31 December 2010

Messages from the future!

Anyhow, have a good one.

Although I could rip the Korean off even more by doing a best and worst thread I'm not sure I should. Namely because the blog isn't really big enough. I mean unlike him I do not receieve 2 million emails per day. Not to mention I live by a life is short mentality kind of thing. Besides the worst kinds of emails I generally ignore though they have to get really bad before I'll ignore them completely. Unless I feel they are so bad that they actually deserve a post. Which isn't exactly frequent. Digging around in my email box since I tend to keep emails for years (I even have them from the 1990s) I have emails such as:

Dear Chinese guy What do they call their good plates in China?
It wasn't funny the first time let alone the 90th time I was sent this question. Yet I get this every other week. Geez there is some weak trolling going on sometimes.

How long is China man?

Again this wasn't funny the 10th time it was emailed to me as well. Then we get some downright bizarre ones which were a bit whack and were also ignored.

Then it gets inexplicably worse:

Dear Chinese guy

I've been working in China for over a year now and I'm thinking about going back home Should I?

Do I look like a crystal ball to you? How should I know if you should go back home or not? Maybe you should take a look at your own circumstances and make a rational decision based on the facts at hand. You know rather than asking some weird guy in the UK on a blog as to if you should make a life changing decisions.


How can I get a green card for USA?

Erm ask at the local American Embassy? I'm not an immigration lawyer though I'm pretty sure they don't give them out to everybody and anybody.

Then you get small irritating ones.

CG What were the causes of the Chinese civil war? Can you give me a list and some sitations?

What? Do you just ask me to do your homework for you? Are you too freakin' lazy to simply type it into google and look it up on Wikipedia? citations indeed!

Hey Chinaman

[That is a bad start already as it's rather a nasty racist slur] How often do you eat gross things like dog and cats?

Riight I'm snacking on a dog on a stick riight now and there are some cats drowning in the bath tub ready to be cooked.

Jumping straight in
Hey how do you make number 33 and number 12 on the menu, the guy behind the counter won't tell me!

Soylent green that's what. But how the fuck would even I know what number 33 or 12 is of your local (presumably) Chinese take out place. Seriously do you think that all menus are identical each and every restaurant you eat at? Or that somehow we have some sort of hive mind that allows me to detect which of the 1.7bn Chinese people on the planet you are talking about?

Anyway I would never make a post in such a manner....

wait a minute, aw fuck....

29 December 2010

Possibly the most awesome thing you will see in 2010

TCG in his ill state has been watching rather a lot of movies. While there are epic stories with all star casts such as Founding of a republic. I found some even more awesome ones. How on earth did I ever miss these the first time round!

Hong Kong Wushu (mistakenly called Kung fu) which is awesome enough at most times.

But with Chainsaws!

Imagine how much money McCullough would have made sponsoring this scene

I mean we get to see the odd chainsaw used in Hollywood. Notably in the Evil dead series, Scarface where it is nearly used on Tony Montana. Hacking a woman up in American Psycho (for some reason I found this novel impenetrable and keep getting bogged down in it). Also in Smoking aces.

But where in Hollywood do we see chainsaw on chainsaw combat? Imagine how awesome, or even more Awesome the Matrix would have been if the agents all had chainsaws for hands and Neo performed his The One powers while holding a chainsaw in each hand? Or that he had some kind of gun which fired out chainsaws? You know like a chainsaw chain gun. We can only hope DARPA gets it's act together.

27 December 2010

DPRK vs Monkey Time

One of my fave travel channels on youtube is Monkey Time. He is the self styled eternal backpacker. Who has been pretty much everywhere in Asia, his HK/China and Taiwanese videos have often been featured on ATCG because they provide a slightly different perspective. Although often a touristy perspective it is often still away from the tourist hotspots where everybody hangs around. He also has a remarkable ability not to have people put hands on his camera lenses and say NO! His videos of Hualien Taiwan remind me of a trek a long time ago now.

Often I am kind of jealous and wonder how the bugger he gets the money to do such a trip since he has been on the road for at least a decade! Ian Coates on the other hand is using his retirement money and has been out there for about 10 years now. Myself I could only afford to stay out there for a little under a year.

But this (series) may interest the Korean guy and others. Since S Koreans and Americans can't enter the DPRK. I can enter the DPRK since they don't care about my nationality only my £££ but I arrived in Seoul 2009 when they closed the border and only opened it a few days later. after I had left. I did however get within spitting distance in Russia heading for Zarubino port for the ferry to Korea. Also it seems rather poor value to travel into the DPRK for $3000 when $3000 can buy a shit load of other infinately more interesting experiences (TCG is a stickler for experiences rather than stuff though there is a blurred boundary between such things).

Enough rambling here is the trailer.


26 December 2010

Passport stamp Taiwan

Hi there,

Im just reading up on South East Asia, where i would love to travel in the next few years. I'm also travelling to Taiwan this summer. I was surprised to hear that if you have a stamp in your passport from Taiwan, you will get denied entry into many countries?

