Showing posts from August, 2013

Another rambling post on recent musings

Just a few quick comments today.  I’m in the middle of a couple of posts that require a bit of thought, so I’m not finished with those yet.   Yes, I realize the quality of writing on some of my previous posts isn’t that first rate.  Yes, I do care.  No, not enough to proofread them sometimes.   Once again my wife is off to lunch with her Chinese friends.   This time she’s going to the clubhouse of one of the uber rich ladies she knows.   Her friend lives in a house that saddles up to a golf course.   The house is $1.5 mln.    So if you hear me talking about a house that is nestled up to a golf course, and it’s “only” $1.5 mil, you know I live on neither coast. This friend is similar to the other one, ( ) and has a husband that “is in business”, ie he spends all his time back in China leveraging relationships(which I guess is a talent onto itself), doing what he does while probably going to KTV 4

The First Monster

We are all jaded.  In the beginning we wrinkled our nose, and couldn’t believe what we saw, or heard, or read.   We nodded our heads in disapproval, and reminded ourselves how civilized we as a Western People truly are.   Than the more we walked the streets, and looked, and listened……and participated, we began to understand.   For instance, the “C” word. One begins to come around to the idea that Corrruption is only a concept.   It is only a bad thing if you yourself have no opportunity to partake.   It’s only bad if you don’t get any. Then you begin to wonder if corruption isn’t so bad for the economy after all.  It greases the wheel to the benefit of all.  With Corruption EVERYONE wins.   The seller is happy.  The buyer is satisfied.  The government is even content.    Now how is the government content? The aim of the government is to ensure you have the proper environment for getting a job.  How you are compensated is up to you.  Yet after one is compensated the

The 10 Million Dollar Man

This is a post I wrote about 4 months ago, and never published.  I’ve completely rewritten it, because now I feel I have been able to step back a bit and reflect in a slightly less passionate context.   That is, with a little less anger and rage.  I’m sure we will all experience something like this in the companies we work for.  I just hope you will experience a little less of both emotions than I did(and still do) ) Now that I’m at mid age, my value system has changed quite a bit from when I was younger.  I’m a wee less arrogant(not much), thx to failure a wee more modest, and with a clearer picture of what it takes to succeed.  I will definitely pass on to my children the lessons I’ve learned.  I will expect them to both surpass me.   Yet one thing I’ve yet to overcome is that basic American belief of fairness, and the feeling of getting “screwed”, whenever company rewards do not equal effort.     That’s right;  Americans in particular I think really take it hard when things

Beggars and Laowai

All societies have beggars.   Homeless people.   In the United States, they tend to hangout near bus stations, parks, underpasses.  Downtown.    Every city has it’s own unique homeless population.  There are shelters.  Soup kitchens.  When I take my children to China with me I always need to remind them of a few things:   crossing a street, noiseless scooters on the sidewalks……and the homeless population/beggars they will inevitably come across.   These types of scenes in China are particularly brutal, and shocking.   A real opener for a sheltered grade schooler and a newly minted Jr High student.   If not careful, these can be real party poopers for China Scholar wannabes.    I want to state clearly that these scenes are not on every street corner, and I do not wish to exaggerate in anyway their presence.  Every big city on the planet has the same phenomena.    The problem with this in China is, well…..every city is a big city. When I first came to China I was a bit surprised

One Year Anniversary

Well, folks, it'll be one year in a week or two.  I've looked at other personal blogs abt China and quite frankly, I don't see how they've done it as long as they have( stands out). I've tried to not be like most of the other blogs out there and just report the news.  Alot of the blogs report the same news anyway.  My personal preference is....well, a personal blog giving my insights on whatever piques my interest.  I've got several lined up actually, all China themed of course, based on my personal observations.  For now, I just wanted to share which posts on my blog have been the most popular to date. The top 3 have been: Lot of folks want to marry a Chinese, I guess. In response to all the sob stories I hear from the Laowai.

