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Can the Wheels Be Put Back on Chinese Quality Control?

bad wheels

I remember as a kid when “Made in Japan” was a euphemism for junk or soon-to-break disposables. That was long before Toyota turned the “S” in Sinophobia into a dollar sign.

Now I run through 2-3 VCR’s a year due to the poor workmanship and the less than perfect DVDs that you have to buy locally. As I write I can look down to a sack of local medications that are headed for the trash as I fear the consequences of taking them. Even the mainland Chinese are jamming the aisles in Macau and Hong Kong pharmacies in hopes of safer, more efficacious drugs.

As profit margins decrease due to global tariffs and increased competition, some manufacturers are cutting a few safety corners. The phenomenon is not isolated to the Middle Kingdom as the West has had its share of debaucles: Firestone, Perrier, Dell, ect….

The latest scare (with a hat tip to Tim Johnson’s blocked Typepad site ) is reminiscient of the Firestone and Ford scare: Tires and autos. China’s Brilliance BS6 is meant to be positioned as a premium-style import sedan at a budget price. After viewing the videos of this tiny hearse traveling only 40 miles an hour I would say it is unsafe at any price–with apologies to Ralph Nader.

Germany’s test group gave it one star out of a possible five. And I am with some of the dark humorists in the comments section of an Autoblog (also blocked in China) article on this beast. They wonder if it takes an explosion to get no stars and one reader thought a riding a tricycle without a helmet would be preferable to taking the wheel of a Chinese car.

The picture above is from a tire sold by Foreign Tire Sales, Inc. of Union, NJ. They are in a panic after a death resulting from one of China’s Hangzhou Zhongce Rubber Company’s tires, sans an important layer of rubber, overheated. FTS says the tires may need to be recalled. What?! And since the geniuses at FTS don’t have the financial resources, and obviously product liability insurance, to deal with a recall disaster, they are suing the Hangzhou Rubber to cover the expenses. They claim Hangzhou built the tires in a way that differed from the FTC’s specifications. Score one for stupidity and indifference in due diligence and zilch for the consumer at risk. The company executives should be made to crash test the next 100 shipments personally.

I am a staunch supporter of buying locally and doing my bit to support the economy that pays my rent. As an example, all my computers are Chinese save my laptop MAC. But, I have now drawn the line at anything ingestible or drivable in a crisis.

The scariest part of all of this? Analysts and consumers (also blocked in the mainland) don’t think this information will negatively affect sales of the Chinese car. People would rather save a buck than breathe.

Asia,China Business,China Business Consultant,China Editorials,Chinese Internet,Chinese Media,In the news,Videos,Wholesale Products China,中国,中文

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We need an Olympics in China EVERY Year!

Censorship China

WordPress.com is unblocked! Wikipedia is free (albeit a teeeeenie bit censored for individual items like the two “T” words…), Technorati is out of the closet!

It is almost like being back home–Well, on dial-up during a storm with a Commodore 64….But I digress….

Now if we can only get Typepad, Blogspot and a few others out of cyber-purgatory….

Censorship,China Business,China Cartoons,China Editorials,China Olympics,China SEO,China web 2.0,Chinese Internet,Chinese Media,Human Rights,In the news,Internet marketing China,Search Engine Marketing,SEM,SEO,Seo China,The Great Firewall,The Internet,中国,中文

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SORRY, DETOXING TODAY….

Some of you may remember my writing this piece a few months ago. Tragically, I have become hopelessly addicted since that time. I now have coffee cola delivered by the case to my door. I would get it myself, but it is 27 flights of stairs to the store and I am afriad that my heart will explode becuause even at baseline it now putters like a Cajun trolling motor.

I am off today, not in detox, but recovering from some real meatball dentistry that had had me ill for weeks. Thank heavens for surgery by Dr. Dee at Can-Am Medical center in Guangzhou who corrected the earlier problems.

I will be back tomorrow with a post on mirth….Meantime, I am resting, drinking coffee cola and learning to levitate…..

From March:

COFFEE COLA CHINA

Idon’tkowwhyIneversawthisstuffbeforetoday.It’sbrilliant!!
TWICEhtecaffeineofordinarycola.It’slikethatBUZZBEERontheDrew
CareyshoworJOLTfromyearsback.WaitasecondwhileIitchmylegandget
myhairtolieflat.HEYIcanstandandtypewithonehand!!!!DidIsay
ithadTWICEthecaffeine???!!

So,wherewasI??

This liquid crack (NO), if it didn’t taste like vinyl on a bus seat smells (No, never up close!), would be a huge hit! It looks like a Safeway logo on the bottle I have (If it would just hold still I could read it…) and I guess is a knock-off of the stuff Coke introduced to France a couple of years ago. That was devilish, aye? The only think the French like as much as cheese and wine is COFFEE! Who has time for women when you are flying around Carrefour like a fart in a skillet?

I am sure this stuff has been souped up a bit and is already available in the prescription section of supermarket pharmacies in Japan.

I am a little disturbed that they engineered it to froth when you put it into a glass. It looks horribly like recycled Guinness (Again, NO! what’s wrong with you people?) with its flat head of foam.

My bottle, It’s Empty! It’s Empty! I want another one! Now!, was made in Beijing and probably flew down here on its own accord. Maybe they will start brewing it with Pearl River water. It will probably taste the same only chunkier.

It terrifies me that Chinese Taxi Drivers might drink and drive on this stuff….Those guys already have a variant hybrid of St. Vitus’ Dance and Turretts-like Syndrome; all they need now is this new artificial symptom inducer and WHOOOOOOO!!!!

Give it a try, but have paramedics on speed (ha, ha,, ha ha) dial….I am of….really way off………………

Asian Humor,China Business,China Humor,China Photos,Humor,Japan,Just Plain Strange,Personal Notes,Photos,Tibet Climb,Weird China,中国

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C-MBA Programs: Trans-Pacific Crossings….

China MBA Education

I had the pleasure to accompany the Cal Poly MBA Program’s learning tour through China yesterday with Professor Chris Carr, professor Jay Singh and a gaggle of new graduates and ongoing students.

One of the cultural differences, of an enormity of variations, that struck a few of the visiting MBA students was the inability of Chinese learners to move between departments. Students enroll for a major and are not permitted to transfer to another department. This is common at most schools like the one we visited and others that remain comfortable teaching via traditional Chinese methodologies.

However, both East and West are looking to each other to fill in gaps their respective time-honored traditions have created. Within twenty-four hours of our tour, I noticed online advertising for three of America’s top business schools now actively recruiting in China: Harvard, Duke, Lingnan, and Maryland. Conversely, American curriculums now have programs structured to focus on China. International business leaders, Chinese or American, know that cooperative negotiations often yield better results than competitive ones. I’m especially impressed with the program at Cal Poly structured to culminate in a four-credit business and cultural study tour of China. Cal Poly has beat Yale to the punch in the hope of internationalizing its graduates, but Yale’s president Levine wants every Yale student to spend time living or studying abroad as part of an undergraduate experience.

Wall Street Journal’s Jason Loew quotes the president of Yale University as saying, “the U.S. isn’t issuing enough work visas to the highly trained foreigners who graduate from U.S. universities each year.” He suggests raising the caps on visas for foreign-born holders of doctorate degrees in order to further capitalize on the sea turtle phenomenon I posted about recently. If Yale’s Richard Levin had his way, he said, he would “staple green cards, as permanent resident cards are known, to their Ph.D. diplomas.”

He cites our growing need for trained engineers and scientists in hopes to capitalize on their discontent with conditions in their homeland. If I had my way, the US Department of Education would be putting more money into developing our own crop of science-savvy graduates and further, we’d be developing more incentives for cross-cultural exchange in education.

