Wo Shi Laowai – Wo Pa Shui

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Archive for the ‘Rules of the Road’ Category

Why? This is Why…

Posted by MyLaowai on Thursday, January 3, 2013

China Internet

We have recently concluded a deal that involved receiving bids from prospective suppliers. Of the serious contenders, three were from China and one was located in Japan. We yesterday announced to all parties that the Japanese won the bidding process and have got the deal. This was greeted with whines and anger, with two of the Chinese parties demanding to know why we didn’t pick them. Why? Here, for the hard-of-thinking, are the reasons:

1. When the Japanese come to my office, they have washed and brushed their teeth. I therefore am prepared to listen to them for longer. They are also more polite, or, put another way, they have heard of manners and practise using them. When we eat together, I am not repulsed.

2. The Japanese have never stolen my trade secrets, as have the Chinese. This matters even more than personal hygiene.

3. The Japanese made me privy to their reasoning and were very open and honest with me about absolutely every aspect of the deal. The Chinese were as transparent as a concrete wall and refused to discuss the reasons why their proposals were structured the way they were. Thus, although the Japanese bid was the most expensive, I completely understand why this should be so.

4. I trust the Japanese. Amazingly, I trust the Japanese even though my grandfather fought against them in the Second World War. Seems strange, perhaps, but I just feel that one shouldn’t base one’s entire world-view on something that our ancient ancestors did long before we were even twinkles in the milk-man’s eye. On the other hand, two of the Chinese parties actively tried to bribe their way into the deal, and the other was overheard making disparaging comments about foreigners in China. It seems unlikely that I can trust them.

5. Most of all, however, even more important than all the rest of this, is the fact that the Japanese came back to me with an on-time bid that was comprehensive and answered all the questions. None of the Chinese parties did. Oh sure, they complain now that it isn’t their fault that their email wasn’t working and that they had problems accessing some of the reference documents that were kept in the Google Docs folder, and that their Dropbox was never synched, and that they couldn’t use their VPN’s to access my servers. You know what? I don’t care. I don’t give one single, solitary groat’s worth of shit. For all I care, you can walk East until your head floats. Fuck you, in fact. Fuck you, your mother, your father, your entire fucking family, your neighbours, people who have loaned you money, fuck you all. Your country, your government, and your Party that you are so proud of in front of me, your fucktarded internet controls that you refuse to protest, your oh-so-fucking wonderful Sina and QQ and Weibo and Youku and Baidu and all the rest of your stolen technology, these have done sweet fuck all to help you to compete on the simple, level playing field I set before you. The Japanese, quite frankly, were better than you, their system was better than yours, their country is better than yours, their culture is better than yours, and although their price wasn’t better than yours, I do guarantee that their quality will be better than yours too.

Happy New Year, Mr. Fujimoto. Akemashite omedeto gozaimasu, kotoshi mo yoroshiku onegaishimasu.

Posted in Censorship, Corruption, Media, Rules of the Road | 21 Comments »

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 »

Chinese Toddler etcetera

Posted by MyLaowai on Saturday, October 22, 2011

It’s big news: little Wang Yue Yue, the “two-year-old girl in southern China, who was run over by two vans and ignored by 18 passers-by”, has died. Every newspaper and television station in the world, it seems, has picked up the story. The thing is, most of them seem to have left a few points out of their analysis…

1. Yue Yue. This means ‘Happy Happy”. What the hell kind of parents name their kid “Happy Happy”? Were they really that fucking short of ideas? Or did they just not give a shit what their kid was called as long as he/she/it could grow up and earn a pension for them? Seriously, how crap must parents be to name their loin-spawn “Happy Happy”? The mind boggles.

2. What was a two-year-old doing playing on the road? The road, where trucks and stuff go driving past. You know, where two-year-old kids could be, for example, run over. Did the parents just kind of not appreciate that two-year-olds and roads are not a brilliant combination? Huh?

