31 January 2011

Monday comedy

Optical mice are supposed to have made mouse pads obsolete...... heh

30 January 2011



China becomes #1 in something good for once, rather than pollution, executions people in prison you know the bad things.

But then I read this China is number #1 in wind power electricity generation..... I'm kind of skeptical of this in a big way... not that I'm saying China can't build them since they are pretty high up in producing solar panels. Whenever you go on a trip through the countryside as well you see millions of solar water heaters on the roof tops of homes.

But it's just that wind tech is pants. From my office window if I turn my head to the left I can see a small wind farm. There are three wind generators there.... in my 5 month tenure with the company I have yet to see them rotate EVEN ONCE.

I mean hell they messed it up big time with the 3 gorges dam, are they going to mess this up as well?

Kinda reminds me of this

and this

China unrest?

As a runner to the Li Gang gets 6 years in prison post.

I think this is relevant.

OH says:

When Governments forget why they hold office, this happens. When Governments plunder, tax, steal, rob, supress, torture and murder the very people they are supposed to represent, this happens. When Governments decide that the State is more important than the people, this happens.

Which is probably WHY they (as in the CCP) are publicly crucifying those in public office rather than white washing it. In fact the UK is even starting to prosecute corruption a little bit when previously it was merely whitewashed over. This twunk for example (he is an ex MP nearby where I currently live). 5-6 years ago huge bribes were paid to the government overtly and the government (UK) said whatever when they were caught.

Every day is an election day in China, sorta, as if the people are unhappy they tend to rise up and rebel in very large numbers through. The army might be big but they may well sympathise with those who have beef with the government.

Changing face of China! Score one for the good guys

I've always hated nepotism, daddy's money types, inherited money types or those who are successful in business because their parents were uber wealthy.

I don't mind so much Li Kar Shing, in that his initial companies were built from the ground up, then he became a rentier which is where he gets my disdain. Or Richard Branson who also started up a chain of stores before moving into a monopoly Atlantic airline route in the 1980s and 1990s.

Bill Gates for instance the official line is he quit university (college) and started up Microsoft... the thing is his parents were loaded and therefore the risk was tiny.

Or Stelios Hanju who opened Easy Jet.... with an interest free loan of £50 million from his dad. When you have that kind of money backing you failure is unlikely.

What I hate more is, "Do you know who I am types?"

We have lots of Z list celebrities in the UK who are cheap arses, they will talk and complain do you know who I am as if it means something, when really it means squat. But what makes me angry is Chinese style corruptive nepotism (a word I just made up). Whereby people are scared to speak out against others because of their position or reputation.

In China this has been normal for centuries, even my dad does this to me, I can present to him a well reasoned and researched argument or business proposal and he'll ignore it. Trusting somebody with a perceived good reputation instead with absolutely no research or citations. He's done it enough times he's lost his pension fund twice!

It still happens in modern day China.... but times a Changin' buddies.

Li Gang is quite simply a twunk. He was DUI (drink driving) ran over a couple of kiddies got out and said, "My dad is Li Gang! What the fuck are you gonna do about it?" (Paraphrased). He then used all of his connections to censor what happened and try to blame it on the people he sent to an early grave. For a while it worked, the CCP machine went into action and most references of it in mainland Chinese media and Internet vanished quietly about 1 week after the incident.

Corruption at it's finest much like in the UK

Except the CCP decided to distance itself from Li Gang's son after probably realising covering it up would lead to a negative impression of the CCP machine probably due to the Streisand Effect.

As such I am happy to report kiddie killer Li Gang got sentenced to 6 years in prison..... ok ok this is China we are talking about, and when they say prison they probably mean cushy prison rather than Laogai/death camps.

Sort of like good fellas

Maybe this is the start of something nicer.... as I really hate China for several reasons, much like LKF in HK whereby you constantly get people who ask do you know who I am.... maybe it is the first step towards a merit based system... though I ain't holding my breath.

Chinese new Year p1

CNY series.

Since I wasn't even editor last year here is a day by day run down of CNY according to how Chinese Chinese do it, i.e. people who live in China. People who live overseas, like me and my sister tend to not do many of these things. But hey even Christmas to the Christians is seriously devalued... I mean how many Christians (in the UK as I do not know about the USA) actually go to Church? Heh Sundays are shopping days now and it seems Church is the ubiquitous mall. I will probably maybe run a series on Westernised Chinese new year so you can compare and contrast the difference (it will be a short post!)

Anyway enough ramble and BS.

The week before CNY (i.e. NOW since this year CNY falls on the 3rd of Feb)

Already millions of migrant workers in China have gone off home. Although the people who own the factories would much like the workers to keep on working the CCP does not look kindly on this. Thus right now and a few days ago there is a mad rush to get on the trains. Long range sleeper buses, or on your motorbikes to go home to your village where you were born.

This means you spend the week before complaining in the ticket offices of wherever it is you are working demanding a ticket to go home. 2008 China turned into an ice ball and nobody could get home there were massive crowds of people camping out in the train stations unable to get anywhere.

Once they get home they clean their homes. To the southerners this is uber important, (clean what's cleaning, TCG has not washed his motorbike in 4 years it has a protective layer of crud covering it). This is one of those superstitions again in that if you've had a shitty year you clean away the bad luck of the old year. Which hopefully means good luck takes it's place.

Do you feel lucky punk do you?

If you really really want to go the whole hog, you paint your door frames and window frames red also. Not quite like this

Most definitely NOT like this

You then put around paper gods, lanterns and decor all red of course around your home. You then treat yourself to some new clothes, shoes and a hair cut. TCG again had a hard time about this because quite simply I used to have long hair and managed to get out of cutting it for nearly a decade. Chikan fingers (warning potentially offensive) were a problem though.

In Chinese homes in China also you get little altars and statues of the gods of longetivity, wealth and erm.... knowledge. In cleaning you remove all of the decor from last year and burn it and replace them with new often red decorations. IIRC it is sort of like a telegram to Santa. Whereby in burning the old stuff the gods are informed of your good deeds. Much like leaving out cookies /cocaine/vodka out for Santa, it can act as a bribe.

