March 22, 2013 at 1:25 am #28645BrendanModerator
Oh boy.March 22, 2013 at 1:39 am #28647RayParticipant
When in prison, make it very clear: “I know the gov’na”…..March 22, 2013 at 2:27 am #28654MeriorParticipant
When in prison make sure that they are aware that you are connected to some other arrogant American who thinks that they are too important to follow Chinese law…. Yup, that should do it!March 22, 2013 at 3:21 am #28658MikeMember
ooooh…some toes get stepped on? 😛 I sir, am hardly arrogant, and as far from being ‘Merican as most you would meet.
I was merely pointing out that Guanxi, if you knew anyting about it, is very important in developing within China. It takes time. I also have a good friend in the local PSB in Guangzhou, and one day he really helped me out because the PSB was going to charge me that 4000 RMB fine on a late visa fee. The PSB guy is like a sergeant something? (forget how they run rank) and I met him through his daughter. It was one of those typical “my father wants you to meet us for dinner” thing. I showed up the first time and there were three other PSB officers there! Didn’t expect that. Anyway, several courses and several baijus and beers later, everything was peachy keen. These dinners happened every month like clockwork.
If you think I’m arrogant mentioning a friend who is in a top spot in China, then you are sorely mistaken and in fact probably have no clue as to how to go about developing guanxi there in Chengdu. It would be wise of you to do so though, because as attempt to peel away at the onion skin of what you consider your version of China, you are going to be surprised at just how deep it goes.March 22, 2013 at 3:55 am #28663BrendanModerator
FonzieMike, while we’re all really impressed that you know the guy from Amcham and had dinner/s with some Police on account of a daughter, you’ve gotten a little off base.
Everyone here knows the value of guanxi, China is built on it, but none of us really care either. At least I hope we don’t, because if I was to all of a sudden find myself surrounded by automatons in ill fitting suits, all itching to edge their way into an extra dollar, I’d know I was in the wrong place.
Yes, Chengdu is something of a ‘backwater’, and yes it drives us nuts sometimes, but we also love it for being exactly what it is. We try and share that in the forum and help each other out where we can, instead of trying to impress upon each other that we have all the answers.
Play along.March 22, 2013 at 4:30 am #28667MikeMember
I agree Brendan, I got off on the wrong foot. Forgive. and thanks. Just too damn unhappy I guess that I’m not back in China as yet. :
Oh, and I listened to some of the tracks on HZ…really liked the game? I think was the name. There was a guy that moved to China the same time I did, named Darius Champion. He spoke excellent Mandarin and is now a rap artist/mix artist. He’s now located in Taipei (I think he can’t go to the mainland for some reason). Anyway, he’s searchable on the hzwerksMarch 22, 2013 at 4:32 am #28669Ben BrownParticipant
Right on Brendan.
My personal take on guanxi is that you should build as much of it as you can anywhere you go and then try to leverage it as little as possible. I’ve been in and out of China since 1994. I have friends here that I’ve known since then. I’m certain if I really needed it they’d come to my aid immediately. Some of them hold fairly high positions and could be influential on my behalf.
I would go to them for help only if I was in danger of being deported or imprisoned. If I had to pay a 10K RMB fine, I would not go to them. Why? Because you don’t just build relationships and abuse them. If I get in trouble and call a friend, he calls someone. That person calls someone else who talks to their connection and gets me off the hook, but then owes someone else a favor. If I yelp every time I’m unhappy, I end up having fewer people on my side in the future.
Take this string for example. We’re all one big community within Chengdu. If we ignore friendship opportunities here, we lose out on so many more chances to form connections that could prove useful to our personal and professional lives. Personally, my enjoyment of life in Chengdu is enhanced by people who view the world optimistically and refrain from judgmental and / or arrogant statements. We benefit from one another through mutual respect. You might be this type of person, Mr. Lovett, and just be misunderstood in this forum string. So far, however, I’m seeing a fairly belittling and arrogant approach in this forum that has had a negative impact on well-respected people in the Chengdu community. I would suggest immediate efforts to reverse that impression.March 22, 2013 at 4:34 am #28670Ben BrownParticipant
Haha. I posted that about the same time you posted the above. Nice work.March 22, 2013 at 5:53 am #28678GrahamParticipant
Perfectly put Ben and Brendan. These precious relationships are not generally for public consumption and rarely used or mentioned, if ever, except in genuine dire emergencies. Even then, popping one’s head above the parapet can often have unexpected consequences.
By the way I love Chengdu for the same reasons Brendan mentions, supplemented by regular advice, correction and learning from my wife, who is local. We are lucky to be here, as guests in most cases; let’s recognise the value of that and make the most of it while we can. Best time of my life.
And I keep my police registration up-to-date. Its easy and only takes 10 minutes. Why would we not do it?March 22, 2013 at 8:20 am #28687Michael MParticipant
Clearly BFFsMarch 22, 2013 at 8:48 am #28691PaulParticipant
Is this entire guanxi thing something deeply inherent in Chinese culture or is it just a Mainland, post-Cultural Revolution, thing? How does guanxi work in Hong Kong and Taiwan? I imagine that it does exist, but not in the way it does here. Taiwan takes a lot of pride in maintaining Chinese culture, far more then the Mainland does.
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