3. Is there anyone in the world who believes for a single second that this doesn’t happen every day in China? If so, you are a touch naive, my friend. This is how it works: Some baby / old geezer / idiot [delete as appropriate] wanders out into a street / highway / service lane. Truck / car / taxi runs them over. Said vehicle usually drives off, with the driver not being aware of the fact the the bump in the road was made of meat because he, too, is a fucking retard like all his shit-for-brains cuntrymen, but on the off-chance that the driver does know what happened, said vehicle will stop, reverse over the now-much-easier-to-hit target in order to make sure of the job, before then driving off. After all, a dead person is cheaper to pay out for than an injured one if you are ever caught, which you won’t be, because nobody actually gives a damn about anyone else. Home of civilisation my arse.

4. If “Happy Happy” had grown up, is there actually anyone who believes that she would have been any different? No. And why is that? Because she would have been a selfish, nasty, spiteful bitch like every other person she is likely to have met. In twenty years, it could well have been her behind the wheel.

5. There is not a single fucking person in China who actually gives one single, solitary groat’s worth of shit about this. Don’t mistake the “I’ve been shedding tears for this little angel for a week now” comments for actual truth. Even the parents, now that they know they will be well-compensated and can have a shot at a boy-child, are unlikely to care much. In fact, apart from some well-intentioned but foolish laowais, the only people in China who will even remember this in a week are the retards who were driving, but in two weeks they’ll have been executed for their organs, which will leave no one. But hey, by then we’ll have another story to distract the masses from their anti-government protests.

6. “Happy Happy”? I mean, really? Jesus that’s fucked. I’m still getting to grips with how fucktarded Chinese parents are. What the hell kind of a name is that? Really?

7. In other parts of the world, even stray dogs care more about each other than do Chinese for each other: YouTube video here
[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-HJTG6RRN4E&feature=youtube_gdata_player]

8. Various newspapers are prattling on about how this incident has “sparked a wave of soul-searching on China’s social networking sites”. Bullshit. Chinese people have no soul, and if they did, they wouldn’t be going to the trouble of searching it. If they had a soul, it would be small, dark, and slimy. It would smell of sulphur. I’ve never even heard of a Chinese actually giving a shit about anything that didn’t happen to them personally. Soul searching? Who are you trying to kid?

9. Sorry if this sounds harsh, but sad as it may seem that some kid has died, at least now it won’t breed another generation of the Enemy. Forget the One-Child Policy, what we need in this place is a No-Child Policy, rigorously enforced for, oh, about the next sixty years or so. A great many problems will then solve themselves, especially if you are Uighur or Tibetan or Vietnamese or Indian or… well, you get the point.

10. There is a lesson for all of us in this: Don’t play with trucks.
10.1 Also,: Don’t get injured in China.
10.2 And: Give your kid a name that isn’t crap. Fuck man, “Happy Happy”? I mean, really?

Posted in Human Rights, Media, Newsflash, Rules of the Road | 96 Comments »

Victory!

Posted by MyLaowai on Wednesday, September 21, 2011

When it comes to air travel, I’m a trouble free traveller. Well, I like to think so at any rate. Certainly I keep my seatbelt securely fastened at all times, and I return the seat back and tray table to their upright positions at the correct times, and I turn off my mobile phone when instructed to do so by the little man who hides in the tannoy system. I always say “please” when asking for a drink and I always say “thank you” when it arrives. I usually manage to say something nice to the Air Doris while I’m at it.

Mind you, at a certain moment, things tend to bog down in the alcoholic beverages supply chain. Either the mix thins out, or it dries up, or I get a visit from the head lad, who proceeds to warn me about something called ‘dehydration’.

Tosh and balderdash. On a good day I can generally knock over a bottle of gin at a single sitting, before moving on to defeat half a bottle of rum. If you’re an American, you probably think I’m either a lush or a liar. If you’re British, you probably think I’m a bit of a lightweight. This is why, incidentally, Great Britain built a world-spanning empire based on blood, toil, tears and sweat, and the U.S. built a world-spanning empire based on dropping bombs on some poor bastard from thirty thousand feet where it’s safe. But, I digress.

