Saturday, October 13, 2007

Out with Lisha. And her friends

Today, did nothing till 2:30pm. But had the most amazing dream. Personal, but I've been having a lot of dreams for the past few days. This one though, I managed to write down because it was amazing. But unfortunately, wanting something doesn't make it real =/.

Had to stay in till 2:30 because of a guy coming in to fix something between our gate and our front door. But I had to get to Queen Mary by 4:00 to meet Lisha. So I left him working while I left at 3:15. Got to Queen Mary at 4:00pm. Lisha said I wouldn't make it unless I left at 3. I got there 15 minutes early AND her class ended 30 minutes late. So I waited for no reason.

I got to meet her friends, Juliana, Hannah, Jasmine and Marlene. Public health is where the girls are at apparently. We went to Stanley, which is funny because I was there the night before visiting my relatives. we walked around the pier and the market, which was scenic, but it started raining. We gave up on going to the far beach. Instead, we opted to walk around Stanley instead. Went to McDonalds to eat because we couldn't get to a decently priced restaurant.

Meanwhile, we talked about a lot of things. Juliana believes in the existence of a soulmate. While I also hold that view, my notion of it is a more fatalistic one where I do cherish the idea, I think that ultimately most of us settle. They also talked a lot about class, which meant I can't enter the conversation. It was fun nevertheless.

Lisha and I discussed more relationship stuff, psychological reasoning, and what we ultimately want in life. At least she found today fun, which is good. I think I don't know what I want yet, but still, I can still appreciate stuff right? And I do treasure my minute infatuations, even when I do realize nothing will come of it.

Lisha and I then went to LKF for the carnival. Unlike yesterday, there was a lot of bazaars, and of course, lots of drinks for sale. There was a toy-r-us themed street for the kids. I got the best picture of a little girl chasing bubbles. I really wish it wasn't noisy or blurred because of my low ISO setting. Lisha got a decent picture though, so I may use hers when I update these with photos.

I think they're all wonderful people. Glad to have met them.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Visited my relatives in Stanley.

No phone call from Lisha means that I'm by myself today. Unfortunately, Jenny is busy with midterms and Colleen has school. That leaves me with not much to do. Been reading Video Demystified to get a head start for work. Then called my uncle in Stanley.

While visiting Stanley, talked with an old man who turned out to be a British pilot. He's certainly lived a long life, being with Cathay Pacific, Lanka Air and other long haul freight pilot. He's living somewhere in the pyranees right now, but he wants to move back to HK. After selling his flat in HK due to some advice from a friend, he's looking to buy another place to live out the rest of his life. I don't like HK as much as he does. It's a great place to visit, but not as a place to live.

First off, HK has grueling work hours, and lower pay. Granted, they have little to no taxes, but the corresponding salary is also lower. They just don't value human talent as much as North America because workers are cheap here. If all else fails, they can get workers from the mainland.

There's too many people. Always a lot of shoving, pushing and slow walking. Nothing you can do about it either. And with anonymity, normal nice people become assholes very quickly.

And the stress! Everyone seems so high strung at times, and yet they can sit on a minibus for 15 minutes and do nothing. They just sit and wait. Maybe they're used to the futility. I don't know.

Visiting my relatives was fun. Had dinner, and talked with my cousins. One's a struggling manga artist while another is in grade 11. He's doing microeconomic stuff that's basically out of the 1st year university curriculum. It's surprising how much they're taught, and yet, they're considered second class if they ever try to make it to North America. I don't know why.

Went to LKF to check out the carnival thing. Lots of drinking it seems and not much else. Took some great photos though. One in particular is a gem. I'll post it when I get back.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Out with Lisha

So today, met up with Lisha at 9:00am. But she was late. So 9:15. We tried to find something to eat, but was hard because we couldn't find anything we really like. Actually, it was because she got lost trying to find the noodle place to get fish ball noodles. I tell ya, most females can't handle directions at all! =P

Took her to Yoshinoya and tried beef bowls. She didn't really like it, whereas I thought it was okay. If you don't know what beefbowls are, they're like the beef set from Charlie's lunch box. It's thin strips of fatty beef fried with onions, topped over rice. Fast and cheap.

