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.

Saturday, September 20, 2003

Junk Trip

This picture was taken onboard the firm's junk this morning as we headed off for a trainee's excursion to one of Hong Kong's outerlying islands. (I work in the little pinkish tower on the left of that giant monolith - IFC2 - in the background of the picture. To the right, the building under construction in the Four Season's hotel. The green and white boat is the Star Ferry.)

The boat is not a traditional junk - it's actually a motor boat with brown wooden panelling. Employees of the firm are entitled to take it out for free according to a rotational schedule. Every eight weeks or so, the trainees have their turn.

We boarded the junk at around 10:30 (due mostly to my tardiness, as I was buying drinks from the local supermarket) at Queen's Pier. We headed off to Lamma Island, where we feasted on seafood at the most popular restaurant there. Afterwards, we made a detour to a quiet beach before heading back to the smog and people of Central.

It was a sensational day - the weather was absolutely brilliant and the humidity was at an almost manageable level. I've got a wicked farmer's tan. I feel completely exhausted now and I still a little bit wobbly from the waves. I think I need to have a Bex and a little lie down.

Thursday, September 18, 2003

Falling for Raoul
Monkey forwarded me the link to the new gap ad for its broken-in jean, starring Italian actor, Raoul Bova... all I can say is *phwoar*! He is definitely challenging the incumbent Gab Aubrey for the "Best Lookin' Guy" title.

He's been referred to as the "Italian Brad Pitt", but in my little opinion, Brad simply can't compare.

He's starring as Diane Lane's love interest in Under Tuscan Sun, which is coming out later this year.

Check it out here and be v. impressed!

As a side note, there are three other Fall gap ads for women's stretch pants, starring Claudia Schiffer, Jacquetta Wheeler and others. They're pretty fun to watch as well.

Sunday, September 14, 2003

More movies actually

It's that time again, when I blog about the upcoming films which I'm eagerly anticipating. Of course, I'd be one of the first in line to see LOTR: Return of the King, Matrix Revolutions and Kill Bill 1 & 2 (btw, there's a incredibly funny new trailer at Yahoo! Movies), but here are some others that seem worthy to see...

This season's most eagerly awaited film pour moi most definitely has to be Love Actually - the directorial debut of Richard Curtis (screenwriter of Four Weddings and a Funeral, Bridget Jones's Diary, & Notting Hill).

The film revolves around ten charming love stories played out by a dozen characters, all culminating on Christmas Eve. The love stories portrayed aren't confined to the standard "boy-meets-girl" formula. Instead, the film covers platonic, married, unrequited, childhood, and sibling varieties as well, in a bold gesture to prove that love is indeed all around. Not every story ends happily, but it gives me warm and fuzzy feeling just thinking about it.

Members of the love-fest include Hugh Grant, Alan Rickman, Emma Thompson, Laura Linney, Colin Firth (!), Liam Neeson, Rowan Atkinson, Keira Knightley, Rodrigo Santoro (!) and Andrew Lincoln ("Egg" from This Life - above right). Apart from the stellar cast, expect to see plenty of cameos, especially in the scenes at the arrivals area or London's Heathrow Airport.

Early reviews and work-in-progress showings at the Toronto International Film Festival have been overwhelmingly positive, surpassing those of Curtis' earlier films.

It's released in the US on 14 November; Australians have to wait until Boxing Day.

(For those straight males who remain reluctant or apprehensive about watching the film under your own initiative, consider that the cast includes the girl from 24, the exchange student from American Pie, the sister from American Wedding, Denise Richards and showings of boobs. As I said, there's something for everyone.)

Just released in the US is Sophia Coppola's light comedy, Lost in Translation. Bill Murry stars as a famous Hollywood actor, who is enticed to make a commercial for Whiskey in Japan. He meets a directionless woman who followed her photographer boyfriend to Tokyo and an unusual friendship develops between them.

Mona Lisa Smile has the makings of a great chick flick. Julia Roberts plays a newly appointed faculty member of Wellesley in the 1950s. Those in her art history class include Kirsten Dunst, Julia Stiles and Maggie Gyllenhaal.

