Hong Kong or New York?

Old Feb 18th 2005, 1:47 pm
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Question Hong Kong or New York?

Hi all! I am having a small dilemma here! I am living in London at present and my boyfriend and I would like to move to either New York or Hong Kong for couple of years with work. Only problem is that we can't make my mind up! We love both but never actually lived and worked in either..
Any views/advise/comments?

thanks guys!!!
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Old Feb 22nd 2005, 11:31 am
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Default Re: Hong Kong or New York?

Originally Posted by Yaya
Hi all! I am having a small dilemma here! I am living in London at present and my boyfriend and I would like to move to either New York or Hong Kong for couple of years with work. Only problem is that we can't make my mind up! We love both but never actually lived and worked in either..
Any views/advise/comments?

thanks guys!!!
Lucky you - having such a brilliant choice.
I've lived in HK and absolutely loved it! Its a cracking place to live. I definitely recommend it.
Have been to NY on hols several times and love it there too! But don't know what it'd be like to live there. Think the weather would get to me as hate the cold!
Can you do a few years in one, then the other?!
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Old Feb 25th 2005, 4:54 am
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Default Re: Hong Kong or New York?

Originally Posted by Yaya
Hi all! I am having a small dilemma here! I am living in London at present and my boyfriend and I would like to move to either New York or Hong Kong for couple of years with work. Only problem is that we can't make my mind up! We love both but never actually lived and worked in either..
Any views/advise/comments?

thanks guys!!!
Bearing in mind you will only pay maximum 16% Income Tax (after HK $100,000 Single Person's Tax Free Allowance).

Pluss the fact that there is no VAT, Community Charge or similar 'Stealth' Taxes.......I'd say you would be able to save far more here in HK than in New York.

Also, imagine the 17 Public Holidays you will get each year, which will allow you to take short (but reasonably prices) trip to places like Japan, Taiwan, Mainland China, Thailand, Malaysia etc.

Think of all the authentic Chinese food and all the other Asian restaraunts that will be just a short taxi drive from your office or your home.

I'd say the choice is obvious.

Good luck!
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Old Mar 3rd 2005, 12:23 am
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Default Re: Hong Kong or New York?

Hi Parker,

Can I ask more specifically what you liked about HK, and were you single?

We have an opportunity to go with 2 young kids (6,4) and although would have no hesitation as a couple, think it may be completely different as a family. What do you think?

Also did you cope with the humidity in the summer?

Queenie

Originally Posted by Parker
Lucky you - having such a brilliant choice.
I've lived in HK and absolutely loved it! Its a cracking place to live. I definitely recommend it.
Have been to NY on hols several times and love it there too! But don't know what it'd be like to live there. Think the weather would get to me as hate the cold!
Can you do a few years in one, then the other?!
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Old Mar 3rd 2005, 9:43 am
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Default Re: Hong Kong or New York?

Originally Posted by queenie
Hi Parker,

Can I ask more specifically what you liked about HK, and were you single?

We have an opportunity to go with 2 young kids (6,4) and although would have no hesitation as a couple, think it may be completely different as a family. What do you think?

Also did you cope with the humidity in the summer?

Queenie
My family moved to HK when I was 7. I went to primary/secondary school there and went back to live and work there after graduating uni. So have been there as a child, when single and then when married.
I really enjoyed growing up there - there was a lot to do - lots of sport and culture, theatre and events. Was never bored. Travelled extenstively in Asia on weekends, pub hols etc (there are lots!)
I think its a great place for a family - they are even opening disneyland there in sept.
Pollution is bad - though my asthma is worse in the uk than in hk.
Humidity is horrid in August particularly. Don't remember it bothering me as a kid though - we only got airconditioning when I left home! But when I go back now at that time I do try and stay in air con places - easy to do. Schools are now aircon'd as well (fans in my day!).
Lots of expats go on hols in the summer months to avoid humidity.
Would say that I recommend it as a move - but it is expensive and life is good if you can afford it, thats the only drawback.
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Old Mar 4th 2005, 2:44 am
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Default Re: Hong Kong or New York?

Thanks for all that feedback Parker. Sounds like your heart is still in HK. Interested that you went to secondary school there too. Every other person I have heard of living there went to boarding school in the UK. Was it an International School?

