Posted by: sammerz | 26 April, 2016

5 years in Hong Kong!

It’s been 5 years since we made the decision to relocate to Hong Kong.  We’ve resigned to the fact we would try our best to post this annual update (which is quite a task in itself) to somehow keep this blog alive… and hopefully add some sporadic posts too.

Let’s start with some Frequently Asked Questions people have been asking during this season…

How long do you plan to stay here?

In short: we don’t know.  The plan was 2 years and we’re way past that now.  Sam was already in the process of making that switch from engineering to teaching a permanent one – now he’s a registered teacher in Hong Kong.  With Selwyn in tow, we’d like him to find his place in society in as stable a condition as possible – so we’ve stretched our stay all the way to late 2026… around the time Selwyn would finish primary school.  For now, we’d like him to transition to secondary school in Australia.

What is it about Hong Kong that you like?

First, it’s Steph’s hometown – which means we have family here.  Now, it’s also Selwyn’s birthplace and hometown.  For now this is what home feels like for us, though we know it’s just a temporary one.  We’ve visited Melbourne twice so far and it felt like we were just visiting.  We have family and friends there too – they’ll hate to hear this – but it seems we’re not quite ready to head back.  Hong Kong is rich in diversity, it has its own identity and the clash of cultures makes it truly unique.  Its fast-paced lifestyle isn’t suitable for all and we’ve had friends who only endured its fury for a few months before returning overseas.

Church-wise, we settled into International Christian Assembly within just a few months of relocating and its community made Hong Kong feel even more like home for us.  In terms of involvement, we took a breather when we prepared for Selwyn’s arrival.  It meant stepping down from kids ministry, church announcements and the drama team.  Late last year we stepped back into it and are now leading a group of married couples!

Convenience, having a domestic helper at home since Selwyn was born, and the plethora of FOOD around are just a few more things that make it worth staying here for just a while longer!

What is it about Hong Kong you don’t like?

We occasionally get asked this, so we might as well put our cards on the table (except the political one of course).  With Selwyn in our lives, getting him into a school is a huge feat in itself.  You may have heard about schools accepting applications from birth or even for their unborn child.  Hong Kong’s rat-race starts earlier than any other country we know.

Other things we don’t like is over-crowding (why we often take Uber more frequently than MTR), noticeably rude/obnoxious people (every culture’s got them, but perhaps a higher concentration here), superficiality (people don’t seem to really talk and engage, and habitually put on a noticeable facade), barriers to learning the language, and lack of clean air.

Which school will Selwyn attend?

After “short-listing” 14 schools, applying to 12 of them, and attending interviews to 10, Selwyn will be going to Galilee International School for pre-nursery.  While there are people of different sorts giving us advice (read: pesky helicopter Mums), we’ve decided that this one will best suit Selwyn because:

  • it is a Christian school – we share the same beliefs,
  • it follows the International Baccalaureate curriculum – which means holistic development, not just a parochial focus on academic ability,
  • it is an international school – which means he has the option to take the international school road for his primary/secondary education,
  • it has a English/Cantonese stream – which means he has the option to take the local school road for his primary education,
  • it was one of the few schools that Selwyn seemed happy and at ease during our visit,
  • its teachers showed genuine care for students and loved their job, and
  • its Principal was also present at the parent interview.

Will you have another child?

Yes, we’d like to!  Not sure when yet!  Selwyn will start school this September, so perhaps we’ll plan for next year?  And hopefully a girl – one boy and one girl is ideal 🙂


Milestones over the past year

So, in typical Sam-style, we’re still keeping things as consistent as possible so here’s the summary of milestones categorised into celebrating memorable moments, spiritual growing and church involvement, travelling, exploring and experiencing, working and living in HK:

  • 26/04/15: Selwyn participated in his first (and only) baby crawling race.  He won his heat by just a shoe!
  • 02/05/15: Attended Jonathan & SiNing’s Wedding
  • 04/05/15: Selwyn’s first English/Mandarin playgroup class at Tutor Time
  • 09/05/15: Celebrated Selwyn’s first birthday (a couple days early)
  • 23/05/15: Filmed by TVB on the topic of breastfeeding (which was aired on 09/06/15)
  • 23/06/15: Sam was filmed by VSCL for a promo video for the Donate Your Birthday campaign
  • 24-26/07/15: Travelled to Taipei, Taiwan (surprise trip by Steph!)
  • 04/09/15: Launched new small group called “Kindle Love”
  • 19/09/15: Attended Kevin & Tammy’s Wedding
  • 25/10/15: Attended Anthony & Mariko’s Wedding; Sam had the honour of being the MC and Selwyn made his debut as ringbearer
  • 02/11/15: Selwyn’s first Cantonese playgroup class at Ludus
  • 07/11/15: Attended Jacob & Jacqueline’s Wedding
  • 08/11/15: Sam participated in the Sportshoho 10K @ Science Park / Pak Shek Kok Promenade (8th 10K)
  • 29/11/15: Sam participated in the UNICEF 10K @ Disneyland (9th 10K)
  • 04/12/15: Sam’s PGDE graduation ceremony at The University of Hong Kong
  • 23-26/12/15: Travelled to Taipei, Taiwan
  • 19/12/15: Celebrated our 6 YEARS ANNIVERSARY!
  • 27/12/15: Attended Justin & Vanessa’s Wedding
  • 29/12/15-02/01/16: Travelled to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
  • 01/01/16: Attended Jason & Esther’s Wedding
  • 03/01/16: Attended Jackal & Christine’s Wedding
  • 17/01/16: Sam participated in the Standard-Chartered Half-Marathon (2nd time, though in the rain resulting in finishing 8 mins slower)
  • 27-30/01/16: Steph became a certified LEGO SERIOUS PLAY facilator
  • 06-20/02/16: Travelled to Melbourne, Australia
  • 19/03/16: Shared our testimony at ICA Ahava Ministry‘s Enhancing Your Marriage programme
  • 01..03/16: Steph graduated from General Assembly’s User Experience Design course
  • 16/04/16: Steph spoke at the Agile Conference Hong Kong

Statistics since relocation (past year in brackets):

  • 257 visitors (+34)
  • 26 trips out of HK (+4)
  • 20 weddings attended (+7)
  • 22 weddings missed (+4: sorry Allen&Matilda, Eddie&Nicole, Lydia&Enoch, Joshua&Melody)


  1. […] year we mentioned that we hoped to have another child – and so we will!  Though not a girl as we originally […]

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