Showing posts from September, 2013

Probs with blog

Apparently my recent format change has made it hell for alot of people to post comments.   My apologies.  Let's try this tweak for awhile and see how it works. The comments section should be visible now on every post. fff

Ode to Hangzhou

Guangzhou was a sweaty, sticky place full of people that couldn’t speak Mandarin.   They wore large straw hats, and liked to stare at you.  They had terrible teeth.   City buses had no air conditioning, were held together by rust, propelled by the black smoke they belched out in endless streams.  Than there was Paradise.  Also known as Hangzhou.  But I liked Guangzhou.   Guangzhou was the wealthiest city in China in 1990.  They had the best laowai Mandarin speakers.    Guangzhou was full of Arabs and Africans that could speak Mandarin and talk my socks off.    True, they were prisoners of a sort, stuck there for 5 years at a time, with one trip back in between.    Lots of Iranians, too.   They were all called State Students, or  国费生。     They were wards of the State.   We all considered ourselves laowai, and there was no animosity between any of us.  I had an Iranian classmate, who liked to hand out dates.  But in the end, there was simply no place to go.  I could only

Fairplay in China

After having left Guangzhou in the early 90’s, I moved on to Hangzhou for a further year of study.    Hangzhou was a paradise.   (I’ll talk more to this on another day)  While in Hangzhou I experienced something that greatly influenced my view of the Chinese.  It was a great teaching moment, and something I could never have learned if I was still stuck in America trying to learn Mandarin.   The below is yet another reason why one needs to go overseas to his target country.  It’s only overseas when the real learning begins.   What one learns in class is only 20% of what one learns overall.  There is so much more learning that takes place after class. We had a motley group of Germans, Australians, Japanese a Canadian, and a few Americans.  A much larger group of students than we had in Guangzhou.  It was a great time. Us male students would get together and form a soccer team.  We’d play against the University soccer team.  We played them twice.  Once in an ad hoc matter a

Ten Things One Must Experience in China…My Take

This is not a travel guide, per say….has more of a cultural bent of sorts. KTV ….yeah, Family Fun is fine….but it’s all about the other side my friend.  The awkwardness and sheer embarrassment is at a level that cannot be attained in America.   Having a complete stranger putting her hand on your thigh within 5 minutes of walking in, and her within 30 seconds of sitting down….but if you actually know how to sing, than I’d recommend family fun….your gf will get a lot of face if her laowai knows how to belt out tunes….better if you understand Chinese characters. Clubbing ….this is great fun.  Watch the men dancing with each other.   See the fellow get drunk at the bar my 9pm.   Watching women realize they are “somebody” in a club.  Watching the MAN spend $1000 on a group of gals and not get laid.   Watching laowai that don’t speak Chinese get just “thrilled” when they meet a girl who speaks English, until he realizes she’s not free.  Best way to observe Chinese culture and mingl

I'm back....but WTF?

Sorry I've been away so last original post until today was a whole 9 days ago. I had a biz trip to attend to, and a weekend in between. I do have a lineup of posts to get out, (that are not written yet mind you)but checking my views the other day, you guys don't cut me much slack, do you? I wasn't gone that long, but if you don't get fed on a regular basis, you guys pretty much just move on to the next China Blog.  I lost probably 25% of my view count over the past week.  Brutal stuff. I'm sure the wiser of you took the time to go back, and reread some of the older, better posts.   I can't write a Pulitzer worthy post (hah!) as often as I'd like.  All the same, you guys are a tough crowd. I hope you are at least appreciating the length of some of the pieces I do write, and the content.  I don't think it's content you can find easily on other China related blogs. I can't promise not to be gone a whole 9 days between posts agai

Too much fun @ Debauchery Inc

I’ve alluded to the place I used to work, in previous posts.  I had some good times.  Made some good money.  Yes, I’m a bit unhappy that I didn’t quite get what I felt I should’ve gotten.   But in dreary times such as these, it’s important not to forget the good times had by many, along with the outright stupid things Sr Mgt did when left to it’s own devices.  Why take the boat? Our Sr Director of Asian Operations, along with his cohorts frequently partied it up.  The CFO was no exception.  Both were “let’s have fun” Europeans.   Both pretty much had wives for cooking, and that’s about it.  Our CFO was a great guy.  (more on him later) Our Asian operations Team worked hard, and so had to party hard.  They were a bunch of swell guys.  Extremely talented.  Problem is they all liked to go to Macau.  Do you go to Macau for sightseeing?  I thought not. In Macau you had gambling.  They all loved the gambling.  And in Macao you had not only Chinese, but plenty of Russian

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

Postscript: The Chinese phrase I dislike the most.

(Postscript...I've added a link below as regards Mandarin usage. I originally published this I think in Feb.  Looking back this is probably one of my fav postings to date. ) No, it’s not “mei you banfa”.  中国就是这样 …zhongguo jiu shi zheyang. I disdain this phrase.  To the core.  It speaks volumes of China, of it’s aspirations, and it’s well                       understood hopelessness.  It explains why change doesn’t come about, and when it does, it is non-hurried.   It explains the lack of urgency, in general, on everything.  “This is the way China is”, or “That’s just the way China is.” When wishing to have a discussion based on logic, and reason, a decisive end to any conversation can be had by just uttering the above.  There is nothing subtle about it.  There is no debate. Rather, the fellow across the table, whether it be a business discussion, a discussion about society, or what have you, will by default refuse, or be unable  to give a logical, comm

KTV in China

It is inevitable that businessmen will travel.   Sometimes a businessman must be gone for long periods of time.  Even overseas.  When visiting a different country on business, it is very important that the businessman learn and adhere to the local customs, however disagreeable.  Maybe it is the food.  Maybe is it one’s mannerisms, or body language.  Sometimes one comes across a convention however, that is ethically challenging.  Such is the practice of taking foreign businessmen in China to KTV.  Also known as Karaoke.   Sooner or later, all foreign businessmen(and quite a few Chinese)have a story as regards the inevitable experience with KTV.  I’ve had my share.  KTV is an experience that almost all businessmen must endure when doing business in China, with Chinese.  For many, it is a “grin and bear it” experience.  For quite a few it is a welcome event.   An enjoyable activity to help unwind from the days events.  What are those events?  Well, it could be an early breakfas

Free Trade and Your Country

(wrote this in twenty minutes....had to get it out...enjoy) Free Trade….(at the utterance of this phrase pls envision me spitting on the ground) Free Trade…?  Welcome to the scourge of the West. I dunno about your country, but in mine, Free Trade has ravaged America.  It’s probably ravaged your country’s economy, too.  If not…brace yourself.  Trends tend to appear in America first. One can still watch TV Shows from the “good ole days”…ie the 60’s. Those were the shows where the dad worked, and the mom stayed home.  Dad was able to buy a house.   Maybe put a kid through college.   And quite frankly, nobody hardly ever got laid off.   I’m not even sure America had performance reviews then. Today’s America?  Both parents need to work, layoffs happen all the time, and there’s a big gaping hole where the middle class used to be. Remember Ross Perot?  The guy with big, big ears?  What did he say back in 1992?  Go Youtube!  Free Trade…..NAFTA.  Pass that bil