Brave Newer World

This is just going to be a few sentences long, but I was hoping people would check out the Manchurian Candidate's website:

It has a very interesting list of all the school killings that China has had (reported) since 2004. If you think the US is violent, check this list out.

“Now You Know What China Is Like”

This is something I wrote up in the summer of 2006, but have done nothing with since.

"Now you know what China is like," the taxi driver said after he dropped me off this evening.

I dropped a friend off at her home, and as I didn't fancy my chances at getting the last bus home (busses on the route tend to stop at around 9:30 or 10pm) I took a taxi. I live on top of a hill on the outskirts of the city, ten minut…

So what if the gunman was Chinese?

As most everyone with Internet, cable, a radio or a newspaper knows by now - there was a terrible shooting at Virginia Tech University yesterday where a man shot and killed 32 people, injuring 15 others.

What's quickly coming to light is that the killer was very likely a 25-year-old Chinese man in the US on a student visa.

It's interesting to me, as this morning when I first heard about the shooting, and well b…

Special English, another Christ, and Nazi

Time and again, I find the things I enjoy most about my job have little to do with teaching and everything to do with the absurdities I confront in the classroom. I wonder sometimes if this makes me a poor educator, but I don't linger on it. My students have no books, their teacher has no experience, the class has no goal and the university has no clue.

I have a new class on Mondays; it was thrust upon me last wee…

Sub-standard Pay = Super-sized Profits

The big news in China the past couple weeks has been about Western fast food chains (McDonald's, KFC and Pizza Hut) underpaying their staff in China - particularly the part-timers.

The issue was sparked by accusations from China's top trade union that McDonald's was underpaying their employees (Reuters/China Daily), in some places by almost half, and also forcing them to work full-time hours, while only providing …

Lost Laowai on

Just a quick note to say that Lost Laowai now has its own official group on Facebook. If you're a member of the popular social networking site, be sure to join the group of fellow lost laowai!

Come see who else is a member, put faces to names around the China blogsphere (yikes!), ask questions if you're new to China, or post complaints if you're not.

Lost Laowai Facebook Group

“How long will you stay?”

An ex-pat can expect to field a great variety of questions in their host country, and here in China the questions follow a similar pattern of curiosity. Random characters that we run into every day - taxi-drivers, shop-assistants, etc. - tend to ask the most banal questions, such as “can you use chopsticks?” and “where are you from?”.

More insightful queries tend to come from primary school-kids, acquaintances, a…

Bullet To The Head

I'm not a timid man. Generally speaking I don't get overtly nervous in most situations. However, any time I see the financial protection services folk, clad in their somewhat comical blue combats, and armed with a tube of a gun, I get shaky.

These guys, whose job it is to protect transfers of money between banks and to guard ATM repairs, look to be fresh off the playground for all their youth, and embody a cold st…

On Thrifty China: The Yale Professor versus Me

I was just reading Yale Professor Robert Schiller's article Thrifty China, Spendthrift America, which explains the apparent discrepancy of the saving rate in America versus what's occuring in China.

While I cannot provide as indepth an economic analysis as the learned professor has made, I would like to touch upon some of the points he discussed in his article. In doing so, I will be using a wide range of academi…

How To Spot A Blogspot Blog (A Quick Fix)

UPDATE May 12/09: While this solution may still work, if you are in China for any length of time, we recommend getting yourself hooked up with a Virtual Private Network (VPN). For a super-fast and versatile solution, check out WiTopia. If their inexpensive yearly fee is too much for you, give the slightly slower (but free) Hotspot Shield a try.

UPDATE May 11/08: This hack is somewhat dated now. However, it does st…