Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Extra 7

Extra 7

Marriage Certificate

A warm spring day. Today, Bo Jinyan and Jian Yao will register their marriage at the Municipal Civil Affairs Bureau.

Fortunately, the queue is not long.  There are about ten couples ahead of them standing in line.  But of course, they are the most attractive couple by far.  

The tall and handsome Bo Jinyan is wearing a custom made suit specially made for this occasion, with a dark grey shirt inside.  Jian Yao looks elegant and beautiful in a light blue dress.

Jian Yao is used to attracting attention, but not to this degree.  She knows that it is probably due to the man that is standing beside her.  As she puts her arm around his, she notices that he is looking at the people that are ahead of him in the queue.  He seems to be deep in thought.

“Is something bothering you?” She asks softly.

Bo Jinyan sweeps her a look.  Usually, this look represents something important.  She looks carefully at the people he is observing.  There are a few young man in their twenties, and a few ordinary looking middle aged man standing with their wives-to-be.  There’s nothing extra-ordinary about these people. 

“What’s the matter?” She asks even more quietly.

He looks at her and says heartily: “ I must thank destiny for letting us meet each other.”

Jian Yao is a little confused.  That’s sweet!  But hang on… what makes him say something so touching?  It’s not his usual style.  Or perhaps the atmosphere here somehow manages to affect his usually dull heart?  

As she is pondering, she hears him say: “Or else, you would be marrying to a mediocre man just like them.  Oh!  I can’t accept even the thought of it.” 

Jian Yao: “….”

So that’s what’s in his mind.

Sentimental?  No way, it’s just pride. 

——————-

The registration process is a simple one.  After paying nine dollars and getting a stamp on the little book, they are now officially husband and wife.

On their way back home, Jian Yao holds the red little booklet (Marriage Certificate) in her hand.  She is overwhelmed with emotions.  But Bo Jinyan seems to be as cool as ever.  He only took one look at his red booklet and it’s been sitting in his trousers’ pocket ever since.  

He has this ‘couldn’t care less’ attitude since the proposal.  To him, whether they decide to register at the  Municipal Civil Affairs Bureau is not important.  A promise that comes from the heart means so much more than a piece of paper with a written agreement on it.  

“Well, if you think that kind of stuff is important to you, then we’ll do it.”  He said during the proposal.  
The genius’ brain obviously works differently to other normal human beings.  If another man said this to her, it’s probably because he is trying to avoid commitment.  But Jian Yao understands him.  Getting registered is only a legal requirement that needs to be fulfilled.  He is already so committed to the relationship, there is no chance that they will need a divorce, so therefore, what’s the value of going through the process?     

In the end, they agreed that they would register their marriage, but they would not have a big celebration or ceremony.  Jian Yao cannot imagine him wearing a traditional groom’s gown, having to entertain and talk to the many guests that attend their wedding… Oh, forget it.

A few days have past since they received their marriage certificate.  Jian Yao has never seen him looking at it.  For the first few nights, she takes hers out and looks at it every night before she goes to bed.  But tonight, she decides to lock it in a drawer in their bedroom.  So she asks him: “Where is your marriage certificate?  I will lock it in the drawer together with mine.”  

Bo Jinyan looks at her: “Is that even necessary?” Then he walks off to read some documents.

That’s an unusual reaction.  Jian Yao thinks to herself.  But then she comes to a conclusion.  Because it is not an important document for him, he’s probably forgotten where he has placed it.  But he is unwilling to admit and to look for it.  Never mind.  When it reappears one day, he will pass it to her.

One week later…

There is a security check on the ground floor of one of the buildings of the Ministry of National Securities.  It’s the centre for storing confidential information.   Today, they have a meeting there to discuss a serial robbery case.  As they past through the check point, they are asked to empty their belongings from their pockets for inspection.  Not only that, they have to take off their jackets and shoes for inspection.  Whenever Jian Yao knows she needs to come to this building, she will make sure only essential items are in her purse.  There was an embarrassing incident once.   She had some sanitary pads in her bag and a few male officers looked through her bag… 

Bo Jinyan and Jian Yao are frequent visitors to the building, and the security guard knows them quite well.   When it’s Bo Jinyan’s turn, he slowly takes out all the items in his pockets - a notebook, a pen, his wallet, car keys…”Pang”, a small red booklet falls on the ground. 

