Archive for the ‘shanghai’ Category


Sunday, August 29th, 2010


I am walking along Gloucester Road, Kensington. I just met a hero in my profession and she likes me. She smiled warmly and we spoke at length about my hopes and fears. I met her colleague and he escorted me to a pub in East London. Inside people laughed and drank and sat around relaxed on this late August Friday afternoon. We laughed as we spoke for some three hours about our profession. I waved goodbye and got the tube home. I walk down a tree lined street where badge cars and young families jostle with tourists as shops and cafes sprawl into the arteries of London a warm brezzy air encapsulating the whole scene. I will be working with this lady. I know it. This will be a chance that I will not get again.


I am in Bahrain. I sit at my desk my head cloudy with frustration and broken promises. I have been here almost two years. The Isolation. The Frustration. I am working in the south of the island and my days are endless and repetitive. Somehow my family is with me but sometimes they disappear. I am frustrated. I want to go but the worlds economies have gone to shit and I will be fired here. There are no new jobs. There are no new options. I must sit it out here alone. Every day the same. The weather the same. The long drive. The covered ladies. The scary locals. No drinks. No pork. No rights. No fun. Nowhere to go, Nothing to do. No culture. No signs of life apart form a pool. And a big car. That’s all. That’s life. I get up and I want to go back to sleep again.


I am in Asia. I live in a small box with my wife and our young son. Sometimes I am in China but mostly Hong Kong. I am out of place. I miss London. I love Asia. I walk along the MTR station and go back to our home. The streets teem with life. The air thick. I am happy here. Work is different. The people are cold but I love them. This is a new world. This is a new dawn. My wife asks me how my day was and I explain my frustrations but there is something to keep me here. My friends and my closeness to Bangkok. This is my life.


I am in London. I am walking along High Street, Kensington. I meet my wife and we go to the pub. Inside people are laughing and drinking and sitting around relaxed on this late August Friday afternoon. We laugh as we speak for hours about our lives and plans. We walk down a tree lined street where badge cars and young families jostle with tourists as shops and cafes sprawl into the arteries of London a warm breezy air encapsulating the whole scene. I will miss my life here. I know it. Deep down. This will be a chance that I will get again. One day.


I awake. I am in Bahrain. I fly to London in September. The dream is over.

Protected: Cycles

Monday, March 22nd, 2010

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Protected: 12th July

Monday, July 13th, 2009

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The Long Goodbye

Wednesday, January 14th, 2009

hilton drunk

Where am I? I am in a hotel and I can see the Bund and the Pearl Tower and the glistening lights of Shanghai. The last few days have been bad emotionally but I am now tired of the lingering and wishing to get stuck into my job in the Middle East. Sunday, like Saturday was a wash out. I awoke and took a cab to the hospital for the last of my jabs. From there I went to my office to type and print out the reference letter for my Ayi. My Ayi. Such a wonderful person and very symbolic of my experiences of the average Chinese citizen. Firstly we didn’t employ her to work weekends but she offered to do so and she worked every day until I moved out. She made me tea and toast every morning and cleaned the flat every day. She helped pay my bills and she helped with anything I needed with nothing less than the wish to do so as if it was her duty in life. She never once rolled her eyes and never once gave it anything less than everything. This is what those fuckers that manoeuvred to get me fired fail to realise – attached to me are people that depend on my employment; our Ayi, our driver, the pizza delivery guy, the City Super Supermarket that sells crap imported food for high, high prices. All these people depend on me and now I have gone. I couldn’t give a jot either way obviously apart form the Ayi. To me it was, and still is, the very worst part of leaving here. Knowing that someone, so kind and so warm and happy in our family and adored by my son has to be fired and work with another family. Its very very sad.


too much too young

Saturday, January 10th, 2009


What am I doing? I am sitting here alone in my flat. A flat that was once busy with life now silent and empty. My wife and son remain in Thailand so its my last weekend in Shanghai and I am going out with a bang. As I sit here I can see my sons toys laying there tidy and gathering dust. I can see my wife’s books on the table. I can see little traces of life that, this time next week, won’t be here anymore. Someone else will move in and these walls will be able to tell a new story but ours is now over albeit far too early. Last night I attended the works annual Chinese New Year Dinner in some godforsaken Holiday Inn in the arse end of Shanghai. I was really not looking forward to it but was pleasantly surprised how good it was. The Chinese, as group, really do know how to have fun. There is something almost childlike in the sheer intrinsic joy they experience putting on shows and enjoying themselves. They are not concerned with being cool or a fear of making fools of themselves but instead put all of their energies into making the occasion as good as they can. They pull together. In the UK the jist at any office Christmas party is to get as pissed as one can but the Chinese have a great time sober and together.