Is there any truth to this?

More importantly, are there any other countries that you cannot enter having your passport stamped with Taiwan?

Thanks in advance,

Dear Daniel.

I don't know where you get your info from but as far as I am aware you can have a Taiwan stamp in your passport and it won't stop you from entering any other country even their worst enemy the PRC China. It is not like a Cuban stamp, Israel stamp or a DPRK stamp. Though my American buddies tell me cuba and Israel is easy, you ask the nice person at immigration to stamp it onto a separate piece of paper when you fly via Mexico to Cuba or wherever to Israel. Heh I very nearly did get a DPRK stamp though. Felix however had a DPRK stamp as a joke, the TSA did not treat him very nicely for having this.

In fact it is rather the reverse as Taiwanese passport holders are scrutinised more heavily or have to do some more paperwork when entering and leaving other countries. Though it is a bit of tit for tat really. As Taiwan does not recognise PRC passports and the PRC does not recognise Taiwanese passports requiring a third document. Which resembles a passport which does not say Taiwan or China on it to sort of side step any nationality issues.

Strangely though TCG's on off Taiwanese girlie who TCG thinks will probably Dear John me sometime soon has lots of separate bits of paper sellotaped into the back with various stamps on them. I've seen a Malaysian one and a Singaporean one.

Though tbh entry and exit paperwork in Asia is pretty normal. The EU has spoiled me on one hand I get less stamps, my uncle though travelling around in the 1990s and 1980s filled passports with European stamps. Almost everywhere in Asia demands one of those customs declaration forms which people fill in with anything they fancy. For example when I arrived in Sokcho Korea via ferry from Zarubino Russia, I was faced with a mountain of paperwork. Ok ok it was more like a molehill but since I had just lost a severe drinking game with a bunch of Russians and my breath was powerful enough to melt steel, it felt like a mountain.

Boxing day?


This is more of a UK/Commonwealth question. But WTF is Boxing Day?


Boxing day eh?

I forgot that Americans don't celebrate boxing day and consider it to be a normal working day.

However watching Undercover boss (USA) and Back to the floor, where executives go and work at the lowest level and are generally virtually whipped. This comes as no surprise.

Some say it is from boxes of money whereby peasants would toss a coin or two into and open at the end of the year as a nice gift to themselves. As a side note UK workers are WORSE off than peasants under the feudal system. Tax freedom day in the UK is May 10Th. For your peasant 500 years ago tax freedom day was in March! And people have the gall to call the NHS free. Anyway I'm getting off topic.

  • Some common suggestions which crop up every year are:
  • Or that it is for the boxing of presents.
  • Or for punching people out for their indiscretions the previous night while drunk.
  • Or all of us Limeys are uncivilised gits who go out and watch a bit of bare knuckle boxing for the fun of it. No that last bit was made up. I actually get to watch bare knuckle boxing regularly when the pub closes at the end of the street. Though it is less boxing more like this.

(British people will be able to verifiy the validity of this video!)

  • Or that the charity boxes of churches being opened.
  • Or landlords giving out gifts to their peasants.
However over time TCG has figured it all out, much like Chinese dramas which rely on two tropes jealousy or revenge. Boxing day is incredibly simple.

Essentially boxing day is the traditional time of year when tons of TV shows, radio talk shows and news paper articles as well as online news articles and back to back news channels desperate to fill up column inches in the dead tree press or TV airtime will turn to an old trope. Since this time of year is incredibly quiet and generally has very few newsworthy things going on. I mean the news today. Georgia (Tbilisi) is not getting NATO membership... oooh how incredibly interesting.

Afghanistan has a serious drug problem, no shit Sherlock..

So what do they do?

They will ask what the bugger is Boxing day about? At which they will go through a variety of theories which they have little historical empirical evidence for in an effort to waste air time. The local newspaper (the equivalent of a shopper) usually fills space with TV listings. From 7am to about 10am there was nothing but boxing day theory programmes.

The average British and common wealth except for a certain sect who had the gall to beat us in a fight some 227 years ago, generally does not question this in great depth. Firstly as many are nursing killer hangovers from the night before, Or bigger as they do not want to rock the boat get the day cancelled and have to go into work. Instead they can have an extra day (sometimes two) to get drunk off their asses and get paid for it too due to holiday pay laws. But since for the first time EVER TCG is working in a job whereby he doesn't have to go into work between Christmas and New years, this is working out nicely. Normally as I get to work a neat little sideline being a chef here and there. But this has its hazards like that git who sneezed in my face while rat faced. Cleaning up the goo out of my eye and having to pick it off my face, that's PICK not wipe it off my face spelt trouble. It made this scene from the classic movie Dune look mild.

In modern Britain boxing day is:

For uber consumerist types to go out and shop to try pick up a (fake) bargain.

