What now?

A couple days ago I changed my phone number, from 519 area code (Waterloo) to 416 (Toronto). Of course, there were technical difficulties with the process but I won’t get into that. It seems that the undergraduate chapter of my life has finally reached completion.

I’ve tasked myself with the simple deed of finding work. It’s rather amazing how complex the application process has evolved into. There was a time when you just submitted your cover letter and CV to a manager, and if you’re a serious contender, go in for an interview. Now, hiring policies encompass everything from having to register for online applications, tracking down references, answering essay-type questions, standardizing tests such as cases, multiple interview rounds, Superdays, and probably an arm wrestle or two. Yes, the point of interviews is to “assess fit” and “determine suitability”, but some of these endurance marathons feel like an evaluation of how deep corporate can rip apart your soul before you crumble into grains of despair, and the extent to which you’d fellate HR’s middle finger.

So far the job hunt has not exactly been kind to me, and it’s making me restless because I can’t stand sitting at home all day with nothing to do. The guilt of unproductivity has actually been a great motivator for me to get other things done like cleaning up around the house, organizing my finances, and just all-around consolidation of my life. This lack of interesting things to do has also provided me with an abundance of time to sit and think. Think about my next challenge to myself.

The world is shrinking, there’s so much going on, and it takes a lot more to understand things.

Let’s talk about summer

Woodbine Beach. Image credit to Mattie

How is it August already? I’ll be wrapping up my studies in a few weeks. Lectures are long over, and I’ve already written my first final exam. It’s pretty amazing how fast summer term whizzes by, especially when you’ve missed the first three weeks of lectures.

So what’s next? I’m a little itching to get a job and start work. I got my time to dawdle around Hong Kong, and it’s time for some stabilization, at least for now. July was pretty fun – there were so many birthdays, I’ve become shit broke. Still, I’m looking forward to having a proper “summer vacation” like last year during the last few weeks in August.

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I suck at blogging

I deeply apologize for the lack in posts. I don’t really have an excuse either, because although school’s busy, it’s not that busy. Then again, life has not exactly been super exciting since I got back from HK, so there’s not much to report. It’s like sitting on a bench feeding bread crumbs to geese after jet-skiing through the lake. Mostly, I’ve been shut up either in my room or in a library. I went out a few times over the recent Canada Day long weekend (all these July birthdays…) and that’s about it.

To be honest though, it is quite nice to be home, away from the humidity, mosquitoes, suffocating crowds, and random drippy signs. The thing that bothered me most was that as much as I shower or attempt to stay hygienic, I was never able to feel totally clean. I’m also really enjoying the awesome weather we’ve had this summer so far. Last week’s heat wave would’ve been unbearable in HK. Hallelujah for air conditioning!

So to compensate for lack of any real content, I’ll turn this into a gimmicky music post! Again, I’m gonna try to put up songs that aren’t rampant everywhere. Not indie though, I’m probably still not “cultured” enough to appreciate it. New-ness of music is not guaranteed :P

Snow Patrol – Chasing Cars

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Snow Patrol is underrated!

Agnes – On & On

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Alphabeat – DJ

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Pixie Lott – Turn It Up

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Bruno Mars ft. Cee Lo & B.o.B – The Other Side

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Yes it’s a song about vampires. Don’t hate.

Rick Ross ft. Ne-Yo – Super High

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Epik High – 바보 (Fool)

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My other favourite off their album, epilogue, is Coffee. So chill and relaxing.

Hyori Lee ft. Daesung – How Did We Get

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You may know Daesung from Big Bang. He gives me the creeps, but I can’t deny he has a really nice voice. Update: This song is actually a cover of Jason Derulo’s version, which in turn gets its beat from Annie Lennox’s No More “I Love You’s”. You may have heard Nicki Minaj’s Your Love, which also samples from Annie Lennox.

