Sunday, December 28, 2008

And Never Brought to Mind

Less than 10 hours to go!

No other time have I been so excited about the passing of another year. I'm generally quite indifferent when it comes to celebrating the New Year, but considering the year that I've had, I am all for saying good riddance to the sucky year that is/was 2008 and hello to 2009. Y'know, I'm actually pretty optimistic about 2009 (optimism is a strange new feeling for a natural born pessimist like me) even though I can see there will be a lot of challenges during the year ahead.

Anyway, lemme try and recall some of the events that occurred in the latter part of this year...

So, the Devil transaction closed in late July and Mac-lite and its consortium got their grubby little hands on the billions. The partner in charge of the transaction took a sabbatical immediately afterwards, but there was no rest for the rest of us, as post-closing work on the transaction meant that the plebs had to continue with the heavy lifting. As a small reward, we were given a short transaction break, were invited to a couple of free lunches and had drinks with our counterparts (who were advising Mac-lite, but we carried them and did most their work!) though.

In August, a couple of friends, who had been living together as a de facto couple, flew off to New York and got married at City Hall on 8 August (their wedding was even featured in an article in the New York Times), and I began thinking about my own relationship and what it meant to be commited to another person. Friends would comment off-hand about when we would "get married" and I would always dismiss it with some silly statement. Anyway, even though the idea of a civil ceremony (or, more importantly, all the attention such an event would come with) did freak me out, I thought that something symbolic like commitment rings might be a nice idea (especially the really simple Cartier wedding bands). Hmm...

Birthday on 12 August. As per usual, I refused to have any sort of celebration and, considering I was turning a ripe old age of 30, I wanted this birthday to pass by without any fanfare. I tried to keep it quiet but my PA knew and insisted I do as little work as possible that day. I ended up having a long lunch with Jeanie at Moshi Moshi and left early-ish from work with Rachel and went to St John to eat strange animal off-cuts like rabbit kidneys (quite delicious).

My final day in the office was on the third week of August. I wiped my hands of the Devil transaction at noon that day when I had my handover meeting... good riddance! I had my farewell drinks later on that afternoon. At my request, I received my farewell present in the form of book vouchers, which I used to buy a few design books from Foyles. People hung around on the departmental floor for a short while before heading back into their rooms to work. There's always an over-supply of drinks on such ocassions and I nicked a couple of bottles of champagne that weren't opened.

My belated birthday present to myself was a trip to Croatia. It's an incredibly beautiful place and I had a very relaxing time. It was a good way to unwind after finishing off at Anal & Oral. Croatia must be the new trendy destination for Antipodean backpackers as there was no way of avoiding them - they were on the budget flight to Split, on the ferries and boats at every port and generally everywhere you went along the Dalmatian Coast. It was really quite sad to witness all the drunk bogan behaviour and it really freaked me out that I was about to return to the land of the bogans at the end of the year.

I spent the whole month of September in London. I ended up being quite busy though, organising my travel plans, arranging so that my departure from London would run as smooth as possible, learning to drive, and hosting Lee at the end of the month. I really wanted to do all the touristy stuff again and re-visit all the museums, but that didn't eventuate as I ran out of time.

Re learning to drive, I held off for the longest time, but decided that it would be necessary skill if I were to become an architect and was required to travel to different building sites. I looked into the pros and cons of learning to drive in the UK and in NSW (my version of international arbitrage) and decided I just couldn't tolerate logging 150 hours of driving into a driving journal as part of the NSW RTA requirements. I decided to learn in the UK as you can do a 2-week intensive course and get a full licence once you've passed the practical exam. I did my practical exam on the last Wednesday I was in the UK. Luckily I passed!

Q4 2008

October was a month of travelling, mainly in India. We officially broke up pretty much as soon as I arrived in India. I decided to stay on and complete my trip instead of taking the first flight of the country. I wanted answers and I wasn't going to get any if I fled. Anway, that's all I'm prepared to say at this point!

I came back to Sydney in November and re-commenced blogging shortly thereafter... and that's the story of my 2008!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Should Old Acquaintance Be Forgot

Well, another year has come and gone. To say 2008 was a memorable year would be an understatement - it's probably the most eventful year in my life so far.

