An interesting client

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Apr 29, 2014 12:20
Yesterday I got an interesting client who came to our firm to lodge her tax return with the tax office. She has a Chinese surname, so I imaged she would be someone of Chinese descent before she came.

She was a bit early when she came. And she was indeed Asian. When she saw that I was Asian myself, she asked me if I could speak Mandarin. I said yes and she switched into Mandarin. I was pretty sure she was not from Mainland China because her Chinese surname was spelt differently than the normal Chinese pinxin spelling.

She was an old lady. After receiving a penalty notice from the tax office for not declaring her tax on time, she hurried to our firm looking distressed. I suggested that she lodge her tax returns that were due straight away to avoid further penalties. And that's what I did for her.

She is pension age, but she still works for the post office and teaches Chinese on the side. "Are you perhaps Vietnamese?" I ventured. "No, I'm from East Timor" she replied.

East Timor. I've heard of the country, but I don't know the first thing about it. I vaguely remembered that there had been some boat people and illegal immigrants from the country.

I've seen people of Chinese descent from Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam, but not East Timor. I can't for the life of me see why people would choose to live in that country, but each to their own, I guess. On the other hand, I'm happy that there are Chinese speaking people in a country as remote as East Timor.

It was enjoyable to talk to her and learn about a country I'd known nothing about before. At the end of her session with me, she asked for my full name and promised to come back to see me again in the tax season.