SNSD Girls Generation – 별별별 (☆★☆) (Acoustic R&B Version)

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Ode to Hong Kong

Image credit to Janice

Shimmering waters along the harbour
Reflect dazzling lights
Eponymous fragrance fills the air
Of a breezy Hong Kong night

I knew it was then
Didn’t have to be told
I fell in love with the city
Heartbeats unfold

Cadences of colour
Weigh down on the streets
Where the crowds blend
Where beauty and chaos meet

Tall and proud structures
Marvelous sights
Tastes inspiring your senses
Let passion ignite

Navigating the streets
On that first night with Karen
Looking for a quick bite to grab
But Sassoon is inexplicably barren

In nightfall ritual at HKU
Student halls run amuck
Hollering resounds from pride and spirit
Or a mahjong player out of luck

Restless nights go on forever
But swiftly birds bring in the day
I begin to grasp the city and its people
Its stride, beat, and sway

Guys and girls alike
Purchasing all that is cute
Check for stray hairs on any reflective surface
Glass, iPhones, Danny’s shiny suit

Christian’s abs are hungry
John steers us to excellent food
After savouring every morsel
We are in the karaoke mood

Pushing and squeezing on the MTR
Can’t help it, random bodies collide
Greasy dude in the corner steals a glance
Of Swee Lee’s scandalous backside

Life explodes everywhere
Hop on a double-decked bus
Taxis after-hours in abundance
LKF’s got nothing on us

Loitering in Causeway with Connie
Amidst a sea of price tags
It’s 4am at the library
Janice is still on 9GAG

Regal estates sprinkled in Repulse Bay
Show off their meticulous design
But glaring disparity looms above
Mong Kok’s blinding neon signs

In search of breathtaking vistas
Drag your feet past that hundredth step
Jacqueline exclaims “nice, eh!”
Upon reward of the uphill trek

Picturesque fishing villages frozen in time
Charming for a quiet stroll somewhere
Rolling viridian misty mountains
Provide a breath of fresh air

Back in the bustling, tireless city
Gleaming Lambos roar down the tunnel
Among aunties enrobed in LV
White collar elites spill out of Central

There once was a girl
Exhausted from boredom
Traveled halfway around the globe
To breath life into the forlorn

Took a plunge head-first
Look what I found
Companions, adventures, memories
Mosquito bites I can’t even count

Five months flew past
Time to part ways
I’ve learned so much from every experience
Grateful for every single day

It’s not really goodbye
Because we will meet again
No need for final adieus
Between us, my friend

Take these joy-filled moments
In ink, pour unto the sturdiest vellum
All that you have gained
Everything you wish to tell them

There’s something about this city
That makes you never forget
An excitable kind of warmth
Fills you like a touch so secret

Of this half year thus lived
I cherish the mundane
Vibrant and romantic
Hong Kong, my heart remains

Easter retreat in Guangzhou

I can’t believe it’s already May and we are into exams! These past four months have been a torrential, colourful blur, and I’m really starting to dread going back home. At the beginning of April I went to Guangzhou for the Easter break. The Qing Ming festival also happened to fall on that weekend so I got a total of 5 days off. HK is awesome in the sense that you are privileged with both Chinese and western statutory holidays. I decided to take advantage of these days to pay a visit to some relatives.

What I wasn’t prepared for was the stampede of Hongers who were thinking the exact same thing. The crowd at the Shenzhen train station was absolutely insane. Probably not as bad as Lunar New Year’s, but I would peg it as a close second. I arrived at around 3:30 and despite having trains leaving every 10-20 minutes, they were all full until around 6:30. Then I had a lovely time with the pushing, yelling, and rushing.

The first attraction I visited in Guangzhou was an area that was built in the style of Lingnan. The whole place was one of those tourist traps where they get you to buy food and pay for cultural ‘experiences’.

A Lingnan-style street

The best food was 双皮乃 (direct translation: double-skinned milk). It’s almost like eating cream with the texture of tofu. I had a cold one and it was really good.

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