Q1. Where did you move to and when?
Hong Kong in 2008.
Q2. How long did you work in Thailand?
10 years man and boy.
Q3. What was your main reason for moving?
Financial. I earn a government salary that is the same as what I'd be earning in the UK and is around twice what I was making at the Mickey Mouse "International" school where I was previously employed.
Q4. What are the advantages of working where you are now compared to Thailand?
With the UK level salary comes a free campus apartment with lightning fast internet and no bills. The government paperwork process is quick, respectful and you can bring your Thai wife over on the same type of visa (please note you need to be a certified teacher AND have a TEFL). You also attain permanent residency after 7 years. There is political stability and a decent police force. I occasionally tutor rich kids twice a week for 2 hrs and that can add another 30% to my wages. The students are motivated to succeed and there is support from family and management.
The office girls at my school are hot, friendly, helpful and don't want to screw up my marriage. I don't wear a tie. Jesus, I often go to work in jeans and a T shirt (they only care about results here... weird eh!). The MTR underground is fast, as are the minibuses - so you don't need a car. There is no VAT on wines and spirits and supermarket prices are a lot cheaper. Oh, and your contract is worth more than the paper it is written on.
Q5. What do you miss about life in Thailand?
The nightlife, the open spaces, jumping in our truck and racing down to Pattaya for the weekend. The size of the shopping malls, the bigger and better bookstores and sports equipment outlets. Eating Pad Ka Pow on the barges down Klong 3. Riding the bus into the city during the mid afternoon lull in traffic and absorbing the sights, sounds and surprises of the greatest city in SEA. The quietness of the Thais (the Chinese are possibly the loudest people on Earth) and above all their sense of humour.
Q6. Would you advise a new teacher to seek work in Thailand or where you are now?
HK for its stability and money-making potential. If you are a fully certified teacher in your own country, I don't know why anyone would want to work for as little as 15K a month in some village up the back arse of nowhere. HK can be just as exciting and Bangkok and is only 2 hours away, so you can always pop over to Thailand for the beaches.
Q7. Any plans to return to Thailand one day?
I'll retire there with my wife and open a small business with her but will keep some interests in HK as well.
Q8. Anything else you'd like to add?
Some people might tell you that the Chinese are unfriendly, this is simply not true. They are not as instantly welcoming as Thai people but once you get to know each other they are as warm as anyone else.