The money is as feared. I lived in Tokyo for a few years as an adult and that was fantastic if you had money. Heaps of things to see and do. Unlike Oz whereas if you don't have the dosh there is still heaps to do outdoors.

The money thing hasn't been discussed yet, but his colleague gets about $1M with no housing or school allowances. How do you think this would be for a family of 4?

Many thanks again

Queenie




Originally Posted by Parker
My family moved to HK when I was 7. I went to primary/secondary school there and went back to live and work there after graduating uni. So have been there as a child, when single and then when married.
I really enjoyed growing up there - there was a lot to do - lots of sport and culture, theatre and events. Was never bored. Travelled extenstively in Asia on weekends, pub hols etc (there are lots!)
I think its a great place for a family - they are even opening disneyland there in sept.
Pollution is bad - though my asthma is worse in the uk than in hk.
Humidity is horrid in August particularly. Don't remember it bothering me as a kid though - we only got airconditioning when I left home! But when I go back now at that time I do try and stay in air con places - easy to do. Schools are now aircon'd as well (fans in my day!).
Lots of expats go on hols in the summer months to avoid humidity.
Would say that I recommend it as a move - but it is expensive and life is good if you can afford it, thats the only drawback.
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Old Mar 4th 2005, 8:40 am
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Default Re: Hong Kong or New York?

Originally Posted by queenie
Thanks for all that feedback Parker. Sounds like your heart is still in HK. Interested that you went to secondary school there too. Every other person I have heard of living there went to boarding school in the UK. Was it an International School?

The money is as feared. I lived in Tokyo for a few years as an adult and that was fantastic if you had money. Heaps of things to see and do. Unlike Oz whereas if you don't have the dosh there is still heaps to do outdoors.

The money thing hasn't been discussed yet, but his colleague gets about $1M with no housing or school allowances. How do you think this would be for a family of 4?

Many thanks again

Queenie
Hi Queenie,

I assume you're talking about HKD$1M, and not AUD$1M. Well, even HKD$1M is a lot to spend if you were local. But as an expat who is used to having more space, and with children at school age, school fees and rents can be quite expensive. As I said in another thread in response to your questions, rents can vary a great deal, depending on where you want to live. In a nice area (say, Mid-Levels or Happy Valley, on Hong Kong Island), you're looking at at least $30k per month for a decent 3-bedroom apartment. Even then the apartments in general are very big. Think of how big an average 3 bedroom unit is in Australia, and take away about 40% the space and that's the size you're looking at.

I also assume your children don't speak or read Chinese, they will need to attend an international school or one of the schools which are members of the English Schools Foundation.

Another thing which is very common in Hong Kong is that you might want to hire a domestic helper (usually a Philippina or Thai maid). That will leave you with more time to spend with the children or shopping. If your budget allows it, I would highly recommend it. I personally would never dream of having someone doing all the housework for me. But it's a very affordable option - about $3k per month and the maid lives in with the family.

Hope that helps,
Mrs JTL
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Old Mar 4th 2005, 1:25 pm
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Default Re: Hong Kong or New York?

Originally Posted by queenie
Thanks for all that feedback Parker. Sounds like your heart is still in HK. Interested that you went to secondary school there too. Every other person I have heard of living there went to boarding school in the UK. Was it an International School?

The money is as feared. I lived in Tokyo for a few years as an adult and that was fantastic if you had money. Heaps of things to see and do. Unlike Oz whereas if you don't have the dosh there is still heaps to do outdoors.

The money thing hasn't been discussed yet, but his colleague gets about $1M with no housing or school allowances. How do you think this would be for a family of 4?

Many thanks again

Queenie
Hi Queenie

Am not too sure on the money front. Rents have gone down quite a lot in the last year or so. You should look at the South China Morning Post for an indication ; www.scmp.com
If you live on HK island you will pay more than elsewhere - but nice family places can be found for not too high a rent in Pokfulam - cheaper than the Midlevels.
I lived on the island and loved it. But my mum lives out in the NT and pays much less, has a lovely flat and the complex has 2 pools, squash and tennis courts, gym and club house. In the NT look at Sai Kung, or in the west: the Gold Coast. Bit of a commute onto the island but only about 40 mins and transport network is great. Discovery Bay on Lantau island is also lovely for familes. You can often get a flat with a pool in the complex - and that's great for kids.

