Wo Shi Laowai – Wo Pa Shui

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

Archive for February, 2010

Men Are Better Than Women

Posted by MyLaowai on Friday, February 26, 2010

Funniest. Blog. Ever.

Posted in Media | Leave a Comment »

Motivational Monday!

Posted by MyLaowai on Monday, February 22, 2010

Posted in Motivational! | 1 Comment »

An Important Festival

Posted by MyLaowai on Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Chinese love their fireworks. Actually, they love anything that makes noise, and that includes fireworks. They’ve been in love with the damned things ever since the Arabs showed them how to make ’em.

There’s been a lot of fireworks around here lately, and I’ve only just figured out why that is. It seems that the Chinese have begun moving out of the Stone Age and have recently begun to understand what a festival really is, and in this case they’ve accidentally stumbled upon one of the more civilised festivals. And folks, let us be honest: this is by far the most important festival ever celebrated in China, certainly more important than any of those other, primitive, how-many-times-does-the-moon-fly-around-Peking ‘festivals’ that they usually blather on about.

Today, February 20th, is International Pipe Smoking Day. So pack your pipe with your favourite weed, and light one for civilised folk everywhere.

Oh, and next time you can forget about the fireworks.

Posted in Festivals et al | Leave a Comment »

One lane, two lanes, three lanes, more!

Posted by MyLaowai on Sunday, February 7, 2010

Captain Rad again. Just got in from a trip to our most lovable French corporation, Carrefour, and highly disappointed that there isn’t a single box of Hamburger Helper to be found. Alas, Mr. Rundown will have to solely feast on Chinese grub tonight.

Which brings me to today’s driving lesson.

One lane roads.

People, people, people… seriously. When you come to a one-lane road, how many lanes are you allowed to form?

That’s right! The answer is four! Because if you’re at a red light, what should you do? Pull your car up to the front via sidewalk, other lane, on small children, whatever it takes to make YOUR trip shorter!

It’s genius! In a “very development” country such as China, in order to development faster, you MUST be at the forefront. You must be ahead. Therefore, you must form your own lane.
At this point, you may ask yourself, “Self, what is he on about? Form your own lane?” As a laowai here, I don’t understand either. We can’t. Huang Hung has officially told us so [Editor: Dear God in heaven, is this for real?].

But that’s just what you do. Doesn’t matter if you block oncoming traffic and the ambulance can’t get through. Doesn’t matter if you’re on the sidewalk, and little Xiao Wang can’t get by to buy some stupid fucking Digimon toy. Why? Because chances are, the other lanes are doing THE EXACT SAME THING!

As a development country, this is how you race to non-3rd world status!

Keep it up! Someday you too will have the world’s respect and awe. Just like America!

capnrad@hotmail.com for hate mail. mylaowai@gmail.com for love mail because I don’t want to hear it.

Posted in Guest Post | 7 Comments »

Oh, Ha Blurry Ha!

Posted by MyLaowai on Thursday, February 4, 2010

Whilst some of the material on this blog is topical and clever, there are far too many idiots with half a brain posting racist material. As a man of Asian descent myself, some of these “jokes” offend me long time.

Posted in You're Joking? | 2 Comments »

For LQ, With Thanks

Posted by MyLaowai on Thursday, February 4, 2010

Back in December I received a polite email from a Chinese reader. This reader had reposted a couple of my articles on a local forum, one which appears frequented by people in the export community, and wanted to make sure that this was okay with me (and to buy me a drink by way of thanks).

The posts in question were A Frank Exchange and How To Place An Order With A Factory.

I took a look at the forum, and it was clear that most of the commenter’s missed the point I was trying to make, and instead focused their attention on whether or not the ‘local’ characters in my posts had a high enough English level.

Now, MyLaowai is not beyond being constructive at times, so I wrote a long reply myself, on the Frank Exchange post. However, that forum is the single most confusing website I have ever seen – it took me ages to work out how to sign up and I’ll be damned if I could figure out how to post a comment even then.