Q1 2008

2008 started off quite unremarkably though. We moved into Adelaide Wharf right before Christmas (since our previous place - a 500 square foot one bedroom ex-council flat above the adidas store in WC2 - was s0ld by the landlord for an insane amount - around GBP450,000) and were slowly but surely adjusting to life in our new surroundings. Even though the size and layout of the flat were quite similar to our Seven Dials flat, rent was more than GBP60 cheaper, there was more sunlight and there was the gorgeous view out to the eastern horizon. Also, there was no prospect of having drunken hecklers shouting or singing outside late at night, having to dodge all the rubbish, vomit and piss each weekend morning on the way to M&S, Tescos or Sainsburys or accidentally glancing at the neighbour across the street sauntering semi-naked, through the windows . I was able to walk or, if I felt to lazy or if it was too cold or wet, take a short bus ride down Kingsland Road to Bishops Square for work and weekend market options were simply a pleasant stroll along the canal or through Haggerston Park. Only highlight in January I can recall is that I took a week off after New Years and attended a life drawing workshop at the Prince's Drawing School. I think it helped get the creative juices going and made me think more seriously about all the future possibilities.

In February, I was also assigned to work "full-time" (though this didn't prevent me from getting assigned additional work) on a mamoth project which involved advising the banking syndicates on the financing of the acquisition and reorganisation of the "Devil" by a consortium led by Mac-lite.

We hosted a Chinese New Year dinner. Jeanie brought over some Chinese horoscope predictions for the year ahead and the predictions for Horses were extremely poor. I should have took heed of the bad fortune that was coming :-p.

March came and, after recognising that our adventures within the UK had been few and far between, we decided to take a road trip to Cornwall for the Easter long weekend. Though Cornwall had some tremendously beautiful scenery and was pleasant enough in general, the drive took hours, the weather was v. cold, wet and windy and it became apparent why vacations on the Continent were so much more appealing than trips within the UK. We did stay in a lovely organic, gay-friendly B&B in St Ives (nothing like the Sydney namesake) and I had the opportunity to sample Cornish pasties, ice cream and cream teas. We had to cut the long weekend short by one day though as I was required at work on the Devil's business.

Q2 2008

We returned to Sydney via Hong Kong for two weeks during April. It was only six months since our last trip back to HK and Sydney. The intention of the trip was the look around the universities and finally make up my mind. I did.

I also had my formal annual appraisal and performance grading with the Beyatch and my old trainer. It was quite predictable - they complimented me on the good work I had done, but also emphasized that it was that time in my legal career that I really had to step up to the plate and commit myself further should I wish to become a more senior member of the department. Hmm...

In May, we were able to take a weekend trip in Paris. and it was wonderful. Paris in Spring is glorious and it really swept away all the poor memories of the cold and dismal Paris we saw during our first visit to the city during Easter 2006. Of course, having Rachel as host and staying in her fabulous apartment in the 4th arrondisement helped! I did think about the Devil quite a bit and I suffered a big downer hours before returning to London.

After the previous month's formal appraisal, I had an informal "fire-side" chat with the Beyatch regarding salary and benefits. With a big smile on her face, she informed me that, excluding pension, private healthcare, etc. , my salary was being bumped up to GBP88K from GBP76K (effective from the beginning of the month) and that I was entitled to a guaranteed deferred bonus of GBP9K plus a portion of the firm's annual profits next July. Obscene amounts which did make me pause and think about holding on for another year... but only for a nanosecond.

June arrived with news that three associates transferred to the Hong Kong office on their own volition. To me it sounded like a bizarre decision - it was like jumping out of the pot and into the fire - but apparently they were saying that they were treated much better by the partners over there than in our department. Wimps I thought as they had never really worked for the Beyatch. Another colleague on the same grade level as me resignsed after completing her 9-month secondment at RBS. She said that she had had enough of the Beyatch and did not want to return to work for her. Oh dear, that meant that there was only Rachel and me remaining within clawing/summoning distance from the Beyatch.

