Wo Shi Laowai – Wo Pa Shui

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

Archive for the ‘Festivals et al’ Category

Merry Bloody Christmas. Bah, Humbug.

Posted by MyLaowai on Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas Comrades
Merry Christmas, Comrades. Have you stuck a pine tree up an angel’s arse yet? I for one had to buy new decorations for my tree this year, and the angel got the overhead pass into the fucking canal first chance I got. Well, let’s be honest: there ain’t no angels in this benighted land. As for Santa Claus (also known as Saint Nicholas, the patron saint of murderers), I simply dressed up a Chairman Mao statue in a red coat and placed it in the reception area at my sweatshop factory. I figured nobody would notice the difference, just another fat red cunt wasting space that could be better used for just about anything else.

But hey, it is Christmas, the time for goodwill to all men. And even though, by their own reckoning, Chinese are not members of the same species as the rest of us, I wish them well regardless. The way I see it, they need my blessings. Sure as eggs though, the concept of ‘goodwill’ is lost on them. Take the ingrate who cleans my Aston – the lazy mouthbreather didn’t even bother coming into work today. His son did though, to beg me for money for his poor, sick father. He must think I’m fucking made of money. I gave the insolent twat a clip around the ear and some good advice, namely “tell your old man if he wants to be employed on Boxing Day then he’ll be showing his face on the 25th. That is, I am sure you will agree, good advice, and an indication of my exceedingly high level of tolerance in this season of graft and corruption. And I’m sure he will be back, because he actually does seem to enjoy his job.

Anyway, I genuinely do wish a Merry Christmas to those of you who are suffering through another shitty, fucked up season of shite in the Celestial Empire. Hopefully by next Christmas the Japanese will have bombed this lot forward into the Stone Age, and we can get back to the gin & tonics, without all the gobshite from the spotty locals. Just like the good old days. I shall be raising a glass to your health, though to be perfectly honest with you, your health would be better served in a place where the PM2.5 count isn’t always in excess of 450ppm. Why not give the family a phone call, and ruin their entire Christmas by telling them how fucking miserably you are faring, because the heating has been switched off and the air temperature is twenty below and the cunts won’t fix it because they say it isn’t actually broken? And then get pissed, and superglue the neighbour’s front door lock. My kids did that last year – Oh, how we laughed! The little scamps.

Merry Christmas, one and all. My best wishes to each and every one of you.

Merry Christmas 2012

Posted in Festivals et al | 7 Comments »

Chicken Soup etc

Posted by MyLaowai on Monday, December 10, 2012

I have a day off finally, and I’m cooking chicken soup. Unlike Chinese soups, this isn’t very famous in the world, but it is tasty and warming and probably won’t give me botulism. This isn’t a cookery blog, so I’m not going to give you a tiresome recipe, but for the benefit of my Chinese readership I will give you a few tips:

1. Soups made from scratch take longer than 8 minutes to prepare.
2. Tepid river water isn’t soup.
3. Slimy rubbish found floating in the moat or twigs from the forest floor are not actual ingredients.

I hope this proves useful in your future culinary adventures. Moving on…

Jeff, thank you for your Christmas wishes. Merry Christmas to you and yours. Thanks also for this helpful tip you sent in for our readers (who may wish to try this at home):
Get an absolutely clean and clear plate-glass or perspex and put a small puddle of water from your Nestle drinking fountain on it. Cover it with a dust cover and let it evaporate. Now shine a UV light on the plate-glass or perspex. Now do the same with tap water – a penny for your thoughts if you find something.

0112337 (a.k.a. Mister Fibonacci, a.k.a Annoying Twat), why are you making comments about being stalked by 70-year old gay guys in a park in Beijing? Refer perfectmatchmagazine.com if your memory lets you down. That said, thank you for being the most prolific poster on MyLaowai this year. Also, the most annoying poster on MyLaowai this year. And, possibly, the most entertaining poster on MyLaowai this year. Merry Christmas to you, even though it’s hard to know the season from inside your padded cell.

Da Bizzare, thank you for your various Guest Posts. I apologise for not posting them, and intend to remedy that starting right now (and also Merry Christmas to you):


Are you living in China? How’s your back passage feeling? Open? Stretched? Unlubricated yet well entered?