Jian Yao is shocked.  Bo Jinyan picks up the booklet and places it with the pile of his other belongings. Then he continues to empty his pockets - handkerchief, mobile phone…

Even the two security guards are dumbfounded.  It’s the fist time they have seen someone carrying their marriage certificate with them.  The younger security guard picks up the marriage certificate, looks at Bo Jinyan and Jian Yao and says to them: “Congratulations.”

Bo Jinyan smiles: “Thank you.  Are you done yet?”

“Yes, yes.” The two security guards return his items to him.  They are still a little puzzled.  Why did Professor Bo carry his marriage certificate with him?

Jian Yao blushes.  She is also puzzled like the guards.  Perhaps he needs to disclose their new status to the ministry of National Security? Is that why he is carrying the booklet with him?

She tries to confirm that with Bo Jinyan: “Why is your marriage certificate in your pocket?”  

“Is that a problem?”  He asks, “I thought we are supposed to keep important documents with us at all times.”

Jian Yao: “…”
Ah!  So, that’s the reason why he doesn’t keep it at home.  

But…

“So, you keep it in your pocket everyday?” She is still blushing, but a sense of happiness swells up from within her.  

“Of course!”  He answers.

They head towards the lifts. She walks behind him with a smile.  

Didn’t he mention a few days ago these sort of things are not important, and he doesn’t need her to keep it safe for her?

But in reality, it’s because he wants to keep it with him all the time.

But… who carries their marriage certificate with them all the time? 

Even though he is an extremely intelligent man, he can be so childish and stubborn at times. 

——————  

Jian Yao is so touched by what he did, that she is more affectionate than usual for the next few days.  Naturally, Bo Jinyan can’t be more happy about that.  Their relationship is strengthened by this little episode.  

It didn’t take long for all the staff that works in the building to know they are married.  Some  of them jokingly ask for lollies.  

(NOTE from TB: The Chinese  often gives out sweets/lollies as gifts when they get marry.)
———————

Jian Yao is a little embarrassed by this.  She encourages Bo Jinyan: “I know the marriage certificate is a very important document to you and you want to carry it with you all the time, but it’s weird walking around with it everyday.  Why don’t you keep it at home?”

Bo Jinyan glances at her and chooses to ignore her suggestion.  

Then… one day…

Jian Yao needs to go to the Ministry of National Security office by herself.  There is a new security guard working today.  As he is about to ask her more questions to confirm her identity, another guard comes and says to the new guard: “Don’t bother asking.  She is the wife of the man that brings his marriage certificate to work.”

Jian Yao: “…..”

’The man that brings his marriage certificate to work’ has become Bo Jinyan’s new nickname?

The guard smiles to her: “Oh… I heard about you guys when I was still working in another branch.  Where is your marriage certificate?”  


Jian Yao: “…..”

- But I am not Bo Jinyan.  I don’t carry my marriage certificate with me all the time!  

Thursday, 18 February 2016

Summer 5

Summer 5

The two girls are having a good time laughing.  Then Mu Han Xia stands up and walks to the waters edge.  She can see the clear reflections of the lights from the skyscrapers on the other side of the river.  That is River City’s most prosperous commercial district.  

A surge of pride swells up from within her.  She takes a deep breath, then shouts: “I am the King of the universe.”

 He Jing laughs until her body aches.  Occasionally, some pedestrians walk past.  The looks on their face suggests they wonder if the two girls are crazy.  

It’s been ten years since the movie “Titanic’.  But for some reason, those the words came to Mu Han Xia as she stands on the waters’ edge.

He Jing jokes to her: “Someone is looking for a boyfriend!  You want to find a Jack?”

Mu Han Xia answers: “Of course!  If there’s a Jack in this world that is willing to give up everything for me and jump into that icy water, I will definitely fall in love with him.”

He Jing laughs.  Mu Han Xia turns her head towards the water and continues: “But… I am not Rose.  I will  not live alone.  I will jump into the water with him.  We will not separate.”  

