Saturday, May 26, 2007

Looks like I'll be going back to Hongkong next week. Perhaps one of the most interesting things that happen whenever I go there is that I get an interactive preview of what it's like to work in the United Nations if diplomats didn't exist.

In our office, we have Indians, Japanese, Chinese, Thais, and Filipinos. Work inevitably forces you to interact with multiple nationalities at the same time. While you can assume that everybody in the office speak English, the level of profficency or at the very least understandability varies from "scottish" to "common american" to "we-need-more-subtitles". There's Chinglish (for Chinese), Engrish (for Japanese), Thaiglish (for Thais), Taglish (for Flips) and Relish (for sandwiches).

You might be asking what "scottish" is doing up there with the other variants. Beats me. One chinese developer sounds like Billy Connolly (Open Season's squirrel) whenever I hear him say "Wha ar ya gon du about it, lad?"

Okay. So he may or may not have mentioned "lad", but you get the idea. I was half expecting to see him go to work in a kilt, holding a bagpipe. I guess that was asking for too much, bagpipes can be hard to lug around.

And then there are the meetings when more than three nationalities sit inside a room for hours discussing matters that're probably understood differently by everybody inside. It's the highlight of any day at work.

When things get bad, discussions boil down to a crazy amalgamation of a game of pictionary, charades and The Apprentice (in case somebody gets fired for being an incomprehensible fuck)

It's in situations like this you understand why wars exist. Because people from one country say one thing and the people on the other side hear another. As a consolation, I just think that we're lucky enough to not be talking about world peace during those meetings.

Otherwise we're pretty much screwed.

Filipino: So we're here to talk about the Haifa-Kyoto accord.
Japanese: What? what? what?
Filipino: The Haifa-Kyoto accord. We already talked about this before.
Filipino: Whoah.
Japanese: We go to your country and invade you again! You eat sushi very long time!
Chinese: WTF You screwed now Filipino la.
Filipino: Shut up, you were their bitch too last time I remember.
Chinese: How about we go Spratly on your ass right now?
Thai: *Doesnt understand anything, and can't be understood*
India: In case any of you have to outsource war and famine, our country also accepts services like that.

So yeah. Hurrah for diplomats and world peace.

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