Archive for November 23, 2005


hey folks,

apparently over the last… well… it looks year or so people
have been leaving comments on this thing and I never checked them so
sorry about that. thought this thing e-mailed me comments but
apparently I missed a few. will try and change the e-mail address.
anyway, i gotta go make games for hong kong kids right now
using photoshop and some clever imaging. hopefully tomorrow
will go well. I have to be out of my apartment on December 16th
so hopefully a new job will be confirmed on Friday.


November 23, 2005 at 7:33 pm Leave a comment

hong kong additions

also no system of checks and balances keeps Frankie in check to make sure he’s not just
docking my pay weekly and pocketing his alreadry large sum in profits.


November 23, 2005 at 7:05 pm Leave a comment

hong kong is pretty cut throat

so on the morning of my second class I am fired. my employer refuses to pay me full wage and instead offers to pay me 1/2 of my wage for the reminaing school. I am almost out of money. I start looking for new jobs. Frankie Wong of the English College in Mong-Kok kindly informs me that in order to work there I have to start at 10 hours a week and get paid 100 HKD per hour i.e. 1000 HKD per week i.e. 128 dollars. That’s starting. There are no text books, you just talk with your students for awhile about a news article and get paid. It sounds fine from an economist’s scale after all I am put in the situation of doing my best to just get paid. The system it set up so that Frankie can sit there and do nominally nothing while we sit around and work our asses off. This is the problem with such a profitability scheme, while it arguably brings out the best in a person i.e. creative ventures to teach new materials in new ways, it puts no pressure on the school to bring more students in. They live the socialist life of an imperialist while you work to make a meager 12 usd per hour. Granted 12 usd per hour isn’t a bad amount, but let’s face it, this system comes down to them taking no risk while potentially fucking you for no reason. This is Hong Kong mind you… which is technically speaking about as expensive as a lower level European city. Expect to spend 100 hkd a day if you’re skrimping to get by. I sell my playstation and PSP for about 200 USD with 5 games which the clerk identifies as Japanese when they are really Korean. This isn’t a bad rate, in Hong Kong games go for about 30 – 40 USD and PSPs for far less. I get about 50 usd less than what babbages would have paid. The problem with Hong Kong is that this isn’t what I want to do. In the U.S. we realize this and don’t expect employees to devote their entire lives to commerce, in Hong Kong it just is commerce. Frankie’s system only works provided we’re willing to work for the dollar, which we aren’t. We work for goals not money quite often, and the goals of teaching is often to provide better encourangement for the students not to force them to take part in silly games so you can get paid and continue living. I don’t like Hong Kong anymore. Even Koreans didn’t go this low as to make the art of work into a game where the probability of failure is put on the employee when the boss to should share some blame. Hong Kong is based off a compromise, capitalism as robber barron instead of google ceo. I return home and find the girl at the sandwich shop falling asleep at her post. I feel like her most of the time.

November 23, 2005 at 5:44 pm 2 comments

Several Problems with Hong Kong employment

So today i walk in and apply for a job.

The form is basically the same form you get for an icecrem shop or a movie theater or something like that. It’s one of those little forms you get from time to time that you fill out for a not terribly important job that basically restates all the info you already sent in your resume and will be further asked for in the interview. Frankie Wong asks me when I can start. The job works like this: you start out working less than 10 hours a week. Your pay is 100 HKD per hour. The hours improve as your performance improves and your pay will be docked if students leave. I can think of few job situations less appealing or more barbaric than this deal. First let’s look at the economics of this. Does this system ensure that the teacher will work hard for their pay? Sure, it does. You’ll have to “innovate” or pander to the class to keep yourself employed. Is that bad thing? No, I mean you should do your best in any job, but here’s the problem: does this provide any incentives for the boss to work hard to bring more clients your way? No, not really. Does it ensure that the business is taking some of the risk in the venture? No. It essentially means the business in question can continue to operate regardless of which way you act. It also fails to have a system of checks and balances, when and if pay is docked it’s not noted, hence Mr. Wong can just take money if he needs it from an already high overheard he extracts per student. It weeds out the “bad” teachers I suppose, but does it? Here are the other problems. The job assumes that money is the main motivation for teaching, anyone who has taught knows that the relation you form is far more important than money. Having fun with your students is part of the deal and productive teachers usually produce new lesson plans not to ensure their economic safety, but simply to make better lessons for a good class. Secondly, it defers responsibility for attracting new students on the teacher, which isn’t our job. It’s basically similar to the major label contracts that float around: you take the risk. You will need to advertise etc for your product and work to attract new students etc. The business just provides an office space and sponsorship of a visa. 10 hours a week at 100 HKD per hour is about 120 USD per week, meaning you take the loss on moving to Hong Kong instead of the business taking the loss as they do in Korea and Japan while your boss tries to attact new clients. It also fails to note one simple reality: teaching isn’t that hard. Students generally stay regardless of the teacher. While a truly bad teacher will drive students away, a truly good one will also drive other students away. No one is perfect and few people have the broad appeal to keep everyone happy at once.  The job also fails to notice that teaching especially english crosses boundaries, while the situation might suck in Hong Kong it’s better elsewhere. In Japan or Korea I can get more money, paid apartment, and possibly transporation for less effort and with more security. What the Hong Kong job attracts then is panic, it attracts people who aren’t going to their best, but merely will do their best to keep their job. It also fails to note that people are more than machines, they need some type of environment and commitment on the part of the employer, this relationship cuts the empathatic bonds of the usual employee boss relationship, you could do everything the business provides with just a few adds in the paper, but oh yeah now you need sponsorship for your visa, so you’re stuck. Here we see people who are effectively brutalizing foriegn employees because the law happens to force enterprising individuals to go through them. This isn’t economics, it’s robber barron capitalism. You may as well be living in the company store, and go north a little and that’s exactly what you’ll find.

November 23, 2005 at 1:07 pm Leave a comment


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