It was 12:05 pm and we were still on item 2.3 of the two-page agenda. Inside the conference room as white as a morgue, bankers and lawyers pored over company accounts and peppered senior management with probing questions prefaced with profuse pleasantries. Jin-hoon, my colleague and friend, faithfully translated every word for me like a seasoned UN interpreter. Then came the first piece of good news of the day: we were to break for lunch in 15 minutes at a nearby restaurant. Kamsamnida, I whispered the only Korean word I knew despite myself.