30 March 2010


Dear TCG

Where can I get medication say V in Hong Kong? Do I need a prescription?

Can you just email me back?


(No name attached)

Dear Mr Floppy.

V? you mean Viagra?

Oh and btw no I won't keep it private.

Hong Kong is Asia and therefore you can get anything you want over the counter at a pharmacy, strictly speaking medicine is supposed to be like in the UK or USA or Europe where you are supposed to put down $100 to see the doctor who will give you a script to go either to a traditional herbalist which is similar to Dr Herbs:

Or you can go to a normal pharmacy, which has a red cross sign, as said in Hong Kong you are normally supposed to go to the doctors to get a prescription. However this simply doesn't work out in that if you know what you need, anything even dangerous stuff like methadone you just go to a pharmacy but not one inside a Watsons as they actually enforce the prescription only meds. This isn't to say you can get cannabis, heroin or cocaine at your local pharmacy, as you generally can't get that stuff over the counter in the western world anyway. And simply ask for it.

One of three things will happen:

#1 The pharmacist will ask you how much you want and sell it to you just like that, bulk discounts apply.

#2 The pharmacist will ask for a prescription a real one and will turn you away if you do not have one.

#3 The pharmacist will ask for a prescription, at which you say here is my prescription and hand over a $100 HK note (about £10) which he will say I understand and give you your meds +10-20% mark up on them if you had a script. Hong Kong is uber capitalism and making a few quid on the side bodes well with the conscience of a pharmacist. Also because drug abuse is almost non existent the government generally can't be bothered to enforce the prescription rule.

How do I know this? I know this because I have a hypochondriac family member, well to be fair she had a problem where she constantly got ear, nose and throat infections. Easy because of the air pollution and phenomenal population density of Hong Kong (its free to smoke in Hong Kong). Also the fact that the water in the sea is horrible yet bizarrely people still swim in it, you have a look at Cheung Chau and people swim in the raw sewage there more details here . Heh there is an old expats joke. In that some of them live in a place called Repulse Bay photos here those photos were probably taken in 1930 or something, as Repulse Bay is truely repulsive. It made HK government office toilets nice (HK government toilets before 1997 were horrendous if anybody here is from Manchester you may recall a night club called the Hacienda Wanchai government offices toilets were appalling and appeared not to have been cleaned since the battle of Hong Kong). As it was truly repulsive, dead animals floating about in the water, and the water was frothy and various colours that water shouldn't be coloured.

I digress.

Rather than book an appointment and hand over $110-$200 to see the doctor (It would always be the hard to book doctor too).

I would phone Peter my mate over Skype (he is a trained physician) who would tell me what I needed. This would save me a taking her out to the doctors where she would moan at me constantly and also moan at me while going to the pharmacy. This method cut the time needed to stop her whining rather quickly.

Although self medicating isn't exactly the safest thing in the world rather a lot of people self medicate in this manner and there are no mass deaths.

Doing business in China Prt 3


Guanxi can be loosely translated as contacts. In the UK there is the old saying it's not what you know but who you know that gets you places.

For example Peaches Geldof would never have gotten anywhere without her dad being famous.

The same applies to Kelly Osbourne and also Hack Helene Hegemann all sorts of people like that, there is a similar thing in China too in that you need to contact the right people. Finding contacts is the hard part of course in that for every good decent business man out there, there are probably 10 maybe 100 shysters.

Where to look for such contacts? There are various tactics for this:

Approach the British Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong hang around some bars in Lam Kwai Fong and or approach some established businesses. Remember Hong Kong and Macau are safer placers to do biz than China.

Hong Kong shares British business tradition of limited liability companies which is good but it can also be an arse, in that they can steal your money liquidate the company and bugger off.

A good way to do this is if you do find a contact is to check up on them and request their accounts and or directorships for the past couple of years, if they have a habit of liquidating and running away this will show up. HK people and Chinese people are assigned ID card numbers that you can't escape!.

