Baby Steps Uphill


Since my tutorials haven’t started yet, my first class was at 1pm. I woke up completely well-rested and feeling much much better. I showered, chatted with lots of friends back home, and headed to class at 1pm.

My flatmates Anna Maria, Kim & I minibus-ed it to class, and I headed off to my lovely marketing class with “lovely teacher” Baniel, running into Steven. I was zoning out and surfing the news most of the time, so I think all that we learned was that the Sony PS2 is a dead dog.

Anna Maria & I grabbed some Starbucks, and I discovered that you can flash your HKU student ID to get a sizable discount off your drink! We chatted briefly about her trip to the Philippines over CNY, and we then made some plans for a flatmate hangout on Saturday. 🙂 I’m looking forward to that! Steven & Kim met us up and we all headed to the better canteen for a late lunch. Conversation ended up falling onto the subject of my Sex & Intimacy class, and everyone was interested in sitting in on the class. That class is DEFINITELY quite memorable.

I headed to my 4pm class shortly. I needed to charge my laptop but couldn’t figure out how to open the light, so I awkwardly sat there in the dark until people started filing in. Apparently the teacher has to key something in on the system for the lights to turn on. So high-tech. Emily, Julia & I sat in the front row like A+ students, and I actually paid attention. Our professor seems pretty nice, although at times it takes me awhile to understand her English. The course material is pretty interesting as well – we watched a video on ZTE (Chinese mobile company based in Shenzhen) and how it won an exclusive contract with the Ethiopian government over big Western names like Nokia & Sony Ericsson. They braved the rural villages and remote mountainous regions to set up network towers across the country. Today, they still have an exclusive 5-year contract with the Ethiopian government to expand in Ethiopian and manufacture cell phone headsets to the people. We had an interesting discussion on why ZTE succeeded, from price of cell phones to the operational costs of the firm, but learned that the real reason was due to ZTE’s joint venture with China Development Bank. Its a win win situation since ZTE avoids risk of being expropriated by the Ethiopian government with its joint venture w/ China Development Bank. The Ethiopian government needs funds and fully appreciates this joint effort by China’s public & private sector. The CDB,a government-backed financial institution, sees lucrative opportunities in the African market valued at 3 billion dollars. These are the case studies that I want to learn more about and understand.

Aside from an informative lecture we also had an HBS case study on Toys R Us, followed by a role-play debate of whether Toys R Us should enter the Japanese Market. I have a feeling that while this class will definitely not be my easiest class (for one, its three hours long and ends at 7pm on Thursday), I will learn a lot.

We got out a little early, and I rushed off to East Gate to meet Muran, my dear old friend I met in Hangzhou a few years ago, for dinner. Muran and her best friend since childhood, a super sweet girl named Jialin, appeared shortly, and we headed down Water Street for dinner at a quaint little Taiwanese restaurant. I had no idea there was such a place so close from campus; thank god for cool local friends. 🙂 Dinner was quaint and tasty, and I had a great time chatting and laughing with the girls. Poor Muran had to rush back to the library to cram for her upcoming LSATS, so Jialin & I minibused back to Sassoon Road. Turns out she lives in the hall (Wei Lun) that is right above (and oddly connected to) my student flat! I have a feeling I will be hanging out with them quite soon again.

My cold is clearing up, I’m feeling more cheerful and sociable. Life is good (better). 🙂





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