Six Reasons to Hop on a Plane and Move to Asia!
The Food – Did you know that Tokyo, Japan has more Michelin starred restaurants than any other country?
Want the best baguette in the world? Well, you will have to go to South Korea where one bakery beat out all the French to be awarded the Coupe du Monde de Boulangerie from President Hollande himself. The best chocolate ganaches and truffles in the world? Visit the 2015 Salon du Chocolat winners, Patissier es Koyama in Japan.
But it is not just haute cuisine and fancy confectionary where Asia excels. The diversity on offering from every country in the region will have you hooked from day one. You will be craving a Nasi Lemak from that roadside restaurant you visited in Kuala Lumpur, or the Black Pepper Crab at that hawker in Singapore. Asia is a land of spices – and we are not talking Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme here, but spices that will tickle your senses and take you off the beaten path to a culinary world you never imagined. Have a Bak kut teh (Pork rib soup) anywhere in South East Asia and you’ll likely be blown away by the tender meat and hearty soup concocted from angelica root, Sichuan lovage rhizome, cinnamon, star anise, cloves and dried wolfberries just to name a few.
My theory on this is simple - Asia is the home of one-food restaurants; roti prata stalls, soba restaurants, chicken rice hawkers… And if you specialize on just one dish, it is going to be awesome.
It’s Safe – Whatever your perceptions are of countries like China and Singapore as being strict police states, it is time to dispel them. I have more interaction with police during one typical week in New York than I do in ten years in any city in Asia. Women who move to Asia from the West often cite how safe they feel – able to walk the streets alone at 3am in any neighborhood. In Asia you will not have to worry about burgleries, muggings, getting pickpocketed, getting your car keyed. Don’t take my word for it. The Economist’s Intelligence Unit released a ranking of the safest cities in the world and the top 3 were Asian (Tokyo/Singapore/Osaka). According to Statista Brain’s rankings on crime rates, Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong and South Korea occupied the top 4 spots. For homicides, Asia ranks with the lowest rate per 100,000 at 2.9 against a global average of 6.2, and a whopping 12.5 in Africa and 16.3 in Americas (Source: UNODC).
Drug Free – I moved to Asia, lived in 3 different countries, and have travelled extensively within the region. I only ever saw drugs twice, once being peddled by a Westerner in a bar in Tokyo, and once in Batangas in the Philippines. In both cases, the substance was weed.
Anyone flying in to Singapore for the first time might be surprised to get a landing card on the airplane which all visitors need to fill out. In big bold red letters is written “WARNING – DEATH FOR DRUG TRAFFICKERS UNDER SINGAPORE LAW”. I have always been on the fence when it comes to capital punishment, but as a deterrent, it is clearly effective with Singapore consistently ranking with the lowest prevalence of drug abuse in the World.
Career Prospects – The whole world wants to do business with Asia, and there are jobs for foreigners in every industry. Certainly in some countries it will not be easy finding a job – Singapore for example has in recent years encouraged companies to hire locally. In Japan however, the demographics of an aging population has prompted a shift towards a more open immigration policy to fill the labour shortage. Japan has a shortage of engineers, skilled IT, construction workers amongst other industries. As China get’s in shape, companies often seek out experienced foreign workers for their expertise in Global best practices. In the financial sector across the region they are looking for experience in audit, risk, project management, legal, HR. Not only this, but experience in Asia will translate as an invaluable credential to have on your resume back home. Not to mention you may well return with a new native-level lingual skill in your cache.
Travel and Culture – Having a base in Asia allows you to explore the huge diversity of cultures. On your short trips you may find yourself like Lara Croft exploring deep jungles for hidden temples. Immerse yourself in centuries of tradition with the Geisha in Kyoto. Climb all the Five Sacred Mountains of China. Go elephant trekking in Java, diving in the Sulu Sea. Visit Angkor Wat, Borobudur and other ancient wonders. Go skiing in Hokkaido and relax in an outdoor hotspring. Short weekend hops will no doubt be a part of your life in Asia.
Convenience of home – Yes we have Starbucks, Hard Rock’s, Burger Kings, Carrefours and Walmarts here, there, and everywhere. You’ll also have cable/satellite to enjoy all the same channels so you won’t have to miss a season of Game of Thrones. Asia is a region of high speed internet and high speed trains. The fastest train in the world launches from a station a short cab ride away from me. I can order baby-back ribs from Tony Roma’s which would be delivered to my home, piping hot, within 30 minutes. There are international schools in every major city that offer the exact same curriculum as back home. My car gets washed everyday for $35 a month. My full time English speaking maid costs $645 a month and she loves her job. Want Frosties, bagels, El Paso taco shells? - Same day home delivery.
In all my 26 years in Asia, I have yet to meet anyone who has regretted their time spent here. Many are sad to leave and many stay on for decades. I will leave, one day, but (cliché alert!) every year has been an honour and a privilege.
Is a move to Asia an option for you? Have you ever thought about it?
It all starts with you saying “I AM going to move to Asia!”
Dean Owen is Co-Founder of Quimojo, a revolutionary new concept in Global Campus Recruitment.
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