Hong Kong to Beijing cheapest way?

Chinese Guy

Whats is the cheapest way to get from Hong Kong to Beijing, how long will it take, and how much will it cost?



The cheapest way I know of is by train, a train leaves Hung Hom for HK every other day its the T94 or the T96 train or something like that. For a hard sleeper it costs $586 sometimes there are special offers whereby it costs $500ish (that's HK$ btw!) for a hard sleeper. Despite the name the hard sleepers aren't so bad they are about 5-6 inches of foam on a hard bunk in a room shared with 5 other people.

There are soft sleepers where you get proper sprung beds 4 per room but these cost more, or the deluxe private rooms which are shared between two and have a private toilet and shower. But these are close to $1200 thus you may as well fly.

You'll arrive at West Beijing railway station, it takes 28/29 hours depending on how long they decide to stop in Shenzhen to load up supplies. Btw you can't get off when they stop twice.

However I seriously recommend you bring your own food, since the food in the dining car at the back is atrocious. This train is run by HK Chinese which means the staff are all ass holes and they will fill general storage areas with their own smuggled goods to sell to HK Chinese people. There are hot water taps in each car so you can bring your own instant noodles. You may also want to bring your own beer as well as the San Mig they have on board are warm, expensive and San mig is pretty much piss. Western style toilets are in the disabled cars, the squat type as pictured are in the first class cabins.

Also bring your own toilet paper, the T96 train has power sockets only outside the toilets the T94 has power sockets per bunk.

To keep yourself sane the Peking opera speakers switches are hidden behind the door curtains.

29 January 2011

WTF Friday: Chinese Happy Tree Friends

A grisly cartoon that marks the upcoming Year of the Rabbit by portraying a bunny revolt against brutal tiger overlords has proven an online hit, with its thinly veiled stab at China's communist rulers. It was unavailable on websites in China Thursday, apparently deleted by skittish government censors.

26 January 2011

Taiwan's D-day

Mongol-Chinese dissident Yuan Hongbing has said to encountered secret documents that outline China's plans for Taiwan. Disturbingly, the documents give a deadline for reunification. It was Deng Xiaoping who stated that reunification was a matter of life and death for the Communist party. The documents outlines a deadline of 2012 for reunification, by any means necessary. They were created at a secret meeting in 2008, attended by members of the Politburo and secretariat of the Central Committee, leaders of the main military regions and officials from the United Front Department and Foreign, Public Security and State Security Ministries. The documents outlined the overall unification plan, political and legal plans, and strategies for invasion.

It is said that the Communist Party decided to make the 2012 deadline due to the increased amount of Mainlanders visiting Taiwan. The party fears that having their citizens exposed to uncensored media and other civil liberties that Taiwan has may make them question the party and start demanding more civil liberties. A mass civil uprising in China would cause a revolution unlike anything the world has ever seen. Naturally, the CCP wants to do everything possible to prevent that.

Yuan Hongbing’s newest book is Taiwan Disaster, which was released on Nov. 17 in Taipei, Taiwan. In this book, he discloses confidential findings on how the Chinese communist regime is determined to “unify” with Taiwan by 2012. Yuan maintains that, through its strategy of unifying the market and financial systems of China with those of Taiwan, Beijing is, at the same time, stepping up its own reunification agenda with its neighbor.
Yuan says it appears that the Chinese Nationalist (KMT) dominated government on Taiwan has not only failed to sense the danger, it is using propaganda and its still dominate control of Taiwan media to convince Taiwanese that as long as Taiwan works in concert with the CCP, it will grow its economy at high rates again. Yuan has serious concerns that the KMT dominated government is rolling over previously hard fought democratic advances.
Yuan’s main source for the CCP’s political agenda came from a highly classified document—Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao’s June 2008 speech given during the expanded meeting of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the CCP. This meeting focused on the strategy behind the Taiwan annexation plan. The meeting was so confidential that it was held deep in a cavern in Beijing’s West Mountain—the Central Military Commission’s First Strategic Command Center.
In that classified meeting, Wen Jiabao stated that an agreement must be signed to ensure that the rules of economic integration are followed. “Economic integration is by nature, economic unification. Taiwan benefits from it economically, and we [the CCP] fulfill our political goal by doing it.” It was also revealed that in order to break through the investment barrier erected by the government of Taiwan, a number of Taiwan’s merchants will have to be used as agents. They would be relatively well paid and would manage the CCP’s investments in Taiwan’s banks, insurance companies, and other strategic economic entities. In addition, “To manipulate Taiwan’s stock market so it rises or falls according to our will—that will take a lot of capital investment, but the expenditure is worthwhile, considering what we will gain politically.”
The CCP also plans to erode Taiwan’s politico-economic factions from within Taiwan by corrupting the Kuomintang (KMT) leaders and marginalizing the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). The economic strategy specifically targets the upper-classes of the Kuomintang (KMT), the sponsors of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), and several million Taiwanese merchants.
According to Yuan, the regime has been betting on the KMT leaders for a long time. During the years from 2000-2008 when the KMT was not in control, the Chinese regime methodically began binding the economic dependency of the KMT leaders tightly to the communist regime by inviting them to open businesses in China.
In addition, Yuan explained that the regime has been trying to deepen the rift within the DPP by manipulating the money laundering case of its former leader, President Chen Shui-bian. The suppressing, weakening, and corrupting of the DPP is another integral part of the regime’s strategy to erode the country’s political framework. The book maintains the regime is fomenting social conflict and inspiring hatred toward the DPP. Yuan explains how economic means are to be used to control the sponsors of the DPP and disintegrate its standing in society.
Yuan reported that Jia Qinglin, the Chairman of the People’s Political Consultative Conference, said in the enlarged meeting of the Political Bureau, “For those Taiwanese merchants who support our policies with Taiwan, we must meet their reasonable financial requirements, making them feel that the mainland is a haven for investments. For those merchants who clandestinely go against our policies, we must strengthen our monitoring and control mechanisms, and pursue financial retribution. When necessary, we can ruin them financially and make them lose everything they own.”
If China fails to corrupt the Kuomintang or if the DPP wins in 2012, the documents indicate China is prepared to use military force to meet the deadline. The documents outline three scenarios:

  • The DPP wins in 2012, there is no hope for peaceful reunification within the deadline.
  • The KMT remains in power, but refuses reunification.
  • The KMT agrees to unification, DPP supporters begin a mass civil uprising, prompting military action.

