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critical, pls read, won't take long
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HK_GURU



Joined: 17 Nov 2011
Posts: 26

PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2012 5:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Joshua2006 wrote:
HK_GURU wrote:
Perilla wrote:
- unless you can come over and check out the VTC accomodation and make sure it's OK.
The accommodation is actually beautiful. It is spacious and some may even say luxurious. The views are panoramic..

Directly over the MTR depot with views of tracks, and on the other side, a lovely view of a three lane motorway at the base of a mountain...


......oh, and pink too.
Well I don't agree with that. Yes you can see the train tracks and yes the Eastern Corridor goes by the other side but you know, welcome to Hong Kong. Compared with the average abode of the average HK citizen the apartment are large (maybe 1400sqf), it is quiet and the view of the harbour is lovely.
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Joshua2006



Joined: 04 Jan 2010
Posts: 339

PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2012 5:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

HK_GURU wrote:
Joshua2006 wrote:
HK_GURU wrote:
Perilla wrote:
- unless you can come over and check out the VTC accomodation and make sure it's OK.
The accommodation is actually beautiful. It is spacious and some may even say luxurious. The views are panoramic..

Directly over the MTR depot with views of tracks, and on the other side, a lovely view of a three lane motorway at the base of a mountain...


......oh, and pink too.
Well I don't agree with that. Yes you can see the train tracks and yes the Eastern Corridor goes by the other side but you know, welcome to Hong Kong. Compared with the average abode of the average HK citizen the apartment are large (maybe 1400sqf), it is quiet and the view of the harbour is lovely.

...but it is pink.
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HK_GURU



Joined: 17 Nov 2011
Posts: 26

PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2012 6:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Laughing LOL yes it is pink. Its very pink, but only on the outside.
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Perilla



Joined: 09 Jul 2010
Posts: 783
Location: Hong Kong

PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2012 6:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just so Dude knows ... a 1,400 sq ft apartment is massive by HK standards and if you were renting could easily cost (even in Chai Wan) 20-25K or more per month, thus more than recouping the difference between the two salaries. But the flatmate thing is a problem.
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Joshua2006



Joined: 04 Jan 2010
Posts: 339

PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2012 7:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Perilla wrote:
Just so Dude knows ... a 1,400 sq ft apartment is massive by HK standards and if you were renting could easily cost (even in Chai Wan) 20-25K or more per month, thus more than recouping the difference between the two salaries. But the flatmate thing is a problem.

But that is only if you really need to be living in a 1,400 sq foot....if you don't, which many don't, then the NET is still better pay and if it is up wherever it is, then the rent will be slightly cheaper out that way to.

Schooling is something that hasn't been brought to the table yet and is something that the OP seriously needs to consider when choosing between the two jobs. Nearest school to Chai wan is KIS, which isn't a bad place to be and also Delia, which again isn't a bad place to be....check availability as I know, unless there have been a series of miracles, that QB ESF has an insane waiting list. KIS is 8K a month....and if the 2 daughters are of schooling age, then 16k out of 20 isn't going to leave a whole heap of cash for them to do much every month - including eating....

Now I think about it, I would go with the NET - purely based on that alone as if the salary is about 40k with the NET and the OP is happy to live in a smaller place, then at least they will have some cash left over for things such as, well, you know, food and stuff...
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HK_GURU



Joined: 17 Nov 2011
Posts: 26

PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2012 8:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Perilla wrote:
Just so Dude knows ... a 1,400 sq ft apartment is massive by HK standards and if you were renting could easily cost (even in Chai Wan) 20-25K or more per month, thus more than recouping the difference between the two salaries. But the flatmate thing is a problem.
Yep. Nail. Hit. Head. I would go with the NET position too. Whilst the apartments are great, sharing would more than likely be hell and may well result in you ending your contract very prematurely. On 20K living elsewhere is not really a viable option.
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Dude Love Japan



Joined: 29 Nov 2006
Posts: 99

PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2012 12:33 pm    Post subject: reply Reply with quote