I’m not the guy in front of you who puts his seat right back when you’re trying to eat. I’m not the guy who can’t make up his bloody mind where he wants to sit. I’d never, ever, be the guy who brings his crying baby on board the long-haul flight merely because his wife’s family want to clap eyes on the illegitimate little sod. No, I’m the guy who has a few drinks, maybe reads a book, and is nice to the girl in the purple or green uniform.

Until last week, that is, when I took an Air China flight.

It was a long-haul international flight, and things started going wrong the moment I arrived at the gate, for while I was checked in (via a previous flight), I needed the Air China gate staff to print me a boarding pass. No big deal, you’d think, and normally it wouldn’t be, but that reckons without the obstinacy and sheer bloody-mindedness of a Chinese person who has the power to deny a Laowai something.

And it wasn’t even a big deal: I just wanted an aisle seat. That’s it. It didn’t matter which aisle, or which row, as long as it was an aisle seat.

And this person printed me a centre seat, right in between what I knew would be two stinking peasants. I politely asked this person again for an aisle seat, and was informed that the plane was full. Well now folks, I’m a dab hand at doing rough head counts, and I’ve a pretty fair idea how many bodies fit into a 747, and with five minutes until boarding it was clear the plane was only about two thirds full, so I smiled my nicest smile and asked if perhaps it could be checked again. At which point I was informed that: “If you wanna aisle seat you better wait for next plane!” Point taken.

Now, I’ve thought about this long and hard (two adjectives that few Chinese can lay claim to), and here’s the deal: I’d dearly love to give you this person’s name and position and all the rest of it, but I won’t. I’ve no problem with naming people who put themselves in the public domain, but this person hasn’t done that. All I am prepared to say, therefore, is that the flight originated in California, the person was female at some point before her fallopian tubes dried up like noodles that have been left in the sun, and the name was Ms T. She is employed full-time by Air China, and part-time by the folks who are in the spying game. Oh yes, and she has an expression that can curdle milk at fifty paces – you know the sort I’m talking about: some middle-aged former Red Guard bitch. They’re a dime a dozen in China. The heart is a small, black thing like a lump of coal and it pumps viscous vitriol around the body instead of blood. Too mean to die, they exist in a dark netherworld of hatred and bitterness. It is said that, as with Cliff Richard, they cannot be harmed by conventional weapons. Let the traveller beware when passing through lands inhabited by Ms T and her ilk.

Back on the plane, I was not happy. But then it occurred to me that, as a Laowai, I really should take charge of the situation. I could either sit in my assigned seat and steam for thirteen hours, or I could take steps to address the issue. The choice was clear, as was the method: Chinese were at the heart of the problem, and so they would be at the heart of the solution. I moved to the aisle seat. When Mr Wang turned up wanting his seat, I merely informed him that he could have the middle one instead. When he protested, I smiled radiantly and told him how lucky he was to be given that option. Confused (as Chinese easily are), he sat where he was told. As did the next person to arrive. Mission accomplished. But, I thought, why stop there? It had all gone so swimmingly, why not up the stakes? Looking about, I saw two empty seats a few rows away. Turning to my fellow passengers, I pointed out the empty seats, and suggested they might be happier sitting in them, before proceeding to demonstrate with my elbows why that was the case. And so, they got up and moved, and I had three seats to myself. Nice.

Now, you might think that I was unfair to my fellow passengers, that despite the fact that they were stinking peasant scum, they hadn’t earned that treatment from me. Well, you’d be right. But this is the Chinese Way. It’s the basis upon which their entire society is structured. I merely played their own game, though of course, as a Laowai, I played it better than they did. And THAT is the real point of this ramble.

Oh yes, and Ms T? You lose.

Posted in Rules of the Road | 25 Comments »

The miracle of… Wait a minute!

