Friday, July 24, 2009

Taiwan characters: Pierre and the immigration business I

Pierre's next attempt at not being pigeon-holed as a teacher was an immigration business. And, like all his other attempts at a business, it hadn't fallen very far from the teaching tree.
“I ‘ave set up an immigration agency to advise on emigrating to or studying in France,” announced Pierre.
“What the fuck do you know about emigrating to France?” said John. Since he saved Pierre's life he felt the right to point out the obvious at every turn.
Josh still hadn't learnt to stop considering Pierre's plans. “Not a bad idea, man, but I think this is already a competitive market with sophisticated structures in place. You need to generate a lot of contacts in France. Meet some lawyers there. It is going to take a while and a lot of money to establish a credible brand name...But an interesting challenge, I think.”
‘Anyway!’ said Pierre dismissing Josh's help with an expression that said why do you have to couch business in such bullshit ways when it was simple. “I have already figured it all out. I already have a friend of mine going to all the other agencies, pretending to be interested in immigrating. Once I know the procedures and costs I under cut them. I cannot afford advertising, but I have my contacts at the French school and I will keep it small. Let the word of mouth of what I am doing spread. You know I don’t mind talking to people…You know what the real fuckin’ clincher is: I am really sending them to England, but going via France because it is easier to get in.”
“Sounds a bit like a foreigner job to me,” spat out John. After teacher it was a few small steps to agency for sending students to your country, and then helping Taiwanese emigrate. You weren’t even stretching the sides of the cultural straight jacket.
“Not at all," said Pierre. "Most companies in this industry are Taiwanese and I am not telling people I can do this, or you should work with because I am a foreigner. I go to them and say, “me being a foreigner offers you nothing, but I am offering you a better deal as a person. It is better for you to work with me.”
We all felt very sick for 10 minutes or so.

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