31 August 2010

Democracy!



as a continuation of this

Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao, both nearing retirement, go different ways on reform

An intriguing talk by Premier Wen Jiabao in the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone (SEZ) has thrown light on Wen's intensifying discord with President and Chinese Communist Party Chief Hu Jintao.

While visiting Shenzhen on Aug. 20 and 21 to mark the 30th anniversary of the zone's establishment, Wen surprised local cadres and Chinese observers by appearing to criticize unnamed CCP officials for dragging their feet on reform.

After making a deep bow to the statue of Deng Xiaoping, the Chief Architect of Reform, Wen pointed out that CCP cadres "must continue to liberate their thinking and make bold explorations" in reform. "We cannot afford to stop," he warned. "More importantly, we must not retrogress." Wen reiterated that without the "guarantee" of political reform – which is seldom mentioned in the official media nowadays – "it will be impossible for the goal of economic reform and modernization to be realized." Then Wen repeated the well-known caveat that Deng had used against the party's conservatives: "If we don't push forward with reform, the only road ahead is perdition."

Who in particular was Wen targeting? An informed party source in Beijing said Wen, the nation's No. 2 leader, was laying into none other than the No. 1, President Hu. In his capacity as CCP General Secretary, Hu is responsible for the party's overall direction, particularly in relation to ideological matters.

In the past two years, Hu, in conjunction with conservative commissars in the Politburo such as Ideology Czar Li Changchun and Director of the Propaganda Department Liu Yunshan, has presided over old-style political campaigns to "Sinicize, modernize and popularize Marxism."

In internal sessions, Li and Liu have also slammed Wen for advocating political liberalization as well as the adoption of "universal values."

That Wen and Hu are not seeing eye to eye on ideological issues has also been indirectly confirmed by the fact that latter failed to show up in Shenzhen for the anniversary festivities.

This was despite the fact that Shenzhen authorities had from beginning this year begun preparations for a visit by Hu – not Wen – to mark the important milestone. Hu's predecessor as president and party chief, Jiang Zemin, was on hand to observe the SEZ's 10th anniversary in 1990 and 2000.

Moreover, Wang Yang, Party Secretary of Guangdong, where Shenzhen is located, is a protégé of President Hu's and a key member of Hu's Communist Youth League Faction.





Hold on if democracy doesn't work elsewhere (or rather sham democracy say Japan which has only ever had one party in power for the last 55 years) or one of two powers like the UK Tory or Labour. Which are the opposite sides of the same shitty coin, then how can China expect it to work and resolve their problems?

29 August 2010

Lanterns


Stop using the fucking things. I see about 5 of them float by every night recently. One of the damned things fell ontop of my car leaving a burn and scratches ontop of it.

It is one thing being on say Lamma Island or Lantau island in HK and releasing them into the sky over water or in the middle of China where there are fields and fields everywhere but certainly not in urban environments.

27 August 2010

Height vs food





Dear TCG,
I went to a Chinese buffet today and I notice they charge you based on your height. Like people over 5ft are $x.xx and those under 3ft are $x.xx. Why do they price this way? and is it legal? (In the US, UK, China or anywhere)
K



In the UK we have children under 12 or something eat for X everybody else more...I doubt it has anything to do with culture or anything. Merely that it is an easy way to discriminate prices without going into ethnicity, age, weight etc all of which are rather subjective and can’t lay claim to being racist, ageist fatist etc.I have no particular idea of the legality of this, if you see this in China legality seldom matters anyway.

I mean it would be really unwise to put something like black people pay X white people pay Y. Similarly with age it is both subjective and also not easy to prove as this case with an Iraqi proved to be. He claims to be 16 and has paperwork but the UK government claims he is 20. Age is also risky because of fake Ids and probably the need to check paperwork, which is both intrusive and time consuming.

Age checks annoy me greatly in the UK, drinking age is 18 in the UK (though it was fun to go out clubbing when I was 14) but supermarkets will regularly challenge everybody and ask if they are 21. My dad who is much older than myself gets challenged all of the time. But then they force the cashiers to check as the liability and responsibilities are burdened onto their shoulders. You can look see their height and quickly work it out. It is probably based on the assumption that people under 3ft are probably children and therefore can’t eat as much. Therefore they charge them less.

26 August 2010

Chinese queues.

Dear Chinese guy


Why do Chinese people not know how to queue? In Hong Kong everybody pushes in from all sorts of angles... In China they push in at all sorts of angles when I was trying to get onto the subway.


B



Dear B

This is unfair! Chinese people can queue and do queue..... sometimes... for example Mao's tomb in Beijing each morning except for Wednesday. You see shit loads of people queue there for hours to get a glimpse of potentially the fake plastic corpse. Or real pickled version Commies so love to do like Lennin or erm who was that N Vietnamese one I forget. Or the Shanghai expo people queue for hours to see stuff. I mean have you ever seen a Fortress Sale in Mongkok?

While if you take the bus the BTR thing in Beijing or even public minibuses, people will queue, although they have to became the entry and exit is so small. So your idea of Chinese people being unable to queue is incorrect except in ONE situation.


The MTR where all bets are off. The MTR is an extra dimensional anomaly device where the rules simply do not apply at all. It's kind of like an huge rotten arguement with your girlfriend whereby any answer you give is potentially wrong.

Where yes means no and no means no etc... and maybe might mean no, and go ahead means no....

Or even worse your nearest and dearest asks you.

"Does me bum look big in this?"

It is one of those situations where rules of the universe simply do not exist and do not work as normal. If Einstien was alive it could potentially be harvested as a clean source of energy. Much like hyperactive children could be utilised as a clean source of energy if we hooked them up to giant hamster wheels.

Once you scan your octopus card on the gate and walk through you are transported into an alternate reality or dimension. For instance the rules of physics no longer apply where two things can exist in the same object space time. This definately does not apply on Asian MTR systems Tokyo for instance....it makes cattle cars seem generous...

In this plain of reality Chinese people feel a desperate urge to leave as soon as possible hence the crowding and pushing in. Also pushing out and the tendency to run for the escalators like they are on fire to save 0.03 seconds. To get out of this extra dimensional plain of existance....maybe it contains ghosts or something. TCG doesn't mind ghosts.

There are however several more rational reasons.

