The answer struck her like a bolt of lightning. “What was I going to do with it? Well, I know.” A look of determination seeped into her eyes as she thought of Plan B. No, she was not going to be just another corporate slave. This was a city of dreams and after working for seven years, she was going to make those dreams come true.
When she first came to Hong Kong, she started working as an HR assistant at a reputed retail bank. It was a great job but she wanted something more. She wanted to join an Investment Banking firm. Awestruck by the glamour that came with this division, and her hunger for job satisfaction, she drove herself to achieve this dream. She bagged a role that supported the Investment Banking team at a multinational financial firm. Things could not get better than this. She had proved to the world what she was capable of. But instead of wearing her achievements proudly on her sleeve, she was looking down at a bowl of fish balls, wondering why she wasn’t happy about her journey at all.
And so… she decided to leave her job.
The next day she walked into office with purpose. Everyone realised something was up but nobody said a word. Virginia knocked onto her boss’ door and introduced herself in. “I really appreciate you for giving me this opportunity to work here. But my time here is over. I need to do something that I am passionate about.”
Her boss sat up, like her words had worked the magic of her morning coffee. And with some concern on his face, he said, “Shall we talk about it over lunch?”
The hours between the talk and the lunch break seemed like years. Every second took its own time to tick. She thought her stomach would eat itself up, in her wait for the lunch break. And finally it was time.
She heard her heels against the cobbled street as she walked in silence. Her boss was talking about the weather and some general office work. And then she said, “See, I know you have been thinking about it for long. And I can’t think of one reason why you should leave. Give this job a couple of years more and you will be up for a VP promotion. Do you really want to throw that away?”
“My mind is made.” She said with a smile. She lead her onto Gutzlaff Street in Central. And stopped on the slopes of an alley where a little kiosk was selling freshly made Beef Briskets—in a rich soup ladled with slippery noodles and the punch of a spicy chilli oil.
Her mouth watered as she saw the vendor stirring the pot of simmering meat. But she continued to say, “I thought long and hard about everything I want to be. And I realised that I am very passionate about Hong Kong. I want to show the world what this beautiful city is and what it stands for. Look at how rich our culture is. We have a palatable history of food. I saw so many TVB dramas in Vancouver that often made me dream about the food here. My parents also told me much about the kind of life they had in Hong Kong and now I really see my purpose.”
Her boss dug into her Beef Brisket pointed at the board on the kiosk and said, “This is quite a treasure tucked away. This, Shui Kee. You should probably start from here. You know the hidden secrets to Hong Kong’s decadent culture. Use it well.”
That day, Virginia thought of starting her own food tour company. And she never looked back again.
Photographer: Suraj Hemnani; Insta handle: @cloud96drone