Wednesday, August 27, 2008

A Few China Stories

I am in Qingdao now, chillin with my man Li Du and a large group of artists and musicians for the "Twin City Art Show" between Chengdu and Qingdao. I had a great night listening to the guys tell stories and admiring the girls' style ... here are a few stories about China as it changes ...

The Illest KTV in China

... might just be in Shanghai. In the outskirts of Shanghai, there is a Karaoke complex run by a Shanghai boss that is renowned not only for its amazing interior design and architecture, but also for its vast numbers of young, beautiful women with angel voices and demure exoticism.

A man from Guangyuan, a city in northern Sichuan, came to this KTV with his partners in the real estate business and expected nothing less than the best. His greatest wish was to take home a local Shanghai girl -- renowned for their wit, culture and sophistication. When he asked the manager how many girls were available, the manager replied snootily: we have more than 150 mama sans. Astounded, the man from Guangyuan asked to see the girls, one group at a time. Over the next hour and a half, he went through 30 different mama sans -- each with between 5 - 30 girls each -- and found not one that he liked. Finally, the exasperated manager said: Big Boss, maybe you should just relax and lower you high standards, we are after all just a small business trying to get by ...

Puffed up, the man from Guangyuan agreed to choose a girl from the next group. Luckily, the most beautiful girl he had seen was in the next group and he chose her. She was polite, erudite, sexy and could sing all of the best songs wonderfully -- even the English ones -- obviously an educated Shanghai girl. Satisfied, he sat back and smiled and drank beer after beer. When the time came to take the girl back to his hotel, he unhesitatingly chose the beautiful girl with the angel voice. As he led her to his BMW he stopped and asked her: where are you from?

Guangyuan, she replied sweetly, a city in northern Sichuan ...

The man slumped and dejectedly told her to go home ...

What you didn't hear about Wenjiang

Wenjiang, epicenter of the earthquake that devastated Sichuan on May 12th, is an (in)famous tourist location. Deep in the mountains of northwest Sichuan, this town once boasted not only beautiful scenery and peaceful surroundings, but also some of the most beautiful and destitute girls in the province. There are two villages outside of Wenjiang that are most famous for their services: Jin Ma and Ganzi Shu. These two villages are completely dark at night and can only be reached by motor bike and with an experienced guide.

One night, after the Tang Jiu Hui (Food and Liquor Fair) was finished, a group of bosses from Taiwan, Hong Kong, Beijing and other places were led through the winding hills and forests trails around Wenjiang to the villages of Jin Ma and Ganzi Shu. They stopped in the middle of a pitch black road and the driver dismounted, walked two meters into the inky blackness and called out. Almost immediately, a gate creaked open, floodlights lit up the surroundings and a young women beckoned them in. They entered the farmer's courtyard and were offered tea and refreshments. They chose from around a hundred girls sitting in the courtyard and had a great feast. The Euro Cup was going on at the time and the girls cheered and clapped with the increasingly drunken bosses until late in the night, when the last game finished. They then retreated to rooms in the back of the complex and only giggles and murmurs could be heard for the rest of the night.

In the morning, one of the bosses stumbled out of his room and went to the front courtyard for some tea. He was surprised to see a beautiful young woman from the night before wrapped in a towel watching the TV in rapture.

What are you doing? he asked her.

We can get the Games in the original language here via satellite, she said, so I am up early studying English ...

Guanghan -- Sichuan's "Little Hong Kong"

Guanghan is famous as the birthplace of Old Deng Xiao Ping, the man who led China out of the Cultural Revolution and into the modern era. But what many people don't know is that Guanghan is also the gambling center of Sichuan.

The system worked thus: There is a boss from Canton, a boss from the local police and a boss from the local mafia. They work in tandem and in peace. The Cantonese boss provides machines and money, the police chief makes sure the law turns a blind eye and the mafia manages the gambling hall.

There are three big gambling cartels in the city and they have come to an agreement. Each Gambling den is run by one cartel, but the profits from the dens are split evenly amongst the three. One month, all profits go to a one triumvirate, the next month to the next triumvirate and the next month to the last. On the fourth month, the process repeats itself. This system worked fine for several years.