[Btw, the Beyatch is quite the character. A single female partner in her 40s, she was made partner around 10 years ago, and is quite renowned for her legal acumen but more so for her temperamental behaviour. When stressed, she would be in an absolutely foul mood. Pity the poor person who needs to deal with her then. She has systematically made every female associate, trainee or PA working under her cry (at least once) and has led to many a person resigning (lots of juicy stories there!). She only likes working with associates she deems competent (so pity the person who actually does decent work), but noone wants to work with her. Apparently, she has been seeking anger management training and there have been signs of behavioural improvement.]

Q3 2008

July was a pretty rough month wrestling with the Devil. You-know-who got a teaching position training English teachers in a rural town in Rajasthan, India for a charitable organisation. The job on paper satisfied almost everything he ever wanted vocationally. He left London during the first half of the month.

July payday was a special day as it was also the day when we received our deferred bonuses that were promissed to us 18 months ago. As an associate retention tool, it did work... somewhat. However, they didn't realise that there were people waiting around until this day to come, so that they could formally submit their resignations. I was the first one in the department to do so that day - I informed my old trainer before noon. Two other associates followed after lunch, including another associate working with the Devil. A couple of partners rushed into the room that two other associates working on Devil sat in and asked if they were ok with things at work. I carried a smug smile for the remainder of that day!

To be continued...

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Transport for London

Dezeen ran a story on Transport for London's competition to design a new bus for London during the Northern summer. Below are a couple of interesting and quite cute design entries from Aston Martin and Foster + Partners (first pic) and by London-based architect Matthew Heywood (second pic, which looks Mini-inspired). The Aston Martin/F+P design was joint first place in the Imagine category.

For all its faults, public transport in London is still pretty darn good when you compare it to places like Sydney. As a person who only recently obtained a driver's licence (who dares ride with me, huh?), you could happily live there without needing or wanting a car. If you resided and worked in Zone 1 or Zone 2, most local amenities are within short walking distance and you are never more than 500m away from a tube station or major bus route.

So the tube system is ancient, overcrowded, dirty and intensely stifling during summer, but its network is extensive and services (when the lines are working) are frequent and relatively efficient. Buses run at regular intervals (even throughout the night on popular routes) and are inexpensive with a standard fare (no complicated red, blue, brown et al. zones!) for the whole route. I even like the much derided "bendy" buses which do what they were brought in to do by increasing the capacity on the busy routes that were once serviced by the ancient routemasters (which, although charming in an old fashion way, were dangerous, disability and elderly unfriendly and lacked passenger capacity). Also, you can board from the back doors and "accidentally" forget to swipe your Oyster card on the card reader (thinking like a East Ender there :-p !).

It would be interesting to see if the East London line does open as scheduled in June 2010. That would cut commuting time from places within Hackney Borough to destinations serviced by the London Underground lines such as Canary Wharf and West London quite considerably. With the new Hoxton and Haggerston stations only a few hundred metres from my old place, I can imagine it would also mean the accelerated gentrification of my old neighbourhood.

Speaking of my old neighborhood, oh how I miss buying the Guardian newspaper and a cupcake on Saturday mornings on Broadway Market; browsing with the other homosexualist couples and buying "two for a fiver" on Sunday mornings at Columbia Road Flower Market; the diverse mix of fashionistas, students, foreigners, yuppies, Bangladeshis and old school East Enders and weekend buzz of Spitalfields Market and Brick Lane, Haggerston Park and Hackney City Farm, strolling along the Regents Canal; the granola-crunchiness (and, to be crass, DILFs) of Church Street, Stokey... and the Turkish and Vietnamese restaurants!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

2009 Movies

Two posts in one day? Gee, I must have been bored!

I've been trawling through and downloading some of the new movie trailers at Apple this afternoon and discovered that Astroboy (the original Gay Asian Marching Boy) has a full-length feature film coming out next year! Check out the short teaser here.

