Typhoon triumphs in Hong Kong
Hong Kong finally saw the first big typhoon of the summer this week. Naturally it was an anti-climax like every other year, but that did not stop it disrupting the city — although some people fared better than others.
For old time’s sake, I made a beeline for the pub just before lunch time, sure to find some old cronies there. And I wasn’t disappointed, with a hoard of jubilant bankers fuelling their day off with liquor.
But all the young bucks were conspicuously absent. In banking there is always business to be done and on a typhoon day, there are always fresh, innocent juniors to do it.
Admittedly, a few of the nicer chaps had given their entire teams the day off, mostly because they also did not want to work. But the majority were chortling away as they fired off instructions to their underlings.
A lot of the traders also joined in the fun after lunch when Hong Kong’s stock exchange decided to shut shop for the whole day. Undoubtedly, Hong Kong’s ancient market infrastructure is a boon for some people — still relying on manual labour to execute orders is one way to guarantee a day off during typhoon season.
Nobody was complaining of course and by the end of the day a few fresh faces began turning up and were quite obviously struggling to hide their scowls. If spending all day getting messages from friends still in bed wasn’t bad enough, to discover their managers well and truly merry was clearly painful.
The law may say that no one can be made to work during a signal eight or higher typhoon. In banking though, the boss's word is the law.