So now it’s here, instead. This post is directed towards Chinese businesspeople in general, and those who are dealing with foreigners in particular. Please be aware that this is supposed to be read in English, as I cannot be certain of the quality of my Chinese. I apologise in advance for any errors.

Enjoy…

Hello Forum,

I am the original author of “A Frank Exchange”. I have been reading your comments with interest, and there are a few things I would like to say.
我是”A Frank Exchange”的作者。我读了你们的评论,想发表我的一些看法。

First of all, the article is intended as parody, i.e. a humorous version of a true thing. Although the email exchanges did not actually take place, they are based on true events, and those events occur every day to me, to all of my business friends and colleagues in China, and to pretty much every person doing business in China, regardless of the language used.

首先,这篇文章是模仿题材,是真实事件的幽默版本。虽然,那些邮件交流并不是真的,但也是依据日常发生在我身上的事实,发生在我的商业伙伴和同事身上,和其他在中国的商人身上,不管使用的语言是什么。

Secondly, and more importantly, I notice that many of you focus on the issue of whether or not the Chinese company employee has a high enough English level. Of course, any company wishing to do international business, or who wishes to sell their products outside of their local market, must have someone who is reasonably fluent in the language of the customer. I assume that you all understand the words in the article, which means that your English level is quite sufficient for most non-technical communications in English. That said, however, the problems illustrated in my article are not related to an insufficient grasp of English – they are much more serious:

其次,更重要的是,我注意到许多的评论都专注中国的雇员们是否使用流利的英语。当然,任何想做国际贸易的公司都会雇佣能较流利使用客户母语的员工。 我相信你们都能理解这篇文章,说明大家的非科技英语水平还是不错的。但是,我文章中提到的问题并不和英语的好坏有直接关系—更严重的问题是:

– The company employee does not read the emails from the customer. S/he makes an assumption based on the first few words, and does not take the time to read the remainder properly. You cannot answer a question or solve a problem until you know and understand what it is that the other person is saying, and for that you need to read / listen fully and completely. If you don’t understand something, you must say so directly and then ask questions relating to the part you don’t understand.

这些公司的员工没有仔细阅读客户的邮件。他们只看到一开头的几个单词,就以为知道客户的要求,没有花时间看完客户的邮件。如果你不知道他人的意思,你不可能回答或解决对方的问题。你只能仔细阅读或倾听别人的想法。如果你不懂其中的意思,你应该直接寻求对方的解释。

– The company employee does not answer any of the customer’s questions at first, and does not provide information in a clear and concise way. Attachments that are huge, in strange formats, and that contain out of date or incorrect information will only make a customer angry. Be organised with your information.

这些公司的员工们没有首先回答客户的问题,也没有给出简明的信息。常常发给客户很大的附件,里面的数据是过时的或错误的,这就使客户光火。请好好组织一下产品信息。

– If the customer needs to know something, then he needs to know it. Telling him “don’t worry about it” is probably the worst thing you can do, unless you tell him exactly why he doesn’t need to worry about it. Vague reassurances only serve to worry people more than ever, and create mistrust. Giving your customers honest, timely, direct and complete information (whether or not they ask all the questions), will lead to more, better, happier customers every time.

告诉客户想知道的信息,只是告诉对方“请勿担心“是最糟糕的方式,除非你能告诉他不需要担心的具体理由。模糊的安慰词语只会让他人更担心,并造成不信任感。给客户诚实,及时,直接和完整的信息(不管他们是否问到这个问题没有),会使你拥有更多对你满意的客户。

– The company’s employees do not share any information with each other (or with the company!). We all know the reasons for this, but the simple fact is that without trust, no family / company / society / country can truly make progress. Social development is a by-product of trust – without trust, there can be no meaningful relationships and no worthwhile future. It all starts with trust, and although there are times when that trust is abused, it should not stop you trusting again.

