Archive for March, 2008

Macau follow-up

March 11, 2008

Unsurprisingly Macau felt like a wasted trip to me. My main reason for being there was to leave Hong Kong and re-enter under my now extended working visa. Upon reaching the immigration desk having returned from Macau and handing over my passport to the immigration officer expecting to get it stamped and updated I’m told this is unnecessary as it has already been activated when the extension was issued. So from that point of view it was an unnecessary trip entirely.

Of course I was also over in Macau to deliver a presentation – with the riveting title of Linux in the Enterprise – at a luncheon briefing for current customers or potential customers. I’m not really sure as I must admit I didn’t really pay attention when being ‘asked’ to do this. Bearing in mind other presentations I’ve delivered have felt like hard work, or had people dozing off, or just had no response at all from the audience I wasn’t exactly looking forward to this one either. Unfortunately this time was no different. Myself and a room of perhaps 20 people have 30 minutes of time wasted by me. I’m convinced either no-one listens or no-one understands what I’m saying (all other presentations are in Cantonese, and not in English with a slight N Irish accent). I know I can speak quite quickly when presenting and always suggest the audience ask if they want something repeated/explained. No queries or questions at all – I could be speaking to a blank wall and get more response. Slowly but surely any joy or confidence I have in presenting is being chipped away. Still it looks good for my employer to be able to wheel out a Brit to present, so I guess that’s why I’m there. Only one noticeable sleeper this time, so I guess that’s an improvement of sorts.

I’ve also had my main office of work shifted from the centre of Hong Kong (the originally named Central area) out to Tsuen Kwan O. After a bit of searching to find out where exactly this place is, I found it’s on the (east) Kowloon side and in the middle of an industrial estate. In fact, it’s not too dissimilar to Bracknell really. There’s an (unfunny) irony there to be sure. It also means my 20 minute stroll to work or 5 minute cab ride has become a 50 minute MTR swapping and shuttle bus trip. I also managed to leave my house flat keys in the office yesterday only realising when I was back at Admiralty MTR necessitating a full return journey back again. Much muttered swearing to myself as it was basically 90 minutes completely wasted.

On an unrelated note, I see that the Netscape browser is now officially dead. I first ran into Netscape at the university computer centre where it basically Netscape = worldwide web, and also meant I could waste some time playing networked Doom with my lab partner when we pulled an all-nighter to write up our boring dissertations in thrid year. It’s strange to think that from that initial exposure to networked computers I’ve now wound up working in Hong Kong in the IT industry. Considering my choice, I hope it’s a more interesting career than bouncing NO molecules off platinum (which I think was one of the dissertation subjects).

Off to Macau tomorrow

March 4, 2008

I’m off to Macau tomorrow. Two reasons for the trip really, number 1, I’m delivering another presentation excitingly about Linux in the Enterprise. No doubt this will be delivered to an entirely Chinese audience who I suspect will understand maybe 50% of what I say. I get the impression I get asked roped in to attend these events just purely to make an appearance as the gweilo who works for the company. Speaking to a few friends, this may actually be the case. This would also explain why I was asked to attend a presentation last Friday delivered by a partner company so that I could answer any questions that came up at the end. Another 2 hours of presentation to sit through entirely in Cantonese with no input at all required from me. It’s at times like these I feel most in a different country and culture.

The second reason for tripping to Macau is to leave Hong Kong and then re-enter on my updated work visa. This gives me the right to continue working here for the next year. It was a fairly straightforward process, just requiring proof from my company that I actually had a job. The only real complication was that my previous visa was only for 6 months, and the new one was looking for an additional two years. After phone calls with immigration, faxes, and letters sent back and forth I finally got my passport updated with the new visa… for one extra year. Something to look forward to doing again next year I guess.

The good news is the weather here is beginning to pick up and it’s feeling warm and sunny again. The winter here was considered to be very cold compared to recent years, but still nothing as cold as back in the UK. Coats and jackets can begun to be hung up until December or so with a bit of luck!

Rather not so good news is that it’s also that time of year to try and sort out tax. A job for some time next week to figure out what I need to do and so on… It should be similar, but less hassle, to the UK in that I’ll get to do another tax return. Can’t wait!