If not, you haven’t wised up yet. Every major piece of commercial software in this god-forsaken, anally retentive paranoid block of land they call a cunt-tree, even though the tree count is low – compared with the other component – will ream your computer for any viable information that may, or may not, be deemed sensitive by our hypochondriac bow-legged slant-eyed ‘friends’.

You shop on taobao? Oooh, that will probably require – software. I don’t mean the clothes that men wear here, I mean that executable stuff. No, I don’t mean the falling bong, err, failing gang, err, the radicals… I mean the shit that runs on your computer – or what passes as such here in this technologically starved land.

And said software, along with QQ and many many others of locally produced products, all have Chinese government installed green dams. Their mission: to search out new lives, to boldly execute where no-one has executed before (and here I mean the family-sponsored bullet to the head type of execution).

Live long and fester, and although its hard to keep your back passage closed, at least try and keep a spare orifice free. Err, unavailable for other’s use, not “for no charge”. There’s plenty of THOSE sort of free orifices everywhere here…

– Da Bizzare

Posted in Festivals et al, Food, Guest Post | 2 Comments »

Lei Feng and Mistress Day

Posted by MyLaowai on Monday, March 5, 2012

Today is Lei Feng Day. Normally we here at MLHQ celebrate this day by offering a patriotic tribute to China’s only superhero (here, here, here and here), but let’s face it: Lei Feng the Hero is about as plausible as the Gingerbread Man. I mean, a spotty gobshite who was so hated by his fellows that they wrapped him in barbed wire and drove a truck over him twice? A so-called ‘revolutionary screw’ whose greatest claim to fame was that he washed some socks? Puhlease.

Let us, therefore, turn to a much more realistic celebration of Chinese ‘culture’: Mistress Day.

Mistress Day, celebrated every March 3rd throughout the Celestial Empire, is the day upon which Chinese people secretly celebrate their love of bigamy and deceit. It’s a real, actual, genuine Day. The China Mistress Association regularly invites married men and women (not to mention their key demographic) to attend festivals throughout the nation. Discussion topics include such things as: “how to get my man to come to my place every day“, “how much does your man give to you every month?” and “when will he buy me a house and car?“.

I am sooo not making this stuff up. Most Chinese men have mistresses, most Chinese women are taking dictation from their ‘English teacher‘, and a recent study carried out in Beijing hospitals found that over half the babies born there were not the loin-spawn of their mother’s husband. A 2007 government survey found that over 90% of provincial-level officials convicted of graft in the previous five years had mistresses. The dictator Mao Zedong himself had an entire army regiment (consisting entirely of young women) set up to keep his knob polished – not that that stopped him from punching the stars of a number of young boys.

Mistress Day? Now that’s what Chinese culture is really about.

Posted in Festivals et al, Sex Sex Sex | 4 Comments »

Wee Wee Chu

Posted by MyLaowai on Tuesday, December 27, 2011

One beautiful December evening Ah Meng and his girlfriend Yoke Mei were sitting under a bridge along a river.

It was a wonderfully romantic night… The moon was full and the stars shone brightly in the sky. Ah Meng looked lovingly at Yoke Mei and said: “Hey, dahring, let’s do Wee Wee Chu.”

“Oh no, not now, let’s just look at the moon!” said Yoke Mei very shyly.

“Oh, c’mon baby, let you and I do the Wee Wee Chu. I ruvv you and it the perfect time,” Ah Meng begged.

“But I wanna just hold your hand and watch the moon,” replied Yoke Mei.

“Prease, darling Mei, just once, do the Wee Wee Chu with me.”

Yoke Mei looked at Ah Meng and said, “OK darling only one time, we’ll do the Wee Wee Chu.”

Ah Meng immediately grabbed his mandolin and they both sang…

WeeWeeChu a Merry Christmas, WeeWeeChu a Merry Christmas,
WeeWeeChu a Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year.”


