Wo Shi Laowai – Wo Pa Shui

This Blog was Invented in Xi'an 5,000 Years Ago

Things Never To Trust in China

Posted by MyLaowai on Wednesday, April 1, 2009


Chief Officer Meursault’s List of Things Never To Trust in China

(Entry #1 in an ongoing infinite series)

1. Anyone claiming to be collecting for the Sichuan Earthquake Appeal.

2. A person who’s hair has right angles.

3. A 50/50 androgynous student. Always assume the worst.

4. Cloakroom attendants who look after your bag and coat while you go and dance.

5. Taxi Drivers.

6. Any middle aged foreign man or woman who has been teaching full-time in English for more than 12 months.

7. Any foreigner who claims to be a China Expert who has not worked within the porcelain trade for the last 20 years.

8. Specials in restaurants that are priced at figures ending in 88.

9. Chinese who loudly drop English words into their Chinese conversations with other Chinese when a perfectly normal Chinese word would do.

10. Foreigners who loudly drop Chinese words into their English conversations with other foreigners when a perfectly normal English word would do.

11. Anything that costs over 10 yuan.

12. Any declaration or announcement from any Chinese authority that begins with the words “For your safety”.

13. People with more eyebrows than teeth.

14. Shops that only consist of a man in a bomber jacket smoking a cigarette next to a fridge.

15. “5000 years”.

16. Declarations of eternal love from somebody who has just accepted 100 yuan from you for hand relief.

17. Directions from a man who pauses for more than one second.

18. Hairdressers with a hair colour other than black.

19. The Lonely Planet Guide to China.

20. Websites that are not banned in China.

21. Cigarettes in red packets.

22. Un-labeled meat.

23. ISO9001.

24. “This is my first time”.

25. Language partners who claim Mandarin contains no swear words.

26. Your instincts after 13 bottles of Tsingtao.

27. The plumbing.

28. Waidiren.

29. A woman who says “Don’t worry about a condom, I drink so much I doubt I can actually get pregnant. If I could it would definitely have happened by now!”

30. Unsupervised tradesmen or ayi’s.

31. The information plaques in museums.

32. School textbooks.

33. “And now on CCTV, news from our Tibet Correspondent.”

34. A Chinese manufacturer that uses white actors and actresses dubbed in Mandarin for their 15 minute infomercials to imply international levels of quality and global recognition.

35. “Mei wenti”.

36. Boasts of extraordinary achievement from somebody posting anonymously on an expat bulletin board.

37. Anyone recommending a holiday to a Chinese Province that does not possess a coastline.

38. People who don’t drink.

39. Yang Rui, seriously.

40. Claims of sovereignty.

41. Communists.

42. A twenty-something employee with access to your database.

43. The exact time in Xinjiang.

44. “There’s no need to write anything down, we are friends!”

45. Anyone who refers to you as “friend”, and especially anyone who refers to you as “old friend”.

46. Anything with tits and a fanny.

47. The quality of a DVD purchase.

48. Traffic signs, traffic lights, or traffic regulations of any kind.

49. Chinese proverbs that suspiciously back up EXACTLY the point the person was talking about.

50. The Chinese.

33 Responses to “Things Never To Trust in China”

  1. DaBizzare said

    Standing ovation. However, you forgot “Dairy products”, “Police” and a few other obvious ones :-p

  2. MyLaowai said

    Entry #1 in an ongoing infinite series

  3. Bill said

    “I am from the government and I am here to help.”

  4. matt said

    This blog’s great!! Thanks :).

  5. Ned Kelly said

    Any foreigner who claims to be a specialist on China Law.

    Because, “WHAT China law?”

  6. MyLaowai said

    In knowing that, Ned, you have shown yourself to be an expert on Chinese Law.

  7. Hunxuer said

    Any girl that protests “wo bu shi nei yang de” while you’re helping her out of her bra and panties…

    Any Chinaman that answers with “Ying gai…”

  8. Heiney said

    Uhh… Off topic, but… is it just me or is youtube blocked AGAIN???

  9. MyLaowai said

    Been blocked for a while, Heiney. Ever since people started putting up that video showing Chinese security forces beating to death Tibetan monks and protesters in the anti-Chinese protests last year. It’s brutal stuff.

    In the interests of ‘balance’, MyLaowai would like to point out that the Chinese Communist party denies that any such thing happened at all, as everybody is Tibet is very harmonious and happy. The problem is Evil And Hostile Western Anti-China Forces.

    So yes, YouTube is blocked again here in China. The good news is that we at MLHQ have started hosting video directly on MyLaowai.com and WordPress is temporarily unblocked.

    Yay. For about another week.

  10. Heiney said

    MLW, I was aware of the blockage last week, then unblocked for the weekend… Blocked again. NetNanny has gone schizo! Or, it could just be like the drains in my building.

  11. justrecently said

    21. Cigarettes in red packets.
    What do you want? Hongyun has enjoyed an ideal assimilation, and is hailed as a model for other tobacco group companies to follow. So is Tibet.

    Any foreigner who claims to be a specialist on China Law.

  12. FOARP said

    Glad to see that Meursault is back, although I guess this means that he has now join the ranks of the lowest of the low – the Re-Ex-Pat.

