August 25th, 2010 §
I went to Carrefour last night and bought somethings. Oh, I may of forgotten mention what Carrefour is. Carrefour is a French super market chain. But really there is nothing French about it but the name. Either way I go there about 2 times a week. Everyday I eat yogurt and drink wine. So really, this is what I usually buy. But this time, I saw something. Cereal. It was in the foreign import isle. Which means it’s expensive. Especially for me. I usually load up a bowl of Fruity Pebble big enough to feed small countries. In other words I can’t eat cereal here. With importing it and what not it’s even more expensive. Not to mention most places don’t carry it. I ended up buying some anyway. But it wasn’t a big box, it was a set of mini boxes. Which, are awesome. So the plan is to go camping style. Cut open a box and throw some milk in.
So here we go, my first cereal in about 18 months.
So there is the package in all its glory.
Today, is a Cocoa Frosties day.
Milk. Actually wasn’t that bad.
Cereal and milk = goodness.
August 24th, 2010 §
I found an interesting article today while I was trying to find the end of the internet. It’s about headphones, earbuds, and manufacturing.
It relates to a few things in China. Skullcandy is making a killing. Yes they are. They are slaying it. Did you ever wonder how they do it? It’s easy, in fact we could do it next week if we had the start up capital. I may make it sound easy, it’s not, but with the cash to start, things get easier.
When you move to China you gain a new perspective on things. Most of the time it has something to do with manufacturing or products. Things that you would never think of. Like Skullcandy, one of the biggest headphone companies. You ever wonder how a new headphone comes about. Easy, they roll to China, go to a bunch of factories, pick the new designs they like, throw a logo on it and done. Yes, I am over simplfiing it. But most of the time I bet this is what happens. To R&D a new headphone or eletronics costs too much. So let the factory come up with designs, pay for the right to use them for 5 years and your done. I believe that the higher end might be designed by Skullcandy themselves. You get big enough, have enough money you can start to throw some at your own designs. But hey, I might be wrong.
This happens in a whole lot of industries. Skateboards, snowboards, phones, etc. Lot’s of factories have to come up with OEM designs. That’s what Western customers want. They don’t want to have to design the product, they want to roll in, pick something and then go to foot massage. Can’t blame them can we?
Check this. You have 10,000$ you want to burn. You contact a trading company or you hommie in China, or a sourcing agent. They find you factories and designs for headphones or whatever product you want. You design a logo, pick a design, send the artwork and 3000$. 30% down. Depends on the contracts. Two months later you have your product. You have 2,000 headphones in 5 colors. 10,000 headphones total. You bought them for a dollar. You mark them up to 19.99$. Your still a two man show or something small. You built your own website, marketing, and Facebook page.
All you have to sell is 500 of them to break even.
This it the hard part.
China can make you anything, but China can’t help you sell it.
You can read the article that spurred this little gem HERE.
August 24th, 2010 §
I just read a new piece online about a jet that crashed in China. Oh great.
Here is the link to the story. HERE
Basically it looks like Henan Airlines Jet, which was/is a Brazilian-made Embraer E-190 made jet broke apart just before landing at Lindu airport.
Nice news to wake up to. I don’t fly a lot. Maybe every two to three months. But still. Dang. This would suck.
Anyway, so, if taking care of airplanes is anything like the way they take are of care then there is reasons to be concerned. But I doubt that’s the case. At least I hope so.
August 20th, 2010 §
Now before my family reads this and gets all freaked out, yes I went to a hospital, but, when Americans say I went to the doctor it’s the same as Chinese saying I went to the hospital. They do not have doctor offices here. Well, as far as I know. So really I just went to the doctors. Which, actually was kinda awesome.
We rolled in and went to a counter. Turn styles and all, gave them my name, I’m male, etc. Took 3 minutes. Went up stairs into a area with a bunch of room. Everything is pretty clean. I mean if I remember right my doctors when I was a kid was as clean if not dirtier than this place. Everything is white, tiled, mopped. Nice actually. Dude asked some questions, looked at my throat and sent up to get blood drawn. 5 minutes. Arrived at blood drawing place. Had cute girl help me, I joked, she spoke English, I was smitten, We left. 5 minutes. Waited 10 minutes for results, took them back to doctor guy, he looks at them, tells me I have too many girl friends, writes something on a computer and we are off to get drugs. 5 minutes. Get drugs 10 minutes. All together, around 40 minutes and 20 USD. Hell that’s faster then in the States. The only thing I had to wait for was the blood work.
