Wo Shi Laowai – Wo Pa Shui

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

Posts Tagged ‘China’

A Forced Relocation

Posted by MyLaowai on Monday, November 19, 2007

About this time last year, I was sitting at my desk at home, when there came a tentative knock on the door. Naturally, I did the smart thing and ignored it. It wasn’t long before I heard the noises of someone trying to fit various keys into the lock, and it became obvious that my unwelcome visitor was either the landlord hoping to see what I had under the bed, or yet another botched attempt by the PSB to place yet another bug somewhere in the living room. I crept over to the door and flung it open, surprising the small group on the other side.

The conversation proceeded thusly:
MyLaowai: “Who the fuck are you?”
Unwanted Visitor: “I am the estate agent who is selling the house, and these people are potential buyers who have come for a look.”
ML: “You have the wrong house, this one isn’t for sale.”
UV: “This is the right house, your landlord gave me the keys.”
ML: “You have ten seconds before I break your nose. 9… 8… 7…”

And they departed rapidly. But the Unwanted Visitor had been telling me the truth, and my landlord bluntly confirmed that she had handed over the keys to several estate agents, with instructions to come only at times when I wasn’t expected to be home. A lucky thing that I had changed the locks shortly after moving in a year previously. Anyway, it was made clear that she was selling the house and that Mrs MyLaowai and I had better get another place sorted out PDQ (although we wouldn’t have known anything about it until after it was sold, had I not been working at home that day).

Well, we found another place and it seemed not-too-bad, if slightly on the pricey side. We explained our situation to the new landlord, and he assured us that he had no plans to sell the place, and that he was very happy to sign a nice, long, lease with us, so we paid out two months rent in advance and moved in. And a week later he left us a note saying that we had ten days to be out, because the place had just been sold. Yes, we did refer to the contract, the same standard contract that is used for all apartment rentals – and discovered that the estate agent had removed the section that gave us any recourse at all. No surprises that the owner was working in collusion with the agent, and that the victim was a stupid laowai.

Well, I’m going to skip through the next few days, because the point of the story is that we found another place nearby, and moved in. There’s not a lot of point in letting you know that every estate agent in the area had been made aware of our situation and tried to fuck us over, nor is there any point in going on about the fact that prices in the area suddenly went up overnight. Suffice to say, we found a place, got moved in, and that was that.

That was about a year ago.

Last week, we got a call from our current landlord. She asked whether we were happy, to which we replied that yes, we were very happy. Did we want to sign for another years rental? Oh yes, we replied, we like this place. Good, she said, in that case the rent goes up 40%.

Forty Percent?

So now we’re looking for a new place again, and I’m wondering why it always happens this way? For the longest time I thought it was merely the absurdly greedy and desperate desire that these mongrels all seem to have to be rich before lunch, without actually doing any work, or even getting out of bed in many cases. That, I knew was true. My landlady had certainly lost some money investing gambling in the stock market recently, and obviously wanted to recoup her losses from a stupid and rich laowai – no shocks there, either. But, I found myself wondering, is that it? Can that really be all there is to it? The the truth hit me – the reason that Chinese all try so hard to fuck us up at this time every year, is that they hate Christmas. Don’t believe me? Here’s why:

Ten Reasons Why The Chinese Hate Christmas

10. The Grinch was Chinese. He only lost because of a Conspiracy Against China.

9. If Rudolph & Co. flew over Chinese airspace, they’d be shot down.

8. Christmas is a time of goodwill to all men – Chinese never got that concept.

7. Christmas is a time for giving, not petty theft.

6. Chinese homes don’t have chimneys. Or fireplaces. Or heating. Or insulation.

5. There are no Christmas Trees in China – they’ve all been either cut down or killed by air and water pollution.

4. When an old Chinese man asks little children to sit on his knee and tell him what they want, it means he’s a paedophile.

3. Red is the colour of bloody revolution, not the clothing of fat, jolly, old men.

2. The angel on the tree doesn’t have the approval of the State Religious Affairs Bureau, in accordance with Order Number Five, and is therefore officially “illegal and invalid“. A bit like reincarnated Buddhists.

And finally, the Number One reason why Chinese hate Christmas:

1. Although lovable Santa Claus has the same Body Mass Index as dictator Mao Zedong, he doesn’t have anything like the same body odour, possibly because Santa Claus is on record as having had a bath more than once during his entire life, and Mao Zedong is on record as never having bathed, ever. The Chinese love Stinky Dictators.