The documents reveal the preoccupation of Deng and other leaders not so much with the separate existence of Taiwan as the Republic of China as the threat it poses as a liberal and democratic alternative.  
With the start of direct flights and mass tourism in 2008, tens of thousands of Chinese are visiting Taiwan for the first time. This year the number of Chinese visitors, more than 1.2 million, will overtake those from Japan as the number one source of tourists.
These visitors can watch Taiwanese television, read its newspapers and magazines and see a society which has made a peaceful transition from a military dictatorship into a raucous, multi-party democracy. Some wonder why they do not enjoy the rights and freedoms of their Taiwan compatriots.
It is this challenge that the Beijing leadership wants to stop. Their anger against Lee Teng-hui, the president who introduced a democratic system, was as much against this system as the fact that his agenda was an independent state. 
The military document passed by the meeting calls for the use of all weapons in the PLA's arsenal except nuclear arms and a rapid operation to be concluded in seven-ten days. In the best scenario, a new KMT government in 2012 would not oppose the operation.
"Experts believe that, following a KMT victory in 2012, the DPP will organize widespread protests and social disorder – this would provide sufficient reason to invade the island," it said.
The attack would involve destruction of all Taiwan's military bases and capability, followed by landing of PLA units by parachute and naval vessels.

TL;DR: China is afraid Taiwan will influence Mainlanders to demand civil rights and question the CCP's rule. China wants reunification as soon as possible (by 2012) to prevent this, even by military action. They plan to make warm economic relations give Taiwan a false sense of security, then infiltrate their government. If all else fails, its war.

Of course there is much skepticism over Yuan's claims. 2012 seems like a very early deadline for such a major event that was planned in 2008. Other analysts say the reunification deadline is in fact much later, like 2020 or 2030.

There is also a huge wildcard that China must consider before attempting such a move.

There is no US legislation that says if America will come to their defense in the event of an invasion. But I do think its very likely they will. With all the economic tension between China and the US lately, an invasion of a peaceful democratic state by China may push American diplomats over the edge. Of course, only President Obama can authorize any military action, and it is very unclear as to how he stands on the Taiwan issue. Even if the US did not help, it is also likely that Japan may step in, as they have close non-diplomatic relations with Taiwan and a Chinese invasion would destroy Sino-Japanese relations. If that happens, Washington will be obligated to come to Japan's aid. When you think about it, such a large scale war my be good for the US economically. During WWII, the manufacturing of weapons and equipment caused the country to leap out of a depression into an economic superpower by the end of the war. But Im going off on a tangent.

Maybe the Mayans were right. Maybe a war with China is the 2012 world changing event everyones been raving about. Welp, all we can do is watch the clock go down.

Amy Chua on Colbert

23 January 2011

Monday comedy spot

A bit half arsed but I'm busy so busy I missed last week so here we go with some sheer half assed ness.

Taiwanese low birth rate animated..... I'd love to help.... I am willing to put in lots of practice in making babies.... pratice runs that is!

Another Taiwan don't tase me bro type thing

No seriously I don't have any DVDs

Changing stereo types?

It is extremely uncommon for me to go into town centres ever these days or even walk the streets since you know why walk when you can pay $10 for a (UK) gallon of gas and drive everywhere instead. But years and years ago people would be arse holes they would make nasty Bruce Lee type taunting noises...... heh little did they know that a lot of Chinese martial arts are silent.

Anyway, I;m not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing, but wherever I go I seem to get approached and asked if I've got any pirate DVDs on me. Which I don't... because I don't sell pirate DVDs.... I must have three DVDs my entire collection. Heh... this is because around town centres and back streets leading into town centres today you see the ubiquitous Chinese looking guy with a gym bag stuffed with pirate DVDs.

Ok ok sure sure I can understand why some of you buy these things.

But seriously if I'm wearing a suit and a tie when going to work I'm just a normal person not selling pirate DVDs....

Heh I'm not sure if this change in image of Chinese people is positive or negative these days.

22 January 2011

Chinese shit quality myth

There are general myths going round and around the internet cokelaw as many people put it that China can't engineer jack shit. I mean we've all been there we buy something made in China and it breaks incredibly quickly. My dad for instance went through 5 or 6 of these in one day.

A generic cheapo tin opener which you can buy for 50p (30cents $) in evilmart Walmart. Which made him get angry and throw the last one through the window (breaking the glass) where it put a huge scratch on his car.... he was in a bad mood all day from that until his horse came in. At which all was forgiven..... though this reminds me of my uncle who won the lottery once. He won the top prize. Having been unhappy working in hot food for decades and sacrificed all of his dreams (I'm not so silly). He proceeded to demolish his kitchen and smash everything to little itsy pieces. He did a lot of damage.... it was then announced that several hundred people had won and the prize money was less than the damage he had done to the kitchen heh.

Anyway back on topic.

It is often said China can't engineer jack shit. Media portrayal of things does not help either. For example this story. Whereby in Shanghai and entire building simply fell over.... though what is curious is that the building is pretty much intact the glass and the drapes are still there.

But then again..

China's version here


Or the big ominous cracks appearing in the 3 Gorges dam. This kind of stuff.

The thing is western nations have similar screw ups as well, British rail transport for instance has been subject to many many crashes. Or they way WE in the UK make bad things too.