Am afraid I have no idea on school fees but the link to the English Schools foundation should help (on the other reply from Mrs JTL). I went to Island School - excellent international school based on UK system (though they are replacing A levels with the International Baccaulareate (however you spell it!) next year. Lots of people went to boarding school but lots study in HK - theres many excellent International schools with excellent results - on a equal if not higher level than some of the best schools in the UK, so no need to ship your kids off (unless you want to of course!)

There are things to do outdoors that won't cost too much - wonderful walking, country parks and beaches. I don't think HK is as pricey as Tokyo but its not cheap!

An amah is a good idea - you don't have to have a live in amah - you can find part time ones who will come in once a week if thats what you prefer. I'd recommend it if you can afford it - far too many things to do with 2 young kids than clean and iron!

Yep I guess my heart is still in HK - its where I consider my home to be.
But just about to move to Sydney so that's going to be the new home soon!
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Old Mar 5th 2005, 2:10 pm
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Default Re: Hong Kong or New York?

Originally Posted by JackTheLad
Even then the apartments in general are very big. Think of how big an average 3 bedroom unit is in Australia, and take away about 40% the space and that's the size you're looking at.
Oops, I meant to say:
Even then the apartments in general aren't very big. Think of how big an average 3 bedroom unit is in Australia, and take away about 40% the space and that's the size you're looking at.

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Old Mar 5th 2005, 2:51 pm
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Default Re: Hong Kong or New York?

Here are links to a few international schools in Hong Kong which all have primary and secondary schools:

Australian International School Hong Kong (AIS)

Hong Kong International School (HKIS)

German Swiss International School (GSIS)

Chinese International School (CIS)

The Australian International is a very young school so I don't know the reputation. The description on the website looks great I have to admit.

In general most of the international schools in Hong Kong are all very good. I have friends and relatives who used to attend these schools and all were able to get into top universities around the world. Some of my friends now have children attending the Peak School and HKIS (Lower and Upper Primary) and the parents and kids just couldn't praise the school enough.

When I was working in Hong Kong a few years ago, I interviewed high school students for admission to an Ivy League (American) university, and have met some very outstanding students from HKIS, GSIS, CIS, Island School, King George V, as well some other top local schools. I would assume the primary schools at these schools would be of very high standard as well, in both academics and extra-curriculum activities.

The only down side is these schools ain't cheap. You're looking at HKD60-130K per year for school fees. The ESF schools are subsidized so are better value for money.

I don't know how old your children are, but if they are in primary, it makes very little difference which school they go to, academically anyway. Just send them to the school closest to where you live.

Cheers,
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Old Mar 5th 2005, 10:59 pm
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Default Re: Hong Kong or New York?

Don't worry, we knew what you meant.

Queenie

Originally Posted by JackTheLad
Oops, I meant to say:
Even then the apartments in general aren't very big. Think of how big an average 3 bedroom unit is in Australia, and take away about 40% the space and that's the size you're looking at.

Mrs JTL
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Old Mar 5th 2005, 11:08 pm
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Default Re: Hong Kong or New York?

Thanks for all the info Mrs JTL and Parker,

I am beginning to get the feeling of the place and become more confident that it could be an exciting move. Although the kids are only 6 and 4, I know you often stay far longer in a place than you intended, so am just thinking ahead about high schools.

All the schools look excellent and it would be a wonderful opportunity for the kids to become Chinese speakers too. I had thought the ex-pats would be cut off from Chinese society.

Parker, we are in Sydney, so fire away for any info on things here. It is fabulous, you will not be disappointed.

Queenie



Originally Posted by JackTheLad
Here are links to a few international schools in Hong Kong which all have primary and secondary schools:

Australian International School Hong Kong (AIS)

Hong Kong International School (HKIS)

German Swiss International School (GSIS)

Chinese International School (CIS)

The Australian International is a very young school so I don't know the reputation. The description on the website looks great I have to admit.

In general most of the international schools in Hong Kong are all very good. I have friends and relatives who used to attend these schools and all were able to get into top universities around the world. Some of my friends now have children attending the Peak School and HKIS (Lower and Upper Primary) and the parents and kids just couldn't praise the school enough.

