Wednesday, November 5, 2008

revitalizing the dream

this morning i woke up with a fairly large headache. after a few of the epically long meetings yesterday...everyone in the hong kong office decided that we should do karaoke at this place on sugar street called ceo. not only was the music extraordinarily loud....some of the hong kong folks thought that it would be really funny to teach the brits a new drinking game.

now dear hearts, those of you who know me so well.....completely understand that these are activities that i refuse to participate in. instead, i was playing on the PS3 in the karaoke room and checking for the latest news about the election on my blackberry. at one point, a hong kong exec said "you have to drink or sing...which will it be?". my response "i choose neither." you would think that this particular exec would have realized by now that i do not bow to peer pressure....especially if i think the activity is well, stupid.

it isn't that i have anything against social drinking...but doing drinking games with your co-workers is probably not the best of ideas. people do stupid things when they are drunk. friends will be forgiving. but co-workers? the stupid things that happen are fodder for gossip....and the gossip follows you for your entire career with that company.

i have a feeling that i am not the only one that has that perspective. the corporate head of hr was also in attendance at the karaoke and he wasn't doing the drinking games or singing either. he actually joined me at the PS3 at one point. it was over the video games that we had quite an interesting conversation. i did break one of my rules in my discussion with mr. hr....i actually talked about politics with someone from work. i did this because he is french. in my experience with the french (or to be honest...my experience is pretty much with parisians) talking politics always makes for a lively, blunt, analytical, and not-superficial discussion in which no one will "take offense". i was not disappointed. it was my conversation with mr. hr and my blackberry that saved me from wanting figure out a way to unplug the karaoke machine.

so the headache i woke up with this morning wasn't alcohol-related, it had to do with the noise more than anything else. funny how i don't mind the noise of the city itself....but the cheezy power ballads still make me wince just thinking about it. i was very glad this morning that requested breakfast of congee delivered to my room. [see above pic]

my morning breakfast ritual has been the most pleasant part of my days in hong kong. this morning was particularly poignant as i re-watched obama's and mccain's speeches online. i think we learn a lot about people in how they handle defeat and victory. both speeches were well done. mccain was extremely gracious and my respect for him, as an individual, grew tremendously. there is no doubt in my mind that must have been an extraordinarily difficult speech to give.

obama's speech was extremely effective for someone like me. it was elegantly argued. it was pragmatic. i loved the nod to "call and response" and the request for responsibility. the speech was a wondrous balance of so many things....of obama as a man and as the future president....of the pragmatic and the emotional....the hope of the future and the references to history...the speaking to americans and to the world. it also ended with what i have always believed to be a defining american characteristic, our faith in being able to make things better...despite any and all odds. the american dream has been revitalized and that alone, for me, is incredibly inspiring.

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