Understanding China, One Blog at a Time

An American in China

Archive for November 4th, 2010

Library Cards in China- Typical Rent Seeking Behaviour

Posted by w_thames_the_d on November 4, 2010

A library card for the Beijing Capital Library costs 500RMB per person. This is equal to about 70U$. Many people here make from 1500-4000 per month. How many of them do you think, have a library card?

Posted in Cultural oddities | 1 Comment »

Great Inventions in the Past 20 years

Posted by w_thames_the_d on November 4, 2010

Here is a list…
ahh the heck with it. I was talking to some friends here and really sick of hearing about all of the great Chinese inventions,most of which pre-date Jesus, or at least pre-date anything since the invention of electricity. So I was researching just how much has been invented in the past 200 years or so and before. Realizing the futility of this I basically reaffirmed my stance that for the past 500 years China has been a net taker of resources and has not given much back. I know this sounds harsh but forget the emotion of it and analyze.
The Chinese will say the fault is of this dynasty or that one, but the bottom line is that they do have over 20% of the worlds people and there must have been some of them who did something that helped mankind

Posted in Cultural oddities, Ranting in general | Leave a Comment »

Kickin’ The Hornets Nest in China- Nobel Nobel

Posted by w_thames_the_d on November 4, 2010

Wo— have you ever heard the term ‘beating a dead horse’? Well the Chinese now exemplify this. That Nobel Prize incident where a guy named Liu Xiaobo was awarded the prize but sits in a jail in China somewhere, has given China a(nother) black eye.

This guy Liu Xiaobo seems to have been one of a group who called for political reform (not unlike Wen Jiabao is doing today- I have heard). But maybe this guy Liu didn’t have the guanxi or maybe his ideas were too good. But anyway, the chicoms have looked him up. They are now pretty pissed with Norway and the Nobel committee. But in the article below, we see just how ‘trifling’ (to use an obama family term), that the chicoms can be. They are requesting/demanding that European leaders boycott the Nobel awards ceremonies because this guy Liu Xiaobo (nobel prize winner is subverting the sanctity of the Chinese government.)WTF –Remember before the ’08 Olympics and all of those promises China made about respecting freedom , laws etc.. I wonder how they would have acted had, Liu Xiaobo won the award back then.

from yahoo news

OSLO, Norway – China is pressuring European governments to avoid the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony for imprisoned democracy activist Liu Xiaobo and not make any statements in support of him, several diplomats said Thursday.

The Chinese Embassy in Oslo has sent official letters to a number of European embassies in the Norwegian capital asking them not to attend the Dec. 10 ceremony, two Western diplomats said.

According to one of the diplomats in Beijing who said he has seen the letter, China cited its repeated position that Liu is a criminal for his advocacy of widespread political reforms and called the prize an interference in China’s internal affairs.

The letter also urged embassies not to issue any public statements in support of Liu on the day of the ceremony, he said.

Finland and Iceland confirmed their embassies in Oslo had received a letter in which China expressed its views on Liu receiving the prize, and Sweden said it had received a letter from China but declined to disclose its contents.

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Drivers Eye-View of a Rickshaw Ride in China

Posted by w_thames_the_d on November 4, 2010

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Ancient Chinese Secrets- Pink Barber’s Polls

Posted by w_thames_the_d on November 4, 2010

I have a good friend who’s Chinese and scatter brained. The other day she was walking by my house and wanted to go to the store. By my home there are a few stores, so she turned into one, or what she thought was one. What she didnt notice was the neon pink spinning barbers polls. In China, even in chinatown back home, those symbolize a house of ill repute. She left the place and was unhappy, the shop owner told her to be careful and explained all of this to her. China is a strange place. (Also, a massage with a happy ending is called a ‘yellow massage’.)

Posted in Cultural oddities, Let me educate you... | Leave a Comment »

On Chinese Sanitation- From the Weathering the Journey Blog

Posted by w_thames_the_d on November 4, 2010

Here is a link to a recent post from weatheringthejourney. In this post, she uploaded some photos, one of which I cut and pasted below. Take a look at the link it is a pretty good visual representation of what we see in China on a daily basis. (oh and btw, the rest of the photos are more benign, but funny)

typical Chinese squat toilet and from the looks of it, its recently been cleaned….
A public bathroom. Makes you want to ration the amount of water you drink doesn't it?

from weatheringthejourney.wordpress.com

Posted in Cultural oddities, Photos | Leave a Comment »

Beijing Subway Pic

Posted by w_thames_the_d on November 4, 2010

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Things From the West Are Free- Chinese Never Do That

Posted by w_thames_the_d on November 4, 2010

I was just buying or obtaining some books for my Kindle and a thought struck me. Chinese are ‘rent seeker’s (rent seeking occurs when an individual, organization or firm seeks to earn income by capturing economic rent through manipulation or exploitation of the economic or political environment, rather than by earning profits through economic transactions and the production of added wealth.), what they perceive to be entrepreneurship is frequently nothing more than ‘rent seeking behavior’ or looking for a way to gouge a person for a good. Wooo slow down Bill, what is all of this- you may ask.

Ok, its like this. I have a Kindle, and via Amazon, you can download books for free, its a cool idea. And basically Amazon is providing this service to all of its customers, because we purchased the kindle. They have gone through the process of digitizing the books so they work with the kindle etc and are doing this for free. You can own such a kindle and presumably never buy another book from Amazon, bu download a myriad of free stuff. This to me, is such a western concept.

The reason i say this is that the Chinese do nothing for free. much of what we give away back home, the Chinese charge for. This even shows in the actions of the Chinese government, where are their altruistic behaviors?

For instance, for a project here my friend and I were looking at some Nokia documents for electronics. The guys from Nokia had gone to the trouble of defining industry standards and specs, all for free, they give the stuff away. A company like Huawei, or any Chinese company would never do this. The reason is that if they don’t make money from it they will not spend time one it, they see no value. they have no appreciation for the fact that if you create a landscape like Linux, you may one day potentially sew the seeds of your creativity.
Linux is the opposite of China, the USA is somewhere in the middle and Europe maybe a little better than the US.- imho. Ok that’s the rant, I’m bored now.

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On Liberty

Posted by w_thames_the_d on November 4, 2010

They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety. – Ben Franklin

Posted in Cultural oddities | 1 Comment »

Diego Maradona in Beijing Today

Posted by w_thames_the_d on November 4, 2010

Today Diego Maradona is in town, at least that’s what a friend just texted me. Maradona is staying at a hotel on Guanghua Road for a few days. I have no idea what he was doing or if he was straight, but my friend said this:
he is short like a toad
definitely fat
seems nice,polite, looks unkempt
his translator looks like an ape

Posted in Let me educate you... | Leave a Comment »