Similar to

There is a long list here. Also biased news makes things seem much worse. For example Toyota big evil Japanese Zaibatsu which was pilloried for the gas pedal problem. When their really wasn't a problem, it was a stupid door mat issue. Not that I'd notice due to having a lead foot anyway.

Strangely I never saw much media outcry regarding say Ford Recalls or GM recalls, have a search online and there have been enormous numbers of Ford and GM (Vauxhall in the UK or Opel in Europe) recalls which do not get the same amount of media frenzy.

Anyway the kicker here is that China mades poor quality stuff because it is demanded. Not by the people but by the corporates. Chinese engineering can be excellent... if you are prepared to pay for it. The PRC government is willing to pay for it, hence semi government backed things like the metrosystems of Shanghai (built in China with help from Germans and French) Or the Harmony highspeed railway is good quality (you make it bad you may well be shot!).

What corporations demand it! Sure they do.. think about this picture from cracked.com. The photoplasty competition was a hypothetical situation of what'd happen if the internet died.

Wait what?

Yep corporates demand it.... for the men no the men and women out there who shave (TCG shaves only when he can be arsed, as TCG is not a Korean.... I've NEVER seen a Korean man with a moustache let alone a beard). Mr Gillette makes his disposable razors, they last a week at best which means you have to buy new razors. And buy more when those wear out as well. Ok consider what would happen if razor blades lasted forever? The Gillette corporation would have a bumper sale of indestructo razors then they'd go out of business. Tiger Woods wouldn't get sponsored to the tune of $$$$$$$$$$ for their Mach 5 or whatever ten bladed razor blades they are selling. Gillette corporation would cease to exist after a while.

In fact we don't need to hypothesise! Japanese motorbike manufacturers are a prime example of this. In the 1980s Yamaha made a good bike. It was the XT600, except for the bad gear box the XT600 is and was an indestructible machine. The engines last forever, I rode one across Russia, I ran it with less than half the required oil. It still rain. I ran it on unrated octane petrol it still ran without complaint. David Lambeth has one with 360,000 miles on it without ANY major engine work with just the gear box mod. Honda did the same with the XRV750 Africa twin, again indestructible. They did it again wit hthe VFR750. Also the CBR600F (the bike I currently ride). There are videos on youtube showing the CBR600F, a Texan who got 300,000 miles on the F4I version of it.

Do you see a problem with this? I sure do in that if your product is unbreakable then why would you buy a newer model of your product? Although there are many who want the bling factor and to show off in dick waving contests, there are lots of people who are content to keep what they have and use it. My 11 year old vintage motorbike is testament to this type of thinking. Even Mercedes cars are doing this making their cars poor quality so when it breaks you go buy another one. This video is nice regarding how people turn cars into washing machines. So corporates purposely make stuff poor quality and reduce the product life cycles via planned obsolesce. It breaks you buy new, it breaks you buy new.

This is not a new concept! There was a book called Crash.... no not the weird 1990s film about people who get off on crashing cars and having weird (at the time since this kind of stuff is normalised) sex in the 1990s. Or the US movie about racism either. It was a book about the car safety industry. Whereby there are countless quotes in the book about US made cars in the 1960s and 70s whereby bumpers (fenders) would break if you breathed on them too hard.

This is not just limited to cars. It is spread across the entire spectrum of consumer goods. Levis jeans for example. Ladies you all own a pair of skinny jeans right from the 1990s or even 1980s. Get them out and compare the material thickness and stitching compared to a recent pair of jeans the quality differs by a mile. Ironically Levis jeans cemented their reputation in the 1890s with uber long lasting hard wearing jeans.

I own a paid of Levis from 1994 (I haven't grown much). I used to play Badminton in jeans. Wait what? Badminton in jeans, not tracksuit bottoms or shorts but in jeans. The reason for jeans wearing is that you can slide in jeans. Chinese people being Chinese people i.e. my dad and uncles gamble on badminton games we used to play on Tuesday evenings. Thus you had to dive and slide for the shuttlecock. These jeans are fine they have marks where I slid but are fine. Levis I bought in 2007ish are like cloth trousers they are uber thin material. Thus they wear out quickly meaning in theory I have to go out and buy them again.

Lets look at this picture again.

If the corporates all collude and make things poor quality there is no choice. You have to buy shit quality or shit quality (though there are still alternatives though for now!). Much like above if the internet ceased to exist virgin could charge you $199.99 for a CD. Brittany here complained about the lack of home grown USA made stuff. Thus the corporates when they go to China, the factories and engineers can easily offer well made stuff, but the corporates don't want this... if stuff lasted we'd not buy new stuff.

People tend to be ok with this when times are good. For instance look at the shoppy frenzy which occurs when people are flush with cash.

They like to shop and the cheaper goods from China mean the quality decreasing matters less because those products are used for a shorter amount of time. Thus people become tired of them so long wear is not an issue.

However when times are bad like now people don't buy as much and tend to try and get longer use of consumer goods. Which is where the low quality shows up quite abruptly. The corporates blame those damned lazy Chinese for low quality quietly ignoring the fact that they order this low quality on purpose! They get more sales as people wear things out and spend more of their hard earned $ in the shops. And the cycle continues.

So as I've said plenty of times buy made in the USA/UK and stop supporting these crooked business practices as planned obsolescence is not practiced by all companies!

21 January 2011

Medicine update 3

What I said here is used in real life here

In my youth I regularly remember seeing my dad use antler slices in some sort of medicine of some kind when he was feeling really tired and worn out. Afterwards he would be able to fight bears hand to hand.

Of course anedotal evidence does not imply causality!

20 January 2011

19 January 2011

Whats up China?

I've always maintained that China has some serious issues internally. The Gini coefficient for example is like a chasm (note the USA is no far behind and there are definite signs of M shaped society occurring. Sure Taiwan is M shaped but those at the bottom have a better standard of living than those at the bottom in China though!

