Logic Is Not Worth Money
Liang Si-Yao really did turn up, and in such a timely manner too.
Xia Lei welcomed her and greeted, “Hello, Miss Liang.”
Liang Si-Yao also greeted Xia Lei, then said, “I saw you frowning. Did you have some sort of problem?”
“I handed in my application yesterday to register a company under the name ‘Thunder Horse Manufacturing’. It was fine yesterday but an employee here just told me that someone else had used the same name in an application and told me to change mine. This company name holds some very important meaning for me. I don’t want to change the name,” said Xia Lei.
Liang Si-Yao thought for a bit before she spoke, “Someone is definitely hindering your application and giving you trouble. Even if you do change the name, you would probably be told that someone else has applied with the same.”
Xia Lei suddenly thought of Gu Ke-Wen and Huang Yi-Hu. Either of them would have the power to do so.
“What do you plan to do?” asked Liang Si-Yao.
“I want to talk to their bureau chief. I don’t think they can be so unreasonable,” said Xia Lei.
“I studied business management in America and I’ve worked in several companies, mostly as a secretary. I have some experience. Let me go with you, maybe I can help,” said Liang Si-Yao.
“There’s more to you than meets the eye, huh. Okay, let’s go together.” Xia Lei did need an ‘expert’ like her to help him right now.
Xia Lei spotted the door-plate to the bureau chief’s office on the second storey right away when the two of them went up. He walked towards it with Liang Si-Yao and saw that the office door was closed.
Xia Lei willed his eye and it twitched; the office door became like air.
There was a man and a woman in the office talking in low voices and smiling, having what looked like a happy conversation.
Xia Lei looked at the woman’s face and immediately knew who was pulling strings from the shadows.
The woman sitting opposite the man was no other than Huang Yi-Hu’s wife, Li Yu-Lan, Director of Hai-Zhu City Chamber of Commerce.
The man sitting at the desk was the Trade and Commerce bureau chief, Liao De-Sheng. His nameplate was on his table.
Li Yu-Lan was born in 1980 and she was 35 years old, but looked to only be in her early thirties. She was young, good-looking and had flair. A woman that could catch the eye of Huang Yi-Hu was definitely not going to be sub-par.
Liao De-Sheng was an ordinary middle-aged man, clean-shaven and portly, like a typical official. People like him looked pale and plump, clean and easy-going but they were actually rotten in the gut and full of bad thoughts.
“Why aren’t you knocking?” asked Liang Si-Yao.
“Hold on,” said Xia Lei in a hushed voice.
Liang Si-Yao looked at Xia Lei curiously but said nothing and she didn’t knock on the door either.
Xia Lei’s left eye locked onto Liao De-Sheng’s lips and he lip-read their conversation.
“My husband would like to invite Chief Liao to a game of golf. Will you have time, Chief Liao?” Li Yu-Lan smiled charmingly and was very friendly.
Liao De-Sheng chuckled, “Oh, it’s just a small bit of help, it’s nothing much. What’s with the invitation to play golf? There’s no need for that, really.”
“You’re not seeing us as friends, Chief Liao? You’re good friends with my husband. It’s very normal for him to invite you to a game of golf even if there wasn’t the matter of Xia Lei to take care of. Do you not enjoy golf?” said Li Yu-Lan.
Liao De-Shan laughed, “Don’t say that. I’ll go, I’ll go, yes? I have to show respect to President Huang no matter what.”
“That’s settled then,” smiled Li Yu-Lan.
Liao De-Shan spoke again, “Oh, right. I heard that President Huang’s recently been very interested in acquiring the land close to Third Ring Road - is this true?”
“Mm. Yes, it’s true,” said Li Yu-Lan, “That piece of land is in a good location with a hospital and school within a two kilometre radius. There’s also a large shopping centre and it’s a good place to have a family. It’s most suitable for flats. Why do you mention this, Chief Liao? Do you have some connections?”
Liao De-Shan chuckled, “I can’t talk about connections but I do know some people. If President Huang wants, I can be the bridge for him and these people.”
“That’s good. I’ll thank you in advance, then. Have a good talk with my husband over the weekend. We’ll have to end here today. I’ll take my leave now.” Li Yu-Lan stood.
Liao De-Sheng also stood, “Madam Li, please let President Huang know that this Xia Lei will not be able to register any company in Hai-Zhu City. I can use any excuse to keep his company registration permanently in the application process. He can only dream of establishing his company.”
Li Yu-Lan just smiled, “Mm. Goodbye, Chief Liao.”
“I’ll send you out.” Liao De-Sheng moved forward to open the door.
Xia Lei stopped using his eye at that point and reached out, pushing the door open.
The instant the door opened, Liao De-Sheng and Li Yu-Lan stopped in their tracks at almost the same time and looked at Xia Lei and Liang Si-Yao in surprise. They did not know who Liang Si-Yao was but they’d seen Xia Lei’s picture, so they knew who the young man in the doorway was, and could guess what he was here for.
Liao De-Sheng quickly collected himself and put on a mask, speaking rudely, “Who are you? You didn’t even knock before entering. What’s wrong with you?”
Xia Lei smiled, “Excuse me, I was not paying attention and pushed the door open by accident.”
“No manners,” muttered Liao De-Sheng.