Posted by MyLaowai on Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Having babies – what’s so fucking special about it? Women are forever bleating on and on about how they are better than men because only they can drop a litter of rug-rats, and how this somehow endows them with the ability to create a more compassionate world, and blah de fucking blah. Big whoops I say: come back and talk to me when you have had the experience of receiving a blow job whilst driving your Aston through a built-up area at high speed.

But oh no, we have to treat women ‘special’. And in China they take this to extremes. This probably does not surprise you; it doesn’t surprise me. Very few things possess the power to surprise me any more, except perhaps the (frankly ludicrous) suggestion that someone in China might actually exhibit some fragment of humanity for once in their useless life – but I digress.

Women are ‘special’ in China. Well, retarded kids are ‘special’ where I come from, and there are many similarities between the two groups. Pregnant women are the most ‘special’ of all, of course. You can’t fire their lazy asses, you’re not supposed to beat them as often as the unimpregnated ones, they get paid time off to drop their hatchlings, etcetera etcetera. But this is just the ordinary sort of nonsense we put up with in the West. In China, they don’t watch television, in case it damages the unborn bastards’ eyes. She can’t sit on a crooked mat, or look at bright colours, or have an unharmonious discussion. Food must be properly cut before she eats it, and she can’t eat anything cold, because that leads to arthritis. She doesn’t have sex, of course, but that’s hardly a surprise – after getting a larva on the way, what possible reason could she have for wanting sex ever again?

Best of all, though, is that she gets to wear a lead-lined vest. I’m not making this stuff up folks: Chinese women carrying a codling wear lead-lined vests, a bit like one of those dictators in low-rent countries that you only hear about in the news when we invade them. Apparently, this is to protect the unborn scrag from the dangers of intense radiation given off by photocopiers, computer monitors, fluorescent lights, and in fact anything remotely related to doing her fucking job properly. It probably won’t stop a bullet though, and it won’t help much when she gets pushed down the stairs.

I have a mate here whose wifey-pops is preggers. He’s a good mate, and he reads this blog, so I’m going to be nice about his wife. She won’t go to a hotpot restaurant if it uses induction heating for the food, because of the intense radiation – Sweet Jesus the Jew! So, I’m going to be nice about his wife, but – Holy Fucking Moly! Let’s just hear that one again, shall we:

She won’t go to a hotpot restaurant if it uses induction heating for the food, because of the intense radiation.

What the fuck? I mean, just what the fuck? I’ll ignore for the moment that induction heating is one of the most common forms of cooking in the world, is used in millions of industrial applications, and has been with us since the early 1900’s. This just makes no sense at… all… oh wait. I get it. She’s got a bun in the oven, so suddenly she’s fucking ‘special’. Somehow she suddenly possesses the wisdom of the ancients, as does her mother probably, and every other fucking Chinese woman in the world. Oh no, it isn’t superstitious twaddle or the delusional rantings of a crazed mind, not when it is coming from the gob of a pregnant woman.

Personally, I would not tolerate that shit in my house for one fucking minute. Mrs MyLaowai had better not even think of trying that shit on with me, unless she has plans to be the next Mrs I-Just-Got-My-Ass-Beaten-Up. But hey, I’m a sensitive guy: I also give my workers an additional twenty minutes to have their little polliwogs, before they are required to be back on the production line.

I’m sure that somewhere here there is a moral for you to take away, but quite frankly I’m too disgusted to bother trying to find it. Perhaps it’s just: don’t impregnate a Chinese bird. Hell, don’t bother with them at all, by-and-large. And anyway, all babies look like Chairman Mao – fat, ugly, and always shitting everywhere. Why bother? Nope, if you insist on buying yourself a Chinese girlfriend or wife (and make no mistake about it, it is a financial transaction first and foremost, with a no-money-back guarantee), then for the love of all that you hold dear (beer, cars, guns, and sport), do not under any circumstances allow her to become infected with a baby.

Unless she is ‘special’, of course.