Posted in China | Tagged: , , | 5 Comments »

Build A Civilised Nation

Posted by MyLaowai on Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Howard French, in a recent article, wrote:

Chinese people are being urged to be “civilized,” that being a word plucked directly from many of the slogans and banners. China’s nanny state implores them to stop spitting, to form lines, to respect traffic signals when crossing the street, and on and on.

Fine ideas, but there is something touching about the sudden rush to drum these messages home in time for the massive arrival of foreigners: It leaves one with the feeling that face and image matter more than substance in such things. After all, rampant grubby behavior had been just fine up until now.

If making the right impression is paramount, however, I would like to contribute another suggestion that could go a long way. Living in Shanghai, China’s most cosmopolitan city, for the last four years I have been continually struck by the vast gulf that seems to exist in people’s minds between Chinese and foreigners.

I first discovered this through my hobby, photography, which led me to wander through the city’s working class neighborhoods, where at every turn I hear cries of “lao wai.”

The words constitute a slightly uncouth slang for foreigner. Literally, they mean “old outsider.”

Quite often, these murmurings are accompanied by a mocking, sing-song uttering of the English greeting “hello.” The tone is unmistakable, and it is not friendly.

Now, many accuse Mr. French of being lazy when it comes to his reporting. For my part, I’d have to go along with that on occasion, but he does at least possess the uncommon virtue of actually knowing what the hell he is talking about, when it comes to China. Few reporters or journalists understand what is really going on, what things really mean, and then have the balls to go ahead and write about it – but for this Mr. French gets my support and a voucher for a free martini any time he decides to pay me a visit.

But does he go far enough? It’s one thing to simply say that the Chinese are not civilised, but should one not also offer suggestions and advice to the savages on how to be civilised? As more civilised peoples, do we not have an obligation to those living in the darkness, to bestow upon them the light of reason?

Of course we do.

Personally, I think it’s wonderful that the Chinese Communist Party is telling people not to spit everywhere, to learn to queue, and to cross the road only when the light is green. And of course, Mr. French is correct when he says that abusing foreigners in the street is not the hallmark of a civilised society. I’ve got a few more small points I’d like to add…

1. There’s this wonderful new device, which the Chinese themselves claim to have invented in 1498, just fifteen centuries after the Romans stole the idea from them. It’s called a ‘toothbrush’. I’m not entirely convinced that the Chinese invented it (after all these are the people who claim to have invented oxygen, the Olympics, and grass), but it is a safe bet that 99% of the worlds’ toothbrushes are manufactured here. Which is odd, because I’ve yet to meet a single Chinese who understands the concept of brushing ones teeth. Ever. C’mon chaps and chappettes, give it a go – surely life would be more civilised if you didn’t have a mushroom farm growing in your mouth? It would certainly make you nicer to sit next to on the bus, if you didn’t smell like a rotting goat carcass every time you opened your mouth. Remember: nice breath = civilised breath.

2. Washing – yes, that’s right. Modern science has shown that washing is actually not going to attract devils and demons, despite what your so-called culture claims. Furthermore, it might actually improve your heath and reduce the number of diseases you carry, contrary to what your witchdoctors have claimed. It’s not hard to do, either – simply use water to remove the dirt from your body (drinking a cup of piss tea does not count, sorry). Learn about a mystical substance known as soap. Civilised people have used it for thousands of years.

3. A word on using the toilet: Just Do It. The process is really rather simple – first, find a toilet (note: gardens, walls, roads, holes in the ground, and the hand-basins in KFC are NOT toilets). Raise the oval-shaped lid to the upright position. Leave the ring-shaped lid where it is (Chinese girls will want to use it, and so should Chinese ‘men’). Sit down (don’t squat on the seat), after first removing your pants. Excrete away. Use paper to wipe your arse if you have done a poo-poo, or shake your Tiny Tim free of droplets if you have done a pee-pee. Under no circumstances wipe your arse with your hands, your trousers, or your shirt. Stand up, pull up your trousers, and flush the toilet. Examine the bowl – is it free of waste? If not, flush again. Lower the oval-shaped lid to the horizontal position. Wash your hands (refer point 2). You have just committed a civilised act. That wasn’t so hard, was it?

