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This summer, while on a trip to China, I met the former chief executive of the company, and I was impressed. I was also impressed with the company's commitment to quality. We had worked together at a time when the company was under attack from other investors, especially from Chinese companies, which were taking advantage of the weak growth rate. The company now needed big capital. We had invested in the company's manufacturing plants and infrastructure, and it was looking for new suppliers to sell to China. But we had a problem: the company was struggling, and the Chinese had no financial means to replace our old factory in China.
I was a young man living in the UK, with no formal education, and it was easy to see why. It had always been a dream of mine to take part in the world's biggest sailing competition – one I'd never been to before. It was a long time ago, and I had always dreamed of sailing there. But the opportunities were coming my way. I had a dream to go to Hong Kong, and now I did. I was happy to see a big company, and I was surprised to see that the same thing was happening here. What a world I'd just become.
I spent some time on the edge of the UK, and my friends and I were delighted to see my dreams come true. We landed in Hong Kong on Christmas Eve, and our first day of school was spent in the tiny village of Kowloon – that's the big village of the Kowloon Islands. It was a wonderful day. I was so happy to be part of this wonderful community. I was there to work the day.
We also found my way to China, where I was offered a job in the company's manufacturing division. I was looking for work in a small, state-run company that had a few hundred employees, and my experience with the job was invaluable. I got the job, and I took it. It didn't turn out that way. The only thing that worked for me was that I was a good student, and I had a keen sense of what the world would look like if I worked for the company again.
I had a lot of money to spare and the opportunity was there to do something special. I was working on a project for a local newspaper when I heard of a new company that had been established in the Philippines: the Hong Kong-based company A.C. Sailing. We were thrilled. We were so proud of the new company, and we were determined to get the job done.
My journey started in the Philippines when I worked as a surveyor in the local newspaper. We started by going to a market in Mindanao that had become one of the most important tourism hubs in the world, and I was the first person to do the job. I was there to work on a project for the local newspaper. I had an idea that if I could get some local people to visit the site, I could go there and do some research on one of the sites. I wanted to learn about the local economy and people. So I did that, and I was really excited.
I went to the site of the company's manufacturing, and I was told to put my hand up, and