If it is so important for us to bring in foreign talent because we are not able to supply it, I think the answer also lies in marketing in-country programs to the Chinese. Because according to Loew, Congress permitted 85,000 H-1B (stay behind) visas to be issued this year, of which about 20,000 are reserved for foreigners with a graduate degree from the U.S. Loew writes, “There were so many applications this year the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services stopped accepting forms one day after it started the process.” It signals something is amiss either in the social or educational structure extant in China. Even though China is offering incentives to returnees, the odds of getting rich here are much greater than those in America, and Sinophobia is fast returning, they are still opting to travel and stay abroad.

Employers and of course universities continue to put pressure on Congress to raise the visa quota, but last year’s immigration bill failed to go through. “Companies want it. The universities favor it,” Mr. Levin said, according to Loew.

Loew’s article reminded me that a handful of schools are beginning to adopt Western liberal arts approaches to education, likely as a way to preclude students’ dissatisfaction as much as gain competitive traction in the global marketplace.

Two of China’s top ten universities, Fudan University and Beijing University, are taking small steps towards liberalizing their curriculum in hopes of advancing innovative thinking. Around 10% of students at Beijing University can explore a variety of subjects for the first three semesters before focusing on a major. At Fudan University, all freshmen are now being integrated into a liberal arts-based curriculum.

Educational innovators in the United States and the UK need to seize the day and begin offering courses at home and abroad that integrate the best of East and West. England and America have long ago industrialized education but managed to maintain high standards and the majority of the world’s top 100 rankings for schools. They have sacrificed quality by industrializing their educational system so rapidly, so this is one case where they have more to learn from us than we have to learn from them. But, with the Chinese government throwing huge dollars toward overseas education in hopes of even getting a small return, and with educational institutions beginning to functionally adopt workably good methodologies, it’s time other schools follow in the footsteps of Cal Poly, Lingnan, Duke, Harvard, and Maryland.

American Professor in China,Asia,China Business,China Business Consultant,China Editorials,China Expat,China Expats,Chinese Education,Chinese Internet,Chinese Media,Confucius Slept Here,Hong Kong,In the news,Intercultural Issues,Internet marketing China,Teaching in China,The Internet,Uncategorized,中国,中文

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Beware the Dragon…..

Back in the days of Ziggy Stardust and Woolly Mammoths I paid part of my college tuition by being on my College’s speech team. I have a house full of trophies and medals, oh ya, and a diploma to show for it….Did you ever notice how those big trophies slowly come to life and unscrew themselves over time? But, I digress…

I recently received an email from a Ben Brofman of the Weiser Group in New York, America. His company does consulting for other companies “at critical points in their evolution.” The explanation of that process then reads on their web page like a euphemistic way of saying euphemism.

Anyway, Ben sent me a description of a Oxford style debate series they sponsor using very expensive talent to variety of issues. He thought I might be interested in their organization called Intelligence Squared U.S..

He says they are working to “remove the rancorous tone from America’s public discourse.” Short of a one-party system I think they have their work cut out for them….

Anyway he told me that last month’s expensive debate was entitled, “Beware the Dragon: A booming China spells trouble for America.” I would love to see the rancorous titles they discarded.

So, I played along with the viral advertising and took a look.

Debaters included Bill Gertz, John J. Mearsheimer, and Michael Pillsbury, Daniel H. Rosen, James McGregor, and J. Stapleton Roy. The names will resonate with you if you have read any books on China like “One Billion Customers.” James Harding, business and city editor of the Times of London, served as moderator–I told you this cost a fortune–and how much do they pay Ben to write those emails?

Anyway, Intelligence Squared polls its audience on each motion before and after the debate. At the start, the audience favored the motion that China spells trouble for America by 41%, with 37% against and 22% undecided. By the evening’s conclusion, only 35% supported the motion, with 59% against and only 6% undecided.

Very few people have viewed the videos on YouTube and that is a pity. Some of these guys couldn’t win an argument over taxi rights with a Cantonese woman, but worth every second of your time is the Wall Streets Journal’s former China bureau chief James McGregor. His plain talk, powerful knowledge of internal China and his 20-years as an expat here in the Middle Kingdom quickly got my attention. He handles the opposition–The Chicken Little Corps of Academics- with ease and doesn’t sound like he had to Google a bit of his argument. Enjoy:

YOUTUBE

China Business,China Business Consultant,China Editorials,Chinese Internet,Chinese Media,In the news,Intercultural Issues,Internet marketing China,Videos,中国

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Compassion Fatigue

One of the lines I repeatedly quote from Waiting for Godot is “Habit is a great deadener.” The more we see poverty, death, disability, illness, and systemic dysfunction, the more we become desensitized to it. The more we add charitable acts to the bottom of our to-do list, the more we deaden our reflexes to react to immediate human crises.

I’m a sap. I’m the guy who gets tears in his eyes in a pawn shop, and I wonder what set of circumstances could bring someone to surrender the symbol of their emotional commitment to each other for few dollars. And I ask myself “What egregious sin must a man have committed to compel his family to hawk an heirloom like a masonic ring for ten to twenty percent of its worth?” Part of it is that the shops bring back memories of my childhood, when my father and mother would pawn their savings bonds in the middle of every month so that they were able to pay a car payment or a grocery bill. I’m not sure we ever redeemed. perhaps an emotional element of the the dreamblogue is my attempt to metaphorically recover those bonds for someone else.

The Blog of Dreams, for me, is also about fighting ennui. It is also about standing up to the pain that I experienced when one of my 22-year-old students lost a leg to bone cancer and another 23-year-old student died last week of leukemia. I’m not trying to be maudlin, nor am I trying to paint myself as some kind of extraordinarily kind person. I am doing what I have to do in order maintain some kind of balance in an environment that constantly erodes and degrades my capacity to react to human suffering. I have no interest in being like the Pulitzer-prize-winning photojournalist who watched a vulture wait for an African child to die. He snapped his shot, won the prize, and was later denounced by colleagues with vicious criticism for not taking the child to an aid station . He later committed suicide. Watching people die around me this year has hushed my sef-preservational black, as I’ve watched friends and colleagues try to navigate hopeless situations. The Dreamblogue is a personally proposed imperative and my long trek to the aid station.

Onemandbandwidth has been short on content for the past three weeks: let me tell you why. David and I have written around 50,000 words during that time in support of the Dreamblogue in the form of: a grant proposal to Global Voices Online; sponsorship support proposals for colleges in the UK and the US; a PR Web release about our journey; hundreds of e-mails to potential supporters (not donors); project profiles on social networking sites; correspondence with intended recipients of our charity; the editing and revision of 22 articles about the mainland provinces we will visit; and more. David and I transformed my apartment into a two-man hermitage because we have literally spent 19 to 20 hours a day for the past six days, carpals to the keyboard, in preparation for this trip. The only breaks we took were to watch reruns of House, M.D. (while we kept editing) and to play an occasional round of Scrabble online.

Years ago, there was talk of a self-perpetuating machine…now if only we could figure out a way to not take our once a day eat break we could make engineering history. Lately our work is generating more work, which generates more work…we need to MoBlog!

The universe has us on hold right now, and the muzak, though promising, has a dreadfully slow rhythm. Proposals are making their way through the digestive tracks of various commercial and organizational enterprises–we DO understand, but it ain’t any easier….