Anyway once you have your contact it is in effect a begging mission I hate this too, in that you have to take him out to dinner YOU'LL have to pay for it and generally massage their ego to get permissions to get permits or further contacts. You may well lose your shirt doing this as they will take the piss and exploit you ruthlessly. This applies even if you go through the chambers of commerce. You must massage their egos until the project is done and dusted and it is in operation as people you will meet who can get things done for you will invariably have contacts of their own.

In 2008 for example there was a story of a guy who opened a hotel in Zuhai (I know him personally) it is a fairly middle sized hotel, but the contact who set him up with builders and staff and permits was not invited to the opening. So what happened from this snub? The contact fixer phoned up the electricity company and cut them off. Myself and friendly girl (not girl friend) had to go and find him and then almost beg for him to turn it back on. He insisted that my friend drink a ton of booze and sort of demanded to have sex with her, we ended up walking out the electricity wasn't turned back on, so we went to find some petrol generators, except the fixer was good. He had told the people selling petrol generators not to deal with us. And the owner had to go grovelling back (for historical reasons I can never kneel or prostate myself or beg anybody a habit since 55BC). Finally after lots of bribes were passed back and forth the electricity was turned back on, but it was too late the grand opening had been ruined.

As many have said corruption is rampant, and in the UK you'd go to a judge and complain except the judges can be just as corrupt too..

The moral of the tale is all this could have been prevented by acting humble as if the fixer/contact was the sole reason you could get into this place. So if you find a contact a non corrupt one (like a needle in a stack of needles) you are going to have to act humble and invite him as an honoured guest until you are established. Once you become established you start growing your own contacts and fixers and cease to be at the mercy of your original fixer.

22 March 2010

Doing business in China Prt 2

Due to writers block I'm writing this before I originally intended to do so.

Face, mian (phonetic)

Saving save, is old as something very old.

Some back ground on this Chinese people and Asians in general like to save face when they do something nasty or they will do something else that makes them look better than they are, quite simply lots of people will bullshit. It is terrifically important that in doing business you don't make companies lose face or their owners. Else they will utterly hate you and make take revenue.

I think this is similar to that of Ask the Korean. In that China only 100 years ago was mostly an agricultural society. Hell the small village in Hong Kong my dad was born in as recent as 10 years ago still grew water chestnuts. 40 years ago still grew wheat. There has been uber development. Take a look at the photo of 1950 vs today.

Anyway in agricultural societies people are close knit everybody knows everybody else and you need to gain the respect of everybody else in order to survive and prosper. As China didn't industrialise until Mao's disastrous policies and even then until the late 1980s. The country remained mostly agricultural and therefore people still have a strong need to keep the respect of others.

This respect and face is still apparent in western societies where people need to justify that they didn't do something. If anybody remembers the 1990s there were tons of hidden camera programmes that showed people in traps where things would fall off shelves and people would immediately deny it. This is apparent even though western societies became industrialised close to 200 years ago and less people worked the land, bonds between people dissipated.

The force is strong in this one, said Vader, the face saving force is equally as strong in China. A prime example is the self destruction of farmers crops (replanting) to impress government officials causing them to starve to death.

How this plays out in modern day life and doing business?

It is a bit like this

In that the invitee needs to save face in that if they leave the guests hungry then they lose face.

And while you are actually eating in a restaurant there is a culture of looking down on others, in restaurants people will be openly critical of the staff. Shout and blame that kind of thing, it is almost like bullying in that to make themselves appear better they will put down others.

More curiously you'll see when different families eat together you see this even in the UK, families will fight each other in attempting to pay the bill. I exploit this ruthlessly by putting up a weak fight then saying ok then. I sit back and enjoy the free lunches now and again. HUGE tips will be left again as a showing off type thing.

So whatever you do in Chinese business don't make people lose face, it will piss them off massively and they may never do business again with you. So in striking a deal you have to suck up to them even if they are arseholes.

I hate this form of business dealing, this is probably why my business dealings are done via email or phone as I don't like to stroke peoples' egos at all. But currently if you want to do business in China, Asia even then you gotta play by their rules.

However remember this one thing in that they are just as human as me and you and therefore there is a very high chance that it is bravado to conceal their real selves, it is just that they wear their masks extremely well.