4. The word ‘litter’ refers not only to your offspring, but also to the crap you are forever and endlessly dumping on the ground without regard to society, sanitation, or Mother Nature. Actually, the meaning is identical either way. Look around – see if you can spot something called a ‘litter bin’. It’s a large container (usually green or yellow or blue), with a hole in the top. Place your refuse inside this container. Please be aware that you are not supposed to then empty the contents of the litter bin all over the footpath in a search for old bottles. This is not considered civilised behavior.

5. Your mobile phone is an amazing piece of technology – it contains a small radio transceiver that allows you to communicate, via a series of other radio transceivers, with another person using another mobile phone, at great distances. Even though the other person is far away, they can hear you perfectly well, thanks to this miracle of modern technology. You don’t actually have to shout in order for them to hear you – that isn’t civilised.

6. Try listening to other people for a change. Listening is the process of closing your yip-yapping fucking mouth for long enough that someone else can get a word in edge-ways, and then allowing what they are saying to penetrate your tiny little mind. Hold on to that for a moment or two. Allow the words time to sink in. Don’t open your mouth yet – consider the possibility that the other person might actually have said something that you could learn from. When you do open your mouth again to speak, don’t simply ignore what you just heard and start yip-yapping again. That wouldn’t be civilised.

7. Contrary to 5,000 years of experience, domestic violence is not a good thing. Beating your kids to a bloody pulp is not a good thing to do, and giving your wife a jolly good thrashing is not a long-term solution to anything (even though she probably deserves it, especially if she is a Shanghainese aged 35-50 with her hair tied up in a bun). Wives, the same applies to you (even if he is a useless twat with erectile dysfunction and a gambling habit). Using the excuse that “this is China” will not carry any weight here, folks – domestic violence is not civilised.

8. Here’s a thought: try not telling your kids that all foreigners are called ‘Uncle Big Nose’, or any of the other delightful names you have for us. In particular, I address this point to my neighbour, whose kid is now very close to getting my M-11 tactical knife through his cheeks. Frankly, we’re all a bit tired of constantly hearing your racist expressions, and don’t consider them either funny or civilised.

9. How is it that you can believe your so-called culture is so superior to that of us barbarians, despite all the evidence to the contrary? Check out the map – China actually isn’t the only place on it. In fact, make a point of looking at the map very closely. There are in fact large chunks of land and sea that you think of as China, but which have belonged to other people “…since ancient times”. I refer, of course, to Tibet, East Turkestan, Mongolia, Taiwan, Korea, Japan, Vietnam, Burma, Australia, New Zealand, Hawaii and pretty much everywhere else you tell your schoolchildren is theirs by right. This isn’t one of the hallmarks of a civilised society.

10. Finally, a short comment regarding standing up. When your ancestors came down from the bamboo stalks two generations ago, they realised that they could squat on the ground like baboons, and perch on seats like pigeons. This isn’t the way it happened in civilised places – everybody else straightened their legs and stood up. Standing upright is something that you are capable of, trust me on this.

In humans, the thigh bone slopes inward from the hip to the knee, placing our feet under our center of gravity. We also have muscles on the side of our hips that contract to prevent our bodies toppling to one side when all our weight is on one foot in mid-stride. We have a number of other adaptations to walking upright, as well. Our foot is specialized as a weight-bearing platform, with an arch that acts as a shock absorber. Our spines have a characteristic double curve, which brings our head and torso into a vertical line above our feet. The surfaces of the joints in our legs and between our vertebrae are enlarged, which is an advantage for bearing weight. And the hole through which the spinal cord enters the skull, called the foramen magnum, is near the centre of the cranium in humans, allowing our heads to balance easily atop our spines rather than toward the back of the cranium as in chimps.

So, there you have it. Give it a go, and with luck you too can join the Community of Civilised Nations in as little as 5,000 years.

Posted in Ask MyLaowai, Media | Tagged: , | 4 Comments »

A Word About Tax

Posted by MyLaowai on Friday, November 9, 2007

Basically, China’s individual income tax is famous for its complication and rooms [sic] for different interpretation.

But don’t just take my word for it – that was an exact quote from Shanghai’s Government website. According to official statistics from the State Administration of Taxation (which I trust about as far as I trust the lowlife scum who run the Party), China took in 3.7636 trillion yuan (about 470.5 billion US dollars) in taxation alone during 2006. The figure does not include income from tariffs, tax on arable land use and that paid by real estate buyers, the administration said on its website. And it looks even better for 2007, with the aggregate tax revenue in the first nine months this year approaching the total generated in 2006, said Shu Qiming, Director of the State Administration of Taxation Department – that’s a whopping 3.72 trillion yuan (495.5 billion USD) in the first three quarters alone. Even stamp tax from securities trading sky-rocketed to 143.6 billion yuan (19.1 billion USD) for the same period. I’m not kidding – these figures were taken directly from the official website.

