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I came back to the Center Plaza again in Causeway Bay for my business trip. It was about 1 o’clock after my connection to Hong Kong partner. I got hungry and immediately went to a café shop in a narrow lane besides the Plaza. It is very popular to office staff for its cleanness, compactness and economical cuisine. However, it is not a proper place for management level because of its humbler condition.
“Hi! Mr. Li.” suddenly a familiar voice was sounded from my back, when I pushed the door with glinted glass grills open. With my start, I turned back and spotted a stranger with a little familiar look. “What’s wrong with you? Had you ever forgotten me?” he politely complained with obvious restrained dissatisfaction. I stared at him in bewilderment and quickly put on my thinking cap to actuate my dead memory. Finally I got an illumination from his intonation and gesture. “Oh, my God! It is only you, Peter! ”. We all were very excited and as shaking hands as entering the small shop.
I was very delighted to host him with half dozen of beers plus couples of dishes. A delicious meal together with a long conversation brought us back to his 3 year’s arduous journey.
It was the first time for me to meet Peter in a negotiation hall of GITAC (Guang Zhou International Trade Administrative Centre) in the fall of 1992.
At that time, our municipal authority decided to set up a joint-venture company with a Canadian partner who is ranked in first twentieth in Fortune.
One day, as a key negotiator, I solemnly entered into the hall with a set of dark suit and tire. When I opened the door, I found all Canadian delegations had already sat in their seats tidily.
There was a short figure at age about 50 sitting in the midst position opposite to me. He was featured by grey hair, shining glue eyes as well as extrude forehead. Above all, his mustaches proudly curving up looked too exaggerated and were also impressed me a lot. I thought he must be my counterworker later on.
After courteous greeting, he was initially introducing himself. His name is Peter Bromes with Scottish origin. His family immigrated to Canada ever since his grad father. He had been serving in the Canadian company for decades and was honored with the “customer service director”. “I have been authorized to be the team leader of this negotiation team now.” he was plainly speaking to us with brilliant smiling.
Cooperated with such an open and honest partner, our negotiation must not be too difficult; I was in a deep thinking. In the mean time, he had already completed his introduction and stood up. 2 powerful arms were across the table and approaching to me. Our hands firmly held each other. I never imaged this hand-shaking had ever brought us to 3-years’tough negotiation.
Due to the hi-tech and sensitive nature to military application, our project was firstly restricted by COCOM (Coordinating Committee on Export Control), then by relevant restriction of USA after COCOM abandon. Our negotiation had to be suspended from time to time and carried out with 3-years’ duration, which had set up our solid friendship in turn.
After the establishment of our JV (joint-venture), we had been assigned to this company by our own mother companies respectively and were appointed to directors by corporate BOD. We had served in same company for about 4 years until his sudden leaving by a reassignment order from his headquarter. Then, he has completely disappeared from our sight for about 3 years.
This time when we met each other, I was completely puzzled since he’d shaved off his mustaches which made his face look smaller and much younger. That was why an old friend like me even couldn’t recognize him and caused his dissatisfaction.
One more thing surprised me most was his behavior. On the contrary to his lavish manner before, he, a senior director with annual salary as much as 2 hundreds thousands, always quailed visibly at the sight of any consuming. During the meal he looked very depressing and constantly sighing and groaning.
I had an ominous clue, there must be something significant happened to him!
Thanks to his detail narration, what I knew then was completely confirmed what I supposed before.
Peter is a well-educated gentleman. He was a dedicated professional manager and always owned the public praise for his integrity, generosity and decency. He was also a qualified husband with emotional dedication to his wife and son.
To establish our JV, our Canadian partner had set up a preparation office in Causeway Bay of Hong Kong 3 years before the contract signing. Peter moved his family from Canada to Hong Kong and accommodated it in a rented cottage. He traveled to and fro main land to conduct the JV negotiation. His wife, as a diligent housewife took the responsibility of housework. His son studied in the Hong Kong University. They led a peaceful and harmonic family life until one day in1995 when he recruited a local citizen, Steve Wang, as his senior manager. Everything had entirely changed ever since.
Steve is a famous playboy in Hong Kong. At age over 30, he still kept single and spent romantic leisure time in red lights district every night. To earn boss’ favor, he managed to invite Peter to share his pleasure at the very beginning of his employment. He introduced a famous party girl to him.
It has been said there is 3-step proceeding to a sexual new comer: “scaring firstly, fancy secondly and yearning finally.” Peter wasn’t the exception from this nature regulation. He had his fun with her thoroughly.
One day the girl mysteriously announced a piece of good news to him: She had been pregnant!
Peter was shocked but had no idea how to deal with. She asked him to divorce his wife and marry her. Otherwise she’ll exposure the “skeleton in the cupboard” and ruin his reputation. Peter had no choice but divorced his dear wife. As per Canadian law, he needed to compensate her half of his income for her life support.
He established a new family and managed to make life by gesture with his bride who could merely speak a little English.
As mentioned before, since there were so many political obstacles to our project, the JV’s future was getting dim. For a certain period, Peter was reassigned to Beijing for another project. He served as a General Manager there. Naturally, as one of the most favorite assistants, Steve had been appointed to the senior manager in Beijing too.
No sooner than their arrival, Steve had found another beauty for him already. Exactly the same way, Peter started his third marriage. Also for same reason, his salary had 1/4 left.
Less than 10 months after his new service, a deputy manager of Beijing JV Company took advantage of his mistakes and launched a coup to against him. How could my honest friend win the war? He instantly got his notoriety and downfall. As if an underdog, he came back to Hong Kong again. Fortunately, our project had a dramatic turning; he had been reassigned to Guang Dong and appointed by BOD as a deputy director of customer service. He together with our other foreign managers were accommodated to a 4-star hotel, “Fairy Hotel”, which was located in a remote suburb.
The dull night life in countryside made Peter’s distorted mind very uncomfortable. Steve was so cleaver and came to help him in time. One middle night, Helen, a pretty massage girl from Szechwan crept to his room. He was so thirsty that he immediately accepted her softness and forgot all lessons he had learnt before. Undoubtedly, he made same mistake again. However, he was comforted by her English skill, since she was a high school student with excellent English score before she came to Guangdong.
She had successfully gripped Peter’s yearning heart with her linguistic and sexual skills. When she cheerfully announced to him: “I’ve gotten it (baby) now”, it meant there would be only 1/8 of his salary left!
(to be continued)
[ Last edited by wenzili at 2006-8-30 08:50 AM ]