Sadly, it's not old school animation but Pixar-ish CGI animation. Dr Tenma, the scientist that creates Astroboy (who was called Dr Elephant in English-dubbed version of the 80s television series) is being voiced by *urgh* Nic Cage. Other characters are voiced by Kristen Bell, Nathan Lane, Bill Nighy, Eugene Levy, Matt Lucas and Donald Sutherland.

Also, Ciao and Were the World Mine (a gay high school musical!) are a couple of queer films that look quite promising.


I received a letter from HM Revenue & Customs yesterday stating that I owe the UK Government a shitload (GBP779.77 to be exact) in income tax for the year 2007/08. Ouch! A bit on the hefty side methinks considering I was on PAYE.

Anyhoo, after mulling over whether to pay it now or until after the new year, I decided to just do it and transferred the funds from my UK bank account this afternoon. I have yet to pay my final credit card bill (which reflects all the post-breakup retail therapy I did in HK) so the UK account balance is going to look quite dire until I get my 2008/2009 tax refund. Hopefully, I don't need to wait too long for that, as I sent in my form to the HMRC Expat Office in late November. I'm expecting in excess of GBP5,500!

... and continuing the (slightly crass) talk about money (or money that I am not earning at the moment since, as some of you may be aware, I have been - by personal design - a "man of leisure" since the last week of August), it has started to irk me quite a bit that - as a person who is biologically programmed to save or worry about not saving enough - my bank balances are now in perpetual decline with no immediate signs of rectification.

It's fortunate that I've saved a penny or two in the last few years and I've budgeted a bit so I don't have to start hustling at the Wall any time soon (which, on reflection, isn't much different from what I used to do as a finance whore). However, staying within budget has been quite a challenge and I have clearly underestimated how expensive things are in Sydney these days. I guess I'm still thinking in terms of 2002 prices, but I'm astounded whenever I walk into a newsagency, Borders or Kinokuniya and find out the price of books and magazines here. I've only bought one magazine since arriving back (the final issue of Monocle for this year) and have relied on my subscriptions to Belle and Monument to satiate some of my periodical-whoring tendencies... but I guess I will be frequenting Chatswood lpublic ibrary quite a bit more in the future in order to get my book and magazine fix.

I've the luxury of being able to wait a bit before I have to go out and find suitable part-time employment so that I can bulk up my Aus bank balance and keep myself occupied and out of trouble. I'm thinking of doing so in mid-January.

Do people have any suggestions on what I should look for? The poor economic climate would clearly hinder any efforts of finding something that would meet all my criteria, but I am completely prepared to compromise. I was thinking - purely from an economic standpoint and the fact that I know how to go about finding such work - that part-time paralegal or legal secretarial work would be what I should be aiming for. However, I do have fantasies about working retail or at a cafe and the idea of that does sound fun, albeit a bit silly for a 30 year old guy with limited retail/hospitality experience. Any suggestions?

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

(Temporary) New Look

YACCS discontinued their commenting services, so I've removed their commentary boxes from this blog. I have used this occasion to also revert the layout to one of the standard ones as the previous layout was really annoying me (especially when I am not in Hong Kong anymore). Anyway, I'm still mulling over whether I should continue with this blog... and, in the event I do, I will change the layout to something a bit more interesting and individual.

Speaking of new looks, folks on Facebook have been commenting on my own "new image". Yes, I have shaved my hair off and yes I will maintain it v. short. I got my deep tan in India and I'm gonna try and maintain it (though the idea of having a fake tan spray fortnightly is quite frightening to me). And although someone said that the perpetual unshaven look makes me look like an old man, it's part of my image change to not look so much like a twink... after all, I'm no spring chicken anymore!

Also, to compliment my new rougher image, I'm thinking of getting a tattoo. Since, under the Chinese horoscope, I am a Horse and my Chinese name (blame my paternal granddad) means, Victorious Thoroughbred, I'm thinking of a red seal, consisting of a rectangular box with rounded corners framing the Chinese character for "horse" (not the modern character used in HK/Taiwan or the simplified version but the large-seal script from around 800BCE).

Monday, December 22, 2008


Here's the results of a weekend of baking. I gave up trying to ice anything other than the Christmas trees and stars. Placing the little silver sugar balls on the tips took a lot of fine tweezer (it was sterlized!) action by my sister.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Life Calling

I'm feeling lazy so I'm using someone else's material...