And yet, I’m constantly being told by the locals that “…China is a poor country, so other countries should help us”. And yes, it is true that there are, indeed, a great many very poor people living here. So, what on Earth do they spend it all on? Here are a couple of things they could reduce expenditure on:

Defence.
Let’s be reasonable, shall we? The Communist Party claim that they are spending a paltry USD$45 billion this year on the military (an 18% increase over 2006) – enough to buy a copy of Guns & Ammo for every soldier, but not much more than that. Yeah, sure. China’s published defence budget does not include large categories of expenditure, including expenses for strategic forces, foreign acquisitions, military-related research and development, and China’s paramilitary forces. And even with that in mind, a more credible figure is USD$85-130 billion. And why should this be surprising? After, the December 2006 Defence White Paper stated all-too-clearly that the goal was:

“…a three-step development strategy in modernizing its (China’s) national defence and armed forces, in accordance with the state’s overall plan to realize modernization. The first step is to lay a solid foundation by 2010, the second is to make major progress around 2020, and the third is to basically reach the strategic goal of building informationized armed forces and being capable of winning informationized wars by the mid-21st century.”

And it isn’t all about Taiwan, either, although with almost 1000 ballistic missiles currently aimed at Taiwan, and with that number growing by 100+ each year, China probably proposes to resolve that issue in its favour through non-peaceful means. The Japanese are justifiably concerned, and have expressed fears that with a consistently expansive military budget, Japan could one day even become a Chinese province. Don’t laugh – Chinese schools have recently begun telling schoolchildren that this will happen by 2020.

In any event, a sizeable chunk of my tax yuan are being spent on armaments, with China now having the second largest military budget in the world, larger even than Russia.

Space Program.
The Chinese claim to have spent a grand total of less than 19 billion yuan (2.4 billion U.S. dollars) on the first five Shenzhou spacecraft, and that their lunar probe project (part of the three-stage Chang’e Program which aims to place an unmanned vehicle on the moon by 2010) has a budget of 1.4 billion yuan (170 million U.S. dollars).

Bullshit.

The real figure is hard to state with certainty, due to both the opacity of the budgetary system, and the fact that the Chinese space program is highly integrated with the military. Nevertheless, most reliable estimates put the annual expenditure at between USD$1.3 and USD$3 Billion, with several tens of billions more invested in military-space programs. This places China in third place, spending more than anyone else except NASA and the European Space Agency. Not bad for a ‘developing country’.

By comparison…

Social Spending.
According to UNICEF:

– Relative to the size of China’s economy and the overall government budget, expenditure on the social sectors remains low by international standards.
– The structure of government expenditure in these sectors is tilted towards higher level institutions (higher education and hospitals at county level and above) at the expense of the institutions providing essential services at county, township and village levels.
– Expenditure is inequitably distributed both regionally and between urban and rural areas, due to the high degree of decentralization in the financing of education, health and other social services and the large differences in local levels of economic development and tax revenue, which are insufficiently offset by inter-governmental transfer payments.
– Government resources account for a relatively low share of total social sector expenditure, leaving individual households to assume much of the responsibility for paying for services, through fees and user charges, which has placed a heavy burden on the poor, particularly in the rural areas and among migrants in the cities.

Education got just 2.8% of GDP in 2004, Health spending accounted for 0.8% of GDP for the same period (although that said, Education is apparently getting 4% of GDP now. Big whoops). According to State Media, rural schools owe their teachers more than 10 billion yuan in back pay and failure to pay teachers’ salaries has contributed to the severe shortage of qualified teachers in the countryside. Annual revenue in one county in the poor, north-western province of Gansu was enough to cover only one month’s salary for its permanent teachers and public servants.

I guess it makes sense, though. After all, why help your poor, when you can simply buy a lot of weapons and high-prestige items. It worked for the National Socialists back in the 1930’s and it’s showing every sign of working just fine now for the Chinese Communists. Hell, they got their Olympics, too…

Anyway…

Back to the Government website. I’m going to leave you with some useful information, helpfully provided by the CCP. Just in case you wanted to live here, or anything.