If its trailer is anything to go by, Luther should be an awesome film. Joseph Fiennes plays the "heretic, genius, liberator", Martin Luther. It opens 26 September.

Opening at the same time is Duplex with Ben Stiller and Drew Barrymore, playing newlyweds with a fabulous NYC, er, duplex, but with an incredibly annoying elderly neighbour.

The Scary Moive franchise may not be everyone's cup of tea, but the trailer for Scary Movie 3 is hilarious. Check out who is under the bedsheet in the scene that spoofs The Others... now, that is scary.

Finally, the Director's Cut of Alien will be released on Halloween. Alien on the bigscreen will definitely be worth the price of an admission ticket.

Thursday, September 11, 2003

Hello, you reached the office of Mr Queer

During the lunch break today, when most people around the department floor were out, I closed my office door and proceeded to record my voicemail message. To help things out, I read from the firm's recommended message script. That really didn't help much though... it was only after the 8th attempt that I pretty much gave up on things and left the recording be.

As I replayed each attempt, I couldn't help but cringe. It wasn't due to the loudly vocalised expletives, which seemed to come after every stutter, slur or awkward pause I made (v. unprofessional). It was my reaction to the sound of my voice! I absolutely loathed how gay I sounded! I can just imagine future listeners thinking, "Gosh, this guy sounds like such a big faggoty homo!"

It reminded me of the video S-M recorded at the end of high school. When we all saw the edited version of the tape at Will's place for the first time, I couldn't help but cringe then as now, all the way through it... at my actions, at my speech... it was all so nelly. How could everyone not know then?

No matter how far I seem to have journeyed towards a greater level of self-acceptance, it's troubling to realise that I still retain such strong residual feelings of self-loathing and homophobia. It's something that definitely has to change... how else am I gonna be able to moonlight as a phone sex operator?

Wednesday, September 10, 2003

Spin off

Successful blog-sitter and cheeky primate, "Monkey" has a cool, new blog at [Monkey has taken it off]. Check it out.

Monday, September 08, 2003

Day One

As I was walked through the Central MTR station this morning, trying my best to dodge the throngs of people heading off to work, I couldn't resist singing in my head Carly Simon's awesome song, Let the River Run. I absolutely adore the opening sequence to Working Girl. In many ways, the director, Mike Nichols, portrayed the mundane daily journey to work as a completely exciting and inspirational event. Even though I may not be Melanie Griffith (I have way better legs), nor did I just pop off the Staten Island Ferry, I was completely thrilled with the prospect of going to work and starting a new chapter in my life.

Our first induction day began, with eleven new trainees and four trainees seconded from London, meeting up at the firm's spanking new reception area. We were then herded into a training room whereby we were given volumes of firm literature. The day ended early at 6, but I was absolutely exhausted from the sheer amount of information that was bombarded towards us. To think, all this related to office administration!

I'm amazed that induction stretches three days. Work may start on Thursday, but we've got a public long weekend starting on Friday.

I share an office with my trainer. It's suprisingly spacious, and there's an awesome view East towards the Exhibition Centre in Wanchai.

Training at the firm consists of four rotational seats over two years. If things run smoothly, I'll be fully qualified as a solicitor at the end of the period. I have my first seat in International Capital Markets (ICM). Two other new trainees have been posted there as well, and none of us really knows what sort of work we will be doing... there will definitely be a steep learning curve. I'm excited that my last seat will be in London.

I've got a lot of reading to do tonight, but I'm not complaining (yet). I'm buzzed. Now, all I have to do is find a crazy, big-haired side-kick like Joan Cusack...
The Start of Something New

I'm terribly anxious about starting work tomorrow... it is my first permanent full-time job! I'm as excited as a bookish schoolgirl on the eve of her first day of high school.