Here is what I got.
Clarithromycin Tablets – used to treat certain infections caused by bacteria, such as pneumonia (a lung infection), bronchitis (infection of the tubes leading to the lungs), and infections of the ears, sinuses, skin, and throat.
These look like they mean business. Ok cool. They also gave me something else. It took me a bit to find it online and see what the H it is. It’s an antibiotic of some sorts. I suppose it’s made in the western parts of China. I’m not sure. It has Aconitum leaves, Terminalia, musk, madder, vermilion, dark fragrance, and more leaf Oxytropis, inside. Oh goodie.
So I guess I will just have at it with this awesome stuff. Nothing really else to do. Everything seems fine.
I would of took photos of the inside of the hospital but really, it was so fast I didn’t have time. Oh well.
August 18th, 2010 §
My throat is killing me. Well, not really killing me more like swollen and not the most awesome thing. The reason, well, I can only speculate because of what I ate yesterday. I went to a pizza place (Pizza Hut knock off) to eat and scope out a girl that I got the hots for. I ordered my Super Ached pizza and asked for hot sauce / peppers. The guy left and came back with, um, not Tabasco but a little dish full of peppers and oil. This is not uncommon, so I was like yeah awesome. I started eating the hotness. It was hot and it was good. Although when I finished the heaping table spoon I noticed something. That something was swollen. My mouth, and my throat started to get scratchy. Not good. This usually happens when I eat nuts. Yes, I am allergic to nuts. Darn. It wasn’t that bad and I had only eaten little. I also wasn’t that worried because my Chinese is good enough to get me to the hospital. Haha. Well, that’s kinda true. So I held out and it started to go away. But this morning. Oh boy. It felt like my throat was the Gobi desert and needed water. It’s swollen and not feeling good. But anyway.
So I am sitting here at Starbucks again. More like a mobile office. All the power outlets are taken. I got here a little late from my usual time. So I decided to sit upstairs in the thick of it all. Where I can hear everyone. Love me some eaves dropping. It reminded me of something that most foreigners that have never been to China don’t know. Everyone in China speaks two languages. Most anyway that where born after the proclamation of the current government in 1949.
China is basically a bunch of different places that are put together. Because it is hard to travel from place to place back in the day, and probably a bunch of other reasons. Every city and town mostly have their own language. But the current gov which started in 1949 the gov mandated that a standard Mandarin Chinese be taught in all schools. So kids learn Mandarin at school and their hometown language from their parents. I got reminded of this because there are a few lovely ladies have a massive conversation in the local dialect. Which I don’t understand at all. A few words will get through that I recognize. But for the most part, hell, they could be talking about how handsome I am and I can’t do anything about that.
This is also a good point to bring up because of business. Even if you speak Chinese your vendor, partner, whomever you are doing business with, can switch to their local language so long as who they are talking to speaks it. Shady, I know. That’s why you never let anyone know you can speak Chinese. Shady on my part, maybe, but you don’t thing they are doing something shady either. Please.
Anyway. This whole dialect thing is pretty similar to Texas. I mean really who the hell understands them.
August 17th, 2010 §
Nah, not really, but how else am I going to get you to read my blog. Ok so here is the story. It happened last night.
Here it is.
The set up. I am in a taxi heading to do something. I tell the driver to stop. It happens to be by a red light so he just pulls up to to the light. We are the first in line so to speak. I give a fifty. He has to count 45 back and give it to me. This takes something like one minute. Not that long. We are at a red light on a three lane road. We are on the outside lane, 2ft from a curb. On the other side of the curb sits a bike lane. He counts the money and give it to me. I check the blind spot of the car quickly, tell the guy thanks and do something I always to, I crack the door. I don’t wing it open, I just crack it. Wroom. A effing motorcycle flys by the door right as I crack it. He swerves a bit and stops after he runs the red light. I am assuming that his intention was to skim by all the cars lined up at the red light. Squeeze through the 2ft of space that he had and run the light and be off on his merry way. But what he didn’t expect was someone to open a door at the light.
Like I said I didn’t wing it open. Just cracked it. What would of happened if I would of winged it open. Well perhaps I would get to use all the bad Chinese words that I know. I check the blind spot, but this guy was flying. I’d say he was doing 20mph past all the cars. Even if I made sure that no one was coming he is coming at a rate of say 20 mph, 29 ft per second, so, in half a sec he could of been 15 ft out behind the car behind us. Anyway I think he about pooped himself. Well, him and the guy riding on the tail of the bike. I got out, I know what was going to happen. They stopped and looked back at who almost hit them while they were running a red light going through traffic. It was a foreigner. On my own defense, I wasn’t going to hit them. I crack the door so that if there is someone there they see it. But they just happened to be in the perfect spot to see it and just about wipe out. 1/10 of a sec later they wouldn’t of seen it and never of noticed anything.
They looked back saw me, I ignored them. They said something among themselves and left. Down south, were I lived for a bit, you cannot drive motorcycles and mopeds in the city. This is why. It hinders traffic, causes accidents, etc. But here in this city they can do whatever they want. And what motorcycles, bikes, and what have you, do is this, THEY DON’T FOLLOW ANY RULES OF THE ROAD. I made that big to make a point. Nothing. Nada. They don’t stop at red lights, or anything. They just, in the past 2 months, started to have 3 lights, maybe 4, that bikes have to stop. But besides those lights, you have mopeds, bikes, motorcycles, running lights, crossing roads, in and out of traffic. No wonder more people die here in car accidents that most all of China. It’s crazy.
How who’s fault would it of been if those guys wiped out. Mine, because I opened a car door? Theirs because they were weaving in traffic and running a red light? I don’t know. Do bikes have to follow the rules of the road, I don’t know. But what would of happened is this. They would of played up whatever happened. Pitted everyone against me, and tried to get as much cash as possible out of me. I would of had to pay for probably everything, would have to call some people I know. They would get all their medical bills paid for included whatever wasn’t caused from the accident. A new motorcycle because the damage that the bike had before would of been played off as caused by me. All cash. Insurance is a new concept here. So well, I would have to dish some over. Perhaps I would of been right and not had to pay anything. But lets think about this. 1.4 billion Chinese and me. I lose.
So what is the major problem here. Well I think in part it is this. China has a massive amount of laws. Most all go unenforced. Say that motorcycles have to follow the rules of the road. But the Police haven’t enforced these rules in this city at all. Citizens then do whatever they want. This goes on for years until some thing happens. Then they have to start enforcing it. The Olympics come or something where they have to “clean up” the city. Then they have to retrain all the people about the law that has always been on the books. Extremely difficult to say the least. This has also happened recently with business and other aspects of foreigen investment and what not.
Nothing new just another day in China.
So yeah, don’t wing open taxi doors, EVER.
UPDATE: I was walking home when I saw a guy do just about the same thing that I did. Except it wasn’t nearly as close. So I asked him who’s problem would it be if he hit the guy on the moped. His answer: His. He or I or anyone who exits a vehicle has to check and make sure there isn’t a law ignoring, speeding, reckless motorcycle wizzing throw traffic and running light coming up behind them. Huh. Well, this is one instance where Western minds won’t quite agree.
August 16th, 2010 §
I see that someone got their little hand caught in the cookie jar for some kickbacks in exchange for information on Apple.
It appears, front the sites I read, it’s Apple supply manager Paul Shin Devine. I would like to pose a question. Why the hell do we have to know his middle name. I mean really, as soon as someone is trouble with the law, bam, start using his middle name, why, because it’s just something we do.
Anyway, yeah, so homeboy here was caught selling some secrets to people in, dadadadaahh, Asia. Well really no where else make accessories for Apple products so Asia is the only place that would buy these so called secrets.
Well, really none of this surprises me. Really the dude needed to be smarter hiding the money. No I do not condone this behaviour but I can’t stop it and it will keep happening.
This relates to China is a couple of ways. Well I think it does. One, Apple is massive, so if I can start pumping out cases before anyone else does, bam, money in the bank. Like the guy who “found” the new Iphone in a bar, well, he could of done several things with it. He chose the one that didn’t make him much money. Am I saying I would do what he did, no, just saying that I wouldn’t of sold it for 5000$ or whatever it was.. Worth more than that.