Firstly the MTR has limited seats. You see this on the former KCR a lot. Even though HK is a small place inc the NT the old KCR is considered to be quite a long trip. Therefore at Hung Hom people will fight to get seats not to the point where fists erupt and a brawl occurs but they'll push people out of the way to get to them. Otherwise you are stood up for absolutely ages and because the MTR company is too cheap to maintain the Shatin Tai Po tracks properly it is a rough ride. This is extra amplified on the Beijing Metro where the trains are tiny things like they ones used in London.

Secondly HK Beijing/Shanghai and their MTRs (Tianjin was ok though but the metro there is tiny) are places where life moves much faster. The people who live there are like mayflies and live only one day and therefore rush around. This can save them 0.001 second in pushing in. Curiously this is wrong because on UK motorways they introduced a lower speed limit which curiously improves flow.

Thirdly HK lacks assertive people of the right kind....

You know when security types always say do not negotiate with terrorists? They say this because if you do it merely encourages more terrorism because they get their way. There are 100s of YouTube videos of MTR fights bus fights etc. You see people running away cowering in fear. For instance 99% of the time when people push in people ignore it. This means they get away with it. Like when everybody first learned to drive they stuck by the rules like glue but then realised they could get away with so much shit.
  • Much like women who fake orgasms it makes their fellas think Cor blimey I'm good! When really
  • Or the way porn perpetuates the myth that foreplay is a quick flick of her bean and she's gagging for it.

Unless challenged attitudes and behaviour won't change....
probably why UK society is so buggered because nobody dares to challenge the chavs


TCG is vastly different and will turn to people and say, "Oi what the fuck do you think you're doing? Get into the queue!" The purp is often incredibly surprised at what has just happened because 99% of people will not do anything even rarer they will say something back. But nearly 100% of my experience has been they back off, the 1% was at Admiralty where a woman tried to push in via the side hugging the platform screens. But she said something nasty to me I caught the end of only and she completely failed to get past me.

25 August 2010

Are the Taiwanese Chinese?

Dear TCG,

I saw that your blog carried information and news about Taiwan as well as China (as most China blogs do), but the reverse is not true. How come?

I found these links from Wikipedia (about Taiwanese identity) - http://esc.nccu.edu.tw/newchinese/data/TaiwanChineseID.htm and http://taiwaneseamerican.org/census2010/ - is this true? Do Taiwanese see themselves as a different ethnic group, and as a non-Chinese group?

Kait



Dear Kait,

Figures I got stuck with the hard questions... (TCG Ha ha!)

Anyway, I'll start by going into a bit of a tangent. Let's talk about something called selection bias. That question is threefold.

Imprimis, I am guessing you do not read Chinese, so the China-blogs you come into contact with would be in English, yes? There is already a huge selection bias. It should not be any surprise for you to learn that the vast majority of blogs by those from China (I choose my words advisedly here, not Chinese, but those from China) are in fact in Chinese. I can give you half a dozen offhand that doesn't really deal with Taiwan at all.

Secundus, putting aside the question of Taiwanese ethnic identity entirely... what do you think a Taiwanese person who self-identifies as Chinese would call his blog? how about a strong Taiwanese nationalist? Exactly. Any blog calls itself that is liable to lean towards the Taiwanese side of the equation.

Tertius, even if the bloggers in question do in fact identify themselves as Chinese, if they were to focus their blogs in Taiwan, then there would be little focus on China. Just as a New York blog probably doesn't carry much news on America in general. This is not evidence of the secessionist feelings of New Yorkers, but a mere editorial interest.


Secondly, I will draw your attention to this statement: "I saw that your blog carried information and news about Taiwan as well as China (as most China blogs do), but the reverse is not true."

Without wishing to be offensive, let's just say that I cast serious doubt on your claims re: 'most China blogs'. How many do you read? Do you follow every one of them religiously? I am sure they carry news about Japan, Korea, or any other nation that come into contact with China. That does not imply a sovereign claim to said nations. I can give you a dozen 'China blogs' offhand that doesn't really carry anything about Taiwan at all. Similarly, I have equal doubts that you have done exhaustive research on the topic of Taiwan blogs and can speak with statistical backing on the China content of Taiwan blogs, or lack of same. What you really meant with that statement is that 'I saw a few Chinese blogs and they have news on Taiwan, I saw a few Taiwan blogs and they don't seem to have news on China!'

That is not a statistically valid claim.


Let us now move on to the core of the question: "Are the Taiwanese Chinese?"

1) First of all, to answer this question one has to define the word 'Chinese'. For some, it means a citizen of the People's Republic of China (which may or may not include Hong Kong and Macau). For others, it means an ethnic Han Chinese residing in said country. For still others it mean a person of ethnic Han Chinese descent (which for example includes persons of Chinese descent in other countries who may never have been to China, speak a word of Chinese or have any idea where to find Hengyang on a map). For yet others it means a person of ethnic Han Chinese descent who retains a degree of Chinese cultural identity (which for example includes most Singaporeans and a non-trivial subset of Southeast Asian Chinese).

To illustrate the point, your faith'l servant is 'Chinese' by almost any definition of the word, but the blogmaster, the Chinese Guy himself, may be considered NON-Chinese under some definitions. This is a non-trivial point. By the first definition, the answer is non-ambiguous - Taiwanese are not Chinese. Under that definition, even residents of Hong Kong and Macau are not 'Chinese'. Similarly, by the ethnic Chinese descent definition, there is equally little doubt that the Taiwanese are Chinese.

We are not really getting anywhere with this line of thought, and it rather dodges the issue. I suspect you would like to discuss more the ethnic identity of the Taiwanese, so we will move on to the fourth definition.

2) To understand the question, I'll do a super-condensed version of Taiwanese history. It was first colonised by Austronesians roughly 8,000 years ago. Around a millennium or so ago the Han Chinese came poking around (there are talks of 'historical Chinese world view does not support the idea of an Island lying beyond the seas, which is obviously total rubbish, since Hainan Island had been Chinese for close to 2,000 years), but serious settlement did not begin until the 17th century. It was invaded by the Portuguese, Dutch, Ming loyalists, and then finally conquered the Qing Empire, the Manchu dynasty of China, at the end of the 17th century. There it remained for a few sedate centuries until the Japanese took it away and ruled the island for some 60 years, after which it was handed over to the Republic of China. RoC lost the civil war to the communists and holed up in Taiwan, which is more or less where we are now. You will notice that for an area with an ethnic Chinese population and speaks Chinese, Taiwan has a relatively recent history, during which time it spent significant amount of time under foreign domination of various sort, and then by some of the most corrupt gits that ever wasted shoe leather. This has implications.