Tax
Under some circumstances, foreigners in the city must pay taxes. Income tax is probably the most important and also the most unavoidable.

Basically, China’s individual income tax is famous for its complication and rooms for different interpretation. Sometimes, even overseas tax consultants feel puzzled when they deal businesses relate to China for clients.

If you worked in a local company (domestic or foreign invested) or the local office of a foreign company, you may have your income tax handled by your company, otherwise, you’d better ask for help from experts, such as consultants from accounting firms (local or international) or officials who work for local taxation, finance administrations. Normally, you won’t have a direct contact with local tax officials, unless you do business for your own.

Contact the local tax and finance administrations: Click here to access there official Website. English version is not available.

Pets
Import.
Bringing your pets (only cats or dogs are allowed) to the city is possible, but the quarantine procedure is as complicated as you can imagine. With a whole set of original certificates, including a health certificate and a rabies vaccination certificate, your pet will go through a 30-day compulsory quarantine by the entry-exit inspection and quarantine authorities.

With one passport, you can bring only one pet. The quarantine service will cost you at least 2,000 yuan (US$250) and, after your pet has passed quarantine, you should register it at the local police department under the name of a local Chinese resident. You may need to seek help from a local Chinese you trust to accomplish the mission.

Buy or adopt.
You may also buy or adopt animals here. If you want to buy one, many are available at local pet markets. You should choose only licensed and vaccinated animals. Otherwise you may see the one you picked up die in a few days, because it has been kept alive by injected drugs.

Phone Numbers
Police: 110
Telephone Repair: 112

Money Transfer
To transfer money gained here to your home country is a technical job. You should seek help from law firms or accounting firms. First of all, you should obey Chinese laws. In some conditions, a foreigner needs to pay tax and some service charges. It’s better for you to make a plan with help from a lawyer or accountant on your money transfer project.

Internet
Don’t be frightened by its crude facade. Most Internet cafes in Shanghai don’t have pleasant conditions, but they charge very low. Remember the Chinese characters for Internet cafe.

Posted in Rules of the Road | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Why Smoking Won’t Kill Me

Posted by MyLaowai on Saturday, October 27, 2007

Further to a previous blogpost, here’s a quick comparison between various places, using the Air Pollution Index as a yardstick:

Beijing, China – 184
Riverside County Metro, California, USA (which is on fire) – 173
Los Angeles, California, USA – 41

Note also that the Chinese data is based on, well, Chinese data. Which means that the reality is almost certainly far worse. This is only what they admit to. Anyone who actually believes what they are told here is a naive fool.

In other news, the Olympics is coming up. Xinhua, the Party mouthpiece, has this story:

Beijing going all out to achieve ‘Green Olympics’

The blue bright sky Beijing enjoyed over the past days had been mistaken by some foreign journalists as “a result of government intervention” to polish the city’s image while a significant congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) was going on.

Beijing Vice Major Liu Jingmin, a delegate to the five-yearly Party congress, said at a news conference on Friday it actually was the wind coming down from the north that cleaned the air in the host city of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. “Frankly speaking, we didn’t take any measures. It’s the weather that played the role, ” he said.

But with a longer view of the city’s environment and air quality, the improvement is explicit. In 2006, Beijing registered 240 “blue sky” days, or days with fairly good air quality, a rise of 64 days from the previous year.

Nice.

Posted in ChinaDaily, Environment, Olympics | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Oh, I’m Sorry

Posted by MyLaowai on Thursday, October 11, 2007

Oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to knock you off your motorcycle as you sped down the footpath towards me this morning. Really, I’m sorry. What is it you Bamboo Monkeys say? Yes, thanks – dui bu qi. I mean it. It really wasn’t my intention to put my elbow out and knock your mirror. Mirror? That’s the useless thing that humans use to help them with their situational awareness. And if my elbow accidentally carried on and hit your arm, then dui bu qi for that, too. All the same, you must admit it was quite funny, that strange noise you made just before you hit the deck. How did it go? Oh yes, “Aiyoaiyoaiyo!“. Hahaha! Priceless! Well done!

What’s that you say? I kicked you? Nonsense. Granted, my foot may have given your rear tyre a nudge, but it was hardly a kick. All the same, dui bu qi. Stop whinging, there’s a good girl – it could have been worse, it isn’t like you actually broke any bones, is it? Oh, you did? Your fingers, you say? How did that happen? I’m standing on them? Well, look at that! Gosh – dui bu qi. I really don’t know how that happened. Lucky for you it wasn’t your windpipe I accidentally stepped on. Not that there would have been any point in that, after all you’ve already spawned your litter and passed on your defective genes, so your death at this point would be almost as meaningless as your entire life.

