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Sooho Novel Chapter 156
Miss Brazil, Alice Rima was bored.
She managed to beat Miss USA to become Miss Universe, but as a result of the New York and London terrorist attacks, the response wasn’t so good. And for that reason, she started her world tour earlier than usual. They called it volunteering for peace, but in the end, all the events were for sales. Contrarily to the reputation of the world beauty pageants, they weren’t run by an international organization.
The feminists didn’t like this, but the world beauty pageants were like the last resort for a woman to elevate their status. It was true that the better their hair, the higher their chances of winning the competition, but beauty was something people were born with. There were many accidents that took place at this year’s Miss Universe competition, and the fact that Miss Venezuela was disqualified in the preliminaries let alone win the competition was a huge shock to everyone.
‘After all, Venezuela is a mess right now.’
The Miss Universe competition was strictly business. Miss World, which was run by a British company, focused on beauty, while Miss Universe strongly focused on talents that could sell well. If they didn’t have outstanding visuals or a stunning figure, they had no choice but to consider sponsorships and support from their country.
The oil nation, Venezuela was in so much trouble that they were faced with a civil war. Even though there was just one contestant, that contestant had a team of staff as well as multiple sponsors. World competitions didn’t only look at the contestant’s abilities. If nationality played a role, people might ask if developed countries such as America, England, and France had an upper hand, but the upper class who had the capabilities to be sponsors were quite conservative. There were many famous people who even compared Miss Universe and Miss World to lowly porn stars.
The reason why beauty pageants were especially popular in Venezuela was because it was like a national project. As much as there were jokes about how the only things that the country could sell were oil, baseball players, and beautiful women, Venezuelan woman obsessed over their looks. The South American men obsessed over sports while the South American women obsessed over their looks.
‘I’m sick of this.’
A Chinese man was speaking in Chinese, and if it wasn’t for the interpreting through her earphones, she wouldn’t have understood a thing. To her, it all sounded like bugs buzzing about.
“Smile a little.”
The former Miss Universe, Michelle Marten of France whispered in Alice’s ears.
“Do you think this is fun?”
“What if it’s not? This is all in your contract.”
After China’s reform, its growth was explosive in every industry. If it was before, China would have been looked down upon, but now, the luxury brands from all over the world tried everything they could to enter the Chinese market. Since beauty pageants depended on luxury brands, they had no choice but to listen and satisfy their requests.
‘This is boring.’
She was failing as a professional who should have been doing her best in everything. Most importantly, she also looked down upon Chinese people. However, the reason for it was also the Chinese people. All the Chinese people she met at the parties that the Chinese sponsors set up all had upstart mindsets.
She didn’t want to be racist, but they made it hard for her to be otherwise.
‘They’re a bunch of monkeys with money and no honor.’
If they wanted to meet women, they should have made red-light districts.
It was crazy to think that they could do anything as long as they had money. Even the trashy Brazilian president and the members of the national assembly obsessed over money. She heard that China had democratized quite a bit, but the Asian people she met so far were no better than the Venezuelans who were on the brink of war.
‘Good thing we’re finishing off in Hong Kong.’
This was her first time in Beijing and Shanghai, but she had been to Hong Kong before. Her first impression of China wasn’t the worst. That was because she thought China would be just like Hong Kong.
While looking around the scenery in boredom, Alice noticed a particularly tall man and tilted her head. She couldn’t see his eyes because of his sunglasses, but she had seen him before.
‘Is he an athlete?’
His frame was different from that of the other Chinese men. He also had broad shoulders as if he was a football player. If he didn’t have black hair, she would have mistaken him for a white man.
‘Where have I seen him before?’
They met eyes. She then remembered something.
She shook her finger without meaning to.
Her sudden behavior made everyone look at her. Even though she didn’t have much will during the filming, Alice’s visuals were so outstanding that the producers couldn’t say anything. When else would they have an opportunity to film a variety show with Miss Universe?
“Oh, I’m sorry.’
Alice immediately apologized. After that, she actively participated in the filming, but she couldn’t help but continue to look around her. It was finally their break time.
When Alice’s manager noticed her heading over to the crowd instead of her limousine, he ran over to her in shock. In contrast to Chinese fans, Hong Kong people didn’t try to touch a star or anything like that. She was friendly toward the people who wanted pictures and autographs, but she was still looking through the crowd.
‘Am I just seeing things?’
There was no way. He had a strong personality, to begin with, and when upper-class Brazilians tried to shut her up from telling anyone about the hostage incident that she knew about at the Sao Paolo police station, even they had a hard time with him.
He was the nameless hero of the hostage incident, and her meeting with him was purely coincidental. If she hadn’t seen his picture on the New York Times, she wouldn’t have recognized him this time around either. She looked up his name on the internet to get more information, but she just tilted her head.
‘Why is such a rich and famous man going around resolving hostage incidents?’
Why did people make money? For most, it was to live safely and well. However, he goes around looking for danger? In Brazil, when people got rich, the first thing they did was sign up for kidnapping insurance and hire security guards. Rich people instinctively kept their distance from danger. That was a completely different issue from adventurers who enjoyed extreme sports.
Once Alice finished off her fan service, she headed back into her limousine.
“What was that about? Are you sick?”
Her manager couldn’t help but ask. She acted weird during the filming and then she acted even weirder by providing random fan service afterward.
Alice laid down as if she didn’t want to talk anymore.
Her manager just sighed and backed off. Ahn Soo Ho, who she was looking everywhere for, was in the middle of walking through the shopping heaven of Hong Kong. Mrs. Park Ok Nam and Lee So Hye didn’t make it obvious, but they expected gifts whenever he went abroad. They weren’t crazy about designer items, but the things that were pretty and good quality were all designer.
