Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Regaining clarity and momentum

Thanks for all those encouragement; Phen, Miki, Dee, and Michely :) A few words does make a big difference. Over last few days, I had been regaining clarity of what my goal is, I don't have a 100% picture but i'm getting there. If I never try I never know, my passion is ignited once again... even if I fail, no big deal... and who knows? Maybe I'll get a little closer in understanding myself, along with things that I am looking for in life... Targetted next destination: Austin.
卫兰(M.masser lyrics): 'do you know where you're going to? do you like the things that life is showing you?.. do you get what you're hoping for? when you look behind you there's no open door.. what are you hoping for? once we were standing still in time chasing the fantasies that filled our minds...'

Monday, January 29, 2007

Another crossroad

Ever had a time that you felt uncertain and emotionally tired? Not sure why I feel this way, but I'm once again feeling like i'm at crossroad without a direction. Normally, I always have a goal in mind that I want to pursue regardless of career or personal life; but, somehow I still haven't figured out a clear goal that I want to work on this year yet... and it's Feb already! Maybe i'm just away from home for too long, or maybe it's getting close to the time I'm returning back to Toronto. The questions of what have I accomplished so far, and what I want to pursue and how I am getting close to my goal is surfacing in my mind lately. Mmmm... feeling strange man :S but thanks to Miki-san and Andy for hearing me out.PS. I may be heading out again soon after I'm back from SH, it's still early in the game so will keep everyone posted after things are confirmed.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Continuing to explore SH

And so, after treating the team for a dinner with lots of lamb (2 posts earlier), they insisted on bringing me to somewhere nice too (they are such a nice bunch man). We headed to 吴江路, a nightstreet in SH. If some of you remembered, I as in love with TW's nightstreet from a few posts back. The nightstreet in SH was similar, but not as clean nor did it have as much food - but it was great nevertheless as it satisfied my pampered tummy once more. It was a pity that I learned of the place after spending so long in China - doh! We had a great time enjoying oysters to lambsticks to cotton candy. BTW, there were some 'interesting' food that the guys urged me to try... but i'm not here to freak anyone out (non-insect), so feel free to give me a ping if you wanna know... ha ha. >There were also much street vendors selling small trinkets here and there although it was rainy the night we went so there were lesser stands. Despite climate problems; the atmosphere was great as you see sellers shouting prices, buyers haggling for a better price, and happy children. Of course, there's also the endless honking and people squeezing everywhere - well, i've somewhat gotten used to that as I am trained well on my subway comuute before :p

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Things that I will miss in SH

The energy, the excitement, the dissapointment, the joy, the powerless feeling... once a friend told me that I have to be in China to really understand these feelings, and he was right. Being here on and off for 7/8 months already; here are the list of things that I will definately miss (some points I raised up before already):
1) Pretty girls; topping my list is what i've mentioned repetitively before. Having been to some places (Jap, Rus, Swiz, Fra, Eng, Gre, H'waii, most of NA, etc.), but never have I seen so much good-looking girls in my life - well, maybe TW. What can I say, i'm a guy :p and no pics, as I don't want to look nerdy. hahaha.
2) The human interaction: Being in this place, you feel human, just because you interact with so many people with various backgrounds. In Toronto, you may only get exposed to friends or people you meet being in clubs or religions; however, in China; you will never feel bored since there just too much people to see, to talk to, and to understand.

3) Food: there are alot of different food you can get here, along with many foreigners deciding to start a business here; you can also enjoy great flavors of food at a good price.
4) Mixed feelings: Feelings love and hate, pity and mad, getting scammed and getting helped - all packaged here. As from my last post, sometimes one can get pissed seeing all these everyday; however, most of the people just greet it with a laugh after seeing the other side. As my SHnese friend told me: 'you have to live everyday with a balanced and open mind in Shanghai or you'll burn up too much white blood cells as you fume up'. Very true.
5) Big scocial gap: Not that it's a good thing, you see a hugh gap between the rich and the poor: SL600s honking old men transporting water, 700RMB meals where people literally feed you and 1RMB for 10 buns, 1000RMB hotel suite/night and the same monthyly salary for a hotel stewardess... Seeing all these makes one appreciate how lucky we are, and to cherish life for what it is.

6) Elegant high heels: That clickity sound, along with pretty girls walking in high heels in rain and heat are absolutely elegant. Maybe I should start looking for a new job in downtown Toronto... ;)
Conclusion? China has it all. The poverty, the filthy rich, the powerlessness, the rude, the hidden dragons, and just... feeling human. During this outing, I definately felt like I have a clearer picture of where I fit in the world, and who am I. I don't know if it's something that's good as too much exposure is a 2 edged sword, but so far I'm learning from it. I'm sure that I will have more miss & hate points as I near my SH-departure date, but which one tops your list?

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Life after work

And so, after much negotiations, meetings, and conference calls; my departure was delayed for around 2 weeks' time. It's ok considering I had been here for 7-8 months already, so another 2 weeks' time was fine with me. The delay was because they were afraid that we would just drop the ball and to ensure a smooth transition. My set date to come back would be on the weekend of Feb 10th, woohoo - looking forward to coming back and enjoying skiing as I heard that there's much snow in Toronto. Ha ha ha, my buddy mgr next door (a flamboyant married man), and many friends all suggested that I may miss SH for a bit and I guess it's turning out to be true. Here's some pics of hanging out with my team, along with go around 骗饮骗食, drinking 55% alcohal, shopping and enjoying the life here after work. One of my next posts would be things I will miss in SH, as my previous one was things ticking me off in SH...^^

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

What ticks you the most?