Article is from Zerohedge, I'd take zerohedge with a pinch of salt however as Zerohedge does appear to ramp precious metals on a regular basis. My own comments are in purple

Is the Iron Fist Control of China’s Central Government Coming Unhinged?

First, what is China’s Central government trying to do? Second, is it working?

The PBOC is worried about asset priced inflation so they’ve attempted to reign in the credit tsunami they initiated in response to the 2008 economic crises. The outside perception is that if the Chinese government orders banks to lend, they lend. So if that’s the case, if the PBOC orders banks to reign in lending out of fear of overheating and future non performing loans, the banks should stop lending. For the past few years, the PBOC has established official loan quotas on banks, but the banks have exceeded the official thresholds each year. Unofficially, the problem is much worse, as banks have hidden another 30% or so of their loans in off balance sheet transactions, according to Fitch. Recently, the PBOC officially dropped the loan quota and decided to focus on the reserve ratio. The loan quotas failed and were not being obeyed, so issuing guidelines that are inevitably violated would merely highlight PBOC weakness.

Last week, immediately before President Hsu’s visit to the US, photos of a Chinese Stealth fighter were released. The timing was viewed as a way for China to flex its muscles and set the tone for the Obama meeting. That may have been the case, but on whose orders? Secretary of Defense Gates spoke with Hsu, who said he knew nothing of the photos. This sparked alarm from the administration that the leaders of the Chinese central government do not have control over the military. This is not the first allegation of lack of oversight. It also shows the hostility of China’s military leadership towards the US.

Food costs account for 40% of disposable income in China. To control prices, the central government has placed limits on the number of purchases on such things as cooking oil. There are rumors the central government is releasing stockpiles, yet prices continue to rise. China has 20% of the world’s population, but just 6% of the farmable land. If the central government begins to implement price controls, shortages are inevitable. A recent reported from World Economic Forum warned that shortages could “cause social and political instability, geopolitical conflict, and irreparable environmental damage.” The central government seems to have few options to control food inflation without causing a major disruption in the rest of the economy.

Which is a massive danger as China can feed itself but only just! Although the South North water project may allevieate some of these problems it is not coming on line for a while. Also diets have changed to include more meat. I would note however an important point is back in 1989 food inflation was pushing 18-25% which was a trigger for widespread discontent. The CCP absolutely wants to avoid this which is why the PBoC keeps on upping the reserve requirements of its banks.

Chinese soldiers and their families are mostly from rural China, the majority of whom have not benefited from China’s rising economy, with 600 million still earning less than $6 a day. Indeed, in many aspects, quality of life has deteriorated for those without connections, a prerequisite for wealth in the eyes of most Chinese according to polls. Many do not view competition for material goods as healthy, pollution and waste have worsened exponentially, housing prices have skyrocketed, and now food prices surging. Businessweek reported that ordinary Chinese are increasingly yearning for a return to Mao style communism – “a more equal” society, with Conqing Party Boss Bo Xilia gaining support and pushing for membership to the inner circle.

To summarize, banks have ignored PBOC orders, the military is doing their own thing, and food prices are surging with few solutions available to the central government. They have a fixed asset bubble, a likely onslaught of bad loans in the offing, and millions of jobs tied to construction. Many Chinese are worse off and the military is more sympathetic to ordinary Chinese than the noveau riche. Inflation is nearing levels associated with social unrest. The situation is a powderkeg.

The major point is Chinese people are NOT apathetic as people are in the west! History has proven for centuries that people who are completely outgunned in Asia will stand up and be counted even be gunned down.

18 January 2011

Guess Hu's coming to Town

Chinese President Hu Jintao will be making a special visit to the White House later this week, and they will be rolling out the red carpet for him. With two state dinners, a state lunch with Biden, and a meeting with American CEO's over entering China's markets.

It will be Obama's first state visit by the Chinese President and it will be interesting to see what kind of dialogue will be exchanged. Obama was hammered for not being more assertive towards China during his visit there in 2009 and during the G8 summit. Diplomatically, America has been China's bitch lately. The US government has so far failed to get China to budge on its undervalued currency or lack of transparency. They also pretty much stuck a big middle finger in our faces by unveiling a new stealth fighter while Robert Gates was there to get them be more open about their military operations (even though many of the J-20's parts are American).

Most of Obama's administration officials have said to the press that they tend to be more assertive this time around although this may just lead to more finger pointing as Hu said in an interview with American newspapers that he wants the US to end the "cold war mentality" of the relationship. It will be interesting to see how this visit goes and what kind of (if any) progress is made. No matter how it goes, I sense that a new Cold War is going to start soon.

In the meantime, China's State Council Information Office will be broadcasting ads on American TV to boost China's image as a soft power. It will feature various Chinese celebrities such as Jackie Chan, Yao Ming and Chinese astronaut Yang Liwei. I will definitely post it here as soon as I can.

China trying to boost its image in America? Where have I seen that before?

Gee, I wonder if Hu will be staying in the White House China Room?

Thats right, two puns in one post!

16 January 2011


Dear Chinese Guy,

What does the average Chinese person think about Americans?

Is it true that most Chinese people stereotype us as stupid or arrogant? What do they think about our debt problem?

Also I just wanted to say most Americans are not blaming the Chinese themselves for outsourcing. We blame corporate America and the government. You can't blame Americans for not buying American because it is nearly impossible to buy American. I try to buy American clothing but I can't find electronics.


Dear Brittany.

Sorry for the lateness and the general scatter brainless of this post, I spent half a day doing stuff and thus rather than write in one cohesive lump it's has been done bit by bit.

As I cannot really ask all 1.4billion people and the 10 or 20 million who live overseas I can only really generalise. In generalising I'm um...... generalising....

Anyhow it varies. It varies a lot. Lots of factors play into how it varies, where they live, where they work and how much of the world they see. As in every country and society there are good people, bad people ambitious people and those who are content. I would however make a big distinction between government and people though. In university (college) I knew quite a few Muslims who would get all het up and angry about Americans. But they really meant the American government rather than the people themselves.