3) Currently the Island of Taiwan and various islands is essentially an independent country, albeit one that nobody important dare to formally recognise. It rules itself, elects its own officials, has its own government, code of law, and military, and is an independent polity in all respect, and an independent country in all but name.

4) The Taiwanese speak Chinese in two main forms. Essentially the Taiwanese dialect, a variation of the Minnan dialect spoken in Fujian, in China, and Mandarin. Both of which are Chinese languages, a fact that no serious linguist disputes. The Taiwanese classical literature repertoire has a near complete overlap with that of China (this doesn't mean as much as you might think - Korea and Japan also has significant overlap with Chinese classical literature - they read Chinese Buddhist canons, Confucian texts and read Romance of the Three Kingdoms and Tang poetry, but they also have a distinct tradition of their own, which the Taiwanese do not). Taiwanese festivals, customs, cuisine, traditional architecture, etc, all bear close resemblance to those of China. This will be no surprise considering that Han migration didn't start seriously until the 17th century, and Taiwan was under Chinese control for over two hundred years after that.

5) Over time, and after Japanese rule, the Taiwanese had developed some distinct cultural trends of their own. It is a matter of fairly subjective debate as to whether that constitutes a 'new' culture. I will not go into that here since people can scream until the cows come home and get nowhere on this. I will note that Australian culture for example is considered distinct from British culture. However I will also observe that Sephardi Jewish culture is often considered one culture. So you can argue either way.

6.) But that doesn't matter too much. I see that you found the National Chengchi University/ University of Hong Kong/ University of Ryukyu study on East Asian ethnic identities. If so you'll notice that those who considered themselves both Taiwanese and Chinese constitutes some one third of the population, while those who consider themselves exclusively Taiwanese is some 60%. I will not go into the methodology of the study or the statistical methods here, but we will accept the results, for the sake of this post, to be reasonably sound (a generous assumption, considering that in the report itself is stated the following: "本新聞稿並非正式的學術性調查報告﹐如果需要引用該新聞稿的內容﹐作為新聞報導以外的用途﹐請事先與三位主持人聯絡。" A disclaimer that this is NOT in fact an academic study).

Taken at face value, what that means is that while a majority of Taiwanese people see themselves as only that, a non-trivial minority see themselves as both. That right away renders the topical question highly problematic.

7.) We will offer a few concluding remarks.

Inprimis, the Taiwanese are not Chinese by the political definition, although legally they may be considered 'officially' Chinese.

Secundus, the Taiwanese are, at the very least, culturally closer to China than any non-PRC group anywhere. Whether that make them Chinese is a matter of opinion, but it is certainly fair to say, for example, that Taiwanese culture is not much more different from that of China than provincial variation within China itself, consider Hong Kong and Chongqing. Please note that this in itself does not answer the question - Vancouverites are culturally closer to the Pacific North West States of the US than Hawai'i, and yet Hawai'i is American and Vancouver is not. One can see signs of that, as Chinese and Taiwanese books, films, television shows are, to a greater or lesser extent, fairly popular on the other side.

Tertius, despite the above, a majority of Taiwanese probably consider themselves exclusively that, while a significant minority consider themselves both. This may be analogous to the imperial commonwealth period of the British's own imperial history. The two is in any case not mutually exclusive, cultural similarity does not in any way exclude strong local cultural and ethnic identity nor strong enmity (as certainly might be said to exist between Taiwan and China). Just consider the history of Europe... or to use a closer example, Mancs and Scousers. To those who know what those terms mean I need not explain any further. To those who don't... exactly. You won't even be able to tell them apart, and yet the two groups are fiercely protective of their unique identity. They don't usually go about trying to kill each other, but just put them in different countries and give the Mancs lots of missiles and have their mayor talk about reuniting Liverpool with the Motherland... you get the drift.


There is really no simple answer to this question, the answer must depend on your premise.

23 August 2010

Age and the Chinese Person

Dear TCG,

How do Chinese people traditionally count their age? I remember from a children's book I read long ago they did it differently and they would end up being a year younger then they say. Why do they do this?

K




Dear K,

When you say 'Chinese people', bear in mind that it includes about 1.4 billion sods, some of whom have very different cultural outlooks indeed. The vast majority of Chinese people these days count age the same way as anywhere else in the world, just have a look at their identity cards (yes, all four major Chinese jurisdictions have those - that is Mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau) and you'll find it has a date of birth, so their age is counted like anywhere else.



Source


However, your book is not wrong, either. Traditionally, Han Chinese counts the 10 month pregnancy towards a person's age, so a newborn is counted as one year old. which is roughly translated as 'false age'. Under this system, one's age increments by one year every Lunar New Year, instead of during one's birthday. It is possible for a child of a month old to be reckoned two years old this way, if it was born a month before Lunar New Year. This is known as 'xuling 虚龄'. That way it is possible for a person to report his age as being up to two years older than his actual chronological age.

The normal method of counting exact chronological age is also used in traditional society, it is known as 'zhoushui 周歲', or cyclical age.

In some places, the concept of 'Nanjin nuuman 男进女满' is applied, where zhoushui is applied to females and xuling is applied to boys.

However, this Chinese person has not heard of people using xuling outside of literary or jocular context from people born after 1940, and even those who do typically know when they are actually born and how old they are chronologically.

22 August 2010

TANSTAAFL


I don't believe it.

PAY & SIT: the private bench (HD) from Fabian Brunsing on Vimeo.



This of course might well be a hoax like the Enri Suzuki hoax, but my god if British government officials see this they'll be everywhere! We already have people searching your bags and pockets to go into the cinema in the UK (I no longer go) . How long before we have guards outside park gates which search your stuff for fold up chairs?

What next charging us for oxygen? I bet the British government is spooging at this proposal. Won't work in China though as people know how to squat


21 August 2010

Miss HK2010.

And TVB wonders why the hell people are pirating their TV channels overseas instead of paying £40 a month for it. As per usual money and influence are the biggest factors in HK society whatever the hell happened to meritocracy or sheer shallowness? Remember Miss HK is a beauty pagent therefore the stuff you see on Miss World where they have to care about the environment and stuff does NOT apply!.

