2 million occupants, just slightly more than in South Australia which is mainly covered in forest and desert. These factors led all the main suppliers to send their exported goods to the Eastern States and then only the local distributors will send this to Perth via road. Even coffee which is mainly supplied by Indonesia took this longer route to Perth. This makes your wallet thin in no time in Perth.
Another negative aspect of Perth or Western Australia in general is, the people are very closed minded. We are making huge mistake in assuming that Whites generally are open minded and open to multi-culturalism like Americans even in the small town of Madison, Wisconsin where we studied from 1995 to 1997. No, not here. People are generally very conservative in their daily life and outlook. Newcomers are viewed with suspicion. One of my earlier memories was my landlady who are originally from Hungary warned us not to trust any Aussie. This is surprising for us considering she is also white and making Perth her home for the past 30 years. After living here for 24 months, we slowly understand what she was trying to warn us against. In general, people here not as warm or as embracing as Americans. They might give you a “good morning” here and there or their favorite, “how are you going?”. However there is no real warmness in their behavior toward us. As my ex-landlady warned me, they are very good at faking it. As a Muslim, we are also facing challenges from relentless right wing attack on Islam and general ignorance from public on our religion. My wife, who is wearing hijab feel uncomfortable whenever she is out. One more that one occasions, she received dirty look and unwarranted stares. We can only hope and pray that we can see beyond skin colors and hijab.
When we moved here two years ago, we are fully aware this is not going to be bed of roses. We still believe so. However, we sincerely believe good things will come to those who wait. Sooner or later we are going to break down all the barriers and move forward. Today as I watch the sunset of 2016 with friends and family, I can’t wait for the sun to rise again tomorrow. For tomorrow is going to be a new and better day for all of us.
2017 Here We Come and May The Force Be With Us!
Bedford, Western Australia
December 31, 2016