Then we went to Mongkok and TST. Looked around at books and stuff. Walked around way too much. Looked at shirts and shoes (for me, again) and Children's books (for her for tutoring). Most were too expensive, and I didn't want to buy before I came back from China, so basically window shopped.

While we were wandering around, we ate at McDonalds. There, I struck up a conversation with two 'foreigners'. I thought they were Australians, because there were two others at a nearby table with backpacks. It is usually the Australians that travel widely. Turns out they were not with them and they were Canadians! Also from Toronto. One's actually from 404 and Finch. (near Apache). They were here for the consumer fair in Guangzhou. They were in the clothing industry, selling stuff on ebay mostly. That was cool. Lisha drooled over one of them. Granted, I have to agree that objectively, he had the rugged look to him that had quite a charm. Fascinating people, that they would come so far to do business with China.

Then we went around, looking for another fish ball noodle place. Lisha has an unhealthy obsession with it. Saw another white guy. Turns out he's another Canadian, but from Owen sound, not Toronto this time. He's doing his undergrad in International Business in Taiwan. In his 3rd year, entering his fourth. And yet, he still perseveres. Good for him. At least he's willing to experience new stuff.

Then I led Lisha astray by walking in a circle like 3 times. Bad for me. Oh well, we did get home alright though.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

2nd day in HK!

Today, I got my reentry permit. Very short line at the Shatin office. Easily accessible and quiet, unlike the Yaomatei one. So we got it done before 12:00. Walked around. Discovered that Ikea has spread to HK with the same sort of food they served in Canada. Don't know how to feel about it. We ate at Maxim for my Roast Duck noodles. Great deal at 18HKD. Love the stuff. Walked around, looking for shoes and shirts. I know, I'm shopping. But I didn't get anything till I got back to mainland. Apparently, things are actually better there than it is in HK. Plus its cheaper.

Been looking for a white shirt with black vertical stripes. Every store I go into has white with green stripes, but no white with black stripes. The green stripes make people look like an accountant's ledger. Ugh. Why?

So anyways, Octopus cards are awesome. They're cards with RFID tags that act like prepaid debit cards. Used previously only for transportation (MTR, subways, buses, etc), now they can be used as a tracker for a reward program for various supermarkets, debit cards for bakeries and fast food joints, and even as cash for supermarkets. It's great how prevalent they are, and while they do track your spending habits if you subscribe to a reward program, they aren't personalized! At least, it doesn't have to be. The points on the reward program are earned on the card and can be used instantly. $200 dollars worth of spending nets you an instant $1 that can be used just by talking to the cashier to 'redeem' it. It's like what they can do with dexit in Canada. Except this one is successful. Don't give me that crap about TTC not having money. If they used this system, maybe they can earn more money by charging people that travel long distances more than people that travel short distances. Helps people budget for short hauls and makes people willing to use it more. $0.50 CDN would be fair for me to TTC from Finch and Steeles, but I wouldn't pay $3 bucks for it. It just doesn't seem worth it.

Anyways, there are very many attractive girls here. I hate to say it, but even though they may be small in the chest department, at least they're not obese like most North Americans. And maybe it's just a numbers game, but there are some REALLY good looking people. There are more girls here that fit my 'ideal' type than I have seen before. Could just be that there aren't as many people I see in Canada, but still. I saw a woman (probably 26-30?) who actually reminded me of Miyazawa from KKNJ (an manga/anime). I finally get what someone said about her in one of the episodes. While she isn't particularly pretty, the way every feature on her face is put together, along with the hairstyle, is just striking. It wasn't particularly beautiful, just very very cute. Apparently, I'm not the only one that things so, as I noticed an very nice engagement ring on her finger. Congratulations to the lucky guy.

I also like it when I feel like a giant coming back here. Everyone here seems so short. Or maybe it's because I finally stopped slouching (mostly). I tower over most people by a feet. The guys here also look very weedy and stringy (kinda like me, I suppose. I have to grow!), and yet, that's the norm here. It seems like rather than a detriment, stringy and weedy means you're successful in the intellectual pursuits such as finance or academia. It's definitely different.

Got some fake duck from Ajiichiban. That seems to be all for today.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Back to HK

A lot has happened since I last updated. I resolve to chronicle the past few days to the best of my recollection. This is because it is a record of things I don't want to forget, as well as helping myself express myself and update people on what's been happening.

