Steve's China Blog

Thursday, July 26, 2007

What comes after China?

I was reading another blog where the author posed the question, "What comes after China?". I've been thinking about this recently. My friends, both in the US and in China, always ask me how long I will stay in China, and my usual answer is "as long as I'm having fun and making money I'll stay". I'm still having fun and making money, but eventually I will probably have to think about leaving. Luckily, I still have a year and a half on my work contract here to think about it so there's no rush, and there's no indication that they would not renew it again if I wanted to stay longer.

There are a lot of things I like about China... the people are very nice once you get to know each other, the ladies are beautiful, the food tastes great, and the beer is good. Even so, there are way too many things I don't like about China too. I really don't see staying here forever like some people do. I have no plans to get married and settle down here.

So, if I am not going to stay in China for the rest of my life... where to next? This is dependent on a few questions... Where will I have fun? Where will I make money? That doesn't look like it would rule out many places, but actually it narrows the field quite a bit, especially if I want to continue to work for IBM.

There's also a third question... is there someplace where I can have fun, make money, and most people speak English. I've never been good at learning foreign languages and my very poor Chinese skills after all these years is becoming a major source of frustration for me. The language barrier is one of those things that is very un-fun for me here.

For the making money question it could be just about anywhere, but some places would be easier to find work in then others for someone with my expertise (mainframe software development and support) and some places have such a high cost of living that saving money is very difficult. So we are looking at places that have a high demand for experienced IT workers and a low cost of living. I am not sure of all of the places that fit that, but the places I can think of (besides China) are India, Vietnam, the Middle East, and maybe Brazil. I'm not too sure how much fun those places would be for a decadent western capitalist such as myself, especially if I would have to learn another language.

Places that I think would be fun to work... US, Australia, Japan,... I am not sure about Europe. No offense to Europe, but I've never even been there. Most of Europe seems too liberal for me, and even though that appears to be changing somewhat, I really have no real desire to go there. Come to think of it... the US seems too liberal to me sometimes. Japan would be nice, but all of the positions I have seen there (for IBM anyways) require some Japanese language skills.

Anyways, I have plenty of time to think about it and there's a great big world out there full of opportunities. Also, who knows what the world will look like after a year or so?


  • Ha, I never realize that the purpose of life is just so simple and straight, or just that luxurious... :)

    I don't think people in Japan speaks English any better than in China. I once stayed overnight in Tokyo due to flight transfer. I was in a hotel run by ANA(the big airline company). The hotel receptionist could speak very simple English, while the cashier in hotel's store cannot speak any English at all, plus, I cannot use US Dollar to pay, I have to change to local currency. I was very amazed to see how localized the hotel is. I am not sure how other hotel will look like. But that is the very first impression for me.

    As to local people, I felt even more unbearable after one seemly-nice old man told me that Dalian belonged to Japan once. Indeed, I feel a little disgusting after talking with them, so I decided to stay in my small hotel room all day long, not bother to do any visiting to tokyo.

    But, I did enjoy the food there. It is very nice, neat and attractive... I like the rice, go with the dried little fish mix.

    India maybe a good, interesting and romantic place... I bet you could continue to work for IBM there, you could earn money for sure, everyone knows English. But it has the same bad part as in China, most likely even worse, plus too hot and humid most of the places... :-)

    Keep thinking and have fun...

    By Blogger JUNMIN, at 1:58 PM  

  • just follow your instinct when you are about to make the move.Anywhere around the world SHOULD be fun and interesting as long as your heart is clear from too much worries and doubts. Live one day at a time, mate.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:52 AM  

  • I would highly suggest Brazil. I mean, we're about to move to China in January, but our one-year stay maybe followed up with another year abroad in Brazil. Not only is it beautiful, but more people speak english there and spanish is also a lot easier to learn. It's also still cheap living with good food.
    India and the Middle East are probably more of a hassle than most humans wants to deal with. There's also much more disease and, every time is rains, people die (no irrigation = puddles that turn into disease basins, and so on and so on).

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:43 PM  

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