I’ve read several stories on the Internet this week bemoaning the lack of medical care in China, the widening gap between rich and poor, and descriptions of the disasters in north and the south that have devastated China. Some are touching, some are appalling, but for me, each of them lacked the one element that seems outstanding in my emotional and mental gestalt of late. All but one member of The League of Extraordinary Chinese Women is dead, and I hold myself accountable at some level for possibly missing something. In these reams of paperwork and multitude of posts, what word or phrase, what measure of credibility is missing that can make people to resonate with what I feeel?

Onemanbandwidth will be doing a 301 redirect soon, and lend all of the power and cyber-momentum built by the site to the Dreamblogue project. I’ll write some articles-ambitious, critical, and ridiculous as always–from time to time on the Dreamblogue; however, the project has a life of its own and it is much more important than a personal online diary.

David and I only want one thing from you, and it’s not money nor pats on the back (we haven’t done anything yet). The only thing we want is for you to social network our requests for people’s dreams. Tell your friends to send us their dreams. Link to us, favorite us on Technorati, and tell others to do the same. Give us a few minutes of your time and a little space on your blog (which we know are valuable), and we’ll do our best to reflect credit on your generosity. Yhank you to those of you who have already acted.

And before we sound a little too altruistic for our own good, you need to know what is in this for us: David and I hope to write a book or two about their adventures, and I long to see historical China. The people that will be helped most immediately are those people we have personal contact with. I selfishly want them alive and in my life for as long as possible. By doing so, maybe I can assuage some of the guilt I feel for not being able to do more this year for the people I love. These are our dreams, and we want to achieve them. In exchange, we want to help a few realize their dreams, too–especially the fantastic work of the Library Project and the Reading Tub.

There is no good way to end this post except to begin our work. The Blog of Dreams is our newest answer to compassion fatigue: by sharing our dreams with each other and funnelling the power of those desires into helping others, we may be able to restore our capacity to witness and ease some human suffering.

poverty in China

Asia,cartoons,Charity in China,China Business,China Editorials,China Expat,China Expats,Chinese Internet,Confucius Slept Here,Expats,Greater Asia Blogs,Heartsongs,Human Rights,In the news,Intercultural Issues,Teaching in China,中国,中文

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The nail that sticks up changes nationalities

seat turtles china

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have heard several Americans jokingly remark that while living in other countries they would rather people regarded them as Canadian.

Not unlike my days as a soldier during Vietnam, travelling with a blue passport generates discussion and often heated debate from non-Americans. Our approval rating Internationally may be lower than Bush’s at home, but I haven’t seen anyone hot-footing it to the consulate to denounce their citizenship–and who’d want Chinese students asking daily if you knew Dashan anyway?

Thinking about all of this I was dazed by an article in the Guardian last week that spoke of China’s enormous brain drain. The Sea Turtles (Chinese who have left China for study or temporary work and returned) do not seem to feel a biological or nationalistic imperative to head back to their motherland.

According to the Guardian, “China suffers the worst brain drain in the world…a new study that found seven out of every 10 students who enroll in an overseas university never return… ”

China is an economic eighteen wheeler without brakes and studies show that Despite business booming, government incentives to return,
and the odds of emerging from poverty being greater here than in the US, the the best and brightest are now staying away.

“The Chinese Academy of Social Sciences revealed 1.06 million Chinese had gone to study overseas since 1978, but only 275,000 had returned. The rest had taken postgraduate courses, found work, got married or changed citizenship.” The Guardian surmised it was a freedom issue. Imagine that. I regard it as symtomatic of a privatized educational system, exploding with students, and run amock with greedy carpetbaggers who care little about their charges.

David, the Dreamblogue’s Sancho Panza, asked me during a recent trip to Hong Kong, where the Internet is uncensored, the food and medicine quality less questionable and the burgers not likely to have come from animal that barked during their previous incarnation, “and we don’t live in Hong Kong, why?It seems a lot of Chinese kids are feeling the same way.

Last year the numbers of students from China headed to the UK to study increased 20% to 60,000 and China has just poured several million into programs to increase overseas opportunities hoping no doubt to increase western trained innovators. But how well that will pay off is questionable because in 2005, 118,500 took to study overseas. By 2010, some 200,000 will be in schools abroad. Like my friend in a very low margin wholesale business once said: “What we lack in profit we make up for in volume.”

There was a very telling student quote in the Guardian article: “I am slightly hesitant because China is developing very fast and by 2030, its GDP will probably surpass the USA. But I am concerned that I might not get a good job if I return. America may suit me more because they judge you according to your ability, whereas in China your background and connections are more important.” In China it is definitely not what you know, but who you know, who your parents are, and where you went to school. And while there are some tremendous schools here like Beijing University, Tsinghua, and other regional institutions of lesser, but honest repute, the fact is that lack of uncensored material, Internet capabilities and abundant antiquated facilities and poor teaching conditions make some, even great, schools a tough sell.

Then, Students who fail or perform poorly in mainland exams, are flooding to newly created degree mills like the profit-mad Macau University of Science and Technology. Some of the degrees are Macau accredited and others are not. If you have money the school will find a way for you to buy a diploma. It’s reputation is failing, but the enrollment numbers are increasing. Students with money will do a year or so at MUST and then attempt more credible pursuits in the US or at more authentic schools in Hong Kong or Macau. This year more than 15% of the MUST’s student body applied for transfer to western schools or other programs and the administration could care less as it continues to cash in on discontent—while creating its own branded version.

Yang Xiaojing, one of the authors of the brain drain report, was quoted as saying in the China Daily. “Against the backdrop of economic globalization, an excessive brain drain will inevitably threaten the human resources, security and eventually the national economic and social security of any country.” His fears are borne out in a survey this year which found that in Shanghai 30% of high school pupils and 50% of middle-school students wanted to change their nationality. THEIR NATIONALITY!

It is time for a Sea Turtle Preservation Society in China. A good start is to re-look at the corruption in newly industrialized mainland and Macau educational institutions, like MUST, who I see, through greed, declining standards, disdain for faculty, and lack of concern for a student’s ability to obtain work upon graduation, remove what should be an innate desire to return home.

American Professor in China,China Business,China Business Consultant,China Editorials,Chinese Education,Confucius Slept Here,Hong Kong,In the news,Intercultural Issues,Macau,Macau University of Science and Technology,Teaching in China,中国,中文

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Blog of Dreams



The Dream:

Our dream is to travel in 2007 to every mainland province in China. During this journey, it is our intention to chronicle the everyday lives of ordinary Chinese citizens. Our motivation for the trip came from a group of women known as the League of Extraordinary Chinese Women. The LOECW was comprised of 5 women from various walks of Chinese life—wives, semi-professional women, a bookkeeper, and a student. The one thing they had in common was advanced-stage HER2 breast cancer. These women, with little access to formal education and less information from outside sources about the disease they had contracted, naturally and courageously combated their disease with friendship, enthusiasm, meditation, and what medical care they could afford.

One member of the original group has survived, and a newer, younger member has been added recently—a 22-year-old student who lost her leg to bone cancer. Both of the survivors lack the financial wherewithal to apply standard medical treatment to their illness. We devoted time and energy from our blogs and lives to raise money for members of the league. As a result of our initial efforts, we were able to extend the life of some members, and we enabled the student to purchase a prosthetic leg.

During this first effort, we began to think about other Chinese people left behind in the wake of this huge industrial growth. Around this time, we also met Thomas Stader and Laurie Mackenzie, two expats who have devoted their time, talents, and treasures to Chinese, educationally and economically left behind, by giving them access to life-changing education. Our meetings sparked Yanzhi Liu’s interest, as he was (and still is) a board member for the US-based group The Reading Tub. Because we are educators and bloggers actively involved in search engine marketing optimization and education, we sought to find a way to organize the entrepreneurial energy of the people we met and turn it into a force that would help us, and other people, realize the dreams we now hold dear.

