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American family considering Hong Kong

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  1. #111

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    Quote Originally Posted by wacpol:
    If you recall, one of my biggest reasons for wanting to relocate to HK is so the kids would learn Chinese, which I think is going to be a really big deal as they get older.
    Almost nobody in HK speaks the kind of Chinese that might be a *big deal* for anyone. You might try it across the border.

  2. #112

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    Quote Originally Posted by Titus:
    Yea I use Shenzhen Bay bridge for getting to our factory and it's generally much quieter than the Lok Ma Chau and Lowu crossings. But commute once you're on Shenzhen side can be long; if we beat rush hour it can take as little as 20mins and on bad days it can turn into 1 hour.

    On that note the rate they are adding new stations to the Shenzhen metro is crazy; there are now some suppliers I can visit just by taking the metro from Lowu and walk and never have to take a cab
    if you think Shenzhen Bay bridge/shekou is quiet, then come to sha tau kok crossing, even more quiet, foreign passport queue is non existent , but don't expect the mainland border control understand your english cos very very few westerners use this border crossing

    I have been all 5 of hk border cross, lowu is a dump and worse for being gritty, dirty, crime ridden and not so nice place to go ( aka a bit of a $hit h0le)
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  3. #113

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    粉嶺地產

    this place looks interesting, a glass house, not sure what part of boony land, 2100 sq ft and 3000 sq ft garden for HK$25000, correction, strangely states, HK$25,000,000 per month, is that an error
    Last edited by imparanoic; 04-11-2015 at 01:52 PM.
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  4. #114

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    Quote Originally Posted by imparanoic:
    粉嶺地產

    this place looks interesting, a glass house, not sure what part of boony land, 2100 sq ft and 3000 sq ft garden for HK$25000, correction, strangely states, HK$25,000,000 per month, is that an error
    The OP can look into this one for family of 5 working from home

  5. #115

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    OP, I'll throw my two cents in as well - something that hasn't really been discussed before but I think is important to highlight.

    Every member of your family will need to approach Hong Kong with a completely open mind. On the face of it, HK is quite western-accommodating, the levels of English are generally quite good, road and street signs in English, lots of western restaurants - but that lulls you into a false security I think.

    My wife was absolutely miserable here for probably the first 18 months. She didn't understand HK-specific work politics (not applicable to your wife), hated not knowing anyone (even when you're living in expat communities, you don't really socialise the way you would in the west - you can't have street parties etc) and she would get so cross at people jumping in line waiting for lifts, pushing and shoving on busy MTRs, everyone generally being quite discourteous. Hong Kong is not a polite place generally.

    We were ready to leave because she couldn't stand it here and I couldn't deal with her misery any longer (lol) and we sat down and decided what we wanted with our lives. Most of what we wanted was to live comfortably back in the UK. We made a 3 year plan (which has turned out to be a 4 year plan) and immediately she was happier. She knows that a short-term pain will result in a long-term benefit (combined, we make perhaps in one month what she could make in one year in the UK).

    Learn from others' mistakes - if your wife has a reticence in coming despite all your overtures, don't do it. If you two can't sit down and have a clear plan you're both happy with, don't do it. If money isn't your primary reason for coming to HK, don't do it (and yes I'm sure there are plenty of idealistic posters in this forum, but trust me when I say 99% of expats living here do so for the money).

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  6. #116

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    Oh and Howard, you accusing ANYONE ELSE of being a broken record player is hypocrisy at its finest.

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  7. #117

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    I'd like to add another perspective on this as well.

    I am British born to HK parents, moved to HK 4 years ago although I have visited many times before, I speak fluent Cantonese and my written chinese is "ok". Both my parents are in HK, I have 1 floor of a village house all to myself, I met and married my wife after moving here.

    I'm pretty much as adapted to living here as a person can be having arrived in their mid-30s.

    Having said all this, as I am expecting my first child early next year, I am already making plans to move back to the UK in the next 3 or 4 years. This is because I can't imagine having my child schooled here being that I can't afford international schools. I feel that a child's infant years should be all about having fun and learning to socialise with other kids, not doing homework for hours on end and without the pressure of exams at 5 years old or whatever to get into the best schools.