The Time Of Your Life

Wednesday, January 7th, 2009

Please excuse this rather self indulgent post but I want to just record the things that have happened to me as I don’t think they will happen to me in the same way or at the same pace ever again and I know I will forget it all as time goes by so its A GOOD THING to have a record of these crazy scenes. December was a hectic month for me and my family and at the time when people are beginning to switch off and think of long holidays I had to step up and represent myself in Bahrain. It all went well and you find me now in Shanghai killing time waiting for various formalities to be completed before the family things are again packed up and shipped to Bahrain. Anyhow I digress. I spent my last day in Bahrain working and wandering the streets in the evening trying to soak in the last of the atmosphere and I confess a feeling of sadness. That night I flew to Dubai for a transfer and then a nice empty plane to Shanghai. The next day in Shanghai, jetlagged, I met my boss and confirmed that I wanted to work in Bahrain and it was all good with him. Then, back to my office to speak to colleagues who were seemingly pleased to see me (apart from my wanker of a boss who hid in his office). Then, following an extended meeting, a frantic dash to Pudong airport where I caught the late flight to Bangkok for Christmas. Landing in Bangkok at midnight I was pleased to spend the next day at the house and in the evening attend the Christmas Party at Sports Club. The following day was the funeral of the Big Man of the family and it was a semi state funeral with the Prince of Thailand in attendance. I had no idea how important this relation was but as we followed in a police convoy and as the coffin was being driven from his house (where his body had been in state for 100 days) to a temple I was struck to how small the world is right now. In three days I have worked in the Middle East, lived in my flat in Shanghai and then gone home to my family in Bangkok. Three different worlds in three days.


The End

Thursday, December 18th, 2008

That was the two weeks that was. Two weeks in Bahrain and after a shaky start I have to say I’m quite attached to the place. I feel relaxed, things are easy and work is not cloaked in 5000 years of face saving and suspicion. You know, do this do that and if its wrong I’ll tell you and if it’s good I’ll tell you. Quite refreshing. The more I think about the people I work with in China the angrier I get as I am now being frozen out. As far as they are concerned out of sight is out of the office for good. So much for the look see I was promised before I left but then this is very Chinese. Nothing confrontational, nothing to the face just a wall of silence. How very typical. You are probably thinking that I have serious issues but I don’t its just that there is a huge cultural difference between China and the west in terms of how we approach design. HUGE. There is no point banging my head against the wall anymore, I’m off to Bahrain. That’s it folks, China is over. I’m leaving the square and I am taking my family with me. Clear blue skies, higher standard of living, car, edible food and civility. Its blandsville in Bahrain but its better than the hate (and it can only be termed that) which I am currently experiencing from two people at work. Hate. That’s a strong word but that’s how it feels. Still, meeting with the Big Boss tomorrow but I think he’s been got whilst I have been away – he seems colder but we will see. I love you China but I am not allowed to work in your country anymore but I’ll be back seeking my revenge.

Tea In The Sahara

Saturday, December 6th, 2008

I flew out from Pudong on a cold, quiet Tuesday night. I said goodbye to my colleagues in the day and my wife and son in the evening which was very emotional. My son is now at an age where he recognises and knows people and he will miss me when it dawns on him I am no longer there. I took a taxi to Longang Road station and then the Maglev to the deserted airport. Quietly and efficiently we all checked in. There were some dudes praying at the gate and there were Arabs and middle eastern men and ladies everywhere as well as a smattering of Chinese and one or two honkies. I remember being momentarily scared and wary of getting on the plane lest they were all shoe bombers and terrorists and then it occurred to me how brainwashed I have been with my opinions of Muslims and the Middle East just I had been with China before I landed there. (more…)

Protected: Death Of A Salesman

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2008

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