  13. FOARP said

    Oh, and my adds to this list?

    1) Wankers on expats site who use acronyms for their long-winded and childish handles.

    2) ‘China consultants’ – any of them. Every one of them I’ve every been in a position to know about has been a lying, thieving piece of scum who I wouldn’t trust to look after a puppy, let alone my company’s future.

    3) Ex-ex-pats. Bastards left the country but still harp on about their time over in that China.

    4) Re-ex-pats. Bastards had a chance to get out of the country for good, but some how ended up back in ‘the suck’.

  14. Meursault said

    There is a wonderful song called Brazil that has been sung by the likes of Frank Sinatra, Ary Boroso and Kate Bush. It tells a tale of two people meeting in a faraway land, two people who became enchanted with that land and who vowed to return one day.

    …There’s one thing I’m certain of,
    Return, I will, to old Brazil…

    Notice the word “Brazil”, not “China”, because who in their right mind would want to return there after successfully escaping? Certainly not the family of Fujianese immigrants who cook up my chip and pie supper every Friday night, and certainly not I. Besides, who could write a song about returning to China? Nothing rhymes with “China”, except “miner”, and Chinese miners are in no position to return once they’ve been gassed to death and their families paid off.

    Instead, I am spending my days in intense hypnotherapy, hoping that my counselling sessions can someday eradicate the memory of having spent my early twenties in China. Everything was going well until last Saturday when my hypnotherpist, upon hearing the results of the Grand National, shouted out “I hate to bet!” during one intense session. I unfortunately misheard it as “I hate Tibet” and have now become a rabid Han nationalist operating a campaign to bring down Western imperialism from my base in Clapham, South London.

    So if you don’t like China, why don’t you go home? Uuuurrgh, you see? I knew I should have gone private.

  15. Eric Havaby said

    51 – Foreigners who blog about China

    “Do YOU possess the ability to have a really good rant whilst obeying the basic rules of grammar? If the answer to these questions is YES, then feel free to share your deepest, innermost thoughts with your friends here at MyLaowai.com”

    “2. A person who’s hair has right angles.”

    Whose FFS.

  16. FOARP said

    @Meursault – Well, if you aren’t headed back, then it sure looks like I might be. I have three months until I’m almost certainly going to be faced with a choice between going on the dole or going overseas – and signing on just isn’t my bag.

  17. justrecently said

    Wish you success and happiness, on whichever side of Russia, FOARP.

  18. Not So Bitter said

    Number 46 is sexist, and wouldn’t have happened to you if you were planning on sticking around with the girl longer than a one-night stand.

    The whole rant is racist, short-sighted, and unbelievably puerile.

    No, you shouldn’t trust just anyone who brags about himself or his abilities in China. Just like you shouldn’t do that anywhere in the world. I think the big problem is that a lot of laowai are too lazy to do things themselves, i.e. learn the language, and thus entrap themselves in completely relying on the first person who comes along and can communicate with them.

    Imagine a Chinese guy who moved to the US without speaking a word of English, and then trusted the first person who he could communicate with 100%. Of course he would get taken advantage of and cheated.

    Learn the language. Get some common sense. And grow up.

  19. MyLaowai said

    “The whole rant is racist, short-sighted, and unbelievably puerile.”

    Yes, and very, very funny.

  20. moom said

    “wo bu shi nei yang de”
    Curious what that one means? “I’m not x x of”

  21. Matthew Nash said

    I would have added:

    The percentage claims of bottles of beer. I had some over there which claimed to be 4%, which is standard lager strength back home, which quite honestly were like water with a bit of beer flavouring

  22. MyLaowai said

    I’ve had Chinese beer WITHOUT even the beer flavouring.

    As well as some that tasted suspiciously of fish.

  23. Chinamatt said

    Fantastic. Even my wife agreed with a few. My favorites are 11, 15, and 32, but plenty of them made me laugh out loud.

  24. s said


    Mr Mylaowai, do you laugh at your own jokes ?

  25. MyLaowai said


    Mr Stoogie, what makes you think I was joking?

  26. s said

    Mr Mylaowai, do you think of yourself a funny man ?

  27. MyLaowai said

    Why, Mister Stoogie, I prefer to allow my readers to decide that for themselves.

  28. snoops said

    “wo bu shi nei yang de”

    -> I’m not that way? is my guess. 我不是那样的

  29. justrecently said


  30. Most of these are completely accurate and true. Unfortunately, many of these can also be said about Americans too. :(

    Here’s my contribution:

    1. Anyone who shakes their head up and down to indicate a “yes.”

    2. The pictures of the food dishes hanging in restaurants or on the menu.

  31. Rebekah said

    Funny post! Drop me an email if you would like to have some of your work reposted on ChinaTravel.net. Rebekah.
    rebekah@ctrip.com. Thanks.

  32. Haha, great post to read.. Having a not so busy day at work, and thought I’d check out your blog.. Even though I haven’t experienced everything that you mention as not to be trusted, but after being in china, I can imagine most of them…and that made me laugh! So thanks :-)

  33. […] on April 1st 2009 (not an entirely coincidental date), here for your enjoyment is a list I made of 50 things never to trust in China. Lists are great for writers as they require absolutely zero effort beyond figuring out how to […]

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