衛民斌 is my Chinese name for my bussiness cards, it is pronounced "Whyy Man Baen".
At the moment all the new office staff are being assigned their new names. In Chinese the name has a meaning independant of the characters used to construct it. It took me a while to get my head around, but basically a Chinese name can sound identical to another Chinese name, but the characters used to make it can give that name a visually different meaning on paper. (you follow me???)
Choosing a name is quite a complicated process and I recall my boss in a one hour meeting to finally pick mine. Thankfully, as of yet, none of the new staff have a name quite as cool as mine which translates as "Protector, soldier and poet". Apparently an ex governor of Hong Kong used to have the same symbols for his name. Big name shoes to fill!
(you will only be able to see my Chinese name if you have Chinese graphics installed on your computer, just in case you are wondering why my name is three squares!)
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
衛民斌 is my Chinese name for my bussiness cards, it is pronounced "Whyy Man Baen".
Monday, August 27, 2007
In about 24 hours I can officially collapse and sleep for hopefully days. When 50 people arrived in Hong Kong, everyone in the office had to train them, house them, help them all find flats and provide entertainment. I knew it would be hard work, but I don't know how many more 5.30am starts I have left in me! If nothing else I have a new found respect for the people in the office who did the same thing for me last year. How can you look happy and smiley all the time? Even if you despair at the questions you are being asked.
Here is the best so far that a new guy asked me:
Newbie: Errr Ben, can I ask you a question?
Newbie: If I use my English bank card in a Hong Kong bank machine, will it give me British money, or Hong Kong money
Me: Hong Kong money...
Now, i'm not saying that this is a daft question for someone who has never left England. But i know for a fact that this newbie is rather well travelled. Which makes me worry just a little bit.
On the subject of the office team. Here is a picture I found that we took about 9 months ago. Some people have left and some people are here. But I think you would agree that we look like a ragtag bunch.
at 10:24 PM
Friday, August 24, 2007
Weird moment of the day came when I found on my desk a reference request for Robyn.
Should I write that she is adept at finding her way home no matter what state she is in?
Should I write that she is fantastic at dancing on the stage at 'The Cavern', when the mood strikes?
Sadly I will not write any of these things. Robyn will write the reference, then my boss will give it a final look, then we will send it on. But still, the temptation is there :)
And the reference people have spelt my name 'Wheatman' on the form! I am not cereal!
at 12:48 AM
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
The US bloody navy is in Wan Chai and the whole district has turned into some type of zoo. Here are a few snippets of information that connects the age old history of Wan Chai and the new moronic inhabitants.
- "Part of Lockhart Road near its western end is considered as a red light distric with many bars, pubs and nightclubs. When the navy of the United States visits Hong Kong, the crews land near Wan Chai and congregate in the area around Lockhart Road" (Source)
- "Wanchai is usually the landing spot of battleships and the most popular nightlife area for military and navy." (Source)
at 6:14 AM
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
Sunday, August 19, 2007
My main role was the first week of orientation, which has just passed. Now that is over I only have about 2 days to organize this coming week, so I am considerably less stressed thinking about Monday than the rest of the office team.
So far things have gone as smooth as you can expect, and all the newbies seem really happy. Friday night (as mentioned in the last post) was a tad bit crazy. It was a good night, but I think I take for granted quite how fun the night life is out here. Mainly because most of the new staff are still talking about Friday, and how much they loved it/better it is than anywhere they have been to back home. I wish I could take credit for the general plan of the evening, but it was all down to Nikki and Laura, who crafted the basic shell of what turned out to be a fantastic evening that will go down in history with most of the staff.
Other than that, today has seen a bunch of us chilling out at Shek O beach. About half the organization came along, so there was a big bunch of us. I got a little bit burnt round my legs but that's mainly because I fell asleep on a giant double bed sized floating thing. Afterwards we had dinner at a place Robyn pointed out to me as being good for both carnivores and veggies alike. So we went there and I ate so much seafood I think I have squid coming out of my ears.
at 6:07 AM
Friday, August 17, 2007
It started off as a bar run, then progressed to a bar walk, then a bar limp, then finaly a bar crawl. Here are some pictures.
at 10:34 PM
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Sunday, August 12, 2007
Saturday, August 11, 2007
I just helped some of the girls move their stuff into their new flat. They got a second hand double bed, amongst other things from a guy giving them away online.
Once they got the stuff there, not one part of the sodding big bed would fit into the lift. There then was a standoff between the girls and the guys they hired to move the stuff in. Who refused to lift the parts up 10 floors. (they were requesting an insane amount of extra money)
It was at that point that I decided to pop round and say hello, fool that I am.
