Why Hong Kong Needs English Teachers!

Why Hong Kong Needs English Teachers!

Why Hong Kong Needs English Teachers!

In the upcoming months, I’ll be going into a bit more detail and helping you out in terms of how to get a job as an English teacher in Hong Kong, amongst other countries (such as Taiwan and South Korea). To start with though I have to say Hong Kong seriously needs Native English teachers and for a number of reasons. Here are my top five reasons why Hong Kong needs English teachers – well, native ones.

1. A High Turnover
It is known that a lot of native English teachers move to Hong Kong and work for a year or two and then leave. There is a high turnover of staff and therefore a constant need for new English teachers to replace the ones that have come and gone. I will detail this a lot more in future but basically you normally get a one year contract, after which the option to renew comes up.

2. Bad English
Hong Kong, possibly through no fault of its own suffers from bad English and is clearly behind the likes of Japan, Korea and Singapore when it comes to good use of English. I have noticed a mix of Chinese and English known as Chinglish cropping up. Common phrases are:

so so la – average
sleep la – go to bed
snake – snack
andenna – and then
ar ma – added on to any given English sentence for no reason
(these are just five off the top of my head – there are tons more examples!)

The bad English stretches from speech to spelling and writing, as you can see from this posts first photo, just a few days ago in Hong Kong I came across a sign saying “Merry Chirstmas” and the below photo taken today from a Christmas Card I received.

“beat wishes” and “happines”

I don’t blame Hong Kong for its bad English though, as it’s still streets ahead of its mirror cities of Macau and Shenzhen. They do make an effort to learn English here in Hong Kong, more so than foreigners do to learn Cantonese. There might be another reason why Hong Kong English isn’t entirely up to scratch however…

3. Philippeno and Indonesian Maids!
You might be wondering what this has to do with Hong Kong English but it’s become glaringly obvious to me that the (difficult to understand, culture wise) Philippeno and Indonesian Maid culture here that is widespread has a very bad effect on Hong Kong children’s learning of English. First of all, families and couples in Hong Kong lead busy lives and they really really believe that their work is the most important thing in their day (honestly! – in stark contrast to me – Working Wednesdays – Travel Writing. ) As a result, they have less free time to themselves (through a major fault of their own I have to add) and they often pay for a maid! Ridiculous as it sounds, this is true in Hong Kong. The majority of these maids are from Indonesia and the Philippines and they work for a low price. In addition they get free food and accomodation as well as a temporary Hong Kong ID card and valid working visa! They often have to look after the children in these families, taking them to school, changing them and bringing them home from school and even doing homework with them.

These Philippeno Maids often speak NO Cantonese and therefore they end up speaking to the children in a really bad English style of speaking. This includes slang and often US English terms and phrases, again here’s a few of them:

– ok baby
– honey don’t forget mama waiting for you
– where you go?

Not to mention mis-use of words, shortened sentences and made up words! So the effect of this on the children is very apparent (you notice this when you teach in Kindergartens particularly, and some local Primary Schools)

4. Hong Kong is Asia’s World City

Hong Kong is a global metropolis and business hub. It’s marketed as Asia’s World City and it’s skyscraping skyline is jammed full of office tower blocks. In order for Hong Kong and China to connect to the rest of the world in a business sense, what else would they need? Yes, of course a good grasp of the English language!

5. History

Last on this list but not least, Hong Kong’s history will tell it that learning English is a good thing. Once a British colony, and used for world trade, one of the major reasons for the wealth and development of “The Kong” was the ability to trade. Trading with places like England, Australia, Canada and USA. If it worked before and it works now, why change it? By default English should be a certain language for all business people in Hong Kong to know. It’s a city that wants to maintain the successful city culture that its history clearly shows.

More posts to follow in future on teaching English in Hong Kong.

Don’t Stop Living is a website dedicated to a lifestyle of travel. Work, at various points plays a major part in this journey…

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4 thoughts on “Why Hong Kong Needs English Teachers!

  • Great post ! I have never been to Hong Kong but would love to one day.
    English is not my native language either but I have my blog in English to practice more.

  • hi Freda – it’s a great place and a good one to be. You don’t need English as your main language to teach English in Hong Kong either. There’s a guy from Peru and a guy from Switzerland also teaching English. I’ll be posting more about the Kong in the new year. Jonny

  • Hi Jonny

    First of all this is a cracking blog so informative about anywhere. My girlfriend and I are thinking of heading to HK on a working holiday visa. Im from n.i. So same as yourself able to have British and Irish passports. With the Irish one I noticed there is a 3 month restriction with each employer but British is 12 months with employer. In regards to teaching English would it be better to be on the British one as no restrictions. Irish visa is free though ha. Did you teach English yourself? How was the money with bar work? Any info hugely appreciated mate.

  • Hi Steve, thanks for the comment. Again apologies for the late replies here. I don’t really want to work here anymore on this website and have way too many of these comments, due to depression, liars and suicide GuruGod wannabes who wanted me dead. But good luck in Hong Kong. Yes bar work was good and easy – good pay too of course – Hong Kong is a great place to earn money. Indeed I earned more there 5-6 years ago than I currently can in Poland. Yes, I taught English in the Kong too and enjoyed it. But life moved on. Safe travels. Jonny

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