20 March 2010

Doing business in China prt1

This video here is still relevant

China has a bad no a VERY bad reputation unless you are a big multinational company, that is not to say you can't make money as I used to do the accounts of somebody who made bathroom fittings in China and was considered a hero of a small northern town in China.

However you get more of this

The problem is the guy who went to China to build motorbikes walked right into it. He had a wad of money no experience, no business plan and couldn't speak the language and skimped on a translator too. Imagine if a Chinese business man who couldn't speak English went to somewhere like Newcastle and asked a bunch of chavs to design and manufacture your bike. It wouldn't exactly be successful would it?.

In fact you don't need to imagine in that in the 1970s the owner of Hong Kong Li Kar Shing did come to the UK to attempt to do business, he nearly lost his shirt under the same circumstances.

Acquaintances who have been there to do business also state that they have a bad reputation Chinese motorbikes for example are terrible quality, you state you must use THIS grade of steel, they say yes and use a cheaper kind of steel and then wonder why things buckle and break.

In fact if anybody remembers the CIA fact book in the 70s and 80s it did indeed depict Chinese business men as snakes.

This does not apply to Hong Kong, or Macau but to China (Hong Kong and Macau don't have such corruption the ICAC prevents this kind of corruption) that doesn't mean there are no shysters in Hong Kong. Have a walk down the golden mile in Kowloon and it is full of shysters.

However for business negotiations here are some personally attested to guidelines (TCG attempted to go to Zuhai a couple years back to get something plastic manufactured there but the prototypes were consistently shit quality so this was abandoned I lost a couple £100 but that was it).

Anyway for negotiations:

1. The Chinese like to tell you they look for a win win deal in business. Good for you good for them type things. But really they prefer win for them lose for you.

This is because in China, there is still a mind set of super short termism, make money now damn the future. This is kind of similar to Africa. I remember reading a quote somewhere about African women having sex with people with AIDS. Bah whats the point of worrying about AIDS? I could be dead from Malaria next week 8 years is a life time away.

Changes in China are so rapid a similar mentality has developed, a similar mentality existed in US car factories were car parts were so fragile they would break if you looked at them too hard. Best cheat them out of money now, who knows what the future will bring. This even happens to BIG international corporates.

Cars manufactured there are copied examples are here.

This is reflected in UK immigration.

The Hakka immigrants in the 1970s took the long term view possibly as most of them came from the Hong Kong area and had British influence. This might also have been lessons learnt from history where Liverpool Chinese community were forced out at gunpoint multiple times, once they started to get the local people on side it became harder to force them to leave. But this is history for another day.

They have run successful hot food places for decades, and build relationships with their customer base. Peter Li for example of Cornwall has managed this for 35 years, people will come from miles to go to his place to chat etc. He initially lost money for a few years but they found he was a sound guy and therefore over time he effectively carved himself a nice little business.

While over the last 10 years many of the migrants from China are from Mainland China generally from Fujian, you can tell by their dialects when you wander through China town where the language is changing. Their business failure rate is incredible, Fred an accountant who deals with their accounts states that they have over 97% failure rate, it gets sold on to other migrants who fail again and again. The local shops around here once the Hakka/Cantonese people sold and retired have been flipping owners every 6-18 months.

I mention this in my book, where in Azerbaijan everybody cheated me, petrol that was 12p a litre suddenly became £1.20 a litre, shops with clearly marked prices were jacked up for my appearance. Cops would harass me relentlessly, sure they make a quick buck, but on my return Azerbaijan has been slated incredibly in various articles and news papers. Azeris may wonder why they have so few tourists in the future. Although Azerbaijan is a shit hole anyway.

2. Contracts mean NOTHING in China. They can be changed, modified and ignored any time any place. How are you going to enforce it? go to court where they have bribed the judge?

Much to the chagrin of the Korean guy this also happens in Korea. In that people sign a contract to go to a Hagwon and on the first day the owner of the school will give them a long winded speech in a euphemism manner about how their contracts mean jack shit. Again how do you enforce the contract? Go to a Korean or Chinese court when you don't speak the language and even the CCP doesn't respect contracts.

