Gary's life in the Sauder UBC MBA program and on exchange at the Chinese Univeristy of Hong Kong MBA Program

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

From UBC2CUHK

Hi Folks,

Just to let you know that Chi-Wei and I have not completely dropped off the face of the world. We decided to give you a brief hello and let you know that we are still alive. Life has been hard here in the savage unforgiving tundra known as Hong Kong, Chi-Wei and I have battled many hardships.

The CUHK MBA program is definitely a different experience for us. Most notably:

  1. Lack of a pool or foosball tables in the lounge

  2. Wait a minute our lounge is a closet with no windows

  3. Nevermind we’re never in our lounge because we never have classes in the same building as our lounge.

  4. There is no wireless on campus. (That’s right Google-boy is dead.)

  5. The MBAs are not as tight-knit a group as back in UBC.

  6. No one understands sarcasm here; you can only imagine my pain.

  7. There are no pubs on campus, please re-read statement 5.

  8. The food on campus is cheap, but no real coffee.

  9. The food on campus tastes cheap, but no real coffee.

  10. The food on campus tastes like a cheap ground-up pool or foosball table, but no real coffee.


The other students here are nice enough, and come from such prestigious universities as LBS, HEC, ESADE, Chicago, etc. There’s even representation by lesser known schools such as Rotman. I’ve never heard of it but I’m sure it’s a good school. We’re all keeping busy with our classes which range from excellent to um….interesting. Many Profs are top notch however you will meet the occasional reincarnation of Gordon Gecko from Wall Street.

Chi Wei and I have been active however with the American chamber of commerce events and even competed in their joint competition with Electronic Arts: “Make your Mark 2” Marketing Competition a few weeks back. Our superior edumacation helped us wow the judges with our superior marketing scheme. Eventually when all was settled a group led by UBC’s “almost good enough to be its finest anywhere else but home” won the competition.

Smile kids, Gary and Chi-Wei are REPRESENTIN’ CUHK and UBC MBA

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Google Boy is Dead

Thanks to Mikio’s constant whining about my lack of blog updates, I’ve spent the past time writing up a brand new batch of blogs for your eyes only kids.  So why am I so infrequent with the blogs….well I didn’t want to admit this but…..

I’M WITHOUT THE INTERNET……..GOOGLE-BOY IS DEAD!

Yes Google boy is dead…….Arman dry your little tears….its alright, Steve please don’t look at me and shake your head, Troy buy a laptop.  You see despite all the talk of the Chinese University of Hong Kong being a state of the art institution of higher learning, they are woefully inept at putting together wireless internet access anywhere.

So of the things I’ve had to scratch off my list of daily things to do:

  1. MSN Messenger: Yes sorry to all those people who expect to hear my constant whining each day, I’m not being a snob honest, I’m just locked out

  2. Google: Yup I’ve actually had to limit my exposure to Google…..even when looking up material for my e-commerce essentials class.

  3. Email: Yes I was extremely slow before on email, but I’m painfully slow now and junk mail is as painful as ever when you get home and see 45 messages waiting for you.  Atleast the penis enlargement folks seem to care.

So my apologies to all, as the only internet I get is from stealing bandwidth from the people around me in my apartment building.  Dear Kwan, I promise I won’t abuse your bandwidth…….much.  

Gary “Google boy in mourning” Lau

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

How it all began

Paula Castellon requested that I let everyone know how it all began so I’ll give my version of the events that led us here today. (it’s a good thing Paula asked me b/c Naomi doesn’t remember the events at all)

It all started back when Naomi and I were undergraduates back at the University of Victoria. It was the spring of 1997 if I remember it correctly when I first met her. We had both enrolled in a spatial statistics course for second year students and she and I sat relatively close together.

The course load was relatively heavy (for undergrads of course) so all of the students decided the best thing to do was form small study groups to help with the workload. I immediately turned to Naomi and got her phone number as well as some other people who I couldn’t remember for the life of me. (If you’re reading this…I’m really sorry)

My courage level faded in and out at that point. I rushed home ecstatic that I had her number. I decided it would be best to call her atleast 2-3 days later so I didn’t across as some weird stalker guy. So three days later when I called her house I was surprised to hear a male voice (crap my heart sank), nope turns out it was just a male roommate.