One day, a railway police chief from the capital of Chengdu decided he was going to get into the business. He went to Guanghan, sat down and had dinner with all of the important people, showed the money to those he needed to show it to and bought the land and machines he needed for his hall. Well, business went well for a month or two, but soon the mafia bosses from the other three local dens decided enough was enough, so they bombed his den, beat up his employees and stole his machines.

Now in Chengdu, this man was big and had lotsa pull, so he hired truckloads of Chengdu gangsters to come down and kick some ass. Which they did. The wars went on for weeks, when they won, the den was on; when they lost, everyone sat down for dinner and payments were made. For a good year, this railway boss fought and paid his way through the local thorn bushes, hoping that one day they would accept him.

It then end, he sat down dejectedly in a tea house in Chengdu and said:

Man, I don't mind throwing down, I'll fight to the end. But the costs are so high and as such the business makes no sense. I am pulling out. A powerful dragon is no match for a local snake.

There are many other stories, like the abandoned apartment complex built in Canton that the police used to show porn movies. They blocked off the weed infested buildings and set up a projector, charging the local migrant workers 10RMB a head to watch Japanese porn.

Or the 8km prostitute avenues in Chuxiong and Pengshan, where very ugly young peasant girls run barefoot after black government cars.

Or the ongoing wars between the Border Police, Public Security Bureau and People Liberation Army over who can exploit the drug runners, gambling halls and other seedy business venture the most ... dinners can often result in gun battles, when officials from one or more of these bureaus refuse to pay the bill for the other ...

Or the various bloody business negotiations between the sons of Deng, Li Peng or even Zhao Ziyang before he fell from power and local real estate developers ... etc etc etc

the point is: China in the last 20 years has experienced News of the Weird that would fill tomes and tomes. Many an old artist finds sleep elusive, as he tries to not only document the excesses and insanity of this period, but also the many beautiful and unique aspects of this country that have been destroyed and lost in the process.

Things move so fast here, that what has been made and what has been lost may never be fully appreciated, especially with the government censoring everything and creating an image for the international community that has absolutely nothing to do with reality.

Apropos, it is barely 48 hours since the end of the Olympics, and Beijing is already returning to normal:

the familiar blanket of smog has returned, traffic is impossible once again, hawkers and callers are back on the streets, bosses shoulder their way through crowds like they used to and the Mongolian girls are back ...

Its all good again.

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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Security Establishment

Now that I have finished my stint in a semi-corporate setting in a security company, i can let you know a little bit about how things work.

These companies do business here with the permssion of the Chinese government. This means that they are under the constant supervision of the Public Security Bureau. As such, they censor themselves and many of the reports they provide their clients in order to maintain the goodwill of the CCP and continue to do business.

I myself had to delete two posts because they contained viewpoints and information that at the time could have gotten back to the government, then to my company and might have hurt people who have nothing to do with me or my political views.

After all of the free thinking words i write in here, it really hurt to have to censor myself, but i did it because hurting someone so I could have a cute blog is inappropriate. Well, things have changed so I can re-post them here today.

I know there are a couple security guys here who read my blog and get annoyed with what I say. They have labeled me a "left wing anti-establishment guy who could never fit into a corporation"

to you i say: thank you very much, i appreciate the compliment.

The self-censorship of the security community here has led them to make the same type of mistakes the US security establishment made leading up to 9/11. The establishment naturally rejects analyses and viewpoints that do not mesh with their convenient worldview. Such is the case with all establishments.

The only saving grace is a conversation i had with a security guy in which he said that the intelligence community is now looking for people like me to turn the coat and work for them, because we don't stand out like sore thumbs and our perspectives, although anti-establishment, are also valid and sometimes much more so than the "professionals" they have working for them now.

here are the deleted posts, the first one was called:

Saturday, July 19, 2008
Beware of Government Promises

Lying, cheating, bribing, beating ...

This is how governments treat the people. All over the world. No matter where, no matter what the situation. Even if the government manages to re-build and re-store -- never will they take responsibility.

Last night I read about the US government's response to the shooting of an Iranian passenger jet by the American warship Vincennes in 1988 -- denying everything then paying them off ten years later.

Today I read about the Chinese buying off the parents of children who were killed by the earthquake and shoddy construction. At least the Chinese pay people off right away ...