    I enjoy living in HK, I have family, lots of friends, have a good amount of disposable income, enjoy travelling around Asia but for the sake of my children, I'm set on leaving it all behind and going back to where I came!

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  8. #118

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ehiogu:
    OP, I'll throw my two cents in as well - something that hasn't really been discussed before but I think is important to highlight.

    Every member of your family will need to approach Hong Kong with a completely open mind. On the face of it, HK is quite western-accommodating, the levels of English are generally quite good, road and street signs in English, lots of western restaurants - but that lulls you into a false security I think.

    My wife was absolutely miserable here for probably the first 18 months. She didn't understand HK-specific work politics (not applicable to your wife), hated not knowing anyone (even when you're living in expat communities, you don't really socialise the way you would in the west - you can't have street parties etc) and she would get so cross at people jumping in line waiting for lifts, pushing and shoving on busy MTRs, everyone generally being quite discourteous. Hong Kong is not a polite place generally.

    We were ready to leave because she couldn't stand it here and I couldn't deal with her misery any longer (lol) and we sat down and decided what we wanted with our lives. Most of what we wanted was to live comfortably back in the UK. We made a 3 year plan (which has turned out to be a 4 year plan) and immediately she was happier. She knows that a short-term pain will result in a long-term benefit (combined, we make perhaps in one month what she could make in one year in the UK).

    Learn from others' mistakes - if your wife has a reticence in coming despite all your overtures, don't do it. If you two can't sit down and have a clear plan you're both happy with, don't do it. If money isn't your primary reason for coming to HK, don't do it (and yes I'm sure there are plenty of idealistic posters in this forum, but trust me when I say 99% of expats living here do so for the money).
    I agree, HK definitely can present big challenges. It took me a while to adjust to this place as well when I first came here.

    But at the same time, HK really is nowhere close to being the "hardest-to-adjust" or worst place one could move to in Asia. Because in terms of culture shock and ease/difficulty of adjustment, in some respects, Japan, South Korea and Pakistan are much worse than HK. To begin with, all those places are far less accomodating to foreigners. Far fewer locals speak English for one thing. You need a working knowledge of the local language to function effectively in those countries. You don't need to know Cantonese in HK to work well.

    And in the case of Korea and Pakistan, there may also be a degree of outright hostilty to expats in certain quarters. HK as far as I am aware, has no outbreak of anti-expat sentiment. And so, it is much harder to understand those societies than HK.

    So while I concede HK may not always be that easy to get used to, it really is child's play compare to some other places in the world. Some of you have no idea how lucky you are to move to HK rather than....Karachi or Busan.
    Last edited by Cho-man; 04-11-2015 at 02:42 PM.
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  9. #119

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    Quote Originally Posted by si0001:
    Having said all this, as I am expecting my first child early next year, I am already making plans to move back to the UK in the next 3 or 4 years. This is because I can't imagine having my child schooled here being that I can't afford international schools. I feel that a child's infant years should be all about having fun and learning to socialise with other kids, not doing homework for hours on end and without the pressure of exams at 5 years old or whatever to get into the best schools.
    I've said this before and I want to make it clear again that the stereotypes about the local school system are not always correct. Not ALL local schools believe in loading up their students with lots of homework. If you do your research carefully it is possible to find a local school with a better sense of schoolwork / life balance. My daughter is approaching 5 and attends a local school. Her daily 'homework' consists of me reading a short English book to her while my wife reads her a Chinese one. Twice a week she will have a short written homework assignment. So far she has never taken more than 15 minutes to complete it.

    In addition, from hundreds of children attending local schools that I have tutored, I have seen a large variety in the amount of assigned homework, from very little to a lot. More often, it is the attitude of the parents that affects their children's lives more than school policy. Stressed out parents participating in the rat race will inevitably have a knock-on effect on their children. As parents you can choose NOT to go down that path.

  10. #120

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    Original Post Deleted
    My kids when in the UK (6 and 8 at the time) did about 15 mins twice a week but they were required to read at least 3 times a week and preferably more. They enjoyed it. Here in the Philippines they have about 15 minutes 4 times a week but mostly memorising stuff. They don't enjoy it.