————-

It’s getting late.  The girls take a bus back to the supermarket.  He Jing  walks to the connecting bus station to catch another bus.  Mu Han Xia is about to walk away too when she sees light coming out of the new  Yong Zheng supermarket.  They are at the final stage of construction.  It’s almost ready for business.

A brand new building, painted in white, with their name “Yong Zheng - Your mart” written in a simple black font.  Mu Han Xia doesn’t like their design.  Even though it’s trendy, it seems to lack a certain warmth and joy when compared to the red colours Le Ya uses.  

And it’s dark.  And it’s quiet.  Mu Han Xia decides to sneak into the shop to check out the competition. 

She crosses the road and walks past a few construction workers as if she is just passing by the area.  Then, when they are not looking, she walks down an alleyway that leads to the rear of the building.

She is standing in a newly constructed carpark.  It’s empty except for one car parked in the corner.   Mu Han Xia recognises that Porsche Cayenne.  So, looks like the boss is still working in the office.  

One of the roller doors of the warehouse is still open.  She wants to ‘accidentally’ walk in to take a look at what products are stored there.  But before she gets a chance, she hears some footsteps coming down a flight of stairs.  

She quickly runs around the corner and hides herself.  She takes a peep.

It’s Lin Mo Chen.

Mu Han Xia keeps her body as straight and as close to the wall as possible.  But every now and then, she leans forward to watch what Lin Mo Chen is doing.

He is walking towards the car with his hands in his pocket.  Then when he is next to his car, he takes out the keys and press the remote control button to unlock the car doors. Then he pauses.  Lin Mo Chen is not getting into the car.  Instead, he starts walking in the direction of where Mu Han Xia is.  

Mu Han Xia quickly leans back.  Her heart starts to pound.  The lighting in the area is pretty dim.  The grass beside her feet gently moves with the wind.  The place is very quiet.  She is not making any noise.  And neither is he. 

Mu Han Xia decides this is not a place to linger.  She takes small steps and quietly walks back toward the front of the building.  But it’s dark and it’s hard to see where she is going. She is feeling the way with her feet.  Occasionally, she steps on a pile of dirt.  But it’s not the time to think about whether her shoes are dirty.   She just wants to leave the area.   And just as she starts to feel relieved, she hears a dry laugh from behind her.

“Ah…” She panics and loses her balance as she steps into an undulating pit.  she falls face down to the ground.  “Ough.. ough..” She coughs because of the irritation caused by the dust going into her nostrils.  Her face is full of dirt too.

She begins to feel pain on her elbows and knees.  She tries to get up, but the heels of one of her shoes is stuck in the crack on the ground.  Then she hears some footsteps.  She looks up and sees Lin Mo Chen standing next to her.  

He bends down and look her in the eyes.  Mu Han Xia blushes.  She can see his bright eyes clearly, even in the low light conditions.   

“A humble salesman who is unwilling to turn from the dark side.  What?  She is planning to be a spy too?”

Mu Han Xia retorts: “Who says I am a spy?  I just happened to walk past here.” 

Lin Mo Chen looks around and says: “You so happened to walk past my warehouse at 9pm?”

Mu Han Xia is lost for words.  She chooses to ignore him.  She bends over to loosen the shoe that is stuck.  Then she puts it back on and stands up.  Eager to change the topic of conversation, she says to him: “Let’s talk about something else.  How can you be so sure that you can force Le Ya out of business in three months?”

Lin Mo Chen stands up too.

When he stands next to Mu Han Xia, it’s obvious that he is much taller than her.  Mu Han Xia instinctually wants 
to step back to increase the distance between them.  But the alleyway is narrow.  There is not much room to move.  He leans forward and smiles while whispering to her: “Of course I can.  Would you like me to tell you my plan?”

Mu Han Xia is stunned: “Huh?” 

Lin Mo Chen laughs: “Do I look like someone who will give my secret away out of gratitude?”

Mu Han Xia: “….”

She feels like picking up a piece of brick to throw at him.  

“Well…” She retorts: “We are not as easy to defeat as you think!”

She starts to walks away.  