公司的员工内部没有共享信息(或和公司共享)。原因是不明而喻的,但是如果没有信任,任何家庭/公司/社会/国家都不能有真正的发展。社会的进步是信任的产品,缺乏信任,将没有有意义的关系和有价值的未来。虽然,有时候信任被滥用,但是也不能因此而停止你对他人的信任。

I know these things because I am a customer, as well as a supplier. I have been in business for many, many years (and in quite a few countries), so I know what I am talking about. The problems described here and in my article are all extremely common in China, but I do also appreciate that some people (such as yourselves) would like to improve the situation. Please take what I have said as constructive criticism; that is the way it is intended. After all, if you improve your skills, then my job gets easier too.

我知道这些事情是因为我是一个客户,也是一个供应商。我从事商业工作很多年,在不同的国家中,所以我知道自己在说什么。这篇文章里谈到问题在中国都非常普遍,但我对有些朋友(比如说你们)想改变现状的愿望表示感谢。请把我说的事情看作是积极的批评,这也是我的初衷。毕竟,如果你们能提高做生意的技巧,我的工作也会方便一些。

Thank you, and may you enjoy a wonderful New Year.

谢谢大家,希望你们都有一个美妙的新年!

MyLaowai.

Posted in Ask MyLaowai | 3 Comments »

A Word Of Advice

Posted by MyLaowai on Tuesday, February 2, 2010

I’ve heard that China is “very development” these days. Also that Chinese people are “very diligent”. And that the country is “strongly economy”. The Chinese, I’m told, work hard and well and that “harmoniusness” is a value that is treasured here. Everything, it seems, is “getting good and good”.

It’s certainly true that this is the best place in the world for a foreign investor to put his money, and there are a dazzling variety of ways in which to do it. WOFE’s, JV’s, Rep Offices… China certainly does go far out of it’s way to make you and your money welcome.

But only until you have arrived, because after that it all turns to ashes.

Take for example the diligent local employee. They might be working on an assembly line, or they may be your receptionist. They could be your driver. Whatever role you have employed them in, however, there are a few things that are a near-certainty:

– They will be stealing from you, and I don’t just mean paperclips. Your inventory will be sold out the back door, and you’ll never even know it. Your assets will be sold out the front door, but you’ll never see it go. Your customers will be diverted towards local competitors, your orders will suffer the same fate. Your suppliers will not deliver what you want, when you want, or how you want, but they will deliver your orders to the parallel company your workers have set up. The information in your computer will be stolen within minutes of it being made available to anyone, though it may take them longer to steal it if they have to work for it. The ways in which you will be robbed and cheated are legion, the only thing that is certain is that the first you hear of it will be when your cheques bounce because someone finally went after the bank accounts. Your accountant will be helping with this, if the bank manager isn’t.

– Don’t think you can detect it all, because you can’t. The only thing you can say with certainty is that if you can’t catch them cheating you, then you aren’t looking hard enough. And if you can catch them with their digits in the till, then start worrying about the ones you haven’t caught yet. I’ve lost count of the naive laowai’s who thought they had good employees, only to find out the hard way that bankruptcy was just around the corner.

– Don’t think you can sack ’em if you catch ’em. To start with, you’ll be paying massive compensation claims, and nothing you can say or do will change that. A year’s salary as compensation is routine when you fire someone who was caught thieving from you. Getting caught is a bonus for these people, because that way they catch you coming and going. And even after they are gone, they will bring trouble to you – having a hundred peasant scum turn up at your office or factory in order to intimidate you is far from uncommon, and remember every one of those tyre-kickers is a tea-leaf in addition to being an agitator.

– You can sometimes see justice done via an unexpected yet fortuitous accident, of course. But to be certain that justice was done fairly, it would mean every employee was in hospital, and then you’d get nothing done.

And how about that great economy, huh? Wow, just imagine if every person in China bought just one of your widgets, or whatever you do.

– Well, forget about it. With very few exceptions, the Chinese won’t buy your widgets. Some can’t because the Communist Party steal all their money before they get a chance to spend it. Others won’t buy it because they are boycotting whichever country the Party has decided to hate this month. Some would if they could, but then decide that the locally produced fakes will do the job nicely, thanks. Mostly, the remainder will just steal it from you directly, which brings us back to your employees and their own distribution network.