What ticks you off the most? Making you frown, laugh nervously, mad, or jeer? In Shanghai, this is what I go through everyday. I'm sure that other countries have it too, but just some observations of the country of the people (not @ environment yet):
1) Guy spitting: yes, you see the spit come out of their mouth to create one of the many spit splashes on the floor. You try so hard to avoid them but....
2) People standing in front of you for no apparent reason. It's amazing how these people slip in - even with like a hole in the wall - they manage to somehow find space in front of you and just stand there.
3) No lining up: you'll probably starve to death if you wait in line at the food court. Expensive places or places for foreigners are better.
4) People peeing on the side of the road: this doesn't happen everyday, but you do get see some drunk guys doing their thing on the side of the road.
5) Picking noses: it's incredible how deep and how thorough these guys can dig into their noses. Yikes! I avoid shaking hands with ppl here.
6) People speaking in other dialects: now that I can listen to mandarin well, i start to pick up hearing different dialects here and there. But, then again; these happens in Toronto too where we speak cantonese in a foreign place.
7) Clipping nails: ocassionally, you will get people clipping their hands or toes in the subway when it is less crowded or in public places.
8) People swearing if you do not buy their merchandise: It happens!
9) Cars not stopping when turning right during red light: cross the street when the lights are green? Wrong! You get bulldozed approx 182 times /day if you do that. Other than running red lights, China people like to drive in the middle of the lanes, and they don't stop at the red lights when turning right. So sometimes you find youself standing in the middle of the road when the green is has past since you were avoiding a big Mac truck and the bus next to it.
10) Dirty people: people squatting and you could smell alcohal in their breath, see
11) Long pinky fingernails: hey, what's with the long fingernail for a guy? I still do not know why they save their nasty fingernail (2-5cms sticking out). Do they want to show others they are some ugly homosexual dude? a master ofpicking noses? or is there something behind it. I only knows it looks nasty!

Monday, January 08, 2007

Enjoying afterwork hrs in SH

Now that most things had ben confirmed, I am enjoying my last few weeks in Shanghai - especially great food! My sis was in town earlier and we headed out for nonstop foods (全聚得,每龙镇,鼎泰豐,新吉士,干锅居,苏浙汇,etc) almost everyday until I had to eat something regular for one night for a break (a normal noodle) ha ha ha. No complaints there tho! Then over the weekend, went out with some HK friends - Eva and Ganny to try 龟兹古丽 which is extremely famous for their 新疆 food.
And tonight after work? Went out with my buddy manager next door for authentic Jap food at some expensive fancy restaurant. Wooo... good thing I am working out on a regular basis now for cardio to keep my calories in check :) ho ho.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Coming Home...

It has been confirmed. I have been given the green light to head back to Toronto for good soon. The reason? Because Toronto does not hold the jurisdiction for the team in Shanghai anymore. It is up to Austin to drive the process and SH mgmt to execute things in the future. It really is a pity, I had just built a solid team of people; but like what they all say - Shit happens. And that's what happened after the merger; projects were delayed, and the team doesn't belong under the same umbrella as myself anymore. It's going to take some time to work out all the details, cost
centres for the newly merged company; big companies merging up share the same political fate (like the HP-Compaq merge). Although I do pity @ the fact that the local SH team will have some hard times ahead and i am going to miss China (esp the endless sea of pretty girls), I have no regret. I know if I didn't come, i wouldn't be able to:

1) Gain so much exposure to upper mgmt and have experienced at how mgmt/politics work in the office at a very high level.
2) Made lots of friends with great personalities during and outside of work.
3) Have the chance to really use my mandarin and improve a bit on it since I had to rely on it every day (diff than a course).
4) See so many new things that I would never see if I stayed in Toronto.
5) Get to visit Taiwan and Malaysia, of course Shanghai & surrounding too.
6) Great expat experience which is a once in a lifetime career opportunity.Gosh, after this experience; I really enjoy going to different places experiencing new things, meeting new people, and absorbing the amazing atmosphere.
And now, I will be real busy during my last few weeks in SH drawing up transition plans and providing feedback to mgmt here about what the team is working on and what needs to be done. I should be back in Toronto within a month's time with all paperwork completed; looking fwd to be returning home!

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Scuba diving, here I come!

Woooo... Although I had wanted to try this for a long enough time, I finally gathered enough guts, time, and $ to try this out: Scuba diving. The gear was so cool, it featured emergency floatation device (although bad if used improperly), along with gadgets to suck out air'n cough from the mouthpeice. Being only a beginner, i was only taken to -5m deep, which is already very hard already, due to the water pressure. In the beginning, it was quite scary since it is nothing like what I had encountered before, along with many things to keep in mind. I couldn't beleive how much concentration was required, especially to time the breathing rhythm.
Good thing there's a personal instructor right next to me (for all beginners). I think it is a very worthwhile experience, here's some pics taken with my disposable underwater cam^^