Tuesday, October 14, 2003

Sometime in December I probably have to take a trip to Hong Kong and China for work. (Yes, I know they're the same country, but they're very different places.) I was talking with my boss this evening and he was regaling me with tales of his college day in his frat compared to the times he's spent in China and Hong Kong. The similarities were a bit frightening.

The information he gave me was very useful -- "one of them will sit next to you and drink with you, then another will take his place and drink with you while the first takes a break for a while, then they swap again," "if they toast you, how deeply you drink is a reflection of how much you respect the person who toasted you," "it's perfectly acceptable -- and expected -- of men in their culture to go out, get drunk, and sleep with 'hired' women...they will expect you to do the same and may be insulted if they off and you say no."

I'm cool with the first couple of tidbits, but I have a problem with the last one. Maybe it's because I was brought up in American culture with its strong roots in Puritan beliefs, maybe it's because my parents did a good job of raising me to believe that it's wrong to take advantage of people, heck, maybe it's all the Captain America comics I've read over the years that espouse that "one man can make a difference". Who knows, maybe it won't come up, but if it does, I think, if I'm on the verge or greatly offending someone, that I'll graciously accept and then bribe the woman into going away. More good advice from the boss.

It's very odd for me to think that this would ever be an issue that I'd honestly have to think about.

Luckily, I really don't. A long time ago I decided that the worst thing anyone could ever do to a person was to take away that person's ability to make the correct choice for themself. More accurately, take away another person's ability to say "no". "Do you want to have sex?" "Do you want to die?" "Do you want to take this drug?" That sort of thing.

Maybe it's horribly judgmental of me to think that these people don't have the ability to say no for themselves, but when you're faced with a social and economic reality that rewards people for selling their bodies, well, I think the individual loses the ability to make an informed and independent choice that's in their best interest. I'm willing to be horribly judgmental in this case.

Maybe this isn't really appropriate talk for my blog, but hey, it's on my mind.

Okay, outside of all that, I'm almost recovered from my cold and should be back to the gym tomorrow. I got a new haircut yesterday and even asked for some advice on how to get it cut. It's nothing radical, but I figure it's been 17 years since the last time I changed my hairstyle, so it was probably time. Everyone seems to like it.

I've really been enjoying the new Steve Martin book I picked up over the weekend, The Pleasure of My Company. It's written very well and is easily digestable because it's written in a very reader-friendly style. I continue to recommend it.

Okay, time for me to get out of here and try to get to bed at a reasonable hour so I can be back to work bright and early. Lots of things to do over the next few days.


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