Posted in Ask MyLaowai, Food, Rules of the Road, Sex Sex Sex | 17 Comments »

The Moral Compass

Posted by MyLaowai on Monday, May 16, 2011

The Moral Compass

I have this device called a Moral Compass. You probably do, too. Most of us have them, in fact. And they’re really useful things to have around – they sort of let us know what the right thing to do is, which is very handy in this crazy, mixed-up world.

But the problem is, Moral Compasses don’t always point due north, as it were. Or, rather, one person’s due north is another person’s sou’sou’east. Whatever, the point is they don’t all point the same way. For instance, there are people out there who are quite prepared to strap a bomb to their chest and detonate it in a cafe. Now, I totally get the reason why, I really do. I can even empathise with these people. But it isn’t the way my Moral Compass points and I would be hard-pressed to find a situation where I’d approve of that. If you are one these people, rest assured that I find it equally repulsive when other people bomb your village from thirty thousand feet and then refer to what’s left of everyone you knew as “collateral damage” or “insurgents”. My Moral Compass doesn’t point that way at all, for which I am eternally grateful.

The Moral Compass is a very tricky device, and sometimes it leads us astray, but though it may be a flawed tool, it’s the best that many of us have. But because it is so tricky, I generally refer to it in only two situation: when I am not remotely sure of what I should do; and when I am absolutely sure of what I should do. Those are the times when the Moral Compass is most useful.

But it is flawed, nevertheless, and has a tendency to drift over time. And so, therefore, sometimes it needs calibration from an external reference point. My reference point is a chap by the name of John Chinaman.

You may have met John Chinaman – he does get around, certainly. I keep bumping into him wherever I travel. And the nice thing about John Chinaman, is that his Moral Compass always points 180 degress the opposite of what I want mine to point to. I just compare my Moral Compass to his, and if they are not 180 degrees in opposition, then I know it’s mine that needs adjusting, because John Chinaman’s Moral Compass hasn’t shown any change since the dawn of time.

If you ever find yourself in a situation where you are lost as to the correct course of action, or alternatively are so very certain of yourself that you cannot be persuaded of another’s viewpoint, then take a look at John Chinaman’s Moral Compass and adjust your course accordingly.

There’s something in that for all of us.

Posted in Ask MyLaowai, Rules of the Road | 33 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 »

A Friendly Reminder From The Weather Ministry

Posted by MyLaowai on Sunday, October 18, 2009

Laowai, please note:

In case you missed it, October 1st has been and gone. It is now, therefore, cold. You should wrap warmly in no less than three layers every time you go out, and even when you are staying in. Protect your neck from cool winds, and remember your hat. If you don’t have a hat, then a plastic bag will do just fine. Drink plenty of hot water and avoid cold drinks such as beer.

It has come to our attention that some laowai are still wearing T-shirt’s and shorts, on the grounds that the temperature is the same as it was on September 30th – please be advised that a harmonious nation feels cold when the Party says it is cold. Your defiant behaviours and splittist attitudes are being noted.

You have been warned.

Posted in Rules of the Road | 9 Comments »

MyLaowai’s Book – Supplemental Section

Posted by MyLaowai on Friday, August 14, 2009

guestpost.jpg

Dear Chinese girls,

So you want to marry a laowai huh? Well, there is quite a bit of work for you ladies to do as well before you are even close to being suitable LONG TERM partners. Yes, that’s right, the reason the door was locked when you tried to visit is because your Chinese characteristics were deemed unsuitable for long term investment by the more discerning laowai.

Of course, it is only natural that you should want a partner who belongs to the more civilised laowai demographic, but you have to make a few changes. Merely trying to blackmail the poor bastard won’t work – you simply aren’t smart enough and don’t have enough guanxi to score a small bottle of ereguotuo. Yes, hybrid babies are lovely, cute and healthy – and many laowai would love to start a family. But that does not mean we will put up with the world of paranoid delusions that you call day to day living in China.

But let us be fair. After all, who can blame these girls? It’s been my experience that pretty much every Chinese girl who has come into contact with a boy from her country has realised that she can get away with murder so long as she puts out a few times a week for the 30 seconds of greasy grope that passes for native sex. Well, until said boy finds his next KTV girl at any rate.