– If you are in that tiny minority of companies that have not only made some money here, but also managed to keep it from being pilfered by the locals, then congratulations. Enjoy it in whichever manner you choose, as long as it’s inside China. Because getting your money out is a bloody sight harder than getting it in. The entire system is geared to take your money, your talent, your skills, and your knowledge, but the whole point is that you’ll be lucky to get away with the shirt on your back. Deng Xiaoping was a smart cookie, and one of the most unscrupulous and cowardly bastards of the 20th Century – and the latest crop of murdering thugs who run the joint are even worse. They don’t allow you here because it’s good for you, they allow you here because they want what you have. And the WTO be damned.

– Oh, and don’t think that importing your foreign goods is much use, because it isn’t. China is in the business of exporting goods and importing payments, not the other way around. Expect inward-bound shipments to be held up in port for months, banned outright, caught up in paperwork forever, or simply stolen by the Red Army. I know of shipments that were held up during the 2008 Olympics on the basis of ‘security inspections’, that have still not been released. About the only things you can import, in fact, are things like five-axis milling machines, and we all know why that is (if you don’t, Google it).

So folks here it is, MyLaowai’s recommendation to would-be investors in this marketplace:

Just say no. No matter how good it all looks, it isn’t. Sure, I’m here myself, and many of my friends are too. And I suppose that it is just possible that you can make a go of it yourself. But remember that for every one who succeeds, hundreds will fail, and fail big. The only thing in your favour is that there are a few people here, people who know these vermin for what they are, who might be able to help you. Find one or two of us, buy us a drink, and pay close attention to the advice you are given – it might be the cheapest and best advice you ever receive, and it just might save both you and your company from ruin.

In other news, I just received a phone call from a guy I met in a bar a few years ago, the day after he’d arrived in China as it happens. He called me to say that the advice I gave him that night and several times afterwards had saved him and his company, and that he’d like to buy me another drink on the anniversary of that first chance encounter.

It’s not always nice being right about these things, but it sure beats being wrong.

Have a nice day, y’all.

Posted in Ask MyLaowai, China, Rules of the Road | 35 Comments »

Introducing Captain Rad Rundown

Posted by MyLaowai on Monday, February 1, 2010

Good morning, all you festering pieces of toxic waste who call yourselves Chinese drivers! Brief introduction: Captain Rad Rundown here, and I drive. And I LIKE to drive! I’ve been driving for over 5000 years, back when China first invented cars.

Well, Cap’n Rad had the wondrous misfortune this morning to have to do some banking. Bright and early, the piece of shit mobile phone’s alarm goes off at 7am. By 7:05 I was in the driver’s seat, blasting some old classic The The. That’s right, Chinese girls. Cap’n Rad did NOT brush his teeth before leaving the homestead.

I pulled out of the parking lot by 7:06 and by 7:30, I was on my way to the bank.

Funny thing, this driving in China is. In a civilized country, like the one I come from, we know how to spell “color” and “flavor” and “humor” [Note from editor: in even more civilised countries, we know how to spell “colour“, “flavour” and “humour“]. That last one is something I’m severely lacking this morning due to this universally known conundrum called, “The Red Light.”

I say universally, but I’m not entirely sure about that. As I came to this red light, I did what most people would do. I stopped.

Big mistake.

Next thing I know, there’s about 5 or 6 cars behind me flashing their lights and honking their horns. I thought to myself, “Self, what the fuck are they on about?”

Honk honk, flash flash…

MOVE!

Honk honk, flash flash…

Go! It’s red!

Honk honk, flash flash…

You don’t know China, stupid laowai!

Again, I think, what the fuck are you people on about?! This is one of the things that pisses me off about this country. Seriously!

People bitch about traffic in this city. But really, it wouldn’t be half as bad if these fucktards learned a moment… just a moment… of patience.

