Going to China to live and work there was the last thing I had ever imagined would happen to me. Yet it did.
In the autumn of 2000, I was hired by an American company, which despatched me to its China factory to start up an R&D department. Later two more portfolios, Quality Assurance and Project Management were added.
I soon discovered that besides work, the PRC Chinese also had a boisterous appetite for play. They would organize monthly dinners which always ended with karaoke sessions, and inevitably, the “expat” managers always had to oblige, by rendering their croaking at the microphone.
The big event was the annual CNY celebration. With 3500 employees — 90% of whom were females — I rendered one “女人是老虎” (Women Are Tigresses) in tribute to them at the 2007 dinner, followed by “Don’t Forget To Remember”. And they went gaga!
My much beloved and most favored means of transportation during my kiddo days was the Penang trishaw.
Back then, Penang Road was the go-to place, and the journey from Pengkalan Raja Tun Uda would cost my late mum a grand 30 sen ! By comparison, the fare on the rickety City Council buses was only 10 sen (kids traveled free). But thrifty mum could not persuade me to opt for the economy plan.
Alas, I had a very bad habit of leaving things (mum’s shopping trophies) behind on these trishaws — maybe the rides were so enchanting that I forgot everything else.
Well, human rides were also practised in other towns. But Penang’s are the best — the customers come first, whereas in other places customers are cast aside (oops, I mean they ride on the side).
Get it done by half-past two. Recall that nursery rhyme ?
When was the last time you got your shoes mended by a cobbler ? I have not done that for a long long time.
In my years of growing up, a new pair of shoes would be worn till the front started to gape like a hungry crocodile, or holes started to appear in the soles. Then off we went in search of a cobbler to patch them up, perhaps a with new sole. A pair of shoes would have undergone a couple of repairs before it got discarded.
It is a very different world today, as shoes morphed from “footwear” to “fashion statements”, with the womenfolk being specially vulnerable. They get thrown out long before they get worn out.