It also relates because of this kick back thing. Yeah I’ve written about it before. Factories using suppliers but want a 20% kickback for “still using them” as a supplier. Actually it’s quite brilliant. I don’t think that it’s illegal here. Well, maybe it is. I’m not for sure.
Anyway I just thought that a guy that got caught selling secrets to Asia was interesting. Anyway.
It’s raining and I have to go buy an umbrella.
August 15th, 2010 §
I’ve been reading a magazine recently, one that I have know about for some time. It came by way of a friend. I do enjoy reading this magazine and I will tell you why, then I will probably tangent into something else.
I have always been fascinated with hand made items. The workmanship, the thoughts that the person had, dreams, mental notes, whatever they may be, are in the handmade product. A thought of a lover, the twitch of the knife and the slightest imperfection that it made. You can’t take that back. Items that have time put in them.
The Scout Magazine
I enjoy what they do. How they do it, and the time it takes. I have recently become very interested in the video features that have been posted.
Stories of individuals who, by all accounts are creative. They all produce things that take time, craftsmanship, love. All things that I admire.
Products that, may only last one minute, but took many to create and products that took only but a few to make but will last a lifetime. I admire history. Maybe this stems from my name, and how it is three generations old. Possibly Objects that my elders have cherished and now have given me. Whatever it may be, I do like the idea of having something for thirty years and passing it onto my kids. Telling them to imagine how long thirty years is, and what might have happened in thirty years. To imagine if this object had a memory, what it might remember and what it will see in the future.
Yeah I like that idea.
Please go take a look at The Scout Magazine. Trust me, you just might learn something.
August 13th, 2010 §
Well, an old women just did something that you can’t do in the States, which got me thinking about things you can do here but chant do in the States.
I’m sitting down stairs in a Starbucks enjoying the air conditioning during a 100+ day when an old women rolls in and mounts up to a table near me. She opens a bag a busts out her lunch. Take out Chinese I am thinking, by the looks of the styrofoam anyway. So now shes sitting alone opening small coffee creamers and pouring sugar into them, I can’t say I know what she is going to do next. Ok a little stir action, and more sugar. I suppose you could make icecrea if it got cold enough. Ok she is drinking coffee creamer in a Starbucks. Slightly odd. But nevertheless, I’ve seen worse. Oh.. man she has a milk stash. My day is now complete.
Ok to the real point of this. Things you can’t do in the States that you can do here.
Drink beer where ever you are. Sidewalk, in public, etc.
Order food from one place and take it into another or have it delievered to another restaurant to eat it there.
Bringing you own drinks into a restaurant.
Bring food into another restaurant.
Spit, littler, throw whatever you want out the window of a car.
Yell in a restaurant, everyone else is.
Not clean up after yourselves at a fast food place.
Drive on the wrong side of the road.
Speed, weave in and out, run red lights, turn on red, etc. Really there are no driving rules unless there is a Policeman present and or a camera for red light runners.
Haggle over price for most everything.
This is what I got on the top of my head for now. If I can think of more I’ll post them too.
August 9th, 2010 §
Well, learning Chinese. My thoughts and ideas.
First let me tell one of the reasons I came to China was to learn a second language. I always wanted to speak something other than good ole English. So why not Chinese. If you going to go for totally crazy than yeah awesome.
My goals with learning Chinese are not unlike other goals I set for myself. Totally out there. I mean, I would like to be native. But really, I think the word native habors a little, well, born and raised aspect to it. But nontheless I would like to speak Chinese like a Chinese person. It’s going to take a bit but someday.
Will this benefit me, No. Kind of. Only in China. Maybe I could find a job outside of China where in I would need to speak Chinese but that would be rare. So I do plan on being here for a bit. If not to learn Chinese then to expand my perspective on life and all the philosophical Goobly gooby gook. All Chinese now have to study English in school and most suck at it. This means that really, English is going to take over.
These are from a blog I found a bit ago. The site is here.