Basically many things the Chinese promised to have in place for the Olympics will not be in place. I'll start with the media:

All news networks that use mobile broadcasting vehicles will have to register their routes and broadcast plans in advance with the PSB. Beijing residents have been warned to either keep their mouths shut when meeting foreign press or better yet toe the Party line. The huge media building set up for the thousands of journalists coming through to cover the Games will be sending their reports through a controlled and monitored Internet pipeline.

Many longtime China-based journalists manage to get around these restrictions, but the point is that China promised unfettered media access. Of course, anyone who believed this is a fool.

Another media issue with serious implications: NBC's coverage of the Games must first go through the Chinese pipeline before it is sent to the world. All TV broadcasts -- I repeat, ALL TV BROADCASTS-- will have a 10 - 45 second delay on them. The Chinese first said 45 seconds, the media haggled it down to 10. But in the end, this is just another "promise" from the CCP that should be considered worthless.

This means that what you think is live happened from a few seconds to almost a minute ago. So protests or things of that nature will probably be scrubbed from TV coverage, giving any activists much less of an incentive to hold up the "T-sign" in support of Tibet or flash a Dalai Lama medallion or any other "anti-China" demonstrations.

As for pollution, I will put up a couple pictures later tonight of the view from my building. Beijing has not met the requirements, period. We have some days where I can not see the building 100 meters from my window and some days where it is clear and cloudless. What this means for the Games is hard to predict, because the real serious policies -- road restrictions, construction bans, factory closures etc. --do not begin until tomorrow. We might yet have clear skies ...

And as for money issues, Visa, McDonalds, GE and other foreign firms have banded together to force the Chinese government to honor their pledges of marketing the companies' brands during the Olympics. What has happened is, the Chinese have accepted a huge payment for these companies as sponsors and then reneged on their promises for exposure by giving Chinese brands such as Haier and Lenovo prime coverage at the expense of foreign companies. In response to the complaints from Visa and friends, the CCP said: you are getting enough coverage, period.

And as for security, the Chinese require that all foreign companies and entities that need security details must hire from a Chinese pool of companies and talent. If they do not hire Chinese, they do not receive their registration papers. There are three plans available for companies to choose from: a 160 man detail, 120 man detail and a 90 man detail. Normally, a 90 man details would cost about 150,000RMB. The prices have risen to 4 million RMB for the Olympics.

The Chinese are restricting foreign access, smothering the media, covering up their pollution and raping foreign companies trying to do business during the Olympics. These are just a few examples, if I write any more I might risk my access.

Is this unprecedented in Olympic history? Do all nations play this game when hosting the Olympics? Are we naive to suggest that the spirit of the Games should come before political concerns and security? Listening to people in Beijing speak of the Olympics, I find all agree that the situation is tense, draconian, staged and nationalistic.

At the same time, I notice that if you walk away from the glittering buildings and massive venues, you will find side streets filled with curious and hospitable people. It reinforces my belief that the governments of the world are to blame for our social ills and if we as people can (like true socialists and capitalists) just meet without their interference, we could solve many of these problems over tea and cigarettes.

Governments distort and de-humanize ... but I am yet too weak minded to come up with alternatives in this modern world.

The scary thing is I thought it would be counter-productive for Muslim terrorists to bring China into the War on Terrorism as an active force. Right now China uses the whole deal to do what it does best: crush its own people. But i was informed yesterday that a united front of anti-terror states like Europe, US and China would lead to a united Muslim Front, which is the end goal of the Muslim terrorists

So it makes sense for them to attack here. Does it make sense for me to be here?

The other one was called:

Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Olympic Insecurity

After just a few days here, i have been briefed on security, given dozens of pages to read and have spent hours rolling around the city. All of this week will be spent in the sweltering heat checking the venues for security gaps and figuring out evacuation routes.

As of now, I believe that the authorities are in no way prepared for serious attacks and that if something does indeed happen, it will be chaos. Now any country hosting a big international party is vulnerable and there is no reason to single out China -- chaos ensues wherever there are bombs and such.

I guess what i see here is just typical Chinese BS as opposed to typical German or Greek BS.

A few things:

-- All of the prostitutes have been kicked out, the Mongolian, Russian and now even the local hussies have been swept from the streets and remain in hiding.

-- random sweeps of areas like San Li Tun net all foreigners (and a few locals) who have no ID with them i.e. passport. They also pick up every black man they see -- recently deporting 40-some Nigerians

-- it is illegal to send water, electronic devices or other such things to Beijing via the mail

-- they have missile batteries near the venues in case of air attack.

-- there are 100,000 anti-terrorism troops and 350,000 volunteers. I have seen these people. The "anti-terrorism" troops are average run-of-the-mill guards with new uniforms. They have no special training, not even first aid. The other 350,000 are random "volunteers" such as an Anhui girl selling clothes in the silk and pearl market and random civilians with red armbands. They are responsible for their areas if the poo hits the AC.

These are to me classic Communist control methods and I would expect them to happen in China from time to time regardless of what the situation is ... but they don't make me feel safe.

The metros are unsafe, the shopping centers are unsafe and Beijing is not that easy to navigate -- even with all of the ring roads. Restrictions placed on vehicles and such near the venues hamper as much as protect and typical stonewalling from the local police keeps foreigners in the dark about possible threats.

Basically, China has spray painted the grass green, sent out all undesirables, thrown hundreds of thousands of half-cops onto the streets, made a bunch of posters and promises and put flowers everywhere to make the place look beautiful and modern and on lockdown. But its a paper thin lockdown. Anyone who really wanted to make problems here would be able to do so with ease.

China has good relationships with all of the pariah states in the world. Sudan and Iran are both friends of the PRC. North Korea is a trusted lil buddy, so China believes few international terrorist orgs or states want to upset the Olympics.

For China, the threat is domestic in the form of "extremists and splittists" in Tibet and Xinjiang and international in the form of Western NGOs and human rights orgs who may stage a public protest. So they crack down hard domestically, shooting up Uighers and having a strong Party presence in the monasteries, while keeping a tight grip on all the foreigners through the registration and visa process.

The most Westerners would do is (for example) throw a fist up for Tibet or disseminate posters in support of the Falun Gong, but these things will not cause chaos. If anything, they will re-enforce unity. So although China is very nervous about the Olympics, at the same time I get the feeling that they do not believe anyone would really bomb them. After all these years of non-intrusive international diplomacy, it would indeed seem crazy for any foreign nation or terrorist group to attack China. But this, of course, is provided that China is the target.

But if one believes that any nation attending the Games is a target (ahem: the US), then the face-based security measures that China has in place seem not only feeble but bordering on the tragic: a thin veil of colored rice paper meant to stop a bullet from hitting the guest ..

mad love atcha ...

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Monday, August 25, 2008

Dont Believe the Hype

So the Games are over and the Western media is tapping into the fear the American nation has for China's rise. Its all smoke and mirrors, people. America is in the doldrums because the media tells us we are; China is gonna take over the planet because the media tells us they are.

The reality is so much more complex, dynamic and beautiful that it hurts my brain to read the news. I discussed the world with a Chinese cop the other day over baijiu and smokes for two hours. The man is extremely aware and hopeful. For him, the fact that he and i are talking is a sign of a great future to come. He would stand next to the gate i guarded sometimes and watch the interactions between the Chinese security and the foreigners become warmer and warmer as the Games went on.

Towards the end, foreigners were embracing the guards and the guards were giving away their sheriff caps to cute girls in exchange for a photo and a kiss on the cheek. The ice of the first few days, when the guards stopped everyone and the foreigners reacted with surprise and indignation, shattered like it was spring again.

This is China's future. This is what this place will look like in a five years: different shades of brown, black and yellow slapping drums and playing flutes in the alleys of China's San Li Tun district while mixed blood romances bloom ... held hands swinging in the dark as a couple strolls home.

These images are as true and as real as any others you may have seen over the past three weeks. They hold more meaning than the headlines of today -- underage gymnasts, censored websites, re-education camps.

You cannot stop people from being curious about each other. The other night i sat with four chinese, two israelis, a greek and three swedes chomping on lamb BBQ and sipping warm Qingdao. There was no air in the conversations ...

These are the things which changed Beijing. For years the foreign population has been swelling here and people have intermarried, fought and done business. But in the last three weeks this movement towards a globalized China was accelerated a million fold. The government cant censor late night kebab sessions and ticket scalping circles.

Of course the Chinese still comprehend us through a lens of their own -- made up of historical, cultural and political filters -- but is that so strange?