I sometimes watch it (TVB) on my laptop to one side. Not that I watch TVB too often since the news is 24 hours out of date and they only care about share prices and nowt else. I mean the other day a guy was stabbed in TST. The news gave it about 20 seconds.... heh those expats are all flocking over to Kowloon side these days since the shit hole LKF is closed for a month. (TCG famously hates LKF in HK)

Quite normally TCG would bang every miss HK all the way back to 1985 1988 like a barn door in a gale.... scrub 1993 though. But seriously there does look like there is something wrong with Toby Chan.... actually maybe stick in 1987 as well.

Because as my old buddy once said.
"When you're poking the fire place, you ain't looking at the mantel piece"


What TCG is a shallower than a puddle? Yeah and so if Cecilia Cheung presented herself on a plate... no wait this doesn't work, as Cecilia Cheung has a massive bush which would make it look like Osama Bin Laden was going down on you. (actually Cecilia doesn't appear to be as nice as she used to be) or if you went down on her you wouldn't need to floss your teeth.






I couldn't put my finger on it.

Then I figured it out, a plastic Cherrie Blair smile. Look at the picture.



Her smile is terrifically forced and un-natural. Much like (sober) men can spot cross dressers instantly with uber height, shoulder to hip ratio and big hands. (Though Thailand can be tricky TCG's accountant went to Thailand once.... hold on an accountant has an accountant? Yeah.....) People can spot fake smiles pretty easily.

In the UK we absolutely hate Tony Blair,( ex UK Prime minister) he is a murdering lying cunt... the thing is we always go easy on him because he is in purgatory. I mean FFS he is slipping Cherrie Blair one every now and again.

DANGER! TCG IS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR SCREEN OR KEYBOARD DAMAGE DUE TO YOU BEING SICK Cherie Blair picture here and here DANGER! TCG IS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR SCREEN OR KEYBOARD DAMAGE DUE TO YOU BEING SICK

Cherrie Blair is probably in room101 of most sane men. The CIA should use her as an interrogator..... because I don't want my readers to be permanently scarred I shall omit what she could do to get you to confess.

For those of you who don't know who Cherrie Blair happens to be, Cherrie Blair is or was the 2nd
most hated person in the UK. A newspaper (I forget which) commissioned a study about most hated people in the UK who would you deport.

#1 was Abu Hamza, The sun calls him captain hook, he is currently in Belmarsh Prison and the UK government hopes we'll forget who he is.

#2 was Cherrie Blair, because she is a money grabbing witch

Share the hate

邵逸夫! What look at what has happened to TVB!


Where the hell was I oh yeah, people have complained it was a fix! all over the interwebs.

I mean look at Miss Korea 2010 or miss Japan 2010...... they aren't fantastic but at least they don't have the Cherie Blair smile...




19 August 2010

MSG

Dear TCG

Why does Chinese food contain so much MSG? I went to to a restaurant with my boyfriend and we came away both of us felt our throats incredibly dry from I think from the MSG in the food.


Abby

MSG chemical formula
Source
Dear Abby

Chinese restaurant syndrome? I sit on the wall regarding this tbh. One of my gfs had a psychosomatic reaction to MSG in foods and would complain of exceptional thirst and tightness of her throat. I just ate a sticky rice ball thingie for breakfast and feel the same way myself sometimes.

There are 100s of arguments both sides, but quite simply I believe it can be reduced to two things:
  • Laziness
  • Cheapness
I can cook quite well, anybody who has had Chinese soup will realise it is a very different thing to westernised soups. Westernised soups tend to be thicker and have more stuff in it. While Chinese soups (and I don't mean the shit you get in Chinese take outs which is Chinese people will say what the fuck is this?) are water thin and can have stuff in it or not. Lo sun soup I forget the Chinese for it (and I just installed Unbuntu and can't figure out how to type Chinese on it) for instance you need corn, melon, carrots, lean pork and a few berries which I don't know the name of they came in unmarked packets. Oh and Salt.

You chop everything up except the meat and boil it then simmer it for hours and hours until the water changes colour where the essence of the vegetables comes out and the meat makes the soup sweet. This takes all day and produces a deep savory taste, which I don't really care for because my taste buds are mostly dead. Russians took care of this with their uber vodka the girlfriend seems to like this fact though ;) You have to regulate the temperature just right, too hot and it breaks down too low and it doesn't break down enough.

This requires a shed load of effort, for family effort is ok same with close friends. My dad for instance has the knowledge. His dad taught him how to make an incredible dish which he is pretty famous for, anybody who came round to his home when I was a child would ask he make this. When he made a big batch people would travel from London even Holland to eat this stuff. He won't even tell me how to make this stuff. Though my dad's Guanxi is pretty incredible since he was also the moonshine king of Southern England for years.

Much like 99% of people Chinese people don't know how to cook rice properly, they bung it in an electric cooker and come back later, while cooking with gas requires that you watch it and regulate the temperature properly. It may surprise you that cooking rice on a wood fire isn't easy that is without burning it to a crisp or having it become dry and inconsistent. So instead of bothering to do it properly they bung it in a rice cooker.

While if you are a chef in a restaurant, the customers have somewhat less of a connection to you and the bosses will pressure you to work quickly therefore a short cut to this is throw some MSG into it.

Cheapness is the same, rather than using the shed load of expensive ingredients you can use inferior ingredients to produce a facsimile of the taste, its not quite the same of course but it costs considerably less.


This is NOT exclusive to Asian cuisine though! Simply westernised food has shit loads of the stuff in it. Marmite for instance is almost pure MSG, even though it calls itself yeast extract. Marketing men are extra insidious in this and say NO MSG, and stick yeast extract into it instead or an ingredient which has MSG in it. Or simply Parmesan cheese or Japanese seaweed flakes which contain MSG naturally in it. As said I sit on the wall about this, but simply why do they need to mislead people like this and hide it? Why isn't there any truth in labelling? An old list is here

As said I sit on the wall and prepare most food from scratch anyway and tend not to really go for or go out of my way to avoid it, I mean it is in everything! Heh and it isn't as if the cheap 400KRW noodles I lived off in Seoul could be defined as nutritious could they?

But here are some links.

MSG makes rats go blind Which might go someway to explain why 80%+ of people in Asia need to wear glasses while the incidence anecdotal anyway there are fewer wearers of glasses in the UK though this might be due to contact lens usage.

