Tuesday, January 07, 2014

The decadence of Europeans

A few years ago,  I was employed as a consultant to a large South Korean telecoms company which was bidding into BT's 21st Century Network (their transition to IP).

The Koreans were mostly bright young engineers in their twenties but the Lees and Parks were not fluent in English - there I could add some value.

One area of usefulness was with photos. Most of them hadn't been to Britain before and although the M3/M25 motorway conurbation would not thrill a native it was pure exotica to my Asian colleagues.

Unfortunately their company had locked down their laptops. No way their pics could be emailed back to wives,  girlfriends and family. I was happy to help.

It is traditional on the final day of a bid to pull an all-nighter. I was there at 2 am as we feverishly rewrote crucial sections; I was there at 6 am as my Korean colleagues sprawled across desks and office chairs sound asleep.

The material was sent to be bound at 8 am and as I prepared to walk to my car for a brief nap the Korean executive in charge looked at me in some wonder.

"Still here?" he blearily asked,  "We were told you Europeans wouldn't work hard and that you all packed up in the evening."

Yep, there are some prejudices still floating around out there. And another thing - I quite took to Kimchi. My Korean friends did not win the contract by the way; they were beaten on price by Huawei.