The thorn in my side

We should probably sit down a bit and discuss the thorn in my side. Everyone has the same problem.  Indeed, it is a global epidemic.  However, if you are one of those lucky souls married to a Chinese woman, it is a festering nuisance that continues to rear it’s ugly head. I’m talking about the Chinese mother in law. Well……there are a few tidbits of wisdom I think I’ve collected over the past 20 years, and thx to a thing called blogging, I’m here to yet again offer my unsolicited comments on that most common of scourges across all societies.  In a nutshell, if you don’t speak Chinese, and she doesn’t speak English, you’ve got it made.   You may feel free to just move along to my next post.  Not so fast you say?  You’d rather rub it in a bit? Ok than.  I understand that not being able to listen and comprehend one’s M&L ‘s insults are a blessing that keeps on giving.  It’s like going to Church everyday.  One’s stress levels, absent any  confrontation, drop mar

We will never be the same

Yet again I just feel the urge to sit down and remind everybody that China isn’t going away.   Sorry to be the bearer of ill tidings for some.   Others can care less.   The emergence of China is exciting.  It’s nothing we’ve never experienced before. Yet to some it’s a story as foreboding as that of the rise  of Germany and Japan in the 30’s.   The rise and dimmed hope of Russia in the 20’s. Why?  Because of it’s size.  Size when dealing with countries changes everything.  It changes the dynamic of the relationship.  My daughter asked me about Cuba the other day.  Having just returned from Florida, and Key West, she asked if we could go visit there.   I had to explain the silly situation that exists between both our countries.   How a minority in Florida holds our relationship with Cuba hostage.   Maybe if Cuba was off the coast of say….North Dakota, this would be a moot point.    So what is the definition of Courage?  Someday maybe we’ll have a politician(such a dirty

3 Things China would handle differently from the US

Private Manning, Snowden, and the Keystone Pipeline In the United States these three topics are all the rage.   Lot’s of controversy.  One man’s hero is another man’s villain.   In this age of town hall meetings, incessant analysis, press overkill, mindless blogs(!)and cheap talk, it’s always nice to just sit back, and with a bemused look on one’s face,  wonder what  “Grandpa Xi” would do? Private Manning- Well, my feelings are only slightly conflicted here.   A fellow Okie.  A handsome, young fellow that should really have never been in the Army.  Product of yet another sad childhood, it’s safe to say he is a huge embarrassment to my State.    Never mind all those confusing charges.   If this was the 60’s, it’s proper to think Manning would have been executed.    However, Manning was not found guilty of aiding the enemy.  How’s that?  I guess we’d have to be at war with a major power for that to stick.   But don’t tell me all those secret diplomatic cables he sent out wa

Being a Yes Man isn't good for business

So I’m just sitting here wondering why I have to fire customers like I do. I just fired a Korean customer earlier today.  Why do I do this? Because he wants “OEM” quality but an “aftermkt” price.  Bye bye.   An absolute recipe for disaster.  Than he complains when I won’t RMA his stuff for him.   While his volume is rather small, the profits are nice.  Still I feel in the business I’m in, I can’t be a “yes man” to everyone.   I know my customer won’t be able to get the deal he already has with me, from somebody else.   And my quality while not perfect, isn’t as bad as is claimed.   So I’m willing to let him go, and take the chance he won’t find  anyone else able to provide what I have to offer.    It doesn’t help that my China suppliers are as shortsighted as they’ve ever been.   Cash up front. Cash is King.   Whoever puts his wallet where his mouth is, is King of the Hill.  Then there are the Iffy promises of “a warranty”.   Even when I have large orders, I have to sc

Another Postscript....Us and Them and the Galaxy Between

(I'm on a roll...yet another postscript: I've pasted this here as a ref to the middle of this blog.  China's wanton inability to develop critical thinking just took another hit.  De facto banning Lu Xun in Chinese schools is akin to removing all ref to Benjamin Franklin, or Mark Twain from reading lists in American schools.   As I mentioned below earlier, with critical thinking, there can be no introspection, and thus no impetus to change.  And finally no progress.) Have you ever set down and tried to have an honest conversation with a Chinese?   No agenda, no time constraints? How far have you gotten before the person sitting across from you let go with a proverb?  An allusion to Chinese history?    A reference to a Chinese song?   If the conversation is in Mandarin the cultural references come fast and furious.   Speaking Mandarin, unfortunately, just isn’t good enough.   Oh