3. The Chinese are very patient in the negotiation process. They wait to wear you out and then get the upper hand when you are most tired.

My English bosses perfected this, in that they would always get you at the end of a long day and put pay negotiations at the end of hectic weeks to catch you off guard.

4. The Chinese take time to find out more about you and your business and they never strike a deal with you right away. So if you’re imbued with western culture, and aim to get the deal sealed as soon as possible, do remember this cultural difference.

A case of know thy enemy

5. The Chinese will tell you that you cannot do this and do that because the regulations forbid it. Don’t trust them. Go and find out the truth yourself and use an independent translator to research the regulations and laws. They will use the language difference to extort advantage over you, in most of the cases you will find that your Chinese negotiation counterparts are lying.

#6 Face ,Oh man face you must not make them lose face, China and Asians in general must never lose face, in China people in 1954 great leap forward would rather starve to death than lose face.

#7 Copyright law, China not even the government respects copyright law, just look at the J-17 which is a copy of the Mig 21 and copied stolen military technology. You go and walk around any market in China and you see 100-1 game cartridges etc. You see this in Hong Kong too but it is kept out of sight, it still happens. So if you have a wonderful invention perhaps you may want to manufacture those parts elsewhere say Malaysia or Singapore where copyright laws are more respected.

I am a Chinese but I am pretty fucking dismayed with the Chinese culture exhibited in business negotiations. In that as I said before the CIA fact book once said Chinese are lower than snakes, I can protest and say this isn't true, yet other Chinese people seem to consistently prove me wrong.

The issue is, if something seems too good to be true, then often it is too good to be true, greed avarice etc all seems to make us lower our shields. This is why the 419 scams still perpetuate if they capture 1-20,000 emails they send out it is still profitable.

A recent trend in this is a nasty confidence trick. In that they will send westerners employed by such corrupt companies above to meet them somewhere like Hong Kong, Its Hong Kong its gotta be safe right? To lure the negotiator into a false sense of security. And therefore let their shields down and thus lose their shirt.

19 March 2010

How much support is there in Mainland China for the Communist Party?

Dear TCG,

How much support is there in Mainland China for the Communist Party?

Are most people happy with the party? Is there a lot of silent opposition? or are most people indifferent?

Kevin B

Dear Kevin.

Yes no and maybe, in that the CCP of China (Communist Party China) the politics of is full of ironies and contradictory views. In that is there really support when they have no real choice and metaphorical guns to their heads?

In that as in each society and governance system there are winners and losers it's all about the RMB.

Actually thats not enough..

I’ll just go through the winners and losers and give you my point of view, since I can’t really go around and ask all 1.4bn people that would of course be terribly impractical.

The CCP has wide(r) support from older people. This is due to cult of personality regarding Mao (who is and was a monster he has directly killed more than EVERY dictator on the planet combined) and the fact that life before the PRC was pretty dire.

In that China was in a state of flux before and after WWII until Chen Kai Shek was defeated and left to go to Taiwan. In that Mao developed an incredible cult of personality around himself as the bloke who kicked the foreigners out of China, China had been carved up by loads of countries, including the UK, Germany, France, USA and Japan and then some. Mao milked this to say China for the Chinese. They retain their pension rights promised in the past and they are given jobs as ‘internal police’. Internal police are bollocks; you see them in Hutong (literally narrow streets in Beijing) wearing armbands, security force. You see them gambling, smoking drinking and spitting in public all things that they are supposed to be paid to prevent. When a REAL dept of internal security bloke comes along they all spring into action pretending to do something useful. They receive a small stipend for these services, and thus they are generally looked after.

Mao is still respected in China, his memorial in Beijing EVERY day has a 5 hour wait to get in though you have to go through 4 security checks and people buy flowers to put at the foot of his crystal coffin. Oddly this was against his wishes as he wanted to be cremated. Anyhow...