MSG ain't so bad says the guardian.


18 August 2010

China’s Lost Kingdom: The Xia Dynasty



Historian’s widely agree the the earliest civilization in China was the Shang Dynasty, founded in 1600 BC. This is as far as written records go, as evidenced by oracle bone scripts that have been found. However there is some debate as to weather the Shang is truly where it starts. According to Chinese tradition, the first Kingdom after the reign of the three sovereigns was the Xia Dynasty, supposedly founded after the death of the last sovereign in 2070 BC. The existence of the Xia Dynasty is debated because there is no reliable written records, only legends mostly passed down from word of mouth. However there is archeological evidence of tombs, bronze instruments and building foundations that have been carbon dated between 2100 and 1800 BC. Falling precisely into the supposed period of the Xia.



In 1996, the Chinese government commissioned the Xia-Shang-Zhou Chronology Project, to determine the linage between China’s prehistory and the unifying Qin Dynasty. The project concluded the last pre-civilization society of the Huang He river valley was Longshan culture. A primitive, tribal, neolithic society. It was then however the three sovereigns and the five emperors came about and ruled the first Chinese civilization. Keep note the three sovereigns is mythological and not based in historical fact. Historical evidence says in late Longshan times, two tribes, the Xia and the Chiyou were at war where the Xia prevailed and began a small kingdom in the Huang He river valley. It is then when the three sovereigns and the five emperors came to rule. The story of the Xia Dynasty begins during the reign of a king named ‘Yao’ the second to last of the five emperors.




Legend has that “Yao” appointed “Gun”, an engineer, to stop a series of terrible floods that have always plagued the Huang He river valley. After nine years of continuous failure, the new king “Shun”, last of the five emperors, ordered Gun to be executed for his failures. Gun had a son ‘Yu’. Yu was highly trusted by Emperor Shun. So Shun appointed him to finish his father’s work which was to make the flooding stop. Yu’s method was different from his father’s; he united all the people of every tribe and ordered them to help him build canals in all the major rivers that were flooding and lead it out to the sea. He did this for 13 years, without going back to his home village. Legend says in those 13 years, he passed by his house three times without going in which is a sign of his perseverance in his work. The people who noticed him praised his perseverance and were so inspired by him that other tribes joined in his work as well. In the end, after 13 years, he was successful in stopping the floods and was greatly praised by his people.



Yu’s unification of the tribes in the goal of stopping the floods made him a legend, and was named Emperor of the new Xia Kingdom of China. The Xia Kingdom was the first Chinese society to have a unified army, mass irrigation for crops, and the use of many Bronze tools.


On another note, thanks to all of our readers for 20,000 hits!


17 August 2010

Food part 3

Onwards to Vietnam now.

Balut eggs

16 August 2010

Food part 2

Drunken Shrimp.

I really don't know why people in China eat this, in that it tastes exactly the same as normal shrimp.... Shrimp? Isn't that rather American..... heh TCG calls prawns shrimp.... you see way back when I was in hot food people who were bored like to make jokes.

They would ask for stuff like prince prawns or queen prawns while.

This was not limited to Chinese take out places though.... funnily enough it happened a lot during a rite of passage. Working for Mc'ds oh come on everybody has worked for Mc'ds haven't they? Normally it gives you such a kick in the pants at a young age, so you normally think NOoooooooo and are scared into studying harder in university or college etc. But hey it was when I was between college and high school before college and just after high school. (That's sixth form college to people in the US)

Anyway Mc'ds was funny because you got people who similarly came in to take the piss.

"Can I have a cheese burger without cheese?"
"You mean a hamburger?"
"No I mean a cheese burger without cheese!"


So says my dad anyway that it tastes the same since this dish is apparently expensive and working in hot food having to peel 20-3000 prawns a day in some places made me lose the taste for prawns.


Happened faster than everybody thought


Here

Still there is the uber problem of the Chinese economy overheating, as internal consumption rises to fill the gap between lost exports, this means internal inflation. But inflation means China is less competitive, economies of scale and all that rely on uber thin margins.

Interesting times?

Dating


Hi,

So the other day I was at a BBQ and I saw this Chinese guy (Obviously I didn't automatically know he was Chinese, I found out later), he was talking to a friend of mine and I thought he was kind of cute. I asked my friend about him after the party (I wish I would have just asked to be introduced then) and my friend got his number and gave it to me. Now I don't know what to do. I am pretty shy and not forward with guys, for example I DO NOT call up guys I've never even been introduced to and ask them on dates.

But now he knows that some girl from the party asked for his number so he is expecting, and asking, for something to happen. My friend mentioned "his English is getting better". So I am a little worried about some linguistic, but mostly cultural differences and expectations. I am wondering if you had any advice for a white American woman for a possible date/dating a Chinese guy.


Thanks,
Amber

P.S. A speedy response is most appreciated. I would also like to mention how little info there is out there for white women in this area compared to how much there is for white men and Asian women.



Dear Amber

I typed out a lot of stuff, which I deleted because I felt was irrelevant and tended to stereotype a bit too much and might no longer be relevant. I was also going off on a way far out tangent, which was irrelevant and was funny only to a niche group of readers.

Perhaps you would like to ask Jocelyn instead?* Since my view of the world is very similar to that of the Korean guy. Whereby Chinese men are men first Chinese second. Therefore the usual things will apply i.e. it is quite plausible that he will lie and cheat and be deceptive to get you in the sack. And the 1% being Chinese is massively overridden by the Y chromosomes in his body.

Unless you get a freaky one.... an old gf I once dated had a freaky ex-husband.... he had sex with her ONCE... to have a son, and never touched her again. This was unbelievable, because she had a body and personality which was soo soo sweet. I mean she had this tri.... erm back on topic...

Perhaps you might want to try an indirect approach, whereby a bunch of you or just yourself ask on an unrelated issue. Some good excuses are my friend wants a Chinese language tattoo, Or how do you write in Chinese type excuses are excellent. You can either set this up yourself or get somebody else to set it up for you... (TCG has some nasty Chinese friends and thus more than a few people are walking around with tattoos which say Chicken fried rice, or the worst one which says big man small cock), then see how it goes from there on in. Though this may have the problem that he simply be too shy to move it any further. Though you might want to monitor his body language as to if he wants to take it further since Chinese has this pain in the ass thing wherby people say one thing but their body language says something else completely.