When the light starts flashing yellow, don’t speed up to make sure you’re blocking the other lanes when they get a green light, you stupid fucking tosser! It’s not your fucking turn anymore. Just wait!!! You are NOT that important in the grand scheme!

Anyways… I’m sitting there in my car, now blasting a bit of L7. I’m in this 90’s kick. The light turns green, so guess what I do. Take a wild guess at my next action.

.

.

.

.

WRONG!

I did NOT go. I couldn’t because there was still a stream of… what I consider the lowest, most fucktarded, idiotic bottom feeders out there… scooter drivers.

Let’s back up for a moment and look at it from the scooter guy’s point of view. What’s their mentality right now?

dum de dum de dum…
morning? mmmmmmMMMM?
Bit cloudy this morning.
mmmmmmmmmmmm.
nice ass. give me blowjob? hehe!
red light.
mmmmmmmmmmmm.
red light. car there.
mmmmmmmmmmmm.
honking at me?
flashing lights at me?
coming straight at me?
.
.
.
mmmmmmmmmmmm.
want to touch her ass.

Okay. I’ll be honest. I really don’t know what the fuck goes through their pea-sized brains. But I do know they’re not too concerned about that red light and the fact that there’s oncoming traffic. This much I do know because of all the scooters I’ve seen splashed all over the road decorated in red “paint” as they’re greeting the side of that minivan that did actually have the green light. Mmmmmmmm indeed!

Fucking seriously though. Straighten your shit out. Don’t be so fucking selfish on the road. China is doing such a great job protecting us from Twitter and Facebook. How about protecting us from your own people? Kool-ade comes to mind.

When I come to a green light, I DON’T slow down. In most civilized countries [Note: and even in parts of Australia!], you usually don’t have to. If I hit you, when you slowly step off your scooter and slowly crouch down onto the road and start screaming in that pathetic fake agony, I WILL put a size 12 boot to your head to help you be more convincing. This is China. Happy everyday! Hehe!

– Capt. Rad Rundown

Posted in Guest Post | 7 Comments »

US Sells Arms To China!

Posted by MyLaowai on Monday, February 1, 2010

The United States has just announced arms sales to the Chinese provinces of Anhui, Zhejiang, Guangzhou, Shuting Sum Yung Gai, Japan and Australia.

Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Rou expressed his solemn position on the US arms sales on Saturday, urging the US to stop selling weapons to Chinese provinces.

Yang, who was paying an official visit to Number Forty-Seven Lucky Fornicating Dragon Noodle Factory, said in disregard of strong opposition and repeated protest from China, the US administration “flagrantly announced its plan to sell the weapons to the provinces worth about 6.4 billion dollars.”

“Such a move is gravely against the three joint communiqués between China and the United States, especially the ‘August 17’ communiqué”, Yang said, adding that it constitutes “crude interference in China’s internal affairs, and harms China’s national security and peaceful annexation efforts.

China firmly opposes such a move which runs counter to the US commitment to support the peaceful growth of the cross-Strait relations”, he said.

The Chinese foreign minister urged the US side to “adopt a serious attitude towards the Chinese position, earnestly respect China’s core interests and major concerns, revoke immediately the erroneous decision on the arms sales to China and stop selling weapons so as not to undermine the China-US relations.”

Yang Rou said China has repeatedly stated its position on the US arms sales to China’s provinces. During a recent meeting in London between the foreign ministers of the two countries, the Chinese side again made clear its solemn stand on the issue, urging the US side to fully recognize the gravity of the issue and stop selling weapons to China, he added.

“The plan endangers China’s national security and core interests and will severely disrupt the ties between the two militaries and will have a seriously negative impact on the cooperation between the two countries as well as peace and stability in the world,” said Se Lang, Defence Ministry spokesman in a statement Saturday.

“The Chinese military expresses its strong indignation and opposition to the US move which betrays its promises to China, wantonly intervenes in China’s internal affairs and damages China’s national security.”

Posted in China | Leave a Comment »