Growing Pains? (Or: Why “Ecopop” Will Tank)

Posted by on Nov 22, 2014 in, Switzerland | No Comments
Growing Pains? (Or: Why “Ecopop” Will Tank)

The vote on 30 November 2014 on whether or not “Ecopop”, an initiative which seeks to impose very rigid immigration caps per year, as well as give federal money for foreign birth control measures (link in German), is like one of those surreal plots to just simply put a cork in what some in Switzerland fear as “mass immigration”.

To me, Switzerland has always been a country which has continued to grow, although if it wants to “chase China” in terms of growth, it is sorely behind. Train stations have continued to witness key expansion projects, and I cannot blame anyone or anything other than “natural development” as the reason.

Most of the growth was basically in parts of the country which was already relatively well urbanised. I have driven through a part of Zürich which goes through older parts of town, more hilly terrain, and parts of the countryside. I think I have seen about 5%, no more than 10%, in terms of newer buildings. Yes, Zürich has continued to grow, but what do you expect from a part of the country that brands itself “downtown Switzerland”?

Grüezi mitenand from!

Posted by on Nov 21, 2014 in, Switzerland | No Comments
Grüezi mitenand from!

Grüezi mitenand, alli Billette vorwiise biitte!

For too long in Switzerland, I was used to this on the trains. A regular refrain from the conductor, it simply meant nothing more than they were checking up on tickets and passes — to make sure no-one gets a free ride, exactly as the law would require.

My trek and story with Switzerland has been unlike any other story you might have bumped into. For the first twelve years after landing in Zürich, I was an Ausländer, a foreigner, a Chinese citizen. I had to get a visa to get in — granted, as dad had a job in a Swiss company, and mom joined him in the country. Then I had a B Permit, a residence permit which had to be renewed every year, as we settled in Opfikon, just by Zürich Airport.

Sometime in the 1990s, for reasons I would much more relate to being a happy student in Swiss-German class in school, this became a Swiss Green Card, or a C Permit. The deal: you’re allowed to stay in the country forever — as long as you don’t desert it for over two years in a row. Twelve years in Switzerland meant that I was eligible for a Swiss passport.

Load More