Regarding cultural issues, simply don't make him lose face or come on too strong. I'd note attacking jokes will not work well either! My HK and China born friends don't understand my mannerisms and jokes.

For example in the UK people will say to me:
"I hear Chinese people can't drink much."
I can zing them back with, "yeah well it means I'm a cheap night out."
While when I was in Shenzhen with Simon, instead of him zinging us back he took it as an insult.

*also if it all goes tits up you can blame HER instead!

15 August 2010

Food part 1

Ok we've had alive fish, dog meat etc which is all known and well but what about everything else? Since limiting food to one country would be terribly unfair and limiting lets take a leaf from
Kaiwen and explore more of Asia.

To start out with so you can all go and pester the Korean guy and give him some flak let us begin with Sannakji 낙지,. Since he doesn't mention it in his blog at all.



Kind of looks like gagh doesn't it?

Beats polymorph shami kebabs diablo right?





Well at least you know it's fresh right? I very nearly ate some dead oysters the other day and would have gotten the shits all week.

14 August 2010

Selling a businesses in Australia

Dear TCG

I have been reading a lot about Chinese business investors looking to purchase property and businesses in Australia to start a new life and for better education for their children. How do I market a small-to-medium business for sale to prospective Chinese business investors? What is the best Chinese media to advertise foreign businesses for sale? Or do I use the help of a Chinese business brokers or bank managers with contact with prospective business investors? Any help would be much appreciated.

Thank you,
Den


Dear Den.

I can only speak through personal experience and that of my wider family. But this is a wide question in that it depends what kind of business it is actually. In that in the 1970s the favourite unskilled business venture was hot food. Now hot food is crowded to hell it is not so viable anymore.

However there is one thing HPC will hate me for this but Chinese are generally Rentier Capitalists which are by and large considered to be parasites. This is pretty obvious in Hong Kong where many people want property not to live in but to rent to other people. Take for example Li Ka Shing He is the wealthiest man in HK and his business interest are nearly all rentier capitalistic ideas. He makes Yip Kai Foon look like a saint.

It is even more obvious in China where there are 10000000s of empty properties hoovered up by the wealthy middle class to rent out to the slaves.... I mean lower paid workers. I suppose they do this because inflation is insane in China. I remember it being 8.5% CPI in Hong Kong in 2007. People think about it and think well it is the only thing which tracks wages and inflation lets buy it.

This is of course not limited to Chinese people. British by and large are people are rentier capitalists, where they over leverage themselves and buy buy buy property restricting supply and think they can rent out to people and sit on their fat asses and do nothing. Way back in the 1990s it wasn't so bad to rent, but today its horrible. Amateur landlords expecting you to pay the mortgage and think they have you by the balls. To top it all of the governments hurt us with low interest rates and uber inflation to bail them out.

A quick cynic's word list for you.
Mark EBITDA = Earnings Before I Tricked the Dumb Auditor.
EBIT = Earnings Before Irregularities and Tampering.
CEO = Chief Embezzlement Officer.
CFO = Corporate Fraud Officer.
NAV = Normal Andersen Valuation.
EPS = Eventual Prison Sentence.
FRS Fantasy Reporting Standards
P/E Parole Entitlement


Anyway where was I....

I could tell you all sorts of dirty things I've seen in accountancy, but my old bosses will probably send assassins. Actually I moved house twice since I last worked for him.... a Korean guy moved into my old place though.... well if I find him dead....



However this is based on my experiences only and therefore may not be indicative of how things really are.

The problem for you is the Chinese capable of moving in such a manner are pretty bloody savvy, though some of the Migrants from the Chinese earth quake aren't. In the UK they have a close to 100% business failure rate. The dragon warlord wok, emperors kitchen, or whatever its called these days, a local place to me for example has changed hands 12 times in 4 years it is that bad! Though this is convenient for me because I can plaster and refurbish and get the odd bit of work on the side.

This may be indicative that simply business times are not as easy as before. When my dad opened his shop in 197x there were no competitors in his town and he made a fuck load of money. He managed to put the local bookie's sons through university (my dad is funny because he actually went to Holland first but realised there was no horse racing there and decided to go to the UK, probably why my dad is a freak who has a Dutch passport my family is freaky like that)

But marketing to Chinese people you shouldn't really go through the mainstream media, exclusively, people who aren't savvy in reading English will say hey Son can you read this for me? At which the son or daughter who is demotivated to do it will do it for them half hearted as they know they'll be used as labour for the place. Anyway a lot of business and house sales I've seen are by way of introduction. People use the Guanxi to sell people stuff. For instance a local shop round here did not sell for 5 years,. It was listed on pretty big agencies but nobody touched it.

After the git who sold it made friends with my dad, my dad introduced him to Benson, who introduced him to the sucker purchaser who ended up buying the place. Similarly my dad also has only ever bought places by way of introduction. Same thing with my uncles and aunts too. Therefore you need to try and get connected, now this is much easier said that done. My dad's connections run deep first in HK where he went to school with everybody (a fairly easy thing since 1950s HK had massive class sizes) and also in the UK. He was the king of moonshine vodka in the South West. Though he regrets this because this had negative outcomes on his best friend in Cornwall.

The other component is NEVER EVER EVER^1000 advertise your business as mature and cruising along. Chinese people I've met like to expand and a lot of them I have met will secretly think hey this place has potential for me to expand into it. A common British trick when selling a hot food place to sucker convince other Chinese to buy a place is to simply stop selling Chinese meals. Or pretend to anyway. The mark buyer sees this and thinks hey I could put Chinese meals in or add in delivery to it and therefore make more money than they are making now.

But I suppose this is a vulnerability of all humans.

Some points which go nowhere else.

Chinese are going to be very superstitious therefore will not want to buy places numbered 4 are opposite cemetaries, churches etc and will want to buy on days with the number 8 in the day. For instance the shop sale recently here they purposedly kicked it into the long grass to be bought at 8am 8th of August.

There is a big mentality of if it's too cheap there must be something wrong with it, I recall a few items from the SCMP where shops increased prices and sales went up. Which goes against basic economic theory!


Wait I never finished this post and drifted off on a tangent arguing with somebody who stated the USN must start bombing China.

Where was I...

Yes to get connections is difficult since getting them often requires you to be friends for ages so they will judge your character properly. Which presents big problems and if you just start showing up to Chinese associations people will see right through you.

