Recently, Kings visited the Nuffnang China office. One night, everyone went out after work on a team building exercise, which involved rounds of pool. China Nuffies, hope it's ok I tell the story based on Kings' narration - I couldn't read the blog posts in Chinese <sheepish> Also, I didn't check if it was ok to put others' pics up on my blog, hence this looks like a rave about my husband. Itisnot.
So anyway, game on. The two best pool players in the bunch were to take turns selecting players for their teams. For each round, teams would select a player for face-off. Kings offered up RMB 500 to the winning team out of 5 games.
(Kings btw, looooves wagers. In HK if you're single he plays Let's See If You Can Get The Prettiest Girl At The Next Table To Give Up Her Number so if you don't want to get sent to some strangers' table during the course of dinner or karaoke, tell him you are attached/ married/ Amish. Last time they played it, according to Kings, they had only just sent someone over, and the moment he opened his mouth, the ladies called a waiter over, "Can you please control your guests?" without speaking to the guys. Ouch. So cold.
Pre-Rockstar, I got someone's number too. You'd think it's easier cos I'm female, but her male friends were going, "These Are Not Good People," in Cantonese right in front of me. Humph. I'll have you know that became a long distance relationship that lasted several months, between the single guy at our table (who was from Singapore - that's how I learned the term "Pore Chye," and this girl we picked up in a Kowloon bar. We even packed him a picnic basket for his first date with her on the Peak, the next day...
Anyway. Figure since the hub isn't allowed to frequent girly bars now we have a child (in case he picks up some disgusting skin thing off the upholstery and brings that home to Rockstar) he should still get his wagers - this is A JOKE OK, so I get to tell people (yet again) about the time his Taiwanese clients got him a topless girl.)
Back to Pool Game Beijing. Before team leaders can pick their teams, Kings adds he can't play pool if his life depended on it. If the team with him on it still won, he would forgo his share of the prize money.
No one picks him. He is peeved. "Hey. Guys. It's MY game." Someone kinda goes Ok...lah... Kings is like, the 2nd last to get a team. I'll call them Team B.
Now, as Team B strategizes who to send for the first game (and btw they are really serious about this), Kings tells them, "Actually, I'm quite good at pool." Team B gets excited. They think Team A doesn't know they have an extra player who can play. So they aim to predict when Team A will send their Absolute Best Player, the only guy Kings thinks he may not be able to beat. Expecting Team A to send a fairly strong player (but not ABP), Team B sends someone to throw the first round. An early win, they think, will make Team A more complacent.
Score Team A: 1; Team B: 0.
Anticipating Team A will relax and send a less-skilled player for the 2nd round, Team B aims to tie the score at 1:1. They then also capture the point after that, though not without a fight.
Score Team A: 1; Team B: 2.
Team B now expects Team A to expend Absolute Best Player to draw the game. Recall Mr ABP can beat anyone on Team B. Team B sends their Weakest Player to face him.
As ABP is predictably demolishing WP, Kings will by default represent Team B in the tie-breaking final. At which point he confesses, "Actually, I can't play. You guys are going to have to teach me."
At which point I ask Kings if anyone screams, "YOU D***HEAD!!!!!" (well, whatever the equivalent is in Putonghua) and just gives up and goes home. Apparently not, after indulging in a heart attack, Team B earnestly try to teach Kings to hold a cue stick in the last moments before he has to go on and play the tie-breaker. I am very impressed no one tries to kill my husband. I mean, they have sticks and everything.
Score Team A: 2; Team B: 2.
Kings wins the coin-toss, and walks up to the table for the break. At the self-assured THWACK! from years of cutting school in his village in Seremban to hide out in arcades (loathed his English teacher), and several more years hustling London School of Economics inmates in between exam season cram sessions, two cue balls roll obediently into their pockets, as a cry goes up among the watching Nuffs: "FFFFFUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU---------- !!!!" (Ok, one English-speaking Nuff.)
My husband has not played pool by any standard of regularity for many, many years. But, once upon a time in Seremban, then at LSE, he was quite unbeatable.
(Oh yes and he forfeited his share of the RMB 500 prize.)
Moral: You will never know who your real friends are unless you spend a little time being the dumbest person in the room. So you're a newbie at work. And maybe you have yet to prove yourself. That's still good for something, use it.
I need to give thanks no one hurt my husband in Beijing. Not sure I could've been as restrained - I married a helluva poker face 😀
Ps: A senior at work once observed I sometimes went wayy out of my way for certain people in the office, including him. I told him it was because, long before anyone knew how good I was on a desk, he had been kind to me.
No matter how much reserves we think we have, in reality we're only human - our resources - time, energy, credibility are limited. You can only help so many people. If you are worth anything, you will not remain the Dumbest Person No One Needs Anything From In The Office forever. You may therefore never get as good a chance to decide who to expend your limited resources on - and who to steer clear of.
Sadly, that's human nature. If you treat everyone nice all the time, there are unfortunately people who will see no real incentive to treat you nice, as opposed to treating you like crap. And possibly they'll keep your hands too full to help the people you really want to help.
So yes, you want to be nice all of the time. But for the tiny little subset of people who take kindness for weakness, you cannot communicate, if you don't speak in a language they understand. Besides, choosing to be "nice" simply for lack of gumption to be otherwise is not really being "nice" at all. I'm just saying...