And a very Merry (if slightly belated due to the vagaries of air travel) Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all. Even to the dozy little savages who think Christmas is translated as ‘Receive Gift Day‘ – brush your teeth just once and all will be forgiven, I say! Even to my neighbours who seem to spend every night either redecorating or screaming at each other in front of their crying ten year-old kid (her for being a whore, he for having a small penis and no prospects) – yes, even to them. Even to the trolls and other bottom-feeders here – especially to you, in fact, for all the amusement and free entertainment you’ve provided us real people with during 2011. May your testes never truly descend!

Thank you, thank you all.

[Elvis has left the building]

Posted in Festivals et al | 13 Comments »

Twelve Days of Chinglish

Posted by MyLaowai on Thursday, December 1, 2011

On the twelfth day of Chinglish the Chairman promised me:

Twelve spitting scum

Eleven perching ren

Tension and strife

Nine foreign wars

Hate all you Laowai

Seven border disputes

Six whack-shacks per block

5,000 years!

For or against us

Three Represents

Too many people…

And a landlord swinging in a tree


Posted in Festivals et al | 7 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 »

UbuntuJONAS (Jew-On-A-Stick Edition)

Posted by MyLaowai on Friday, April 22, 2011

* For Harold – Happy Easter *

There is a difference, it would appear, between an IT fanatic and a fanatic IT person. The former has lots of cool gadgets and gizmo’s and things with flashing lights, whilst the latter causes their neighbours to worry about the safety of their kids.

For instance, I am well aware that there is a debate between users of Microsoft and Apple over which Operating System is best, or between users of Nokia and Android and Apple over which phone is best, or between users of Apple and everyone else over everything. Or, possibly, over iEverything. And that’s all well and good, because in the final analysis most of us just want to read our emails, play some games, and watch porn – and pretty much every computer and every OS ever built allow us to do just that.

And that appears to be a problem if you are a fanatic IT person:

Ubuntu Christian Edition is a free, open source operating system geared towards Christians. It is based on the popular Ubuntu Linux. Ubuntu is a complete Linux-based operating system, freely available with both community and professional support. The goal of Ubuntu Christian Edition is to bring the power and security of Ubuntu to Christians. Ubuntu Christian Edition is suitable for both desktop and server use.

Now, you might shake your head at the insanity of it all. You might chuckle about the daft way folks behave in certain religiously-extreme parts of the world. You might even (as I did) throw up your hands in despair and go back to your porn. But the tech guy here at MLHQ was genuinely curious and began a private investigation of this Ubuntu Jew-On-A-Stick Edition. His findings were rather interesting…

Ubuntu Christian Edition was made in only seven days, and kernel configuration is done through the make godconfig command. This generates a perfect .config file. It knows what your hardware needs and which modules you will need. The init process has been replaced by the genesis process. Finally, in order to work properly, Ubuntu Christian Edition needs to be activated online with a procedure called Baptism.

Ubuntu Christian Edition has only 10 commands, one of which is the confess command that deletes your logs and caches.

To install Wine in Ubuntu Christian Edition, you simply enter apt-get install water.

The hand cursor in Ubuntu Christian Edition’s browser has stigmata.

If you right-click on Wanda the Fish whilst logged as root in Ubuntu Christian Edition, you get in the popup menu the option multiply.

Ubuntu Christian Edition doesn’t allow one to put a network interface into promiscuous mode, and only married processes can fork children. Multiplication problems can only be done using the FORTH programming language, as in “Go forth and multiply”. Cloning is strictly forbidden.

In Ubuntu Christian Edition to find the meaning of a function you’ll have to type bible (name of the function) instead of man (name of the function).

In Ubuntu Christian Edition, a special BSOD (Blue Screen Of Death) has been introduced, which looks like a long shining tunnel (LSTSOD).

In Ubuntu Christian Edition the mount command calls the sermon script. Ensuring you always get a sermon on the mount.

There is no abort() support in Ubuntu Christian Edition’s glibc, and the sin() function has been removed from libm.

In Ubuntu Christian Edition, all documents are saved by grace through faith, and you can only burn heretic CD’s.

With Ubuntu Christian Edition, you don’t need to surf the web. You can walk on it.

Dual boot is not possible in Ubuntu Christian edition. “Thou shalt have no other operating systems before Me…”.

