Tuesday, January 29, 2008
This afternoon our office held Spring Festival celebrations before most people disperse to go home for the holidays in the next few days.
In Hong Kong, this usually involves going to a Chinese restaurant and eating a 10-course banquet dinner. There's games, a lucky draw, and those who've had a bit too much to drink, go up on stage and sing a karaoke number.
But in Beijing the festivities are more modest and earnest.
After lunch, we filed into a conference room which was set up with a stage and rows of chairs along the three other sides of the space. There were also small water bottles and snacks as refreshments.
The podium featured a flower arrangement very similar to the ones government officials get at big congresses.
First on the program was the boss who gave a 40-minute speech accompanied with a power-point presentation. He went over our achievements in 2007 and then the goals for this year.
Thankfully things got more interesting after that.
Some "model workers" were chosen and they were awarded laminated certificates, while those who completed five years' of service were handed pieces of crystal with their names engraved on them.
There were lucky draws for things like quilts and thermoses, and those quick on the draw answering trivia questions about the company won chocolate bars.
But the best part were the presentations made by each department.
Some sang songs, others added a dance routine complete with costumes. One group performed a clever Chinese poem about the economy, and another modeled outfits using plastic bags and paper.
The last skit was the best -- a parody about the office but set centuries ago complete with long robes and swords.
These were all done in good fun and the audience cheered everyone on.
Perhaps the staff would find the boss's speech more memorable if he performed it like a rap -- short, sweet and to the point.