No, you misunderstand. I’m not blaming your defective genes on you. Not at all. That’s the fault of your mother and the tofu-seller who lived next door. We have a saying: 5,000 years of inbreeding is probably not good. Yep, that’s a real saying. Think of it as a Big Character Slogan, but in a real language. What? Oh yes, I’ll get off your fingers now. Dui bu qi.

Call me a glass-is-half-full kind of guy, but at least there wasn’t a ditch for you to fall into, like the last person who tried running me down did. There she lay, in the bottom of the ditch, legs wrapped around the twisted remains of her motorcycle – Oh how we laughed. Oh yes, she was laughing all right, I could see the tears running down her cheeks. Of course, I did apologise. “Du bu qi”, I said, and I meant it, too.

Well, think of this as an educational experience. Next time you see a foreign devil, perhaps you’ll have learned not to try to run him down with your motorcycle as he walks to work along the footpath. Interesting word, that. ‘Footpath’, foot path, footpath… Almost sounds like it means a path for pedestrians, esp. an alley between buildings or a pavement at the side of a road. Yes, it does sound a bit complicated I know. Call me Mr. Oxford English Dictionary, dui bu qi about that.

Hmmm…? What was that you were saying? Yes, your mobile phone is broken, I’m afraid. Dui bu qi. Perhaps if you’d been watching where you were going, instead of endlessly repeating all your ring tones, it would still be in one piece. So yes, your mobile phone is broken, but on the bright side, your mobile phone is broken. Isn’t it your lot that have that lovely saying, something to the effect of: “If something is broken or stolen then you are lucky, because you can get a new one”? I’ve never really understood that, but I assume you do.

Ah, here comes my bus. It was so nice having this chance to chat with you. No, I don’t have any time now to help extricate you from the wreckage of your former motorcycle, dui bu qi. Perhaps if you are really, really lucky, then one of your countrymen might actually help you.

I wouldn’t count on it, though. Zai Jian lah.

Posted in Rules of the Road | Tagged: , | 11 Comments »

Latest: Typhoon Krosa

Posted by MyLaowai on Sunday, October 7, 2007

From that shining beacon of truth, Xinhua (faithfully reported by AP):

Powerful Typhoon Krosa made landfall in east China on Sunday afternoon, forcing the evacuation of more than one million people…

Krosa, the 16th typhoon this year, landed at 3:30 p.m. on Sunday near the borders of Zhejiang’s Cangnan County and Fujian’s Fuding City, packing winds of up to 126 km per hour, the Zhejiang Provincial Flood Prevention and Drought Relief Headquarters said…

Krosa is expected to trigger gale force winds, torrential rains and even landslides in some areas…

More than one million people have been evacuated […] while schools, airports, expressways and shipping services in some areas have been shut down. Meanwhile, vessels have been recalled to harbor.

The tourism authorities in Zhejiang have closed almost all scenic spots along the coast, and evacuated more than 500,000 holiday-makers who had flocked to the seaside resorts for the week-long National Day holiday ending on Sunday.

MyLaowai says: Utter Bollocks. Play a new record, Mister DeeJay, this one’s crap.

For the record, Mrs MyLaowai was in one of those scenic spots. In fact, at the time of writing she is on her way back from there. She says it was “a bit rainy”. No one was ‘evacuated’, schools have not been ‘shut down’ (because they were not open anyway – National Holiday, remember?), airports and expressways are all open for business as usual, and the ferries are still running. And I’ve just about had it with the Associated Press for having the audacity to repeat these lies over and over.

News in China? Give me a break.

UPDATE (late Sunday night): Ferries in the area have now been stopped by Government order, but although there is quite a lot of rain, there is nothing resembling a major storm or typhoon. Shanghai has just a light drizzle. Thank you for your attention, you may now return to your regular programming…

Posted in Environment, Lies & Damned Lies, Media | Tagged: , , | 5 Comments »

Coincidence?

Posted by MyLaowai on Monday, October 1, 2007

The Special Olympics are in town.

In other news, the average IQ of Shanghai has gone up slightly considerably.

Posted in Olympics | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Wo Shi Laowai?