Also for unionised public sector workers say tube drivers to go on strike. Thus blackmail the government to pay them even more even though they already have 100% safe & cushy jobs. £40000 for 34 hours a week + free travel + 43 days leave + statutory holidays for a job which you can only get if you know the secret hand shake (no seriously). These guys make Teamsters* look like amateurs. Thus pissing everybody else in the same city off, it has virtually become tradition to strike on such days.

*Note TCG only garners information of what teamsters are like from American Media. Since American Media Hollywood especially can be deeply and grossly incorrect. For example gun myths and therefore this may well be grossly inaccurate. And TBH TCG does not want his face caved in either in case they are a real gang organisation.

Chinese culture sucks sometimes prt2

Over this Christmas season even though TCG doesn't really celebrate Christmas, he may well convincingly go through the motions however and is merely acting drunk off his face ;) I am a very good actor. It is all a sham.

But one of the shitty things is that everything naturally costs more EVERYWHERE.

What? How can this be?

I mean this is the UK not 1920s America! The thing is as a runner to my last post, SOME Chinese people are seriously larging it. Chinese culture has a funny thing in that if you are wealthy society demands that you show it off and wave your dick in every body's faces. Ingvar Kamprad types do not exist (sorta). Ingvar is the guy who is behind Ikea (*hackspit). Who drives a shitty 15 year old volvo and lives modestly even though he has about 23billion $ in the bank.

No no in Chinese culture you have to be like fifty cent and show off to all your homies your wealth. You know you have to drive round a solid gold Humvee that does 1000 gallons to the mile. Well in HK at least, China is slightly different because the newly wealthy are as the name implies newly wealthy. They simply don't know how to act as wealthy people as there is nobody to show them how to be wealthy. It's not as if they can just google it can they?

A funny example is Blue Ribbon beer. Where some bright spark working for them thought they'd market it as expensive shit to the Chinese. So they designed a nice logo and poster and jacked the price up by 4000%. Shockingly because of these naive newly rich types being naive newly rich types they actually bought $1 bottles of beer for $44.

Amazing how it can pass through your digestive tract in merely 30 minutes and come out looking exactly like it did when it went in! Faye Wong for example was once spotted roughing it in Beijing. She was taking out a bed pan and was absolutely crucified.

Where was I? Oh yes, about rich people acting rich because you know they are rich, the thing is when you introduce face it means not so rich people also act as if they are wealthier than they really happen to be. This causes two way problems!

#1 Everybody thinks Chinese people have vast quantities of money (TCG and his immediate family buy very little worthless tat!)

#2 Everybody Chinese acts as if they have vast quantities of money.

This means that anywhere and everywhere except for major supermarkets like evilmart.... I mean Walmart, Tesco and such like even in the UK will think you are rich. Therefore they will automatically add extra amounts onto your bill. For example the price of a UK men's hair cut is about £5. If I go for a hair cut and pay with say a £10 note the person manning the till will give me £4 of change. Since face matters to lots of Chinese people it happens to my dad he'll just fake smile and walk out. Though this is a very British thing though.

Anybody who has watched Fawlty towers will attest to this, whereby in the episode the American, the British will complain amongst themselves. When asked is everything alright? They'll say oh fine thank you. Ok ok I can already imagine people thinking of the scene at the start of reservoir dogs (shamelessly ripped from City on fire). Where Steve Bushemi or whoever plays the character complains about tipping when it is not deserved.

But the auto tip round the Chinese guy's bill up to the nearest £1 happens all over the place. A cup of coffee, boom price goes up to the nearest £. Some meat at a market or some veg, boom price gets rounded up.

A few pennies here and there may not be a massive difference but when it happens daily almost everywhere (even the post office guy thinks I don't mind) it starts building up! Thank goodness for internet shopping, automated petrol pumps and debit cards!

Downtown Beijing in London

Do you see something funny about the pictures in this article (Daily mail *Hackspit*). You'll notice most of the patrons in the shops for the animalistic hunt for crazy bargain hunts where you can have a once in a life time opportunity to buy a £100 jacket for £100 (which was jacked up to £300 for a couple of weeks to make it seem like it cost £300). TCG has a washing machine which cost £229. It was advertised on TV on sale for £229. Meh how cynical I am these days.

Anyway you'll note that most of them are Chinese people or people from the same region. I mean sure there could be Koreans, Japanese, Mongolians, Buryat people in there. I mean London has New Malvern which is essentially a massive disguised Korea town. Where many locals insult the Koreans by calling them Chinese.

Anyway this is probably because we save a shit load of our money as a matter of culture, my dad was incredibly penny pinching! For example when forced to take a cab in HK rather than go to a cab rank he would hail one down instead. His reasoning was that because the cab has to come to him it would cost a tiny bit less on t he meter. I'm pretty sure those cabbies pressed the secret fare adjustment button a few times to spite him because of that. Ok fare adjustment buttons probably don't exist by and large. But in Mongolia they DO exist. Doug got into a taxi whereby the meter ran over so quickly it was merely a blur. This money saving culture is related to the silver post, in that Chinese people are REALLY scared of the printing presses because of their saving habits!

