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My Friend, Peter [Copy link] 中文

Rank: 4

Post time 2006-8-19 19:44:43 |Display all floors
(1)

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.  

(2)

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.

(3)

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 ]

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Post time 2006-8-19 19:45:32 |Display all floors

My Friend, Peter

(4)

Helen told Peter seriously:” it was considered a terrible dishonor even indecent behavior for a girl getting pregnant before her wedding. Therefore, we should go back to hometown and have a luxury wedding ceremony as soon as possible. Otherwise, my parents could hardly fend off the countryman’s taunts and jibes.” Actually, what Helen really wanted was to show off her foreign husband to those fellows in hill country isolated from outside world. To make him look younger, she asked Peter to shave off his beard which had been cared for more than 30 years.

Peter was rarely fancy to her idea, but had no way to reject her persistence. He could say nothing but yes with his shrug and arms’ full stretch for no choice.

Shortly before their departure of honey-moon tour, Peter received a mail from his Canadian headquarter. He was required to go back Hong Kong before next month. “It must be the prelude to an unforeseen catastrophe.” An ominous impulse rose up in his mind. He was largely perturbed and went on his trip with unknown anxiety.
After the plane landing on the airport of Chengdu, the capital city of Szechwan, the newlyweds had to transfer by bus and bumped over the dusty track among the mountains.

They arrived at their destination in sunset time. No sooner than their vehicle stopped, a deafening noise burst out just like thunderstorm. Those were strains of music accompanied by drumbeats. Round about, the black-powder guns were roaring with 24 shoots. With a start, Peter cried out to Helen, “What’s happen?”. However, Helen kept silent with her mysteries smiling and nodding to show him to look forward. Sure enough, there were countless people surrounding the bus station as shouting as shacking small flags.

Peter was in miserable panic and his face turned pale. He also puzzled and kept looking around with his fingers to block ears.

After a few minutes, 2 pretty girls with bundles of flowers on hands were approaching towards them. They stood in front of the couple with a formal salute, then, sent them the flowers. In the mean time one English teacher came to them and spoke in vague English: ”You are warmly welcome, sir and madam!”, Then he pointed to the gateway……

“My God!”Peter could not help crying, when he spotted a line of formally dressed people coming to them. “Those are our government leaders in all and led by our county governor.” the interpreter explained to Peter. Sure enough, they were imitating the TV scene when chief of state met a foreign president and his spouse.

Peter was petrified. He could do nothing but dumbstruck. Helen reminded him, with her gesture, to shake their hands one by one. “Welcome, welcome……”the governor came up to them and constantly mumbled in a strange tone. Then, he led Peter’s couple to his Buick car. After the car igniting, Peter was puzzled even more, “where are we going now?” he shouted to Helen. The interpreter in the back seat moved forward to him and faltered:“There ….is a ……reception……ceremony to…… welcome you. It is the first time……for us to host a…respectable…foreign……friend……who visits and ……is going to ……invest to….our ……humbler county!” ”What?” Peter let out a cry. He forgot the situation and turned to Helen: “What are you going to do?”. Obviously, his tone was full of surprise, complaint and more scaring, since he clearly understood, as an expectative investor, how much had left in his jacket pocket.

(5)

The things had gone wrong even further. When he returned to Hong Kong, he was informed that since the business didn’t get well and to cut down the operation costs, he had been laid off. He got a large sum of money for compensation, however, only 1/8 belong to them, which was the mere amount for the couple to pay for their return journey to Canada.

Came back to his hometown, a small village nearby the Swan Lake in Ottawa, Peter, this romantic and fruitful person got none of his relatives to welcome his return, except for a troop of white swans who were stalking towards them as if met long-lost friends. Peter was emotionally staring to them with complicated feeling in mind when he recalled what had happened since he left hometown.

Suddenly, Helen jumped out and approached to those swans. She had caught one of them on hand. The others immediately flew away with panic cries. “What are you doing, Helen?” Peter asked with a surprise. “I get one for meal.” With her capture, she was as running home as talking. “No, you can’t do it in this way! It is illegal here.” Peter said. “Who knows?” Helen answered cheerfully. Peter had no way to persuade her but gesticulating wildly……

Several months later, Helen could not bear the simple and lonely life of unemployment and left Peter to remarry someone else.

He had to come back Hong Kong again to get reunion to his first wife and son.

“Life is vicissitudinous. Isn’t it?” Peter said to me with a bitter smiling. Then, he held the beer jug and had a deep sipping. After this satisfactory meeting, he sent me to the café gate and said good bye to me. When I had gone far away from him, I saw him still waving his left hand and raising his right hand to touch the nonexistent mustaches customarily.

Written on 8,18,2006 in Pudong, Shanghai

My English Blog:  http://wenzili.my.24en.com  

[ Last edited by wenzili at 2006-8-30 08:41 AM ]

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