The middle class the CCP keeps stating it has, has also done well out of the CCP’s changes, therefore they have directly benefited and thus are generally happy with the CCP, they may grumble but it created the conditions which made them wealthy. These number at about 300-400 million people. They may grumble but then people being people are cantankerous always, much like people who have enough to eat roof over their head and spending money complain even though they lives are fairly good by world standards.

The problem with this is that it is faultering hence people are getting annoyed their children live comparatively comfortable lifes but there aren't enough jobs to go around. In the local rag there was something about Chinese graduates getting turd class degrees. Where there was such a shortage of decent jobs they were literally shovelling shit. (a rather common issue as this is affecting Europe too, too many graduates too few jobs)

Of course this could be graduates go to shitty universities which are little more than degree mills as demonstrated here:

(Watch the whole series many universities in China are like that, there are of course some really good ones too, but guess which one outnumbers the other?)

Then you get poor people and what we would term working class, in that their views vary a great deal. In that they see enormous progress occurring in their cities. I barely recognised Beijing from 1995 to 2009 as it had changed so much. In 2008 and 2009 they put in a complete new line on the under ground metro network. The people see new roads, new trains new everything things like the harmony railway etc, thus there is a feeling that the government has improved their lives markedly and or acts in their interests for example somebody uses dodgy ingredients in the milk the directors of the company responsible are executed. Here and here

Compare this to the UK government that quite frankly hasn’t built much, in the last 10 years the only infrastructure project I can think of is the M6 toll road and probably the new underground line. Or when some corporate badness is done very little happens, such as the potters bar train crash or various salmonella or lethal MRSA in hospitals nothing really bad happens to the people who cause this. I therefore feel the UK government doesn't exactly do much for me or others.

Although there are of course differences in that with an endless supply of cheap expendable labour you can build anything you want.


Unfortunately to make an omelette you have to break some eggs, so if it is your eggs they use for the development you will be pretty pissed off and you would probably be right to be too.

In the UK if the government wants to build over my hypothetical house (I don’t own a house) they can issue a compulsory purchase order, and give me compensation enough to buy a similar house. In the PRC no such rule exists.

In the PRC ALL the land in China effectively belongs to the CCP, therefore they can come take your house apart and give you squat. Effectively this will make you massively pissed off with the government, this is happening rather a lot recently with secreted videos and news stories occasionally coming out. Although the tip of the iceberg might be an appropriate expression to use here.

Granny murdered
Farmers land seized imprisoned

This has been going on for a while as

the washington post reports here and the guardian states here

The linked stories are at least a couple of years old some going back to 2004, ergo there is a massive pissed off section of society who are thrown in the gutter. Although in Asia life IS incredibly cheap anyway (the whole area is known for massive projects that kill millions, the Road of bones , the great wall and the great canal too all projects that killed millions in the construction of).

A similar thing happened with the 3 gorges dam millions were just simply evicted from their homes.

On top of this plenty of the poorer sections of society are stuffed into factories working for low pay with no social security nets and few rights with common scams being factory owners locking the gates once the contract is over and not paying their employees and running away.

But at the same time they have had their living standards improved, Chinese people in the 1980s and before rarely ate meat, now it is common everywhere. Hence the ironies in that you see some good in some areas and bad things happen in other areas. So really it is impossible to give a straight answer in that is there wide spread support? The only answer that can be given is maybe.

My own thoughts are that support is wavering dangerously low in the poor(er) people who get stepped on in the name of development that property developers have gotten greedy and more and more people have had their land seized and gotten nothing. The land seizures are continuing and what we hear might be the tip of the iceberg. In that 20 years ago people would leave willing or it was said they would leave willing, but we can never know of course as we don't know what happens inside quite often. And thus people are actually starting to stand and be counted and will actively stand against the state machinery.

As per the following examples

Man burns himself to death in protest

And this man who I think was called the thorn after he refused to leave

On top of this the Chinese dream is faltering unemployed people are pissed off people; this is why China needs to hit the 8% growth per year just to keep its organic growth employed. There might be 300 million or so that are pleased with the CCP for making a business environment that they benefited from but there are 1.1bn people who might be peeved or may love the CCP, and it is like the novel 1984.

If there is to be any hope it lies with the proles.