We decided to experiment, via the Blog of Dreams, by asking students in our global internet marketing class to take a hands-on approach to global marketing by contributing to a positive world awareness of China while aiding worthy causes. Students immediately drove a brand new blog to the number 23 position (out of 75 million) in the Favorites section of Technorati, the premiere blog aggregator in the world. Students ensured that one of our blogs was nominated for and eventually won Best Asian Blog in the Annual Weblog Awards. This blog already held dozens of top ten slots in search engine slots for keywords related to China business. So, with this kind of early momentum, student commitment and huge volunteer support, we knew we could create a project that would make a difference in other people’s lives via the Internet.

The Dreamblogue is a simple concept. We will contact people through PR Web, Blogger News Network (BNN, for whom we write), Google News, Social Networks like Facebook and our volunteer network. We will also promote an Internet MEME that asks people be to share real dreams for themselves or someone else. After a specified period of time (maybe once a month or once a quarter), we’ll select a contributor who will win a prize donated by one of our charitable sponsors. We hope to give away vacations to China, scholarships for study abroad, equipment, Software and cutting edge gadgets that will appeal to our broad demographic. We want to attract a Postsecret-type (http://postsecret.blogspot.com) interest in our blog that will drive enough traffic that we can generate advertising revenue to give to educational and medical concerns. We also plan a book about China for expat and business newcomers.

The blog will use Feedburner and Blogads as its primary advertising revenue resources. The number of ads that we allow will be limited: no more than 1 ad in our feed, 1 ad in our posts, and 1 ad in our blog ads. All of the money generated from these sources will go directly from Feedburner and Blogads to the charities we support—we will never directly handle the money.

The other advertising that we will be present on the site will be for other corporations and institutions that sponsor our adventure, and those ads will be top listed display ads in the sidebar of the blog of dreams.

Any educational concerns that join us as sponsors for the trip will have direct links on our site to translated pages or individual websites that will advertise to Chinese students and more importantly, their parents. We will do all of the search engine optimization and translation and ongoing support for these.

The Blog of Dreams will have videocasts, podcasts, a China picture contest (to be turned into a coffee table book) , a weekly Chinese horoscope, weekly Chinese recipes (also to be a book), and most importantly, the daily dreams of people from around the world. In all, the Dreamblogue has been created to be a tool of understanding and a place where dreams can be spoken into reality. We also plan a book bout

Click on the stamp above and head for the Dreamblogue. The first thing you can do to help is favorite them in Technorati and then link to them if you have a blog.

ABOUT US:
Who we are:

Lonnie Hodge is a writer, educator and SEO consultant with over 20 years of experience working and living in Asia. He is a past recipient of America’s highest honor given to a poet: A National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Writing. Because of the Unsinkable Ms Yue’s constant inspiration via, her courage in battling cancer, Lonnie, along with David, were compelled to create The China Dreamblogue.
Lonnie has done SEO for corporations and bloggers large or small. His work for non-profit groups is done without charge. To date his clients hold over 30,000 keywords indexed in #1 positions on major search engines worldwide.
Lonnie has been a lecturer worldwide on topics related to Humor and Wellness, psychoneuroimmunology, Psychopharmacology, Personal Communication, Asian Culture, International Trade, Search Engine Optimization, Marketing, ESL and Personal Growth and Development for Universities, small and large businesses, The Kellogg Leadership Program, The Fetzer Institute and more…
He is a Professor with over thirty years of teaching experience at Universities worldwide including: Baylor University, The University of North Carolina, The U.S. Army Academy of Health Sciences (while he was a soldier during a few of the Vietnam years), The University of Maryland and Business/Technical Colleges in Asia.
He is currently one of China’s leading Trade Specialists and Consultants. He is one of only two peer- reviewed and accepted SEO specialists in China.
David DeGeest is a teacher, blogger, and educator in China who regularly assists in the editing and writing of OneManBandWidth. He holds a degree in mathematics and English from Grinnell College. He came to China as the recipient of a prestigious fellowship from Grinnell’s Office of Social Commitment. In the past year, he has edited a motivational memoir and an international Bonsai book. He has devoted his time to learning Chinese, language and literature, Martial Arts and SEO while promoting the Dreamblogue.

More information will follow tomorrow.

Blogroll Diving,Cancer Journal,Charity in China,China Business,China Business Consultant,China Cool Gadgets,China Editorials,China Expat,China Expats,China Photos,China web 2.0,Chinese Internet,Chinese Media,Chinglish,Confucius Slept Here,Expats,Heartsongs,Human Rights,In the news,Intercultural Issues,Internet marketing China,Personal Notes,Search Engine Marketing,SEM,SEO,Seo China,Teaching in China,The Internet,The League of Extraordinary Chinese Women,The Unsinkable Ms Yue,Top Blogs,Travel in China,中国,中文

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Let’s go to DIDINEYLAND!

Fake Disney

I think Lo Kam-lok, a hairdresser and aspiring Mouseketerrorist in Hong Kong, watched way too many re-runs of Eddie Murphy on Saturday Night Live. This moron posted a message in Chinglish on an Internet forum and threatened to blow himself, Sleeping Beauty and the US Consulate to Magic Kingdom come.

Lo claimed it was a joke, but the magistrate for the case said it was akin to shouting “fire” in a crowded theatre (a better analogy would have been “free food” at a Cantonese buffet)….

They have Lo in the Goofy bin for evaluation prior to sentencing. While mouseketerrorism is not really very funny, the law he is convicted of breaking is pretty good: Seems he’s busted, not for the threat, but for “wasting police time.” Damn, that would put most Americans in jail for life. It seems it took 213 man hours and about $4,000 USD to get the low-down on Lo and that is addition to bucks spent at Hong Kong Disneyland stepping up security.

Maybe it was the place pictured above that he was intending to eliminate: The obscene photo is from a Chinese knock-off of the real theme park. Go check out The Humanaught for a view of China’s Didineyland.

Asian Humor,China Business,China Humor,China Photos,Chinglish,Homeland Security,Hong Kong,Humor,In the news,Intercultural Issues,Just Plain Strange,Weird China,中国,中文

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Not with a Whimper….

china food

One of the worst phone calls I ever received was from a friend of 30 years who weeks earlier had phoned to ask my advice. The first call was to get my recommendation for a natural sleeping aid. She and her husband were facing big job changes and she wanted a non-narcotic alternative to counting sheep. At the time I was successfully using amino acids like tryptophan to help naturally restore chemical balance and chemically altered serenity to alcoholics and addicts. The best sleep aid available was tryptophan, the chemical precursor to serotonin and the substance that you find in turkey and milk. It is the reason, other than you have seen it 9999 times, that you never make it through that re-run of It’s a Wonderful Life after Christmas dinner without snoring. Back to the phone call….

She told me she had been in a wheelchair for weeks and had lost all strength in her muscles. She went on to tell me that she was the one of the lucky ones as several people had died and the Center for Disease Control had indeed identified a bad batch of Japanese tryptophan as the culprit. It did not ease my guilt for recommending the supplement when she told me that I was not going to be mentioned in the lawsuit being brought to the Japanese company responsible by pre-Simpson trial heavyweight Attorney F.Lee Bailey.

My friend recovered and the suit was settled quietly by a Japanese company flush with cash. Tryptophan was removed from Vitamin store shelves and I stopped suporting amino treatments despite believing the tryptophan incident was an isolated. They never found the real cause of the devastation and I never heard of a single individual being punished for a part in the debacle.

