14 April 2009

Loss of Farce

Interesting recycling of a trick I played on our all-powerful Chinese landlord in Hong Kong when they were offering our three floors of tenants a pittance to move out so that they could leave the building standing for years under the guise of being in imminent demolition.

Our fellow tenants - Aussie, Kraut - were all for taking the money and run but I knew they had more to offer.

But the Oz woman bullied me into a meeting with the relevant director so down we went and were left sitting in reception for a suitably humiliating time and then beckoned into what was clearly some sort of store room.

No sooner had the manager come in and spread his papers out with the cheque already signed than I said to my antipodean companion that I couldn't stand the humiliation and shame and we needed to leave at once.

Raised eyebrows all round.

I brandished the letter from the property company, its representative's name sporting some title that was clearly a mere sop to his pride:

  • Look around us. Look at the room he is given to conduct business in with honoured clients.
  • See how even junior staff wander in and out without a by your leave.
  • See how Mr Leung is not even given authority to offer tea.
  • I apologised to Mr Leung for my over-sensitivity but I had grown up with the Fragrant Harbour lapping in my infant dreams and was all too aware of the shame that comes with such loss of face - and before miserable gwei-lo s, to boot.

    "Come," I bade my companion, "every minute we stay, the dishonour thickens. Each new entrant to this store-room sees the lowly status assigned to Mr Leung and has to in turn hide their shame for the company.

    We must leave and return at a more respectful time when Mr Leung can transact this important business as an equal."

    My dears - his face. Their faces at my loud stumbling stilted Cantonese embarrassment at two lowly 'ghost people' being witness to Mr Leung's humiliation.

    "It is some internal office chastisement," I explained to the Australienne, "nothing to do with us. We just happened to be his first meeting of the morning. This is his workplace for the day until the directors judge him sufficiently re-educated."

    All spliced with heroic phrases straight from the Chairman's diminutive maroon livraki.

    And so it came to pass this afternoon that I agreed to accompany a friend to argue her case with her vile landlord, a Frenchie who spoke Grik and Anglais as well as his native tongue, but would when cornered retreat into Frog.

    We all spoke English until M'sieur played le con and start gargling his vowels and that's when I noticed he was directing his girls to place documents in a finer room than where we were sitting - like in reception, yeh? All the typists looking on.

    Alors - being the gent I am, I explained that I couldn't just sit there and watch the man perd toute face - in front of his efficient staff, to boot. No other recourse but to end his misery, I gathered us up and backed bowing out of the office, assuring le patron of our full attention once he had been granted more business-like premises in which to conduct vital business.

    Oh poh poh - the tittering from the ranks and the jubbling of proud cleavages as they bent to hide their mirth over their keyboards.

    When she asked me how I'd thought that up on such a spur of the moment, I confessed that I had seen such things back East as would defy belief.

  • 1 comment :

    Sibadd said...