Finally ontop of this the middle class are in the middle of a phenominal house price inflation where they can't afford homes and they stand to lose huge amounts of money in the future which will cause more people to be pissed off too. And instead of being happy with their CCP masters they are starting to get peeved off in very large numbers.

As some of us in western societies have realised principles are sold for money and thus the same is happening over there.

Such that there are winners and losers, the losers are losing even worse than before, and the winners are also starting to lose and therefore I think anyway that support for the CCP is waning, and the consequences of this are absolutely dire.

China's policies are creating a massive underclass who have absolutely nothing to lose from the divisions in wealth in society and are not kept ignorant of the progress as in North Korea. You can't desire something if you do not know it exists. In 1989 people openly stood against the CCP tank man was a mere side show although many speak of tank man as if he was the catalyst for change. The main event was near Wangfujin street where infantry were used against crowds.

The strangest things happened, a massive crowd throwing rocks at soldiers formed, the soldiers gunned them down, they ran away and regrouped, the soldiers advanced and gunned them down again. The crowd kept on reforming, they were unafraid to die and would openly stand against the government.

The policies in the PRC are creating millions of such people with nothing to lose and the CCP has forgotten what Sun Tzu once said 2300 years ago:

Sun Tzu says, "Leave an escape for a surrounded enemy." This is simple, straightforward advice. How is it translated? The same line from the popular translation:
"When you surround an army, leave an outlet free. This does not mean that the enemy is to be allowed to escape. The object is to make him believe that there is a road to safety, and thus prevent him fighting with the courage of despair."

Quite simply as long as dividing policies and unfair money grabbing policies continue support is only going to go one way.

18 March 2010

A few minor changes

A few minor changes, I've changed the colours a bit, namely as I discovered a similar thing in word where I spend most of my time white on black is retina burningly nasty, much like black text on white which is word.

(I currently use a blue with yellow text as it is easier on the eyes and I don't need to take as many breaks).

The management.

13 March 2010

Do Russians hate the Chinese?

Dear Chinese guy

I read a book recently barbed wire and babushkas, and from the perspective of the author it appeared as if the Siberian Russians absolutely hate the Chinese, is this true? What do Chinese think about the Russians?


Dear Kat

I have read the book you are talking about, it is quite good, however I feel it is rather a strong generalisation, it is like saying all whatever people are thieves or something.

My personal motorbike trip through Russia elicited nothing more than curious glances and hellos, they did laugh at my inability to drink as much as them but that is genetic. However there is some truth in all of the perceived hatred.

#1 History, Stalin did not support Mao Zedong in the Korean war with full MiG support hence MiG alley. This caused the Sino-Russian split, when China wanted independence from the Soviet Union even though Stalin helped Mao attain power. Though this may seem ungrateful it was a rather nasty relationship anyway, i.e. China could supply endless expendable labour while the USSR could provide technology and weapons, the infantry rushes in Korea 1951 AND the war with Vietnam where China lost 10,000-50,000 troops and 100-400 tanks in 'teaching' Vietnam a lesson in 1979. Ergo the infantry rush was still used as recent as 1979!

Anyway, the split meant both sides started spouting up anti Soviet and anti Chinese propaganda against each other, for decades meaning that there is an ingrained hate.

#1.1 This was exacerbated by the fact that both powers nearly went to full scale war with each other over the Demansky Island , more here. Which resulted in a gigantic build up on infantry and war machines on both sides of the river over this 0.7sq km island.

Over time China accused Russia of land grabs, as my dad puts it 10,000 Hong Kongs have been taken, I do not know the Russian point of view in all of this but when the USSR had all the guns you can't do anything about it. A similar thing happened in Hong Kong itself, the British had guns lots of them and therefore FORCED the lease of Hong Kong.

#2 The cultures i.e. White Siberians who migrated by force or by choice to Siberia and Far Eastern Russia the cultures are different. On various things, Food / religion, language.

Consider Europe for a moment, France and Germany, they are next to each other, they have similar languages in that they have a common Greek alphabet ancestry and borrow words from each other. The same applies to French and English, for example we borrow the word entrepreneur and all sorts.

