Vicky's profile is quite special as her father is a Hong Kong local and later met her mother in Taiwan. She did not spend much time in Hong Kong as her parents decided to move to Keelung in Taiwan after staying in Hong Kong for few years.
"My parents felt Keelung is a better place to raise kids given the space and living cost, so I spend most of my time till college in Keelung."
Like some Hong Kong locals, Vicky also went overseas through working holiday program. She was in Australia for 2 years and Canada for 10 months. However, she never considered staying these places for long term.
"I feel it is better to stay close with friends and family in Taiwan. It was quite difficult to build up long-term relationships during working holiday as everyone just stays for a while and go."
Talking about working holiday, she felt Hong Kong employers have mixed opinion on it.
"I was lucky enough to land my 1st job in Hong Kong within three weeks via JobsDB to serve in a 5-star French restaurant. The employer was interested in me for the confidence built up and overseas experience accumulated through working holiday. And I was the only one in that restaurant with limited experience in food & catering sector"
But she also faced situation that the employer just did not value anything she gained from working holiday. From there, she understood not every company values the working holiday experience.
As most of the foreign friends I know work in financial sector, I was interested in understanding how Vicky compares food & catering business in Hong Kong vs. Taiwan.
"Salary is a big one. The salaries for workers in restaurants in Hong Kong are like 3X that in Taiwan (Related: NT$22,000 that Taiwan university graduates can expect to earn as a starting salary, a figure lower than it was many years ago) . Other than that, the way how restaurants are run is a bit different too. In Taiwan, most of the restaurants are run by the owner, therefore, customers are treated more like family members. In Hong Kong, most restaurants are not run by the owners, so the way customers are treated is different."
As Vicky worked for restaurants in Hong Kong, she found one thing really surprised her.
"I found it interesting that some restaurants are quite popular and fully booked even though the cost per head is more than HKD2000. I feel rich people can be really rich and poor people can be really poor in Hong Kong"
And to my surprise, she feel stereotyping is quite common among Hong Kong locals.
"It is common that Hong Kong people form stereotypes on people from different countries. My guess is that people are too busy to take time getting to know an individual and they feel people from the same country/region act similarly."
After our long discussion about Hong Kong, Vicky feel she would like to stay in Hong Kong for long-term given the career opportunities.
"I can still see the opportunity to move upward in Hong Kong compared to stagnant salary increase in Taiwan (Data: 76% of working class get no pay raise in Taiwan). As I work in a business development role now, Hong Kong offers a great network to tap into both global and China market. And the company I work for now sets up the Hong Kong office before they want to have a full penetration into China"
However, she was not sure whether she would want to move out when she has her family since the stress faced by kids and parents is just too much. (Related: Hong Kong parents vying to secure primary school places for their children face stiff competition)
As the final question to ask Vicky on her thought on the trend that Hong Kong young people moving out to Taiwan, she felt it is understandable given difference in living costs and offered a very good piece of advice
"I would encourage Hong Kong locals to experience different environments and by then they will know what really matters to them"
It is interesting that when many local young people like to move to Taiwan, Vicky decided to move to Hong Kong from Taiwan. I am sure her overseas experience has helped her a lot in deciding where to stay and ended up living in Hong Kong now. Maybe we will treasure more aspects of Hong Kong after living in another country for some time.