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Showing posts from November, 2013

How not to make friends

Part of living here so long is one knows(sometimes in jest, and sometimes not) how to push the buttons of the locals.
One example is hotpot.  I hate hotpot.  I don’t get the logic of hotpot.  Yet I’m quite often forced to endure hotpot.  So I can’t help myself sometimes, and I find myself falling into the role of laowai jerk.
We’ll be at the table and I’ll just blurt out:
“Hotpot.  Veggies and hot water.  This is what China culture after 5000 years has come to.”
There will be silence.  The friends around the table that know I’m really not the jerk I just set out to be will simply punish me by ordering the extra spicy version of hot pot. 
So I ask China…..what the hell were you thinking with your response to the Filipino Typhoon?  Seriously…did you think you’d really get away with such a miserly response for help from a neighbor?
PR 101…..Things get out. 
Oh, wait I forgot this is PR “with Chinese characteristics”.
Now let me summarize Geography 101…you can’t choose who your neighb…

This is getting out of hand

The dual between the VPN world and China continues.  I won the first quarter and than got my head handed to me on a platter afterwards.

I'll be trying another VPN shortly.  It's a struggle.  Meanwhile my customers wonder why the factory I partner with has all this investment in all these nice machines and than none of them can get online to do anything.  It's embarrassing.  I just can't explain it away.

And even if we can, it's a plodder's dilemma.  I have the mobile package that allows me to get either 1 or 2gb(I forget), of data per month for 100 rmb. Great deal right?  Until one realizes I'm stuck on a 3g network(with Chinese characteristics!), and still can't get on line as easily as I'd like.

What's the point of even having internet?

It's on my list to discuss the lack of infrastructural development I'd love to see, and internet is one of them.   Having a vpn isn't a panacea for one's blogging efforts if the speed isn't…

Self censorship and so what

I have no problem with self censorship.  I’ve gotten over it.  It’s a fact of life.  My pride, my ego have drained away, in the face of the harsh reality that China is all I got.  If I were to ever be banned from China, I’d need a new way of life.  I honestly don’t know what I’d do with myself. 
First thing that would happen is I’d probably no longer have a company.  No longer able to travel and conduct biz in China would destroy my relationships.   So I need to make hard decisions based on the cold reality of today.   And I very knowingly choose self censorship.   The older one gets the more one realizes life is about compromise.  Like Oxygen one cannot live without it.
You don’t see it, you say?  
There are things I’ve written that have been posted only after much reflection and several drafts.  One of my previous posts on China paraphrasing “now vs back in 37” had nearly a whole paragraph deleted, upon reflection.
That’s the ugly side of China; China leverages your love of China agains…

More musings on Shenzhen and Business in China

China will kill You
The other day I was walking back from a simple restaurant maybe 7 minutes walk from the factory gate.  It was a good lunch, Hong Kong style, and maybe set me back(or the factory) $5 or so.   Upon reaching the factory, it was time to cross the street in order to actually enter the factory. The sidewalk was lined with waist to chest high shrubs.  From a foot back of the edge of the sidewalk, I was able to look both ways.  All clear.  It’s easy of course to see the big trucks that so commonly inhabit an industrial park. 
What I didn’t see was the motorcycle.
I stepped off the curb.
Once I’m off the curb, I’m in the street.  While I had done my due diligence, I had once again been outplayed, outwitted, what have you, by the practicalities of living within China itself.  Coming straight for me, not 20 yards away, was a motorcycle.   He wasn’t going that fast of course, but 20 yards is close enough.  
Why did I not see him?
He was travelling the wrong way, in the wro…

37 and Now...Quick Observations

The mood hit me the other day

What has changed from 1937 and now?  The year chosen btw is not arbitrary.  Could be any year from the 20th Century actually up to 1949.
China is rich. 
Yes wealth is “relative”, but it’s hard to call a country with over a trillion dollars in the bank “poor”.     Yes, China has really screwed itself by making a deposit it cannot so easily withdrawal, if ever.  I wish China would do a writeup in the People’s Daily explaining such a thing, but it probably lacks the courage to do so. 
On a sidebar, it probably would’ve been better if China had taken some of this money and created a stronger social welfare system.  Problem is, China considers that a “non productive” investment.   It’s far more glamorous and globally face giving to just buy treasuries.
China is confident. 
Oh yeah.   This is a good thing, right?  Do we really want an insecure China threatening to blow up the world, ie North Korea?  We can ignore those guys, (I think), but would we be able …

Another Shoutout to the CHP

Yet once again I find myself immensely enjoying Montgomery Laszlo’s China History Podcast.
He’s well over 100 episodes, but I must admit I hadn’t even heard of his show until around 6 months ago.  
Though most of us won’t admit it, or find no sense of shame in the matter, I never skip around.  Rather,  plodder that I am, I started from the beginning, and am now close to episode 90.  I’ve just finished the Cultural Revolution series.  It’s here I’ve had the epiphany that all those books I read when  younger, I perhaps…well, was too young! 
It’s a true pleasure listening to his podcasts, and here again, having thought I knew the principles behind the CR, was happily surprised at how ignorant I truly am as to the events that actually lead up to the CR. 
Thus the shoutout. 
A couple of takeaways from the CR that I was able to gleam from the recent PODCAST are:                 The peasantry really weren’t effected by the whole thing.  The CR was an incestuous conflict involving maybe …

48 hrs in Shenzhen

The Past 48 hours within Shenzhen here a couple of things I’ve noticed. I  just saw a young, attractive mom drive by with not one, but  2 kids on her scooter.   She had the young one…maybe 2 years old, in the front, and was holding her newly born child, (maybe 3 months?) in the crook of one arm as she steered with the other.   Incredible.
Nevermind the street was without Q a semi busy street requiring lots of weaving, and skill, but it was simply a scooter.  I had a scooter in college and actually laid it down once on some post Winter sand still in the street.   Those things are easy to put down.   Looked like she had a 60 cc scooter, top speed 35 mph.
I’m growing increasingly nervous abt simple things like crossing the street here.   It’s not the cars that bother me anymore, because their easy to see and spot…and avoid.  Rather, it’s the silent killers.  The electric bikes or scooters that go the wrong way on the street.  One’s life on a dark street, is literally in their hands.   An…

Things Americans honestly cannot explain to the Chinese

I admit I’m at a loss for words sometimes.   Rarely so, because my ability to talk, and persuade is paramount to my having a successful business.  Still over the course of time, when myself and the Chinese talk, things come up, where, well….it’s difficult to use either common sense or logic to explain away some of the peculiarities of the American(or Western) way of life.
Here are a few:
Jesus rising from the dead Oh yes, I remember it well.  We were all sitting together one day in the autumn cool of Guangzhou, 0n a grassy field(are there still grassy fields in Guangzhou?), when everyone started pestering me about Christianity.
I was 23 and shall, um, we say a somewhat more strident follower of the subject than perhaps can be said today.   With pride I explained the basic tenets of Christianity.  Leading up to the climax, I explained as well as I could the crucifixion.    I jumped around a bit, describing how Christians were thrown to the lions, and persecuted for ages, by those godle…