When one lives overseas, one expects problems, especially with the big things like visas, banking, taxes, insurance. You know, the Big, Important Shit that makes life annoying even when one isn’t overseas. And they are. The horror stories about opening bank accounts in China are endless. However, because problems are expected, nobody’s particularly surprised when informed about… Continue reading 014 Do You Want Congee With That?
When last we left off, I was two hours into my quest to pay my electric bill. Yes, I know, it sounds ridiculous, but it really is this difficult to get shit done in China. The biggest stumbling block in my way was Alipay, because the person who had my phone number previously, had bound that… Continue reading 013 Sometimes You Just Can’t Win
Everything in China is complicated. Even simple things. For instance, for the entire first half of March, internet access was… variable. You see, China’s two big important political bodies, the National People’s Congress and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, both had their Big Meetings earlier this month. This meant that VPNs around China went… Continue reading 012 It’s Only US$4.50, Please Just Take My Money
Apologies for the long hiatus, but you see, I made a terrible mistake: I moved to China exactly one week before Chinese New Year. The Logistics of Chinese New Year in Shenzhen Chinese New Year is like Christmas on crack. In most Western countries the last two weeks of the year are basically a wash.… Continue reading 010 Why Moving During Chinese New Year is a Bad Idea
China is such a large country and so homogeneous that China outsiders often forget that there is more to China than the Han majority. In fact, people living in China, both Chinese and foreign, often forget that China itself has (debatably) 55 minority groups living within its borders. In fact, I, too, was guilty of… Continue reading 007 A Minority Village in the Aftermath of an Earthquake
China does not do things the way you expect them to. As an expatriate, and an English-speaking expatriate to boot, we are given many perks. However, I’m not just an English-speaking expatriate. I am an English-speaking expatriate of Chinese descent. To put it quite bluntly, I am not white. This means that if I walk… Continue reading 005 Conversations with China (The Teaching Edition, Part I)
One sluggish winter afternoon in early 2008, I had a momentary lapse of sanity. Many factors were to blame. There were the short winter days, meaning I entered Work before the sun had risen, and left Work after the sun went down. Utterly depressing. There were the endless spreadsheets that required mind-numbing attention to detail.… Continue reading 002 The Insanity of Chinese Bureaucracy