The Chinese have rightly been under the microscope lately for some terrifying incidents of pure greed. Drug manufacturers and food producers have been found to be cutting costs (while we want to up the value of the Yuan so now shrinking profit margins get even smaller) by using dangerous, cheap chemicals in place of the real thing. Hundred have died or become sick worldwide from a host of products: Antifreeze laced toothpaste, bad cat food, killer cough syrup, and bacteria laden eye drops are among the most recent problem products.

China, like most Asian countries, detests publicity and the resulting loss of face. And to show their resolve about cleaning up the problem they handed Zheng Xiaoyu, former director of China’s Food & Drug Administration, the death sentence yesterday. Swift Action 1, Human Rights 0.

It seems Zheng took $800,000 USD in bribes to look the other way as fake drugs, placebos and worse were exported worldwide. There is evidence that his actions were lethal: In one instance, an antibiotic approved by his agency killed at least ten patients last year before it was recalled.

drug czar

Zheng Xiaoyu in living color

According to the New York Times, via China Digital Times, “The problems are more serious in China because tens of thousands of people are sickened or killed every year because of rampant counterfeiting and phony food and drugs. For instance, last year 11 people died in China after being treated with an injection tainted by a fake chemical. And 6 people died and 80 others fell ill after taking an antibiotic that was produced with a ‘substandard disinfectant.’”

About once a month some task force in Hong Kong is seizing millions of Yuan worth of bogus Viagra (it WAS all in your head) and even cholesterol fighting agents.

“The government also said it would crack down on food products that are being illegally exported, bypassing food inspections.”

Worried that many drugs may be substandard, China is now reviewing over 170,000 production licenses issued by his agency over the past decade. 170,000.

It is going to take a lot of policing to review 170,000 manufacturers. It is time to sell your stock in pharmaceuticals and opt for prison wear and weapons grade lead. This kind of behavior is rampant. I am against the death penalty for a number of reasons, but like Dezza (see comments on this post) I want to see this guy rot in hell, but only after being forced to use his own approved products.

The biggest issue with the death sentence in this case is that it is just a high profile face-saving jesture. Hundreds of vendors in Gongbei, near the border to Macau where thousands of police reside, will launder your money, sell you knock-offs of any watch, drug, DVD, or game that you want. Virtually every booth has i-Pod Nanos for 170 Yuan ($20 bucks) that look (but don’t behave) like real. One post long ago at Sinosplice had what was then a funny entry about “Nalencia” oranges. Several commenters remarked that the oranges were pretty good despite the fake inspection sticker which should read, of course, Valencia. I would think twice now about eating anything from a company that goes to that kind of trouble to give a false impression.

I am not parqnoidby nature, but I still travel to HK about once every two months to make a “drug run” where I pick up western medications and over the counter products I cannot get or safely trust in the mainland. The pharmacists there actually have legal degrees and a knowledge of medicine. I do not scare easily, but I have been afraid of mainland products for a long time. I have an infection from a recent dental procedure that will not abate and worry further that the antibiotics given me are really made of chalk or worse.

Don’t expect any great changes anytime soon just because they offed this opportunistic scumbag. It appears this issue, if it ever ends will do so, not with the whimper of a fleeced Japanese industrialist, but with a bang….

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Banana W.H.O.?

banana sars

According to Reuters the newest Chinese food scare is bananas. Literally!

Somehow word got out, via text messages on cell phones, that the bananas on Hainan Island (China’s Hawaii which is to Hawaii as Chinese checkers are to checkers) contained the deadly SARS virus . Hm. All I ever received were, uh, solicitations and illegal taxi service ads: “Is that a banana in your pocket or…?”

The agriculture ministry has been called the cops to investigate. From what I saw of the police stations in Hainan, well they may take a while to get around to interviewing local monkeys/goats about their involvement:

hainan island

The rumor comes at a bad time Chinese products are under fire for poor quality and and dangerous substitutions of cheap material. Reuters says that we are on it though: U.S. health officials now “are checking all shipments of toothpaste coming from China, following reports of tainted products in the Dominican Republic and Panama.” Huh? Homeland security must be involved in this agricultural intelligence operation or Reuters needs a new editor. ( I am chiding the grammar here NOT the seious problems of late)

“The rumor about bananas from the sub-tropical island of Hainan had no scientific support as there had never been a case of humans contracting viruses from plants, the Agriculture Ministry said in a statement on its Web site (www.agri.gov.cn).” The Agriculture Ministry DEFINITELY needs an editor.

I am not sure what Hainan bananas did to hack people off, but they have been getting a bad rap lately. Earlier this year there were rumors abounding that they caused cancer because they had contracted something called Panama disease. Eerie coincidence, that.

Thanks once again to David Michael Porter who must get the world’s weirdest RSS feeds.

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Addicted to Mediocrity: Education in China II

Several years ago, there was an American dentist who was well known in alcohol recovery circles. He was frequently invited to speak about his circuitous and hard won arrival at sobriety because he was easily one of the most entertaining speakers ever heard on any subject. One story in particular remains with me: Having been told of the death of a colleague, and to preclude public contact while “paying his respects”, he visited the grave site where his friend would be laid to rest. As he leaned over the six-foot deep hole to bid a heartfelt, albeit inebriated goodbye, he fell into the hole. Unable to extricate himself he simply laid down for a brief nap.

When mourners arrived and gathered for the lowering of the casket there was a collective gasp of horror when a figure attempted to rise up from the grave. The dentist mused, “A normal man would have been embarrassed.” But, habit had been a great deadener and he was beyond shame. It would be many years later that he actually reached a “bottom,” deeper than the aforementioned six foot resting place, that acted as a catalyst for recovery. More on this in a bit….

Two weeks ago, amidst finals, I had to quickly return to my office to retrieve a forgotten document; en-route, I passed the classroom of one of the younger Chinese teachers. The brilliant and beautiful Ph.D graduate of one of the top schools in the world was asleep at her desk while her students chattered, used cell phones, applied make-up, read books, dozed, and smoked cigarettes. It looked more like a scene out of Chalkboard Jungle, Stand and Deliver or Freedom Writers, but without hope for a happy ending. In retropsect, the most astonishing part of the experiece was my lack of surprise and concomitant emotional indifference. I guess I have seen this too many times in too many Chinese and expat led classroom–while the teacher was awake.

Students in China, unlike students in Japan, are no longer adherents of Confucian principles. Since the days of Mao’s Cultural Revolution, where teachers were shamed, beaten, jailed and even killed (1966-1976), reverence for teachers is, at best, an arguable ideal. The average Chinese college student in many schools (there are exceptions), who thinks himself respectful, would still manage to incur the wrath of most American Professors because they have not had modeled for them the manners and etiquette expected of a western scholar.

Last week the Chinese media and the Internet were alive with rumors of this incident captured on film:

Stories abounded about the perpetrators, whose names and school were quickly made public on bulletin boards nationwide, and they had to be secreted away because a bounty had been placed on them. Allegedly 100,000 RMB (about 120,000 USD or 5 years of a school teacher’s gross salary) had been offered to the person or group that would literally beat them into respectfulness. The students, who finally apologized to the teacher, reportedly are back at school and neither the school or the teacher will further comment.

What is most disturbing to me, other than the physical attack and threat of harm to the teacher, is that the scene is all too typical of what many pedants are asked to endure in China. The industrialization of education has led the spoiled offspring of one-child families (Little Emperors), especially the newly prosperous, to believe that they have a right to lord their rich consumer status over low-paid, poorly prepared, and administratively unsupported educators. Teachers are expendable, and salvaging tuition is a higher calling.

