Understanding China, One Blog at a Time

An American in China

Archive for February 15th, 2011

China’s Looming Disaster

Posted by w_thames_the_d on February 15, 2011

I remember being shocked when I first moved to China, construction was going on everywhere, but it was as if they were building with no other end, than to build. My friend commented that he had been in this one city, Lang Fang , for years and had seen one particular property demolished two times and rebuilt. It never was occupied.
The reason is that in China, growth is seen as good and the provincial leaders are promoted on growth. Building facilities increases GDP and thus looks good, although people will never occupy the facilities. Chinese can get loans for such things and thus in quirky Chinese math, they are not accountable for the loans, only the output. The loans will later be written off.
With the occurrence of this, we can see how China’s housing and construction bubbles are ripe for bursting. I would check my portfolio for Chinese stocks. and think about reducing them within the next few years.

“The government has built 30 billion square feet of office space for 1 billion people, with enough supply to provide the equivalent of a 5 x 5 private office for every man woman and child, said Jim Chanos. The building continues with another 200 million square meters planned for this year, according to Mark Hart of Corriente Advisors. Pivot Capital notes that China has built nearly the same number of roads as the United States, despite roughly 1/10 the number of cars, the same number of bridges but 1/7th the number of rivers. They built a city for 1 million people, which is abandoned, and constructed the largest mall in the world, which is 95% unoccupied. The investment in fixed capital has exceeds 50% of GDP, above levels seen prior to the Japanese peak in the late 80s, and the Asian Tigers in the mid 90s, and subsequent crises. The result is a disproportionate number of single males who have migrated to the cities to seek an inflated numbers of construction jobs. Meanwhile, an estimated million college graduates are homeless on the city outskirts, caught in a government web that needs to keep the construction industry humming to avoid social unrest.

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Desperate China

Posted by w_thames_the_d on February 15, 2011

A report from a company, (typically Chinese reports are pretty useless, but I will use the info anyway) 180 000 000 Chinese are looking for love. Before I go on, I must explain. “Looking for love” in China really means finding someone who has a home or can purchase you one. In addition, they must past muster with your folks who, battle hardened by the cultural revolution and great leap forward have no concept of what the word love means.
Thus, lets restate this as 180 000 000 Chinese people are looking to cohabitate with other people who will cause their parents the least discomfort. Upon finding this person, they will then enter into a loveless marriage and shuck out a little child who annoyingly enough to the parents will receive more love then they did. After this, the child must grow up and support them.

The report also states that 80 000 000 Chinese parents are badgering their kids to tie the knot as their unease with the inflation and all in China is causing them no small concern.

Ok bored now

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McWedding in McChina- What the McFK?

Posted by w_thames_the_d on February 15, 2011

When I was in B-school a Chinese friend of mine told me that when Mickey D’s first opened up in the land of tainted milk and no honey (China), that people got married in McDonald’s as they thought it was chic. I guess after living like Bedouins for the past 200 years, anyplace that had electricity and hot water on demand must have seemed like something from the future.
Anyway, she told about this, and I trust her as she was a straight shooter and pretty honest. When coming here, I found few to corroborate this fact. The funny thing is that due to a low sense of self worth/years of hearing how backwards they are, the typical Chinese will be humiliated to admit anything that does not put China in the most spectacular of light.
So imagine how good I felt when I came upon the article from Reuters below (I had also blogged this earlier). Whereby they show that in Hong Kong, part of China now, for those of you keeping count, they are tying the knot at non other than McDonald’s….

excerpt Reuters:
“In the buzzing financial hub known for its fast living, young Hong Kong couples can now grab love on the run at the city’s McDonald’s outlets, which are offering a burgeoning new sideline: “McWeddings.”On Valentine’s Day at a downtown McDonald’s close to the financial district, the fast food joint was decked out with pink balloons, a “cake” stacked from apple pies, as well as a pair of tiny souvenir crystal M rings, for a surprise engagement bash thrown by Kelvin, a young model, for his girlfriend, Ashley.

The party is the first formal wedding event since the service was launched in January.

McDonald’s says the concept isn’t tacky and fills a niche in Hong Kong, where its restaurants are popular dating venues and the prices for more typical weddings run high.”

