Saturday, February 24, 2007

Pithy epithets

Time is a great teacher, but unfortunately it kills all its pupils.
Louis Hector Berlioz

What if they conquer us?
The tea has come.
In at most a thousand years
Someone will conquer them.
Chinese philosopher

Two countries divided by a common language

Oscar Wilde said this about the UK and the US, but he could have been talking about Australia: last night, watching TV in a hotel room in Melbourne, I puzzled over the use of the word "hoon". Any guesses? It's an abbreviation of "hooligan". Hoons are a problem, with their souped up cars and their attacks on the innocent with golf clubs in dry grass-lined suburban streets; so there's a "dob in a hoon" helpline to report the miscreants in your own back yard.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Hard times

I had the worst ever day at work yesterday. Things went wrong; we made a mistake, which was my responsibility, and I ended up offering my resignation. It wasn't accepted, but I've spent yesterday and today putting myself through hell.

I feel that I really only have the thinnest layer protecting me from blows: I take things like this intensely personally and excoriate myself for everything I didn't do or should have done. I have hardly slept, I can't eat, I feel completely devastated by what has happened. I realise that it's an emotional reaction akin to the way I feel if things go wrong in my personal life, and this may not be appropriate for work: for one thing mistakes do happen, and if I can't cope with that, perhaps I shouldn't be in that job. But one of the things that makes me good at my job is that I care about the business, and care about the people I work with, and it makes it very difficult for me to cope with disasters like yesterday. I lack perspective and forget how lucky I am.

I know the measure of the individual is the way he or she reacts to things going wrong, and I just have to grit my teeth and get through this. It feels pretty damn hard right now, though.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

I am curious orange

One of the little amusements about life in Hong Kong is spotting people wearing t-shirts bearing slogans in English which often skirt perilously close to doggerel - a phenomenon which is a subset of Hong Kong women's wacky fashion sense and which more than a few times has made me wish I had one of those most tacky of accessories, a camera phone.

Today on my way up the escalator I spotted this on someone's back (reproduced in full, complete with superfluous curly brackets and colon):

for porn: {

I glanced at her face on the way by. I don't think I'm wrong in concluding that she clearly didn't have the faintest idea what her t-shirt was saying about her.

I've collected a few of these now: my favourite is still


but I'm also very fond of