Maybe offer a % commission not a massive amount to a well trusted Chinese businessman to sell it on or something, remember money makes people drop their principles, they'll be sceptical about it initially, but again such relationships are hard to build. For instance A of a certain firm wants me to give him my contacts, these are relationships fostered over decades. My dad's even longer therefore my dad is really iffy about helping him out as if his name is dirt he won't be a happy camper!

Gossip might work though, HK Chinese are obsessed with it, my friend working in an office there made a throw away comment, yeah shit I've got to go to the doctor. End of the day the whole office knew about it. Though this is probably a consequence of HK being not a great place to live therefore they need something to make their lives look better. I.e. a take out place or a Chinese businessman you've been working with for a while. You can mention the fact that you're tired to hell, because of working or can't get staff or whatever or you'r injured.
"I gotta sell this place I mean its making me money but I'm too tired to do this anymore." is a common one.

13 August 2010

A Post from a little farther East


This post is much more related to Japan than China, but most Sinophiles like me tend like things from the far east in general. Besides, Japanese culture evolved with major influences from Chinese culture in a process my history teacher called “cultural diffusion”.


But on to the post, there are two things that have truly captivated my interest in the far east. The first one is a video game believe it or not. However this is like no other video game you’ve ever played. It is more like an ancient Japanese scroll put into digital interactive form. Complete with a Sumi-e style brush art presentation and a soundtrack to die for.



Ōkami (大神) is Japanese for “Great God”. This marvel of a game tells the ancient Japanese tale of the Shinto goddess Amaterasu and her struggle to bring peace to the land of Nippon which has been corrupted by the dark serpent Yamata-no-Orochi. You take control of Amaterasu in the form of a wolf and are put on a Zelda style adventure where you must return the land to its former beauty and defeat the spirits of darkness. The game features many figures from Japanese mythology such as Izanagi, Izanami, Susanoo, Konohanasakuya-hime, Issun-boshi, Minamoto-no-Yoshitsune (aka Waka), and Yami. You will learn exactly who these figures are as you play the game, or you can check Wikipedia.




What really puts the icing on this cake is the Celestial Brush. Pressing a button freezes the environment and covers it in a canvas. The player can then draw on the screen. Certain gestures do certain things, for example, drawing a slash through enemies damages them as if they were struck by a sword. You learn new brush techniques as you progress through the game.




If you own a Wii or a PlayStation 2, I urge you to pick up this game. For an experience like no other. Its relatively old (2006), so you can pick it up on the cheap!




The second thing that inspired me was an old flash cartoon series from the early 2000’s (ancient history rite?) called Ninjai: The Little Ninja




This Epic adventure tells the story of a boy called ‘Ninjai’, who wanders the land searching for his identity and the key to his past. He encounters strange and formidable characters, spilling the blood of many along his way.


There are 12 chapters so far, and can be viewed free at the website of the Ninjai Gang.

American institute Taiwan


Dear TCG,

In what ways is the American Institute in Taiwan different than an embassy? (other than the fact it is not an officially an embassy)

KaiWen


Pass! Its another one of those Taiwan questions, Taiwan ain't China! (Ok so I can ask the gf but she buggered off to Hong Kong in 1999). But since I'm making my way to Taiwan in the next couple of weeks. I may go and have a look for you in person. But TCG's gf doesn't even know what it is and she lived in Taipei for 21 years. I think tbh it is like the British council i.e. it is to promote US business interests and culture. Though this is of course a wild guess. Any readers want to ellucidate this? I know I have a few Taiwanese readers on this blog.

Curiously TCG's gf demands that I am in Taipei for some reason..... and I got a strange phone call from her mum and dad the other day.... hold on are firearms legal in Taiwan? TCG does not particularly want to be involved in a shotgun wedding since she's been jokingly kind of pestering me for ages and over time it has become less joke more serious....

12 August 2010

China must reform or die?

Link

Considering EVERYTHING which comes out in China is censored heavily, it is a big surprise that these comments came out and the general isn't dead or in a Laogai. Either the CCP is testing the waters or he has gone renegade.... I suspect they are testing the waters.

Either way the CCP looks to be more devious than first imagined.... in something I ghost wrote a few months ago. I wrote a conversation between Beth and Robert. Where they spot the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong (where this is 100% legal and allowed).... Copyright assignment says Nein about posting this conversation as it is no longer mine anymore. I swapped it for some £££ But it went like this. Effectively our democracies have become kleptocracies and broken. We have two party systems where nothing ever changes.

The painting of the government a different colour changes nothing. In the UK I mean how different really is Tory from Labour? While there might be some peripheral differences such as Tories being slightly more liberal (Anti ID cards) and Labour being heavily authoritarian. Effectively the puppet masters pulling the strings are the same. Like in the USSA* (see footnote).... erm I mean USA. the Politicians are controlled by the same big companies and interests.



In that in Taiwan Lee Teng Hui in the 1990s moved Taiwan to a democracy (NK calls itself a democracy too!). Yet Taiwan has pretty much STILL been ruled by the KMT old men as previously. So in effect nothing has changed, bar maybe the political prisoners are released. But the wholesale theft and kleptocracy keeps going on as normal

Henry Ford said something similar to this:

"Any customer can have a car painted any colour that he wants so long as it is black"


Interesting times, article is below verbatim.

A Chinese two-star general has warned his conservative Communist Party masters and firebrand People's Liberation Army colleagues that China must either embrace US-style democracy or accept Soviet-style collapse.

As officers of similar rank rattle their sabres against US aircraft carriers in the Yellow and South China seas, General Liu Yazhou says China's rise depends on adopting America's system of government rather than challenging its dominance off China's eastern coast.

''If a system fails to let its citizens breathe freely and release their creativity to the maximum extent, and fails to place those who best represent the system and its people into leadership positions, it is certain to perish,'' writes General Liu Yazhou in Hong Kong's Phoenix magazine, which is widely available on news stands and on the internet throughout China.

The fact of General Liu's article suggests China's political and ideological struggles are more lively than commonly thought, ahead of a rotation of leaders in the Central Military Commission and then the Politburo in 2012.

''The secret of US success is neither Wall Street nor Silicon Valley, but its long-surviving rule of law and the system behind it,'' he says. ''The American system is said to be 'designed by genius and for the operation of the stupid'.