In Ubuntu Christian Edition, there can be only root and 12 more users, one of which will help hackers to access the system.

When the system has been idle for a few minutes, Ubuntu Christian Edition starts praying to save the screen.

If you uninstall Ubuntu Christian Edition, it will automatically re-install after three days.

Ubuntu Christian Edition’s Nautilus file browser has been replaced by Noah’s Ark file browser. It features an embedded backup function, limited to 40 days. And for 40 days before Easter, Ubuntu Christian Edition works in text mode only. Ubuntu Christian Edition processes can respawn only at Easter. And you can never get the system nailed down: It would be blasphemous.

In Ubuntu Christian Edition the default location for saved files is /heaven, EOF is replaced by AMEN, and the media player automatically discovers hidden backward messages in rock music.

In Ubuntu Christian Edition there are no zombie processes. No Voodoo in good Christian systems. Ubuntu Christian Edition also hasn’t got any configuration Wizard. No superstition in serious Christian systems.

Ubuntu Christian Edition won’t run on Apple computers. He said not to touch them.

An algorithm developed in Ubuntu Christian Edition does not need proofs.

Ubuntu Christian Edition’s man pages are dogmatic.

If a process dies in Ubuntu Christian Edition, it reaches eternal life. Without error code, it goes to the Holy Data Structure of Heaven; with error code, it is damned to the infamous Data Structure of Hell.

There are no direct broadcast messages from root in Ubuntu Christian Edition: there are special Prophet users who deliver them.

Ubuntu Christian Edition networking refuses to work with FreeBSD.

If you install successfully S.A.T.A.N. (Security Auditing Tool for Analysing Networks) on Ubuntu Christian Edition, you get a kernel panic as you reboot.

Ubuntu Christian Edition does not have daemons.

Posted in Ask MyLaowai, Fact Friday, Festivals et al | 4 Comments »

M.Y.O. Medal

Posted by MyLaowai on Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Today is a very exciting day. For starters, it’s International Communist Women’s Day, and that surely is very exciting. It’s also Fat Tuesday, or, as Americans call it, Every Tuesday. Wow. It’s also on this day in history that Johannes Kepler discovered the third law of planetary motion, which states that the universe revolves around Peking, or so I’m told.

But none of this compares to last Saturday, when the whole world celebrated Lei Feng Day.

Oh yes indeed! Lei Feng, the most famous hero of them all, the National Hero of China and sock-washer extraordinaire, is remembered every March 5th. He was truly a great man, and washed many socks. He was also run over by a reversing truck. Twice. After being wrapped in barbed wire. By his best friend. By accident, really it was. He even earned a medal for it.

I think it says something about China that the National Hero is celebrated for doing something nice (i.e. washing socks for other people). And for being run over by a slowly reversing truck. Twice. It really is no wonder that his memory is so revered.

And now you, too, can share in the joy of Lei Feng. Simply print this Lei Feng Commemorative Medal*, cut it out, and wear it with pride upon your very own sunken chest. You will be the envy of your friends. It even comes with free Oak Leaf Cluster, for brave heroes who are run over twice whilst washing socks.

Just remember to be careful around reversing trucks.

* Or go here and buy it. Your call, really.


Posted in Festivals et al, Propaganda | 52 Comments »

Christmas In China

Posted by MyLaowai on Thursday, December 23, 2010

This year MyLaowai received more than the usual number of submissions for our Christmas Guest Post. Obviously, we deeply appreciate every submission, and hope that those writers who were not published do not lose heart – we love you all long time, really we do. We thought we’d found our Guest Post and in fact we went ahead and published it, and then we received this gem. At first glance it might not seem like your typical MyLaowai post. But cast your mind back to your first few days here, before reality moved in and took over your sofa and your fridge and your bathroom. They were happy days, weren’t they? True, there were precious few of them, but they were happy. And sometimes it’s good to be a little less cynical, which is why we told our model that her services would not be required for the usual Christmas shoot, and went ahead with this instead. MyLaowai hopes you enjoy it as much as we did…

The Christmas Post

It’s my first year in China and because of this I may be a bit more wide eyed about China than more seasoned foreigners here.

