Wo Shi Laowai – Wo Pa Shui

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

Posts Tagged ‘Corruption’

Dishonest Landlords

Posted by MyLaowai on Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Further to a recent post concerning dishonest landlords in Shanghai, this is the follow-up…

As is usual, we paid a sizeable deposit when we took the place. We liked the location, and the apartment itself wasn’t too bad. The price was a bit high, but we accepted it.

Then, a few weeks ago, there was a bit of a slump in the local stockmarket. The same week, our landlady called and said that the rent was going up by 40%. Well, we have just moved out, and suffered the usual inspection before getting back our deposit.

The landlady (who brought with her a group of ‘friends’), discovered some damage – a chip was missing from an interior door. Photo below:


That wee nick, dear reader, cost me 6,000 RMB, in addition to the usual additional charges such as extra money to pay bills, etc. This, in a city where the average monthly income is just 1,400 RMB. The mind boggles.

But wait, was it really 6,000 kuai for a nick in a door? Of course not. The reason that was given, after all the ‘discussions’ had taken place? By not respecting the door, we had caused harm to the feelings of all the Chinese people.

We had caused harm to the feelings of all the Chinese people.

I shit ye not.

For what it’s worth, this particular landlady only rents to foreigners. So, if you’re looking for a place in Shanghai, and you’re concerned that this evil piece of shit may become your landlord, send me an email and I’ll give you all her details.


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

An Interesting Survey

Posted by MyLaowai on Friday, December 14, 2007

I note with interest the results of a comprehensive survey, just published, on the attitude(s) of Chinese citizens to the Law. In particular this one…

85% of Chinese citizens don’t understand why the Law should apply to them.

Note: Those surveyed did not include any member of the Chinese Communist Party, or the State Security Services, to whom the Law does not in any case apply.

It is also interesting to note that conducting surveys is itself against the Law here in China. The surveyors did not, however, feel that this applied to them.

Posted in China | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Trade Fairs

Posted by MyLaowai on Sunday, December 9, 2007

China, as many of you may be aware, is home to an increasingly large number of Trade Fairs. A few of them are even worth going to. Some of them, of course, are merely put on to allow the local Party boys to claim expenses, and a large number are attended only by a handful of local companies who have been instructed to attend by the local Party bosses, in order to make them look good, but there are nevertheless a few that actually are important. Some, such as the Import and Export Fair in Canton, are quite useful.

China likes to think of Shanghai as being it’s premier business city. Never mind my personal views on that for now, let’s just go along with it. Shanghai, in turn, likes to think that the New International Expo Centre is it’s numero uno exhibition venue. And I will admit, it isn’t a bad place – apart from the obvious issues with poor access, hopeless organisation, and all the usual gripes, the place itself is large enough and modern enough to cope with most demands, and in fact there are events there almost every week.

Now, every time I go to a trade fair in China, I see the thieves at work – not the commercial thieves who are there just to steal your product ideas, but the petty thieves who steal whatever isn’t bolted down and then sell it in the street outside. Shanghai’s New International Expo Centre is a favourite haunt for these guys, and their number one target is not, as you might expect, the buyers. Oh no, it is in fact the exhibitors themselves. In particular, the notebook computers that the sales guys use.

If you are exhibiting at a trade fair in China, and your notebook computer goes missing, simply walk outside, and buy it back. It’s that easy. If you are exhibiting at the Shanghai New International Expo Centre, then you will need to walk a couple of blocks to the Long Yang Lu subway station.

Every year it is the same. Waves of petty crime and theft. Until this year. This year, the police had finally had enough of this petty crime, and took steps to bring it under control…

They took over the theft themselves.

Now, when you exhibitors lose your notebook computers, and you go outside to buy it back (Long Yang Lu subway station when at Shanghai’s New International Expo Centre), look for the nearest uniformed police officer. He is providing protection for the guy who stole your property, and he will make sure that the thief gets a fair price (how else will he be able to afford the protection fee?).

Welcome to China, enjoy your stay.

Posted in Ask MyLaowai, Corruption, Rules of the Road | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

MacArthur Was Right

Posted by MyLaowai on Saturday, August 25, 2007

I haven’t written much lately. Well, I’ve been quite busy, as it happens. In fact, if the truth be told, I’ve been busier than a one-legged man in an arse-kicking competition.