Lin Mo Chen watches her as she leaves the alleyway.  She is wearing a pair of blue jeans, and a shirt with a simple checkers design on top of a plain white T Shirt.  Her long straight hair is shiny and silky smooth.  Her waist is small and her legs are long.  She is attractive. But within his social circle, there are a lot of woman that are more beautiful than Mu Han Xia.   If she is a star in the sky, she would be a small, dim and inconspicuous star amongst many other much brighter ones that shine like diamonds.   

She is like a small ordinary speck of dust that does not belong in his world. 

—————-

When Mu Han Xia arrives home, she notices her high school friend “Monkey’ is online.  When he sees that she is online too, he calls her for an online chat.  

Mu Han Xia asks: “Do you have some news for me?”

‘Monkey’ doesn't answer her question.  Instead, he asks her another question: “Class captain, can you tell me why you are inquiring about this person?”

Mu Han Xia answers: “Something to do with my work.  Tell me, what have you found out about him?”

‘Monkey’ answers: “Oh… Anyway, you should avoid this man at all cost.  If you see him walking towards you, take a different route.  If he is attacking your company, your company should ‘take a different route’ too.”

Mu Han Xia is dumbfounded: “What do you mean?”


‘Monkey’ answers: “There are some horrifying rumours about him.  He is a merciless, ruthless mercenary.  Apparently, those who oppose him end up defeated and bankrupted!”

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Summer 4

Summer 4

What is the biggest discount you’ve seen at a supermarket promotion?  

5% off the entire bill?  $5 rebate for every $50 spent?  No items marked price will be over $15?  

This is the question that the Le Ya Supermarket marketing department staff is discussing now.  What is the strategy they should take to defend their position as the market leader?  

“When Yong Zheng launches a new supermarket, it’s their standard practice to give a 2 to 5 percent discount on the total bill,” says one of the supervisor. “I think they will be employing the same strategy this time around.”  

Another manager says: “But we cannot deny the fact that Yong Zheng’s shop layout is better than ours, and the quality of their service is generally better than Le Ya. Plus,  we’ve been in business for at least seven years.  Our shop will inevitably look more tired than a brand new shop.”  

“Yes, we must give our supermarket a good clean up, and put some emphasis and resources on staff training to make sure our service matches theirs.” Someone agrees with the manager.

“And we can meet their promotion deal.”  Someone else suggests.  “The customers are familiar with our shop.  People are creatures of habit.  I don’t believe they can snatch all of our customers.” 

……..  

As everyone is sharing their opinions, Mu Han Xia quickly jots down their thoughts.  She quickly realises her colleagues are very experienced sales staff.  A lot of the ideas are practical and good.  

Occasionally, she looks up at Meng Gang.  He is a good and competent leader.  He is quick to approve all the good ideas.  But he won’t shut people down immediately even if their ideas are not do-able.  He will ask plenty of questions, then put forward his views for why he think they won’t work.  This way, people don’t get offended or feel rejected.  

To conclude, the marketing manager says: “Manager Meng, I think we should settle for a 5% discount.   That will match or better the deal that Yong Zheng will be offering.  At the moment, our cashflow float is around two million dollars.  For a one week promotion, we will need to put in around one million dollars.  That should be sufficient.”

Meng Gang nods.  He agrees with this tactic. 

At the end of the day, it’s easier to defend than to attack.   The same discount for the same goods.  A customer will always choose the shop they are more familiar with.  
——————-


Mu Han Xia’s house is not far from the supermarket she works at.  The neighbourhood is like a village inside of a big city.  

In the evening.  

After she gets off the bus, she walks on a bumpy dust road back to an old rundown building.  She is covering her nose and mouth with her hand to avoid breathing in too much dust.  

The neighbourhood is half empty.  Most of the residents have moved to newer suburbs.  

She walks up six flight of stairs to her small little studio apartment.  She opens the door, puts her backpack on the floor and slumps into the sofa.  

“Ai……” She gives a long sigh.  It is as if she is happy and sad at the same time.

After a brief rest, she sits up.  She looks at the portraits of her parents, which are framed and mounted on the mottled wall.   She mutters to herself: “Mom, your daughter is awesome.  Today, Manager Meng promoted me to the role of marketing assistant.  I am not a sales person anymore.  I am now a white collar worker!”  

