The Agony Broccoli writes (2/4)

Sunday 15 January 2012, 9.00pm HKT


We continue with my facepalmingly overlong, overwritten response to the very nice reader who wrote in about possibly relocating to Hong Kong.

* * *

On choosing the right time to land

Well, from what you said, looks like I’m stuck here [in the UK] until I get to travel out to Hong Kong in [sometime this year], at least to visit […].

Our hottest months are from July to October basically. If ever coming over during then, know that, after long living in the mild weather of the UK, you are highly likely to break out with some sort of skin condition because of the heat and humidity. Not trying to scare you, but just sayin’.

Hong Kong is a subtropical country: you can’t survive without air-conditioning.

Read my overlong, overboring, overwritten exposé of ACs myths.

* * *

Choices are your own, and you might actually have to live with them

I’ve already started learning Mandarin, and when I went to Beijing with my friend, got to practice it. I enjoyed it a lot, and I think as a choice between Hong Kong and Beijing, I’d choose Beijing for the weather and the girls, and Hong Kong just for family roots.

I’ve never been to Beijing myself, but I am inclined to agree that northern birds are better cleavaged and more personable (to some extent) than southern womenfolk. But then again, I’ve been known to pay only scant attention to birds other than for their obvious endowments.

Srsly, seems like this roots vs. someplace else thing is a common-enough issue with overseas-born or -raised Chinese.


If you’re choosing a place you have family roots in, the upside is obvious — you have kith and kin to fall back on in case of trouble.

English: Category:Exhibits in Hong Kong 展品 Cat...

You make your own roots (via Wikipedia)

However, people who are willing and able to relocate to another continent tend not to be troublemakers and tend not to get into scraps. So here in Hong Kong a.k.a. the City of Stairs and Celestial Rents, the fallback translates more usually than not as access to free or free-ish accommodation while you look for piss-pauvre employment and more permanent living quarters that cost you an arm and a leg.

The downside with the family-roots choice is that after a short while here your life becomes somewhat structured according to your relatives’ (especially if you’re a live-in at their place). And if your other folks tend to be somewhat old-fashioned, you end up with various obligations and atavistic practices especially during holiday festivals.


If you want to go the completely-new-place route (like choosing Beijing or any other place where you have no family ties), the upside is that your life and living carries on in very independent fashion. You are your own man (or woman), and you can do whatever you bloody well feel like it, thank you very much.

United Kingdom: stamp

(Sem Paradeiro via Flickr)

Take Beijing, for instance. If you can handle the massive redtape, the money-grubbing ways of the more personable chicks, or the more sinocentric attitudes of the Pekinese, then fine.

Long living anywhere gets to anyone sooner or later. Unlike Hong Kong, Beijing is user-frustrating if you (regardless of passport) want to take off to some city or country for a long weekend.

In Hong Kong, have money, will travel.

The downside of choosing a place with no ties is that you’re on your own. By that, I don’t mean in the sense of getting into some fracas with the local authorities or favourite local mob (same thing, really). It’s just that you have to start from ‘zero’ (and long lead times) in making friends, getting about, living the local life, living the expat life, learning the social ropes, etc — and that can be hard and gut-wretching for some people.

Protip: Check how you socialise in your current community. Broadly speaking, this will be a good indicator of how you’re likely to fare in another city or country.

For example, when I was in the UK, I was quite the character and lots of people (apparently) wanted to hang out with me, so I got regular invitations to parties and various other “do’s.” I was (and still am) entirely comfortable with the young, the midaged, the geriatric — whatever their age.

And then I turned up back in Hong Kong, and then the parties were no more because Hongkongers here don’t ‘hang out’ mainly because of the high cost. (Sigh)

Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.

Cantonese roast duck:
Not every duck is Peking duck, and the eating is different. Namsayin’?

* * *


Know the right lingo, because even your home country changes


© The Naked Listener’s Weblog, 2012.

Images: Air conditioner via c4c ♦ Cantonese roast duck via Cook at Home ♦ All other images powered by Zemanta/WordPress.

One Response to “The Agony Broccoli writes (2/4)”

  1. g said

    that cantonese peking duck looks damn tasty. i dont actually have any relatives in hk, but its only because its my mother tongue that id consider visiting there. but after reading about the air conditioners, humidity, i think its cheaper to get by in beijing , and as for hk i dont know, i cant say because i havent been there yet. funny thing is i went to guangzhou for 15 days and that was pardon my french FUCKING hot. and humid at night. and then there was the flash flood where i almost drowned. and my hunan roomate who hated cantonese food and people who i had dragged along. then there was the dismembered beggars. having said all that it was my most memorable experience, and of course the home of sun yat sen. so beijing nice but hmm, guangzhou exciting but crazy ass mofos. wonder if hk is the same. we shall see. maybe ill stay in the wonderful uk after all haha


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