Let me put it to you like this:

There are two methods to deal with any situation. They are:
A. The simple, efficient, effective way.
B. The excessively complicated, massively inefficient, hopelessly ineffective, overly expensive, time consuming, way that doesn’t work.

Which option do you think 99.99% of all Chinese would choose? B, you say? Correct. Efficient and effective methods make it harder to extort, steal, pilfer, blackmail, embezzle, defraud, filch, fleece, misappropriate, rip off, swindle act like a normal Chinese, and you are more likely to be held accountable for your lies, distortions, deceptions, fabrications, dishonesties, falsities, fibs, porky-pies, inaccuracies, prevarications, whoppers normal Chinese language statements. Which is why Chinese don’t like efficient and effective methods. Put bluntly, the vast majority of people here are as crooked as a dogs’ hind leg. They lie, cheat and steal in much the way as sheep eat grass, bee’s buzz, and you and I breathe. Hell, your ordinary Chinese couldn’t lie straight in bed. Yes, there are a few good ‘uns, but they are in a minority so tiny, and they suffer for it so much at the hands of their countrymen, that you’ve little chance of encountering more than one a year. And none at all in business.

The point of all this, is that I’m the guy who has to pick up the pieces when my customers (who are not Chinese) get shafted by the rough-sawn length of 4″x2″ timber that is normal Chinese ‘business practice’.

The thing though, the actual thing that really pisses me right off, is that no matter how badly a Chinese fucks you over, they will always consider themselves the victim when the subject is brought up. You certainly can’t hold them to account for the things they’ve promised. “Oh no”, they will tell you, with that lying mouth of theirs, “I didn’t promise. It was just a suggestion. It’s not my fault that you misunderstood. It’s not my fault”.

It’s never anyone’s fault but yours. And in a way that’s true. Anyone who gets involved in any dealings with these lying, deceitful bastards has only themselves to blame if when it all goes pear-shaped. And that applies to me, too. I know better, I understand how these evil-minded pricks operate, I see them for what they really are, and I run the risk of doing business with them. I’m buggered if I know why, sometimes.

In other news, here are just three of the other things that have pissed me off this week:

1. Someone I know works at a Consulate here in China. I won’t say which one, but it is European. I also won’t detail what I know about the relationships certain high-level people have with certain ‘Snake Head’ human smuggling gangs. What I will say, is that two Chinese illegal emigrants (a husband and wife couple) to the country represented by this consulate, returned to China for a holiday. Possibly they also wanted to see their daughter, whom they had abandoned as a baby and had been in the care of relatives for the last four years. Anyway, when they attempted to return to [unknown European country], they were stopped at the airport. So off these people went to the Consulate of [unknown European country], where they started complaining about the treatment they had suffered. The theme? They were the victims. Illegal immigrants who abandoned their child as a baby, who have had a number of good years at the expense of a foreign country, who were too fucking stupid to even get a fake visa stamp – and somehow they are the victims?

2. There’s been yet another mine disaster, in which 172 miners are admitted to have died when the mine flooded. It’s been several days now, and only a token effort has been made to ‘rescue’ the (probably now dead) miners. Officially, about 5,000 miners die every year in Chinese coal mines, but the true number is somewhere between 40,000 and 80,000 (including those who die of ‘Black Lung’ and other related diseases). At this particular mine, management have now put up a banner over the South Gate that reads: ‘Heaven is merciless, but we love you and the Communist Party loves you most’.

3. A friend of mine, who has a business here, employs a cook. The cook works in the kitchen, providing meals for the Chinese staff. Free meals. A couple of days ago, this dumbfuck cook is shuffling across the road without looking, and gets hit by a bus. This didn’t happen at work, it happened in the cook’s own time, near his home. He didn’t die, but he was injured a fair bit. His entire extended family immediately swarmed in from all over China. Not one of them went to the hospital, though. Oh no. They all went to pay a visit to my friend, the cook’s employer, and demanded compensation from him. Paid directly to themselves.

General Douglas MacArthur was right – we should have nuked this place when we had the chance. I see in my mind’s eye a great glass-floored, self-illuminating carpark, stretching from Beijing to Guangzhou, and it makes me smile happily. This week in particular.

It’s no wonder I drink.

Posted in Lies & Damned Lies | Tagged: , , | 3 Comments »