You're sitting in a cafe with a wonderful breeze coming off the South China Sea, getting a 30% discount on all food/drinks because they think you're a student here, typing on a brand new laptop that works fantastically, and not needing to worry about cumbersome glasses being worn. Sounds wonderful, no?
Well that's about where I am right no. But rather than having it be a grand time, it's a pretty questionable situation. The brand new laptop is being used because my old laptop (5 years old, mind you) decided to pick an inconvenient time to die on me, so I had to spend ~$1,000US on a new one. The lack of glasses comes from the fact that the other day, while swimming in the South China Sea off the beach of Tai Long Wan, my glasses fell off and were lost forever to the sea. For those who don't know me well, I am blind without my glasses. Absolutely blind. As in, right now, my laptop is about 1 foot from my face, and this page is magnified to 144%, and I still find it very, very blurry. Fortunately, I know Hong Kong better than I know Normal, Illinois (the town in which I went to University), so getting around hasn't been that hard, but my God is it devastating just not being able to see anything. Apparently, given my experiences in Asia last time with the whole injury situation, it turns out that Asia might actually hate me. Yet to be seen, I think, but that's certainly what appears to be the case. So anyway, let's recap the last week...
Left off around Halloween. Since then, there's been a good bit of applying for jobs in Hong Kong and China. I emailed the CFO of BMW Beijing at the request of the lovely Miss Madlien Schenker, who was kind enough to get me the contact information of this powerful and, incidentally, US-ian (again, hate the phrase "American") individual, who informed me that he'd be happy to pass my CV onto their hiring people, who will see if they have a position open for me. Not exactly a job offer, but I felt pretty good about going straight to the top (given that I'm looking for a job in Finance, the CFO is pretty much the top guy to talk to, I guess), and so we'll see how that goes. Interestingly, while Mercedes is tearing up Hong Kong with unbelievable growth and huge popularity among the wealthy elites, BMW is doing much, much better than them in the Mainland, so it would be a good company to work for, and Madlien has told me that she doesn't use Mandarin at all in the workplace, so my lack of Mandarin skills would not be a huge handicap. Additionally, I really like Beijing, having spent about 2 weeks there in August, so it would be a pretty great job I think, should I be fortunate enough to get my foot in the door.
I crossed the border into Shenzhen last week on Friday for an interview with Wagner Spraytech, a German company with an office in Shenzhen and factories in Ningbo and Dongguan. It was a rather interesting interview, as Wagner doesn't currently have any positions available in Shenzhen--rather it was something of a favor done by their Chinese representatives on behalf of their VP of Human Resources in the United States, who is a co-worker of a very close friend of my Dad's (is THAT all?!) Anyway, it was still definitely a worthwhile excursion, their Chinese Ops Manager was a very interesting guy, and was able to give me some useful pieces of advice on how to find a job in China, what sort of jobs I should be looking for, what sort of salary to expect, etc. So overall a pretty good day.
Douglon's Dad came to Hong Kong this past weekend, and I finally got to meet the legendary Mr. Tse himself. He took us out to a couple of meals, both of which were positively magnificent (interestingly enough, despite being a fairly unassumingly small Chinese man, Mr. Tse was able to out-eat both Douglon and I at the breakfast buffet we went to at the Shangri-La... certainly not unimpressive!) He also had some interesting insights about business in China, and was able to provide some good words of wisdom from the standpoint of a very successful Chinese businessman.
A brief and random sidenote--as mentioned, I'm currently in a cafe at HKU sitting at a small table. There are no longer any tables available, so a rather unassuming Chinese student came up and asked if she could sit at the other seat at this table. I don't think that this sort of thing would occur in the United States, rather I feel like if there are no tables available, then you simply leave the place after ordering your drink. Interesting stuff.
Anyway, now that that random tangent is done with, I have a lunch scheduled today with Loic, one of my Uncle Fred's associates here in Hong Kong. I'm hoping he will also have some insights as to how to find a job in Hong Kong/China, so we'll see how that goes. Tomorrow should be a rather deciding day, I have an interview in the morning with an English-language school in Kowloon Bay, Hong Kong, and a phone interview in the evening with Allstate Insurance for a position back home as a Financial Analyst. Had you asked me prior to my departure to China if I'd've taken that job were it offered, I'd've likely said "no" rather emphatically. However, given the devastation that has occurred to my bank account, and consequently my confidence, since arriving here, it is now a possibility. We'll have to see how the interview goes. It certainly does sound like a really awesome job, anyway.
Looks like I'll be making another trip across the border to Shenzhen in the next few days to meet with an English language school, as well as with a company that I met with in Birmingham, Alabama, in late July. Could be promising, I suppose.
And now for sort of a random thought of the day regarding false advertising--I was recently looking into possibly buying an Amazon Kindle. I was absolutely flabbergasted when I saw that it had a battery life of...2 MONTHS?!? My God, that's just amazing! However, immediately after that, I noticed there was an asterisk next to this claim. The asterisk corresponded to fine print which said "Based on 30 minutes use per day". Well what the hell is that? That's like saying "Oh, this iPod will NEVER RUN OUT OF BATTERY AT ALL, as long as you don't use it ever!" I really can't understand the benefit of doing that. Frankly, people should react in a few ways-
1) They're really unintelligent, and just don't notice the fine print. They get their Kindle, and due to their unintelligence, they probably never use it. They never realize the battery doesn't actually last 2 months. Or maybe they do, in which case they're rather upset because the battery obviously doesn't last 2 months, it lasts like 30 hours.
2) They notice the fine print, and don't really think anything of it. They think "well that's fair enough, I guess"
3) Or they're like me, and notice the fine print, get pissed off at their insulting your intelligence, and simply say "well if I was going to buy a Kindle, now there's no way I'm going to, out of pure spite".
I just don't see how saying "OH 2 MONTH BATTERY LIFE GUYS!!! (contingent on using it for 2% of your day, every day)" can be any better at making sales than just saying "yeah, the battery lasts 30 hours". It's certainly not false, or even deceptive advertising, but it's just dumb, as far as I'm concerned. Maybe I'm just too picky about things like this, who knows. Moral of the story is... READ THE FINE PRINT!!!
Anyway, that's enough ranting for now. I'll be posting sometime tomorrow or Wednesday with updates on the 2 interviews tomorrow, so until then, remember, only use your Kindle 30 minutes per day if you want the battery to last 2 MONTHS!!!!