Tag Archives: Hong Kong

On a Sinking Ship

2 Jul

sinking ship

Thirty years ago, Mom told us we had to go, and that gnarly scary looking uncle in red was actually our biological father. We were shocked. We didn’t want to go. No child would want to leave their mother. But at the end, we reluctantly got on Uncle’s boat, and sailed away from Mother’s distant embrace.

Uncle, now turned Father, patted our heads and smiled, “don’t worry, little man, I know you aren’t used to sailing with so many people, so I got you a little boat so you can have some space. Do whatever you will on there. We will just be in front of you, towing you along. Welcome back to the family.”

It was great, we got our own boat. We even get to choose our own captain. Sweet! I guess leaving Mother wasn’t so bad after all.

That was seventeen years ago.

Today, the once shiny and glorious ship is reduced to a rusty bucket of bolts. We are patching the ship up daily just to get it sailing, and all the sailors that Father sent over aren’t helping either. They are either drinking wine with the captain or snoozing on the lower decks, waking only to the sound of dinner. I wondered why Father even bothered in the first place.

Everyday, from the decks, we look up to the bridge tower, made of ivory, gold and beautiful gems. Everyone wants to go there because that’s the only place that’s not brown and rusty. What does it matter anyways? The ship is slowing sinking. Too many holes, too many sailors, and not enough wood. The captain doesn’t care, he can’t see a thing down here from his ivory tower. All he can see is the shiny big boat that Father is sailing in.

I see the shiny big boat too, and I only see a bigger version of our boat. Blood and sweat on the bottom, ivory tower on top. The captain talks to the big hats on Father’s boat everyday. With every call, our boat sinks deeper, the food is more scarce, the language around me is more foreign.

We tried to speak up, but our voices aren’t heard. I guess he can’t hear anything over Father’s voice. All we get is “everything will be alright.” Yeah, alright. The holes on the hull are getting bigger and the patches aren’t holding up, and everything is alright.

If you are reading this, and if you are on the same boat, then we can fix this boat together. Before it sinks, before this boat becomes forgotten in the pages of history, before we are only mentioned in myths in the distant future.


Day Off

13 Sep

A log – is how I would describe my sleep. It seems years since I slept like this on a Friday. My friend told me I look weathered. I would not disagree. Although it’s not as if creases were forming on my face, but my eyes certainly lost fire.

Talking to my friend who came back from a trip in Thailand, I realized it’s been half a year since I went on a trip. It is time to gather a few friends and head to the travel agency to take a look at the packages for November. I am looking for a retreat destination, somewhere I can lay back and find solace. 

I also need a place where there’s no wifi. I can’t help but check email even while I am away. Gotta keep up with the Joneses. Missing a beat is something I can’t afford nowadays.

Wait. Aren’t I having a day off? Technology is really helping work creep into personal lives. But i guess it’s inevitable. 

Work: Salvation

11 Sep

There comes a time in your life where you’d find yourself in a cul-de-sac. For me, that moment is here. Here I am sitting in the office at night looking over CVs just to fill a position elsewhere. The reason I am typing this is that my mind needs to be taken off that stack of paper before insanity kicks in. 

Here is a little something for all job seekers out there: never trust the benefits on the job advert until it is actually discussed. Competitive salary is a hair beneath a lie. I am not saying employers are all liars, but at the end of the day, employers and employees are on opposite ends of the same spectrum. Both struggle to compromise and find middle ground. Both, however, will never meet in the center. Either one would have to give a bit of ground to come to an agreement. This is the natural course of employment.

The deathly grip of deadline is tightening by the hour, and persuading people to work on the cheap is worse than pulling teeth. In a field where I talk to a lot of people daily, it seems people are either starving or well-off enough to be choosy. Both share one common trait though.

I would be open to part time if this leads me somewhere.

Fair enough statement, you would say. I would agree with you if I were in a different position. My advice for everyone who just came to Hong Kong is always:

Get whatever work you can fast. The rent doesn’t wait for you. If you do not have the experience to make bank, then work for less until you look better on paper.

My advice is rarely heeded though. But right now, I would kill just to have salvation dawn upon me.

Cracking Bones

10 Sep

Five minutes ago, I strayed away from work for a moment and took a quick break. Staying in one position for too long is taxing on your body. I reached out to the sky with both hands and stretched my already sore muscles.

Creak creak crack crack crack!

That was the response. I stretched some more, this time my back, hips and legs.

Crack crack creak creak crack…. crack………………(wait for it) creak

That was a lame finish to a satisfying stretch, I thought. But the amount of noise generated by my bones were a bit unsettling. I didn’t know my body was capable of a percussion performance. Even my colleague in front of me was a bit startled.

What the hell did you do last night? She poked her head out in horror.

Erm, nothing? It’s just what happens to an old man. I smiled wryly.

Well, I am not even 30. Is this supposedly an alarming sign? Maybe I should start working out again. But then again, I am always busy. Maybe I should find a better job first. Well, I had better take this phone call first.

Open Waters

9 Sep

The summer sun sits on the horizon, illuminating us for the final time before yielding to the piercing winds of autumn. The ocean calls to me one last time before its welcoming warmth is drowned by the icy cold. Me being me, I do not dare reject its call, lest I regret it for another 300 days.

The sun is high and the water is blue. The mood is right for a final bloom. So I set out to embrace what the season throws at me – a blooming party on the sea. Many-a-friend were determined to set out the enjoy the final act of summer, and my what a party it was.

Booze were drunk, foods were roasted, water fights were had, wetness ensued. Friendly tussles started from the planks and ended in the water. The once sober became the intoxicated with fun. The drowsy spirit became playful and free. This was the summer I was looking for, and this is the best conclusion to a missed summer.

Well then, hello autumn.

Rain Drops Keep Falling on My Head

5 Sep

4th September, rain.

My first ray of light is greeted by raindrops beating on the window. There isn’t much like to speak of, only shades of grey. Grey and dashes of rain. My eyes are two lines and the only reason I am conscious is my blaring alarm clock. Two alarm clocks, in fact.

I turn around and slam my hand on the snoozes in one smooth action. Dropping my wide palm from above, hitting the taller alarm clock right in the sweet spot; then sweeping left, using gravity to assist the dropping motion and powering to the final descent.

This everyday routine is so perfected that my hands can be unleashed without raising my eyelids. Usually, this would not be an amazing feat because most people could do that with a lone alarm clock, but my precision with two alarm clocks is no easy accomplishment. I am rather proud of that.

My eyelids crack open at long last, winning many rounds of snoozes in between. And much like every other day, I am going to need to rush. Badly. I can’t wake up at a normal time anymore. I need more sleep even after getting more sleep.

But today, I blame the rain. Rain beating down the window orchestrates the tune of serenity like no other sounds.

Sick Leave

3 Sep

After coughing for what seems an eternity, I have decided on taking a sick leave yesterday. Throbbing headache combined with endless coughs proved the perfect reason to take the day off.

It turned out to be the perfect remedy for the fatigue I have been carrying for the last few weeks, or perhaps it’s months. Months sound about right. I haven’t had real rest for a few months now. I slept like a log.

Why are you so tired? You scratch your head.

Work has taken me away. I am by no means a workaholic, but I am forced to be a workaholic. Hong Kong is unforgiving in this sense. Be employed at work or be employed elsewhere. It’s a taxing routine, and I am going back to it after the day-long hibernation. 

It’s time for this bear to gather up more fatigue then go back to hibernation.