Garden Party (cont’d)

Our CTO grew up in the South (his home state is either North Carolina or South Carolina, I forgot which). He still carries that air of a southern gentleman despite his years spent with northern folks in Berkeley, Cornell, Bell Lab, and the silicon valley. He talks slowly and his voice is on the quiet side. He always carries this hint of an amuzed smile. There is always this spark dancing in his eyes whenever he is talking. It makes his enthusiastic seems childlike and pure. He likes to wear turtlenecks, especially black ones. Sometimes you’d easily mistaken him for one of the artists wandered out of SoMa. He looked a bit out of place among us geeks. Even though we all know that he is the biggest geek of us all. 🙂

I’ve heard of our CEO a lot earlier than i knew of our CTO. She was popular among the media, being a self-made entrepreneur, a woman from a minority group(she is born and raised in Taiwan, came to the states for her ph.d. in cs at Perdu); she is well known for her intense desire to win and to achive. After I’ve worked here for almost four years, she still seems to be a person who lives only in the media-newspaper, tvnews and internet chat rooms. Meanwhile I’ve grown to know and to be fond of our CTO, who has avoided the spotlight and only remained well known within the academic circle and the technical groups.

So when i entered their place, there was a brief moment of indecision. Because naturally one should approach the hostess first and compliment her on the beauty of the place. But i was so relieved that CTO came to us first and i avoided a greeting with our hostess. Alas, I was feeling another grievances then. When i came to work in the morning i noticed almost all the women were dressed up. It took me a while to realize it was because of the party. I, on the other hand, having a dull morning and feeling rather serious, jumped into the most formal and rigid outfit-a black long sleeve dress shirt, black dress pants, and black sandle. Standing in the soft light and floral air, i felt like a black witch with her camera.

Deep down inside I have tons of respect and admiration for our CEO. When i was interviewing with the company, she was one of the main motivations for me to join. I looked up to her. I still do, despite all the bad mouthing on the yahoo message board and her stepping down from her position as the CEO. I will cheer for her whatever she is going to do next. To accomplish what she has accomplished, to lead us to where we are today, she is absolutely amazing. She has guts. When i interviewed with the company, we were still rather small. Both of them know the name of every engineer. When i interviewed with our CTO, he sensed my admiration for his wife and he talked her into giving me 10 minutes to answer any questions and to convince me to join. I think when i sat in her office then, i felt the same way as i stood at the gate of her house in Atherton now, like a little child being led to meet her reverand hero. Awe struck, dry mouthed, and perspiring profusely… I so want to get to know her, but i don’t know if i would ever…

When she led a group of women to see her herb garden, i sneaked out her husband’s wine tasting group and tagged along at the end. Later i tried to make small talk at the humus table and asked her about the new office we have just signed up in Downtown Beijing. She turned all animated and dashed in the house to retrieve a copy of brochure for me. Immediately i was surrounded by my Chinese co-workers and conversation turned into public transportation in today’s modern beijing, which is so different from the bicycle army days that i remembered during my highschool days.

Later being the anti-social me, i wandered into our CTO’s theatre room by the pool to watch the Matrix. Our host came in to discuss Hero with me. We ended up arguing about the ending, in which the assasin decided to abandon his life-long pursue of the Empire at the last moment, gave up his life willingly, all because he suddenly had the revelation that allowing the Empire to live and unit China would be much wiser than to take him out and to leave the common people the suffering in a warring and segregated city-state chaos.

I hated it because it recalled all the communist ideals we had been taught since grade school – that we shall sacrifice individuality for the common good of the People. Our CTO, however, was seeing it through the lense of an American, believed it was a very wise ending. He explained to me the 14th centure Italian philosopher whose theory was that to be united by one strong dicatator is much more preferrable than the divided city-states structure Italy had then. He also explained to me how it sounded more like “the end justifies the means” rather than “sacrificing individual’s will for the people”. I could see his point. He saw mine as well. My immidiate reaction was conditioned by my upbringing and my sensitivity to any state overrules individual crap.

However, while i stood in that lovely room listening to him explain ancient Italian philosophy, i thought also of our social status in the current society. The ending of Hero is undoubtly more favoritely received by rulers and head of a state. Because they need a way to rule the masses. For them, stability and homogenity are far more important than individuality and creativity. He, being rich and relatively powerful, does belong to the “ruling class” within this little kingdom of our company. I, on the other hand, am the one that is been ruled. ÖÆÈË£¬ÓëÊÜÖÆÓëÈ˵ÄÇø±ð¡£