Archive for April, 2009

Concerts

April 9, 2009

So, on Tuesday night I went to see Oasis play live. This was the first time I’d seen them play live, as I’d always seemed to miss the opportunity for about the past 13 years. A good example of this was when I took a holiday to New York, I found out they were playing, and could not find a ticket anywhere (even the touts were just asking for tickets rather than selling).

The venue was the AsiaWorld Expo which is out towards the airport, and definitely wouldn’t be classed as a big arena. Despite this, there was still a lot of standing room available. The actual set played wasn’t all that long. Maybe abouut 1 hour and 45 minutes, which considering the price of the ticket (HK$780) was quite short. Oasis are also known for their lack of interaction with the crowd, and this did seem to be the case here. Aside from Liam throwing the odd tambourine into the crowd there wasn’t much coming from the band except for the music, of course.

So that’s the negative. It was, after all, Oasis, and they do have some cracking songs in their catalogue with which to entertain. The tour is to promote their current ‘Dig Out Your Soul’ album, and they played most of the album – opening the concert with ‘The Shock of the Lightning’ which met with a lot of crowd approval. Particular highlights for me were ‘Cigarettes and Alcohol’ and ‘Slide Away’ from Definitely Maybe, and ‘Wonderwall’, ‘Don’t Look Back in Anger’, ‘What’s the Story (Morning Glory)’, and ‘Champagne Supernova’ from What’s the Story? (Morning Glory). These two albums seemed to form a major part of the soundtrack to my time at university, so it was very cool to see and hear them performed live (albeit some 13 years after leaving university). I can still vaguely remember playing pool late at night/early in the morning at Rileys in Nottingham with the whole of the Morning Glory album playing through. No support act though, which I thought was unusual.

Hong Kong also hosted Coldplay a couple of weeks ago at the same venue, however I didn’t go to that concert. Reviews from friends suggest that it was an excellent gig. Although I quite like Coldplay, I can’t see them being a great live experience somehow.

Having seen the Manic Street Preachers last year, there’s no more big gigs lined up as far as I’m aware. A lot of the bands will be doing summer festivals. In this part of the world, there are two festivals hosted in Japan – Fujirock and Summer Sonic. Depending on line-ups, I might consider going to one of those. I believe Oasis might be headlining at Fujirock – so it could be a case of missing them for 13 years, and then seeing them twice in quick succession.

Thankfully it’s Easter, and it’s a four day weekend. A chance to recuperate … sort of. We have a mixed hockey tournament on Friday and Saturday, so it’s more likely to be recuperation on Sunday and Monday.

Advertisements

How not to renew a work visa

April 7, 2009

It’s taken me a while to get round to writing this post. As I’ve mentioned previously, as an imported worker, I need a work visa to be able to work here, and last year the immigration department gave me a one year visa. This is pretty much the norm, despite me requesting a two year visa. Normally, I’d be reminded by our office manager/admin prior to the expiry of the visa to start putting the paperwork together. Unfortunately, she had been made redundant towards the end of last year. As a result I never got a reminder, and continued in complete ignorance … right up until departure time for a hockey tour to Bangkok, whereupon trying to exit Hong Kong via the ID card controlled electronic gates, the gates wouldn’t open. An official from immigration arrives and starts typing away on a computer, and the gate opens to release me, and I’m directed down a corridor to the immigration department.

They’re not all that impressed that my visa has expired, and ask for my passport and boarding card, which I hand over, and then begin to panic ever so slightly. After a few awkward questions about expired visas, and submitting visa extension applications, I’m told that I can pay for an extension to the current day for HK$160. I’m pretty sure that’s the fastest I’ve reached for my wallet and am thrusting the money at the immigration officer as quickly as possible. After another 10 minutes or so my boarding card and passport are returned to me, and I’m told to go on my way, with a lot of relief. The beer at the airport bar is most welcome – as well as trying to explain my interview with immigration to the rest of the team …

On arrival back I need to enter on a visitor visa, where I’m told I can’t work. In fact this is a similar situation as to when I first arrived. The first thing I do when I get home is access the immigration website and start downloading extension of stay forms, and getting in touch with the office to get my letter of employment drafted. This all takes a bit of time to oragnise and collate, and in between I have another hockey tour which I exit for and return on my touist visa with no problems whatsoever, thankfully.

Back in Hong Kong the form requires a letter from my employer and the employer’s business registration number. Realising on the day of my appointment, I don’t know this number I quickly IM the office finance guy who says he’ll have it to hand and we agree I’ll drop into the office in about half an hour. Twenty minutes later I’m in the office and there’s no sign of anyone as they’ve all cleared off for lunch. Not helpful. As time ticks onwards towards my appointment time I realise he’s not coming back in time, and am about to give up with a view to phoning the office on my way to immigration when I notice the stupid registration certificate is framed on the wall. Number printed clearly. Smack forehead a bit, but overall a result! Upon reaching immigration with the various paperwork ready, I wait in the seated area for my interview for the extension of stay application, when an immigration officer comes up to the seats near where I’m sitting and starts barking at a lady ‘why you overstay your visa?’. I’m almost tempted to stand up and say he has the wrong person, and he probably means me, but decide to sit tight and see if I get called to one of the booths instead. This proves to be the correct action, and I’m called to a booth to be informed that my visa has expired and I’m currently in on a tourist visa. Well, duh! Apparently, what I need is a change of status not a visa extension. I’m also asked if I’m working for the same employer as before. This is awkward, as technically, I believe I am not allowed to work. Unapid leave is agreed with the immigration authorities, but that work will recommence with the same employer. I’m in the wrong office however, and can apply for the change of status back on Hong Kong island.

I get back to Hong Kong island (from Kowloon Bay) as quickly as possible and push through the usual crowds that walk slowly in both directions to immigration in Wanchai, and start the process of applying for a change of status. This seems to be pretty straightforward, until they notice that my employment letter is not the original, but a print out. It’s a pretty good print out – in my rush from the office I’d not noticed. My worry is that this is only going to delay matters further, but it turns out that my application is processed and I’m told to return three weeks later, with passport, HK$140, and the original employment letter and that it will all be sorted.

Fast forward three weeks, and true to their word, the visa is completed – I now have a new sticker in my passport, and everything is legal again. I think it goes without saying that the next time I need a visa extension, I’ll make sure I get it sorted in plenty of time before it expires though. Plenty of uncomfortable minutes spent trying to get this sorted out. It’s a definite relief to be legal again!