Expat issues

There are certain problems only expats have, and the Batgung have likely had most of them. We tell you aaaallll about them here.

What if you couldn't leave?

If you couldn't leave Hong Kong, would you still have chosen to move here?

I'm not suggesting you're about to be arrested, or the border will close. But what if air travel was so limited that you could only expect one flight to bring you here, then another at the end of say three years when your contract finishes and you fly home? Read more »

Food in Hong Kong: what's environmentally sound?

I recently read an interesting book, The Omnivore’s Dilemma. The author, Michael Pollan, traced the sources of all the food in four very different meals: a McDonald’s fast food lunch; a couple of organic dinners, one from ‘industrial’ organic sources, i.e. Read more »

Comfort zones

As I’ve mentioned before, trivialities like the weather have been known to set me off on deep, spiraling rampages of self-pity. I’ve tried to combat this failing with inspirational words and ideas, but I still frequently fail. Read more »

Should you add more to your MPF?

Some time ago I wrote that Hong Kong is an attractive place to be an investor, and suggested that regular purchases of the Hang Seng Index (HSI) is an easy way to make a simple investment. This month in my bank's MPF (Mandatory Provident Fund) newsletter, I see they want me to add extra personal contributions to my MPF each month as a way to save. It uses their Hang Seng Index Tracking Fund as an example, but as we'll see there are more cost-effective ways to invest in the HSI.

Save your skin

Some good news and bad this week. Bad that last week's skin biopsy tested positive for cancer, then good that it is Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC), which seems to be just about the most harmless cancer out there. Still, on Friday this week I have to get another six little lumps cut out - I can think of things I'd rather be doing.  Read on for seven tips to keep your skin safe...

Travel tips for your next home leave

If you're an expat with a young family, taking them on long journeys back home is a part of life. In our case it's a 12-hour flight to the UK, then a 4-hour drive in a hire car to my hometown. Here are a couple of things that helped on this year's trip... Read more »

The mixmyth revisited: mixed race children in Hong Kong

As we’ve recently had a couple of interesting comments on my initial mixmyth article, I thought I’d post a follow-up.

Daughter Tall, my own nicely mixed daughter, is now four years old. Within just the past few weeks, we’ve had to confront the issue of her mixed race, as her biracial status has just dawned on her.  Read more »

Rude health

Mr Tall's piece on rudeness has received several comments in recent weeks. Then last week I saw Crash, a film that uses tensions between different races as its main theme. Finally on Sunday a friend gave me the book, 'Talk to the Hand: The Utter Bloody Rudeness of Everyday Life'. It got me thinking - it's a common reaction for us expats to think 'people are so rude here', but then what do we do next? Do we let it make the rest of our time in Hong Kong miserable? Read more »

Invest or gamble?

Hong Kong is a great place to invest in stocks, as there is no capital gains tax, and no tax on dividends. So why don't more people do it? Read more »

Some advice on expat living

In a recent article, I considered some personality or temperamental traits that may help expats find 'success' in their postings. Then, serendipitously, I came across remarks a fine writer, David Foster Wallace (see more about him in the postscript to this article), made in a commencement address to the new graduates of Kenyon College in the USA in 2005.

Wallace’s words that day capture far better than I could how people both succeed and fail in living life a certain way. I believe these ideas have particular relevance for expatriates. I think you’ll see why as I give you a little précis + commentary on what Wallace said. Read more »

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