Pursuing HK: And That’s The End of That

How it all started: “Kids…This is The Story of How I Pursued Her”

Welp. Guess this one gets filed under the “crashed and burned” category. No, not really.

No official word, but through the grape vine, looks like they went with someone else. This pursuit ends here. For now. A week ago the HR lady came back and said they were interviewing a few more candidates and it’s a telling sign I wasn’t their ideal candidate.  So the dream to live in HK remains just that a while longer…a dream.

Through it all, this little adventure reinforced that I’m willing to try something different. I’ve had so many great conversations over the past two months about living out our dreams and passions. This is but a minor bump on a long journey! Even though we don’t know where the path goes, I’ll take it one step at a time.

On the flip side. Things at work here have been picking up!

Over the last few months as I was confiding in my boss about where I saw myself going, we had some really good discussions.  Being affirmed and wanted here goes a long way towards wanting to stay and work harder.  I’ve been transitioning out of my robotics/liquid handling engineering role and into project management/systems analyst role which suits my personality more.

It’s funny. Sitting in front of working robots really isn’t my thing, I learned that over the last year. But here I was applying to a role in HK where I’d be doing exactly that; sitting in front of broken robots 40 hrs a week. In hindsight this might be a dodged bullet. I think more people nod their heads at that one that I’m willing to admit.

So yup. Looks like I’ll be in SD for a little while longer…and that my friends is an awesome thing.

On an unrelated note, weddings are a great place to meet people. Just an observation..

Pursuing HK: And Then There Were Two

Quick recap of the last 2 weeks on the HK front.

4/22/12: Round 2 with the FSE team

After the first round of interviews with the hiring manager I got to sit in on a call and meet the team. Over the next 60 minutes I got asked a series of questions, ranging from technical to behavior. Most of which I was able to answer to some degree and in general express my ability to pick things up quickly.

The team specifically asked me to answer the following question, “why do you want to work and live in Hong Kong, could you please answer in cantonese?”

I heard the team crack up in the background. I guess I deserved it. If you put “fluent in conversational cantonese” on your resume you better be able to back it up. So I drew a big breath and let it rip…

Even if I don’t get the job it was super awesome validation to hear from a HK-er, “your cantonese is good“. Yeah-yuh.

5/3/12: Round 3 with HR APAC

This is when I started getting a little nervous. Up until this point I still had not mentally allowed myself to get too excited. In doing so, it was still more of a pipe dream than a possible reality. Interviewing with HR from the asia pacific region though, it started to get quite real.

It sounds like we’re down to the last 2 candidates and both of us are from SD. They’re not allowed to tell me who the other candidate is. HR lady’s flying back this coming week and will phone in with the hiring manager. If they can’t make a decision there’ll be a tie-break interview, but if not…an offer decision may be made by next week.

A move could potentially be as soon as late June. Crazy.

Pursuing HK: Round 1: Phone Interview with the Hiring Manager

My phone’s been on the fritz for the past few months it shuts off when it’s charging and every few days it restarts. Last week the hiring manager and I confirmed a time that’d work out for both of us. Since we’re on different time zones ~6-7pm here correlates to 9-10am over there. I told him 6pm (9am his time) works best but he won’t get that email until he goes into work the next day so I’ll just keep 6-7pm open.


Maybe the slight bit nervous but everything should be okay. Phone restarts.

Ohhh man. this better not happen during the interview

6:05 pm

Phone restarts again

6:25 pm

Phone restarts AGAIN! My phone’s never done this before, restarting that frequently in a short time. If I were a bit superstitious…this would be a bad omen for the interview. I’m beginning to wonder if international calls cause my phone to restart.


Looks like the hiring manager had a few issues in the morning and final got to calling ~9:45am his time. The general gist of the job:

A production sequencing plant in the boonies (Tai Po) of Hong Kong. The main HQ of the company is in Shenzhen but they have a secondary plant in HK. The position would service the machines at the secondary plant in HK. Every once in a while we might the call to cross the border to fix a few machines in Shenzhen.

Unlike other typical field service positions that travel a whole lot to different areas, this one just serves a single company. They’re a pretty big customer so we have a dedicated team for their facility. It’s kind of a production style maintenance team. At any given time a percentage of their machines are down for various issues and we service them. When we finish a case, we take the next case. A team of 1 account manager, 2 field service engineers and 2 field application scientists work together. that’d be my team…they’re all in their 30’s.

9-6 job…manager’s from the states so these are typical hours for US workers. Totally abnormal for HK so that’s a pretty nice plus.

Growth wise, this position definitely has less growth compared to a systems engineer or analyst. Field service engineers don’t really progress too rapidly, so the hiring manager cautioned that I’d probably need to look elsewhere to continue my career, given where I want to go and do.

All in all the interview went fairly well. I put my best foot forward and I probably hear back this week whether the team over there wants to hear from me. We’ll see how far this goes!

Pursuing HK: Your application has been submitted

“My name is Kreptonic. You might want to pay attention to because I choose my words carefully and this could be of use to you. I’ve told you my name: that’s the Who. The Where can most readily be described as a fragrant harbor. Almost all know it by another name…Hong Kong. The What is easy: recently I planned and set in motion events to execute a job search within my own company. That’s also the When. As for the Why: beyond the obvious career motivation, it’s exceedingly simple…because I can. Which leaves us only with the How; and therein, as the Bard would tell us, lies the rub.”

