Taking care of business


A meeting with my landlord reminiscent of a diplomatic bun-fight between the British and Chinese over the status of the New Territories circa 1890.

His psychology is that for him it is a major pain in the ass to have to pay for his investment by renting to Westerners, most of whom are damned odd birds and some of whom are lunatics. I am in the former category but what I have learned is that, contrary to my expectation that he’d grow more trusty and fond over time, familiarity breeds contempt as was generally the case over the history of Hong Kong.

I got no brownie points in 2010 for shown’ up six days a week for five years. Employers are just scared that you’ll get additional rights under the law. I get no brownie points here for paying the rent on time for seven years.

They want the colonialists out and I am a colonialist (odd bird category).

Also, I didn’t know even after seven years that while in America, there’s a problem, you call the super, in China, the landlord wants you to fix the problem. There’s a clause in my lease that the responsibility for plumbing is mine. Same as in colonial Hong Kong: the water came from Guang-Zhou, but the British maintain the pipes at Lo-Wu.

Americans abroad expect too much and think they know it all.


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