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Bank Story

On The Voiceless Sloth

Where is Linda?

Everyone looks for Linda at some point. Linda might be a set of keys, that girl from the bookshop or a switch blade with the worn but reliable handle. Eventually, you have to find Linda, no matter what. Last week I was looking for a literal Linda.

There are many things about working for a huge multi national bank that give you a sense of deep foreboding but the most vomit inducing one would have to be the atmosphere. Everyone acts like they spend their weekends caring for their frail grandparents rather than scouring Redtube and investing in hedge funds. On the surface the atmosphere is one of unrelenting compliance; where people are veritable pious process drones. No one speaks unless absolutely necessary and even when they do, they keep it as concise as possible in their huge effort of efficiency. Most of the time I'm too numb to notice what is happening in other peoples matrix inspired fuel cells, but every now and then I can't hep but enact my own form of morale building corporate sabotage, as it were.

Last week, I needed a book because in the Viper eyes of a bank it's an imperative that everyone understands how prime brokerage works, even if you don't have anything to do with it. Linda has said book. She coverts them, in the Hannibal Lectur sense, trawling the corridors with shawl and chain, handing out text books and selling pink gin. Linda needs to give these books to people to fulfill a pivotal aspect of her important job. I need this book to appear more engaged in my job because there is every chance they will continue to pay me if I insist on showing up. Linda sits on level 2 where one of the militant arms of management sit. I sit on level 1. I need the book and she is up there. I need it from her, she doesn't need it from me. You understand the predicament. I go to level 2.

Because I'm a Gen Y'r I decide I don't need directions. I use IM to ask Linda where she sits and she tells me she has her back to meeting room 2C13. If you work at a bank, this number means something to you, the eccentricities of which you, dear reader, have no interest in. So, I go to level 2 and find said meeting room. There appears to be about twenty people "with their back" to 2C13. People embody the banks culture perfectly on level 2 and no one speaks as if they were channeling Japanese samurai who themselves were fiercely applying the laws of Bushido. The tension rises every minute no one needlessly speaks. This whole situation, rather than giving me an erection simply makes me start to sweat. I really don't want to speak right now but I also don't want to have to come back here with slightly better directions.

A Mother’s Day at Diary Queen

On The Thoughtful Young Djedi from Bermuda

[Note: I wrote this as a sophmore in university.]

I believe everyone should spend at least one Mother’s Day away from their mother. It’s not everyday that you can admire the “Chinglish” dabbled across the ice cream cakes at the local Dairy Queen. This will surely remind you that there is much more to Mother’s day then “I ♥ The Mom” cakes and memorabilia. Coupled with the Chinese culture of Confucianism, many Chinese people have embraced Mother’s Day out of the traditional ethics of filial piety and respect to the elderly. Filial piety is a term at the root of Chinese culture and behavior, as respecting one’s parents is an all important aspect of life. These two words encompass the essence of my relationship with my mother.

These past four months here in Shanghai has been one of the most enjoyable times of my life.

In between bargaining for DVDs and eating soup dumplings I often think about the difference I see in Chinese and American cultures and customs. I observed a very interesting comparison in the foods of the two nations. My regular morning meal in China has consisted of soy milk and baozis. Baozis are in essence, the cultural equivalent of doughnuts here in China. Each wooden stall that sells the boazis is like a franchised Dunkin’ Donuts in its own right, equipped with unmarked plastic bags, wooden chopsticks and a napkin if you are lucky. They are simple, filling in moderate amounts and taste really good.

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