Posted by: Sam Olsen | August 3, 2011

Into the Dragons’ den

Three days in to life at the very heart of the bank in Asia.  My journey to work is brief but full of hazards: Slow walkers… Like the ones you get faffing at the Oyster machine in London but only so much more noticeable when there is not a square foot of spare pavement. Free paper-people, again, same as London but a bit more intense; the tiny ladies duck back and forth as they ensure that the right paper (Cantonese or English) is proffered to the right face. Haven’t read one yet though! And then the heat, and the lack of oxygen and the foul, foul smell that rose up from under the ground in Central this morning. The steps up into the Des Voeux Road office are vast and white and reflect the heat so that when you finally step into the building, the icy blast makes you wish for a jumper.

The office itself is efficient and largely female, certainly on the 23rd floor. Apart from the Gweilo men running the show who sit in windowed offices. Today I descended onto 12th to meet the indomitable Priscilla Chan. A diminutive, immaculately dressed and coiffed lady of a certain age, she has worked at the bank for many years and leads the troupe of Dragon Ladies who rule over the many bankers serving HK clients. Priscilla seemed pleasant enough, but it was made very clear when the meeting was over, as she stood up briskly and looked to the door. We filed out obediently.  I hope the relationship warms up in future!

On the administrative front, I can announce that we are down to a shortlist of 3 helpers, 3 blocks of flats, gym membership and mobile phones organised, and Lawrence enjoying his daily sessions at the Gymboree playgroup. Although he did beat up a small Chinese boy today. He is still growing apace! 

Shitty Group update. The Chinese really don’t like to be ripped off. They were outside Citi today en masse, a middle aged woman kneeling on the floor outside the lobby banging a drum with onlookers wailing. Quite a scene.


  1. I love your blog! You have become part of my daily routine. First I check the weather then BBC news then Olsen’s in the Orient it’s fantastic. Please don’t stop. Sam, let me know if you need me to pop to M and S for you and post socks!

    • Thanks Sarah will keep that in mind! Hope all well. Love to you all

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