Application has been submitted!

I consulted my manager to get his thoughts on the whole thing. It’s always a bit of a gamble to tell your manager you might be interested in something else, but he’s a stand up guy and I chose my current position under him because I trust him. He gave me a few solid points to consider and ultimately told me to try for it. “If nothing happens, you won’t keep wondering what if. If you get it, you can decide then.” I’ll take that.

I scouted out the position a little bit and began a quick back and forth email with the hiring manager. A good start. Unfortunately, he’s on vacation this week because HK gets Ching Ming Festival, Good Friday, and Easter off, so I’ll have to wait another week to receive any word on the next step.

Kids…This is the Story of How I Pursued Her

As soon as I wrote the title I got goosebumps.

This isn’t how you’re supposed to tell the story. This story always is told in hindsight, sometimes at a long dinner table with friends or family and with a toast to top it off. That’s how people tell this story.

This is the story of how I pursued her.

It’s a risk. Revealing my intentions in such a public manner is tricky gambit but the process of going through it might be priceless. It should be okay, I’m pretty certain she doesn’t read blogs…let alone mine. It seems that the only times we hear these stories are when it works out and we gravitate toward these stories because it warms our hearts and plucks our emotional heart-strings. Rarely do we hear about the failed overtures and pursuits. Perhaps we can learn just as much from them as well.

This story doesn’t have an ending yet…it doesn’t even have a chapter two yet, it’s just the beginning. It could end tomorrow, it could end next week. But maybe, just maybe, there might have a happily ever.

Some might take this the wrong way and think this is lame bravado on full display, that I’m so certain I’ll succeed in my pursuit that I’m flaunting it each step of the way. It’s not that at all. There’s a real thrill about not knowing where this goes from here on out. It could fail spectacularly!


I’ve known her for a while now, and to be honest, her first impression was not the best. I think the only reason she stuck out in my mind was because she was one of the first I really had a chance to connect with. I was young, I didn’t really think much of it at the time.

Over the years, she became quite a looker and I’ll admit seeing her pop up on my facebook mini-feed from time to time caused me to scroll back up and double click. I admired her from afar, knowing that it couldn’t amount to anything…they said long distance rarely works. I’m fairly certain my parents thought this one was a phase, one that I’d grow out of somewhere down the line.

I thought so too.

I’ve visited her a few times and each time I got to see and learn about another side of her I hadn’t before. Sometimes I’d see a side I wish hadn’t seen. She’s not without her blemishes and flaws, but she covers them up well. Each time I see her I feel like she’s put on a slightly different look…and if I had photos of when I first met her and now, I’m pretty sure the differences would be blatantly obvious to see.

Over the last year or so I really couldn’t get her out of my mind. When I mention her name or bring her up in conversations with friends who’ve met her before they instantly smile and start raving about her as well. I’m not a dunce. She’s had her share of suitors of the years…I’m not entirely sure I’m ready for anything long term myself, but in this season and at this time, it just feels right.

A friend of mine who recently got married (t.hong) encouraged me to push forward with this. And after reading a post from a friend that once again tried to point out the passive asian male syndrome (here)…this is my rebuttal.

So my friends, do me a favor and let’s keep this between you and me? If you see any blatant missteps I might be taking…please feel free to leave a comment!

And just so you don’t think this is a lame april fool’s joke…here’s her picture: link

Wo Hing Preserved Meats Behind The Scenes

Chinese preserved meat is something I cannot get enough of and so it got me super excited to find out that a relative of mine owns a store in HK. We stopped by for a bit and toured the store and the factory. It was really fascinating.

Some say, there are two things people don’t want to know how you make ’em: laws and sausages. I’m not sure about the sausages, cause this was pretty cool. We didn’t get to see how they made “lap cheong” but we got to see the drying stages.

Had some fun with editing and style in the beginning of the video. Hope you guys enjoy it.

Dai Pai Dong in Tsim Sha Tsui

Address: Tsim Sha Tsui across Langham Hotel (I honestly don’t know the address, follow the map)

Specialty: Beef balls

Cost: ~$20 HKD a bowl

Hong Kong people are massive germaphobes and understandably, their horrendous experience with SARS really has them overly cautious about hygiene and cleanliness. Unfortunately one of the casualties of extremely clean environments is the shutting down of dai pai dongs in HK. Once commonplace, these stalls are harder to find and much more regulated.

Again like the noodle store in Mongkok in a previous post this place comes with a caveat. If you can brave the frenetic pace and seemingly chaotic nature of these stalls, this place is a gold mine for food. The beef meat balls here are the best. You can order them with noodles or without noodles.

Now the thing is. In this particular dai pai dong area there are many stores and I have no idea if they’re interconnected or direct competitors. So when you go, look for the sign in the very first picture above and only sit near there. Or you’ll be pulled in by another store offering the same thing but just slightly different. The last picture in this post gives you a sense of how difficult that may be.

**closed on sundays!**