In China/Siberia, Russians use Cryllic and speak toned language. In China they speak Mandarin and or variations of which is harsh and atonal and uses pictogram characters not Cyrillic. Thus there is incompatibility there.

In General we eat and drink similar things to each other, we have staples of bread, wheat oats etc which is common to all our countries. So are food and languages are similar. Although we've been at war with each other for decades pre 1900 and had two big ones. Though this was politicians accentuating and purposely driving divisions between peoples.

In Siberia, the people there eat as a staple the humble potato, Kartoshka the growing seasons are a bit short for wheat in Siberia, and other root crops as well as meat. In Siberia I remember being told that not eating meat at a meal is like not eating meat at all.

While in China, people eat millet, wheat turned into noodles and rice. Note Northern and western China rice is not eaten in great quantities they eat potatoes and millet, if you go to Beijing you will see that they eat a millet style porridge in the mornings, you go South to Shanghai or Xian where the rice growing regions are and they eat congee a rice based porridge.

Again another difference.

As in the book 1984 by Orwell, Winston States that peoples are kept separate so that they can't sit down and realise that the propaganda is untrue and that the barbarous enemy is generally the same as he is. Some events like the Christmas celebrations in the trenches of WWI show this.

Finally the skin colour is the same. You put an Englishman next to a German if they don't speak you can mistake one for the other. While Siberia and China people look different. You stick a Chinese person next to a white Siberian and you can immediately tell the difference.

#3 Economy

China is currently a massive squid sucking up resources and money, on the border regions and many areas near the coast there are phenomenal factories and infrastructure building in China. consider Heihe vs Blagoveshchensk . Heihe was little more than a military town 20 years ago, nothing there but a huge garrison of infantry. In 20 years it has developed so quickly compared to Blagoveshchensk. In that the PRC government has in effect enacted policies for rapid expansion and development along the Amur river yet the Russians have no managed to achieve a similar amount of progress. Such that the exports by volume at least go one way. (China buys Russian weapons produced in the Komsolonsk region). This undermines the Russian economy massively, why buy Russian if you can get made in China much cheaper?

All of the above reasons are why people are suspicious of their neighbours there is just such a large number of differences that it is hard not to as said I went out there and wasn't harassed at all sooo your mileage may vary. I found Siberians to be friendly and accommodating almost all the time, I emphasise almost.

03 March 2010

Working in Hong Kong

Dear Chinese guy.

How do I work in Hong Kong? (deleted a ton of junk from this).

Jon Z(deleted)

Dear Jon

To work in Hong Kong you need to jump through various hoops the easiest is if you have a HKPID which effectively allows you to live in the territory for life.

With a HKPID you have the status of a local person there regardless of the number of stars on the face of the HKPID (stars mean rights!). Overseas born people will have an A0 prefix to identify them as overseas born btw. The children of all HK natives born overseas are usually entitled to one, you need to write a grovelling letter to them about it in Chinese though sometimes as they may make it difficult for you just to flex their muscles, they can do that.

Since the hand over in 1997 after the lease expired and HK became Chinese territory a state within a state which is why it is often called HK SAR Special Administrative Region, it is effectively an autonomous state, the PRC government generally leaves them alone to do what it pleases except for security issues. The British Garrison was replaced by PLA soldiers and the PRC flag flies next to the HK flag at most places.

Anyway I digress, in that before the hand over British people could effectively take a flight over there and work with very few problems. Once the hand over changed governments you need a work visa.

Before you can apply for a Hong Kong work visa, you need to obtain an offer of work from a company in Hong Kong. This is your sponsor. This, ideally, should be done before you move to Hong Kong. However the usual work around is that people come to HK on tourist visas and they look for work, if they get a job offer they take a ferry to Macau and back and 'activate their visas'

If you do this while in Hong Kong, you can apply for a work visa and the Immigration Service will rarely ask questions. You will have to leave and re-enter Hong Kong to activate the visa.

Once you have obtained a job offer, your company will work with you in applying for a Hong Kong visa and while most applications are accepted, a HUGE number are rejected. The criteria the Hong Kong Immigration Service uses is somewhat opaque, but here are some basic guidelines.