Jean sent me a Bloomberg article written by Michael Lewis, a finance journalist and also the author of Liar's Poker, titled, "A Wall Street Job Can’t Match a Calling in Life", in which he responds to a young banker's email to him on whether he should quit his dire but financially lucrative job on Wall Street.

I, like many others, could (check the tense) definitely relate to his situation. I guess I didn't want any old job and desired a calling in life... time will tell if it's architecture. God knows if I've made the right decision... since getting back on the blinged-up mouse wheel is getting pretty tempting!

Apparently the article was ranked as the top sent article on Bloomberg for days and has led to subsequent articles featuring selected responses from readers here and a response to Michael's advice from the banker here.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Another Christmas...

Well, it's become predictable. Fourth year in a row and there will be no pressies from moi for Christmas. People will have to settle for another batch of extra spicy home-made gingerbread men and an Oxfam Unwrapped card instead.

Since my cookie-cutters are currently on the high seas with the rest of my crap, I've been on the lookout for some decent copper gingerbread man cookie-cutters to use this year. I had a good look around Chatswood Chase for some to buy this afternoon with Jase, but ended up being unsuccessful in my quest. We ended up returning to the Essential Ingrediant in Crows Nest, which we visited a month ago, and acquired a set of mini Christmas cookie cutters in the shapes of a gingerbread man, a star, a reindeer, tree and angel. The general shape of the cutters are decent but I fear that the cookies will end up being a bit too small for more elaborate icing. I've been telling people (and I'm sure I didn't make the story up but heard it from somewhere else) that if you eat a gingerbread man decorated to resemble a particular person or profession, you will meet such a man in real life during the course of next year. So, some single female friends have eagerly devoured, among other professions, a banker, a couple of doctors, a surf lifesaver (who was the last to be picked up) and a DJ in past years. I guess I'll probably have to leave them naked this year...

Looking at the Australian Oxfam Unwrapped cards, I was surprised and a wee disappointed to find out that they don't come with a fridge magnet like the UK ones. I'm sending the overseas cards at the end of this week so it's likely they won't make it to Hong Kong or London in time. However, I'm sure HKPhooey will like the card I picked for him - it's just crap :-p.

A batch I made earlier (in 2005).

Friday, December 12, 2008

Life in Limbo

I hate it when things are up in the air. It may be my control-freak nature or my desire for certainty but it really unsettles me when I've done my utmost to make sure things are in order and some service provider - which I have paid good money to - fails on their part of the bargain.

The UK is notorious for bad service and I am sort of used to that - I usually bite my tongue, shrug my shoulders and let the bad emotions fester inside (OK, last bit is not v. nice). But something that I've been very annoyed about of late - which I haven't been able to ignore - is the delay I'm experiencing in the delivery of my stuff from London.

Unlike many of my friends in London who live in flats furnished mostly by their landlords, I like to live in a place furnished by myself. Although my old flat wasn't particulary big, with all the time I and you-know-who spent at home being all domestic, I just couldn't imagine living in a place that didn't reflect my personality or (peculiar) tastes.

Anyway, having a place furnished by myself and you-know-who and not being willing to depart with some of my precious furniture finds (Eames DAW chair, Swedish 50s cherry wood sideboard, G.O.D. armchair, etc...) meant that I had to ship it all back to Sydney at quite a high cost.

When I was calling around and getting quotes from different moving companies, I settled on this particular relocation company, because, among other things, they stated that it would take 6-8 weeks for my goods to be shipped to Sydney and, subject to Customs and Quarantine processing, it should arrive at my door soon after that.

After donating several loads of clothing, kitchen paraphernalia and assorted bits to Dalston Oxfam, making sure certain plants were adopted by nice people, and selling off the bed and couch to the landlord (two huge pieces I wasn't particularly keen on keeping), I arranged it so that the movers would take the goods from the London flat on 29 September, I would fly out of London on the 30 September, spend 6 weeks in HK and India, and be back in Sydney in November in time for delivery of the shipment. Of course, things didn't go to plan when they emailed me in mid-November to say that my goods had just been loaded onto a ship in the UK!

