The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]


The Final Countdown …

So I feel this week is where I start walking across the bridge from where my life has been to where my life will be.

In the next 3 weeks, my life is going to change quite a bit.

On Wednesday, I stop working at a place I have loved.

Less than a week later, I stop living in a home, in a city, in a country that I have loved.

A place where my son was born and where – in many ways – my life changed forever.

Then thanks to timezone madness, later that same day, my entire family – wife, son, cat – arrive in Los Angeles.

A place that feels a trillion miles away from where we have been.

A place that we will be calling home.

While I don’t start work for another 2 weeks, there will be so much to sort out.

Bank accounts … phones … cars … a home … while ensuring we create the time to explore and discover our new surroundings as a family.

And then, just 3 weeks later, I officially start my totally new and exciting adventure.

Wow, that’s a lot of change in a very short time … but apart from the fact we’ve done this sort of move countless times before [albeit without a child in tow] it feels exciting.

OK, so there’s also a bunch of headaches we have to contend with … and the reality is we won’t be able to truly feel ‘settled’ until we have a home, with all our furniture inside and a basic understanding of how everything operates in LA … but as I mentioned before, to have this opportunity at my age is one I feel truly fortunate to have, so as long as we’re together and happy, we can deal with most things.

But I’ll tell you something that didn’t make me happy.

HSBC.

Yes … I know I’ve written about them many, many times before and if I was sane, I would have stopped working with all their offices rather than just the ones in China and Australia … but I didn’t, so I accept some blame for what I am about to whine about.

So when you move to the US, one of the biggest obstacles to settling there is that you need a good credit rating.

Everything – and I mean everything – is dependent on you being seen as ‘financially credible’.

Without a good credit rating, you will find it hard to get a place to live, a car, a credit card … you name it, you’re screwed.

This issue is only magnified if you are new to the country because not only do you start with zero, it takes a hell of a long time to earn it.

But then I got told HSBC – the World’s local bank – could set you up with a US bank account and the credit history you had earned in one country, could be transposed to America.

Result.

So I call up HSBC in Hong Kong and ask them if they can do it.

“Of course we can sir, it only takes about 10 days”.

I was so thrilled that I didn’t quite hear what they said next.

“… you just have to come into the branch to discuss it”.

I quickly woke up and enquired if they meant ‘any HSBC branch’.

“Oh no sir, you have to come to the branch you opened the account”.

I told them that might be difficult as I lived in Shanghai so was there any alternative – like going to a Shanghai branch instead.

“No”.

That was their response. No.

I asked if they could check and call me back and they said they would.

They didn’t call back.

I went through the whole thing again.

Same answer.

Could you check and call me back?

They said they would. They didn’t.

In the end, I had to fly to HK to get them to do it.

Yep, I had to buy a ticket so I could get on a plane and fly 2 hours just so I could go to the brand and hear them me “Why do you want to open an account in the US?”

How I restrained myself from saying “Because I want to launder all my ill-gotten gains and apparently you’re good at that, I do not know …

OK, so it wasn’t as bad as the time ANZ Bank in Australia made me fly from Singapore to Sydney so I could given them a cheque to buy a bloody house, but it’s up there.

Was it worth it?

Who the hell knows … I guess we’ll find out in a week, but for a bank that has continually acted illegally, I find it laughable they’re such sticklers for protocol on relatively small matters, but not nearly as laughable as their claims that they’re the ‘World’s Local Bank’.

Look at that, I haven’t even moved to the US yet and I’m bitching.

There’s hope for this blog yet …



Only Read This Book At The Library. Do Not Buy It.
August 25, 2015, 6:20 am
Filed under: Comment, Corporate Evil, Hong Kong, Wankers

If you want to be disgusted at people who think having money means they can do whatever the fuck they want, read this:

While there’s some bits that are funny [mainly his diarrhoea episode on a private plane filled with clients] the rest of it just makes you feel a bit sick.

What makes it worse is the author is proud of it. Yes, proud.

