Working in China

Wow… where to start.  I promise you, this is going to get ugly.

There are countless books and articles on this; currently, I’m reading Poorly Made in China and Death by China, the former, an account by a Jewish-American ‘problem solver’ who worked with U.S. companies and Chinese manufacturers as an intermediary; the latter, a reactionary, extremely biased, but relevant look at unsafe practices by Chinese companies by a U of C economics professor.

The first one is interesting and pretty well-written… the second painfully alarmist and horribly composed.  But I’d recommend both, at least for a frame of reference.

Granted, I’m writing this after further difficulties around my visa/placement, yet again, wasting time, energy and resources, so I’m not in the most benevolent of moods.  But suffice it to say, yes, things that seem straightforward and easily resolved, generally take a back-seat to face… that ever-present Chinese and to a greater or lesser extent, East Asian concept of something like ‘honor’ or ‘integrity’.  But given what’s done in its name (usually hiding or exaggerating certain information, and frequently, outright lying), I would hardly use those words.

Now, I get it, “I’m an uncultured, bestial American, no sense of the Euro-British ‘Stiff-upper lip’, ‘sang-froid’ etc. etc.”

Yeah, fuck that.

I’m a teacher.  I get paid to do a job.  Not only do I take it seriously, I think I do it well.  I see myself as a professional.  I expect the people, the ‘problem-solvers’ around me to do their jobs professionally.  When they don’t, I let them know.  In no unclear terms.

You know what happens when you dance around issues at work?  Ulcers.  I had them in my early and late twenties.  Not fun.

Back to working in China.  Yeah, in some ways, it’s been an exercise in futility.  Yeah, I’m glad I did it, if nothing else, to remind me how there are some things we still do well in the states.  Not sure if I would stay longer; I’d want a much better contract and at least two or three lovers to keep me here.  Oh yeah, more on that later…


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