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“Tired Back”- In China

Posted by w_thames_the_d on February 15, 2011

Today I will continue to bore you with my physical ailments both real and imagined. Lacking a loving family with which to commiserate, I choose this forum.

As you may know I had an intense back pain which forced me to amble simian-like about my house.
Baby Gorilla

(photo from here)

Not so long ago I had gone to a ‘Traditional Chinese medical clinic’ and decided to return thereto


Upon knocking at the door, there was silence indicating no one was present, the laughter of small children, however, told me otherwise. Venturing the back, I found the ever-diligent China-man plying the crafts of his trade.

Fearfully approaching me, the mistress of the place asked what I needed.
as my Chinese has come a long way in three paltry years, I commanded that I was in need of a back massage. Apparently they had forgotten about me, the guy who came in many a fortnight ago, in much the same situation as i now found myself. The little sprite inquired as to whom should massage my back, and I deferred to her professional opinion.

Nodding , or maybe it was just a tic, she grunted at Lo Mien, the only professional on staff.
Thinking the man dead, I approached him and kicked at his boney shin. Howling, the man dropped his needle point and focused his rheumy eyes upon me as if for the first time.

“massage” I croaked in Chinese.

With the quickness and ferocity of a migraine, this stolid professional moved me to the inner sanctum of the place, as it were and after crossing many a street, i was taken to the massage area where similar professionals gahtered to heal the sick.

Stubbing out his Mrarlboro cigarette, after of course, lighting its virgin sister from his ear, Lo Mien proceeded to tell me about my back. Momentarily he paused as I asked whether or not he actually wanted to see or touch it, or maybe take x-rays, he scoffed, called me an amatuer and bid me to sit.

Lo then explained the history of he back and how it was created by the god Ping an, who was a China-man who made all that it is that we enjoy today. He explained that while the back of a typical china-man is as strong as teak, I being a barbarian, was blessed with nothing sturdier than birch. Nodding my head at the sage man I mumbled that I understood.

With that this magician hiked me to the ‘chair of pain’ and in between exhaling purple wisps of nicotine stained air directly into my nose, he proceeded to pound, squeeze, cajole and hammer my athletic form and birch-like spinal cord into abeyance.

Casting down his last cigarette, he stomped at it triumphantly. I asked what was wrong with my back the the wise man explained.

“its tired…”

I was like “tired?”

And the ‘doctor’ nodded, shoving me out the door.

pausing I wanted to make sure I had heard him right. I then dialed one of my friends and asked them to interpret and sure enough the words of this honorable physician were that my back was tired.

Waddling from the parlor of pain, I hitched up my britches and scratched my mangy hair. “Damn i didn’t know there was such an ailment.” I muttered then got some Mu shi ro.

Upon arrivng at work I sought o better my situation and googled (yes we can still google) the ailment known as ‘tired back’. Ufortunately, although words like fibro myalgia, herniated disk, and such flickered up at me from my glowning screen, iIfailed to encounter the elusive back disorder called ‘tired back’.

I guess i will just defer to the man’s countelss (no doubt) hours of study at one of the most hallowed institutions of higher learnign that this place has to offer and merely let my birch-back have a much needed rest.

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Yikes! – Chinese Plastic Surgery

Posted by w_thames_the_d on February 15, 2011

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Chinese Delivery Driver

Posted by w_thames_the_d on February 15, 2011

I may have posted this before, but it’s pretty funny. You see these guys driving all over Beijing with large packages piled high onto these little bikes or even trikes.

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Law in China

Posted by w_thames_the_d on February 15, 2011

Here is an excerpt from Stanley Lubman’s Looking for law in China. Much of his stuff along with a bevvy of others can be found on ssrn.com

“…the concept and doctrines of legality, unlike the precepts of Confucianism, has never occupied a central role in traditional imperial China. There has not existed a legal culture with elements like officials’ fidelity to law or citizens’ consciousness of their legal rights, which provide the necessary conditions for the effective operation of a modern Western-style legal system.”

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Life is a Struggle- In China

Posted by w_thames_the_d on February 15, 2011

Good shot of the dichotomy of China. Here is some guy probably living off U$5 per day, and he lives in a city with a million millionaires. I bet he doesn’t care about Mao and or rights, just wants a bowl of rice to eat.

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