-Holy moley, I never expected this much interest. I certainly appreciate all the posts. It's a tough call but I think I'll go with VTC since they're already making me a formal offer and I have all the forms and everything. The NT school, while probably sincere, is lower band 2, CMI, arguably not in a nice area and won't have a single other foreigner working there. They also might not be able to make a formal offer and have the docs ready for weeks. VTC's a sure thing, adult learners and they have to have my docs by Tuesday (off to the post office for rush delivery tomorrow). And HK Island and VTC are probably better for a noob and I consider myself lucky to live there since few ETs can afford to do so.
-Hello, HK_GURU. I had a look at Google Maps with my wife and we both saw two massive parks behind the building or if they weren't behind it nearby. I understand my family and I will have to sleep in one room but that's what we usu do anyway and the shared area's huge. Point taken about the gym and pool. As for the flatmate, I might get an awful one, great one or none.
-Veek, the salary you offered sounds about right but to answer your question yes, VTC offers several extras. As for school for my children, they'll be about 1 and 3, so no need to worry about that yet.
-Hi Joshua and thanks for looking into the school. As for my children again, since they're very young I don't want to stick them in int'l schools, just let them go to localschools and learn the local languages, like immigrants in western countries do all the time. That's the right thing to do if we stay in HK indefinitely, and we might, And I'm aware of a school that offers Cantonese as a second language though for when my children are older just in case.
-As for VTC students, I hear it all depends where one's placed. I'll do my best with what I'm given.
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Joshua2006



Joined: 04 Jan 2010
Posts: 339

PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2012 12:57 pm    Post subject: Re: reply Reply with quote

Dude Love Japan wrote:
just let them go to localschools and learn the local languages, like immigrants in western countries do all the time. That's the right thing to do if we stay in HK indefinitely, and we might, .

Not sure it is as easy as you make it sound, though I could be wrong, as I have come to know that schools like that expect one parent to be able to speak the language...

...I could be wrong.
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Tudor



Joined: 21 Aug 2009
Posts: 236

PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2012 1:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I understand my family and I will have to sleep in one room but that's what we usu do anyway and the shared area's huge. Point taken about the gym and pool. As for the flatmate, I might get an awful one, great one or none.


No offence Dude Love Japan, but I think I've got more sympathy for the person who ends up having to share an apartment with an entire family - I know I wouldn't be too impressed if my new 'flatmate' turned out to be a family of four. Obviously you've looked into this, but I'd have thought an offer of shared housing would usually apply to singletons only?
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sistercream



Joined: 18 Dec 2010
Posts: 487
Location: Pearl River Delta

PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2012 2:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

On a slightly different tack, but still directly apropos moving to HK with a family: children's schooling for non-Chinese speakers CAN be an issue, but there are work arounds available.
1. The Education Board has government-aided schools in all the districts which are duty-bound to accept non-Cantonese speakers, use EMI and teach Cantonese as a second language.

2. Although it's technically illegal, the EdB is pretty lenient about foreign families home schooling: twice yearly parents or supervisors are followed up and asked to show evidence that the children are following an approved course of study in a foreign jurisdiction (e.g. through one of the Australian Distance Education Primary/ Secondary schools). Usually the EdB accepts reports from the institution providing the course work, but sometimes they also ask for work samples. The NGO I'm working with at present is very "in" on this.

3. There are lower tier international schools which do normally have places available. As OP looks to be living in Chai Wan, Delia in Tai Koo springs to mind. It's more like a suburban state school than a posh private institution, but the fees are affordable.

4. And it's true that there's nothing to stop you sending you kids to a local CMI school, but one thing idealistic westerners sometimes don't realise is that you CANNOT learn Chinese characters through phonics and other fun stuff. The ONLY way is through rote memorisation: write each character 100+ times, saying the syllable as you write it. This carries over to other subjects as well, even though this is abhorrent to modern western thought. If you want to go this route, you need to be thinking of masses of homework right from kindergarten, and the need to hire a tutor to help with it all (and read all the notes that come home from the school).

5. And I don't know the system with the Korean International School, but if it works the way a few (but by no means all) of the other international schools work, and you children hold Korean nationality through your wife (I don't know about that either), then you might be able to get them in there ... I know that the international school I taught at many years ago was regarded as a "state school abroad", so all children of that nationality were guaranteed a place there at home country state school cost - even if they chose to attend the English language stream.