Also because many Chinese people work shitty anti social hours selling you hot food in what is seen as a horrible demeaning profession (much like strippers and such like.... who ends up walking off into the sunset with the huge wads of money?). They get paid a fair bit more than your average day in day out desk job. Thus have money to burn.

nasty words

there is an English slang word for white women who have sex with black me, so im wondering if there is a Chinese word that describes Chinese women who have sex with black men?



Dear Pet

I've generally not seen ANY Black/Chinese relationships of any variety M/F M/M F/F F/M. Not even in the melting pot of the UK, thus I don't think there is. I have however heard this.


When TCG's cousin bought home somebody my uncle's severely disagreed with not because of his skin colour of anything but because he was a freaking rich bum. You know the kind, the kind who is rich but only because of daddy. Btw I have no problem with wealth if you have made it decently, (unlike rentierism) but daddy wealth I hate to an extreme.

Anyway it was kind of like this scene out of the classic German film Festen

It sort of literally means finger bending one way, traitor to your own kind. Sorta.

There are also comparisoms you can draw from the distasteful Lou Jing incident.

Excuse the absence

But I feel like I've been punched by a gorilla having acquired a nasty virus. I know who gave it to me it was a client who sneezed in my face and my bullet time capabilities were simply not good enough to dodge the horrors.

My body temp has been up and down like the knickers of a hooker..... no the ginger cola thing did not work at all, but I'm feeling OK for now. Thus will deal with some of the back log in my absence. Thanks to Kai for holding the fort though much appreciated.

25 December 2010

Merry Christmas

My Holiday gift to the readers. Enjoy.

24 December 2010

Blogs of Note

Some more interesting blogs I've come across since Links Day.

Hanzi Smatter 
A blog dedicated to failures in translation. It shows the misuse of Chinese characters in Western society, particularly in those ubiquitous hanzi tattoos. 

A blog about Chinese Girls and related topics targeted at a foreign audience. Authored by columnist and Chinese girl, Crystal Tao

LoveLoveChina PostStream
The Posterous satellite site of the above.

My New Chinese Love
A site about Chinese dating and relationships. It even has "Ask Victoria" for questions about Chinese culture and dating.

Some Taiwanese photographer. Just decided to throw it in here.

And something for laughs...

WTF Japan
Shows you just how messed up Japan can be.

Kim Jong-ill Looking at things
A tumblr of pictures of Kim Jong-ill looking at things.

Blackout Korea
A blog full of pictures documenting out cold drunk Koreans. 

Say No to English!

On Monday, the General Administration of Press and Publishing, the body that controls China’s media, said it would crack down on the use of foreign words and acronyms because it has said that foreign languages, particularly English, have diluted the Chinese language and have had “an unhealthy social impact”. This means that the names of foreign people must be translated into Chinese. The media would no longer be able to say “Obama”, they must say “奧巴馬 Àobāmǎ”. It also means acronyms will have to be translated into Chinese. However, there are no acronyms in Chinese, so they would have to say their full names instead.

Many Chinese have joked about the new rules, as minor decrees such as these often go unenforced. One ironic part of the new law is that CCTV (Chinese Central Television)  will no longer be able to use its acronym and instead they must say “中國中央電視台 or Zhōngguó zhōngyāng diànshìtái” every. single. time. They also couldn’t use CCP or CPC, they would have to say “中國共產黨 or Zhōngguó gòngchǎndǎng” every time as well. TCG would have to be called “中方傢伙 or Zhōngfāng jiāhuo” or any of the other 10,000 translations of the phrase “the Chinese guy”. It takes long enough to say it in English, but thats what acronyms are for! Zhu Xueqin, a history professor at Shanghai University even said, “(The government) is so proud now as China’s economy is booming, they think foreigners ought to learn from us, we do not need to learn from them anymore.” Some people said they might as well ban Arabic numerals as well and replace them with Chinese numerals (although Chinese numerals are not at all difficult). 

There are also some words that simply have no translation. You tell me how to say “iPhone” in Chinese without saying ‘i’. 

21 December 2010

Things Japan Stole from China: Origami

It’s widely known that Japanese culture was greatly influenced by the Chinese; however there are many things that people accredit to the Japanese with but were actually created in China. In this series, I look into these misattributed creations and why they got that way.

