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Asia CommentTaipan

Keeping up with the Korean clients


Between my evenings in the bar sipping whisky, watching rugby and football matches over pints, weekend boozy brunches and holidays with Tai Tai at the poolside bar, it’s obvious I haven’t kicked the old drinking habit.

I’ve downed some with the best of them, and years of schmoozing with clients and post-deal celebrations have led me to believe that I can hold my own on the bar stool.  

Or so I thought. A recent trip to Korea has left me doubting myself and my stomach.

The other day a DCM banker chum of mine invited me to tag along on a business trip to Korea with him. He spent the days in the office while I wandered around Seoul, and in the evening we would hit the pubs.

Inevitably one of our evenings called for my pal to go for a drink with the client’s finance team. I joined them at the pub for what I thought would be a casual evening of small talk and whisky. 

But Korean business culture prevailed and the bankers were obliged to keep up with the clients’ drinking prowess — might I add that the Korean lasses are particularly skilful despite their small frames.

About 20 soju shots were lined up for each of us and a few hours later I teetered my way back to the hotel where I spent the last few hours of the night cursing my foolishness and the next day nursing a hangover.

Thankfully, I never had many client meetings in Korea in my day. I’m not sure my liver would have survived. 

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