Chapter 2: A Capitalist and a Communist I
They got to know each other for the first time three weeks ago, in the virtual world. Shiny and Patrick, each on their own decided -- within two days from each other, they later found out -- to give online dating a try. Like many in this information age, they thought it was easier, or perhaps safer, to find love through a façade, at least initially.
Patrick was an up-and-coming young banker. Careerwise, one can say he has been having a sweet ride, being just promoted to the number two position in an international bank in Hong Kong, overseeing fourteen branches, all in his mid-30’s. This promise, however, was hardly detected in his first couple of decades of life.
As a student, he didn’t seem to be outstandingly bright. He was no big pushover, sure, but his academic performance, or any other performances, had ever seared a distinct impression with his teachers or peers. It didn’t help that he was unusually quiet. He could be active and showed glimpses of leadership when doing something he liked and was good at, like playing basketball. But other than that, he was bland and detached. In school, he has never really had many friends either, preferring to be on his own, mulling over his own thoughts.
He took up the hobby – passion, really -- of daydreaming in his early teens. Unlike most youngsters who harbored similar disposition, he actually thought he had talents in this undertaking and pursued it quite seriously for a long number of years. In college, although his inclination was to explore ideas, he tried to study medicine at the Chinese University of Hong Kong to accommodate his parents’ wishes. Blood and the gloominess of illness so traumatized him he quickly turned to philosophy, something he thought he could find peace at.
But shortly, he found out that formalizing his hobby was not as fun, nor particularly easy, as treating it his private entertainment. In his sophomore year, metaphysics first helped cast doubts on the existence of his self-believed talents.
In the class he argued with his bearded professor about the identity of matters, contending that the identity was revealed in the relation among every and all matters, and that the identity was borne in the relation itself only, not on matters themselves, as matters independent of or in the absence of relation bore no identity. His contention that relation was the only existence and, therefore, the identity of matters, was met with amusement but unsupportive acquiescence from the professor. He passed the subject but barely.
Later, it was Wittgenstein who did the trick. He was completely lost in trying to make sense out of Tractatus. Disappointed at himself, he switched to business and graduated with a double major.
His first forage for jobs hadn’t shown the least sign of success he later enjoyed either. It took him almost a year to land his first formal job, working in the shipping department of a shipping company, which nicely called itself a logistics corporation. His title was shipping assistant manager, but he functioned more like an all-purpose errand boy for different departments.
(to be continued...)