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Columnists > Ben Zabulis

Ben Zabulis
After graduating in 1982 Ben worked throughout the UK before an unlikely adventurous disposition led him to Nigeria, India, Japan and Hong Kong. Between each of those overseas assignments he had attempted repatriation with varying degrees of 'success'; the last of which occurred in 2004 when he and his partner returned from Hong Kong for what they considered to be a permanent move, only to return to Hong Kong years later. The exotic misdemeanours inherent in that first expatriate period (1984-2004) together with various Asian sojourns and activities, contributed to a series of travel journal scribbles which eventually morphed in to the book Chartered Territory – An Engineer Abroad.

Ben Zabulis

I Saw You Coming

Posted by: gwaijai on Thursday September 06, 2018 (14:06:34)   (1202 Reads)
Hong Kong rents can be high so choose carefully
The most expensive place to live screams yet another annual report on expat living. Really? I’m not sure. In fact I sometimes wonder if these authors are referring to the same city in which we live. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying Hong Kong’s cheap; it is of course a major world city with all the baggage that entails but whether it’s significantly worse than anywhere else of equal standing, especially after other costs are factored in, deserves discussion.    more ...

Ben Zabulis

Here Be Dragons!

Posted by: gwaijai on Wednesday July 04, 2018 (11:10:07)   (1148 Reads)
And they're off!
In Hong Kong we know summer’s arrived when clothing sticks and dragons emerge, not real ones obviously but those wooden versions intended for the dragon boat festival. The saying, Don’t put your winter clothes away until it’s time to eat rice dumplings, a festive food, spells it out and you must admit, date considered, it bears an uncanny similarity to that British expression: Ne’er cast a clout till May be out. So strip off, grab a paddle and let’s race!    more ...

Ben Zabulis

Stretching Oneself

Posted by: gwaijai on Sunday May 27, 2018 (14:25:31)   (1112 Reads)
Schematic for a special school in Idah, Nigeria
As a spotty-faced, teenage oik, I’d no idea engineering would take me halfway round the world. So in marking the 200th anniversary of the Institution of Civil Engineers, commemorations of which will align with the UK government’s Year of Engineering campaign to get youngsters thinking STEM, here’s my bit extolling the virtues of what’s on offer: jobs, locations and project diversity – of which, blowing up where I‘d worked, don’t be jealous now, is indeed a good example. Read on!    more ...

Ben Zabulis

All Change At Hong Kong

Posted by: gwaijai on Wednesday April 18, 2018 (06:38:38)   (1200 Reads)
Cunard Queens in Victoria Harbour
With jumbo-sized poignancy an amusing thought struck me recently; and it was all to do with the very spot on which I stood. You see, had I been there during my previous Hong Kong life, I’d certainly have risked arrest for being a loony or, even worse, flattened by flight BA27 on its arrival from London Heathrow. But no more, the planes have gone and the site having undergone an audacious change of use now accommodates, would you believe, cruise ships!    more ...

Ben Zabulis

Wake Up!

Posted by: gwaijai on Sunday March 18, 2018 (13:32:42)   (795 Reads)
Visiting grasshopper
No, not you! But if that is your alarm clock I can hear ringing even from here then perhaps you ought, you’ll be late and you know how tetchy that new boss of yours can be. Actually, I’m talking to our local insects and especially those who’ve been lazily, and very sensibly I must say, snoozing away the winter. For today (5th March) the Chinese calendar tells us is their special day to stir. And you know what? They did!    more ...

Ben Zabulis

Who Gives A Fu?

Posted by: gwaijai on Thursday February 15, 2018 (08:23:14)   (972 Reads)
The Chinese character Fu on an outside door
Well, that’s easy: in fact everyone does and especially at this time of year. You’ll notice them all over the place. Of course, I’m talking about the Chinese Fu character, newly purchased prints of which will be meaningfully plastered upon doors, lintels, jambs, walls, household goods and countless seasonal displays. No doubt you’ve realised, Chinese New Year is imminent and by the time you read this article it will be here and we’ll all be celebrating like mad.    more ...

Ben Zabulis

An Offer I Couldn't Refuse

Posted by: gwaijai on Monday January 15, 2018 (07:25:20)   (821 Reads)
Roof-skimming approach to Kai Tak Airport
‘Would you like to work for us in Hong Kong?’

Well? Would you? Will you? It was a question put to me many years ago. Talk about being in the right place at the right time. You see, I was working in Tokyo back then with my contract due to finish. I didn’t want to extend nor did I fancy returning to England, then came that question, lucky or what? Of course I said yes, who wouldn’t? Give me a year or two, I added, and I’ll come.    more ...

Ben Zabulis

The Accidental Expat

Posted by: gwaijai on Thursday December 14, 2017 (14:07:40)   (7328 Reads)
The world's your oyster
Welcome to this new column which I hope will provide an insight into the Hong Kong way of life, its challenges and rewards, set against the Territory’s spectacularly diverse backdrop. We are two Brits who returned here almost three years ago now after a stint back in England. In this first edition however, I would like by way of introduction to tell you something about why and how I become the accidental expat. I hope it will amuse and inspire.    more ...

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