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Old 12-28-2016, 02:32 PM
 
104 posts, read 150,961 times
Reputation: 28

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I need advice from other Asian expats on which city to consider 5+ years out (could go now but have elderly parents and don't want to be too far from them again).

Bottom line--I hate mosquitoes. This is 50% of why I left Taipei during my first stint in Asia. I know this sounds ridiculous, but waking up at 3am with buzzing in my ear drove me insane. (The other 50% was hating working for a research agency). Yes I am for real and have posted on this topic before in the US so please don't hate. We all have our neuroticisms.

Other bottom line--I am conflicted on living in Asia. The first time I left I concluded I should just travel there, not live there. It might be the idea of living overseas more than the reality. But something nags at me each time I return.

Me--
- Taipei for 3 years (at 30-33 yrs old)
- Hong Kong for 18 months (at 40; 4 years ago)
- Now in San Diego, in a stable job now in high-tech as a market researcher
- Wife is Taiwanese and our one kid is 2

Inevitably the company situation will change in 5 years but city choices open to me are Taipei, Shanghai, & Singapore.

City perceptions---
Taipei: I love the people and food and can get around like a local. That feels awesome. But when I stay with inlaws (in Taipei County) I keep the bug incense on all night in our tiny room. Probably has shortened my lifespan significantly. When I stay for work in the Xin-Yi district (in a 5-star hotel) no problem at all, though granted I'm not dining al fresco.

HK: I'm hoping HK emerges as I loved living there. (I chose a new building, 21st floor, kept windows shut, kept the place immaculate to ensure no mosquitoes; it worked). I love HK as it's clean, organized, safe, immensely walkable. Wife likes that she can get Taiwanese veggies and meats and can read all the signs. I left only because (again) I hated agency life. (It was the only way to get back to Asia several years ago.)

Singapore is heaven--clean, brands and people from everywhere, walkable, like Disneyworld as a country; all the reasons some people hate it, I love it. I've visited a dozen times but have heard mixed things about bugs. Some people say the government's intense control measures work. Others say, good luck it's near the Equator. Me, I've been mighty pissed off in the basement food courts of mall after 3pm after getting bitten. Obviously no issues in nice hotels or when walking fast outside.

Shanghai. No thanks. Don't like the gov't, rudeness, and lack of cleanliness. Beyond even the mosquitoes (which I've read are terrible 6 mos. of yr). I've only visited for work a few times so could be way off and influenced by my inlaws and the Taiwanese news!

Please help (after you're finished laughing). I need to hear from people who have lived in multiple cities in Asia.

Todd
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Old 12-28-2016, 06:05 PM
 
Location: San Diego CA
4,902 posts, read 3,401,498 times
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The wife's a Singapore citizen. We live mostly in San Diego but visit as often as possible. The positives are a clean, stable, low crime environment. It has a reputation as an authoritarian nanny state but this never intruded into our daily lives. High standard of living. People from all over the world. Everyone speaks English. Good public transportation. Never had a problem with bugs.


Problems. The intense over crowding. More and more people living on a tiny island that is only about 37 miles wide. Tokyo style stand up commuters during rush hours. The heat and humidity can be hard to take for a lot of people. There's also been a backlash against foreign workers taking jobs from locals. If your a drinker alcohol prices are high compared to the US.
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Old 12-29-2016, 10:37 AM
 
12,341 posts, read 18,445,635 times
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Not sure I understand, how exactly do you legally plan to immigrate, even temporarily, to this vast selection of Asian choices? Is your job giving you these choices to relocate under an expat arrangement? If so, not knowing your situation but if you lived in Taipae and your spouses family is there that would seem to be the obvious choice. Are there any language concerns? Do you speak Mandarin? Singapore is English of course, no problem there.

Shanghai and Singapore are very interesting options but Shanghai has some pollution issues and a sort of a China version of the "Beverly Hillbillies" mentality, Singapore is just plain hot all year and is very expensive and, let's face it - boring, and when the haze comes in it's not much better than Shanghai.

Last edited by Dd714; 12-29-2016 at 10:48 AM..
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Old 12-29-2016, 11:30 AM
 
Location: Taipei
6,779 posts, read 5,137,786 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dd714 View Post
If so, not knowing your situation but if you lived in Taipei and your spouses family is there that would seem to be the obvious choice.
If he didn't like it before, he wouldn't like it now. Not much has changed in Taiwan in these years, at least not enough to make it more appealing to people.

That said, we don't really have that many mosquitoes in my house and I live in New Taipei City (Taipei County). There were more years ago, but now there's been pretty few, at least in Taipei (still a lot in the south though but well the south is crap in general). It's just my perception, it could be wrong. There are still occasional Dengue outbreaks in Tainan/Kaohsiung, the one in 2015 was particularly awful with tens of thousands of cases, so I'm guessing it hasn't been improving.

And forget about getting a decent job in Taiwan. It's been the same crap all these years. **** pay, **** hours, **** boss, **** regulations, **** government, **** everything. The reality is that what drove you away is likely to bite you in the ass again if you move back.

If mosquitoes is your only problem then you should obviously try Japan or Korea, they have almost none of those. Taipei, HK, SG, and Shanghai are all fairly hot, it's simply impossible to avoid them.

Or you are probably just better-off staying in America.

Last edited by Greysholic; 12-29-2016 at 11:42 AM..
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Old 12-29-2016, 12:02 PM
 
104 posts, read 150,961 times
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Sorry i was trying to be less wordy! I speak fluent mandarin (from college plus living there). I use at home with wife and kid and once in a while with our Taipei office.

Boss is offering to cover the move, including housing for a period of time (likely will sell San Diego house if we choose to stay longer). They'll handle work visa. We have big offices in all 3 cities... he'll also customize the role to city, my interest, company needs then.
I've been with the company 4 years.

Japan is fantastic though with no Japanese ability hard to get around, fit in in office. Plus i don't know the market that well so hard sell why they should send me there. Funny though I read Tokyo mosquitoes are brutal because of underground water system and lots of park space. I could be wrong. Only vacationed there in winter.

What I want to know is if there are ways someone crazy like me can minimize the issue at least at home. Worked in Hong Kong--new high rise, central air unit (so less space for critters to get in), high floor, urbsn area (ok that's most of city but HK island even more), high floor etc.


QUOTE=Dd714;46652078]Not sure I understand, how exactly do you legally plan to immigrate, even temporarily, to this vast selection of Asian choices? Is your job giving you these choices to relocate under an expat arrangement? If so, not knowing your situation but if you lived in Taipae and your spouses family is there that would seem to be the obvious choice. Are there any language concerns? Do you speak Mandarin? Singapore is English of course, no problem there.

Shanghai and Singapore are very interesting options but Shanghai has some pollution issues and a sort of a China version of the "Beverly Hillbillies" mentality, Singapore is just plain hot all year and is very expensive and, let's face it - boring, and when the haze comes in it's not much better than Shanghai.[/quote]
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