When I was working in Hong Kong a few years ago, I interviewed high school students for admission to an Ivy League (American) university, and have met some very outstanding students from HKIS, GSIS, CIS, Island School, King George V, as well some other top local schools. I would assume the primary schools at these schools would be of very high standard as well, in both academics and extra-curriculum activities.

The only down side is these schools ain't cheap. You're looking at HKD60-130K per year for school fees. The ESF schools are subsidized so are better value for money.

I don't know how old your children are, but if they are in primary, it makes very little difference which school they go to, academically anyway. Just send them to the school closest to where you live.

Cheers,
Mrs JTL
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Old Mar 8th 2005, 6:40 am
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Default Re: Hong Kong or New York?

Originally Posted by queenie
Thanks for all the info Mrs JTL and Parker,

I am beginning to get the feeling of the place and become more confident that it could be an exciting move. Although the kids are only 6 and 4, I know you often stay far longer in a place than you intended, so am just thinking ahead about high schools.

All the schools look excellent and it would be a wonderful opportunity for the kids to become Chinese speakers too. I had thought the ex-pats would be cut off from Chinese society.

Parker, we are in Sydney, so fire away for any info on things here. It is fabulous, you will not be disappointed.

Queenie
Living in a totally different culture from your own is an amazing experience, especially as you say, for your children.

Have you or your husband been to Hong Kong before? Will you have a chance to see the place before you make the decision? It might be worthwhile doing a short trip there just to check it out. As Parker and I and a few others who have posted here have spent considerable time growing up and/working there, our opinions may be quite biased. Oops, I should speak for myself...

If you have any questions which may be too personal to ask in the forum, feel free to PM me. I've got a fairly large extended family and friends there. Who knows, you may even run into some of them!

Cheers,
Mrs JTL
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Old Mar 9th 2005, 8:07 pm
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Default Re: Hong Kong or New York?

Well...now that you mention it....

I was wondering about Country Clubs. Are they still the in thing for ex-pats? I found one called Aberdeen Marina Club or something similar but the joiing fees were about $250K OZ. Then you pay a monthly fee too. Surely this can not be right? Can you recommend anywhere cheaper?

Thanks again
Queenie




Originally Posted by JackTheLad
Living in a totally different culture from your own is an amazing experience, especially as you say, for your children.

Have you or your husband been to Hong Kong before? Will you have a chance to see the place before you make the decision? It might be worthwhile doing a short trip there just to check it out. As Parker and I and a few others who have posted here have spent considerable time growing up and/working there, our opinions may be quite biased. Oops, I should speak for myself...

If you have any questions which may be too personal to ask in the forum, feel free to PM me. I've got a fairly large extended family and friends there. Who knows, you may even run into some of them!

Cheers,
Mrs JTL
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Old Mar 9th 2005, 11:04 pm
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Default Re: Hong Kong or New York?

Originally Posted by queenie
Well...now that you mention it....

I was wondering about Country Clubs. Are they still the in thing for ex-pats? I found one called Aberdeen Marina Club or something similar but the joiing fees were about $250K OZ. Then you pay a monthly fee too. Surely this can not be right? Can you recommend anywhere cheaper?

Thanks again
Queenie
The country clubs are still as exclusive as they have always been. While I don't know the going rate for Aberdeen Marina, it sounds about right. And there is a long waiting list to go with that as well. Also like all other country clubs, you have to be nominated by a few members, etc. Oh let me dig out the homepage for you...

Aberdeen Marina Club

The HK Golf Club remains the most exclusive of all, it took one of my friends' husband close to 20 years to get into it. He was a junior member for a long time and applied for full time membership when he was 18, got in when his own children were 8/6 years old! :scared: He was so happy that he and his family threw a party to celebrate the occasion.

I can't think of any country club that doesn't cost an arm and a leg... However I don't think you'll need to be member to use some of the facilities, e.g. the golf clubs. You just pay lots for it each time. If you are member of a club in Sydney, you can check if they have any reciprocal clubs in Hong Kong? Or perhaps the company your husband works for may have corporate memberships at some of the clubs, for example, the Jockey Club, the biggest of all clubs?

Another thing is you don't have to be at a country club if you want to meet up with other expat families. You'll meet some through your children's school, or at bars/restaurants frequented by expats. I think these country clubs are more a status symbol than anything. There are lots of other ways to spend the weekends/free time. The public sports and recreational facilities are plentiful.

Cheers,
Mrs JTL
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