For starters people in small villages outside the main cities of China will never really have seen Americans in the flesh since tourists tend not to go there and these people tend not to travel overseas either. You could probably make one of those videos about them where Americans are lampooned for their ignorance though these videos are purposely edited to remove all of the good and correct answers from them. Even I TCG have suffered from this.

I am very wary of cameras as I had a nasty run in with a TV reporter years ago. Where there was this smarmy get who was wandering around town poking a microphone in peoples’ faces. He asked me what APR was and equivalent APR. I told him what it was. The reporter looked disappointed in my response in knowing what they were. He then asked me, “Do you think other people know what APR and equiv APR are?”
“I have no idea,” I said. On the evening news they ran a banks are ripping us off as the UK public is retarded feature. It showed numerous apparent numpties saying they did not know what APR was. I was waiting for me to show up to blow them away, at which a cut of me saying, “I have no idea.” Making me look like a numpty and the feature ended

While the exact polar opposite say somebody working in a tourist trap in Beijing or Shanghai will probably have a grossly negative opinion of Americans. Even I got a grossly negative view once or twice when a large bunch of whats the word frat boys came into the bar I was sat in and started to take the place apart after a large number of beers. But seriously it's the bad things that stick in your memory and of course not all people are like that.

While if you are a factory worker pumping out tons of plastic shit for the export market you'll also get a very skewed vision of foreigners. I mean if you were working in a sex toy factory all day and were making I dunno animal dildos. It is TCG's policy not to imply ownership of the aforementioned item only that a dildo. You'd think WTF are these people like. Or even more innocent things like this thing I found in a Christmas cracker once. A squirty water bar of chocolate. I live here and think WTF! I would say however that much of what is seen is portrayed via Hollywood and the media that lands in China.

In the UK for instance we have lots of stereotypes about Texans. Even my sister has joked about it with me. Because this steers and queers joke has been thrown around in the media for decades. IIRC it appeared in an officer and a gentleman, then in the classic full metal jacket.

Even though full metal Jacket was actually filmed entirely in London,.. there are some extremely non PC scenes in FMJ though like this one. These stereotypes have been played out in sitcoms through the media and tend to be hard to rub off.

Since a lot of heroic movies tend to go to China (and get pirated) there is often a fascination about American culture where everybody is rich enough to drive cars, have large homes and eat lots of meat. China of course only the very rich drive cars, and everybody lives in small homes. Also until recently the diet consisted mostly of vegetables with meat being a rarity. This is why Chinese people in China don't understand vegetarians. Meat is so cheap today that they don't understand why people'd pass up a good thing.

This is reflected heavily in lots of things like ESL because of the fascination with American culture. ESL in China, in fact I could say all of Asia they want image above all else, which is why schools of all levels state and private prefer their ESL teachers to look a certain way. Have a read of this advert. It wasn't till quite recently adverts specifically asked for WHITE people. Thus highly qualified people would be passed up for completely unqualified people of varying quality (I've seen Russians be ESL teachers in China). Primarily due to image as the children think America is better than here. I'd tend to agree with them on various levels. Because in the USA people are told anything is possible. While in China opportunities are limited and social mobility is very limited. I mean the US had a bloke from Austria become Governor of California.

I'd say however the image is deteriorating. Due to various factors.

Online life of what western nations are like, again lots of negative media along with the Hollywood version of things gets to China. Such as this video which even makes me in the fairly liberal UK think blimey. Or those Are Americans stupid type videos that float around youtube regularly.

Secondly CCP nationalism. Although China is a one party state with limited participation in decision making the CCP has to be bloody careful whenever it does anything. An easy way out as the Nazis found out and the USSR used is to externalise your problems. Those freakin' [insert nationality here] doing nasty things to us! It's called rallying round the flag I believe Mr Bush did this a few times.

This is pretty normal though. Remember back in the wild year 2010 when an oil rig exploded off the coast of Florida? Those evil British companies we'll make them pay spoke Obama. Generally to distract people away from the fact that Obama wasn't doing too well in the polls and the economy was on the ropes. They kept on saying British Petroleum, except BP isn't British Petroleum and hasn't been for a while it's just BP with the slogan Beyond Petroleum. Even though it may well have been Haliburton's fault.

Thirdly Bernanke. Who loves the printing press and keeps on printin' those dollars. Because China has limited social welfare, (welfare is only claimable if you go to the village of your birth_ and non socialised medical care people save. The saving rate in Asia is pretty high, if you save loads of money then you have um lots of money. Since RMB is pretty much the US$ due to the nearly immovable peg. This means that when Bernanke hits the print button it devalues the savings of millions of Chinese people. Which peeves them off a tad. This links into the debt problem as you asked originally. China is the creditor to the USA (along with UK,Japan, Korea and other nations) . Again it varies, some of the people I've met around Beijing think it is neat as it helps their exports. While others think it is less so because the $ held by the PBoC can be devalued by the printers. A big example of this was back in 2008 when I was in China for some reason I can't remember. A a radio talk show about this back in 2008. Where there was a huge amount of anger from the money printing. Comments like CCP policy gifted the USN several carriers due to the debasement.

But keep up the non buying of China made stuff, I do probably because I have some pretty neat made in Europe stuff and do to my strange physical shape.

15 January 2011

Lucky Numbers

Chinese can be very superstitious, even when it comes to things like numbers. Many buildings in China have missing floors. When numbering them, architects tend to skip floors with unlucky numbers. Below are some lucky and unlucky numbers. Note: the homophones are for Mandarin only, they may mean other things in other dialects.

2 (二 èr)
Two is a homophone for “Jade, Pearls, Luxuriant growth” symbolizing wealth. The phrase “good things come in pairs” is of Chinese origin. Two means a pair, meaning it is good.

3 (三 sān)
The character for the number three is similar to the one for birth (生 shēng), and is therefore associated with life.