“Come to think of it, this is comparable to my high school friends that have a university degree.  But mind you, my results were better than theirs in high school.”

“It seems fortune is finally in my side.  Mom, Dad, I will burn you some paper money tomorrow.  And I will have a good meal myself. Finally, I am moving above the poverty line! We must celebrate.”

“I miss you both.”  Then she starts to cry.  But after a while, she wipes her tears and lies in bed in a daze.  

She remembers what Lin Mo Chen says today.  She feels very uneasy about the statement he made.  

Someone mentioned in the meeting today that Lin Mo Chen graduated at University of Columbia in the US.  One of the universities she wished she can study there one day.  Suddenly, she thinks of something.  She switches on her lap top and enters an internet chatroom.  

“Monkey, are you there?”

‘Monkey’ is one of her high school classmate. He is currently studying in New York - in the University of Columbia.  

Around midnight, ‘Monkey’ comes online: “Hi, class captain.  What makes you decide to contact an old friend?  What’s up?”

Mu Han Xia smiles.  She replies: “I can contact you just because I feel like it, right?  How are you anyway?”

Monkey: “I am well.  You know me.  I can still thrive under any situation.”  

Mu Han Xia: “Ha ha… That’s great.  But actually, I do have something I want to check with you.  Lin Mo Chen.  He graduated at University of Columbia.  Have you heard of him?”
Monkey: “No…. Is he in the same year as us?”

“No, he’s older than us by a few years.”

“Ok, I will ask around and get back to you soon.  Don’t worry.  I have lots of friends here.  And the Asian community is not that big.”

Mu Han Xia: “Thank you so much :)”

After a while, Monkey sends another line to her: “So, how’s life for you nowadays?”

Mu Han Xia pauses for a while, then answers: “Pretty good!”

Monkey sends back an emoji with a little man dancing.   

Mu Han Xia takes a look at the cute cartoon and laughs.  

———————-

The next morning, Mu Han Xia is formally transferred to the marketing department.  

Although she is still working in the same building, (just on a different floor), the scope of her work is so different.  A clean and quiet office.  Everyone is working behind their desk and their computer.  If they are not at their seats, then they are in a meeting somewhere, either in-house with other colleagues, or outside with suppliers / clients.  

Her supervisor introduces Mu Han Xia to the rest of the team.  On her first day of work, she is assigned some simple administrative tasks.  Mu Han Xia is friendly, humble, obliging and efficient.  She soon gains favour with all her colleagues. 

After work, Mu Han Xia meets up with He Jing. The two young ladies take a bus to the river side night markets.  After lots of kebabs and beer, they sit satisfyingly by the water’s edge and chat under the stars.

“Hey…..” He Jing looks at Mu Han Xia: “Tell me honestly, how much do you earn now?”

“Let me think….”  Mu Han Xia smiles: “Double the amount I used to earn.”  
   

“Wow!” He Jing exclaims and pretends to punch her face: “Hey, stop bragging in front of me…”

Thursday, 21 January 2016

Summer 3


Even though she spent quite a bit of time with him on the night of the accident, the lights were not bright then , and it was like looking through a layer of thin black gauze. But now, he stands in front of her. He looks immaculate in his suit and black shirt. 

His hands are inside the pockets of his trousers.  He lifts up his chin, and looks at her with an icy gaze.  

Her second impression of him is the same as her first - This man has the word ‘arrogant’ written all over him.  He is proud to the core.

“Mu Han Xia.”  He says her name slowly.

Mu Han Xia gives a puzzled expression on her face: “You are…”

He does not look pleased that she can’t remember him.

But Mu Han Xia can’t help but feel pleased that she managed to annoy him: “Oh, it’s you.  I remember now.  Hope you have completely recovered from your injuries.”

He gives her a soft “Hmm…” sound.

Mu Han Xia looks him in the eye and smiles at him: “Congratulations.”  She is genuinely happy for him.  

He gives her a quick glance and looks at the surroundings: “Let’s find a place to sit down and talk.”  

“I can’t leave my post.” Mu Han Xia answers: “What do you want to say to me?”

