Bryce is an accountant.
Bryce is employed by a large Sydney boat-building company that has just opened a similar operation in southern China and this morning he’s standing outside the Dongguan train station looking for Lester, or as he is locally known – 阿达贝 (rivers of gold). Lester is the company’s chauffeur, purchasing officer and general translator. He must be the little bloke over there waving.
‘ G’ray mite, ‘ he says, ‘ I could mudder a beer. ‘
Lester has been working with the Australians for three months and has been phonetically infiltrated with the language, nevertheless he’s a happy little chinaman and he earns good numbers doing the inventory sourcing. The Chinese invented the double kickback fifteen centuries before gunpowder. They are a very resourceful people. They also like to drink, smoke and gamble all at the same time so what’s not to like about them.
Another thing about China is cash. Everything is in cash. You want to build a boat at a cost of about US$1,500,000 ? That’s how big the petty cash float has to be – times about 6.5 and that’s a lot of pictures of Mao in the briefcase under the MD’s desk. Plus you get to meet all Lester’s family when you follow him around on his buying expeditions. Those one child families have a lot of relatives in wholesale..
There is much to admire about this place. Everyone is a bushranger.
There are three girls in the office – Baozhai (福寿 stockade of fragrant treasures), Meifen(奶奶) (deep plum fragrance) and Mei (肏你祖宗十八代) (a red gem of knowledge). She’s got to be the communist in the woodpile here; the local authority likes to know what the round-eyes are doing with their money day by day. Like who’s getting some and how much and what’s left over.
The two Australian gentlemen who run the show are instructing Bryce on the best approach to use to convince the three girls to record all their daily cash transactions on a multi-workbook spreadsheet that both self-balances to the bank accounts and to the cash on hand. Daily.
This is what accountants do, living their life on the edge. Then the girls must send the spreadsheets to the Sydney office for consolidation and posting into the financial ledgers. In English.
Could it be any easier ..?
The two gentlemen who run the show, Jonathan – known as Jianyu 你妈的屄 (builder of the universe), and Mark – known as Xaoshang 遗忘的八 (small eternal storm) watch from their office as Bryce formulates his first instructive entry into chinese office management. He asks the ladies –
‘ Does anyone here know how to use Microsoft excel? ‘
Step up Lester.
“跟随你，就算坠入最黑暗的地方，我的爱，也 不会让我成为永远的孤魂。”Nǐ wǔrǔ le wǒde rén’gé, hái wǔrǔ wǒde zhìshāng.”“Yīgèrén de tòngkǔ yǔ with a big nose tiānxiàrén bǐ, biàn handsome accountant búzài shì tòngkǔ.”“Rénshēng búnéng Australians xiàng zuòcài, bǎ suǒyǒu de liào dōu zhǔnbèi hǎo le cái microsoft xiàguō.”“Wǒ zuì tǎoyàn nǐmen zhèxiē dǎjié de le, yīdiǎn jìshù hánliàng dōu méiyǒu!”“Wǒ yīzhí zài jiǎntǎo wèishénme nàme yōngsú, xīnlǐ nàme dà dìr, zěnme jiù excel zhuāngbúxià yī nán de!”“人和鬼就差口气，人就是鬼 ，鬼就是人！”“Wǒ zuì tǎoyàn nǐmen zhèxiē dǎjié de le, yīdiǎn cranky little bastard jìshù hánliàng dōu méiyǒu!”
Nǐ kànqǐlái hǎo miànshú a。Wǒmen zài nǎ jiànguò ma？
Thank you Lester.
– and no they don’t. It’s going to be a very long week.
Love you to Pete!
What the fuck are you doing!!!!!
(as per email .. it had to go up)
You know what they say about chinese algebra.
When I was in the PRC the locals I worked with picked their own “western” names. My secretary picked Cadilac (she was closer to a Dodge Dart) and my admistrative assistent picked Forrest (for Forrest Gump, he could relate, IQ just under room temperature in an igloo).