Posted by MyLaowai on Saturday, September 29, 2007

When it comes to foreigners in the Celestial Kingdom, there are a few categories that most seem to fall neatly into. There are the tourists, naturally. They have a fantastic time, and generally leave saying things like “Oh, weren’t the Chinese friendly, they were all so curious and said ‘Hello!’ to Mildred and I everywhere we went” and what-have-you. They also tend to witter on ad infinitum about all the ancient 5,000-year old temples [that didn’t exist ten years ago because they’d all been knocked down during the Cultural Revolution, with the monks still inside at the time, but never mind that small detail]. Oh yeah, tourists have a great time.

Then there are the transients – temporary teachers, short-term students, ‘travellers’. For the purposes of this discussion, I’m going to include them with the tourists.

Then there are the ‘seagulls’, company bigwigs who fly in from Europe and the U.S., make a lot of noise, crap all over everything, and fly back out again. They also have a wonderful time, eating expensive dinners, shagging themselves silly with KTV hostesses and barbershop quartets, staying in the best hotels, and all the rest of it. They believe everything their dick tells them, and leave saying things like “I just don’t understand why Jenkins complains so much. These people promised me everything I asked for, and were so very polite at all times, I’m sure we will have a great future with these people”. There aren’t many of these types, but what they lack in numbers, they make up for in stupidity. Pretty much every Western politician falls into this category.

Of course, there are the company types who actually live here, too. They tend to come in two different flavours – the ones who have been sent here unwillingly, and the ones who applied to come (local hires fit into the second category). There is a bit of overlap here, so if you are in the first category, but live the life of the other, then no offence is intended. The ones who have been sent here against their will are frequently sent here in the same way that people used to be sent to Australia, before England ran out of convicts and the Irish. They simply are so inept that they cannot be allowed to work anywhere where they can cause any harm, but their golden parachutes make firing them too expensive. I’ve met a few who were brilliant at their jobs, though, and they have more in common with the local hires. The convict-types usually live in serviced homes, with local help on call 24/7 to cook, clean, suck dick when the wife’s out, and all the rest of it. They have company cars with drivers, work in air-conditioned offices, shop in ‘foreign-goods’ supermarkets, and generally have a ball. They let their local staff get away with anything and everything, they spend money like water, and they think they actually make a difference. They don’t say anything when they leave, because they can’t leave. Local hires, for the most part, are the opposite, and are in the majority, too.

Most of the good that happens in this benighted Land, happens because foreigners do it. Charities that actually deliver the goods? Development assistance? Technological advances? Management that works? The concept of honesty? Foreign direct investment? Medical aid? It’s a long list, and I’m bored already, but rest assured it comes from foreigners, not the Chinese People. Without foreigners, foreign money and foreign technology, China would slip back into the Stone Age within a year. Ok, perhaps 18 months. China really does have a lot to be thankful for.

But all of us are ‘Laowai’: evil foreign scum who are only here to oppress the good, honest, diligent, hardworking Chinese People. We personally are responsible for keeping China down, for stealing world hegemony from the glorious motherland, and for eating babies. Every bad thing that ever happened here, is our fault – and they never, ever forget it.

Let’s go back to Mildred and her travelmate. Remember how they said that all Chinese are so friendly? Saying “Hello!” to tourists all day long? Well, I’m sorry to have to burst your bubble, but in the words of the legendary Inigo Montoya: I do not think it means, what you think it means. As it happens, “Hello!” in the mouths of the Chinese People has more in common with the words “Jew!” [think 1936, central Europe], or “Boy!” [1903, the deep South]. It isn’t friendly, and it isn’t a greeting.

Now as it happens folks, there are three main holidays in China every year, each one about a week in length (though being a Communist holiday, one is required to work the weekends either side, in order to make up for lost national production). These holidays are not only national events, they are also Nationalist events, and are always preceded by a rise in the level of extreme nationalism one can experience when out in ‘the sticks’. This may come as a surprise to the foreign folk who don’t get out of their ivory towers much, but believe me when I say it’s not only bad, it’s getting worse. It used to be just “Hello!”, but in recent years the locals have become braver, and I know of many, many incidents involving violence. I have been lucky thus far, though I have had a few close encounters of the Sino kind.

