Written by Sage Corps Summer 2018 fellow, PJ Hernandez.
"I live in a serviced hotel called Harbour Plaza North Point, sharing a standard double room with another intern, Devin. This hotel is one word: convenient. It has almost everything you need - a gym, sauna room, a kitchen, and even a 25-meter pool if you’re looking to take a quick dip after work. But nothing beats this hotel’s location. The MTR is only a hundred feet away from the hotel’s entrance, so you’re never really far away from all the craziness in Hong Kong and never far away from something delicious either. Located one MTR stop away is Tim Ho Wan, a Michelin rated dim sum place that me and my cohort find ourselves craving for after a long day of work. Their BBQ pork buns are a must-have along with an array of dim sum selections that won’t disappoint your taste buds. But if I’m not stuffing myself, you’ll find me in the gym after work or hanging out in a cohort member’s room."
"The city wakes up quite brashly after 8 am. Leaving the hotel at this time, I find myself in the middle of morning rush hour. I’m thrown into a mix of people in suits, Cantonese merchants, party-goers, and tourists, all eager to get to their destination accompanied by a slightly faster walking pace. My commute takes about half an hour, and most of the time I’m on the MTR. I get to Central station in under 20 minutes from the hotel and have to walk the rest of the way to get to my office. Hong Kong’s Central District has a dynamic landscape consisting of a myriad of hilly streets, roads, and skyscrapers. Though climbing these hilly pathways is a daily challenge for me, I enjoy the rush of the city."
"My startup, Lantrn, is housed under brinc’s hardware accelerator co-working spaces which is located on the top floor of PMQ in the Central District of Hong Kong. My three other colleagues and I normally work in one room in the brinc office where we tackle business problems and projects. But outside my office, trendy concepts, artsy cafes, and up-and-coming food joints dominate the surrounding area. I personally love starting my day with a coffee from the Cupping Room, then going to a Korean-fusion food joint called Seoul Bros for lunch. Their food is quick and packed with flavor which will surely keep you going at work. And after a long day in the office, my team and I would sometimes bond over some drinks in nearby happy hour bars like Brooklyn."
"Lantrn specializes in making high quality smart suitcases with built-in security alarm systems that can connect to smartphones. We’re a small team, so I have to be flexible when it comes to taking up different technical tasks. My company recently launched their kickstarter program on their website in which I was responsible for developing web design elements for it. Another week, I might be deep into the hardware of the security lock, writing automated scripts to test for functionality to further speed up production in our factories in China. It really depends on what the focus of the week is. Currently, I’m helping develop the Android version of Lantrn’s app."
"During weekdays, I usually make an effort to beat the rush hour back to the hotel. I then have a few minutes to myself to relax before my whole cohort arrives from work. Then, dinner. In a city that prides itself as a food meca, dinner with my cohort has become routine. You’ll find me constantly searching for good eats on my OpenRice app that everyone would be down for. Some of our favorites have been Tsui Wah, Ho Lee Fuk, Dragon State Kitchen, and the many street foods that we encounter. It’s also a perfect time to enjoy each other’s company and catch up on how our day went."
"My favorite program has been Drink Entrepreneurs hosted by the Hive in Sheung Wan. There was really no structure to the program. I didn’t feel pressured to act professional and rigid, but instead I got to loosen up and be myself. I got to meet some amazing people working in Hong Kong’s tech scene; all coming from different walks of life but deeply passionate about their work. Our city managers Jamie and Aymeric are also the most easy-going and friendly people who always have the inside scoop of what’s happening in our city, and whom you can rely on when it comes to professional networking in Hong Kong."
"Hong Kong’s nightlife scene is one of the best in Asia. On weekends, I find myself stumbling through the tight streets of Lan Kwai Fong bombarded with people of every nationality, new experiences, and surprisingly, just enough energy for another bar run after only a few hours of sleep. But it’s also nice to escape the chaotic city by doing Hong Kong’s hiking trails. My cohort recently hiked Dragon’s Back to get a view of Hong Kong’s coastline and made their way up to Kowloon Peak where an absolutely breathtaking view of Hong Kong’s Kowloon side awaited us. I’ve also made nearby trips to Macau to visit friends. I have to say you’re never really bored here, because there’s always something for everyone."
What Surprised You Most?
"I was surprised how quickly I assimilated to the working culture in Hong Kong and how much I love working here. The people in Hong Kong embody a “can-do” spirit which has transformed it to a land of the possible after many years of colonial influence. Being in the heart of HK, that “can-do” spirit rubs off everyone, including me, and makes you want to succeed and perform your best everyday. It’s something I’ve never experienced from a city, and something I’d be open to again after graduating."
"Be spontaneous, embrace new experiences, and step out of your comfort zone from day one. Hong Kong is a fast-paced city, so opportunities come and go really quickly. You never know what you’ll miss if you don’t try! Professionally, I would say get to know each and every one of your co-workers on a personal level because they’ll be the ones helping you navigate through the fast-paced startup life and the direction of your career. It’s always better if they know more about you."
Want to see more from the Summer 2018 Hong Kong cohort? Check out their Instagram, @sc.hongkong_!