Many of us who have been here for several years manage our classrooms with strict discipline and genuine concern for student well-being. Eventually, our sincerity is believed and that, in turn, generates a certain measure of respect. This allows for a reasonably manageable classroom where the handful of students serious about language acquisition and cultural gain can actually glean something useful.

In some rural schools, where teachers might be as paid as little as $50.00 USD per month, educators sometimes resort to brutality against students in a quest for control. There are laws against such behavior, but they are not often enforced. The students, I beieve, are rebelling against a system heavily reliant on memorization, humiliation and devaluation of self. I do not absolve abuse teachers of any negligence or liability by believing that their behavior is part-and-parcel of a dysunctional system. “Chinese education has a long history of corporal punishment,” says Thomas Gold, a University of California-Berkeley sociologist who studies China. Teachers’ “social status remains low, so they may be taking out their own frustrations on laggard kids.” I could not agree more.

My last school, the one where I just resigned, caters to wealthy, underachieving children from privileged families. The school virtually sells advanced (and unaccredited) degrees to business and government leaders from the mainland; accepts known plagiarized theses from students who may or may not have attended classes; admits almost any undergraduate (these programs are accredited) with a healthy bank balance; hires raw mainland talent, looking for a foothold in teaching, at a fraction of the wages paid by government established schools, and with only ten-month teaching contracts containing no provisions for retirement; they protect a registrar who holds American and Chinese Passports and the deanship over five departments who brags about hiding his income from the IRS via a Hong Kong bank; they pad their website faculty list with professors from famous universities who are not active teachers; have investors on their board with government ties who shower the school with land and facility donations; and have a turnover rate for staff that is higher than the local McDonalds. The teachers, though better paid, feel no more self worth than those in rural environs.

It is hard for students to command respect for an education entity, such as the one I left. It is blatantly greedy and inept. But, many, many other Chinese schools, especially privatized ones, have also abandoned functional educational models in the pursuit of profit. And with only 1/3 of graduating seniors assured of work this year many students cannot muster the motivation to respect a system that does little for their future, less for their net worth and still condemns their teachers to social contempt.

It is no wonder that 40% of my former school’s Freshman class applied for transfer. And 20% of the best, brightest and ethical at the school were accepted by other institutions and thankfully will leave. Others wish they would have followed suit because they will be left behind with an even further demoralized and unruly student and faculty population. Only 40% of those students educated abroad will return to China to share the skills they will acquire. My guess is they will avoid the teaching profession if possible.

Any normal system would be embarrassed. It is necessary to examine ways to curb profiteering, improve classroom conditions and teaching methodologies by educating educators and then rewarding them accordingly. It is time to foster respect for those entrusted with educating China’s new managers.

In a country now increasingly pressured to compete globally in business–via skills and quality and not price–while tariffs, environmental concerns and increasing production fees lower profits, one would think China would sober up and ask for a ladder to be lowered to rescue a system now forty years stranded nearly six-feet under.

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Hacktavists in China?

Hacktavists

One of the best books I’ve ever read was about the close of WWII and military loyalist attempts to counter the Imperial edict to surrender. Nihon no Ichiban Nagai no Hi (“Japan’s Longest Day”) is a surprisingly frank account of the actions of military brass bent on continuing the war against Allied Forces regardless of the consequences. According to Japanese historians who compiled the book, part of the pro-military “plot” involved overtaking radio broadcast capabilities in Tokyo. Had the perpetrators been successful the war may very well have continued on in spite of the devastating Allied attacks on Tokyo, Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Governments at war, pranksters and hacktavists today are still eyeing conventional media as part of operations meant to further their agendas. And from the planting of messages in your GPS system to psychological warfare blurbs calling for enemy surrender it is a potentially powerful tool.

Now even the most hyper-vigilant of cyber-nannies, China, has its hands full: According to The Sydney Morning Herald hackers interrupted satellite TV signals on Thursday in southern China to broadcast anti-government messages.

“Viewers complained that their TV screens went blank for nearly two hours or showed anti-government messages for 30 to 40 seconds on Tuesday evening, the Shanghai-based Xinmin Evening News said in a report on the website Sohu.com. The report didn’t describe the content of the messages that aired in Guangdong province. TV station operators told viewers that hackers may have hijacked their satellites, the report said. But a receptionist who answered the phone at a cable TV operator in Guangdong said the incident involved a satellite problem that has been fixed.”

Hong Kong’s Apple Daily, reportedly a newspaper, said the Chinese government censored news reports about the satellite interruption. Imagine that!
Time, and more information about message content, will tell us whether or not those hackers were in it for fun profit or political gain. To date, all I receive on my cell phone are SMS ads for hookers and illegal taxis and I would likely miss a broadcast on CCTV as I generally avoid watching it. But, who knows what is coming? Just last week authorities shut down a pirte TV station in Shi’an. Increasingly more sophiticated groups exploiting the Internet and emerging communication technologies are going to make for a host of long days for the cyber-com cops of the world.

Fave OMBW:

Uncensored Users:

Add to Technorati Favorites

Censored Users in the Mainland:

Add to Technorati Favorites

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Continuing Education Classes for Expats in China

One thing I do miss about America is the grand amount of community and continuing education available to virtually anyone and much of it for free. I was stumbling through Illustratrator’s newest release on MAC yesterday and bemoaning the fact that even a book on the subject would be hard to come by or too expensive to ship or pick up in Hong Kong.

Coincidentally, two colleges contacted me about the possibility of low-residency Masters and Doctoral programs and Continuing Education. One school is based in the UK and one is in the US. Both have good reputations and a comprehensive offering of courses. Both asked me if I thought they could be successful in China with the expat community. I answered honestly that I hadn’t a clue, but that I would ask you.

Let me know your thoughts and please feel free to add a response or two to the poll.

{democracy:2}

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6 responses so far

Goolag

google censors

Thnaks to DMP for this and to The Cult of the Dead Cow folks who have given permission to you to use this on any medium you choose.

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SEO CHINA Part XXXI: Matt Cutts on Chinese Food, Adwords and Mom

GoGu

Matt Cutts works for Google and has a blog about how to court their search engine; so, when Matt flaps his blog wings in America there is a tsunami on the far side of the Internet.

This is a spoof on his recent interview on SEO in China….

Matt recently finished an interview with Zac on China SEO and Google that was started in September of 2006. Actually it was done much sooner, but got caught in Zac’s gmail spam filter, but I digress….

I have, via the magic of the Internet, figured out Matt’s answer algorithm and inserted myself and Matt’s probable answers into the interview:
Zac: First of all thank you for doing this interview with me, I believe it will be very helpful for SEOers and web marketers in China.

There are currently lots of misunderstandings about SEO in China. The first thing that pops up in mind is “spam” when people hear the word SEO. Some say “SEO is shortsighted and is like suicide”. From search engine’s point of view, is that true? Is SEO hated, allowed or encouraged by Google? We’re talking about whitehat SEO here.

Matt: I hate pop-ups. Google consides it spam. It’s a common mistake to think that search engines don’t like SEO. The fact is that SEO within Google’s quality guidelines is okay. It is even better if you follow party policy. That includes things like making sure that your site is crawlable, thinking of words that users would use when searching and including them naturally within the content of the site, and doing things like making sure that page titles and urls are descriptive except for stupid things like democracy .

What Google (and other search engines) don’t like is when someone tries to cheat or take a short cut to show up higher than they should. When a site violates our quality guidelines, Google calls that spam. When I do it we call it marketing.

Zac: Google announced its official Chinese name “Gu Ge” (Harvest Song) in April 2006 however the majority of Chinese users do not seem like the new name. It sonically sounds like 哥哥 which means big brother and tian-anmen knows we have had enough of that!