Anyway, back to “Hello!”. The reason the yokels say this, is because they don’t know any other English. Of course, some of the brighter lights have learned such gems as “Laowai Fucka You!” (and one particularly hostile lass was shouting “I Love You!” at me in a restaurant once, which brings me back to Inigo Montoya again). I used to get quite angry about this, as I would never accept this behaviour from anyone in my home country, regardless of who they are or who it was directed at, but this year I have changed my tactics. I have prepared a few stock phrases that can be easily shot back, and which will be easily understood. I field-tested them today, as follows:

Local: “Hello! Laowai!” – group of ‘workers’ in the street.
Me: “Tu Baozi!” [lit. dirt dumpling, a scummy peasant]

Local: “Laowai! Fucka!” – group of high school students in the street at lunchtime.
Me: “Wai Di Ren!” [lit. not local person, a country bumpkin]

Local: “Want buy?” – local perched a fence rail, selling stolen cellphones.
Me: “Dui Bu Qi” [an apology] [spoken as I pushed him backwards into the bushes]

In every case, the result was a resounding success. Complete shock, confusion, and inability to comprehend quite how the Laowai was able to speak the complex Chinese language. And by the time the folk in question had sorted themselves out, I was gone.

So, friends and neighbours, if you are going to be here and in contact with The Man In The Street, learn a few words of the local lingo – it really does pay off.

Wo Shi Laowai – Wo Pa Shui?

Posted in Ask MyLaowai, Rules of the Road | Tagged: , , | 4 Comments »

Nice One, Rick.

Posted by MyLaowai on Friday, September 28, 2007

China is like a really cheap, slutty ex-girlfriend with crabs. You know without all the make-up she’s way ugly underneath, and you know she’s way dirty and you shouldn’t go near her…

…but all the same, you can’t help but be somewhat attracted.

PandaPassport

Posted in China, Media | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

Missing Persons Alert! Where Is Wipha?

Posted by MyLaowai on Thursday, September 20, 2007

Typhoon Wipha, easily the most devastating storm to hit China in more than a decade, slammed into Shanghai in the early hours of Wednesday morning, bringing with it 200Kph winds and torrential rain, and leaving death and devastation in it’s wake. More than two million people were evacuated, the largest evacuation in sixty years, all flights were cancelled, and more than 700 homes destroyed.

At least, that’s what the State-run media would have us believe. Oh yes, and also those lazy bastards who claim to be journalists / reporters, and who work for the Western media, who seemed content to parrot every word of it verbatim, without once ever thinking of actually checking to see if any of it was actually true.

I, on the other hand, as a mere person who was actually there, saw nothing untoward. There was a slight drizzle, tending towards light rain at times, but clearing. There was a bit of a breeze, but although one of my outside pot plants got knocked over, it wasn’t enough to prevent me lighting a cigarette outside. Then again, perhaps I just spent my entire day in the eye of the storm (an eye which, conveniently, followed me around the city as I went about my business).

So, Where Was Wipha? And where now is the credibility of the fuckwit journo’s who were completely happy – yet again – to parrot something they’d been told by the Chinese Communist Party? It isn’t like this is the first time, indeed there would be very few days I don’t see the same stock copy reprinted for the benefit of readers of the New York Times, Washington Post, most of the English papers, and the worst of the worst – CNN and AP. Even the BBC does it at times (sorry Auntie, but you do). And the day that Fox ‘News’ ever reports a fact, factually, will be the day that I eat my cardboard baozi.

From typhoons to exports, Taiwan to Government statements, there are so many falsehoods, cover-ups, and outright blatant lies told by the people and Government of China, that one hardly knows where to start – and it is all reported faithfully by the lazy arse journo’s whom we entrust with our own information supply. Sure, there’re a few out there who know their trade, ask questions, actually listen to the answers, and then report it in a meaningful way, but when it comes to China I could count them all on the fingers of one hand. It’s worse still when those same reporters actually start to invent their own stories to support what they’ve been told to write coughCNNcough. There’s an easy test, of course – when Chinese are speaking, look closely at their mouths. If the lips move, then they are telling a lie.

Anyway, having got that off my chest, I’m just going to sit back and wait for the next terrible flood in which the same village is again washed away with tragic loss of life, the same 650,000 people lose their same homes, and the same soldiers race against time to build the same makeshift sandbag dike. Not that I’ve ever even heard of anyone who has ever actually seen any of it, but hey it’s a good story all the same, right AP?

Or you could simply get your news from people who are actually there. If it isn’t too much trouble.

Posted in Environment, Lies & Damned Lies, Media | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »