Understanding China, One Blog at a Time

An American in China

Archive for August 12th, 2011

Hutong Hal, My Bucket Shitting Pal- “Civilized China?”

Posted by w_thames_the_d on August 12, 2011


My friend Hutong Hal is a white guy who is living in a hutong or one of the ancient Chinese alleyways. Or let me say that they are not really ancient for in reality these buildings for these areas are still relatively new , as in 20-30 years old as they have been redone.
The issue, however, is that the people who live there still live like the Flintstones or in subhuman conditions. Let me explain.
Hutongs are areas of Beijing that are a source of pride/shame so being Chinese they attempt to minimize the shame and highlight what they think we will like. But having a friend who lives there gives me the inside scoop.
These hutongs were part of the communal living structure in Beijing and everything was shared. They are a warren of buildings connected to other warrens of buildings and until before the Olympics they were the reality of living in Beijing for all the people.
Now, however, due to forced relocation, corruption and the feeling of shame, Beijing has razed most of them. They are now nothing more an eye sore for locals as well as a a tourist destination for many.
My friend Hal, the guy who does not have an indoor toilet as no house in the hutong does has two choices for a bathroom. he can either use the communal one which I have a photo of and will upload later, which is a series of 3 squat pots or holes in the ground and one human toilet with seat but no walls nor dividers between them.
What this means is that if he should have to defecate, he will have to squat knee-to-knee with his neighbors to do so. There are no walls and no privacy….
There is more to the charm of this life. His mornings are filled with the sounds of Beijingers hacking up phlegm and disgorging it to the cement, walking in underwear and pajamas and brushing their teeth in the streets.
Despite what you may think, the place has some charm, albeit seems like a barbaric way for human beings to live in 2011, let alone to think all Beijingers live this way up till about 12 years ago….dirty china

photo from flickriver.com

also posted here

Posted in Cultural oddities | 1 Comment »

China Destroys Fake Apple Stores- Puts Up Fake New York Skyline

Posted by w_thames_the_d on August 12, 2011


The wantchinatimes reports that China is knocking off New York City just outside of Beijing. After all the blustering about Chinese being innovative, what have they done on their own? They copy German and Japanese trains, poorly at that. American movies, songs, cars,meds, drinks, well you get the point. And now having racked their brains over what to do next they are copying cities. Sure Las Vegas may have in eiffel tower, but thats vegas. (I actually just visited this area at night and it has that Bangcock red light district appeal or maybe a subtle Tijuana flair.)
What kind of loser will be proud to call the ‘chinese New York City as his home?

Excerpt here
“the most ambitious knockoff of all is in the works: a financial center in the likeness and on the scale of Manhattan. Developer Vincent Lee wants to copy New York City — literally, according to a report from the Atlantic.” (photo and excerpt from wantchinatimes.com

Posted in Counterfeits and such, Cultural oddities | Leave a Comment »

Rioting in Guizho China- Cops Allegedly Beat Woman Cabbie

Posted by w_thames_the_d on August 12, 2011


China has had some ups and downs this year but mostly downs. The food crises worsened, the DaVinci scandal which proved that over 80% of all imports by Chinese companies are actually made in China. Then there was the fatal crash, the man eating escalator. The elevators who got stuck and walls had to be demolished to rescue the passengers, the bridge collapses and the high death speed train.

There are a few more, but I’ve grown tired of typing, oh yeah, there have also been ‘mass’ incidents which most countries call riots. The most recent ones began yesterday and ran all day. The cops supposedly punched a female taxi driver in the face. Some of you may wonder what she did wrong to deserve that, but this is China a country where the law enforcement were issued a special book on how to torture prisoners and how to beat them without leaving scars. Remember, this is China and inhuman punishment is never pase…
(photos from the internet)

Posted in Big brother..., News From China- Whats hot | 3 Comments »

China’s Visible ‘Air’- Pollution in China

Posted by w_thames_the_d on August 12, 2011


Pollution in China

China, in a further attempt to China’ize everything it comes into contact with has once again outdone itself. Air  that M-W.com defines as the mixture of invisible odorless tasteless gases (as nitrogen and oxygen) that surrounds the earth” has now become ‘air with Chinese characteristics’.

Thus, in a country who measures their visibility in arm-lengths, air is a far cry from invisible, odorless and tasteless gasses. Oh well, those toxic Target toys sure look good on Junior’s shelf, dont they?

(that photo is an example of how China further defies conventional wisdom as to what ‘air’ actually is. The shot was taken from the window of a good friend’s place in the morning)

Posted in Beijing Smog | Leave a Comment »

Chairman Mao Understood China

Posted by w_thames_the_d on August 12, 2011


I am reading several books about the cultural revolution which showed at a minimum the extreme depths of Chinese cruelty. The one thing that struck me, however, was Chairman Mao’s vision. I will later quote him, but in essence one of Mao’s fears was revisionism or maybe how China would rewrite what he had accomplished (ignoring the tens of millions of deaths of course).
In addition to this, Mao was worried about capitalistic tendencies from the party and many in the communes. Flash forward and what do we see? We see a world that Mao actually feared.
While reading about the incredible barbaric practices that these people meted upon one another, I was then struck by another thought. While the family members of long dead ‘capitalists’ were tortured and humiliated for no good reason and killings are a bad thing, I couldn’t help but wonder if planet China would not like to reinstate some ‘struggle sessions’ right now.
The reason is that the commoner feels like shit and this is exacerbated by the fact that the elite, the rulers and the monied treat them as such. They are barked at in restaurants, killed and not compensated and treated as untouchables, so not much has changed from Mao’s time. What Mao did, however, was to give the lowest (among others) a chance to fight back. thus for three years a plague of harassment and anarchy reigned.
As I read about those things though, I thought of how the rich interact with the poor in China and wondered what it would feel like to watch a manual laborer confront his boss, as they had in the 60’s. I wondered just how much pity I could muster for a man who refuses to pay wages to men and women who toil away 7 days a week for months on end, only to hope to get paid.
While I feel for all of those who were wrongly accused and those who lost their lives, I still cannot help but think about how prescient Mao’s musings were.
By all accounts the cultural revolution was a debacle of incredible proportions, but after living here one can see how the commoner could be spurred to the actions that they took.

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

On China’s Infrastructure

Posted by w_thames_the_d on August 12, 2011


Here is an interesting comment from Brewskie and I could not agree more.

“The infrastructure China’s building now will shape her future, and her place in the world.” How much of her infrastructure winds up in certain shapes will impact China’s shape.

Posted in Product Quality | 5 Comments »