Now, DaBizzare has been described as ‘the male Germaine Greer of China’, and I am here to help. I want to show you Chinese girls that foreigners don’t just have foreign passports, they have standards as well. So here it is, girls, a short list of some of the ways in which you can lift your game. With practice, you may find that you, too, can actually keep a laowai boyfriend for a long time and maybe even convert him into a loving and devoted husband.

Please do note that this list is not an exhaustive one. Please also note that if you require clarification on any of these points, you need only try actually asking a laowai for his opinion on the subject.

1. Wash. This is a big deal for most laowai’s, although maybe some of our British peers [and possibly also British Peers – Ed] can tolerate you doing so twice weekly, most of the rest of us prefer daily, and especially after strenuous exercise. It doesn’t matter if you are from Northern China where the cultural imperative is to be fragrant and save valuable water so the baijiu factories can keep up their production quotas; a whiff of stale quiff will ruin a stiff. Your local laowai will be more than happy to let you use his shower upon arrival every time and will gladly foot the bill for your aqueous ablutions.

2. Shave. Underarm hair is not attractive, and quite frankly, heading a bit further south of there, not every laowai is called Dr Livingstone or Indiana Jones, and therefore is not carrying a machete to crop your jungle growth. Again, if razors seem prohibitively expensive, your local laowai will be more than happy to supply you one – NO! Do NOT use the same one he uses on his face! – for your own personal use. If you are still having trouble, drop in and see me, I’ll personally see to it you are suitably trimmed.

3. Get properly dressed. This means matching colours and not looking like you lost at a dye fight. Be careful of the English slogans on your shirt; “I put out for truckers” or “I love sex” are not conducive to a long term relationship. Those 3 inch hats pinned to the side of your head are DEFINITELY OUT. Also, those stupid dresses that have the waistline lifted to just below your breasts to try and give the illusion that you have long legs are a definite ‘no’ as well, and in a similar vein, looking like a sack just doesn’t cut it either: it makes you look pregnant. If there is no gather under the breasts, don’t buy it. Hugely padded bras are a plan guaranteed to misfire: if Joe Laowai likes big tits [or even any tits at all – Ed] and is fooled by your padding, when he gets you home and finds out that your funbags disappear when you undress then you are extremely unlikely to get invited back again. Lying on any level just doesn’t pay for the long haul, although you may get lucky and get a taste of long schlong for a single evening.

4. Learn to walk. This involves lifting your feet from the ground, thus this tip could also be referred to as Stop Shuffling. You can further improve your chances by actually walking in a straight line, and not weaving all over the shire. Finally, aim for your average walking speed to be slightly faster than that of a dead snail on morphine. I would go on to advanced concepts like avoiding the zombie stomp, but I don’t want to overload your neuron. [No, I would definitely recommend not doing the stompy thing, and risk the integrity of the neuron – Ed]

5. When your nose is itchy, don’t insert your finger up to the second joint. When going to the toilet, use a toilet. Western style toilets are for sitting on, not squatting on top of. Flushing it after use wouldn’t be a bad idea, either. When you want to hawk a loogie, just don’t. Use a bin for your litter. In short: try acting like a civilised person. I’ve said enough on this topic.

6. ‘Chinese boys would give me a house and a car’ is bullshit. Chinese boys would be lucky to give the time of day if they could work it out for themselves. We laowai are not stupid, girls, and you can’t expect us to swallow lines like ‘No Chinese girl has sex before she marries’ or ‘This is my first time’. No, we won’t pay for your second cousin’s dog-catcher’s nephew’s house because ‘that is what is expected of Chinese families’ and if your old man comes around to attempt to strong-arm us into coughing up for his Ferrari you can expect your access privileges to be instantly revoked [the same applies in the far more likely event of the vehicle being a Santana, Jiali, or other local dog-box – Ed]. The “you have had sex with me so now you must marry me” doesn’t work on Chinese fucktards, so don’t expect us to fall for it either.

