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Company Party

8 Apr

Brett and The King of PopI think most Americans would agree that the era of over the top company holiday parties is somewhat a thing of the past.  This is definitely NOT the case here in China!  In fact, the Year End NCGA (Brett’s company) party was one of the most fascinating events I have ever attended.

Our first clue that the soiree was not going to be a typical year end celebration came about 3 weeks prior to the event when Brett was approached by a few staff members and asked to participate in the company wide competition on the night of the party.  I mean – why pay for professional entertainment when the company has an abundance of employees more than willing to humiliate themselves for a laugh?  When Brett accepted the request for him to play the role of Michael Jackson as a part of the corporate team, I knew that I was in for a treat!

The competition proved to be far more intense than we expected.  Brett attended dance practice 3 to 4 times a week, props and costumes were purchased, and dress rehearsals were held.  When the night of the event finally arrived, I couldn’t wait to see “Mr. Jackson” up on the stage.

As a performer, Brett had to arrive many hours earlier  – so I had the unforgettable experience of walking into a room of over 900 extremely excited Chinese people all by my lonesome.  The celebration began almost immediately.  Wine and champagne were passed around and the “Gan Bei’s” commenced.  Gan Bei, the phrase used for toasting in China, literally means, “dry the cup”.  Honestly, I had never shot an entire flute of champagne before.  I would not recommend it.

After an hour or so of shooting drinks that should never be shot, everyone was seated and the show began.  Brett’s performance was legen…wait for it…dary!  He nailed it.  I literally could not take pictures fast enough.  They even won 3rd place (1st place went to an unbeatable group of men dressed as ladies in the Chinese version of a beauty pageant).

A 12-course sit down dinner was served after the show.  Well…it was 12 courses for the executives.  As best I could tell, the other 880 guests were eating some sort of simple rice dish.  I mean at least AIG had the decency to spend government bail out money on a gourmet meal for all of their employees, right?

The night ended with most everyone dancing on some sort of higher surface – a chair, a table, or the stage.  It was a fantastic night – made even more fantastic by the fact that I got to see Brett moon walk across a massive stage and that, once again, I got to be the only blonde in a room of almost 1000 people.

Beijing Tip: At the end of the Chinese calendar year, it is appropriate to give red envelopes with money inside to those who have helped you throughout the year: nannies, doormen, drivers, assistants, etc.  In fact, red envelopes are used for all monetary gifts given for weddings, graduations, and other celebratory events.

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