He spoke quietly but Xia Lei and Liang Si-Yao could still hear him clearly - it was as if he wasn’t worried about them being able to hear him and was saying it on purpose.
Liao De-Sheng turned to Li Yu-Lan and said, “I’ll send you out, Madam Li.”
Li Yu-Lan apoke, “No, I’m not in a hurry. I still have something to discuss with you but you should talk to this gentleman first. I’ll wait.”
Liao De-Sheng looked at Li Yu-Lan a little uncomprehendingly but he quickly understood her intention and said, “Of course. Please wait for me.” He then looked at Xia Lei, “What do you want?”
Liao De-Sheng was putting on a show and Li Yu-Lan was watching, observing her husband’s opponent while watching the show. This was one of her wiley ways.
Xia Lei went straight to the point, “Chief Liao, I would like to ask what’s going on. I handed in my application to register my company yesterday and your employee had already checked that the name ‘Thunder Horse Manufacturing’ was available and not a repetition of any prior company. I had also successfully submitted my application but I came today to ask about it and your employee informed me that someone else had registered the name and rejected my application. This is the situation now. I’d like to ask what is the reason for this?”
Liao De-Sheng snorted and a faint, contemptuous smile appeared on his lips, “I thought it was something big but it turns out it’s just a small matter. Someone else has registered the company name you want so you should just pick another name and apply again. Shoo, shoo. If you have any other questions you can ask at the consultation counters. I’m very busy and I have no time to talk to you.”
Xia Lei’s face darkened and he looked about to blow his top at any moment.
Li Yu-Lan stood to one side watching him and a faint gloating smile appeared on her lips.
At that moment, Liang Si-Yao interjected, “As a civil servant who should be serving the people, isn’t your attitude improper, Bureau Chief?”
Liao De-Sheng glared at Liang Si-Yo, “Who are you? Watch your words! Is there a need for you to comment on my attitude? If you’re not happy about it there’s a complaint box in the hall downstairs. You can complain about me there.”
“It’s because the complaints are useless that people like you can sit in this position and behave so high-handedly!” said Liang Si-Yao
“Get out!” Liao De-Sheng was pissed off and he shouted as pointed to the office doorway.
Liang Si-Yao also lost her temper, “What basis do you have to chase me out? This is a public place, not your own private room. You can call the police to arrest me. Go on.”
Liao De-Sheng was so angry he laughed, “I see, you two came to make trouble and obstruct official business. Very well, I’ll call the police now and have you arrested. You can look forward to spending half a month behind bars, no argument.”
“You-” Liang Si-Yao looked a little afraid.
“Let me talk to him,” said Xia Lei. He spoke to Liao De-Sheng, “Chief Liao, you don’t have to use the police to threaten us. My friend only said a few quarrelsome lines. She doesn’t have to be locked up for half a month over that, does she? I don’t want to waste your time either so I’ll ask you this - the company name I want to register, ‘Thunder Horse Manufacturing’, will never be approved, is that right?”
“Definitely not,” said Liao De-Sheng.
“You’ll use the same excuse to reject my application even if I change the name, won’t you?” said Xia Lei.
Liao De-Sheng laughed, “I say, young man, what’s with you? If you apply again and there is no other company with that name, we will definitely approve it. But if you like to use other companies’ names and they’re all the same, then I can’t do anything about it.”
“Looks like you really won’t let me start a company,” said Xia Lei.
Liao De-Sheng and Li Yu-Lan both smiled gloatingly.
Xia Lei took out his mobile phone and opened his contacts page, then dialled a number. He spoke into the phone, “Mr Zhou? This is Xia Lei. I’ve run into some trouble. Can you come help me out?”
“What trouble do you have, Mr Xia?” came Zhou We’s voice over the phone.
“I am in the Hai-Zhu City Trade and Commerce Bureau applying to register my company. A bureau chief is hindering my application on purpose and not letting me get approval. I tried to reason with him but he refused. What do you think I should do? I have no options.”
“There are still such pricks around? Wait there, we will come right away.” Zhou Wei hung up angrily.
Xia Lei put his phone away then looked calmly at Liao De-Sheng. A gloating smile also appeared on his lips.
Liao De-Sheng was mostly indifferent but when he saw Xia Lei’s gloating smile, he begun to lose confidence and asked probingly, “Who did you call just now?”
“A friend,” said Xia Lei casually.
“What friend?” asked Liao De-Sheng again.
Xia Lei snapped, “Why do you care so much?”
“You-” Liao De-Sheng was fuming mad.
Li Yu-Lan laughed, “Chief Liao, young people these days have bad tempers and love to boast. You’re an adult so let him be. This is interesting. I, too, want to see what friend this young man has invited over to help.”
After hearing Li Yu-Lan say that, Liao De-Sheng seemed to get some surety and he grew bold. “Fine, I’d like to see which friend this punk asked for help from too. Did you think that I would approve your application which did not meet the requirements if you got your friend to come here? Keep dreaming!”
Xia Lei couldn’t be bothered to speak further with Liao De-Sheng. He turned to Liang Si-Yao and said, “Miss Liao, let’s sit while we wait.”
Liang Si-Yao was very curious about the friend Xia Lei had called to help; it was as if he’d planned it all in advance. She gave a soft sound of agreement, then sat with Xia Lei on a sofa in the office.
An atmosphere of silence settled in the room.
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