Wintry decisions

Saturday 10 March 2012, 4.45am HKT

Midnight local time / 13°C (55°F) windy and drizzles


(For those of us who are cursed to live long enough to remember what that phrase referred to in Britain…)

The sudden wintry weather this weekend is made wintrier for some.

Ratta (an alias) took sick leave today (for a throat infection) and had been mulling over her time in her newfound job.

She has come to a decision. A ‘decision.’

She’s calling it quits tomorrow morning.

She just couldn’t take the crap anymore.

And she’s the really patient and accommodating kind as well.

* * *

A lesson for us all

Details, for there is a lesson in her trials and tribulations for all of us to learn from:—

  • It’s not that she doesn’t want to fit in — it’s more a case of them unwilling to fit in with her.
  • Or, more precisely, not letting her fit in with them.

Nobody said fitting in wasn’t a two-way street, pal. Let’s not pretend because there’s no point otherwise.


  • Three weeks into the job and Ratta is still barred from answering any phone calls (!) because of some imaginary fear that she hasn’t got the ‘correct’ spiel down pat.

It would have been better had you just told the person in a straightforward fashion what to say, instead of dicking around with the idea of whether the person would catch your drift. Catch mah drift, sonny?


  • Ratta is always accommodating in the face of even the most difficult co-workers and customers (out of necessity of livelihood as much as of her personality). In return, there is nothing but the cold shoulder.

When you do and they won’t, you could go out of your mind pretty quickly. The resentment and anger just build up. It’s a good thing Hong Kong is a gunless country.

You see, I’m already angered and resentful as an uninvolved third party just at being told of the goings-on. Imagine how Ratta feels experiencing it firsthand.


  • The supers are already insinuating that Ratta “speaks in a roundabout manner.”

Absolute bullshit. You have a constant ‘tone’ in the way to talk down to others. Get stuffed.

You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to see that they’re likely to use this as an excuse to kick off their complaints about Ratta and get rid of her sometime down the line.


  • Whatever and however they describe Ratta at work, it’s exactly what they’re like themselves.

D’you ever notice this is a rather common thing with people?


  • The place has a psychotic or obsessive-neurotic need to present themselves as ‘professional’ to customers as well as to internal staff — all the time.

A reminder:—

Ratta is a woman who was personally responsible for showcasing two high-end Italian sportscars each costing HK$4½ million (US$580,000 or £367,000) and deal with very high net worth customers on a daily basis.

For the past 10 years.

Are you professional enough to have been given responsibility like that?

It’s a simple question: are you or are you not?

Are you responsible enough to be let loose on customers like them?

Do you speak in a manner that won’t irk potential customers who have couple of million dollars to blow on their fancy psychoanalytical phallic symbols?

No? Well, there’s your answer then, Your Worship.


  • The other staffers are displeased at Ratta sometimes not sitting in with them for meals during lunch break.

You know, it’s normally natural for most normal people with normal, well-adjusted personalities brought up in a normal way in a normal home atmosphere with normal core sociocultural values and a normally cohesive and robust societal Weltanschauung to sometimes want time and space to themselves once in an effing normal while, you know.

“Always account for variable changes.” — ’21’ (the movie, 2008)


  • They have a ‘tone’ whenever they speak to new hired hands, and they are generally cold and aloof even to each other.

You wanna be on your own? You got it, pal.


Listening to Ratta’s admittedly drip-and-drap account of the goings-on of the place already makes me sick of their forced gentrified manners.

* * *

For our Chinese cousins (ethnic-wise and nationality-wise) who complain there aren’t any Chinese in this blog:—

The word ‘gentrification’(the condition of being gentrified: of wellborn and well-bred people) is 高檔化 go dong faah in Cantonese or gāo dàng huà in Mandarin.

Literally translated (in English as well as in Chinese), it would be ‘to put into highfalutin’ form’ if in rather old-fashioned English. ‘Browbeating’ (to intimidate by overbearing looks, words or conduct) would be the modern phraseology.

* * *

To no avail

One expat teacher there must be suffering in his own little quiet way. Ratta says this guy seems like a naturally energetic and chitchatty kind of person. He sometimes tries to make smalltalk with the other admin people, mostly to no avail. Man needs a suicide break every lunchtime.

Yes, I’ve lived through episodes like that one myself before. I was told by one woman, not particularly sociable but otherwise not palpably antisocial, “It’s, like, have you considered how others might feel?”

It’s not like I was trying to make smalltalk at the wrong moment, like when people are busy or anything like that.

Do you realise how many arseholes are like that in this world?

* * *

Visitors for layer cake

Actually, I’m not upset anymore. Having been to law school (and passed it), I have in my knowledge a reasonably good repertoire of remedial measures.

To put it mildly, some of those remedial measures learnt as part of the education, training and stock in trade of a lawyer is to have (shall we say) ‘professional inter-relationships‘ with (shall we say) ‘personages who took a wrong turning in the course of their life.’

You know what I mean by that. You do, you must do.

I know a couple of these fine gentlemen of ‘the practical side of life’ who would carry out their fine trade and uncompromising skills of persuasion on their own recognizance when given the proper motivation (‘we’ll getcha off the hook for that last charge’).

I’m not going to do that, of course. I’m crazy — not that crazy.

Unless those peep’l at Ratta’s place ever so much as to give her trouble.

And then — then — fine gentlemen bearing uncanny resemblance to those from Billingsgate fish market or within six miles of the bells of Bow Church in East End London** will come visiting, asking to have—

‘… a naice chat wif the guv’nah, if thass awroight wif ya.’

On the balance of probability, their presence is likely to frighten fartless 51.83% of parents and their 1.16 gender-unspecified kids from that infantile and preteen cram school, thereby leading to a 83.45% business downturn that the 97.13% of us hoi-polloi are collectively suffering from already.

** For our non-British/non-London cousins, Messrs. Billingsgate and Bow Church are East End Londoners who come in the general shape of burly and surly chaps with eyebrowless faces and really gigantic hands wearing grey suits and combat boots, whistling ‘Stone Fox Chase,’ the theme tune to the British TV show ‘The Old Grey Whistle Test‘ (1971-87). They hate and despise people who put on airs.

That should enough of an idea for anyone.

And it’s Bow Church — like ‘row’ the boat, not ‘bow-wow.’


It’s just a thought, of course. Ring up the Thought Police if you want to.

And then Messrs. Billingsgate & Co. will come visiting for tea and layer cake. You won’t like the cuisine they’ll dish out.

* * *

“Your powers are not earned. You’re careless
with those powers. Have you ever asked yourself
what happens when they run out
? You die.”
— Limitless (2011)

© The Naked Listener’s Weblog, 2012.

Images: Ratta doll via | Gentrification in Progress and Alfredo Triff quotebox via Miami Bourbaki | Gentrification flowchart via Wonkette | Layer cake via Fine Cooking.

2 Responses to “Wintry decisions”

  1. Ed Hurst said

    Just for laughs, I’ll have a picture made of me looking burly and thuggish. Would that help?


  2. Oh, yeaaaah, every little bit helps to fight against psychopaths. I’ll just say you’re here to deliver the American layer cake instead of the London one.


Comments are closed.

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