Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Cheer up! Things can get worse!

So, I cheered up and things got worse. – a sad little catchphrase that Graham and I throw at each other far too often these days. Not that we are in a bad mood or anything,  nothing can cheer one up more than having to pack a household of stuff twice-up in a couple of months.
Wasn’t it a clever move to leave half of the boxes unpacked, and the couch and the fridge with the movers in the storage? We are learning something, after all!

Anyway. Today I was going to write to May Lin Lam, who is Gammon’s company solicitor.
Of course, it would be much more civilised to speak face-to-face to her than communicate through various blogs but I’m in no position to challenge some of the strange ways Hong Kong does its business.
And in spite of her being the company solicitor and the top person one should be supported by when one raises a question of serious concern to the company’s well-being, we had never met in person.

The first time I learned of her existence was when at the company’s induction day, (June the 19th 2013) I was told by Bryant Lee, a very pleasant fellow, part of the HR personnel/army that Gammon keeps to run its operations smoothly, named her as the third / and top level of the safety-net when it comes to company corruption.
As in, when you notice something not quite right, you go first to your immediate supervisor.
If the solution the supervisor offers is not quite to your satisfaction, you take your case to Mr Thomas Ho, the CEO, who by all means is the absolute boss of the company, expect when it comes to tricky subjects;
So, when you feel he is not quite serving the company’s best interests (in your own humble opinion) – then you go and see Ms May and she will make sure that on behalf of the shareholders, things will be investigated properly and you get your sack if the whole story was just a made -up one but also due justice if what you were claiming actually was true.

Unfortunately, for still undisclosed reasons, this company procedure was at least once not properly employed, on the day I was sacked.
On the 19th of August 2013, and a convenient, two month’s anniversary of the previously mentioned induction, if you like to keep a tab of these ‘date’ things.
So, I never met Ms May in person, though poor thing got pretty busy around all the fuss that my unhappiness with being fired ‘unexplained and on spot’ had generated afterwards.

Also, dully understanding her full occupation with the damage control after such a loose cannon got off the rail, I will restrain myself from the question I was going to ask her today, the one that has been bothering me for a while and to do with what constitutes a case of ‘Using a document with intent to defraud’ when it comes to my case and some of the letters her directors have issued close to my dismissal?

Instead, I’ll tell my readers a little story that I remember very often when things go wrong;
And the best of it is, that it is totally based on facts:
It may be a bit of a long story – so relax, get a cup of tea or something else… and listen to the story…

My family of 7 and I lived in a nice house in the woods.
The suburb of Auckland in New Zealand, was indeed called Woodlands park and we had some serious specimens of trees around our property. We also had a bit of a weird house.  It was unusual to start with, over 3 levels, long and skinny, then we made it really kitschy, plastered with mosaics all over the walls, floors, stairs, even ceilings.
Our bedroom was on the top level, third floor if you count the garage level. It was not a bedroom in a proper sense, as it was a 30+ square meter of an open room. We had a library in it, the family TV, one computer station to share, the master bed, and a space to make beautiful creatures out of legos and play-mobiles. (this was the sunniest spot in the house to lounge in the afternoons too); This huge room was also surrounded by the flat roof of the rest of the house and had at least 3 sliding doors opening onto it. Also, this room was built sometimes in the seventies, all walls wood panelled and the carpet, beige, deep, wool shag pile.
Occasionally we left the sliding doors open.
Occasionally ducks walked through the room, in one door, out the other.
One day they did not just walk through, but disturbed by someone, got panicky and left huge piles of duck-shit all over the beige carpet.

I got quite upset. No, I panicked and got all matter of cleaning stuff onto my precious floor-covering.
I scraped, I scrubbed, I washed, I soaked, I applied unnatural amounts of chemicals to the process, with the hope to get my fabulous 70-ties shag pile back to its pure beige.
I laboured over the spots for hours, naturally just making it all worse, with the best hope to achieve of lifting the entire surface a nuance up and blend to what a washed out and highly chemically threated duck-shit contaminated shag pile carpet would look like.

I was truly sad over the incident as I truly cared about that place I called home.

But, after I while I gave up. Left the ugly spots dry up and somewhat merge into the rest of the pristine looking wool. I ignored looking at traces of dirty little islands of my heaven.
….weeks went by….
And one day, behind the couch I found a dried up disk of duck-shit.
And, you know what? It lifted neatly off the beige carpet with no mark to leave.

So, here is a life lesson for you:
Sometimes, you just have to leave the shift to dry.
May Lin Lam, Gammon’s company solicitor, I’ll come back to you.
Later. In time. When things dry a bit, they’re easier to lift.

If you want to see a softer side of me, here are some pictures of this weird kitchy-mosaicy house:

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