Understanding China, One Blog at a Time

An American in China

Archive for April 3rd, 2011

China, Barbershops, Brothels and Bribes

Posted by w_thames_the_d on April 3, 2011


Your humble author would like announce that his little housing community has a new member, a ‘barber shop’- wink wink nudge nudge. Yes, in her pursuit of all things economic, China is rapidly growing/changing and must meet the needs of her people.
So what, you may ask? It’s just a barber shop right?
Well if you have to ask this, then my dear reader, you probably have never been to China. For China, as the Olympics and government have shown, is truly the land of smoke, mirrors and obfuscation. For in China there are barber shops and there are barber shops.
Lets explore the first type of barber shop. It is a place that has those large columns with the spinning ‘barber poles’

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These things are a sign that the place is indeed a place, where for a few dollars one cant get a little taken off the top and sides. In China, this convention hold true about 70% of the time. Typically you can walk into a place where you see these spinning poles and for a price range of $0.50 to $200 you will have some pandering emaciated Chinese guy hack at your beautiful western locks all the while trying to practice his English. The place will be fetid and stink of garlic, cigarettes and cheap floozies who for some unknown reason also love to frequent these establishment with their ear splitting hip hop music. .
The other type of barber shop, has the spinning pole shown above, but a different focus. This type of establishment, while not your conventional barber shop will meet your needs of a different sort.
In order to prove or disprove this theory, I recently walked into the newest member of commerce in your humble author’s neighborhood. After spying the neon pink lights ( a dead give away) and spinning barber pole, I decided to see just how good this team at giving me a haircut.
Upon arriving I plopped onto a seat as 5 woman dressed in what appeared to be thongs and tube tops stared at me open mouthed. I mimed a cutting motion and said what sounds like “gin to fa” or haircut and sat before one of the three small mirrors in the place. The smallest of the bunch who seemed to have forgotten her bra and undergarments found my suggestion exceedlingy funny as she covered her Indian corn colored teeth with a meaty little paw and cackled. Quickly the elderly stateswoman/mama san entered the fray and asked what was up.
Smiling at the toothless old sage I reiterated that I was in need of a haircut and made the same cutting motion. A cacophony of some obscure Chinese dialect erupted from the throats of these hallowed professionals as they considered how to handle the foreign barbarian.
Suddenly the paunch of the mamasan was at my side. Smiling she said that I could get a ‘massage’ or ‘massageeeee sexy massageee’ if I wanted, but I had to got to the back room. Feigning ignorance, I smiled and said ‘great’! while staring at my image in the mirror. Ms. mamasan waited patiently and said ‘you go’ while motioning for a woman to join me.
“here is fine” I said while once again checking out my hair in the mirror and explaining how I like my hair cut. I tried to explain that I’d like to keep the manly look as my last barber seemed to have a weakness in this area. In addition, I said that I’d like to look adventurous but not too wild.
Frustrated by my insolence, the angry owner yelled and told the pleasure worker to sit down then ran to the back. A large older man with a head like a shit house rat appeared. Apparently he was the resident co-owner thug/payer of bribes. In rapid fire Chinese he told me that I was no persona non grata in his place and if i were smart I’d leave right now- or at least from his tone and movements he seemed to be saying this.
Deciding that discretion is the better part of valor, I bid a hasty retreat and informed them that Chinese are impolite and if they are not willing to cut a man’s hair they they should remove the damned sign…
My learning from all of the above is that yes, in China be careful of what you do and where you go for all is not as it would appear. Although I had heard that the neon pink lights of a barber shop are a sign that this is not your conventional barbers, i really wanted to see for myself. I guess it does not take a genius to figure out that any company purporting to offer a hair cut at 230am is probably not as it would outwardly appear, but I tend to be the sort of guy who really likes to be sure of things.

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Chinese Shop at Night

Posted by w_thames_the_d on April 3, 2011


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The Reality of China

Posted by w_thames_the_d on April 3, 2011


From The Beijing Consensus- (Stefan Halper)
When American optimists see big enterprise, balanced budgets, market incentives, foreign direct investment (FDI), pledges of corporate social responsibility, and cooperation at the World Trade Organization (WTO), they think they’re seeing signs of an inevitable acceptance of Western-style capitalism. In truth, the pressures and performance requirements of the Chinese Communist Party’s position at home place a limit on the West’s ability to bend China’s international presence to Western standards and norms.

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China as an Alternative Means of Financing

Posted by w_thames_the_d on April 3, 2011


From The Beijing Consensus- (Stefan Halper)

If China conformed to Western rules of liberal engagement in trade and politics, it would immediately lose its appeal as an alternative path to development for developing countries. And, of vital importance to party leaders, it would limit China’s access to resources and markets and would downsize Chinese newfound political influence on issues like Tibet, Taiwan, and human rights.

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Photo of Older Chinese Woman

Posted by w_thames_the_d on April 3, 2011


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Clustrmaps and Sitemeter

Posted by w_thames_the_d on April 3, 2011


I have to give a shout out to Clustrmaps and Sitemeter. I’m using the free feature of both and they have some cool info. Clustrmaps is really eyecandy for readers of the webpage. Look at the right index and you will see a cool little map telling you where the visitors from this website came from, or at least where their proxies are located. Sitemeter actually has the same tool but it’s just for the blogger, as far as I can tell. In addition to that, sitemeter has cool info on where your visitors come from, isp addys how long they stay etc. Anyway, I feel like a tight ass for using only the free services, so I will just pass along the word.

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China’s Oil Buddies

Posted by w_thames_the_d on April 3, 2011


From The Beijing Consensus- (Stefan Halper)

Just in 2008, for example, autocracies were a vital source of energy for China’s growing needs. In the period 2007-2008, fuel imports from Africa to China amounted to $26 billion. Africa also supplied 24.8 percent of China’s imported minerals, with Angola, Sudan, the Congo, and Equatorial Guinea among the largest overall suppliers. And in the same period, Iran was China’s third-largest source of fossil fuels.83

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China and Angola

Posted by w_thames_the_d on April 3, 2011


From The Beijing Consensus-(Stefan Halper)
CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC As Angola prepared to jump horses from the IMF to China, a civil war was raging in the Central African Republic (CAR). UN peacekeepers had been forced to withdraw amid the escalating violence. They were replaced by a UN peace-building office, which was intended to be the first step in negotiating a political settlement for a transitional government that would include the warring factions. In 2003, however, a violent coup brought François Bozizé to power. The United Nations, the African Union, and various Western governments condemned the coup and urged General Bozizé to help international agencies restore order and political stability to the war-torn country. Weeks later, following preliminary negotiations, Beijing extended an interest-free loan and invited Bozizé for an official state visit. Shortly thereafter, Bozizé dissolved parliament and suspended the constitution ahead of “democratic elections,” which he “won” in 2005. As the UN Refugee Agency reported in 2007, the CAR’s civil liberties rating has since declined, humanitarian conditions have worsened, the country’s already scorched economy has further contracted, corruption has remained pervasive, and the government has practically taken over the judiciary.14 As Bozizé announced in 2007, China had been a “reliable friend” to the Central African Republic, having stepped in and “offered the support his country needed when it faced its most difficult times” with assistance in building a new mining and telecommunications structure to stimulate the economy.15

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Chinese Street Store- Chongqing China

Posted by w_thames_the_d on April 3, 2011


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China at Night

Posted by w_thames_the_d on April 3, 2011


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