I choose to bring up these scenes for you because i know the other side will get their message across. The key is interaction on a sustained level between the people of many nations. This interaction leads to homes where a global view of things is the norm, not the exception. Out of such homes come the leaders of tomorrow, like our man Obama.

To fear China is to vote for McCain.

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Saturday, August 23, 2008

Penultimate Day: A couple pics

I will have a few pics here ... i lost my camera and never really bought a new one. I know thats the main thing this blog lacks -- besides wit -- so i will do my best in the future to have some images. so for now:

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Friday, August 22, 2008

Day 15 - Ending with a Bang

Today was quite a day. I watched Cuba whup up on the US in the baseball semifinal and then headed to a spa to wash my stankin sweaty body and watch the US whup up on Argentina in basketball.

On the way to the baseball game, i shouted out GO USA! and told jokes in the subway to anyone who would listen. The Chinese loved it and laughed along. They were curious as to who I was and where i am from and extremely gracious about kicking our butts in the gold medal race. In fact, not one Chinese person I have spoken to mentioned the gold medal count. Instead, they ask about the rules to baseball, whether or not i play beach volleyball, what i think of Phelps and Bolt and complain about Chinese men's soccer and Chinese team sports in general.

I discussed the finer points of basketball and the future of the Dream Team, Yao Ming and several other players with a Beijing cabbie for a good 45 minutes. He asked me if I had ever seen Dr. J, then he told me that back in the 1980s, people would tape the games, send them back to China and play them against white walls in his village for free, serving iced water for pennies ...

It is in the media and from the government that we here all of the patriotic speeches and see all of the imagery. I sat and watched some Olympic coverage with my Chinese homies yesterday and we all laughed at the desperate eagerness with which the commentators try to "reassure" the people and tow the Party line. It was embarrassingly biased and over the top.

Kinda reminds me of Fox and CNN. This story here emphasizes the "Rising Dragon" aspect of these Games, but I have seen something else here as well:

Exchange and the thirst for more exchange. If the Chinese government had not been such control freaks leading up to the Games, so many more foreigners would be here to meet with so many more Chinese; if the media weren't as stifled and stilted as it is, there would be so many more stories told about so many more people.

On the street, people exchange greetings, ask each other to take pictures and cheer for each others' respective teams. The robotic volunteers that I laughed about in earlier posts are actually the vanguard for contact across cultures. They are certainly cute and hilarious, but they also help old ladies cross the road and expertly handle annoying sorority girls' demands.

In the baseball game today, i was loud and obnoxious and everybody loved it. I had people cheering for the USA, against Cuba, singing strange songs, laughing at jokes. They filmed, followed my lead, expanded upon the old "Add Oil!" cheer and generally were down to have a good laugh throughout. Everybody here is irrepressibly curious and open and polite.

And that is really what is happening.

There must be a separation between the peeps and the official line, because they never really walk the same path.

A crazy thing happened on the way to the Cuba USA game, i met Greg Hallahan again after 8 years. I never really forgot this kid because he is a tall rangy Irish dude with a good sense of humor. We came in on the same train to China -- teaching English -- and had orientation together. After a month or two, no one on that train every stayed in contact with me and we just all went about living out our lives.

A few weeks ago, one of those teachers, Cameron Wilson, hit me up and said hey, you remember me? and let me know what was going on with all of the people from that group. He mentioned Greg and said he was in Shanghai doing his thing. I said cool and me and Cameron have sent a few messages back and forth ...

well bigger than ish, Greg walks onto the subway to the baseball game, holding tickets just a few rows away from me. We recognize each other for the "China cliches" that we are (English teacher, freelance journalist, yellow fever carrier, import-export pretender etc.) and have a good laugh.

Turns out Danny, my boss at the security firm I am working for during the Games, is his boxing coach. I have been saying here from time to time that this whole China trip feels like a Moebius Continuum and I have reached the "beginning" once again. Well it can't get any clearer than this.

In other news, the China - terrorism story takes an interesting twist, with the Bank of China being sued by Israelis for aiding and abetting terrorism ...

