Poagao's Journal

Absolutely Not Your Monkey

Dec 12 2001

Yesterday afternoon the older of the two delivery …

Yesterday afternoon the older of the two delivery guys who serve our office went around handing out purple bags to everyone. “What’s this?” I asked him when he dropped one on my desk.

“Gifts,” he answered in his usual curt fashion.

“From whom? What for?” I asked, opening up the bag to find four cans of dried, shredded chicken. On the package, a cartoon chicken, presumably pre-shredding/drying, managed to gave the thumbs-gesture in spite of the fact that it had no thumbs.

“It’s from the boss,” the delivery guy said. This makes me uneasy, because in this time when everyone is gleefully broadcasting to anyone who will listen that “The Economy is Bad”, why would anyone equip an entire office with cans of shredded chicken? The only answer I can think of is that they’re trying to soften a coming blow, such as reduced or even cancelled New Year’s bonuses. They’ve already frozen our salaries in spite of sustained profits, all of the doom-and-gloom remains in the realm of “predictions”. The reason I know this is that I see all of the budget reports. We’re not making any less money than we always have, but all of the money from recent “cost-cutting” has got to be going somewhere. I’ll be damned if they take our New Year’s bonuses away, as those are supposed to make up for our pitiful salaries.

I was so intent on seeing Doctor Zhivago yesterday that I went and rented the obviously-pirated copy to watch the parts that wouldn’t play on the real DVD, just so I could follow the story. The real DVD looks wonderful, but the sound was a bit iffy and of course there were three or four chapters that I couldn’t watch because they caused my computer to crash. Overall a beautiful, if rather emotionally empty movie. They should have let a Russian director do it. It might have lacked the scale and scope of David Lean’s direction, but it would have been able to delve into the depths of the characters like only a Russian telling a Russian story can.

The ride in to work today was depressing. It is the kind of day, grey, cloudy, slightly moist even though the rain can’t break through the pollution, that lends itself to brooding on the past as a pleasurable alternative to dealing with the present. A bunch of friends from my days in the newspaper business are planning to get together for dinner and drinks tonight, but so far nobody knows where or when. I suppose that will be decided over the course of the day via chat programs and cell phones.

Last night I saw my first WTO-related ad, at the gas station on the corner of Xinsheng and Heping. It was a picture of the supremely gaudy and questionably-named Dink scooter, and underneath was written “Pre-WTO 150cc/Post-WTO 250cc”. Although I’m glad to see them opening up to larger bikes, this development has the potential to really screw things up here, traffic-wise. They’re going to have to strictly implement a whole new set of rules to keep things from getting out of hand. Of course most people, the office people, aren’t going to be interested in larger bikes, but a significant amount of other people will be. I’d guess that rich punks and wannabe gangsters, as always, will be the biggest problem, since they know that the police won’t bother them. It might just be the perfect time to move out to the country, find a cheap little place in Muzha, Danshui, Beitou or thereabouts and start using public transportation more.

posted by Poagao at 2:55 am  

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