From Beer to Buddhism

I’ve been terribly busy at work these days, and last Thursday saw me working overtime at the office until 9PM. One of my coworkers was there as well, and when we finally decided to call it quits he suggested we go out for dinner and a few drinks. His wife and child were visiting relatives in another city and he had nothing better to do. As for me, my wife and child were likely already asleep – I had missed my chance to see them after work. Therefore staying out a bit longer would only impact the length of time I’d be spending in bed that night. Valuing the invitation from my coworker, and knowing that there were currently several sensitive and pressing business issues better discussed over a meal, I accepted.

Two hours later we were wrapping up a nice meal and putting away the last round of those few drinks. It had been a productive discussion and I, happy to have stayed out, was now looking forward to heading home to a nice, warm bed.

But then the café door opened and in strode six gentlemen, one of which gaily shouted “HEY!” across the room when he spotted my coworker. The loudmouthed fellow in question was a former employee of our company who presently works for the local branch of a large Chinese software group. He and his comrades had wrapped up an intensive training program that afternoon, spent the better part of the evening at a fine restaurant, and were now in search of a suitable location for some serious drinking. According to the unwritten but unbreakable laws of Chinese business culture, having been spotted and acknowledged, we too were now required to participate in their merrymaking.

And we did… until 2AM.

Continue reading From Beer to Buddhism

To be civilized…

I awoke this morning to the sounds of a gentle rain, and of the security guard for the factory grounds adjacent to my apartment complex beating his German shepherd.

Humans have an enormous capacity for cruelty, particularly towards animals. It is heartbreaking to lay in bed and hear the anguished cries of a confused and scared dog coming in through your open window.

“What can we do?” asked my wife.

“We can do nothing…” was the reply.

In China, these sorts of people cannot be reasoned with. They have a view of animals, a perception of the human/animal role, that cannot be altered. They can only die off, and – hopefully – be replaced by a generation compassionate towards all beings, not just those which walk upon two legs…

Such is life in one of the world’s oldest, and proudest civilizations…