4 (四 sì)
Four is the unluckiest of numbers, because it is associated with the word for death (sǐ). Many buildings in China don’t have any floors that contain the number 4 (4, 14, 24, 34 40–49).

5 (五 wŭ)
Five could be considered both lucky and unlucky. It is lucky because it is associated with the five elements in Chinese philosophy, but that’s a story for another day. It is unlucky because it is a homophone for “dirty, filthy, foul, insult, disobedient, disappoint, to hate, mistake”

6 (六 liù)
Six is quite lucky, as it is a homophone for “lovely, beautiful, gold, fluid”.

7 (七 qī)
Also considered the luckiest number in the west, seven can be considered lucky and unlucky. It is lucky because it can mean “peace, fine jade, neat, even, togetherness”. It is unlucky because the 7th month of the Chinese calendar is “Ghost Month”. Seven is also a homophone for “grief, mourning, coldness, ridicule, to abandon, to put to rest”

8 (八 bā)
Eight is perhaps the luckiest number in Chinese culture. It sounds similar to “prosper” (发 fā) and “wealth”. Two 8’s next to each other (88) bare a visual resemblance to the character for “double happiness” (囍). Some have gone to great lengths to use the number as much as possible for good luck.
The United Airlines flight from San Francisco to Beijing is flight 888
A man in Sichuan paid 元1.8 million for the phone number 888-8888
A Hangzhou man offered to sell his license plate: A88888 for 元1.12 million
The Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur have 88 floors
TD Bank’s Chinatown branch auctioned off the safe deposit box 888

9 (九 jiŭ)
Being the highest single digit number, nine is associated with royalty (.i.e. the Emperor) and is a homophone for “long lasting”. It might be etymology of the Kowloon peninsula in Hong Kong. Kowloon is Cantonese for “Jǐulóng” meaning “Nine Dragons”.

Combinations of numbers can also form homophones with hidden meanings. Some are a real stretch though.

88 (八八 bā bā)
Beyond the fact that 8 is lucky, "bā bā" sounds like "bye-bye" and therefore is often used to say goodbye when logging out of internet chat rooms.

520 (五二 wǔ èr)
Its a real stretch but some Chinese believe the word for 520 sounds like "I love [you]" (wǒ ài).

510 (五一 wǔ yī)
Another homophone for "I love you"

There are probably hundreds of others out there. Virtually any number or number combination can have some abstract meaning.

Simplified vs Traditional

Written Chinese has two versions, traditional and simplified. Traditional characters is the style that has been used for centuries, simplified characters were created by the PRC to increase literacy. Simplified Chinese focuses on reducing the number of strokes needed to write it. Not only does this make it easier to write, but it makes it easier to read when in small print, as some more complicated traditional characters are illegible in small type. For example, the word 'Taiwan' in traditional characters looks like this: 臺灣  Not so easy to see right? Let me magnify it:
Even then its not that easy to read. Simplified characters make reading them easier by making them less complex. 'Taiwan' in simplified characters looks like this: 台湾
That makes it more clear, but sometimes the system does not make as much sense. 
There are traditional characters that are simple enough yet the PRC's system simplifies them anyway. 
Characters like 門 (mén) (gate) look simple, yet they are simplified to 门.
For some simplified characters, they are hardly different from their traditional counterparts. 
Characters such as  (Shà) (skyscraper) are simplified to . Can you spot the difference? The one on the left is traditional, the right is simplified.
廈 厦
The simplified one has the small dash on top removed. Wow! That makes it so much simpler!
Traditional characters are used in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau, and overseas Chinese communities. Simplified characters are used in Mainland China and Singapore.
I personally prefer traditional characters because they are more well, traditional. But sometimes I mix them and substitute simplified characters when the traditional ones are insane like the example above.
For someone learning Chinese as a second language it really doesn't make much of a difference learning one system over the other. Its Chinese for gods sake, its going to be a challenge either way. The simplified system was created to increase literacy because they are easier to memorize and write for children who already knew the spoken language.

14 January 2011

Communist unity?

Many people from the outside think China is one well oiled engine under one rule? But this recent action by the PLA suggest that there are multiply competing factions within the Chinese government especially with the PLA and the communist party. It will be interesting how the new leadership change will play out in 2012?


What do you think about this article?


Dear Marcus

I think this article is merely pointing out the obvious really, I think this is pretty normal. Even in the UK politics the politicians generally plot against each other regularly and constantly. Hell look up the thing called the night of the long knives. Hitler had this happen to him and his was also an absolute regime. Long knives also happened in the UK in 1962.

So there are definate power struggles within China's political masters. Without such struggles I'd be very very surprised. Much as there is struggle in the US government. They do however try and keep it under wraps and when you control the state media it is so much easier to do this.

So when Palin says our allies, North Korea, the media can jump up and down on it.

While in the UK and China the mainstream news is censored and controlled by the government. So when things happen which are politically embarrassing the CCP of China can easily cover it up. The meme My dad is Li Gang is a powerful example of this. It was a massive internet meme where people (rightfully) demanded justice. All of a sudden a few days afterwards it simply vanished off ALL media platforms. Much like Wikileaks is not mentioned on UK TV news at all.

I can't find a video but the communist party does actually vote on issues. Sometimes you see videos on CCTV news or TVB news about when it happens. Nearly 100% of the time there is a 100% for or against the amendment. It is similar to this.

For YEARS the CCP has had 100% votes for whatever is tabled. This looks like well oiled unity. In reality they hammer out some sort of agreement before hand then they go to vote. So it looks like it is unaminous. This does not ALWAYS work however. When Hu Jintao was 'voted' in there was a nearly a 100% vote for, and one abstention which was a fly in the ointment.

This is related to our old friend face yet again. I wouldn't say it is 1984 esq immortality... whereby O'Brien talks about becoming part of the party so one lives.

