TheNanfang » China Curmudgeon News & views about Guangzhou, Shenzhen & Dongguan Wed, 26 Nov 2014 03:30:36 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Hey Foreigners, Check Out The Apartment I Have for Rent Wed, 12 Nov 2014 07:17:12 +0000 China Curmudgeon Continue reading ]]> Luxurious and modern 120 sq. meter two-bedroom apartment with new furniture available for rent in a major Mainland Chinese city. If you would like to view the apartment, here is what you can expect to see if you contact me for a tour:

Furniture is new and tasteless. Also possibly toxic, judging from the strong, headache-inducing chemical odor that fills several rooms of the apartment. I chose all the furniture myself and like to pretend it is expensive and high-quality, as I will remind you every 90 seconds if you come view the apartment.

Living room has a couch that is meant to look like a large banana or watermelon slice, like you’d see on a children’s TV show. During a tour, I will present this to you with a straight face, and say it is expensive and high-quality. A massive, multi-colored glass and plastic chandelier hangs from the ceiling. If you are slightly above average height, watch your head.

There is a large oak entertainment center in the living room that was built to hold a 4×3 television. However the television is a 32-inch Skyworth non-HD model that sits on a coffee table pushed up against the windows. It gets about 50 provincial channels, all with varying levels of static and over-modulated sound. The remote control is well-used but still wrapped in plastic from the factory. If you want cable television, all you have to do is call “my friend” who can install it for you illegally, by climbing around on the outside of the 19th-floor balcony without safety gear of any kind. If he falls and dies, it’s your fault. If he lives, he will give me some of the money you pay him because that’s the deal we have.

The living room has floor-to-ceiling windows which offer a striking view of the adjacent apartment building, located just ten meters away.

The kitchen is small and narrow and can uncomfortably fit one person. It is fully equipped with running water. There are two temperatures, cold and scalding, and nothing in between. In the cupboards there are two plates and a fork the previous tenants left. The cupboards also feature cockroach traps.

The refrigerator is in the living room.

Both bedrooms have gigantic king-size beds that fill the entire room and leave room for little else. Although the beds are too large for the space, it is still possible to move around the edges of the room if you shuffle along the wall with your body turned sideways. The master bedroom also has a closet with no drawers or shelves, like a coffin leaned up against the wall vertically.

There is a large bathroom that feels very small because it is packed with both a free-standing bathtub and a separate shower stall, a sink, and a washing machine that does not work. The toilet has no water pressure and does not handle solids very well. A single square of toilet paper can clog it.

There are three more bathrooms located outside the apartment and down the hallway — they are labelled “elevators.” These public restrooms are mainly used by the building’s children and small dogs. They are also a good place to throw trash. In addition, they provide transportation between floors. Smoking is allowed in the elevator-restrooms.

The apartment complex has a courtyard where unfriendly, suspicious old people will congregate during the day. In the courtyard there are bathrooms everywhere — as in, children and small dogs go to the bathroom everywhere. Security is provided by what appears to be uniformed teenagers. These guard-thieves will be particularly watchful and interested when they see you catching a taxi to the airport with suitcases.

One thing you should know: I am not the actual owner of the apartment, but rather a “friend” of the corrupt, government-connected landlord. Normally I only divulge this information very reluctantly at the last minute, in a roundabout way, if you press me over why my ID copy doesn’t match the home ownership papers, or why I signed the contract with someone else’s name. The real estate agent will help me assure you that this is “very normal” and “no problem.”

Rent: RMB 23,000 / month

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“Western Banker” Writes Hilarious, Self-Important Letter to Occupy Students Sun, 09 Nov 2014 05:09:09 +0000 China Curmudgeon Continue reading ]]> Welcome to the debut post from The China Curmudgeon.

Dear students,

After occupying large parts of central Hong Kong, you have made your voice heard and made your point. Now it is time to go home, so that the Central Government and wealthy people like myself can go back to ignoring you and the problems you are drawing attention to.

I walked through the Admiralty protest zone yesterday on the way to a lunch meeting. I did not do this to take a selfie, like many tourists do. I did it so that when I talk about Occupy at dinner parties with other members of the elite, I can say that I’ve visited the protests. I feel it adds weight to my argument. And it only took about 15 minutes to do because I didn’t stop to actually engage with any protesters or try to understand their motivations.

So students, I hope you will take my advice, as someone who has been to the protest area and lived in Hong Kong for years. It is really time to tear down the blockades in Admiralty and Mong Kok. There are other more effective ways you can work to influence the direction of Hong Kong. I don’t know what they are, but when I say “other more effective ways” I’m really just hoping to leave it at that.

Is blocking people from coming and going to work democracy? No, it is not. True democracy is the freedom for me to make money, and for you to not elect your leaders.

Many Hong Kong people oppose Occupy Central. The ongoing protests and blockades are affecting countless lives in Hong Kong. Never mind that even the government says that Hong Kong’s economy has not been negatively impacted, and tourism has increased over the same period last year. The whole thing has impacted my life and my rights, and the lives and rights of many others, for two basic reasons:

1. Sometimes it takes me longer to commute.

2. Sometimes it forces me to think about issues I don’t want to think about.

Let’s talk about the second reason. As a Western businessman living in Hong Kong, I do not care if the people of Hong Kong can elect their leaders or not. If the Mainland destroys Hong Kong’s unique identity, I don’t really care either. If the Central Government ends freedom of the press, censors the Internet, and makes Hong Kong start to resemble the polluted hellscape that is Mainland China, then I will just leave. I know that millions of Hong Kong citizens can’t just leave, but that’s life. (Your life, not mine.)

It’s time to recognize that democracies around the world all function differently. Hong Kong is no different. In selecting the Chief Executive, real elections will be held. Students are hoping for direct elections, but the Central Government has announced there will instead be bullshit elections. This might not be the kind of democracy the people of Hong Kong want, but it is still democracy if you consider democracy to be just a word with no meaning. For the record, Hong Kong is democratic. But as in every democratic society, this comes with unique characteristics. What’s special about Hong Kong’s democracy is that a violently repressive government holds veto power over it.

You might consider me insensitive, or even an asshole. But such name-calling misses the point. The point is that you should go home because it’s taking me longer to commute, and I don’t like to think about the issues your actions are making me think about.

Thank you.

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