So, I will now have to wait 13 January - the earliest - before the ship ports in Sydney. Who knows how long Customs and Quarantine will take to inspect the goods before I finally get re-united with my stuff?

I went into lawyer mode and sent a terse complaint letter to the moving company setting out their alleged misrepresentations, the perceived damages and the inconvenience the delay has caused me. Not only do I have to live out of a single suitcase (clothing on high rotation... luckily I packed more than 7 pairs of undies) until then, but I haven't been able to submit my HKU PCLL transcript to the UAC and I've had to purchase things I already have but are currently not in my possession. Plus, it's also the case of me missing my little soft toy friends :-p.

On something completely separate, I was catching a late train last week back from the City and was about to get off at Lindfield station when a guy in a really dapper suit approached me and complimented my top. Hmm... anyway, he asked if it was from London and whether it was from All Saints Spitalfields which I answered in the affirmative. All Saints makes great higher-end High Street casual clothing. I can definitely see a market for the stuff over here and anyone who does bring the brand down to Australia will surely make a killing. For anyone who is interested in ordering something from their website early next year, lemme know... so that I can justify spending GBP25 on shipping!

Tuesday, December 09, 2008


Hi folks. It's me again. Long time no see, huh?

Apologies for leaving the blog like that five years ago without a formal farewell. You see, work at the evil Big City Law Firm did consume my life - so much so that I had no time or energy to write nor any time to actually do anything that would be worth writing about.

Anyway, I've left that world behind me... and just in the nick of time. That sort of environment really changes people (IMO, for the worse) and I could see myself turning into a super shitty, always dissatisfied, grumpy b@stard who had incredibly high expectations of himself and everyone around him. I didn't enjoy the work, didn't like the person I was becoming, and had to escape before any negative personality change was irreversible and the job had cost me my soul.

So, for anyone interested, here's a short update of the past five years:

I did most of my training in Hong Kong and headed over to London for a 6 month secondment at the head office during my final "seat" as a trainee solicitor. I was sort of fed up with the working culture in Hong Kong, the terrible pollution, its extreme consumerist ways and the way it all impacted on the way I viewed the world. I was living in a strange bubble where most of the folks I was socialising with were lawyers, accountants or bankers; life was a bad cycle of hard grunt work and then splurging your earnings on R&R overseas vacations or designer this-and-that. It was mo'-limia (OK - really bad joke). When I left HK, I thought I could never again buy Diesel clothing, since it was just too high street. What a snobby bitch, huh?

Anyway, after my secondment, I moved to London "permanently" and qualified into the Banking department of the London office. Work wasn't as hectic over there (relatively) to work in HK, but there were always the occasional over-nighter, you were always on call or contactable via blackberry and you never ever really knew when you were able to leave the office until around 6pm each night (that really sucked any desire out of you that you might of had of organising activities in advance for mid-week evenings). To add to this misery, responsibilities and duties mounted successively every year and, even though they try to gloss over it in their literature, it really is a move up or out culture. I voluntarily moved out.

Work life would have been tolerable if I enjoyed the work or found it meaningful. Sadly, I didn't. I just couldn't get my head around the idea of pushing paper and arguing for the sake of arguing (which lawyers love to do) day-in and day-out, and working my guts out for ungrateful fat cats. I mainly did leveraged finance transactions with investment banks and private equity firms as the clients. If you want to know my (small) opinion of private equity firms... you'll have to wait another day.

So, it wasn't long before I started questioning the reasons behind my doing something I didn't enjoy and morally abhorred. If I left, what would I do? I didn't want another paper-pushing job. I'm quite the pessimist by nature and lawyers are professionally required to look at the worst case scenario, but I didn't want to live my life seeing everything in its worst light.

I really struggled to find out what I really wanted to do with my life. I didn't want to do work for work's sake. I told myself I wanted to do something I am at least a bit passionate about. I want to do something productive, meaningful and a bit creative.

