Food for Thought

These days I’ve been thinking and realizing, there is no such thing as grass in Hong Kong. This concrete jungle of a city literally feels like a jail cell. Random thought, I know, but I really miss those vast meadows of greenery in Canada. Even my backyard, which is seemingly good for nothing aside from creating mandatory exercise), suddenly feels rare and precious.

I went to the Wan Chai Convention Centre on Saturday for a job fair. They were hiring people for the HK Airport, and the positions ranged from 7-11 cashiers to airport customer service providers to flight attendants and pilots. Prior to this event, I had only been inside this Convention Centre for the book fair that occurs every year. I didn’t attend every year, but at least once or twice in the years that I have been around. Anyway, compared the the book fair, this was a heck of a lot smaller. The book fair usually occupies quite a few halls, whereas everything fit in one hall this time. There were also considerably less people… at least you could actually see a road to walk! The book fair is literally a stalemate of people. Something like Times Square on New Year’s Eve. It’s actually not much of a pleasant experience at all.

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So yeah, I was checking out what kind of a future I might have in Hong Kong, and the honest truth is, there really isn’t much. The only companies with jobs that interest me are airline companies, which means Cathay Pacific, Dragonair, or Hong Kong Airlines based in this city. These companies actually do hire aerospace engineers, and obviously they’re not looking to manufacture airplanes. But they need people who know enough about airplanes to be able to repair them – maybe not physically out with a wrench, but at least able to look at computer data and tell you which part of the airplane needs a fix. Airlines also provide a person around the clock, in case their flights run into any problems while in the air. The pilot would have to call in for help, and as an aircraft engineer, you tell the pilot how to tackle the problem. Obviously that would call for shift work, but it sounds pretty fun to me! And when you’re located in an overcrowded city like Hong Kong, it’s always nice to be free when everyone else isn’t. The other jobs are all office work; stuff like advising which planes to buy next.

Reflecting on my own experience over my past three years, I know I’m not really good at design and build projects. I’ll tell you the truth, I scored a solid 60% in that Engineering Design course that we had to take in second year. I don’t like pure research either – it’s what I did last summer in Osaka, and despite all the fun I had in that city, I didn’t have quite as much fun in the lab. An airline kind of job does sound like what I would be interested in, with respect to the job nature. It’s not purely engineering theory based, but it’s still relevant enough that I won’t feel like I wasted my time in school. Of course, you never really know where you’ll end up in life, but at least I have some ideas.

The biggest crowds at the job fair were at Cathay Pacific and Dragonair. Those booths were mobbed with kids that dream of becoming a pilot or a flight attendant. I don’t really know what I can say about that. Obviously it’s a dream job for lots of people. No experience or education required – they do all the training. Then, there’s the travelling – your job is literally a vacation! I know how it feels, I was there once. And I’m not saying I don’t want it still. But I actually did experience a part of the process. I applied, got an interview, and took an exam that I didn’t study for. I met some people that got in, and most of them took a few applications before they were finally accepted. I got a glimpse of the worldwide competition – you don’t just apply and get in. See, I don’t know if these kids realize that. The hard truth is, most of them will get rejected.

Okay, so where am I getting with this? Well I was at church yesterday, and I got this verse from God:

Proverbs 28:19 He who works his land will have abundant food, but the one who chases fantasies will have his fill of poverty.

Piloting is a dream me, just like it is with most of these kids. And I’m not saying that there aren’t people out there that are passionate about flying. But seriously, the amount of hard work you have to put in before you are actually “working your land” in this field. That hard work to becoming an airplane nerd, just to get into a cadet training program. How many of us acknowledge this fact, and how many of us are prepared to work for it? If I don’t put in that 110% into achieving this goal, then I am just chasing fantasies like everybody else. And while I know, I can do anything as long as I put my mind to it – do I really want to? Is it worth it? Or would you rather just fly when you want to, and plan your own vacations?

Good food for thought.

Anyway, on my way back home from the Convention Centre, I walked through a cute store that sells things made by Hong Kong designers. It’s quite a pleasant walk, and they have a ton of variety, so I probably spent a good half an hour in there. One of the more unique products I saw were these bags made of your typical ugly 紅白藍 multipurpose bag. It’s simple, represents Hong Kong, and literally anybody could have came up with this idea (except that obviously now it’s no longer original).

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Still munching on that thought. It’s gonna take me a while.

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