Origami is the art of paper folding. It is widely believed that modern origami emerged as an art form in Japan in the 17th century and grew more popular over time. According to historians however, it is much older than that. Historians believe that the art of paper folding was brought to Japan in the 6th century by Buddhist monks from, you guessed it, China. Chinese paper folding is known as Zhezhi (摺紙) and originated in the Han Dynasty. The main difference Zhezhi and Origami is that Zhezhi focuses on creating inanimate objects while Origami focuses on living figures such as cranes. I believe the reason Origami is attributed to Japan is because it was more popular in Japan than it ever was in China. Also, Japan had much more contact with the west than China for a long time, so it was introduced to the west by the Japanese. (Although a unique form of Origami developed independently in Spain in the 8th century, long before Japan came into contact with the west)

20 December 2010

Monday comedy spot

Kinds of reminds me of a game on the PlayStation 1

It was John Lee, who was able to hammer the buttons (and snap three of my controllers in two) he would hammer the buttons so fast he'd win most things. In the hurdles he'd just run right through them as it was faster and did not beat his rhythm.

19 December 2010

Cold cures Chinese style

Sorta but hot and with ginger

It's winter and for people like myself who live outside the tropics we have piles of snow outside and when this happens colds come along. Well sorta, since I've stopped travelling on public transport and meet less clients I get less illnesses unsurprisingly.


So you've got a runny nose? Headache? Cough and sneeze a lot? Do you reach for the night nurse or your sachets of Lemsip? Or do you go visit your nearest health professional?

No of course you don't, you browse on a web page of TCG and look for a miracle cure of course!

In ancient times it was different you boiled brown sugar (had to be be brown for some reason) water and ginger. The ginger is the active ingredient. Which is supposed to cure things.

Enough waffle...

The recipe is

Hot Cola With Ginger And Lemon


  • 1 can (330cc) Cola coke is supposed to be best but your Walmart Asda cola will do.
  • 6 slices (1.2-inch) fresh ginger
  • 4 slices lemon


  • Slice the ginger carefully removing all of the skin.
  • Hammer the bits of ginger with the side of your meat clever (All Chinese kitchens should have one)
  • Hammer the bits of lemon in a similar manner
  • Then place lemon slices in a mug.
  • Pour the Cola and ginger slices in a saucepan.
  • Boil it.
  • Pour into mug.
  • Drink.
  • Gag at the foul sugary sweet taste which reminds you of the time you worked near a Starbucks with the horrible sickly sweet smell wafting through the windows constantly.

What it does to you?

Makes you gag
OTOH it is supposed to disperse phlegm and also ease coughing.
Improve blood circulation
Chase out cold

It sort of amazes me that the Coca Cola company haven't tried to flog this in China yet coke with Ginger. They'd make a packet since there are tons of heath drinks in 7-11s in HK and family marts in Mainland China. Normally 10-50 varieties of chilled tea, cola, 50 types of beer (blue girl beer is horrible though).

Son of a......!

Just while making some headway about wedding extortion in planting seeds of doubt into the minds of the givers I get hammered by something else. Damn it it seems I simply cannot win!

I received a basket of red eggs which made me break out in a cold sweat, this is for two reasons:

SOME Chinese families continue the tradition whereby until you are 18 you are give a number of dyed red eggs to eat in ONE sitting. The problem is my family were often NOT coordinated. Therefore through my teens I would be presented with baskets of eggs. To be eaten in one sitting. My dad would prep a basket of eggs dyed red. He would then stand over me and watch me eat them and refuse to leave until I had done so. Then my mum would come along later on in the day and also have a basket of eggs. Then my grand parents on both sides would come along and bring a basket of eggs. (My family have poor communication btw). End of a birthday I'd be egged out to hell. My 17th which was the last time this occured was horrible simply horrible the number of eggs. They would also withhold their Lai See unless I ate them all too. I don't really like hard boiled eggs any more these days because of this. My cousins and their friends were all put through such trials, though they families obviously had better coordination than mine.

Sort of like the cool hand Luke scene

But I received a basket of red eggs, which signifies that a child has been born, which signifies hey CG you've been invited to a party! But because you're only supposed to get the basket of eggs (dyed red) there is nowhere to put bring all yer money type invitation/extortion scheme. Also having a baby is somewhat more involving that a sham wedding. But again acquaintances are calling me already asking how much we should bring in money terms. Luckily everybody else is as piss poor as me and looks like it's not going to be more than £20.

Anyway tradition dictates it's held a lunar month after the birth, due to two things. Extremely high infant mortality. One month after the birth equates to a good chance of survival. Also same thing for the mother, in that birthing is undoubtedly painful. Thus the month is to allow for recuperation. Then again my parent's generation were made of sterner stuff they were mostly nuts. TGC's mum was having contractions and she had to finish off the shift before going to the hospital. My dad is equally nuts when his apendix ruptured or something and he finished his shift before going to get himself seen to.

Though admittedly this is not just restricted to Chinese people. My mate Tariq from Kashmir was stabbed in a shop robbery, he too had to finish his shift close up and clean up before getting himself sewn back up. Silly sod was really pale and ill looking the next day.

18 December 2010

Oppa but backwards sorta

Dear Chinese guy

My Chinese boyfriend often calls me a Xiao Yah Tow. What does this mean? Is it good or is it bad? Cuz when I ask him he does not want to tell me and grins. His family don't want to tell me either. I have to know!