Anyway, to cut the story short (and I do really need to go to my Ashtanga yoga class), I persevered in my evil job for a few years more, saved up my moolah and returned to Sydney this November.

I love design and urban planning so I decided - what the heck -I'll try and do something in that field. I've always had it at the back of my mind but, as I'm really risk averse, I went for the option with the least resistance, highest prestige, and alleged earning potential, etc. Anyway, I don't regret what I did as it's given me more clarity in what I want out of life.

I've applied to study architecture as an undergrad next year. Shocking, right?

So, the other pressing Q is what about my love life? Well, Monkey introduced me [link to archive added... can't believe I have recorded it on this blog!] to a lovely (it is to be confirmed whether he remains "lovely" in my mind) Northern Beaches boy who moved to HK around the same time as my last few entry on this blog. We went "steady" and he moved over to London with me. My parents and sister visited London and stayed with us - they absolutely adore him. We even returned back to Sydney last October for his sister's wedding (in a conservative Christian wedding, being referred to as his best mate in the best man's speech is something!). I guess it was the closest thing to a marriage... but it wasn't. We broke up. We were together for almost five years. Our break-up was super complicated and would warrant its own blog entry. Anyway, he's now living and working in a small rural village in India.

OK, so that's an executive summary of the last five years of my life.

All the other persons referred to in this blog are still (fortunately) in my life - Monkey is still doing his PhD in English; S-M quit work at the A-G Dept, went to do a LLM in London and is now a Mid-East journo for among other things, New Matilda; and HKPhooey is still in HK as a lawyer (but he actually enjoys his work!).

What else? Now that I have all this time on my hands, I'm thinking of reviving this blog. I can see it needs a complete design overhaul. I cringe whenever I read something I've written (thank goodness the archive page isn't working!). But before I get ahead of myself, I think I need to give a long hard think about why I want to do this again. I'll let you know soon :-).

Sunday, November 02, 2003

Boy, interrupted

Sorry folks for not updating. I moved from Prince Edward to Sheung Wan a few weeks ago (to a complex aptly named Queen's Terrace). Unfortunately, I still do not have broadband at my new place. I feel terrible... as though I have been completely disconnected from things. I'm suffering terrible withdraw symptoms.

It'll take two more weeks before my broadband gets redirected. I've got to stay strong...

Wednesday, October 01, 2003

Raising the Red Flag

Today was China's National Day and we had the fortune of having another public holiday! I love it when we get both Western and Chinese holidays.

Unfortunately, I had to go to work. Work isn't that bad. After all, I have a great view (which I can check out from time to time) from my office. The first picture is what I see on my leftside, the second is what I see on my right.

Thursday, September 25, 2003

Monetary Solicitations
I'm completely chuffed. I got my first pay today!

Pity I don't have to time to spend it... though I'm sure most of the sensible folks out there would consider that I good thing.

Wednesday, September 24, 2003

Striking for the team
Tonight, I was literally dragged strongly persuaded by my department's Business Development Manager to attend one of the functions she regularly organises for the department's most valued clients. In what has become an annual tradition in the department, tonight's function was held in the bowling alley of a club on the southside of Hong Kong.

Although all the department's trainees were required to attend, the other three trainees gave convincing excuses (one actually had to work). I, on the other hand, simply couldn't say no (no slut jokes please, Vic).

I suspect she would not have normally been so eager in recruiting trainees for such an event. But considering that she needed bums on seats (or would that be feet in clown shoes?) and many of the associates in the department were too busy to even consider leaving their desks for a few hours of client-smooching, I could easily see how a impressionable and too-eager-to-please trainee would be suffice.

The clients were all legal counsel from various investment banks around town. The clients and department fee earners were divided into five teams of three. We played in a round-robin competition, which ended with my team coming dead last in games won (zilch), but second last in total score.

It wasn't my fault that we lost. I played decently (or at least I looked the part - people were commending me on my form). Besides, I was consciously restraining myself in fear of upstaging the clients or the partners! :-)

The winners were a team consisting of clients. (You always have to let them win.) They had actually won in the previous year's bowling night as well. As a reward, they were given the department's bowling trophy, which was filled with sweets.