  • Applicants need to have a degree associate or Bachelors the higher bigger harder etc the better, unless they have considerable technical experience in a certain area. Expert engineers and such like this is usually waived.
  • In addition, the applicant should also relevant experience in the position they are applying for. Which makes life for fresh graduates harder.
  • The salary offered should meet local professional standards. (the bottom threshold for this is generally considered HK$20K + per month.
  • The company needs to prove that the position cannot be filled by a local and/or that the applicant has a skill in short supply in the city. Which means they generally have to jump through hoops advertising the role to others holding actual interviews etc.
  • The individual will contribute to the local economy.
Those are the basic guide lines, however there is a 3rd way, you can buy yourself in IIRC it was something in the region of 6 million RMB a enormous figure but this route is only really open to PRC citizens (note that China does not recognise dual citizenship , Hong Kong though does). Once you stay for 7 years you can apply for a HKPID, which has uses like taking 5 seconds to get through immigration at Lo Wu, or the airport.

I would note though that although HK is a cushy what with its low taxes, no VAT (sales tax) and low cost of living (aside from accommodation expect this to be your biggest cost) there is a price to pay!. Hong Kong is a crowded dirty city, where wages can be crushingly low if you convert the salaries to the hours. Also remember this is China's property now although they do not poke their noses in often to the affairs of state, not until 2047 you should act appropriately and not be doing any flag burning or desecration and things like that, they can and will deport you for this. If you are REALLY unlucky they may make you stand trial under mainland law and punishments.

Minibus drivers for example are paid $9 an hour if you divide the salaries down to the hourly basis, it is that nuts. This is also an explaination as to why they all drive in a suicidal manner are almost all universally surely and in the NT area are rather foul mouthed.

The locals are also highly educated multi lingual and highly qualified and will work harder than you. The students can all speak fluent (although heavily accented) English, read and write English AND Chinese as well as speak Mandarin. So there is very little scope to compete with the locals. The pay is low namely due to two factors:

Children leave home later thus need less money,

It is in the interests of big corporates for pay to be low so their overheads are lower.

There is no such thing as a 9-5 8-6 is common 8-8 even more common 4am-9pm is horribly common, these hours only start to decrease once you get to a certain seniority. Although many of these uber levels are to do with bums on seats more than working through that entire period. Also think of this HK has managed to work a staggered system of working, in that office workers except for government employees will often start work from 10am even 11am. Shops will open at 10-12 in the morning or noon, but they will open late into the night to compensate.

The vacations are also pretty poor 12 days is considered a good package for vacations. In the UK it averages at about 19-23 days. Ontop of this there is peer pressure NOT to take your vacations in full. Also check if you get a medical package, the socialised health care is good but medical care is often a big perk.

However the implicit deal is different, in that this is Uber capitalism, the government will leave you alone as long as you pay your taxes* and let you make provision for your retirement. Being poor with no money in HK is horrible.

* Note HK taxes are not like UK taxes you do not have deductions out of your pay cheques instead you are given the gross amount and you fill in a tax return and pay the government when they ask for it.

As a final note try not to piss off your sponsor as they will tell the immigration service and can make it a huge pain to get it transferred over to another company, some maybe spiteful and hold onto it and therefore meaning you have to jump through the hoops again from the start. HK immigration department is pretty efficient and may deny you a second or third chance.

Final note this does not apply to Ammas, or Anmas who are the house hold maids which are found often in HK homes, lazy cunts will hire these people . Who are virtual slave labour to cook clean and look after their children for as low as $3000 a month. Filipinos started to get expensive so they hired Indonesians. Such people have pretty poor rights, and the 7 year rule does not apply to them the HK government rarely lets them stay even if they have been in HK for years. I would never hire one as I was raised in the UK, I prefer to do such things myself as it was the way I was raised and I am a cheap skate.

Also that such people effectively raise your children, its funny how HK people complain that their children often call the Indonesian maids mother as they never seen their real parents as often as the maid! How is that for a kicker eh?