Dear Karen

It depends on your sensibilities and age tbh. For example my mates call me a Bad MoFO sometimes for doing things and I am not really insulted. My co workers who are women tend to absolutely resent being given soft toys as gifts as it is treating them as if they are children. However for some comedy you can see the Militant Black guy who purposely takes offence at everything. (it is a comedy balls of steel)

But on with the question:

小丫头 (xiǎo yā tóu) = cute girl

Split though

小 (xiǎo) = little
丫头 (yā tóu) = servant girl / maid

Thus although his is generalising here, it is generally a sort of nickname to imply affection. There are much worse things to be called tbh. I always find the Y a bit funny though as I see it as a Y instead of a 丫. But then this is normal. British infantry in Normandy for instance mis read Ypres (Yeep) as Wipers.



TCG and silver

As a runner to Mad Engineer's post here

I like silver, although it is a form of fiat currency which still is bad in a way however it is less bad as it is something which cannot be printed via the magic printing press Benake loves to use. I mean FFS quantitative easing 3 (read Zimbabwean money printing) is being discussed only a month or so after QE2! Which is nuts.

But simply silver has a special place in the hearts of Chinese, simply because China has used silver for centuries as money. Watch any TVB costume drama pre 1900 and people use sycee ingots of varying sizes to pay for meals at restaurants. If the drama is really really old (the time frame not the drama) it will show them using little silver rocks to pay for things.

The chinese Song Dynasties invented paper and thus paper money! Which they messed it up big time. Then the Yuan dynasty used paper money and again messed it up. Namely as the printing press is absolutely irresistible as these blokes know all too well

Such that paper money lost so much confidence China went back to silver for centuries and centuries. They didn't want anything else for trade, until the British empire then started selling them opium as a silver substitute. Which then turned to paper money which then exploded in the 1930s during the fight against the Japanese occupation WWII and also the Chinese civil war. A few of my family members were destroyed money wise in this period.

Which is why I like silver. I don't keep tons of the stuff around though, I'm not all in or anything but I've got minor amounts of genetic silver lust in my blood. They make nice paperweights here and there. If TFSHTFF then I may preserve some of my wealth.

I mean it HURTS to fill up with petrol/gasoline these days. I pay close to $10 Americans for a gallon of gas! When your car has a 45 litre tank it hurts! Even the 18 litre tank on my motorbike hurts!

13 December 2010

Monday Comedy: Korean Fried Chicken

This isn't racist at all.

12 December 2010

Chinese people and fish.

Dear Chinese Guy,

My girlfriend believes all Chinese people like fish. Do you know of any Chinese people who don't like fish who can prove her wrong?


Dear (insert suitable insult here)

Chinese people eating fish and liking it is quite common. This is taken into extremis because of the way people in China especially HK will fish in the water there (without rods I might add just using fishing line). Unlike in the UK whereby people fish and throw the fish back HK is difference. The people there will catch the fish and take them home to eat....considering the water around Hong Kong is filled with ecoli due to the fact that about 20% of the toilets in HK still flush directly into the water, i.e. HK's coastal water is quite literally raw sewage. I am not exaggerating either as there are quite a few nasty places. Repulse bay for instance does not mince it's words. It is truly Repulsive, better than it used to be with hacked up bodies from Mahjong's debts, dead dogs, cats, birds and general dumping ground for general waste. IIRC in 100cc of water there were over 2300 strains of Ecoli it was so bad. 10 years of progress means that in every 100cc of coastal water there is 14cc of 'slurry' (read poop). Seriously this gives the Ganges river in India a run for its money (the Pearl River delta). Yet surprisingly people eat the fish out of it..... my dad won't eat fish in China because he knows of the pollution. Also the ubiquitous curry fish balls as if they were not deadly enough.

Anyway I digress.

However I do know of several people who are Chinese who hate fish. Unless it has been thoroughly processed, no head, no scales, no fins etc. However the usual rules apply there's be lots of famines and people will eat what is available rather than starve. Much like the two vegetarian French girls I met in Mongolia who were in some serious difficulty since Mongolians don't even know what vegetables are.

There are also some cultural reasons as well as yet again it boils down to money, fish are symbolic of money and fortune. And you are supposed to eat it last as it represents bounty and riches in some strange manner. I have some cardboard fish in red somewhere in the loft. They also serve as some kind of inverse wishing well whereby eating it may make your dreams come true. Thus in such a superstitious society people tend to like eating fish... though as with an earlier post not if it is still moving they don't.

On the subject of wishing wells. Here is something for the Monday comedy slot. Benny Hill.

11 December 2010

For once.

In a week of snow and nowhere to go in particular I had a crack on an old game.

In a video game China town is normally portrayed as a place filled with gang bangers etc for once I found a game where China town isn't portrayed as a place full of gang bangers, criminals triads and tongs. The game I'm on about is prototype.

Instead China town Manhattan is filled with zombies. Lots of zombies, nothing strange about that you might say. But here is an old psycho fan clip I remember seeing a while ago.

