Update from Hemlock

Back from a four-day trip to Bangkok, and I find myself in the conference room on the top floor of S-Meg Tower, in the central district of Asia’s perennially dynamic international business hub. The Big Boss fiddles with the ceramic three-headed toad. He shouts at someone through the door. He restores the toad to the northward-facing direction it requires to maximize its positive influence on the family-run conglomerate’s revenues. After thinking in silence for a few seconds, he makes a firm decision and walks out, telling me to wait.

So I do what any right-thinking person does in such circumstances when he has a good view of anyone approaching through partially frosted glass: I rummage through the morning’s correspondence. Could there be, by any chance, something as diverting as the recent multi-rant emails from the expat housewife?

As luck would have it, I find one interesting letter. It is from Anita, the wife of Nelson Auyeung and an old college friend of the Big Boss’s younger sister. The impertinence and presumptuousness of the woman is staggering. Could the great man sign a letter – thoughtfully already composed and printed out – recommending the couple’s son Conan for an expensive and exclusive educational institution? I can’t resist reading the attachment hopefully awaiting the Big Boss’s signature …

To The Principle, Harrow Kindergarten

It is my great pleasure to recommend to your goodself Conan Auyeung for admission to your highly regarded kindergarten.

I have known Conan’s parents, Nelson and Anita, very closely for many years. Nelson is the chief financial officer of Everhype Asia, the prominent consumer goods distributor, who has a Masters Degree from Ohio University, and Anita is a highly respected senior director of the Hong Kong Institute of Human Resources Management Professionals.

I believe very strongly that Conan, who was 18 months old in April, would greatly benefit from your esteemed school. Conan is an exceptionally bright, ambitious, communicative, fast-learning and hard-working child with very impressive social skills and creative (including musical) ability. He would most certainly be a popular and valuable asset to his class and the school as a whole.

I can also guarantee that Nelson and Anita will be very supportive and encouraging to Conan, and indeed to the overall school community. Anita’s uncle is Mr Mok Gwok-hing, the founder of Nice Day paper hygiene products company, who has made generous endowments to a number of educational establishments and takes a very keen interest in Conan’s development.

In conclusion, I sincerely believe that Conrad’s application deserves every consideration.

Yours sincerely,

Mercifully, I have just the thing for this…

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