Understanding China, One Blog at a Time

An American in China

Archive for December 7th, 2009

In the hizzie…

Posted by w_thames_the_d on December 7, 2009


My place, or is it???

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Well, at least the brand is real…

Posted by w_thames_the_d on December 7, 2009


“Well at least the brand is real.” she said, I stared, the young one, as they do, was pretty relaxed, didnt care that much; the other one was embarrassed.

I was at the silk market picking up a tailored jacket, so decided to take in the Chinese copies of pricey electronics. Yeah, I was in the silk market, the haven for counterfeit goods for foreigners in Beijing.

I had approached the booth out of curiosity, just wanted to see what new things they were pirating. I approached the stall and asked, she showed me the latest, a sawed off Iphone, and the original, to the naked eye, identical. “It’s fake?” I asked.

The older one immediately looked down in a Chinese approximation of shame. Here she is in a booth selling fake goods, surrounded by tens of thousands of square meters of folks doing the same and she gets embarrassed. “Well at least the brand is real…” she smiled weakly.

I assured her that it is ok to me, I just wanted to see what they had to offer. They dont call them fakes here but “Zhong wo de” or Chinese made- how charming. I insisted on calling them fakes, the younger of the two followed suit, the other just thought me funny. After we got that little rule established, they began to show me their wares.

Basically everything was fake I was told.
Nokia E-71 U$80, Iphones from U40$-60, Ipod U$30 and up, Bose speakers U$11, games U$.87, Sony Vaio computer U$ 240 and on and on. I told her I was checking prices and to drop the BS, just shoot me her best. Imagine what a Chinese gets those things for.

As i walked home, no i hadn’t made a purchase yet… I thought of her words, her embarrassment. I guess she was talking about the fact that yes they were Chinese made, or fake, but after all the brand they were faking was a good brand. It wasnt like they were making Gugs (explanation here).

to me it is humorous, and actually a good approximation of what it is like to live in China. Kind of like living with a drunken parent. Most of what you hear is a lie, most of what you see is contrived, most of what you are taught is wrong.  It is kind of like being in some odd parallel universe where what one sees rarely is what it is and this becomes fascinating and unsettling at the same time.

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