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The Diary of Anne Ku


28 May 2000 Sunday, rained all night

My high school band teacher used to say:

"If you're early, you're on time
If you're on time, you're late.
If you're late, then forget you're even here."

My first lesson in punctuality, however, took place during my first visit to Germany.  Just as we were sitting down for a big German breakfast of fresh bread, schinken, and cheese, my friend Thomas showed up.  He insisted that 9 am meant 9 am, and we should depart immediately for the Neuschwannstein - the famous fairy tale castle of Mad King Ludwig.   By being late (i.e. not ready in this case), I was showing a lack of respect for his time.  Time is, after all, money.  The German Rail prides itself in being "punctlich."  If it is ever late, the staff would apologise with great regret and remorse.

Yesterday I became increasingly concerned when my Swiss friend didn't show up at 6 pm.  After several attempts to find her, I finally saw her at 6:20 pm looking very flustered.  She had apparently waited for me at the "main building" not the "ground floor where the swimming pool is located."  This was a misunderstanding on both sides - quite forgiveable.

She had actually arrived at 5:55 pm, for being Swiss meant being early.  Being Chinese, I felt ever so guilty for not being more specific about the meeting place.