Breaking news: Friends keep secrets too
Sometimes, it seems, the best way to get to know a friend is not through drinks, but from the news.
I used to believe that a late-night swapping of life tales over pints was the best way to get to know someone. Who among us hasn’t shared some of their deepest secrets over a drink? Even Tai Tai, under a haze of Chardonnay, once told me about a university professor who she had snogged for a passing grade.
However, a recent experience made me realise that not everything is spilled over an open bar.
I struck up a friendship with someone a couple of years ago in a pub in Wan Chai and since then we have met for drinks semi-regularly. He regales me with tales of dating an attractive young actress in Hong Kong, while I tell him about the good old days in the city.
We barely talk about work. I knew he owned his own small business, but we never dove into the details.
One morning as I scanned the news, I saw my friend’s name in a headline announcing his marriage. It was no surprise that the media would pick up on the wedding of a popular actress, but what I didn’t know was that the groom was of just as much interest to the reporters.
Unbeknownst to me, in the many times I picked up our tab, my friend is a billionaire.
Apparently, the chap’s “small business” is, in fact, an insurance group. And the modest work travel he occasionally bemoans? It happens on his private jet.
I may not have been gunning for an invitation to what I thought would be a dull wedding next year, but you can rest assured that I am now. Perhaps all those nights of drinks will be worth a flight on his jet?