So Naomi finally comes to the phone, and I said hello in what could be best described as the voice of a pre-pubescent teenager. “It’s Gary”, Naomi sort of drew a blank at this point. I then replied”Gary from your stats course!” Naomi finally had put 2 and 2 together at that point and finally realized who I was. Of course in the 2-3 days since I had called her Naomi had apparently dropped the stats course right at the course drop deadline. At this point my heart sank as I realized I was no longer in a group with her (nor a reason to start hanging out) and worse yet I was trapped in a statistics course with ummm……those other people whose names I can’t remember.

Of course, as pathetic as I was, I was also adamant. During the course of the next year I made an effort to wind up in many of her courses and get to know her. We became good friends at that point (yup guys I fell into “the friend zone”) but I had come to a conclusion that we had a pretty good friendship. (Friend zone, friend zone!!!)

It wasn’t until 3.5 years later when I was at BCIT and Naomi was at UBC that we finally started going out. But overall that’s how we started out, so if you have to know it was mostly a mixture of me chasing after her and many obstacles in the way. (If anyone compares us to Ross and Rachel of the TV show Friends I’ll punch you in the head I really will!!!)
It wouldn’t be the end of the chasing; we would hold a long distance relationship for the period of 3-4 years across Victoria, Vancouver, Seattle, and Los Angeles. But after the course of 8 years of chasing after her, we are on our way to the altar soon.

Hope this shed some light on:
  1. Why I’m so romantic to chase Naomi for 8 years OR

  2. Why I’m so creepy stalkerish as to chase Naomi for 8 years

Monday, September 05, 2005

Living in Hong Kong

So here we are in fabulous city known as Hong Kong. I wanted to wait a week or two before I start blogging about Hong Kong as I didn’t want first impressions to influence my writing too much. Instead I waited for my friend Chris’s blog to come out first so I could steal heavily from his site (just kidding…..I think).
So here are the first things to come to my mind as we lived in Hong Kong:

The great-great things:

  1. Despite what everyone told me about the water quality and how bad it was, I have yet to get sick from it, I have yet to even boil it. The water quality is so much further ahead from where I thought it would be; in fact it’s a heck of a lot cleaner than my old apartment in Vancouver which shot out brown water in the morning.
  2. The great transportation system: I told everyone in Hong Kong that my commute to school each day was somewhere between 45 minutes to an hour, to them this was the equivalent of traveling 2-3 hours in Canada. The subway, train, bus system here is fantastic. I’ve never seen such an efficient system of transport in any other city with the exception of New York. It’s all air conditioned, efficient, well marked out and virtually seamless, even when you’re not on a train, the city is very accessible on foot and my legs have never looked better from all the great walking everywhere. Who needs a car?
  3. The eating, eating, eating, I took Naomi, and my friend Pong’s family out for dim sum, ate like kings and then paid off a king’s ransom of: 35 Canadian Dollars?!? Another time 4 of us went for noodles, drinks, etc, total price of meal, 16 bucks Canadian. This is not run of the mill food, this stuff would be considered top-notch in Canada but here it’s awesome priced and tasted incredible. Naomi has decided to put me on a diet, I can understand why.
  4. The people: despite all the warnings people have given me, it’s become very aware to me that EVERYONE speaks English over here. There are English signs everywhere and everyone is incredibly sweet and generous. Everyone smiles at Naomi and me everywhere we go and no one has ever tried to take advantage of us. Naomi and I have even tried our best to go into areas where ex-patriots don’t traditionally go to. If you’re visiting another country – why spend most of your time hanging around people you’ve spend way too much time with back home. Everyone has gone the extra distance to help us out and communicate, that’s a heck of a lot more than I can say for some places I’ve been in. My advice to you, come to Hong Kong and meet some of the sweetest people you’ll ever meet in your entire life.


The less than great things:

  1. Why does durian seem so frequent here, for those who don’t know, durian is the proof that a higher being has a bad sense of humor. It’s a fruit that everyone seems to love but for some reason smells like rotting garbage bathed with Zima.
    + =
  2. Secondly in the wake of the crisis with pork Naomi and I have decided to swear off for just a short while. Well as we both have found, that is MUCH easier said than done. Pork is in everything. In fact Naomi and I purchased fish cakes balls just a few days ago….Lo and behold PORK! C’mon I know it’s delicious, everything here is so damn delicious but do I have to check the ingredients of my soda pop to make sure there’s no pork in it. I swear I inhaled about a pork chop’s worth of the other white meat just walking around town today.
  3. Milk drink?!? Yup that’s right, when Naomi and I bought milk; it wasn’t milk but milk drink. So what is the difference, think about sunny delight and orange juice, both taste like oranges, one is made of petroleum product though. Same thing here. Its sort of a re-constituted milk powder mixture made up of various questionable ingredients. I should find something else but I guess I need my vitamin R somehow.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Going to Hong Kong

Hi Folks,

I just got off the plane ride from Canada to Hong Kong that took about 13 hours. Surprisingly I actually enjoyed the flight, the crew was nice to me and the food was halfway decent.

