In 2017, I was fortunate to get a new job. It was a job as a consultant. I got this job because I was studying for my MBA. A classmate of mine is a director of sales in the company. He referred me to the team, so I became the consultant taking this role in Hong Kong.
A month later, I started to pick up the work after being fully onboarded. Part of the job requires me to meet existing and potential clients, which is more like a sales role. To build the connections, it involved drinking—a lot of drinking. One night, my colleague brought me to meet a big corporate client at a well-known insurance company. It was an expensive but nice dinner with steaks. What needs to be served with steaks? Wine. We started with a red wine from France, five years old from a famous vineyard. It was then followed by another white wine that was sweet as a dessert. The guests were pleased, and they didn’t look drunk yet. They still want to go for another round at the bar for a beer.
But for me, that was too much. I kept being quiet and drinking slowly, sip by sip. Still, I feel like throwing up. It would be embarrassing to puke in front of my clients. Luckily I held my breath, and I said, “excuse me for a second”, then rushed to the toilet to vomit. It came out together with the steak, and it doesn’t taste delicious. My tears were coming down, partly because of the involuntary reaction from vomit but partly because I felt horrible with my job to entertain my client.
A month later, after a lot of client meetings with drinks, I started to get better. At least I know when to stop and be polite. But then my work requires a lot more travel. It requires me to travel to different areas of China, including Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen. My native language is Cantonese. Luckily my mandarin was okay, thanks to my ex-girlfriend, who spoke and helped me practice mandarin daily. Meeting clients involved a lot of drinking as usual, except this time, it was not just in a restaurant, but also KTV.
That was my first time at a KTV in China due to my job. It was eye-opening. For those of you who have never been to KTV, here is how it works. First, you sat down with your colleagues and clients on a sofa with a TV screen in front. Then the waiter would come in, get your order of alcohol. More importantly, he would bring in a group of 10 women, dressing up seductively. Once the girls got in the room, they started yelling their area of origin, one by one. “I’m from Sichuan”, the first lady said. “I’m from Wuhan”, followed by the second lady. “I’m from Shenzhen”, and so on. The gentlemen would be able to pick one he likes. If you are an experienced customer, you would say: “no, they are not my type”. Then the ten women were dismissed, and the waiter would bring in another ten women. They do the same to report their origin, except, this time, the women are of better quality. They are more attractive, where a usual man can’t resist. However, if you could resist the temptation, you could say: “no, these are not my type”. The women were dismissed, but you won’t be disappointed. The waiter brought in another ten women, who are the best. They could be more expensive, but a lot more beautiful, with a great personality to ensure you got a girlfriend experience.
Let me be honest with you; I picked a girl. I can’t remember her name anymore, but that is not that important. She was beautiful and talkative. We drink, we smoke, and we sing songs on KTV. And the best part is I didn’t need to pay, as my boss paid for it and reimbursed it as a company expense. And if you’re fortunate, you may even bring the lady back home, and the rest of the story will leave to your imagination.
Eventually, I had a fantastic night. I felt lucky and was a happy man. I was fortunate to choose my job as a consultant, but I felt the girl in KTV was unfortunate because the KTV job picked her. Living with poverty and no other skills, the girls have no better choice in terms of career. We should have sympathy instead of judgment. Who knows, maybe she feels lucky to meet me as a customer until you know the full unfortunate stories of the unprivileged lady.