Why Learning Chinese Could Be a Waste of Your Time
- Many Well Educated Chinese People Would Prefer to Speak to You in English – Even if your Mandarin is better than their English
- Little Applicable Value Outside of China - Most mid to upper level Chinese managers speak okay to great English. The only people you typically need Mandarin to communicate effectively with in a business environment is low level management. If you aren’t stationed in China, then, knowing Chinese won’t help you much in communicating with most Chinese companies.
- Possible Negative Market Value – To really be able to use your Mandarin, you’ll need to move to China, where you may have to take a large pay cut to get a job in which being fluent in Chinese would be an asset. This quote from the economist article linked above sums up things nicely:
Within China companies can hire an expatriate who speaks Chinese. Or, more often, they take their pick from an abundant supply of local graduates in English who are happy to work for 2,000 yuan (£130) a month. “I took an 80% pay cut to come here because I wanted to learn the language,” says Ken Schulz, a software engineer from Silicon Valley who studied Chinese full-time for four years at Beijing’s University of Language and now works in the capital at WorkSoft, an outsourcing firm. “I’m the only foreigner in an office of 1,200 people, and I hardly get any opportunity to use my Chinese.”
- Huge Opportunity Cost – To really learn Chinese well, including reading and writing, you need to spend years studying intensively. These are years in which you could learn several romance languages or another skill set or perhaps even a profession.
- Non-Negligible Maintenance Costs - Even though I speak Mandarin when dealing with customers, read a Chinese magazine / newspaper daily, watch a bit of TV, and speak almost exclusively in Mandarin with my girlfriend (and some friends), my Chinese skills are slipping. It takes a lot of effort just to maintain, nonetheless improve, your Chinese.
Do I Regret Learning Chinese?
No, but from a practical standpoint there are many things I could have done with my time to get into a better job and develop a skill-set that is worth more on the job market. Learning Chinese was a good move for many other reasons, just not the ones that have to do with making money or getting a better job.
The author above states some good opinions.
1. Yes I agree. However we are talking about international companies that at global. Big companies in China that do not need to be international probably do not speak English. Factories and such. But there are people, I’ve met them that want to speak English to you whatever it takes. You start speaking Chinese to them, they speak English to you. They want to prove that they are just as smart or smarter then you for speaking English. It becomes a war. I hate it, but it comes with being in a foreign country.
2. True. Think about it. Where the H would you need Mandarin outside China. Not many places. You have effectively cut out a good percentage of the world. Or have you. Maybe not. Who knows, no one really. But odds are that you are not going to be able to use your killer Mandarin skill outside of China.
3. Yeah kind of. This dude that came here to learn Chinese. Well, he probably didn’t have a job while he was learning it. I do, I may learn it slower, but I guess that I’ll have a paycheck. After learning Chinese your market value could go up, at least in China.
4. You could be doing better things than say, studying, and living in China. It takes time to learn and master during which you could learn how to make rockets that go to the moon. Either way.
5. This is probably going to be me. However, I do get a kick out of talking to random people on the street.
All and I enjoy learning something new. I’ve found out that I need new things to keep awake in life. In Chinese there is something new everyday.
If you want to drop everything and do something new, bail and get to China. Learn some Chinese.
If you want to really learn Chinese, you going to have to be here for a stint. 5 years, 8 years, who knows. But it’s going to be a bit. Long term commitment.
If you deal with China come here for a month then leave, and repeat. Yeah learn some Chinese. Basics. Bathroom, food, beer, hello, good morning, take off your clothes (kidding), daily things. I would spend the most time on studying the culture as a whole. The philosophy of Asians, China, and so fourth.
Being able to talk to a perspective business partner is important, but not as important as how he is screwing you because you haven’t read The Art of War, or know his negotiation tactics. In this case finding as much information on the thinking of the Chinese businessmen would be more important then studying about how to say you like his hair. Just my thoughts anyway.
Learn the customs, what not to say, do, gift giving, receiving, etc. Then after you got a handle on that, you can fill in with some more Chinese. Body language and actions are just as important as words. They will think you don’t know because you can’t speak Chinese. This could be an advantage.
There are a ton of sites out there to help. I like to pretend that I am smart and go to MIT. So there is a link to free Chinese course from MIT. HERE
Me, I just go for it. Why not. So as they say in China, 加油 or add gas, in other terms my Grandma would say, Light a fire and get a move on.