I’m not the typical age to be in China as a foreign teacher. I’m a little bit older if not a hell of a lot wiser. The things that annoy other people about here might not necessarily bother me so much.

I live in small-city China. ‘Real China’ as Scott the bar owner says. But everybody says that about their little corner of this massive country. Foreigners here get an undeserved amount of attention sometimes. We get invited to dinner or invited to parties not necessarily because people like you but because you are a foreigner. I like eating so I like being invited to dinner. I can see it getting wearing though. I’ve also been on TV twice. That’s twice more than I have ever been before.

Tomorrow I am informed I am singing a song at a children’s party. Nothing surprises me here now. I’ve already been a fake foreign businessman for an ad and was selected to ‘model’ at a fashion show. I am still asking myself why. Especially the modelling. I’m up for anything so I’ll try it at least once. In China I am finding that questions are asked in a way that makes it impossible and impolite to consider refusing.

So last night I got invited to an oral English speaking competition in the neighbouring college, the one I don’t teach in. In the West we call this ‘going to the pub’ but in China the students take it very seriously and it is very formal. And from this microcosm of Chinese life in a forgotten Chinese city you can see one of the things that is wrong here.

It’s the fact that even though it is opening up China exists in a vacuum. Their English language courses also therefore exist in a vacuum. They get approved texts and nobody seems to want to go outside those texts and safe subjects to improve their fluency.

Sure, I could understand the students and they were technically competent but what I would really have rated them highly for i.e. being creative was missing. The students were judged on aping an American accent and have a vocabulary as wide as the Three Gorges dam but if they are going to stick to the narrowest of the narrow range of topics why bother learning English?

It’s as if they are given a course on what to say to foreigners. There is no depth and nobody really deviates from sitting on the fence. The structure “in my opinion” is just another way of saying “here’s another fact”. Nobody has an actual opinion. These kids have so such remarkable potential but they are constrained like battery hens.

So, contrast this with the city. The people stop, they stare and if I had one kuai for every time I was called “laowai” in the street I would be able afford to bring all my friends to KTV. In fact if I had one kuai for every time people stared I would have this money even faster. I think that people forget that foreigners are people just like them. Our noses are bigger which is handy for keeping glasses on our faces and our feet are bigger but basically we are the same as each other. Many Chinese students have glasses drooping down their noses, well, mostly because they slide down the bridge and come to rest about an inch too low.

As is usual in China everything is famous. This city is famous for spicy duck heads, spicy rabbit heads and oranges. All of which I have eaten and the duck head in particular is quite tasty. If a bit gruesome.

You have to get used to the gruesome here. Walmart, which is a million times cleaner than the markets here, is piled high with full chicken carcasses and ducks that look like they were cooked by being fired through a jet engine. The meat counters of Chinese supermarkets are no place for the squeamish.

They are places for bullfrogs and all kinds of live fish and creepy crawlies that lurk in the sea though. Frogs are quite tasty but I have no idea how to prepare or even buy frogs. I mean, do you buy them alive and put them in a bag? Do you give them a name and how the hell do you cook them? I prefer to eat them when I go for hot pot.

All life in China centres around food. I am moving on from pointing and nodding to saying “I don’t want spice”. Here, when they hear that, they still spice it but it’s a smidgen less spicy. Regular food will just blow your head off, duck heads in particular are ultra spicy. Most of the stuff I can’t say in English – never mind Chinese.

Night life is dead as a doornail here. It doesn’t mean that there are no bars but some of them are empty seven nights a week and have zero atmosphere. The one bar that we all seem to end up in has had nights where it all kicked off and it closes when the last person gets bored or hungry and goes home.

The treat for getting hungry after the bar is not going for chips and a burger. It’s more fun than that. You can get squid, dumplings and skewers of meat served with noodles or rice from the street vendors. Best not to look too hard at their fingernails though. Here is where I learned to yell in Chinese “NO SPICE”. Otherwise I’m going home with the hottest food on earth.

But there is one street vendor who has the most fantastic dumplings. I’m sure they are exactly the same as the next guy’s but he is nearest the taxi stand and they are fabulous. It’s the nearest thing here to a bag of chips on the walk home.