I spent the last three days walking around the shopping centres of HK in search of shirts and a new suit. It has been an absolutely exhausting mission. I must have tried on at least a dozen suits, most were absolutely not to my liking. I finally settled for a black one this afternoon. By then, I was completely fed up with searching anymore. I may love clothes, but the process - shopping - is almost always a complete drag. I'm hoping I can pass off with wearing only two suits (my other one is a 4 year old dark navy Calibre, which I love to death) until I make another trip to Sydney. Then, I could finally get one (or more) suits from my absolute favourite store, Calibre.

I got the name and address of Vic's shirt tailor and went over to Central to get some measured up for me as well. I went into the store, and one of the first questions he asked me was "Are you a lawyer?".

The tailor had his store in a discrete shopping centre in Central. I expected it would be half empty, considering most people would be shopping elsewhere. However, I didn't realise that most of the stores there catered to HK's Filippina maid community. The place was like a maze, with with floor after floor of narrow corridors, dim lighting and low ceilings. Add in the massive crowds and the pumping dance music that congregates here every given Sunday, you could definitely imagine that the centre could be HK's only regular weekly "tea party".

Btw, tailored shirts are pretty affordable here. I made an order for 7 and it cost less than HK$2,000. That's around A$50 a shirt, made-to-measure. I get to try my first shirt on Tuesday. I get the rest on Wednesday.

Thursday, September 04, 2003


At Changi Airport. Again.

Since I told my parents about the good news, they haven't stopped providing little notes of advice to me. Most of what they had to say was general common sense - things every parent tells their child about - how to manage finances, eating well, staying healthy, etc. However, as we were driving to the airport, my mum mentioned something that we had never really discussed before - me finding a (male) life partner. She had hoped that I would find someone to share my life with... a life partner, akin to that of a husband or a wife.

My parents opinion on my sexuality has changed dramatically over recent years. I remain astonished at how quickly they have come to accept things... in many ways, it is me who is the one who is uncomfortable with the situation.

When they finally realised that I was "gay-for-life" (prior to that, it was merely a "phase"), both of them cried. My mum, a devout Catholic, would go to church several times a week, to pray for my soul. My dad, although not religious, made his opinion clear to me, saying that homosexuality was abhorrent and the only thing that would disgust him more would be if one of his children were a drug-user.

I wonder how they would feel in the future, however unlikely it may be that I do find a guy I want to spend my life with, whether or not they would be willing to go all the way and consider celebrating such a relationship with a big Chinese wedding banquet?

Wednesday, September 03, 2003

Final hour


I am so incredibly relieved. Immediately after I read the email from the Dean this evening, I ran into the kitchen and told my parents. Then, to prevent complete embarassment, I ran back into my bedroom, said a prayer of thanks and burst into tears. I am not the type to cry, but I was completely overwhelmed with emotions.

These past two months have been the toughest in my life. I've had a near-death experience a few years ago, but that really cannot compare to the rollar-coaster ride of emotions I have experienced this year.

For the past few days, I've been on the brink of a nervous breakdown. I haven't been able to sleep. I had sent numerous emails to various instructors at the university, but I had not received any reply. As the days slowly passed, it looked as though the chances for receiving word of my results became increasingly slim. I almost lost all hope of starting work next week or at all. I even began planning on what I would do, if I had to return to Sydney, just to pass the time.

Then, I received word from the university an hour ago. It was as though the Governor had given his reprieve one minute to midnight, before the prisoner was submitted to a lethal injection.

I have to thank from the bottom of my heart, all those who supported me during this difficult time. All those who encouraged me with their words; who tried to cheer me up when I felt bummed; who were willing to hear me bitch on and on - you have been great friends and I thank you all. I should stop before this sounds like a corny Oscars speech...

Now, I have so much to do to prepare for work on Monday. I didn't even consider buying clothes for work. I haven't had a haircut in 7 weeks, and I look pretty haggard. I'm not complaining though. I'm just so ecstatic.

Off the topic... take a gander into this month's Australian Cosmopolitan magazine. Liz was photographed in it in a 80's-inspired ensemble a la Punky Brewster!