With help from the brother of my boss (who came to my rescue) we both carried...
- one huge double matress,
- one wooden headboard,
- one wooden box stand for the bed
- and one other random giant piece of wood that had something to do with the bed.
And I have realized that
- I am really unfit
- Pathetically weak
- Unsuitable as a furniture remover in the future
My arms ache so much i can't seem to be able to close my fingers or grip...
at 5:17 AM
Friday, August 10, 2007
It's 3pm and I am at home on a Friday afternoon.
At lunchtime I was in the office and everything was normal. We had two new members of the organization having an early meeting with my boss (they don't officially start work till Monday) and I was chatting to them too.
My boss left and went to lunch, so I was left to talk to the newbies. About 10 minutes later she burst back into the room and announced "You all have to go home right now, there is a typhoon coming".
So that was that, we had barely enough time to turn off our computers and were told that we had about an hour before the typhoon hits level 8. The highest typhoon classification.
Here are some choice sectons from the official governent weather observatory.
at 12:11 AM
Thursday, August 9, 2007
With me going to America, returning, and now having a washing machine, someone has been missing me lots.
That someone is the laundry lady.
For 9 months I faithfully visited the laundry lady sometimes twice a week. She never understood a word I said and I never understood a word that she said. But her and her metal toothed husband (like something from jaws) always laughed and smiled/reflected dazzling light everytime I dropped off my dirty socks. It was a happy little arrangement.
So I returned today after looking at my pile of washing, then at my washing machine, and then at the clock. When I walked in the laundry lady lit up. That is when we had our conversation.
She said: Where the hell have you been!
I replied: I have been traveling and have only just got back (i could not mention the washing machine)
She said: Ahhh I see, me and my husband have been wondering where you have been! (she pointed to her husband)
I said: Don't worry, I will be visiting more now!
She said: Oh ok then, but your laundry bag on the scale
(I put laundry bag on scale)
She said: Ayyyyya, wow you have lots of dirty stuff!
I said: I know, i have not done the laundry for a while!
I'm not sure whether that is the precise translation of the conversation. Because she was speaking Cantonese, and I was speaking English. What is strange though is that if I had someone who could translate the back and forth between us, I really do think it would have been pretty much what I wrote above.
Me and the laundry lady, a relationship beyond mere language...
at 6:23 AM
Tuesday, August 7, 2007
I have to prepare a welcome pack for the 50 new staff members coming to Hong Kong on Monday. Part of that pack involves a section where there are pictures of the current office team, so the new people know who we all are.
at 10:58 PM
When walking outside at the moment you sweat buckets. There is nothing you can do about it so you just get used to it.
One useful method to keep half human though is to have some Kleenex tissue to wipe the film of sweat off your face every few minutes.
Problems arise when you have, at the same time, a runny nose.
It is of vital importance that you don't confuse your nose tissue, with your face tissue whilst rushing to work. Unfortunatley I did confuse my tissues, and so had a film of sweat, and other stuff on my face yesterday morning.
at 4:29 PM
Sunday, August 5, 2007
On Sunday night my mother woke me up by 'nudging' my computer over the internet messenger service. It was my fault for leaving my computer plugged into the very loud speaker system, lets just say it made my bed vibrate.
I had trouble dropping back off to sleep so I had some Chinese green tea whilst looking out of my window at the view. I had my camera next to me, all was pretty quiet in Wan Chai with just some taxis and trams trudling past.
But then something caught my eye. Look at the picture again, but look top left on the roof of some flats opposite my flat.
What are they???
They are glass containers and must be about 6 foot high. Inside there are hundreds of tea-lights.... My question is, why?
If it's a religious thing, I have never see it or heard of it before. Weirder is that they are very visual and quite mesmerising objects, yet I must be one of only a handful of flats that can actually see them.
So basically they are not created to be seen by people, and I have a new mystery to uncover.
at 8:58 AM
I now have my flat to myself!! Nikki has now found a new home which is right next to the Southorn Playground and therefore not very far from me. Her new flat is very Chinese. It's hard to explain that phrase in exact terms, but it has clouds painted on the ceiling and some type of Greek theme going on in the bathroom. Hell it is easy to explain in exact terms, it's a bit tacky.
It is a nice place though, quite large and big rooms too. Problem is that it is not furnished. That coupled with the hefty deposit Nikki and her 2 flatmates have paid for the place means that furnishing the new pad is going to be a slow process.
In other news (and this is just for the ex Hong Kong crew who read this) Eberneezers has a new Kebab shop opposite Carnegies!! life is goooood.
I leave you with a picture from a kind of welcome back dinner some of had earlier this evening.
at 7:00 AM