Wo Shi Laowai – Wo Pa Shui

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

Archive for November, 2011

One Thing at a Time

Posted by MyLaowai on Thursday, November 24, 2011

Time and again, I am asked by people in the real world what it’s like being in business in China. The people doing the asking are, in many instances, interested in doing business here themselves, and they are smart enough to want to get a feel for things by asking someone who is already ‘on the ground’. The trouble, is that they seldom really believe what they hear. It isn’t their fault though, not really: they just don’t come equipped with the mental map needed to get a grip on how things really are.

Take, for example, how one manages office employees.

I know of a chap here who, whenever he hires a secretary or personal assistant, gives them a simple test. He gives the applicant a handful of invoices and says: “Please put these in date order and add them up, then book me a flight to XXX, to arrive on such-and-such a date, returning on such-and-such a date, and reschedule tomorrow’s meeting for the day after I return”. Then he sits back and watches nine out of ten of these people start to cry. I’m not kidding – nine out of ten simply go all to pieces under the pressure and start to cry, boys and girls alike. Keep in mind that these people are so-called university graduates who have already passed through the HR filter and are considered ‘qualified’ for the position. They just cannot cope. Interestingly, boys fare far worse than girls, which should come as no surprise to anyone who has ever been to China. Chinese people have the intellectual and emotional strength of an eggshell.

Ask a Chinese to do one thing, and there is a reasonable chance that they will do it. Probably incompletely and poorly, but they will do it. Ask them to do more than one thing, and they will do just one of those things, and very badly indeed. Today, for instance, I asked my PA to get some prices and details on something. The conversation proceeded thusly:

Me: “Please get me full prices and details on XXX from such-and-such a supplier.”

PA: [makes phone call to supplier] “They have two types.”

Me: “What are the two types?”

PA: [makes phone call to supplier] “The two types are [a] and [b].”

Me: “What do they cost?”

PA: [makes phone call to supplier] “They cost [$] and [$].”

Me: “Which price is for which model?”

PA: [makes phone call to supplier] “They cost [$a] and [$b].”

Me: “So, those are the prices? Anything else I should know?”

PA: “Yes, that’s everything.”

Me: “Do those prices include the printing?”

PA: [makes phone call to supplier] “I think so.”

Me: “Do they have any in stock?”

PA: [makes phone call to supplier] “How many do you need?”

Me: “Why? How many do they have in stock?”

PA: [makes phone call to supplier] “They say because how many you need affects the price.”

Me: “Get me a price on one, two, and five, and find out if they have any in stock!”

PA: [makes phone call to supplier] “[relates prices] … and they have some stock.”

Me: “So, can we get that tomorrow?”

PA: [starts to cry very quietly]

Eight phone calls. Eight phone calls, and I still don’t really know if the information is accurate. I will probably have to do it myself in the morning, instead of something else that needs to be done. But – and here is the really important thing – this person is really good. One of the best, in fact. And this is her on a good day.

So, how shall I describe doing business in China? Well, to start with, if you are a CEO with loads of experience running organisations and managing staff, you’re probably better off forgetting the whole thing. Hire a kindergarten teacher and stick a sign on their door that says ‘Managing Director’ instead, because they are better qualified.

I really do mean it.

Posted in Rules of the Road | 66 Comments »

Freedom and How to Achieve It, Part 1

Posted by MyLaowai on Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Posted in Motivational!, Pornography | 3 Comments »

Kuang Kun Chieh

Posted by MyLaowai on Friday, November 11, 2011

Happy International Single’s Day!

What do you mean, “What do you mean?”? I mean Happy International Single’s Day. I am wishing it. To you, in fact. If you are single and, presumably, international that is. Well, ‘international’ might be a slight exaggeration: it is, after all, the kind of ancient festival that could only have been invented in the last twenty years and celebrated by the most retarded dipsticks history has ever produced.

Okay, okay, I’ll slow down and explain. Sheesh! Clearly some of you haven’t been paying attention all these years.

International Single’s Day is an ancient celebration observed in China, and in fact has been celebrated since the 1990’s. And actually, not only is it not international, it also isn’t for singles, because it translates as ‘Bare Sticks Holiday’. So, all the bare sticks have a holiday, or whatever. Trust me, it makes perfect sense once you’ve met a few Chinese peasants. Anyway, all the folks who can’t get a date (ever) or afford to go to a whack shack for a rub’n’tug, get together with all their also-worthless ‘friends’ and celebrate the fact of their solitude by eating four sticks of manky dough fried in sump oil, and one botulism-soaked dumpling. Why? Because somehow that represents the number one, but only if you are a retard. Something to do with it being November 11th I think.

The BBC reports many thousands of people getting married on this day, because it is so lucky. I believe it. Every day is lucky for one obscure, magical and fucktarded reason or another. Pick a day – go on, pick one. Got it? Right then, don’t show me the card… Let me see… Yes, that one is lucky. Something to do with the happy fornicating dragon I think.

My phone’s been ringing all day with people telling me that all the single poontang is out and about and that this is a great opportunity to part some yellow beef curtains. I disagree. What’s out and about is an unwashed mass of superstitious peasant wastrels who are likely to infect whomever they come into contact with, and the infections are unlikely to be as relatively benign as smallpox, given what I’ve seen on the streets tonight.

But hey, I’ve been called the ‘Mother Teresa of China’, and so I want to leave off on a happy note. Maybe even two of them in a perfect, harmonious chord. Maybe more. So, here we go:

1. If I was single, I’d be celebrating too. Because although studies show that married men live longer than single men, they also show that married men are more willing to die.

2. I know a local girl who was paying for some items in a supermarket – a bottle of water, a packet of tofu, a small bag of rice and a few vegetables. The man at the checkout said, “I bet you’re single, aren’t you?”
“Well yes, I am,” this girl replied. “How did you know?”
“Because you’re really ugly,” replied the man.

3. If I was single, cooking my own meals would be an adventure, not a punishment.

4. Single men get credit card statements. Married men get damage reports.

5. Why is divorce so damned expensive? Because it’s worth it.

But the main reason why International Single’s Day For Bare Sticks is a good thing? Single people are less likely to spawn offspring, especially in China. This is A Good Thing.

Happy Happy Everyday!

Posted in Festivals et al | 21 Comments »