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Thursday, August 21, 2008

Day ?? - Big Day for team finals

The last two days have been pretty fun, but i have not been able to watch anything. The women's beach volleyball, men's volleyball, water polo, softball, the track and field .. i get it offa blogs or Chinese TV. My ticket magic has run out. I have tix to the US-Cuba baseball semifinal tomorrow, but i am holding out for one more ticket to the B-ball. We'll see.

So far the girls are going toe to toe with Brazil in the soccer final. If it goes to penalties, the US will win.

Spread truth ya'll.

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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

We Need Your Help

I was thinking about young Chinese this morning. Last night i was chillin with Li Du, Zachary Mexico and Liang Kegang in a KTV establishment. It was a young PSB dude's birthday and he wanted me to come out and drink with him cuz we have been chillin together during this Holland Heineken House gig.

We showed up and he brought beer and girls. These girls were some busted looking young semi-professional call girls. They sang pretty, poured beer and lit smokes. The PSB guy really wanted us to take some of the girls home, because his buddy owned the KTV joint and could make a little cheddar, and i suppose just to get all of us in one big dirty group. Anyway, my man Li Du sang some awesome Cui Jian songs about Chinese society and politics.

The PSB kid and the girls listened blankly as we told them that Cui Jian was a homie -- Li Du still kicks it with him -- and that he is the Godfather of Chinese Rock.

Got me thinking.

Today there are a few stories out there: this blog post about the ChiComm Troll and why it is important to combat him/her. All of us in China know this troll; I like to call him Captain China. Basically its the kid that mindlessly spits the Party Line, because, according to this story:

...many Chinese editors are steering clear of negative stories during the games either because they think their readers are disinterested in anything that might dull the positive spirit or to do their bit for a successful Olympics.

"Every Chinese journalist is a Chinese citizen. For the Olympics, there is a common consensus, often on a subconscious level, that they should make sure everything goes smoothly," Mr. Shi said. "They must defend their own country."

So i thought about why?

Why exactly do we care or need to say anything to Chinese about themselves?

And after a bit of thought, I realized it is because we need their/your help. This is an age of awakening across the board and China is rising up and "awake," but only in certain aspects.

We cannot afford to have this nation of 1.3 billion people rise to power as ultranationalist, brainwashed slaves to the CCP version of "The Man."

We spend enough time trying to stay awake in our own country, fighting off The Man and trying to spread the truth. If we have to fight off the Chinese as well, it will go bad for us. In the end, Western tycoons are smiling wide and lending the Chinese tycoons a hand in keeping their people down and censored; obedient and enthralled.

Why do you think China is the world's factory?

Its all about cheap, obedient labor.

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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Patriotism and Nationalism

I know China is being held up as the petri dish for this discussion, but i urge all peeps to check their surroundings and see where the petri dish really is.

patriotism is the love of the land, the people, the culture, the history

nationalism is the love for an illusion provided by the State.

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Rage against the dying of the light

or just post some love on yer blog and send it through the underground.

i remember telling some young Chinese friends about the Tank Man in Tiananmen and they all laughed at me and said it was a piece of CIA propaganda. I think for everybody who does not live in China, the image of the lone bespectacled middle manager forcing the tanks to swerve around him was probably one of the most moving images of our lives. I will never forget it. It is sad and horrible that his sacrifice is meaningless in the land he loves.

And it is one of the largest jumps across the chasm of mis-communication between us. How can young Chinese understand us if they lack the essential info that we take for granted? How can we understand them if we speak to them in a language of images that they have never seen?

everyone of these links are blocked in China.

this one some how made it through.


And in parting, i would like to say i am proud to be a broke ass member of the "Right but Poor" club.

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Monday, August 18, 2008

And of course: Dashed Hopes

Liu Xiang is injured and will not compete. He has been injured since at least May, when he had his last competition.

In China, an athlete is property of the State and to a lesser extent the People. Perhaps Liu has had enough of being a slave to the system. Perhaps he wants to walk through Chengdu at 3am, sit next to some pretty little girls and have a bowl of jian dan mian.

It worse for athletes that become celebrities, because they don't seek the light like movie stars or such -- the light seeks them because they accomplish the extra-human. I wonder if Phelps will still be able to puff down with his homies now that Bush has given him a call.

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Days 9, 10 and 11 ... The Hustle Eclipsed

Its becoming somewhat of a blur for me these days, i had to ask if today was Day 12 or what. I am writing on the 12th day at noon, about the last three days. I suppose the theme of the past few days has been the death of the hustle.