09 December 2010

Year of the dog

Hello - I Love your site! I was in China last month for my first visit. While there, I had a jade stamper made for my Aunt and Uncle who are celebrating their 40th anniversary this December. They were married in 1970, the Year of the Dog and the stamp is shaped in a dog. I'm putting together their package to send to them and I would like to include a paper explaining about marriages in the Year of the Dog - or some type of significance of the dog and that year for
marriage. I've looked online and can only seem to find explanations of Chinese astrology as it pertains to the year of a person's birth. Can you offer some enlightenment on marriages in the year of the dog?

Amy from Virginia

Um, to my knowledge which is very limited when it comes to Astrology there isn't anything that special about it. Admittedly I am no expert on astrology as I said above. Nor do I take much interest in it. Far too many people asking me while working in hot food. I went and asked my dad about it and he didn't know anything special about getting married in a particular year.

Although it probably isn't exactly what you want, dates and compatability etc are much more to do with their individual birth dates and or the actual date that they married. Dates which have 8s in them are auspicious and good days to marry.

As an alternative option maybe you can look up the date here and try to figure something out but Chinese astrology is something I know little about.


08 December 2010

From Auschwitz to Lhasa

If you thought the situation in Tibet was similar to the rest of China, (political oppression, no human rights, authoritarian government) you have not seen it like this. This is a documentary that outlines the oppressed daily life of the Tibeten people, and that Xizang is not too far off from Nazi Germany in the true reality of things.

It discusses the provincial police state, forced sterilizations, restriction of movement, deculturalization, relocation camps, and the thousands of shootings taking place on the Himalayan boarder.

+1000 Internets for anyone who watches the whole thing.

06 December 2010

RMB, Yuan and Kwai?

Is RMB and Yuan the same thing? Also what is it about Kwai? When I was in China people seemed to talk about these terms interchangably.

No name

Dear confused

RMB Yuan and even sometimes the Yen sign ¥ are all Chinese money.

RMB is the actual currency and it is the short form of Ren Min Bi. Money of the people, or people's money however you want it. This is the defacto currency of China, RMB are proxy US$ btw due to the peg against the US$.

A or a unit of Yuan is the base units for RMB - just as Dollar in USD. This is the currency system in China:

分 Fen cent (pennies for my British readers)

圆 Yuan dollar

So Yuan and RMB is not always the same (as Yuan is just one of the currency units in RMB), but they can often be used interchangeably. 2500 RMB and 2500 Yuan is exactly the same amount of money.

What confuses the issue is some people will say Kwai, which means a unit of money, which is again inter changeable with RMB and Yuan. This isn't really different to other countries tbh. In that the UK currency is Sterling, which is divided into pounds and pennies. It used to be divided into more when we had a base 12 currency crowns, half crowns, sovereigns. But today we talk about British money in the form of pounds, pahnd (for Londoners), quids, somolians, clams, scores, fivers, tenners, bob, cheese etc. And China is no different. My dad being wealthier than myself talks about bits of water. Which are units of 100 of where ever he happens to be. He was pretty impressed when he was in Korea when he was give 10000KRW spending money. Which happened to be £2.

05 December 2010

Mad Engineering: Build your own Egg Apartment

Twenty-four year old architect Dai Haifei of Hunan province had just landed a new job in Beijing. However, he could not afford to live in what is one of China’s most expensive cities. Unable to afford the rent, he took matters into his own hands and decided to build his own house in the courtyard of his office (he should have called Jimmy McMillan). After 2 months of construction, the result was a one room dwelling shaped like an egg and covered with grass. He built this house on the cheap. By using his friends as labor, he only had to pay for the materials. Which Included:

Wheels 元160
Zip ties 元125
Grinder 元31
Water tank, pump 元95
Steel rods 元573
Drill 元18
Bamboo 元375
Other Tools 元210
Glue 元200
Waterproof fabrics 元508
Solar Panels 元970
Square rods 元30
Screws 元115
Paint 元284
Welders 元260
Spray gun 元450
Gauze 元600
Insulation 元100
Grass seeds 元110
Lightbulbs 元36
Vent Fan 元50
Plexiglass 元160
Sink 元60
Steel mesh 元240
Total 元6427
Meaning he built the whole thing for $965 dollars. Less than a grand for a mobile home.

The shell is made of a steel wire and bamboo wood frame. The exterior is made of hundreds of mesh packets filled with soil and grass seed zip tied together to form insulation (it would be interesting to see if he can stand the Beijing winter).

Inside is a single bed and little floor space. It contains a floor vent, solar panels for power, a light, a skylight/window, a pop-out side, even a water tank and sink. 

The entire thing is portable to. It stands on four wheels and can easily be lifted with a forklift onto a truck.

Dai eats out every night, uses public restrooms, his company’s gym and their showers, has no commute, and never pays any rent. Needless to say he’s living the good life. 

