Saturday, September 28, 2013

Busy Week Recap

It has been a busy week.  In no particular order, the things that I have thought about, wanted to blog about, planned to blog about, and didn't:

  • I went to an office opening party where I: bumped into three lawyers with whom I had previously worked on a deal, met two lawyers who know two different lawyers I know, saw an in-house counsel whom I had previously represented on a deal, and met the lawyer who is now sitting in my old office. The legal scene in Hong Kong is so small.

  • Hong Kong is safe.  Yes, the minibuses careen around corners wildly, and taxi drivers speed up when they approach a jaywalker instead of slowing down, but generally, Hong Kong is so safe for such a large, dense city.  You don't feel threatened or worried at all when you are walking around the city, at any time of night.  You don't really worry about pickpockets and scam artists or panhandlers, and you certainly don't worry about any violent crime.  I've been working past midnight in the office this week and each time I emerge from my glass box of an office I am surprised at how little qualms I have about walking down a dark alleyway or waiting for a taxi on an isolated street.

  • I went to a University of Chicago cocktail reception where Professor Todd Henderson and his wife showed up to chat about the law school and discuss all matters of law, economics, theory and psychology, both whimsical and mundane.  His demeanor was so unchanged from four or fives years ago, and his mannerisms and thought so quintessentially U of C, that it felt as if a little bit of the law school had just been transported to Hong Kong. 

  • At the same reception, one of the attendees asked me if I was from Taiwan.  I said "no, I'm from America."  He asked me if I was Taiwanese.  I said "it's a bit complicated, I'm ethnically Chinese, but I was born and raised in America and am American."  Then he asked me what I checked on boxes when they asked for country information!  In disbelief, I said "that's easy, America."  At this point one of the other alums had had enough of this, too, and chuckling awkwardly said, "That's obvious!  She's American, so she puts down America!" Looking back on it, I wish I hadn't been so tolerant or polite about it.  I should have said, "What about my nationality are you not understanding here?!"  But out in Asia I deal with this a lot.  Recently a client was in the office and I helped them with some Chinese characters so that they could procure some gifts to bring back to the U.S.  After I left, I was told, the client marveled at how "perfect" my English was.  These situations are frustrating and upsetting.  

  • Michael has been going crazy with his Chinese flashcards.  He has a pile of probably a thousand index cards, in a bid to improve his vocabulary for our upcoming trip to Shanghai.  It is quite impressive how much work he has done on them and how much progress he has made.  Go ahead, ask him how to say something in Mandarin...
    Stacked against a coke can for comparison

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