The scalpers are gone and the public has more or less turned against them. As a mystically connected whole, the buyers of tickets have refused to pay high premiums for tickets, forcing the professional scalpers to melt into the crowds. The Chinese scalpers are doing their thing, but they get picked off like stragglers in a school of tasty tuna, encircled by enemies.

Yesterday I saw a spider sting on three or four peasants from Henan selling flags and buttons. As they wrestled with the hired mercenaries, another peasant came up to me and asked if I like Chinese girls. The fabric is slowly splitting, as the rest of China squeezes through the cracks and into the Olympic World: Many Worlds, Many Dreams ...

I spent all of the night of Day 10 being the collaborator to the Dutch fascists. Of course that is much to harsh a phrase. The Dutch won a few medals and decided to have the big party on Sunday. At around 11pm the place was full to capacity and the word came down to let only Dutch in. They put my ass on the front line to let the masses know what was up. The hectic chaos made time fly and I had a small group of supporters (mostly Aussies, love ya'll) that bantered with me in the lulls between groups of arrogant Germans wondering Vy? and drunk Canadians trying to slip past and Brazilians strollin up bold sayin: "Who knows how to party like we do? Nobody! The Dutch have invited us here to teach them ...!"

But the highlight of the past few days has been the Bird's Nest and Olympic Green. I made it in last night courtesy of a green-eyed princess from Slovenia, Miss Nina Krajinovic. It was amazing. I watched all of this.

I was sitting next to a very beautiful Russian woman who held up the flag while Isinbaeva went for the record. The whole crowd was with her. We clapped, whoa-ed and held our breath. When she went over clean the last time around, the whole place erupted and everyone turned to each other and passed cameras, as in church to pass the peace.

I was alone and that was a little sad. i wished I could have had someone to enjoy it with. I wondered through the crowds catching eye contact, watching couples embrace and smile, Angolans, Greeks and Chinese flash peace signs for a Canadian cameraman.

The Green is like a slice of floating city-scape from a city we haven't built yet. The avenue is wide and flat, unobtrusive as it leads you forward past sculptures of women running holding torches, the Buddha pair: monkey upon elephant and abstract bubbles in future-friendly colors.

A tower in the shape of a helix keeps the gate, sending soft waves of color into the sky at set intervals ... soft purples and reds, sleepy greens and blues.

Just behind the helix, the Bird's Nest peeks out from its cement web, a red underglow casting out through the trees and bushes that dot the gardens around it. To the right, the water cube prepares for lift-off, its bubbles drifting from shade to shade of ocean and sea.

I ducked and skipped through the pictures and found a back way through a stone garden to the subway. I happened to turn back for a second to watch a little chinese girl dance for her mom, and I saw the torch blazing against a dark sky.

I blew it a kiss and headed out.

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Sunday, August 17, 2008

And of course: the Man Fish

I bet this dude puffs mad herb. Now, if we find out that he does, will he be stripped for doping?

"Once you reach the plateau, it becomes the norm."

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Saturday, August 16, 2008

Days 7, 8 and going on 9 ... Sleep Deprived

The last few days I have been running on fumes a bit. And for those of you who have done that, it means alternating between falling asleep while someone talks to you and being unable to shut your mouth at odd hours of the night.

The Chinese look to have the Gold Medal count locked down. I can't imagine the US getting any more than 25 gold medals. I have been trying to analyze why the Chinese team annoys me so much. It is definitely not the athletes. I mean sure people can say the Chinese cheated here and there with the little girls, questionable calls in the B-Ball Games and maybe some unproved allegations of doping and such for the swimmers and weightlifters ... but if you watched Chinese women's tennis and archery, you will notice that extreme focus and skill also play a slight role ...

The crowds are also overwhelmingly Chinese; the nation spent millions and millions training the athletes for these two weeks and in a autocratic-nationalist system like China, you will be able to meet these types of macro-State-Sponsored goals.

