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Asia CommentTaipan

Keeping up with the Korean clients

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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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