He is quiet for a moment: “You are a salesperson?” 

“Yes, I told you I wasn’t lying.” She puts her hands behind her back: “And to be more precise - a pretty and smart salesperson.”  

He is not taken by her humour.  He looks down and examines the cookies she made.  

Mu Han Xia places a few cookies in front of him: “Come on, give it a try.  My treat.”

He picks one up and pops it into his mouth.  She notices his hand is not like her other male colleagues.  His fingers are slim and long and his skin is very fair. 

“Well, how does it taste?”  She asks.

He didn’t answer her question.  Instead, he said: “I’ll buy all of your cookies.”

Mu Han Xia is stunned.  Now that’s the attitude of a rich man.  He is taking all the whole lot of her $5.5 per catty* cookies!  She laughs and says to him: “I can’t do that.  The most I can sell to one person is half a catty.”

(Note from TB: 1 catty is equivalent to approximately 600 grams) 

She swiftly packs up the cookies and passes the bag to him.  He stands quietly at the counter, watching her every move.

For a few minutes, no one speaks.  She secretly wonders in her mind if he will pass her a cheque as a gift of appreciation for saving his life.  

That’s ridiculous.  She thought to herself.  But somehow, her heart starts to pound…

He is taking his hand out of his pocket.  He is holding a piece of paper in his hand.  She blushes. 

Then she notices what the piece of paper is.  No, it’s not a cheque.  It’s… his name card?  He hands it to her.

A simple card in that’s in a pale gold colour.  No fancy designs.  Just two rows of words.  

Feng Chen Trading Company Limited

General Manager - Lin Mo Chen

She has not heard the name of this company before.  As for his name… Mmmm.. all the character are looks slender but powerful.  His name suits him.   

She quickly wipes off the oil and grease on her hands onto her apron. Then she reaches out with both hands to take his card. The sweet smell of baking fills the air.  

“Come and work in my company, as an administrative assistant.”  He says.

Mu Han Xia is most surprised to hear this.  She never expected this from him.  A job offer?  

“You…” A sense of warmth comes over her.  She is speechless for a moment.

As if her reaction is part of his expectation, he gives a faint smile: “Take your time to consider my offer.” 

“No…” Mu Han Xia interrupts him with a smile on her face.  She shakes her head: “Thanks, Lin Mo Chen.  Thanks for thinking so highly of me. But I’d rather stay here, in Le Ya.” 

Lin Mo Chen keeps quiet.  He gives her an icy gaze: “You would rather stay in a supermarket and be a salesperson?”  He asks.

Mu Han Xia laughs.  She thinks to herself, I am shifting to management soon.  But she answers him with a smile: “Yes, I love being a salesperson.”  

He keeps quiet again.  But Mu Han Xia can sense his mood change.   

Hey, what right does he has to be angry with her?  Is that the attitude of someone coming to show his appreciation to the person who saved his life?  She thinks to herself.

She is about to say something to ease the tension between them when he takes out his sunglasses from his pocket.  Looks like he is ready to go.  

She watches as he puts on his sunglasses.  He has a grim expression on his face.  Then he says something that’s beyond her expectations.

“In three months, I will force this store to close its doors for good.  Before that happens, you can come and join my company.  This is my repayment to you for saving my life.”

—————

Soon after Lin Mo Chen leaves, someone from management calls Mu Han Xia: “Mnanger Meng is calling for a meeting.  He has asked you to join us.”  

Mu Han Xia makes a quick dash to the toilet.  She gets out of her greasy uniform and puts on a T Shirt and a pair of jeans.  Then she looks at the girl that has no make up and who is slightly nervous in the mirror.  She lets her hair down, combs it with her hand and ties it back into a ponytail.  Yes, she is ready.

To make sure she is not late for her first meeting, she runs towards the conference room.  When she is a few steps away from the door, she slows down and walks casually into the room.  She is putting on a brave front, but inside she is nervous.  Her throat is feeling a little dry.  The room is packed full of people.  Meng Gang is sitting in the middle of the room.   As if he knows that she is looking at him, he lifts his head and looks towards the entrance.  Mu Han Xia smiles and nods respectfully.  Then she finds a seat in the corner of the room and sits down.  