‘If the design and quality are good, there’s no way it’s a no-name.’
That part was obvious.
If it was big or heavy though, he was better off buying it in Korea. That settled it, Ahn Soo Ho headed over to a perfume shop. Lee So Hye was too young to use perfumes, but Mrs. Park was the type to be sensitive to the air and scents around her. As such, she enjoyed potted plants, which was a hobby that didn’t suit how she was in the past.
“I’m looking for a perfume for my mother. Any suggestions?”
“Right this way, Sir.”
He sniffed some of the suggestions the employee made and then picked a pretty simple one. More subtle scents suited Koreans better than stronger ones. White people tended to give off more body odor while Asians did not. It was true that white people smelled if they didn’t shower for a day. Just like how they hated the smell of fermented bean paste, Koreans hated the smell of their body odor.
Next, Ahn Soo Ho headed over to a jewelry shop.
The top jewel was definitely diamonds, but it wasn’t something people could wear comfortably. It was no big deal for people to wear diamond rings in Korea, but if they wore it in South America, they were at risk for getting their fingers chopped off. And carrying a phone outside of their house was like asking for it to get stolen.
When he asked what was in these days, the employee recommended diamonds as well as platinum accessories. Some might have asked how there were any trends to jewelry, but when looking into the investors of gold and diamond, there was indeed a trend. Ahn Soo Ho asked to see some of their platinum accessories.
1 ounce cost 900 US dollars.
Considering 1 ounce of gold cost 1200 US dollars, platinum was no joke either. The prices were inflated, but it was undeniable that diamonds were a safe way to keep funds, and there was a surprising reflective interest in the jewelry industry when the stock market was unstable. Chairman James Hwang prepared more than just a vulture fund. Under A&E’s greedy plan of swallowing Korean corporations when they were unstable, he also dipped his hand into the jewelry industry of gold and diamonds.
If a currency war was to take place against Korea, the rich were going to go into their crazy amount of funding saved in their company reserve. As a result, the subcontractors and small companies living off of exports would probably die off, but it would be foolish to blame all of that on the society. In order for a company culture to stabilize, both major corporations and small companies had to go bankrupt at least once.
Ahn Soo Ho bought three platinum necklaces of a different design. He refused their offer to engrave initials into them.
As soon as he got out after shopping, he was met with Shunmay and Henry. They had agreed to meet beforehand, so he wasn’t surprised. The three went to a nearby café.
“I was going to visit you anyway, so when I heard you were coming to Hong Kong, I ran over immediately.”
Beijing was actually closer to Seoul than it was to Hong Kong. So it was just an excuse.
“I heard the party is cooperating. So what brings you here?”
“I wanted to inquire and ask you about something… Does that burden you?”
The way she addressed him so formally reminded him of a Japanese cartoon.
‘Mr. Ahn! I want to play basketball!’
If he changed it a little more…
‘Mr. Ahn! I want to learn martial arts!’
That was what he was hearing.
“What’s the problem?”
“Did you… already have an idea?”
“I’m sure not all party members share the same ideals and beliefs.”
“Thanks to the premier, the authorities are being pretty accommodating…”
“I’ll explain it from here.”
Henry jumped into the conversation.
“How much do you know about autonomous regions, Soo Ho?”
“Autonomous regions? Are you talking about Tibet or Uigur?”
Ahn Soo Ho stroked his chin.
The China that most people knew was a very small part of the big picture. Most of China’s major cities were located in the East. Was America like this before the reclamation of the West? When experts evaluated China’s potential for development, the part that was always mentioned was the difference in potential between the East and the West.
In particular, Tibet, which was connected to India, and Uigur, which had a point of contact with Central Asia were selected as key points of interest. China had all sorts of races, cultures, languages, and religion, but its difference from America was that they didn’t respect diversity. Ethnic conflict was always a problem in China.
“Since China hasn’t received many benefits of civilization, they’re not only exclusive to foreigners, but they’re barbaric.”
“Barbaric? The ones I’ve met were all friendly.”
Ahn Soo Ho had visited Tibet and Uigur multiple times. It was true that they were exclusive, but in order to protect their families and survive, they had to react that way. As long as visitors proved that they had no ill intent, they were the friendliest people in the world.
“That’s because you were there to resolve a problem for them. But martial arts associations and their competitions are run based on fights. So they’re easily mistaken for the central party.”
“Is there a need to forcefully try to convince those regions? What if you just let them be and proceed with the other districts?”
“There are many secluded masters there.”
This time, Shunmay jumped into the conversation. He clicked his tongue in his head.
‘How good can they be?’
In Ahn Soo Ho’s eyes, no matter how good they were at martial arts, they were all pretty similar in skill.
‘So are the Hong Kong people looking down on mainland Chinese and the mainland Chinese are looking down on those in autonomous regions?’
Since even Korea had regional pride, China had to have it as well. They even had it in North Korea. Those from Hamheung hated everyone who was from there.
“I think we already found the solution.”
Shunmay and Henry tilted their heads to Ahn Soo Ho’s response.
“You said it yourself, Henry. They have received almost no benefits of civilization.”
“The problem is…”
They all answered at the same time. Ahn Soo Ho thought about it and then clapped his hands. He then took out his phone.
“Hi, Director Kim. Didn’t you say there’s a film party today? I have a favor to ask you. Open up three more seats. Yes, three. Thank you. See you later.”
He put away his phone and looked at Shunmay.
“Do you like ‘Yes, Madam’?”
< Protect – Episode 155 – Hong Kong Noir  > The end.