Those are the options I can think of for getting your girls educated in HK without bankrupting yourself ...
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Dude Love Japan



Joined: 29 Nov 2006
Posts: 99

PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2012 2:36 pm    Post subject: reply Reply with quote

Tudor, no offence taken and I've asked not to have a flatmate a few times. As for school, let's wait and see if we live in HK long enough for it to be a concern and thanks for the suggestions.
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Joshua2006



Joined: 04 Jan 2010
Posts: 339

PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2012 11:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

sistercream wrote:


3. There are lower tier international schools which do normally have places available. As OP looks to be living in Chai Wan, Delia in Tai Koo springs to mind. It's more like a suburban state school than a posh private institution, but the fees are affordable.
Might be difficult finding places - the Japanese filled Tai Koo just after the tsunami last year and Delia suddenly got 'full'.....

Quote:
4. And it's true that there's nothing to stop you sending you kids to a local CMI school, but one thing idealistic westerners sometimes don't realise is that you CANNOT learn Chinese characters through phonics and other fun stuff. The ONLY way is through rote memorisation: write each character 100+ times, saying the syllable as you write it. This carries over to other subjects as well, even though this is abhorrent to modern western thought. If you want to go this route, you need to be thinking of masses of homework right from kindergarten, and the need to hire a tutor to help with it all (and read all the notes that come home from the school).
There have been issues with this as was documented on TV recently looking at NETs and their children and how, simply, they couldn't get them into any form of school anywhere as ESF was full, international schools were full and local schools weren't taking children if the parents don't speak Cantonese....however, would be happy to be proven wrong about this.

Quote:
5. And I don't know the system with the Korean International School, but if it works the way a few (but by no means all) of the other international schools work, and you children hold Korean nationality through your wife (I don't know about that either), then you might be able to get them in there ... I know that the international school I taught at many years ago was regarded as a "state school abroad", so all children of that nationality were guaranteed a place there at home country state school cost - even if they chose to attend the English language stream.
G1 is full, G2 just had to open a second class this year as there were so many. On the Korean side I am not so sure, but then that will also depend whether the OP wants his children to have a 'Korean' education or not....

Quote:
Those are the options I can think of for getting your girls educated in HK without bankrupting yourself ...
KIS, 8 grand a kid, maybe discount for two, on a take home salary of 20k? That's pretty close to bankruptcy right there.
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Veek



Joined: 15 Feb 2011
Posts: 20

PostPosted: Thu Apr 19, 2012 1:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I also like to add that most kids by the age of 3 in HK, if not all, would be enrolled in kindergartens already ... so Dude might want to take that point into account as well ... Kindies here are more affordable, but aren't exactly cheap ...
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Joshua2006



Joined: 04 Jan 2010
Posts: 339

PostPosted: Thu Apr 19, 2012 9:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just went by the pink fallace on my way home....not sure where these two 'huge' parks are....I mean, there's a mountain there, but I didn't see no 'parks'....maybe they're camouflaged.
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sistercream



Joined: 18 Dec 2010
Posts: 487
Location: Pearl River Delta

PostPosted: Thu Apr 19, 2012 12:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Veek wrote:
I also like to add that most kids by the age of 3 in HK, if not all, would be enrolled in kindergartens already ... so Dude might want to take that point into account as well ... Kindies here are more affordable, but aren't exactly cheap ...

Good point about the normal age for starting formal education here. Schooling doesn't start being compulsory until age 6, but I honestly can't remember the last time I met a local kid who waited until that age.
The government does however issue vouchers which cover a good percentage of kindergarten fees to any child who has a parent working in HK legally - expats included. You can find details on geoschools or geoexpat.com's HK site.

Thanks also to Joshua for his extra input. I hadn't realised that Delia Tai Koo was still overloaded - I thought most of the "tsunami refugees" had either moved on or been absorbed into JIS by now.

With regard to having non-Cantonese speakers admitted to CMI schools, I can understand principals refusing to accept them from year 3 and up - by the time a kid is 1500+ characters behind in literacy, s/he'd have to be VERY highly motivated and talented to catch up! But OP's kids would be starting in at year 1, and I've heard of a number of schools accepting expat kids then, provided the parents undertake to employ a tutor for a minimum of 3 - 5 hours p/w outside of school time.

Yeah, KIS fees would be out of the question unless either the English stream does have SSA status, or ... OP's wife snags a job there (she'll be on a dependent visa, I guess, which will simplify things).
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