Understanding China, One Blog at a Time

An American in China

Skill Sets Learned in China

Posted by w_thames_the_d on August 9, 2013


After being in China, one realizes how little they have learned here. No I don’t mean to say I have not learned, but rather have not learned anything useful, like marketable skills. For instance, my last job interview went something like this

“Tell me about China.” Healthy pause.

I stop myself because what comes to mind is , ‘each day the subway ride is a mongrel scrum where women are bludgeoned as men elbow them for seats. Or, the air us so overladen with toxins, that i breathe like a rabbit, short spurts fit for low 02 intake. And then I try to nudge my brain to think like a businessman so I mull over the fact that in order to get support for this program we have to bribe comrade ‘A’ and comrades ‘C’, ‘D’ and ‘E’ need a trip to Bali and or the USA, or our next deal will be sunk. Then the reality of it all hits me, in China you learn to deceive. Unless you consider fraud a transferable skill set, China teaches you nothing.

One of the first things you learn is that your visa is a scam, you are working illegally. Then you learn to buy fapiao, or receipts and claim them as expenses, so you pay less taxes. Of course you are on a student visa and cannot legally work, but that is what the company has given you.

So you mull over talking about how you budget 20% for bribes and that gift cards are all the rage, but something stops you.

The guy is sitting there like, ‘go ahead, tell me about China’

You sit back, tug at your chin and begin. ‘Chinese appreciate quality, and want to be unique. They want to be western, but not US parrots. The Chinese are bold and appreciate innovation’.

‘Splendid!’ He coos. ‘ you are just the man I have been looking for’.

Outside a 55 year old Chinese guy is beating his wife while across the street a dirty dozen leaves the ‘whack shack’ with tossled hair. In their hands are filthy xiao mei phones, a Chinese knockoff. The tarts they just bought now sit cross legged and munch on seeds while pecking away at QQ and Weibo, Facebook knockoffs. The chairs on which they recline will last no longer than the memories of the men they just served and the awning above their heads hangs dangerously low.

‘Yes,’ you continue,’ Chinese purchase habits are just like ours in the west.’

‘Rock solid’ he squeals as he pounds his fist.

‘Ever since the reform and opening up, the Chinese are pretty much like us’ you sit back.

‘I knew it!’he ejaculates.

Off in the corner Wang Gufang, aka Cindy, rams bulbous fingers down against the dilapidated keys of an old Remington, as she seethes with fury. The good Chairman said we were all devils, all those white people. Ad now it is true, they have turned our own against us. Their capitalism and terror. Well at least I told my grandkid how bad those foreigners are.

You catch her eye, have seen it before. That old guard rage. The kind of hate that ripping apart the fabric of families can create. You have seen the enmity, bold disdain for you and yours.

Now you turn back to the interviewer, his eyes glistening and rubbing his porcine snout. He’s saying his company needs you, you’ve got vision. All the time you are thinking ‘are you kidding me? A company run by anyone stupid enough to not see through that line of bullshit I just fed you does not merit my time.’

You nod politely, shake his hand and thank him for the offer. Tell him you will look it over and touch base in a few days.

Outside the air is used cotton ball reddish gray and the only thing you can think of is Beijing noodles and how much a cab is going to cost to get back home.

It never ceases to amaze you how little they know about China.

One Response to “Skill Sets Learned in China”

  1. Me said

    In China you learn to distrust and to question everything.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: