Finding A Place To Live

dave's picture

As Debbi mentioned earlier, due to the fact that S. Korea is suddenly changing their requirements for obtaining a visa for English teachers, we can't go there anymore. So we need to find another place to live. We have about 2 weeks before we need to be there, so we need to decide fast. And basically the world is our oyster; we could go anywhere. Well anywhere where that Debbi can find a job, probably as an English teacher, and I can do my work (building grassroots, progressive, political, oftentimes American, sometimes left-wing websites) without fear of being thrown in a gulag. This has ruled out a few possibilities including Saudi Arabia and Mainland China.

Having anywhere in the world is too many options, so we're leaning towards East Asia, cause that's where we are now, and getting back to N. America is pretty easy (as opposed to say central Africa). So I've been doing research on the different options from my point of view, while Debbi is simultaneously investigating the job market.

I'm collecting information on things like quality of living, political stability, political freedom, internet availability and pollution. But man it's hard to find hard information on pollution levels. What I would really like to see is charts that compare air pollution and ground water quality for Asia's major urban centres measured over time. But such information is not on the internet. Part of the reason is that governments don't publish the data that they collect. It's bad for tourism apparently. Really ?!?!? But I might suggest that It's not the publishing of information that scares the tourists, it's the actual pollution. Everyone knows that Asia has the worst pollution in the world, whether you publish actual numbers or not. So all I have to go on are qualitative phrases in newspaper articles and blog posts. Which is probably specific enough for our needs.

So here's what we're thinking so far in no particular order. For those of you who are geographically challenged I also created a map.


This ranks high on our list. We had a stopover in Kuala Lumpur the other day and it was quite impressive. Low pollution (we just came from India so just about anything is low in comparrison). Littering is a punishable offence (also a sharp contrast from dirty India). And it ranks high in all our other categories. Oh and there's nice beaches there.

Hong Kong

We've done little more than ride the transit and go for dinner, but so far it seems like a great city. We want to look around a bit more, but this seems like a promising option. The tapwater is drinkable!


Also ranks high. Though I'm getting the impression that the pollution might be a bit higher in Taipei than Hong Kong or Kuala Lumpur.


Singapore is always rated as the number one place for expats to live in surveys like this one by a big HR firm. However the primary language is English which means that expat English teaching jobs are scarce.


Haven't done much research on this yet, but it ranks high too.


It might be an option. Need to do more research.


It would rank high, however there's currently a low demand for English teachers. Also the high cost of living and low value of the Yen will cut into out ability to save.

Mainland China

China scores terribly in every category except the avaialability of English teaching jobs. So we likely won't end up there.

So we pretty much need to have this figured out bu Monday at the latest so we can book some flights, get there, find Debbi a job, find a place to live, and get me setup to be able to get back to work by year end.

Wish us luck.