China Diary:
Farewell Banquets

[Returning to Shanghai] [Spring Festival] [Chinese New Year] [Fulbright Mid-Year Conference] [Back to School] [Back Online] [Into the Heartland] [Ancient Capitals] [Judeo-Christian Holidays] [From Albany to Zurich] [Yellow Mountain] [Loose Ends] [Hello, Debbie ... Goodbye, Debbie] [Southern Capital] [Tropical Tour] [Unwinding] [Farewell Banquets] [Winding Down] [Good Bye, Shanghai]

June 7: Waiban Banquet – It is now entering the rainy season, as well as the time for saying farewells. In the afternoon, I meet my Fudan colleague who is interested in restructuring State-Owned Enterprises. He has a good relationship with my home institution and we discuss collaborating in the future. For dinner, Kathleen and I host a banquet for the Waiban office as well as our teaching assistants and their spouses. Jade orders the dishes, and the meal is great. We exchange gifts and pleasantries, and promise to continue our relationships.

June 8: The End of "Strategic Management" – In the morning, I participate at a workshop on Human Resource Strategies for State-Owned Enterprises. It is co-sponsored by Talent Exploitation magazine which is run by the former vice-Mayor of Shanghai, and the head of the Shanghai Personnel Bureau which is responsible for placing workers in public enterprises. Attendees include government officials, chief SOE directors, academics, and members of the press. My talk is on "HR Strategies for SOE’s in Transition to a Market Economy." I once again exhort them about creativity, innovation, leadership, risk-taking, and initiative, and Jackie is my interpreter. It is followed by a lunch banquet and I sit next to the former vice-Mayor. Turns out he learned strategy in the Red Army, having been trained by Chairman Mao. In the afternoon, I have my last session for the course I am teaching for the MBA Program. Our large electronic classroom is occupied so we move upstairs to more humble facilities. After finding an overhead projector, I manage to complete the text materials. After some farewell comments, the class gives me a nice applause. Later, the usual suspects gather in Mark’s apartment for our farewell spaghetti dinner. A former Fulbrighter to Fudan happens to be visiting so he joins us, along with his friend. It’s been exactly seven months since the Nanyuan Experts House I-Da-Li/Mei-Guo (Italian-American) Cultural Affairs Committee arranged for a private screening of "The Godfather" (Part I). So, after dinner some of us move to Renny’s apartment to watch "The Godfather" (Part II). But one by one we are wiped out so only manage to get about half way through before calling it an evening.

June 9: Linda’s Pizza Banquet – In the afternoon I meet my friend Zhen from Wenzhou who arranged for my company visits there last fall. He just successfully defended his masters thesis for Electrical Engineering and will become the marketing manager for Guo ("Kingdom") Long ("Dragon"), a local startup which designs computer chips and multimedia products. Hoping to go to the U.S. next year, he will take the GMAT at the end of this month. For dinner, I take Linda to Mr. Pizza. She is leaving Friday and I wanted to thank her for being a good colleague and taking care of Debbie when they were hanging out together. When I return home I am paid a surprise visit by fellow Fulbrighter Bill and his wife Lydia. They are in Lanzhou this year but are in Fudan to give a lecture. But the night is still young, so Maurice and I go downtown and meet up with Akif.

June 10: Management School – I take the Assistant to the Dean/Deputy Director of  the International MBA Program to lunch. We exchange gifts and promises to continue working together. For dinner, the Management School hosts a farewell banquet for me and Linda. Several colleagues attend, as well as Jackie, and they hear Linda and me talk about our experiences here. After dinner, I go to the revolving restaurant at the top of the Ocean Hotel for drinks and a view of Shanghai night lights. Oh, yeah, it’s also Debbie’s birthday today.

June 11: Movie Night – Linda left for the U.S. early this morning. One of my friends manages a joint-venture and invites me to tour her operations followed by a farewell lunch. In this city which has been China’s window on the Western world for over a century, she says I am her only foreign friend. After, I go to campus to pay my Internet account for (I hope!) the last time and have them forward all my E-mail to my new Hotmail account. I go home to meet Harry from the Shanghai Chamber of Commerce, who comes by to give me an invitation for one of their events as well as a personal farewell gift. I take him for a beer and we discuss his career and education options. In the evening, Jade and I go downtown to an apartment which serves as a film set. I have been asked to be in a local TV series being produced by Shanghai TV and China Central TV. It is about three generations of Fudan students, and I play husband number two (out of three) of the Chinese woman from the middle generation. My part is a New York intellectual down on his luck but rich in character whose life turns around in the end when his book is finally published. We film two scenes with me and my ex-wife and it takes until 11:00, and then the producer, director, and my "ex-wife" (a popular Chinese actress) go to Paulaner. I strike up a conversation with a well-to-do American-Born Chinese who has has gotten rich by illegally selling tobacco products here for eight years. It has the makings of a film on business ethics.

June 13: Sunday Hangover – I met Akif Saturday night, and his diplomatic plates make parking in downtown Shanghai easy. After midnight we leave MGM, where he has been chatting with the manager, and take the bridge to PuDong and the Shangri-La Hotel for some late snacks. But we are too late, so we take the tunnel back toward downtown and eventually find our way to Ju Lu Lu which is renown for being open round the clock. There are also some street vendors there, including a hot dog stand and the wieners tie me over. Sunday morning I sleep late until my MBA student and sometime basketball player Lesley comes over to give me a wall hanging for a present. It has finally stopped raining and is now hot and sunny outside, so by late afternoon I go to the basketball courts for a two-hour workout. Kathleen has been traveling every week, and she just returned from Harbin so she meets me and Maurice for dinner and we get caught up. In the evening, Jackie, Fenwick, and another graduate student (same three who took me to Pizza Hut last fall to celebrate obtaining scholarships) successfully defend their masters theses. Jackie’s thesis examined foreign-invested enterprises in Shanghai, and the faculty rated his as excellent. They take their faculty advisors to a celebratory banquet, and afterward the three students along with one of the faculty members come over and we five go to a local disco. The three newly-minted masters go on to bowl the night away, while we two faculty members head home.

[Returning to Shanghai] [Spring Festival] [Chinese New Year] [Fulbright Mid-Year Conference] [Back to School] [Back Online] [Into the Heartland] [Ancient Capitals] [Judeo-Christian Holidays] [From Albany to Zurich] [Yellow Mountain] [Loose Ends] [Hello, Debbie ... Goodbye, Debbie] [Southern Capital] [Tropical Tour] [Unwinding] [Farewell Banquets] [Winding Down] [Good Bye, Shanghai]


Copyright 1999 Paul Miesing. All rights reserved. Please do not use without permission unless in the People’s Republic of China which does not enforce intellectual property rights. Revised on January 17, 2001.