7. Questions like “When can we move to your homeland”, “Do you own a house overseas”, “I really want to leave China” and so on leave Joe Laowai with the distinct impression that he is being used for his passport. Believe it or not, we want a girl to love us for whom we are.

8. About your, erm, assets. This is a delicate subject, I know. Fate has not been kind to the women of the Middle Kingdom, and there isn’t much you can do about it in most cases. Please, don’t go getting your legs broken, stretched and re-pinned. Don’t go getting that eyelid operation. If it fucks up, my God, even a northern Chinese farmer wouldn’t touch you. The emaciated waif look is not at all attractive, laowai are big, strong men and we are afraid we will snap you in half if we take you to bed. Eat well, get some curves and do some exercise, drink a little beer, and watch those boobies grow.

9. If you can’t dance, don’t dance. Nothing is less impressive to a boy than a girl trying to be graceful, and failing so miserably at it that he has to sneak out the back door while she simulates a convulsing epileptic. Just pour the lad a beer without too much head on it and he’ll love you forever.

10. The world isn’t about you. It also isn’t about China. Learn something of it, something not immediately related to parting Joe Laowai from his hard-earned cash. Learn about the history of the ancient Romans, or the Nile river, or how a light bulb works, or how insects breed, or why a year is 365.25 days long, or any of a billion other things. Knowing things for their own sake makes you a more interesting person to be around. Who knows, if you only manage to stop beating your flat chest long enough to learn something about life, maybe a boy might actually want to talk to you for once? Give it a try.

All these invaluable tips and much more will be available in MyLaowai’s Book Of Helpful Help [Supplemental Section], available soon at all good foreign book stores.

Good luck, girls.

Posted in Ask MyLaowai, Guest Post, Rules of the Road | 17 Comments »

MyLaowai’s Book Of Helpful Help

Posted by MyLaowai on Monday, August 3, 2009

Dear Chinese boys,

It has come to my attention that many of you are quite upset about the fact that ‘your’ Chinese girls are more attracted to ‘foreigner’ boys than they are to you. For reasons that must make sense to you, you seem to feel that the best way to deal with this unhappy situation is for foreigners to be kicked out of China (or indeed, kicked out of any country in which you choose to live), and then to persecute the girls in question, for ‘diluting the race’, whatever that means.

But let us be fair. After all, who can blame these girls? It’s been my experience that pretty much every Chinese girl who has come into contact with a boy from another country has formed a distinct preference for the foreign boy, almost without exception, so surely there must be valid and compelling reasons, right? Why not look first at the reasons why such a situation could arise, and then do something about it?

Now, MyLaowai has been described as ‘the Mother Teresa of China‘, and I am here to help. I want to show you Chinese boys that foreigners don’t just have big dicks, they have big hearts as well. So here it is, boys, a short list of some of the ways in which you can lift your game. With practice, you may find that you, too, can have a Chinese girlfriend.

Please do note that this list is not an exhaustive one. Please also note that if you require clarification on any of these points, you need only send me an email. Alternatively, you could try actually asking a girl for her opinion on the subject.

1. Wash. This is a big deal for girls – they have this strange obsession with boys who wash more than once a year. To be perfectly frank, I’d advise washing more than once a week. Hell, wash most days and see where it gets you. You will probably want to use soap as well as water, and pay attention to the parts of your body that have never before seen a shower (i.e. the parts covered in skin). Now, I am not insensitive to your cultural values, so if you don’t want your parents, teachers, government, and doctor to find out about this seditious activity, wash at a time when no one else is at home – a good time would be during the day when Dad is at work and Mom is over at the English teacher’s home.

2. Brush your teeth. I am aware that kissing is not a part of Chinese culture, but that’s only because you’ve never tried it. And the reason why you haven’t tried it is because your mouth smells like a mushroom farm, and no girl with a nose wants to get near it. Here’s a hint: if the flowers across the room wilt when you exhale, then you need to brush your teeth. For best results MyLaowai recommends using a toothbrush, toothpaste, and a generous application of rot-removing brushing no less than three times a day. Swilling a cup of old green tea around your rotting gums just does not produce the same results, sorry.

