TRAVEL : CULTURE
IMD's INSIDE CHINA:
The Middle Kingdom Blog
Welcome! Since we'll be exploring the PRC for the next year or more, why not blog? Well, ok, there are a lot of reasons why not (we're not an expert's expert, just an old hand) but we're doing it anyway. Hopefully we'll be able to offer some highlights from and insights into one of the greatest countries on earth.
But what to call our new series? The Middling Kingdom? Meddling in the Kingdom? Malcolm in the Middle Kingdom? In the Court of the Crimson and Yellow King? I guess we'll start simple and in the South. Beginning with the Pearl Delta cities of GuangZhou and Hong Kong, we'll slowly work our way north and later on feature Shanghai, Qingdao, Jinan, Beijing and Chang Chun among other highlights.
Naturally, we'll do it all with our signature panache and sarcasm. Just remember, when you ask "Is he trying to be funny, or is he actually serious?" The answer is yes.
Each week we'll try to scratch out 5 days worth of a blog about anything and everything: travel, culture, tech, and a little bit about the direction of the planet earth --aka politics-- if I can get away with it (until they figure out my VPN configuration, anyway). Once we have enough data compiled we'll try give each topic its own index page for easy reference.
Posting every single day might be onerous in terms of the internet I have at my fingertips as well as my work ethic, so I will probably just save them up and post a bunch every weekend. We'll see how easy it is to do, given the somewhat restricted access to certain parts of the internetz which China permits. So far it hasn't been bad at all, really.
Hopefully this little travelougue will be viewed by the people of the PRC as the way a foreign author pays tribute to a fantastic part of the world, one rife with interesting things to see and complexities to understand a little bit better. It will surely evolve as we go along, but to begin with we will offer a few regular features on these topics in the weeks and months ahead: Travel, Daily Experience, Culture, Food, Money, Language, and Humor (including everyone's favorite, Chingrish).
Here is a short description.
1. Travel: Tips on getting around and sights to see.
2. Experience: Daily impressions and posts about the way of life in China these days, plus memiors of a remarkable adventure.
3. Culture: A little bit about what makes Chinese society unique, including the arts, history and people.
4. Food: Practical street food and fine dining tips, including oddities and products that tickle my palate.
5. Money: Investment tips or and valuable money making insights you won't be able to live without (though if that is all you have to live for you should probably take a good look at yourself).
6. Language: Daily on-the-ground Chinese language lessons, perhaps concentrating on slang and phrases you can't do without.
7. Humor: Including a near daily-dose of Chingrish and bizzare Western icon appropriation. (Figuring out what those kids with t-shirts on the subway thought their clothing was trying say is a fun game to play while you're barreling on towards your destination). This stuff is just great for a grin. Sometimes with photos, sometimes not.
As they say here in China: Please Consume & Enjoy!
TRAVEL / EXPERIENCE
My first impression entering China in the year 2018 was this: damn, with all the facial recognition they put you through during the Visa and Customs disembarking proceedure as you enter the country via air or rail, a career in IT for the average Chinese college graduate has to be the easiest sector to find a job in bar none! It's amazing to think they can keep track of a billion plus people via sheer processing power, but they're trying. Cameras are everywhere here and the sense that you are being watched is pervasive.
They are letting the robots take over without any fear at all that it will lead to a totalitarian Oceana. It's just not a concern when the benefit is obviously less crime and more stability.
Harmony: 和谐 He Xie (Pronounced 'huh shey").
To begin, understand that for most Chinese and for the Chinese government the cultural idea of "harmony" is more important than individual liberty. Be careful imposing ideas on your Chinese hosts about why freedom of speech rocks more than social stability. They won't get it and it might sound insiduous and destabilizing if you push it. Don't think that you will win them over by being loud or passionate about it, either. Just like the average American but even more so, the average Chinese person is not very informed about what goes on in the wider world and doesn't care to find out because that smaks of a certain kind of dangerous curiosity they can live without. If they express interests, sure, be honest. But don't weaponize your politics.
Today's Chingrish: "The future is back-- again! Traveller to space!" seen on a t-shirt. Indeed, just like me in China, I thought, the future has once again returned with promises of wondrous travel to unknown galaxies.
So that's it! Our first Middle Kingdom blog post of 2018. Any readers out there to connections to mainstream media, feel free to pitch excerpts from this blog as magazine articles you'll pay me handsomely for. Or even ugly pay, I need the byline. Hope you like it and feel free to contact me at email@example.com to give all the effusive praise I crave. :)
Kevin J Salveson is the founder of Ideas Million Dollar.