I wish I could say it’s all a work of fiction [and it appears some of it is] but my 18 months living in Hong Kong exposed me to a lot of these assholes.

Fortunately our apartment was in Happy Valley so I didn’t have to see them in my everyday environment but if I had a meeting in some big hotel or found myself somewhere in Wanchi, there they would be … loud, arrogant and acting like they owned the place.

Sadly, Asia tolerates this.

Especially from white guys.

Or should I say, rich white guys.

What’s tragic is some people will read this book and think, “that life sounds awesome”.

I remember reading an interview with Michael Douglas where he said he was inundated with people saying how much they wanted to be like his character in the movie ‘Wall Street’ and he kept reminding them he was a bad guy.

But in this World of wannabe-entitlement, people seem to miss this point and just see the lifestyle of indulgent excess.

It still blows my mind that it’s only a few years ago that this industry destroyed the livelihoods of millions of people, cities and governments by selling them promises they had no intention of fulfilling and yet they are still walking around like nothing happened.

What makes the whole thing kind-of worse is that as much as we like to think of these people as the devil, they actually look like this:

Yep, that’s the author .. the guy who celebrates his life of depravity and lies.

Looks boringly normal doesn’t he?

Like most serial killers do.

Which makes sense when you think how both have such a disregard for others lives.



Sophisticated Stupidity …
June 27, 2014, 6:15 am
Filed under: Crap Campaigns In History, Hong Kong

A man on a beach.

You can tell he’s cool because he’s wearing a hat.

And his shirt is untucked and unbuttoned.

And he is bare foot.

He’s staring up towards the sky with a look of awe on his face.

You don’t know what he’s looking at, but it’s got to be something amazing.

He’s too cool to be impressed by any old rubbish.

Next to him is a cello.

Yes, a cello.

For reasons I’m not able to fathom, this musical instrument is able to stand perfectly straight without anything – or anyone – holding it.

Oh, and it’s also translucent.

Yes, you can’t get much cooler than that.

Next to the cello is a massively big woman in her underwear.

Seriously, she’s huge.

Maybe he’s a midget, but I’m pretty sure she’s super-tall.

But she’s not on the beach, she’s kind-of in a nondescript place.

I hope it’s somewhere warm because she could get a terrible cold.

She’s looking wistfully in the distance. As if she dreams of one day meeting a man on the beach who has a translucent cello.

You think I’m on drugs don’t you!

Or at least had too many cough sweets and got drunk on the minuscule alcohol content they hold.

Don’t laugh, that’s actually happened to me.

But no I’m not.

I’m not even overly-tired.

I have just described the utter bollocks of a Japanese lingerie brands ad running in HK.

I don’t know if a Hong Kong agency created it or if they are just running it there, but apart from a few exceptions [mainly people, but a couple of agencies] … it reminds me why I once described that place – in terms of adland, not the culture – as the big ideas ghost town.

Look at it.

What the fuck it is trying to say?

I have no idea, but what I’m fairly certain of – especially given the brand is named ‘Bon Luxe’ – is they’re desperately trying to appear ‘sophisticated’.

The cello.

The beach.

The hunk.

The woman.

The Eurasian heritage of the models. [because god forbid any pure Asian appears in the ads!]

The pompous ‘passions for perfection’ line.

The fake french ‘good luxury’ name.

It all smacks of some blinkered brand manager who doesn’t know the difference between natural and contrived.

Maybe someone should tell them the quickest way to look cheap and tacky is to try and fake sophistication.

And before anyone slags me off, a woman sent me this ad and she basically said what I’ve just ranted about for far too long.

And for the record, she’s hideously attractive so it’s not jealousy.

Plus she works for Tiffany, so she’s sophistication personified.

Annnnd – to put the cherry on top of the perfect life – she is married to a bloody race car driver.

No, I have no idea why she’s friends with me, but that aside … if she thinks it’s pants, then I think it’s fair to say I certainly can as well … so there.

God that was a long winded rant wasn’t it.

Well at least it’s Friday.

Happy Weekend.