Western Immigrants give profit, but Non-Westerns cost Denmark? A Hypocrite Conclusion to My Experience as a Non-Western Immigrant

Western Immigrants give profit and Non-Western cost Denmark?? (read the Rockwool Foundation research “Indvandrere og danskeres nettobidrag til de offentlige finanser” – Danish only, or the english news here)

As a matter of fact, non-western immigrants is such diversified group. Yes, there are certain non-western sub-groups which remain in needs to be assisted when it comes to immigration (and this is the government’s job to do something for these groups, by stricter law, or high commitment to improve the integration program).

….but, AVERAGING the term, “Non-Western”, in this research, is such a misleading information. Big time. It is a potential contrary for many sub-groups of non-western immigrants in Denmark.

I am a non-western immigrant, but I’VE NEVER TAKEN A SINGLE FREE KRONOR from this country until this second. Shortly after I arrived in Denmark, I work, I regularly pay tax, I bought an apartment and paid all expensive charges for it (pæntebrev, inspection, loan interest, lawyer, etc.), I volunteer, and even my danish class and healthcare access are essentially a subsidy because i and many other taxpayers, pay tax. So far, I haven’t touched the benefits such as kontanthjælp (unemployment benefits), løntilskud (salary subsidy from the government), SU (student stipend), etc. I probably will take the benefit one day, such as børnepenge (child support, if i will have a child someday), but by then I would have contributed something to the economy, which will validate this benefit as my right as a residence.

The fact that I grew up in a non-welfare state where everything is not free,had pushed me to work extra miles. When I was a kid, I could earn Rp.1000 (10 cents USD) if I could memorize sets of english words my family drilled to me per day. I would sleep at 1 or 2 AM in the morning doing homework, reviewing study materials, or preparing for the test, so that every semester, my parents could pick my school report in pride, despite them sitting among rich parents, waiting my name to be called among the TOP 10. I would sleep late to make sure I studied hard enough, so that by the end of the year, I’d secure scholarship to lessen my parents’ obligation to pay tuition, or to enter the best school due to my self capacity (while some parents had to pay higher percentage of tuition, even bribing school official). Essentially, I use to work harder because I understand that things that I want do not come instantly.

This is what my parents gave me: A bait to catch the fish, and not the fish itself. This is what my parents taught me: Hard work, including the teaching to be ashamed of taking benefits without hard work. This is their legacy, despite catching up to meet their monthly ends, with 3 children. This is all about perseverance: not to give up with the constraints that are facing the life.  so that I’d have a strong mentality that will make me survive, on my own feet, wherever I go.

Surely, I had a lot of arguments with my parents. We face different values such as freedom of faith and expressions, gender equality, sense of independence, and so on, and so forth, mainly because I adopt a lot of views from the countries I had traveled to. But still, they had invested a valuable lesson which enables me to begin life as a profitable immigrant in Denmark.

And this essence is something that Marie Louise Schultz-Nielsen & Torben Tranæs, who wrote this research on behalf of the Rockwool Foundation, do not take into account. That there are non-western groups, such as groups of Asians (of course I use this term loosely as this doesn’t necessarily imply to all Asians) who brought intrinsic traits of hardship; who would dare to cross the ocean, start penniless in this country, but work day and night, bullet sweat, until they become self-sufficient. They would then raise their kids, educate, and train them harder than anyone else, investing everything they have for the future of their children, to make sure their children don’t become a liability, in whatever forms, for the society.

The research opts not to classify the cost and benefits generated from each different group. If (please note, I wrote “IF”) this research is meant to give insight for the Danish economy (which I am not sure what the state will use it for), just like investment  (the future value, ROIs, break-event-point, you name it…), it also needs to be assessed base on the values of each different diversification.

I love Denmark, and also want the country receives talented immigrants who bring positive contribution, but this averaging/ generalizing term of “Non-western immigrants cost Denmark” is like taking no account to those who have given something for Denmark. What this Rockwool Foundation’s report needs to improve is to give details about the performance of various Non-western groups so that it doesn’t end as a pragmatic conclusion in the Danes’ eyes that all non-western immigrants are costly for the country, which problematically can end up as discrimination treatment in the law and society.


