Friday, 11 January 2013

Thanks for nothing.


My long-running nightmare of an assignment is officially over.

From the end of June all the way to the 20th of December, I was assigned to a client whose Asia's base is in Hong Kong. Since I was on the bench and there were no openings for people like me, I had no choice but to take the assignment. My first overseas assignment and it's in a country I never ever wanted to visit. This should be interesting.

Right off the bat, I've never met ruder people in my life. I remember one incident where we were at this eatery ordering our food; only one person in the group was able to speak basic Cantonese so we relied on him to get our orders in. Since the meal comes either with soup (some of the scariest pieces of unidentified animal parts are in it) or drink, I chose iced lemon tea (less sugar). As the place was a din, my order was taken at the very last minute. This somehow made the waitress really mad, as she gave me a look that would have melted concrete. Till this day I wish her well. Who am I kidding? I hope she chokes on a bone.

People in this country just don't seem to want to talk nicely. They get really impatient in a manner of seconds if you're a teeny bit slow or you're asking something they don't understand. I saw once an Indian couple waiting at the taxi stand where the taxi company's personnel had their voices raised higher than a Canto-pop concert telling them their booking has something amiss. I really pitied the couple as they looked despondent but there was no way I could have helped.

Then, there are the Chinese from the motherland. And they are indeed a...special bunch.

Management was mainly from China and this was my first time working side by side with them. The stories are true: they are slave drivers. Foxconn has nothing on these folks. They backstabb, frontstab, sidestab and wildstab their way to get things done. 

There's also the question of work hours. Just because you can work round the clock that doesn't mean you are allowed to impose your robotism on me. I want to have a life, you know. Well, you don't, that's why I'm bitching now. 

For some reason, the northern ones tend to have problems with volume control. Why buy a loudspeaker when you can hire a northerner? They're essentially the same. This vexes me. A lot. A whole fucking lot. You see, I'm a pretty chilled person. But when you talk to me louder than a bus running the red light, well, you suck. I'm not one of your northern buddies where pork chops are the size of books. I'm a lot more refined.

I have to say that the standards that I've encountered during my tenure would have made my previous boss baulk and probably vomit buckets of blood. Even my half-assed emails are fuller than the ones I've had to deal with.

In some cases, being explicit is not enough; you have to grab them by the throat and make them explain what is actually required to do. Put it in black-and-white. Email everyone you know including your neighbour. Just do it. It's to cover your ass. Whip it out when shit hits the fan. Then wipe the shit on their faces. 

All in all, I had the worst time of my life. I was depressed. I very nearly was sent over the edge; the precipice of despair was right in front of me but somehow I always managed to crawl back. I've gotten some pretty nasty feedback from them regarding my time there. I will say this: I did my best, I gave my all to this project and I set in place a number of things that none of the earlier consultants did. The truth is out there and it's being covered by the team. Justice will prevail in the long run. 

To my former team, I hope you get what you deserve.