28th April.


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Asia » Hong Kong
April 28th 2006
Published: May 13th 2006
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It’s the little things that show how organised Hong Kong is, like the adverts in the MTR stations. It’s not noticeable unless you look carefully, but when the train comes into each station you can see that the platform adverts are in the same order in each station. It shows the attention to detail in the culture there. The pace of the town shows clearly on the railway too - the Octopus card communicates with the ticket machines in 300milliseconds, so of course a light appears saying ‘Please wait’.

It’s my last day in work, so I decide to treat my regular lunch-mates to dinner. As midday approaches we head towards a nearby café as usual, but there are around 40 people in the corridor (and I can’t afford dinner for everyone!). Two of the other engineers are leaving today too, so we commandeer a bus and have a dim sum dinner for the whole department. The other engineers, Leon and Elvis, work in the technical support department and they’re both moving to the bus division of the Kowloon-Canton Railway.

After lunch I’m taken into the engineering manager’s office to review the placement and pick up any areas where I think the company can improve. It’s nice that my opinion is valued but I can only see that they over-maintain their buses compared to the operations in the UK - this feeds back into improved reliability and lower running repair costs though, so the balance is ultimately decided by the cost of poor reliability.

As I say farewell to one of the depot managers he bids me goodbye and urges me to keep in touch by email; he encourages us to form a network of contact by asking ‘will you be my friend?’ which is touching but not quite how he meant it, I think.

Local radio seems to be of questionable quality here, since although I can’t understand the words it’s clear for anyone to hear when tracks are cut halfway through. Today’s song is the tune that was on the radio as I walked back from work - Tom Jones’ ‘Just help yourself’.


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