Although I do not like the CCP system of one party and cherry picked communist corporate state system. (Though I might add that democracy I'm not sure is the answer either) I have a modicum more respect for the CCP leadership. Look around on Wikipedia. All of China's leaders are engineers of some kind. While the UK's leaders? Bunch of Lawyers who worked at Daddy's law firm for a couple of years before moving into politics. Even Obama leader of the USA used to be a smegging lawyer.

13 January 2011

Friday comedy

Bugger me it's been a long ass week pumping 10 hour days 14 if you include the hellish commutes. I've got a few questions in the pipeline they are getting worked on slowly but they are being worked on done by the weekend seriously.

It's just that I arrive home rather tired....For some reason people seem to be unable to drive in the rain and drive sooo slowly and people crash clogging up the motorway.

Anyway here is something which cheered me up! As a runner to this post or the Korean's cut n paste post of the co-editor here. But hey Koreans always copy Japanese cars and tech. When China becomes prominent Korea will steal car designs from China. Though Chinese cars are presently a bit too shitty. Not to mention I stole the entire ask blog concept off him too.......

Anyway swiftly moving on....

I can attest that almost 90%* of the stuff high expectations father says is true. and based entirely in fact I've been there done that gotten the t-shirt and the tacky souvenirs. That said my dad is actually quite a funny guy in a stupid kind of way. He's mellowed so much in his old age and my memory plays tricks on me such that I've probably forgotten all the baad stuff.

You know this kind of makes me wonder why the Korean guy talks about his mum a lot, while I talk about my dad a lot. My mother barely gets a mention on this blog compared the wordtime my dad gets.

*9/10 statistics are made up on the spot such as this one

12 January 2011

Should I stay or should I go? 2


I read your blog http://ask-a-chinese-guy.blogspot.com/ and saw your email under
Go on don't be afraid ask away
Well, I am a Hong Kong born and bred but have lived away for a long time. I miss the night life and the lifestyle and I'm considering returning. The last time I check (around 2 years ago) I was being offered jobs at around 13K pm. I'm 28/m. I wanted to know if this is enough to have a comfortable life?

Thanks & Regards,

Hi there Roshan.

This is a highly subjective area, namely because it depends on your tastes wants and desires in life tbh. But any which way you look at it 13,000HK$ is not very much at all.

The average wage in Hong Kong is $19,000. Though I believe that this is skewed upwards because of the huge number of high earners who live in Hong Kong due to the low tax regime. Still $13,000 isn't exactly a huge amount of money to play around with either.

But you'll probably pay no income tax. I'd also look at your citizenship situation as well. 3* citizens have subsidised health care and can go on waiting lists. People without the three stars can't.

Quite simply accommodation will be THE biggest cost that will hit you. $3000-$6000 is typical with lower rents in not so good areas. And when I say that I mean a box room which can fit little more than a bed in it. A common trap is to live in the New Territories the problem is the savings in rent are sucked up by the time and commuting costs. Although HK's MTR and bus networks are extremely effective and cheap probably better than when you left it all adds up.

I can live on $13000 because $10000 of that is disposable income.

Some other costs you can't avoid.

A decent meal can be had for $30-40.

Beer is about $9-15 in convenience stores while anywhere from $10-$1000 for a beer (in LKF HK where all the bankers go it is v expensive.)

Thus your life will be no fun at all and you'll be scrimping and saving constantly meaning your life won't exactly be great. Also I'd add that Hong Kong people by and large are very face conscious. They will look down on you and some people will even go as far to ridicule you to a great extent. Much like how people put down others to make themselves feel better. If it was just to get your foot into the door to lead to a better job then MAYBE it is worth it. But as said I'd look for at least $16000+ which will get you an ok place to stay, decent food to eat and some fun money.



Nah thats gambolling Source


I have a question why is it that Chinese people love to gamble?


Dear Ken

I wouldn't say all Chinese people like to gamble, though I actually gamble but not with money more with my existence due to a like of dangerous hobbies.

However there is a general stereotype about Chinese people who like to gamble. For instance play just the sound track to the film God of Gamblers (which spawned many many sequels) and many people will instantly recognise the tune.

Also up and down the land (UK) in casinos you will see disproportionately a large number of Chinese people there. Hell on the Russian Chinese border I saw lots of Casinos (Casinos in Mainland China are illegal) which I guess were to cater for the Chinese people to come over the border. Generally as there was nothing for miles and miles to either side of the casino.

North Korea even has a couple of special zones which cater exclusively for the Chinese on the other side of the border.

Also through my growing up birthdays of myself, my cousins etc were mere pretexts, extremely thin pretexts just to start playing Mahjong. In doing so gamble money lots of it (seriously never play Mahjong too many cheating cnuts and the friendly games of the past playing for peanuts literal peanuts no longer happen. People WANT to take your shirt). They'd bring out the cake sing happy birthday for a minute cut it then the convenient table in the backs of their cars would come into the house and the constant clack clack of the tiles would be heard.

However its a generalisation and stereotype, but you know the old saying always a grain of truth in stereotypes. The love to gamble I've seen is restricted to the migrants of the 60s and 70s. A big reason for this is that gambling is sociable, much like drinking in the UK, people go to the pub not just to drnk but to socialise. Back in the day the Chinese community was (and is) very small, with very limited language skills making friends with the natives was hard. Relating to them and joining in their activities (especially when they had a tendency to attempt to kick the shit out of you on a regular basis). So many out of boredom decided to gamble. I mean it is something which is easy to do requires little skill. It can also provide a thrill if you win.

Other reasons off my head are:

Firstly our old friend face..... face is uber important, when you don't turn up to gamble in Mahjong's people will take the piss and say nasty things. Like, "oh she poor, she will lose face,so she will turn up even though she didn't have money." bastards.....

Secondly it is a social thing, as above. You can have a read of the book Joy Luck club, the women in this book gamble with each other. The primary motivation isn't to gamble but to get together to gossip and talk about their lives.

Thus it is a combination of having money burning a hole in your pocket, it being a social activity whereby other Chinese people will congregate and that there was little to do. So they spent their money doing this instead.