Stories From a Foreign Perspective - Work Banquets

Article Date: 01-10-2016

Many moons ago while working at my first job in Taiwan at Joy English I got to learn all about the politics of the work banquet.  

There was one banquet in particular that stands out more than others.  In my second year of working at Joy I got told the banquet would be in a japanese place in the mountains close to Xizhi.  I enquired what kind of food it was, but work informed me they didn't know because this kind of restaurant never has a menu.  You couldn't even choose from what they had on the day when you went there, you were just given what you were given and that was indeed that! 

So I tried to ask work a million times if it was worth me going because of my lack of love for any form of seafood, and the Taiwanese hard on for it.  I clearly should of followed my gut feeling and told them that it wasn't really worth me going, but they insisted everything would be fine so I agreed to go.

The night before however I had a massive jolly with my mate, we went out to Myst after a mega day of Fifa and beers.  I then stayed at my mates and work up worse for where!  One quick look at the clock made me realise I was running a little late, and had to run off.  The head was spinning, I had the jakey shakes from the night before plus I could feel beer sweats dribbling off my forehead as I rushed to get the bus to Xizhi and find my way up the mountain to this random Japanese place.

The first sign of issues was when I got a call saying people were waiting for me at the bus stop.  I never asked anyone to wait for me at the bus stop, but somehow they got this message.  It was all very odd and they weren't at all happy I was running late.  Normally no one arrives on time for any kind of work banquet or meeting, so I was pretty shocked everyone was on time.  

When I got there I saw people from work then hopped into the taxi and got up to the restaurant, I was dying for some cold water, but as things turned out the restaurant had no cold water!  I mean what the actual shit, zero cold water.  I was dehydrating like shit, sweating, and melting away in the heat.  The feeling inside was just puke!  PUKE!  Get it over and done with and just PUKE PUKE PUKE!

Then the worst thing happened, they started bringing out all the food and every dish was seafood.  Every single one.  So I sat there and ate nothing.  I felt like it didn't really matter because they were pre warned that if it was all seafood I would barely eat anything.  I didn't really feel like there was any issue at all...

Until Monday night at work after the banquet.  My boss asked to have a chat with me, and then she started going on and on about how I was rude.  I was so rude that I didn't eat anything at the banquet.  I felt like telling her, the state I was in...(blowing out my arse) and the fact it was all random types of seafood, that if I ate it they would of all been swimming in my projectile puke.  On and on she went however, I was rude because I was hungover, I was rude because I asked for cold water, I was rude because I was late making people wait for me at the bus stop when I never even asked them to wait at the bus stop, I was rude because I said Bu Yao (I don't want it!) instead of Bu Yong(no thank you), Etc Etc the list went on and on.  I cant remember all the issues.  

At those times in Taiwan you can feel the rage burning inside, and the voices of NUT THE BASTARDS! However, obviously if I wanted to keep a job I can't listen to the voices and just have to take their moaning on the chin.  Fitting in at work was a clear problem at times when I first arrived from the UK 

These days I just do what my Mrs. told me and tell them I have a food allergy when it comes to fish, this makes everything a whole lot easier.  I know if your from the U.K or the West you generally don't care or give a shit about telling people it's because I don't like seafood.  Trust me though when I say, in Taiwan they sometimes get really offended by it and its a whole lot bloody easier running with the allergy line.

The morale of the story is, if you don't like to eat loads of seafood.  Tell them you are allergic and life will continue to be easy.  Only took me six bloody years to understand this, don't take as long as I did.