Party-P and the Trivial Acquaintanceship

パリピー or party-p, is a Japanese term used to refer to party people, or people who love to party. Much to the surprise of many of my long-time friends, that was a term associated with me by my Korean language teacher. The reason being, when I first started studying Korean toward the end of 2012, I also met many people at random drinking events who constantly organized such and other random home parties. During that time, particularly when I was doing full-time freelance work, I was constantly participating in event after event. So much so that, each week when my Korean teacher goes round the class asking everyone what we did the previous week and what plans we have the following week, my response was almost always to the likes of “I’m going to a drinking party” or “I went to a home party.” And even though I hadn’t been “partying” for the last couple of years now because of age, the teacher occasionally still jokes about it.

One fateful day in 2015, I received a phone call that got me back into working in a company and ended my freelance days. A year later, I left the company and decided to go back to my freelance days. But having turned away all my freelance work prior to joining the company, it wasn’t easy getting all the assignments back. At that time, I recalled one Japanese friend whom I met in Singapore some 10 years ago, and at whose company I taught English during my freelance time. I contacted him again and asked if there was anything I could do for his company other than teaching English to his staff, and there began my work at his company.

When this company was looking for a model for our product, I decided to ask my Korean teacher who happens to be a very attractive lady. A week following the photo shoot, she said to me that my company’s president is very young. I told her that he’s my friend who’s about my age, and she sneered thinking I was bullshitting. When I said I got to know him 10 years ago when he was studying in Singapore, she finally believed me.

It’s been over a year since I worked at his company, and during this period, a few other former bosses and colleagues have tried introducing me to positions at their companies, which eventually brought me to this Korean startup.

When my Korean language classmates learned that someone with as little interest in anything Korean as I, got a job with a Korean company, they were surprised and asked how I managed to find it. I honestly said it was introduced to me by a friend and former teammate and they went, “Wow, where do you find such connections? You always seem to have a lot of connections.”

Before I could answer, my teacher said, “Must be from parties. He’s a Party-P! Let’s all start going parties.” I laughed along but realized, none of the significant stuff or things that mattered to me were through people I met at parties. When I think about the number of people I met at parties who play an important role in my life, or are even still in my life, I realized it’s almost zero. The relationships forged at such parties were so shallow, I don’t even remember most of them.

I look back at those still on my Facebook; the same people who constantly Liked my every post back when they wanted me to join their MLM network. But now that I’m not doing it and they know I won’t be doing it, they’ve stopped all forms of expression of Likes. Not that it’s important to me. Some couple of years ago when I was invited to one of their top leader’s home to speak about helping them check the quality of translation for their marketing material, I looked at it and said, that’s machine translated. They wanted me to help and I just said I’m too busy to take on more work. The leader dug into his pocket and pulled out a 5,000 yen note, slid it into my hand and said, “I’m counting on you.” The others who saw that said, “Wow, usually people won’t get that.” I looked at the 5,000 yen note in my hand and looked at the document to be translated, I almost wanted to tell him, “this 5,000 yen is not even enough to pay me to translate half the document.” But as I didn’t want the top leader to lose face, and also because he’s a gentleman I respect (regardless of his wealth), I decided to do it for the first and last time.

Thinking about this, I’ve begun to feel thankful I haven’t been spending too much time participating in parties in the last few years (although I still do very occasionally), because the people who matter to me are mostly from all other sources, and I’d rather spend time forging these stronger and more meaningful relationships. After all, Party-P’s are really just after fun in the moment. Nobody really cares what happens after; except the MLM people.

But that’s for a different reason.


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