Sunday, November 4, 2007

0711042000 I have not done anything unusual

I have not updated my blog in a while because, in my opinion, I have not done anything unusual.
My typical routine day is waking up and realising that I am, in fact, in Hong Kong. Each morning my brain-hard-drive spins up and loads the last pagefile.sys from yesterday. It has continued to be a pleasant surprise that I don't work at Telstra or have to face another day working in an office.
My day starts with seeing Rachel-Ruby off to school. They have seminary in the morning at 6am so the day starts early. Hugo gets up and gets ready for school so that he is ready to step off at 7am.
My day is occupied with a few projects.
Hugo joined the scouts and as a result I have joined the Boy Scouts of America. When I dropped Hugo off, I would talk to some of the other parents. The first time that I went, a lovely lady that I had met at church, an enthusiastic relief society woman that is always happy like Carol Brady asked me if I would help organise the upcoming Father and Son camp. "Sure" says me, "what would you like me to do?" Her short reply was simple - "Organise the camp." It must be one of those "initiation ceremony" pranks that the Americans like to do to new people. The camp was scheduled in four weeks. That gave me four whole weeks to arrange everything, in a foreign country, with no contacts and with little or no language skills. The next day I get an email welcoming me to the scouts and announcing that I will be arranging the camp and to direct all questions to me. Camping in Hong Kong is catered, there is an entire service industry based around school and scout camps. I have heard of the American kids going off to camp for the summer - that is the kind of camping that they wanted. Scout camps in Australia, in Toowoomba, mean that there is a paddock with no cows in it - you can sleep there. Scout camps in Hong Kong are: "there is an additional cost of $1 for air-conditioning" and "the menu is reduced on Fridays to only 5 choices of fish, crab and caviar". One scout had a servant set-up his tent, another had a servant carry his pack. The vice-president of Marriott Hotels was on the camp with his son. We talked about camping and hotels and he is going to lend me his BMW 650GS for a week. The camp went well, although I did have a few learning experiences.
After the camp, another nice lady asked me to be the "Head Scout" - a truly charming woman who is helping out with the scouts as a parent said, in a New York accent that made me expect to see Nanny Fine, "You're here all the time, why don't you help out some, we're desperate!" I felt honoured at passing their rigorous selection criteria and beating all the other applicants due to my vast and conspicuous scouting skills. I still do not know what I have agreed to do. They say that all I have to do is be the MC at the den meetings.
I have been to Beijing. One of the many interesting things about the Chinese, is the way that they have descriptive names for everything. Beijing means North Capital. It is not named after the great warrior Beijing or the famous emperor Beijing - it simply describes what it is. There is a nice restaurant in the city called "The nice restaurant" and the one to take your family to when they are happy is called "The Happy Family Restaurant".
We went to a vast complex of ancient Chinese buildings that the emperor used during the summer called "the summer palace". The stories revolved around life, death and the incessant military coups that changed the government from classes of kings and queens to one of military leaders and finally to the people. I could imaging what it was like for a soldier to work as a guard at one of these palaces and what it would be like to be in one of their parades when the emperor himself would emerge and take the long walk to the centre of the earth to ask God for more rain. There is a place in Beijing, at the Temple of Heaven that is regarded as the centre of the earth - the place from which all measurements are made. Only the emperor can stand there, it is too sacred - here is a picture of Hugo at the centre of the earth. The Chinese call their country "The Middle Land" - another non-romantic descriptive name - and I can see why. Your home is the middle - where ever you want to go, it starts straight out your driveway.
I have stood on the Great Wall of China and according to Chair Mao, I am now "a real man".
"You're not a real man, unless you've got to the Great Wall," so said China's Communist leader Mao Zedong - inspiring his troops. I later used this experience at a school camp to help some kids with their archery.

I have started my own IT company. It all started with the fine example set by the Chinese in making a living out of the seemingly dull and routine. Little old ladies will gather cardboard in the streets, well dressed old men will hunt through the rubbish bins for aluminum and it is common for a small cupboard under some stairs to used as a flourishing and profitable newsagent. So I checked my visa to see that I can work here, printed some business cards and, as they say in France, Viola! - I am now, armed with a qualification from Brisbane TAFE, an IT professional with my own computer repair business. So far I have established a client base and started record keeping and am running at a magnificent loss.
At church, I have been called to be the clerk for the Hong Kong China district.
The district President asked - "Do you know how to use MLS?"

So, in a nutshell, every thing that I do here is like I am in another country.