5 thoughts on “Western Immigrants give profit, but Non-Westerns cost Denmark? A Hypocrite Conclusion to My Experience as a Non-Western Immigrant

  1. Sounds so negative don’t we? but then again, it’s OK when you post all these criticisms, but when I do it, well… why don’t I just leave if I don’t like it here, right? LOL Karma bites hard.

    • Dear Eva,

      Thank you for your interest in following my blog.

      When nearly 99 out of 100% of someone’s page consists of hatred and annoyed expression toward Denmark, it is clearly that someone doesn’t enjoy living in this country. In my opinion, there is nothing more annoying than to live in a place or around a society that someone doesn’t enjoy. If in the future, I figure that I don’t like Denmark and find myself speaking, thinking, or writing blog mainly about how suck this country is or how lame the people here, but can’t do anything constructive about it either, I will certainly consider to move, exhausting my resources, and preparing the alternatives of new places/opportunities where I can live without being surrounded by something I don’t like.

      You work and you earn quiet money, there is always an option for you to search a place where you think it will give you comfort in your life. If your danish husband shares the same principle with you, that even will make this option work easier, no? So no more “love refugee” excuse. I don’t know, you may also communicate with him that you no longer wish living here around Danish environment and mentality.

      I understand that your initial intention was good: to warn people, but I think you have crossed the line here, Eva. If you insist to stay, wishing people to get bite, and continuing to persuade people to also share your hate feeling, not only that this condition is no good for you, it is no good to other people too by constantly resenting the society you assume are lower than you are (except those who share your point of views).


  2. …and to think that you can be a part of the community is a delusion. Really. That’s why we eyed you with interest when you began to express your infatuation with this country and promised to do this and that to be integrated, because the reality, you’re just another darkie to them. Doesn’t matter if you receive kontanthjælp or not, in their eyes you do.

    • Dear eva,

      Thank you for your interest eyeing me and assuming a position as a moral police.

      I personally think that it is normal that someone will eventually learn both sides, the bad and the good, about the place where they live. What differ someone who just enjoys complaining, and one who learns and embraces the life lessons is whether he/she generates a constructive thinking behind the criticism. It can be expressed in so many ways: proposing an alternative solution in the end of their writings/ blogs, joining a volunteer and engage in a two way communication, etc. His or her effort may not change the entire society, or may not solve the problem right away, but sharing the ideas in response to a raising problem to one or two persons, are already good enough. This is called “being care to their surrounding, to their community”. What is the point of someone earning a lot of money, being success, but serving no benefit (beside tax payment which everyone else are doing too) to their society, and constantly complaining? Everybody can complain, even a 2 years old kid can spend a whole day complaining.

      Many important figures in different fields made change started by identifying a problem in their surrounding/ community. They criticized but also proposing a constructive solution/ alternative. Some may be unknown to our ears, but they do contribute something.

      We may have different point of views in embracing life, perhaps our cultural origin, our life experience, the way our parents raised us, are completely different. So i don’t blame you if you look me down, mock me, or try to infuse me so that I share the same hatred feeling you impose to a particular group, because i may not understand the shoes you are wearing. But one thing I’d like you to know, this thing doesn’t bite me as you claiming that i turn cursing this country on a daily basis. It doesn’t.
      I have been nomads in my life: from Indonesia, to Japan, to Germany, to USA, to Norway, and now here i am in denmark on this 25 years old age (i am sure these are nothing compared to your longer, more mature experience). However, I do value my principle of life when it comes to living in a foreign country is A) Good or B) Really good. When I experienced something bad and awful, I considered it Good, because I can learn something from it, try to adjust and improve myself, and not repeating the same mistake again. And when I experienced something cool or awesome, i considered it Really Good.

      I cannot change your attitude, or the way you look at me. I cannot force you to like or hate me or keep coming back to my blog and writing something hurtful. But I can control how I want to react in retrospect of your attitude.

      “The longer I live, the more I realized the impact of attitude on life. Attitude to me is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness, or skill. The remarkable thing is, we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we embrace for that day. We cannot change our past. We cannot change the fact that people may act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10 percent what happens to me and 90 percent how I react to it. And so it is with you. We are in charge of our attitudes.”


  3. You are obviously an Indonesian with the Indonesian work ethic and are in a tiny minority when it comes to “Non-Western” immigrants. Look at where the bulk of the “Non-Western” immigrants come from and now look at what they cost the Danish welfare system and then you will know what they are talking about.
    Selamat Siang.

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