The past month has been a whirlwind full of amazing adventures with great new friends. Hong Kong is a beautiful city. I feel extremely blessed to be here for eight weeks this summer as an intern.
All my blog posts so far have been about my weekend excursions in Hong Kong. What I failed to mention is the work I have been doing at my internship! So this blog post is dedicated to sharing a glimpse of my internship at the Legislative Council of Hong Kong.
First of all I really love my boss. Mr. Chung-Kai Sin is a full time Legislative Councilor for the Democratic Party of Hong Kong. Here is a link to his biography on the Legislative Council’s website if you want to know more about him: http://www.legco.gov.hk/general/english/members/yr12-16/sck.htm
One great thing about Mr. Sin is that he has two sons that are in college in the U.S. so he is sympathetic to my situation. He is very familiar with the U.S. education system. He knows that in a year I will be graduating and that this summer is all about learning as much as possible so I can be prepared for a career after college graduation. He has also been to Chicago and his eldest son will be working there this coming fall since he just graduated from Georgetown.
The first few days of work our boss (Mr. Sin) told us we could take it easy and just get used to the environment. I really appreciated this because it is a whole new world here. I work on the ninth floor of the building. I share a cubicle with another Dream Careers intern, Rachel, from Canada. Our office is very nice except for the freezing AC! When I walk to the bathroom I get to look outside the floor to ceiling windows that are around the exterior of our building. The Legislative Council is right on Victoria Harbor on Hong Kong Island so the view is pretty amazing!
Mr. Sin told me the first week that he would assign me tasks related to my major, which is corporate communications. At first I was really nervous about letting him down and not being experienced enough but over time I have gained confidence in my knowledge and expertise. He really gives me full reign over every task he has given me so far. It is a bit scary but I am learning a lot!
My first task for Mr. Sin was editing his CV (resume). He wants three different CVs that are focused on his experiences in IT, politics, and business. He wants a long and short CV for each of the three. So that is a total of six CVs. I still do not have them complete. It is an ongoing task. I have met with him various times to talk about the direction we want to take and he has given me examples of CVs that he likes. I am not an expert on CVs at all so this has been a challenge for me!
Another job I had a while back was researching about the Snowden situation. If you are unfamiliar with it here is a link to a website page that will tell you all about it: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/edward-snowden I systematically complied information for Mr. Sin about Snowden because at the time Snowden was staying in Hong Kong. It was a pretty big deal around here and a lot of people took to the streets to protest. A majority of Hong Kong’s people support what Snowden did and wanted Snowden to stay in Hong Kong. It was such a pivotal moment in history and it is still crazy looking back knowing that I was a part of it. I even sit in front of the office of Councilor Albert Ho Chun-yan who happened to have dinner with Snowden before he left Hong Kong for Russia. The Councilor celebrated Snowden’s birthday with him and bought pizza for everyone there. What a small world.
I have also attended many Legislative Council meetings. The Council normally meets every Wednesday morning in the Chamber of the Legislative Council Complex to conduct its business while in session. Its business includes: tabling of subsidiary legislation and other papers; reports and addresses; statements; questions; bills; and motion debates. From time to time, the Chief Executive attends a special Council meeting to brief Members on policy issues and to answer questions from Members. All Council meetings are open to the public and are also televised. When I sit in on these meetings I am given a headset so I can listen to the English translation. They also have people translating the meeting in sign language. I think the U.S.A. needs to do this as well during their televised news broadcastings.
Besides researching information and sitting in on meetings I have also written a few speeches for Mr. Sin! The first speech he asked me to write was about Inland Revenue (Amendment) Bill 2013. Basically my boss wanted to challenge the government to create an independent oversight committee for the IRD (Inland Revenue Department). So I wrote a two-page speech. I researched about the IRD, current review committees, Hong Kong’s policies relating to exchange of information and taxes. It was a time consuming task but I felt so accomplished once I was finished! I even got to sit in on the council meeting and hear my speech be presented by my boss! (FYI I wrote the speech in English and he presented it in English. Even though the council meetings are primarily conducted in Cantonese they also speak English.)