Throughout the flight I was halfway dreading some of the things that would happen, like a plane crash, or worse yet an Amway guy seated next to you. Yes this has happened to me before. I had to pretend sleep for 2 hours on a flight down to Los Angeles just to end the conversation. “Yeah the thought of working for myself really intrigues me…….yawn just so sleepy right now for some reason…….”

20 minutes into the plane ride, we noticed people jumping out of their seats and making a mad dash up the aisles. My first initial reaction was this was some sort of terrorist thing and wishing that I watched the movie “Executive Decision” until the end instead of just watching Steven Segal die halfway through, laughing like a jackass then falling asleep.

It wasn’t a terrorist thing; in fact everyone was jumping out of their cramped seats on the side of the plane and into the near-empty middle of the plane seats to stretch out. Naomi and I made a mad dash trying to get into these seats, crushing small children and old folks in our path (just kidding).

The food and movies were decent - Hitch and Fever Pitch, of course this is only because Miss Congeniality 2 was cancelled and they ran out of Lactose free meals and I started eating the regular meals with gelato. (Yes I know I’m lactose intolerant but it was gelato….and it was there)

I got quite a bit of my internship report done, even while everyone else was asleep due to my insomnia on planes. Finished my report and proceeded to be bored now that my laptop was dead and that no movies were on. Finished an entertainment weekly, the newspaper, and at this point I started reading bridal magazines/encyclopedias that Naomi bought. That was a bad idea……..

Finally the plane settled down in Hong Kong, and we were picked up by relatives I had never met before. Apparently they would have no comprehension of English and my Cantonese skills were barely adequate enough to find a toilet in Hong Kong. Nonetheless we had a nice conversation and got to our apartment in time to deal with negotiations, take a look at amenities and collapse into bed. We’re finally in HK baby!!!

Gary

Sunday, August 28, 2005

And she said yes

And she said yes……..

Yes it’s true; I actually did convince Naomi to marry me. Who would’ve guessed that I of all people would be tying the knot, but hey I guess surprises are always around the corner.

So it took several months of looking up ring sites and learning about engagement rings, when it all comes together I realize that I NEVER want to have learn this much stuff again in my life. I’d rather read hours and hours of technical manuals than have to learn about rings and diamonds again.

So when it came down to it, I think I got it right as far as the engagement ring went.
I had a special 19K White Gold 6 prong tiffany made at Minichiello’s Jewelers in Vancouver. After looking at Birks, Spence’s Diamonds, EE Robbins/The Shane Company in Seattle, etc, it became clear to me that Minichiello’s work FAR surpassed that of any jeweler anywhere else.

The people were exceptionally helpful and knew their craftsmanship, something that I found to be exceptionally rare after so much time spent shopping. So in short, GO TO MINICHIELLO’s in Vancouver for your engagement ring, yeah I’m endorsing them all I can but hey they made me a ring that was above and beyond what you get elsewhere.

After getting the ring all prepared, I proposed to Naomi at Hycroft Manor on bended knee after a fine French dinner at CRU restaurant. So now that the engagement is on, Naomi and I will fly to Hong Kong for a few months to enjoy somewhat of a post engagement honeymoon and get ready for the upcoming year. Hopefully we can get the wedding underway next summer. Until then I’m going to go find out as much as I can about house-building and craftsmanship. Home Depot Hong Kong here I come.

Gary

Monday, August 08, 2005

Super-Size Me!

Hi Kids

I just came across this site right now, I believe this should be send to everyone within your immediate circle.

Its the International Center for Bathroom Ediquette site:

http://www.icbe.org/icbe.shtml

Please be a dear and make sure everyone you know reads and studies this site (yes I'm talking to you frequenters of the men's bathroom of the 2nd floor of the Henry Angus Building)

Of course this wasn't the site i was originally trying to hunt down I was looking for a club I'm thinking I should consider joining in the future. Yes its the International Federation of Competitive Eating.

http://www.ifoce.com/index.php

I think I can go the distance with a few of these kids as many of you have seen my great feats of gluttony have witnessed. For a good laugh go to the records section and check out what has been done.

One day you'll see my name is lights kids........under an alka-seltzer sponsor ad.

Cheers

Gary (Future IFOCE Superstar)