According to China Internet Network Information Center, CNNIC, Google is losing market share from 33% last year to current 25.3%.

http://www.linuxworld.com.au/index.php/id;836499436;fp;2;fpid;1

What do you think of the market share drop?

Matt: Liar Liar pants on fire! What was the question? We spent 190 million on market research and Baiduble 1% of that. Maybe we should outsource to India.

Zac: I noticed there are Chinese employees in Google headquarter. Any idea how many Chinese in Googleplex now? How are they doing? Any advice for Google fans who want to join Google?

Matt: We do have many Chinese engineers at the Googleplex. The ones not under investigation by Homeland Security are doing great.

ZAC: Let’s talk about duplicate content, which is a hot topic recently.Let’s talk about duplicate content, which is a hot topic recently.I see much more content copying on Chinese web sites. Many Chinese webmasters like to “gather” (wink, wink) contents from other web sites, either using software or by hand, then publish on their own web sites. Does Google penalize these sites full of contents you can see everywhere? Is there a percentage or threshold, exceeding which penalty is applied? In other words: just how much can we scam you before we get busted?

What should the original author do so that the original is recognized as so?

Matt: We have noticed that some Chinese web sites have a lot of duplicate content. Users like to get different search results, so Google is looking at how best to provide diverse results. Our algorithms already have some ways of removing duplicate content, and we will continue to look for ways to improve. As of today we have no way to filter out Chinglish modifications of content, so….

The original author should consider imitation the greatest form of flattery–I made that up just now.

Zac: Some web sites use multiple domains with exactly same content , for example, domain.com and domain.com.cn. Is this risky? What’s the best way to do it?

Matt: Use Google adwords. Ad don’t forget that creativity can really help. You could hire some Americans for that. For example, there was a site that made industrial blenders, which sounds like a very boring subject. But now go watch this video at: YouTube and you’ll see something amazing. They threw all kinds of different objects into the blender to prove how powerful their machine was; however, I am easily amused and don’t watch Letterman so I did not catch the duplicate content.

Even things like newsletters, blogs, information about an industry, or other resources can serve as a reason for people to get interested in your site and link to you. Porn sells well.
Continue Reading »

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Dying to win in Macau….

macau gambling

Simon Montlake wrote recently in the Christian Science Monitor about Macau’s “exhilarating” growth of late. Imagine yourself in a town where the GDP rose 17 percent last year and the law mandated that the highest paying of the thousands of new jobs must go to you, a local resident. Desperate casinos are hiring college students before graduation and they are easy to spot as they doze off even in the midst of exams.

One the face of it Macau, with salaries 3-6 times higher on average than the mainland, has re-nationalized and re-located the American Dream Eastward. And land values have increased some 30% this year and restaurants and service sector shops are packed most days.

But, there is life in the darkness beneath the fresh sod of success: Thousands of illegal aliens, mostly Filipino domestic helpers, Chinese mainland construction workers and Russian showgirls and prostitutes, work for under- the-table pay while living in overcrowded apartments. For every undocumented worker deported there are dozens, from the over 200 million migrant workers creating China’s new skyline, waiting to take their place. And there is no shortage of employers desperate to fill critical shortages or other local needs who are willing to bend the rules for a profit.

Last week a man from Wuhan in Hubei province, reportedly despondent over gambling losses, jumped to his death from a terrace inside the Sands Casino. He landed amid players queueing up for a free million HK dollar pull on a house slot machine. The Sands, who made profits staggering enough to pay off all their debts in only a few months, is building a new 3,000-room Venetian Macau at a cost of $2.3 billion and will likely retire that debt in record time. Mainlanders lose the money that comprises more than 60% of the revenue that has already outstripped the take of Las Vegas. Changes in anti-gambling Beijing’s hands off policy could affect the country’s bottom line and leave a populous, vocationally training to need gaming demands, without a fall-back plan. (Like my Irish mom, who likely spoke Yiddish in a previous life, “You need something to fall back on,” but….

It is not the first time someone has taken their own life after yielding to gambling urges and the mainland authorities, this time, have taken some token measures to curb addiction: Visas issuance, according to an official source in Guangzhou, have been limited in number due to the recent suicide. While I am sure this will do little to stem the tide of players it may be a warning shot fired at the captains of greed steering Macau into waters dependent on the very people Macau scorns with governmental controls. It may well cut down on monetary traffic for the upcoming Golden Week holiday.

The increase in real estate prices has taken place despite a huge surplus of available rental space. Thousand of high-end dwellings are gather dust on their price tags as the asking price is far too steep even for most newly affluent Macanese. Affordable housing for newcomers and is hard to come by and the 9-10 Macanese and Hong Kong families that control the bulk of Macau’s property holdings. The rampant land speculation is making decent housing unaffordable.

In an effort to slow real estate speculation the Macau government abruptly stopped its program that allowed outsiders to invest in homes and then qualify for citizenship. Of course, only non-Chinese qualified anyway unless mainlanders bought a passport from an African, Carribean or South American country selling citizenship. Now, many mainlanders are out the cost of an apartment and a fresh nationality. And real estate developers selling space in dozens of new luxury high-rises are owed millions in unpaid commissions now that the lure is gone. What is most troubling is: the new policy does not look like it will lower prices as the moguls have plenty of cash to park in land holdings while betting on the come of outside cash.

Macau has already surpassed Hong Kong as the top tourist destination in the area, but a quick search for the number of people checking on line for lodging in the area shows Macau getting 2/3 less look-ups. Macau is a Gambling Disneyland and good for a day trip, but not a vacation destination.

The homey, cheap places to eat are giving way to gourmet fare at tourist prices as local restaurateurs cannot afford the rent or compete for service workers with the casinos. The Sands starts their toilet attendants at a salary twice that of a mainland college teacher. Area entertainment magazines, paid for by casino ads, laud the explosion of new chefs and high-dollar meals, but the young, and the low-budget, daytripping retired folks think otherwise.

Right now, Macau is a safe bet for locals. But, as always, for someone to win at the tables, someone else must lose.

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# 1 Martian SEO Expert

will this seo martian pron get me locked up Oiwan

I am not at the top of the rankings as a Martian Search Engine Optimization (SEO) expert in the universe, but I might be after this post! The algorithms that govern what is and is not registered by search engines like Google and Yahoo! are shape-shifters: They catalog combinations from blogs and websites that can mystify, amuse and swindle you. For example, I am #1 in Google for Adult Pampers Makers even though I can’t remember mentioning diapers on this blog. I am too old to remember using them and too young to worry about them just yet. I believe, like Robin Williams, that diapers are like politicians and should be changed frequently because they are both full…

But, I digress…

I know about this listing because someone searched for the term, and my analytics program identified from whence they came. There are other authentic one-hit wonders for which I rank highly, though I am clueless about why people searched for them or why I showed up tops. They ALL beg for an aside, but I am resisting, thinking that you can use your imagination: Pocket Fisherman Diagram, Moscow Prostitute, Pig League Facials, Plentiful Breast Pictures, Professor Asshat, China Olympic Athlete Blog, There is the sex that americans admit to, Hairy Chinese Women, Wedding dress Market Report in China, I had my hepatitis shot, but the test says I have no immunity, Naked nurse teaching in China, Anais Nin commerative coin, American Prostitute Self, Naked nurse teaching in starbucks china, quota of America to China, You Tube Hong Kong Free Sex Video, How culture affects the way we use utensils, and Cartoon Photos of a man being massaged among hundreds of others…

Some SEO “Experts” list some of the keywords they claim to have earned in Google’s top ten rankings. They claim that these listings attest to their prowess, and they use these words to convince you that they can move your blog, site or company into a position where you will get more hits and gain international fame and fortune. Most of the words are like the ones above: once in a Martian moon sighting you will get a hit. Some seem remarkably credible like “UK SEO Expert.” He sounds, or can make himself sound, like the marketing go-to guy in England–that is, until you do some research on Submit Express and discover that on any given day there are ZERO searches for that term.