Seeing this makes me want to build my own. I don’t care if its three times smaller than my room, it would just be so cool.

You can view the entire construction process in his flickr album.

Christmas in China.

Dear Kevin

The answer to this is yes and no. Even though there is an insignificant % of Christians in China they still do celebrate Christmas, but not as a religious holiday where people go to mass or anything. Though TBH I wonder how many British Christians or those who consider themselves Christians go to mass or church services.

Note TCG is not of any religion I narrowly dodged a baptism though. Baptisms are dangerous as I have one of those faces you want to push under water and hold it there until I stop moving.

This was when pastors used that old pressure tactic on you.

The olde' stand up and let Jesus into your heart! pressure sales tactic.

Suffice to say TCG's metaphorical soul is not saved! This led to them abandoning the heathen (me) in extremely remote Scotland for forsaking their deity. How Christian of them heheh... Today I tend not to enter religious places of all religions al la Karl Rove

Anyway I digress back on topic...

It is observed more as a commercial holiday. Where green, or rather red is spent in moderate quantities. Like how we see Valentines day kinda, where peer pressure and face means you HAVE to buy people stuff to save and give face. You see Santa's grotto's, Christmas trees and people dressed up in Santa costumes even in Mainland China. Which is pretty easy because 100% of this plastic tat is made in China. Though there are also differences in the decorations too. As you get lots of red things and lots of paper lanterns and much less of the fake snow. Though this is perhaps understandable in Beijing and northern China as they have tons of knee deep snow. Much like I am experiencing in the UK right now.

However the celebrating is not universal even in the big cities, some people are cynical like me and simply scoff at the suggestion. My dad for instance scoffs at the suggestion and on Dec 25th 2008 I remember seeing his photos of him playing mahjong instead of doing anything religious. Outside the big cities it can be completely unheard of and no effort made to celebrate the religious or commercial aspects at all. Unless say a bunch of westerners happen to be visiting.

What sort of drags it down is that New Years (Chinese and the Gregorian one) is so close by. Much like Thanks giving in the USA is overshadowed by Christmas.

TBH i think Children love to celebrate Christmas in China because it is yet ANOTHER opportunity for extortion where there is expectant demand for little red envelopes.

In the SAR's it is celebrated as we do in western nations due to western influence and it is a official holiday.

04 December 2010

People in China will buy any old shit

Literally! A venus de malio copy made of panda shit. Looks like China is getting its own bourgeoisie class. Bit like the UK where.... works of art sell for insane amounts of money like Daminen hirst who sold a bucket of his own piss for £40K thats definately taking the....oh never mind

Chinese burial.

Chinese guy

How do Chinese people bury their dead? From movies I see of China it id always different.


Dear Mark

Films you say?
Films like this?

Standing coffin? Fiction that is...

But really it varies depending on the locale of being buried. In China since the CCP gained power since the 1960s EVERYBODY is cremated these days. Its the law, but much like the one child policy unless you are uber rich or live in uber rural territories it simply isn't enforced. You all get put into the furnace...Bit like SC2. IIRC I remember articles from decades ago where many older Chinese traditionalists outraged at the cremation policies to be enacted started to kill themselves to get a burial plot. I think this was fiction btw. Incidentally Mao wanted to be cremated, but you know the fashion with these pseudo commie states they tend to pickle their leaders corpses. Lennin

In HK people are buried in the same way as in the western world. Though western world burials even in the UK are running out of space and thus cremation is seen as a viable alternative. Such a land shortage problem is exacerbated in HK because of the ultra scarcity of land burial is not permanent. You can be buried in a private cemetery (you can see these on the A21 bus) which require a boat to take you to the little steep islands. Or you can be buried in a public cemetery.

The difference is that private ones the ground you get buried in, is yours for as long as you have money in an account or your relatives pay the fees to keep you buried there. While public cemeteries the fees are considerably lower yet you can only be buried there for a few years. My dad for instance had to go and dig up his dad me Grandpa a few years back. At this point you can cremate the body and scatter the ashes off Lamma Island Channel and Lantau island. Or you can do what my dad did. If you've ever been to a village in HK and some in Guanzhao you'll see small concrete pint sized bus stops often in the tree line slightly away from the road. Inside are corpses which were once buried.

My dad did this to my grandad and his body in a crouching position is in the corner of my uncle's living room. Probably why I don't particularly like going there. Not because I'm afraid of dead bodies. I slept in a cemetery outside Ankara last year when I couldn't find anywhere to sleep. Heh but because my uncle is a cunt of the highest order and has attempted to defraud my family more than once.

The jars are parodied in Spooky encounters Starring Samo Hung.

In ancestor worship you're supposed to bring the ancestors close to where they were born and also to be close so they can keep a watchful eye on you. Thus influence your life with a benevolent touch..... this is supposed to be the crick of it anyway....If you believe in this, then this is bad as you'll get wank seances

If you don't then it merely takes up space.