''A bad system makes a good person behave badly while a good system makes a bad person behave well. Democracy is the most urgent thing, without it there can be no sustainable rise.''
General Liu was promoted recently from deputy political commissar of the PLA Air Force to political commissar of the National Defence University. His father was a senior military officer and his father-in-law was Li Xiannian, one of Chinese communism's ''Eight Immortals'' - and a one-time president of China.

While many of China's ''princelings'' have exploited their revolutionary names to amass wealth and power, General Liu has exploited his pedigree to provide protection to push his contrarian and reformist views.

But General Liu's latest writings are extraordinary by any standards. His article urges China to shift its strategic focus from the country's developed coastal areas, including Hong Kong and Taiwan - ''the renminbi belt'' - towards resource-rich Central Asia.

But he argues that China will never have strategic reach by relying on wealth alone. ''A nation that is mindful only of the power of money is a backward and stupid nation,'' he writes. ''What we could believe in is the power of the truth.

''The truth is knowledge and knowledge is power.''

But such national power can only come with political transformation. ''In the coming 10 years, a transformation from power politics to democracy will inevitably take place,'' he says.
General Liu inverts the lesson that Chinese politicians have traditionally drawn from the collapse of the Soviet Union - that it was caused by too much political reform - by arguing that reform arrived too late.

Since 2008 the Communist Party has steadily tightened the political screws to stifle dissent.
Many Chinese are concerned that reforms have been blocked by powerful military, security, corporate and family groups that benefit from the status quo.

General Liu was famously outspoken until he stopped publishing his essays about five years ago.
It is unclear how his latest article appeared and whether he has backing within the system.
Last year Hong Kong's Open magazine published a leaked report of one of General Liu's internal speeches which raised the taboo topic of how some generals refused to lead troops into Tiananmen Square in 1989.

General Liu returned to the subject of Tiananmen in his Phoenix article, saying ''a nationwide riot'' was caused by the incompatibility of traditional power structures with reform.
Link here:
USSA ~ I mean look at the bail outs, there is something fundamentally wrong with the fact that banks fuck it all up and the tax payer bails them out regularly

11 August 2010

Hong Kong cops OTOH (Belated comedy slot)

While mainland cops mean business as demonstrated here

Hong Kong cops on the other hand are wussies.



34 seconds is where it is at.

It's worse that one of these football dives (Song by Weird Al Yankovic)



Rugby however, they don't stop unless somebody's brains are spilt on the ground



Compared to say Romanian cops who don't take shit.



Just for some balance.




Hold on what was I trying to say here..... Oh yeah HK is just a corrupt as it's always been. If you are family of a judge, you can get away with...beating.... no wait that wasn't a beating, it was a bitch slap. Then NOTHING happens to you ever! As here


Go home seriously.


I thought I'd post it here. Namely because anything which contradicts you or makes you look silly you delete. Suffer from a Chinese face issue? TCG deletes nothing from this blog bar spelling mistakes. EVEN if it makes me look stupid. Must be this western mentality and the fact that I wear my scars with pride, maybe why the CBR needs a respray.

This is what I've posted (or there abouts several times on his blog)

I know HK is an unpleasant place. You know it is an unpleasant place. It is a big city, big cities are crowded polluted with little defensible space. Even the Korean feels this way about Seoul one of your hallowed cities on the earth. Taipei your hallowed city is identical too, crowded polluted etc.

So simply if you hate it so much why don't you leave? There is a big airport jst 40 minutes away.

Really why do you stay? I can only think of several reasons:

Education? So why don't you transfer your credits from your university to another one? Simon my German PhD totting friend left Germany for France part way through his degree. He then left France during his MA and moved to North Carolina. Then he moved to Seoul, then Shanghai and has managed to transfer his university credits each and every time.

And seriously why did you come to HK to study? The universities there are not exactly the best in the world either. There are a large number of universities in Taipei.

A job? So what! I've quit jobs and moved elsewhere before. I've ended up all over the place looking for work. I even lived in Hamburg where they speak (unsurprisingly) German.

TCG is departing Manchester within the next month! I can do it so can you.

Quite simply when you move there is no such thing as paradise on earth. (Seoul gave us the jitters as there was definitely something wrong with Seoul) You exchange one set of problems for another.

So while in Manchester there is high crime, low employment and constant rain there are wide open spaces where you can travel into the countryside after only a few minutes. An hour in each direction gets you to some of the best biking roads in the UK.

HK you trade your job/education prospects for the unpleasantness which you appear to suffer.


Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
Albert Einstein


Granted I bitch on HPC a lot about the UK but in doing so I am willing to be told I'm wrong or beat down by other peoples opinions rather than uber censorship you practice.

06 August 2010

The Joy Luck Club


This is one of my favorite books of all time. Anyone who loves things China needs to read this book. Written by Chinese American author Amy Tan, it is the story of four women who emigrated from China to give their daughters a better life. Each month the four women get together to talk and play Mahjong. They describe in detail each of their lives and hardships they faced as they grew up in China and eventually make their way to the US. It then tells the story of each of their daughter’s lives and the much different struggles they endure. The first one of the women was sold to a family as a bride at the age of fifteen, the second was forced to see her mother suffer and kill herself, dying before her eyes, the third was terribly abused by a man she thought she loved. She killed their infant son because it was the only thing she could take from him and cause him pain. She kept this horrible secret to herself. The fourth mother was forced to abandon her twin babies, unable to endure the burden of carrying them all the way south to safety as she fled the escalating violence of the Sino-Japanese war. The daughters had different issues. The first one wanted to please her husband, but lost her self in doing so. The second daughter’s family did not like her fiancé. The third daughter had the opposite problem; her fiancé’s family did not accept her. And finally, the fourth daughter who is the half-sister of the two babies abandoned by their mother must go to China to inform her sisters of their mother’s death. The hard lives of the mothers influenced how they raised their daughters. They all shared a common wish to give their daughters more opportunity and a better life in America. The relationships between the mothers and daughters are complicated, often strained; old ways verses new. The daughters struggling to balance their American lives while respecting the culture of old so desperately being kept alive by their mothers.



The book was also made into a film in 1993 and honestly, it is the only film that has ever brought tears to my eyes.


I can think of no better film to describe the life and hardships of Chinese American Immigrants in the early 20th century. It is a film that I believe every Chinese American should see. Generations old and new. This is one of very few films that has touched my heart, and I hope it touches yours as well.