About Me

My photo
Jakarta, Indonesia
Indonesia is the 7th country I've lived in. Slightly gay & in genteel decline, martini at hand, opera on loud. Toujours exil. This is a personal blog under a nom de plume (as it might be awkward if people were to associate my personal views associated with my employer or its work)

Sunday, 27 January 2013

About the author of this blog

The author of this blog was born in England, an only child, in 1969 (so at the time of writing is 301 in gay years: which are like dog years but flamier). His parents divorced when he was young and lived in different places. For a while he was parked at an aunt's in Cornwall... At first, after she was gone (running off with someone else's husband), his father told him his mother had died (& kept this up for four days). The eventual revelation was rather messy. In the end, the court declared her 'an unfit parent'. She was then, for almost a year after, banned from seeing her son. Ironically he now sees his mother a fair amount: the author has not spoken to his father - who lawyers advise is still not dead - since he turned 21. 
My graduation day outside my college rooms
It was an uneventful if slightly lonely childhood spent mostly with books. Living with his father before boarding school, he was brought up by a nanny. He was educated at Charterhouse School (where he was a scholar) and then read law at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge University.  Academically he is proudest that, at age fifteen, he taught himself Ancient History 'O' Level, arranging directly with the examining board to sit the exam at London University (he got an 'A').

About the gay thing he is a bit of a cliché (Roman Catholic) and a product of his generation - that group that blossomed sexually during the height of mid-1980s AIDS panic - so he's never, in truth, been completely comfortable with it (but see 'shy' in last para, below). He got off to a rocky start after being sexually pestered by a fellow pupil and then, worse, assaulted by a school master after he left school. A period of somewhat relentless promiscuity followed in Italy - a 'year out' - between school and university.

Ah. Italy. Twelve months now remembered in Technicolour and vivid detail: first opera (La Boheme); first real lover - a dubious British expat rake and alcoholic (a lot older but with a lovely villa) - and first paid job (barman in a private club). Virtually all vacations, across uni years, were spent in Italy.

The author found Cambridge a disappointment. After three years in the festering fen, he decided he wasn't clever-enough to be a barrister so - not wanting to be a solicitor and banned from the Diplomatic Service (gays were illegal then) - he did post-graduate studies in accountancy and passed London Stock Exchange exams, becoming an investment banker at the start of the 1990s. It was that or management consultancy.

He left banking and changed career tack completely in the mid-1990s, focusing on UK government stuff. In the late 1990s he also spent a lot of time commuting between London and Brussels; with many forays to Washington & New York. A significant moment was his first business trip to Kazakhstan in 1998 which, in retrospect, was to put his life on yet another tack.

Austrian House-lad
In 2000 he really got the travel bug ,after a three-month sabbatical in Syria; during which time he also fell in love with Beirut. He fancied a posting in the Middle East but did not support the illegal & immoral war in Iraq so that put paid to that idea. He found himself living in the French Caribbean, and working on projects both in the Caribbean and around the world (including two projects in Turkey). He popped in and out of Haiti, Trinidad, Puerto Rico and Venezuela. In Guadeloupe he 'rescued' a 20-year old Austrian lad from the clutches of a devious Italian. In return for free food and accommodation etc., the Austrian lad chauffeured the author (who has never learnt to drive) and taught him to scuba-dive, which was pretty cool considering where we lived.

The author was posted to Moscow early in 2004 (where he was to keep a home for the next six years). From 2005 he began to run the ‘Eurasia’ region for his employer, progressively running teams and projects in Kazakhstan (the previous experience came in useful), Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan and Belarus. He was in Kyiv so often at one time he used to keep a flat there; charting the ups, downs & downright tunnelling of its 'democracy' after the Orange Revolution. In Belarus he got to make friends with the President's inner circle, just before the human rights stuff went pear-shaped. He got to travel around all these countries which was amazing, before Turkey was added to his patch in 2009. 
2nd Bosphorous Bridge
After initially commuting - 2 weeks on / weeks off - between homes in Moscow and Istanbul for twelve months, he moved full-time to the latter in Fall 2009. In retrospect Moscow was an incredible place of fantastic culture. There he found clever, colourful, passionate, awesome (and occasionally slightly eccentric) friends. Living in Moscow & twice-weekly trips to the Bolshoi, or one of the city's other opera houses, deepened his love of opera and awoke a love of ballet. He started to collect art, about which he is as passionate as limited means will allow. Istanbul was all kinds of other amazing: the most vibrant city on earth.
The dogs at home, Jakarta
He was posted to Indonesia in 2011, moving to Jakarta (where there is not much opera or ballet but some interesting art).  He runs his employers' Indonesian operations and studies developments in the region's governments across the ASEAN countries (as well as ASEAN itself).  He also chairs his employer's global Ethics Committee. So 'emerging markets' now seem to be his thing; particularly those with 'asymmetric democracries'. He has also acquired two dogs along the way: Toska and Nabuko. He has on occasion been bugged both at home and at work - once, with his knowledge, by his own employer - and very briefly, in Russia, had an armed body-guard (is there really any other kind?). Since Turkey he has been spoilt by having full-time servants at home. He has fallen completely in love with Vietnam and regularly goes to Singapore and elsewhere in South East Asia.
A street scene in Hanoi

After a long stint living abroad, even the concept of moving back to the UK seems very odd (& no servants horrifying) so now 'professional foreigner' is the best personal tag. The author is shy, inwardly rather nervous of new people, & hates speaking or presenting to large groups (his job requires him to do all of these things). Like many shy people he sometimes, through over-compensation, becomes the biggest [coughs] performer in the room.

No comments:

Post a Comment