Far too many Chinese SEO firms prey on clients using this strategy. And most businesses, woefully unaware of SEO methods, are bilked out of thousands of dollars every year. The cost for a “hot word,” one with search results in the millions (think “Buddha,” “free buffet,” or “online video game”), is staggering: the top ten in Google is 20,000 RMB a year ($2,500 USD). A “cold word” with low search returns (think “delicious rat recipes” or “Japan learned everything it knows from the Tang dynasty”) will pull 10,000 RMB ($1,250 USD) from your wallet.

So “UK SEO expert,” at 2 million returns, would cost you 20,000 RMB and bring you absolutely no traffic. I’m always suspect of the word expert anyway: in bomb school, an expert was laughingly referred to as a “former drip under pressure”–never a good thing in explosives. It was a surefire way to tell someone was not what they purported to be.

I have many great search results I’m proud of, but were someone to actually come to them, I would worry about their mental health or my ego. I am number one for “American professor” in Google, hands down, and I frequently use this in lieu of a business card when I forget one. I am also in the Google China top ten for “American blog” (out of half a billion returns) and number 1 for “handsomest American in China” (move your Canuck ass over, Da Shan!) and ridiculously #1 for America’s Best Blog. In all humility, I found I rank quite high for “China blog about nothing” and “Lonnie isn’t exactly the sharpest guy in the world,” which isn’t exactly what you’d want when you are trying to build up your China business consultant site that’s already number 1 for “china business consultant blog” in Google, Google China and Yahoo.

If you are really interested in a legitimate search engine marketing provider, drop me a note at [*santini47@yahoo.com *]–spambots, eat your heart out (thanks R)! I’ll turn you on to the likes of Fili, Ryan, CWM, or someone else who will be able to get their hands out of your Paypal pockets at some point. And if you’re considering marketing to Martians anytime soon, you know where to look…

FYI: I am doing SEO work or global marketing lectures free for nonprofit groups or companies who agree to donate my normal fee to the China Dreamblogue project.

By the way, with this many links in a post, doesn’t it look like Dan Harris wrote it?

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Heartsongs: The Library Project

“Children’s books are a luxury to have in Asia, and a rarity in an orphanage.”

–from The Library Project

Guest Post by David DeGeest

Thomas Stader has a vision to build libraries for children living in orphanages and rural areas around Asia.

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Stader, is one of those rare people who come to China with big plans and a bigger heart. He came to help and began to put his plan into action in 1993. To accompany Stader’s big heart, is a well organized plan rife with several clever ideas. Instead of trying to organize all of the complex processes that would be required to build libraries, Stader uses pre-existing supply chains and forms cooperative agreements with local NGOs and corporationg for funding and logistics. These tactics, combined with the lower overhead costs in Asia, allow him to build libraries for $150-$300 USD each–without comprimising the structural quality or integrity of the libraries. Welcome to an age when quality NGO work combined with smart marketing and good business sense can transform a philanthropic daydream into a sound reality.

building a library in China

The Project has made remarkable progress. In 2006, Stader was able to create two libraries for approximately $300 USD and some help from Aston Education, JinaLive, and the Dalian Charity Federation. In 2007, The Library Project will expand to do work in Xian and Jinan. By the end of the year, the project plans to create 15 new libraries to schools and orphanages with a total project cost under $15,000 USD.

Here’s a list of the typical costs from one of the recent library projects:

Hard cover book, 100 pages: $3
Soft cover book, 100 pages: $2
Harry Potte Series: $15
Color comic book: $1
Black and white comic book: .5
Book shelf: $25
Table and chairs: $50
Plants, posters, mats: $25

children in a newly built chinese library

The Library Project plans to have 80 libraries running in China, Cambodia, and Vietnam by 2009. You can help by clicking here.

Note: all pictures featured here come from The Library Project’s site.

There will be follow-up articles on this worthy endeavor soon…..

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The trouble with Oiwan

censored in china

When the Oiwan Lam controversy began I predicted four things:

  1. Support for her cause would be hard to muster because people might feel as though Oiwan invited trouble by publishing a picture that she knew might provoke the ire of Hong Kong Censors. Civil disobedience is not as cherished as it was in the past;
  2. Support would quickly wane as the matter did not seem as urgent or foreboding as the Hao Wu case. Oiwan is facing 12 months in jail, a costly defense and a hefty fine, but she is not incarcerated at the moment;
  3. Bloggers might not pass the torch, or the hat, because the issues are complicated and Hong Kong specific;
  4. People would find it hard to empathize with Oiwan: Hong Kong is part of China and censorship is expected here.

EastSouthWestNorth, Rebecca McKinnon Boing Boing, Lost Laowai, Image Thief and a handful of others have done their best to explain the issues while rightfully advocating for one of their own. An advocacy group on Facebook has collected 69 members, but few calls for action have subsequently originated from western computers.

Oiwan did not invite this kind of response. She put her journalistic foot in the water and was dragged below the surface by the well-mapped but unpredictable undertow that is the Hong Kong Television and Entertainment Authority (TELA) and the Obscene Articles Tribunal (OAT). These are the same forces that roiled against a Hong Kong University student newspaper for a ridiculously benign sex survey, Michelangelo’s David in a 1995 magazine ad and Cupid and Psyche on a book cover at the most recent Hong Kong Book Fair.

The charges against Oiwan created a tremor in the blogsphere , but the aftershocks are so imperceptible that we have gone about life as usual. Some Hong Kong bloggers are taking up the cause by posting other classic art works as an act of protest and solidarity. The rest of us should also act on her behalf.

I met with John Kennedy of Global Voices Online today and he spoke again to the issues involved in Oiwan’s case that affect all of us:

  • He thinks, and public opinion in Hong Kong backs him up, that the Tribunal and the TELA are antiques in need of dry storage and replacement (my sorry metaphor, not his). He thinks the Tribunal, which operates independently without reliable standards and accountability, should be elected officials that have to answer to the public.
  • He feels, and again is far from alone in his opinion, that a legal and reliably quantifiable definition of “obscene” or “indecent” should be adopted.

The latter is important to all of us as it would prevent dissidents from being punished at the whim of judges with personal or political agendas.

IF blogger’s rights can be upheld in Hong Kong it can instruct and inform governments and lawmakers everywhere about the need for free speech legislation and reform. Oiwan, who has no desire to be a martyr, is every man and woman who wants to speak their mind or read another’s in cyberspace. And, as Rebecca McKinnon has said so well in her blog, Oiwan is a writer who has devoted herself to the non-profit sector most of her adult life, so she has few financial resources to assist with what will be a costly and important court battle.

Help Oiwan and help yourself with a little link love to her cause blog (Banned in Mainland China), a posting of the banner below (feel free to use my bandwidth) and by, please, donating a few dollars to her legal campaign by clicking here:

Free Oiwan Lam

Asia,Blogroll Diving,Censorship,China Business,China Editorials,China Law,China web 2.0,Chinese Internet,Chinese Media,Confucius Slept Here,Greater Asia Blogs,Heartsongs,Hong Kong,Hong Kong Blogs,Human Rights,Human Rights China,In the news,Intercultural Issues,The Great Firewall,The Internet,Top Blogs,中国,中文

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