We have long since given up on dashing back to getting in the school gates before 11pm. The gates close and the only choice we have is to vault the side gate. With wintery weather coming I am guessing that this will get trickier as it gets slippier. Nobody has fallen but I have memories of a German colleague halfway over the gate, shaking with laughter 10 minutes into climbing the gate. The poor girl hates it.

So Christmas is here. Although you really wouldn’t know it. There are pretty much no decorations and there is nothing like the rush you experience back in Ireland. Walmart and RT Mart have displays of demented fake Christmas trees and the market is awash with tinsel and Santa hats but Christmas exists purely on a superficial level. There’s no going to the pub to see people you haven’t seen since last year in the same pub that you swore blind you would catch up with during the year. No going to Midnight mass with a few jars on board and waking up yet again in your mates house wondering how on earth you are going to get home.

Christmas for me is about family, about getting things with batteries and instructions that you couldn’t be arsed reading at the time. About watching a crappy movie after eating far too much. It’s also about having a row with your sister when the Top Gear special comes on.

Here its going to be different. Scott who owns a bar with his Chinese wife is making a Christmas BBQ. Being Australian I suppose that’s what Christmas means to him. Should be interesting. I will blog photos and a commentary afterwards.

I suppose what I am saying is that it is Christmas on the calendar and I have received presents and a teeny tiny tree from Ireland but it doesn’t feel Christmassy. And amazingly it is forecast to snow on Christmas day here. A white Christmas but not what Christmas is all about. To the Chinese it’s just another Western festival they kinda half get.

Posted in Festivals et al, Guest Post | 4 Comments »

The Christmas Guest Post

Posted by MyLaowai on Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Christmas Post

As I am in the business of understanding people, I had a moment of clarity today, seeing two corner-stones of how to work in China as clear as never before and want to share them with you all:

Never assume common sense, about anything and everything ever
If not specified, it will be wrong. Be as specific as you can possibly be.
Example: I was expecting a brief spreadsheet today summarizing a couple of numbers. It’s truly simple and the person doing it is very experienced. I only would have a quick review and will pass it on. I open the spreadsheet and find my eyes raped; Yellow font on dark blue, pink headings and a solid brown for the total columns. On top of that, all is in conditional formatting. Took me over 2 hours to fix this.

Never assume anyone within the total chain of command is committed to doing a good job for the sake of doing a good job.

The true credos are as follows in this order:
1. Most money for me
2. Least work for me
3. Least risk for me

This is actually quite impressive if read out of context as these are very smart business guidelines. How they translate into reality however is very different.

1. Most money: Most workers have a fixed income, and for those this one is taken out of the equation essentially as their output and effort do not really impact their earning. In a large array of companies neither your chance of promotion (it may take a year longer, but based on seniority you will be promoted eventually even if you do not know how to tie your shoes).

2. Least work: For those with fixed income, this is truly the variable to tweak. As I cannot increase my earnings, decreasing my output is the best way of tilting this equation to their favour. This unfortunately translates into a strong work avoidance behaviour that resides between a genuine lack of interest in whatever topic or creativity-fuelled list of excuses why work cannot be done. Note here, it is never about wanting; it is always about an external force that hinders the work. It is accordingly not possible. It has gone so far that people wanted to tell me there are no flights between Shanghai and Beijing… (No joke!)

3. Least risk: There are two kinds of risk of success and risk of failure. I basically understand them as follows:

3.1 Risk of failure is the more obvious one. Failing at a task given equals losing face and losing face is bad. It is better to not actually do the task and bring some excuse why external factors hindered you from doing it, than actually failing on it. Rule of thumb, the greater the responsibility the greater the willingness to avoid the chance of failure through avoidance.

3.2 Risk of success is closely related to the initial credo of least work for me. Success is dangerous as it may result in more work. Given the steady pay, success is rather risky and needs to be timed very well to achieve the desired outcome, i.e. briefly before promotion season, or when highly senior people are involved.

Let’s seize another day in this theoretically beautiful country and enjoy it as long as we are welcome.


The Hans!

Posted in Festivals et al, Guest Post | 35 Comments »