Some people are smoking in the room.  Some people are talking in a low voice.  Mu Han Xia is holding a pen and a notebook.  It feels like a dream to be here.  

Soon, everyone is present.  

Meng Gang taps the table top with his hand softly: “Let’s start.”

The room quiets down.  Everyone, including Mu Han Xia is looking at Meng Gang. 

He starts speaking: “Yong Zheng Supermarket will be open for business in a month’s time.  We need to come up with some strategies to protect our market share.”

—————-

After Lin Mo Chen leaves Le Ya Supermarket, he heads to the hospital.  

Cheng Wei Wei is resting in the VIP ward.  There are two servants from the Cheng household there too.  When Cheng Wei Wei sees Lin Mo Chen entering the room, she dismisses the two servants.  

Lin Mo Chen sits down on the sofa.  Cheng Wei Wei squeezes a smile on her face.  Her head is wrapped in bandages, and her right leg is in a cast. 

“Did you find the girl who helped us?”  She asks.

Lin Mo Chen folds one leg on top the other, and rests his hand on his knee.  He looks at her: “Yes.”

“Repaying her kindness with a cheque… that should be sufficient. Right?”  She says.

Lin Mo Chen didn’t answer her.

Cheng Wei Wei looks at Lin Mo Chen.  He is a little pale from the injuries, but he is still as handsome and attractive as ever.  She sighs: “This is so unfair.  We were in the accident together.  You are free to roam about, and I have to stay in hospital for a whole month.”

Lin Mo Chen takes a bottle of mineral water.  He opens the lids and takes a sip: “Vivian, we are business partners.  What you are saying is, because of that, I have to suffer the same injuries as you in order for it to be fair?  Do you have any consideration for me?”  

Cheng Wei Wei was only joking of course: “Ok Ok… Jacky, you win.  But seriously, I invited you to help me plan the launch.   As you know, everyone in the company - the directors, their sons, and my brothers in law… they are all watching me closely.  This is an investment that involve a large amount of money.  I am going to be stuck here for another month, but I don't want anyone else to meddle with it.  Jacky, I am counting on you.”

Lin Mo Chen keeps quiet.  

Cheng Wei Wei looks at him sincerely: “Can you put aside your plans for setting up your own company, Feng Chen, for a while and focus on the launch and management of Yong Zheng for me for this next month?”  

Lin Mo Chen smiles.  He looks at her leg that is hanging in midair inside the cast.  She moans softly to indicate to him that her injuries are still giving her pain.  

Lin Mo Chen says: “Do I look like a man that would do anything for a woman?  Especially when you are not even my woman?”

Cheng Wei Wei feels there is a lump in her chest.  She controls her disappointment and says calmly: “I know.  Okay. Name your price.”

Lin Mo Chen looks at her: “When my company is up and running, All the Yong Zheng supermarkets will stock my products.  Plus, I want add another 5% margin to what I will get from the deal.”

Cheng Wei Wei agrees reluctantly: “Ok.  I agree to your terms.”

Lin Mo Chen smiles.

The sun has just set.  The sky is still bright from the remnants of daylight.  The pale light coming through the window and rests on Lin Mo Chen.  Since the first day she met him in the university, he has had this decisive and aloof stance about him.  He is an opportunist, ready to make more money at every available chance.  

She admires his good looks for a while, then she turns her head away from him: “The 
sales data report for Le Ya supermarket for the last few months is on the table.” 

Lin Mo Chen picks up the report and starts reading it.

Cheng Wei Wei says: “Jacky, I know this is not the most interesting job for you.  You are used to working in industries with more flexibility.  The business model for supermarkets is rigid.  There is not much room to move, and the revenue margins are small.  And because you only have one shop to work with, your only strategy is to initialise a price war.  But I can assure you that I have requested from the headquarters for a good amount of cashflow, and complete freedom to determine our strategies and business directions.   Hopefully, this will make it easier for you.”  


Cheng Wei Wei thought her words would win some praise and appreciation from Lin Mo Chen.  But instead, he doesn't even lift his head, and says to her: “What’s so difficult about the launch?  Price war?  I can win it with my eyes closed.”