So, I have a job now. It is at AMD/ATI as a C programmer. My title is ASIC layout designer/engineer, but I'll mainly be doing C programming. I got the interview on tuesday, sent them an updated resume on wednesday, and got a job offer wednesday night. It was a good day for me. On thursday, I met my supervisor's bosses, and was told the person who hired me would be leaving. Big shoes to fill, but I think I'd be alright.

After that, I pushed my start date as far back as possible. I was supposed to start Oct 15th, but I got it pushed back to the 29th, because of my trip back to HK. Yessir. I booked a trip on friday, and left on Oct 7. I arrived today and it was an 18hour flight. Not much happened throughout the trip. Pretty routine.

When I got to HK, I tried calling my dad to no avail. After one and a half hours of trying to find out what the problem was, I decided to buy a SIM card and call Canada. Turns out I was off by one digit and that my dad was waiting for me at home. Ugh. It was then 9:00, and we were supposed to finish everything that day (applying for HKID replacement, reentry permit for China, etc). Didn't get the reentry permit. Ugh. Turns out they closed down several government offices and there was a huge lineup for the Yaomatei one. No more placeholders were handed out so we couldn't get a reservation to see an immigration official. So we decided to get Dad's work done.

I got to see the seedy underside of the manufacturing world. There will be a few photographs that will be updated when I get back. Really interesting stuff. Seedy, gritty and REAL. People here really WORK for a living. None of that 8hour/day bullshit. Try 12-14 hour days. Just to make ends meet. Sometimes I wonder about HK.

There are greeters everywhere. From the departments stores, to the front of banks and fast food chains. And they're not the old greeters you find in Walmart either. They're attractive (at least the females, the guys look kinda nerdy, it's the thick rim glasses) and young. Why would they want to get stuck in a job like that? I suppose it is to make ends meet. I don't know. It struck me that there would be people satisfied or at least accepting of that position in society. I certainly can't see myself doing it, "stooping" down to that level. But I supposed its a necessity for them. At that moment, I really appreciate what I have. But at the same time, I think HK is a dead city because people here seem so SATISFIED with their mediocrity. They're like clogs in the machine and they're happy about that. Everyone seems satisfied as long as they can survive. And I just can't stand that.

The company structures here are a lot less bureaucratic than the ones in NA. At least for manufacturing. It's very touch and go. Each company is almost like a department for a larger company. The people I met, like Saito, are the middlemen connecting the companies together. Others, like Edmund and Tony, are purchasers for larger companies to distribute contracts. Others do manufacturing while others do quality control for products other companies make. It's a mess, but it seems to 'work'. It's hard to work with people in China, because the cost of living is low and entering and exiting the market is easy.

I had dinner with my dad and Edmund and Tony. Learned quite a few things about their view of HK and how they see the progress of the future would be. I learned to keep my mouth shut. While I do not agree with their points of view about progress, they do have more experience in HK than I do. However, I did get mildly angry when he stated that my views as a techie is irrelevant, because we techies make up a very small percent of the population. While I concede that we may make a small amount of the population, we do have influence. People do rely on experts and expert knowledge when purchasing, and there are certain people that influence the rest of the market quite wildly. From the whole tipping point viewpoint, there are a small number of people that affect the larger world, and I do believe techies do influence the world to a large degree, just by being early adopters.

Anyways, I also find it frustrating that the insane amount of progress HK has with the internet, while we struggle behind in Canada. They can do anything from change of address from several different government departments to file taxes, book tennis courts,reserve appointments with various government offices, etc, but lack the support of the people. People just don't use the internet as much here. Very resistant to change. Banks are still mostly teller run, as opposed to ATMs, with some banks only having tellers and huge amounts of paperwork in the background. Bloody inefficient. The government and private enterprise has done so much to progress, yet people are unwilling to accept change. Maybe its because HK doesn't have the economic progress (computers for everyone), to create a tipping point. People just can't access the internet easily, especially when the young'uns can't convince the old people that new ways have arrived. Especially in a Confucian society where the elder is always right.

Hotpot seems to be the biggest thing here nowadays. Every fast food place has some sort of 45HKD deal. And restaurants have all you can eat hotpot for 54. It used to be Korean bbq according to my dad. I don't understand the attraction really.

That's it for today. I'll keep at it.