"As a family man, I need to think more than myself. Since all my kids are girls, I feel Middle East may not be a good option for their development. As I and my wife applied for jobs in Hong Kong, we both got the offers. So we ended up coming to Hong Kong. I feel great since I did my exchange program in Beijing and I always wanted to come back to this part of the world."
Although Mustafa did not visit Hong Kong before moving to the city, his wife explained everything he wanted to know about Hong Kong as she spent a gap year in Hong Kong before.
"I once thought Beijing may be a better choice in terms of the place to move but my wife told me that most of the good things I can have in Beijing, they are also available in Hong Kong. So I formed a general impression of how our family life would be like in Hong Kong."
While Mustafa and his wife got a bit nervous as his two daughters were only one and five years old at that time, most of things in Hong Kong were up to their expectation or even better. The most stressful part for Mustafa is his daily routine to work.
"The most stressful part is to walk along the foot bridge in Wan Chai station when I go to work everyday. How people did not know how to walk on the path annoys me a lot but there is no big stress in other parts of life at all."
When asked whether Mustafa feel Hong Kong is a good place to raise kids, he found safety in Hong Kong is a big advantage but there are few potential problems he tries to avoid.
"There is too much emphasis on study, I see most children in Hong Kong need to spend 3 hours for homework. I think kids should have time to rest and reflect on their learning. I am lucky enough that the school does not force my kids to work too hard"
"It is good to raise kids from infant to teenager in Hong Kong. But the risk is that my daughter can now write 4 pages of brands as a 9 year old kid. She would not know those brands if she grew up in UK. When she becomes a teenager, she may want to own things from these brands. Hong Kong can be quite materialistic when people are judged by what car they drive and what handbags they carry. But this would make people miss the meaning of life."
But based on Mustafa's observation, he does not think the expat community is affected by the extremes of captialism in Hong Kong.
"Most of the expats I know have a different lifestyle, they value having new experience rather than owning a physical thing. If they have 20K HKD in the bank account, they would rather exploring a new country than buying something."
As a dad, Mustafa has also been keeping track of his daughters' feeling about Hong Kong.
"Every year, I ask my daughters several times whether they are happy in Hong Kong. Every now and then, they said they missed home - the big room and garden but they did not come to me every day . I explain to them out of many things they like about Hong Kong, many of them are accessible because they live in Hong Kong. I just want to teach them the concept of trade-off."
Talking about trade-off, Mustafa doesn't feel his family would move out from Hong Kong easily.
"I knew some people who left Hong Kong because of certain things. But I feel they did not consider other things that get them unhappy in the country they are from. A year after leaving Hong Kong, they started to look for jobs in Hong Kong to move back to Hong Kong. When you go, you miss what you had."
As I had the opportunity to ask Mustafa's daughters what they like about Hong Kong. They somehow told me the same stories from his dad.
"I like the new experience that I can have, which is different from England"
"I like to live in here because it is safe"
I guess their parents must have explained to them many times why they moved to Hong Kong. But no matter it is true or not, we can definitely feel Mustafa's dedication to his daughters and how he tried to build an environment for their development. Next week, we will cover Mustafa's opinion on the integration of foreigners with locals and few social trends in Hong Kong. Stay tuned.