3. Get properly dressed. Roll your shirt down – midriff tops are not the look you should be attempting to recreate – and tuck it in. Roll down your trouser legs too – if that’s just too hot, buy a pair of shorts. And for the love of all that’s Holy, stop wearing white socks or nylon stockings with scuffed black shoes. Sheesh man, smarten up! Note: If you are a grandfather AND you are over the age of 75, then you are permitted to have your belt around your nipples. If you’re not, then you’re not.

4. Learn to walk. This involves lifting your feet from the ground, thus this tip could also be referred to as Stop Shuffling. You can further improve your chances by actually walking in a straight line, and not weaving all over the parish. Finally, aim for your average walking speed to be slightly faster than that of a dead slug on valium. I would go on to advanced concepts like walking with a spring in your step, but I don’t want to overload your neuron.

5. When at the gym, don’t spend an hour and a half blow-drying your pubes. When going to the toilet, use a toilet. Flushing it after use wouldn’t be a bad idea, either. When you want to hawk a loogie, just don’t. Use a bin for your litter. In short: try acting like a civilised person. I’ve said enough on this topic.

6. ‘Our Chinese Girls’ is bullshit. No girl belongs to you, and the days when you could bind their feet to keep them at home are long gone, Sparky. If you want her, best you be prepared to get her on your own merits. In the same vein, girls are more important than their family. This means that it doesn’t matter whether their entire extended fucking family can accept your entire extended fucking family, as long as she can accept you and you can accept her. That’s it, pure and simple. A girl who is with you because you managed to get your uncle to apply pressure to some luckless schmuck, who then gave a better job to her father’s friend’s babysitter’s dog’s keeper, is a girl who will be taking dictation with Johnny Laowai in no time at all.

7. Girls are not only interested in your assets. True, I will grant you that most girls in most cultures are fairly mercenary, and nowhere more so than in Asia, and large wads of cash never hurt your cause, but believe it or not, some girls actually are also interested in getting to know the person who is hoping to get to know them in the biblical sense of the word. Put another way, try talking about something other than how rich you are, your apartment, your business, your blah blah blah… Even better, and this may be a strange concept to absorb, try NOT talking about yourself at all, and instead asking about her. Listening to her answers is advised.

8. About your, erm, assets. This is a delicate subject, I know. Fate has not been kind to the men of the Middle Kingdom, and there isn’t much you can do about it in most cases. Being caught short is a terrible embarrassment to have to live with, and you have my deepest sympathy. However, just because your Little Friend can’t please her, it doesn’t mean that she can’t be pleased – this is a family friendly forum and so I can’t go into too many details, but suffice to say that there is a large body of media resources available to you.

9. If you can’t drink, don’t drink. Nothing is less impressive to a girl than a boy trying to be a man, and failing so miserably at it that she has to carry him home. Being covered in his chunder is not conducive to romance, either. Personally, I’d leave off the baijiu altogether, and concentrate instead on either understanding that wine is made from grapes (and not from, say, distilled grain liquor), or on how to make a martini. Proposing a toast to her never hurts.

10. The world isn’t about you. It also isn’t about China. Learn something of it, something not immediately related to making money. Learn about the history of the ancient Greeks, or the Amazon river, or how solar power works, or how insects breathe, or why the day is 24 hours long, or any of a billion other things. Knowing things for their own sake makes you a more interesting person to be around. Who knows, if you only manage to stop beating your sunken chest long enough to learn something about life, maybe a girl might actually want to talk to you for once? Give it a try.

All these invaluable tips and much more will be available in MyLaowai’s Book Of Helpful Help, available soon at all good foreign book stores.

Good luck, boys.

Posted in Ask MyLaowai, Motivational!, Rules of the Road | 110 Comments »