Hello! This is the 3rd month of me working in HK. Amazing how fast time flies.
After 2 months working in HK, covering China business, I have learned a thing or two about the work culture here. I could be wrong and could be generalizing but I can only describe what I see from my perspective.
Essentially, Mandarin skills is now more important than English. In the past, you might hear that learning Cantonese / English is essential to survive in HK, it is no longer so. Cantonese has unfortunately been relegated to the 3rd class language as it is only spoken by the locals and those who have stayed here long enough. To succeed in HK corporate world or to get a job here, number 1 requirement is Mandarin skills. English is taken as a given but you do not need to speak good English. Just basic English understandable by all is enough. Mandarin is more important, apparently.
Chinese culture is very strong here. Everything is very team-oriented. People do not confront you outright but will gossip behind your back about you. During team sessions, you will feel this immense pressure to stay until late / at least until your bosses leave. I had never had to deal with such situation in Singapore. Individuality is discouraged in the HK workplace. Everyone is expected to join in and be harmonious and stay within the team and not go off alone. It is your fault if you as the junior officer do not make the effort to
bootlick engage your colleagues. Unfortunately for me, i am the sort who just do my own stuff and hate to do any kind of bootlicking.
Overall, this is a very ASIAN work culture. Not that Asian is bad but in general, the Asian kind of work culture is known to be very bad. Long work hours, hierarchical, etc.
I do not like this kind of culture. I was not aware that when I was in Singapore, i was in such fortunate situation that I do not have to deal with negative Asian work culture even though Singapore is an Asian society. I miss the cosmopolitan-ness of Singapore. HK did not become more international over time. HK has been absorbed as part of China. This can be seen in the declining number of Western expats and increasing number of PRC Chinese expats in HK. It is de-globalizing because it has this giant parent at its doorstep that nothing else from other countries can trump China’s influence, power and control on HK.
I actually feel sorry for them and hope things will get better for them. I feel fortunate to be a Singaporean but well, Singapore also has its own issues.
Disclaimers first, I cannot offer all options in the universe but I can only share with you what I did to get mobile data and local phone number for the time being while I shop for more permanent mobile phone plans.
Coming from Singapore, I am a subcriber of M1 mobile phone plan with 3GB local (Singapore) data plan. I did not cancel nor suspend my M1 line because I still need the number for many things – such as to get OTPs for government websites that require Singpass access, online banking and of course the friends / contacts that you have established for so long using the Singapore number. So, I subscribed to M1 data passport, which allows me to pay just additional S$10 per month to be able to use my 3GB local data plan in HK. I love this data passport. It is really awesome. Connection works well mostly so far. It allows me to have mobile data wherever I go in HK, which is very essentially in this day and time. But I still did not have a local HK number which was also very necessary given I am to live in HK.
So, I got a dual sim phone – I chose samsung s7 edge. You can choose other cheaper dual sim phones too but they are typically Android phones – I am sorry if you are a die-hard iPhone fan. Then I got a prepaid CSL sim card at the airport (you can get cheaper ones at Sham Shui Po too, but I will leave Sham Shui Po to another post to avoid this post becoming overly long). Prepaid SIM in HK, not those tourist ones that can only last 7 to 14 days, can last for 6 months so you can use this prepaid SIM number for a while for various things such as, for your office contact, HKID application, rental etc, while you slowly settle down and shop for a HK mobile phone plan.
With the dual sim phone, Singapore SIM card with M1 data passport activated, and the prepaid HK CSL sim card, you can get to use mobile data like you always do in Singapore while still being able to call your office, make reservations, call to enquire anything in HK without having to bring around 2 phones and tethering your data etc or making commitments to mobile phone plans when you are not ready yet or breaking a bank (bcuz the prepaid 4G data here in HK is pretty expensive)
Yup, there you have it, an alternative option to keep yourself connected in HK while you take your time to consider your options. Do remember to get your HK phone number with the banks / authorities in HK updated when you change to the more permanent one though.
This is my first time blogging since I relocated to HK to work. It is also my first time having to relocate to another country to work on my own, without my love, my family and familiar faces from my hometown. I have a lot of mixed feelings and I find that bottling it up on my own in this foreign land makes me feel even more stuck. So, here I am, to get my feelings unstuck and also hope that this sharing with whoever will read this post will help in sort of way.
I have been here for 1 month. People always tell me it takes time to adjust, first few months will be tough, oh what an understatement.
It is such a big change. The air is different, the currency is different, the people are different, the language is different, the food is different. Everything is different. This is all great when you are travelling and exploring. The tough part is when you know you would not see the familiar things and people in your life for a long time.
Past 1 month, I felt so tired. Getting used to new colleagues, new office, new environment. I was also busy looking for accommodation that is not too crazy small / crazy expensive (which in HK, most are). I miss my family, I miss my boyfriend. Sure, I skype with them everyday. It helps to maintain the connection. But whenever we end the call, there is this sense of emptiness that seems to fill the space. The virtuality of the connection through skype is amplified by the quietness that fills the small space of my house here. Initially, I fill the emptiness / quietness by switching on the tv / play videos. Although I can pretend that it eases the sense of emptiness, but deep inside, I am grieving and the sense of emptiness never left. It just get buried underneath and bottled up, waiting for the volcano to erupt.
I feel so lonely. I feel like running home. But I cannot. Not till 1 year later. I can only shed tears alone.
What about you? Are you feeling homesick and missing your loved ones too?