After writing that speech for Mr. Sin I was asked to work on his Facebook and his website. Mr. Sin currently has 4,999 friends on Facebook and the maximum limit is 5,000 so I needed to find a way to let him continue to add friends. After extensive Google searches I found out that the best thing to do was make a business page for my boss so that people could like the page instead of adding him as a friend. It was a tricky transition but I finally figured it out. I am currently still transferring data from his old personal profile with 4,999 friends to his new business profile.
The website I am working on is also an ongoing project. I was asked by a fellow employee of Mr. Sin to help him update Mr. Sin’s website. Turns out they (Mr. Sin and his employees) paid a company to create a website for him. They aren’t entirely happy with the outcome and asked me to help them enhance it. To be completely honest I am not a website developer/designer so this is a huge task. I told them that my experience with web design is limited (I have edited the website for my job at college but I had a manual to follow.). I was given a training session about the website which helped me understand the inner workings of it. I now know how to edit and change around a few things and if I learn HTML then I will be set! So say a few prayers for me that I can update this website a bit for my co-workers. (I also think I need to learn web design in the future to be more marketable. It might make the difference of me getting a job someday since computers are so important.)
A big project that I am currently focusing all my attention on is a speech Mr. Sin is giving Wednesday (July 17, 2013) at the final Legislative Council meeting of the season. The speech is about a motion that another council member has made and the amendments that councilors added to the motion. My boss made one of the amendments. The motion is about following up the matter on Mr. Snowden’s disclosure of the U.S. Government’s hacking into the computer systems in Hong Kong. Basically the council members are urging the government to take a stand and ask the U.S. government for more answers as well as find ways to improve their own cyber security so Hong Kong can prevent being hacked further. The speech needs to be no more than 10 minutes and 2,000 words. It is a long speech and it is even more challenging to write than the first one. It is ironic that I am a U.S. citizen writing for a Hong Kong council member about this issue. I agree that Hong Kong needs to take action and enhance their information security I just have no idea how they can compete against the U.S. But I am totally rooting for Hong Kong to figure it out and strengthen their technology and give the U.S. a challenge.
Besides the tasks I have already mentioned, I have also written a short biography for Mr. Sin so it could be sent to the ISP Symposium in Macau on July 9th. He was presenting at the symposium and needed to have his biography for people to read about him.
So there you have it my extensive explanation of what my internship has entailed thus far. I am staying busy and working hard. I have come to realize that working in politics is not really my thing but that doesn’t mean that it is not an important aspect of my life. I am engaged in politics but would prefer to work for a grassroots organization working against social inequalities and for the common good of people around the world. I hope that after I graduate college I can dedicate a year to serving others. I would really like to work with refugees.
Being an intern at the Legislative Council working for Mr. Sin has taught me a lot about politics, communications, and myself. I am grateful for this opportunity and cannot wait to apply the skills that I have nurtured here to my career/jobs in the future. Right now my future is bright and full of exciting opportunities!
(On a side note I want to take the time to thank my amazing parents for encouraging me my whole life to take chances and push myself to obtain my goals. I love you both with every fiber of my being and I probably don’t say it nearly enough. As your only child I want to make you proud to call me your daughter and I hope I am doing a good job so far! I couldn’t have gotten to this point in my life without you both. You have taught me many valuable lessons in life but one that sticks out the most right now is the importance of being unique. Growing up I was always worried that I was too different, mostly because we raised alpacas on a farm in Michigan and none of my friends had the same pets. Over the years you both taught me that being unique was a great quality and that someday all my unique experiences would help me reach my goals and have a great future. I want to tell you that you were right – you usually are but as a child I couldn’t always see your wisdom. Please know that you inspire me every day to be the best I can be and to continuously see beyond the horizon line. I am unique because you have supported my unique goals and dreams. I couldn’t be happier with who I am today and that is all thanks to you. Thank you for being loving parents! See you in a few weeks when I come home! I miss you both very much!)