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Be a little wiser

Sometimes you just have to cut your losses and move on.  That’s the situation we faced with The Red Dragon restaurant this week.  It’s been open for a little under three months, but just hasn’t seemed to catch on.  The style of food was not the typical Chinese food that most expats are used to.  The chefs were from Beijing and offered a “Northern Chinese” menu.

So, reluctantly we decided to close it.  Did we make that decision too early?  Hard to say.  But we didn’t see a path were even changing menu items would make a difference.  What really settled it for us was a comment by an Ecuadorian customer who loved the food.  He told me, “We love the food, but even so, we only eat Chinese food once a month.”  That was market research we should have discovered BEFORE we opened!

Anyway, in my youth, these kinds of decisions took much longer to make.  It was a matter of thinking “I haven’t tried everything yet.” or “I don’t want people to think I failed.”  Sort of an over-abundance of confidence and too strong a sense of pride.

Chinese dining, Beijing style

But age, experience and a little bit of what I hope is wisdom, has taught that it’s okay to admit an idea didn’t work.  And, I don’t care as much what people think about me anymore.

So, with no fanfare we closed The Red Dragon this week.

The other big disappointment for me this week were the mid-term elections in the U.S.  While the Democrats taking control of the House of Representatives was a high note (I think it’s critical for any democracy to have a balance of power, and at least that is now the case), I was very disappointed in the outcomes of the Gubernatorial races in Florida and Georgia.

Party affiliation aside, what disturbed me the most in these races was the question of how race affected the elections.  Conservatives will deny it, but there were clearly racial undertones to both of those races.  And some of the comments (e.g., “monkey this up”) bordered on outright racism.

I thought my home country was better than that.  But politics in the U.S. has gotten ugly.  Very ugly.  I’m at the point that I don’t read the news from the U.S. as often as I used to; the mid-term elections had a huge role in that change of habit.

Now, U.S. politics in my lifetime have never been pretty.  But the last two elections have taken a sharp turn away from any civility and are beginning to look like the ridiculous side shows we see in Italy and some other yellow-journalism countries.

Who’s to blame?  I don’t frankly care anymore.  Because nothing we do at this point is going to put this genie back into the bottle.

That means we Americans are going to have to get smarter about what we read, what we choose to believe and what actually matters the most to us.  We need to stop letting politicians tell us what is important and decide for ourselves what is essential for the country’s prosperity.  We need to actually start to THINK and not follow.

Because if we don’t, more and more of us are going to decide to cut our losses and walk away from our home country altogether.

I’m just sayin.’