I guess its the collective Borg element that gets to me. For real. I am down with the athletes, and any individual i meet and talk to presents just another bond between me and this nation. So all I can think of is the collective "Illusion of China" that annoys me and makes my tummy boil. Not just because I am not Chinese, but because this illusion also dupes, stupifies and homogenizes a vast vast country. Nationalism irks me, not just because it is not my nation, but because it is infectious and causes me to mirror it in myself: nationalism breeds nationalism because it speaks only one language: Borgish.

i hate my dependence on a medal count for happiness. But like i said a while back, One Last Roast over the Spit of China. This is all just spices. I will come out of here with a clearer philosophy.

The scalping business is still going strong and yours truly might actually make it on some TV later ... when it happens i'll set a link. But don't worry, aint nothing gonna happen to me. I don't sell big numbers of tickets and I don't make ridiculous cash. Basically I hustle between contacts and scrape off a little fat in the taxi ...

The news is catching on, but they dont have the scoop. A Dutchie is getting deported today for taking 100 tickets to the stadium and trying to slang em. Fool. He took down about 100 Henan Peasants down with him when the cops got him. Otherwise everyone just turns a blind eye. Its the beauty of international exchange: this one being cash based exchange.

"We all are speaking different languages, but everyone speaks money"

Some great images -- as I am sure you have seen -- were Usain Bolt chillin his way across the line for a World Record and some Gold; Phelps winning his seventh by the fuzz on his fingernail; USA B-Ball stompin on all pretenders; Li Na riding a wave of love to the semifinals in tennis ... taking out Venus along the way; me flirting with the UN of fly women at the Holland House bashes these past few days.

I saw one Dutch girl standing about 6ft 4, fly as hell, built like an Amazon. Really put my skinny Turkish ass in perspective.

Now for the next few days my goal is a basketball ticket and a ticket inside the Bird's Nest. I am not tripping on the Water Cube, it looks more beautiful from outside anyway.

"Can it be done?
"He will join us, or die, my master."

A few days ago i mentioned the terrorism story and how it is underreported, here are a few links that speak on the issue. Here are some Chinese sources: one of them BS, the other more real ...

Here is a good story about the coming crackdown.

HAHA apropos here is a story on being bocogged -- which for the rest of us just means living in China.

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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Dirty Spaniards

This didnt even make the rumor rounds in China until today ... doesnt seem to bother anyone that much yet ... i think people here don't really know much about the "mom's japanese, dad's chinese, look what they did to me" thing.

It means something to Asian Americans, as this story on surgery and this doctor help explain ...

I will forever be lovin Asian Eyes ...

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Day 6 - The Calm Before the Storm

The second week is just around the corner and I felt the lull today.

Indeed, the preliminaries and qualifying rounds are almost over. The Chinese blitz on the gold medals will have its Dunkirk in a couple days when athletics begins and "their" sports come to a close.

On ticket sales, one noticed a slight rush to get handball ("its impossible to move handball"), field hockey and other national rather than international sports out of the inventory to make way for the wave of popular tickets coming up this weekend and next week.

Adding fuel to the fire is the rumor that 1.5 million more tickets will be released to the "public" in the next coming days to make up for the hard core scalping, VIP reluctance to use or pass out their tickets and the fakes. The IOC has complained that people are looking for tickets but the stands are not full.

Today the Chinese Baby Gymnastics Team beat out the American team for gold. People are reluctant to talk smack about China because their culture of looking away (or at the enhanced images) has infused the Games as much as the Games have taken over Beijing.

There is a bulge in the water hose.

America Strikes Back begins on Friday. How bout Phelps the Phish...he and his homies beat the world record today by 4 seconds.

The Uighers are making a huge gamble in Xinjiang. The Chinese are probably thinking to themselves that this spate of bombings is just a slight pinprick compared to the vicious crackdown that is on its way this Fall. But this is the most underreported story of the Olympics. Xinjiang has not gone off like this since the 1950s and the tactics, discipline and daring of the Uigher ... what shall we call them ... rebels? represent a dedication to a long term bloody war financed and supported by international ... ahem ... Fanatic Islamist Muslim terrorist fighter insurgents rebelling and maiming ...

They have to strike at Beijing or at least try, or all of this is meaningless.

Whoever thinks Iran is the next front doesn't realize that there is no front. Wasn't there some prophecy about the End of Days involving the "West" fighting off the hordes of the East led by the Antichrist. Does it matter to the Final Judge who actually fought and killed whom?

Another thing I have noticed: how the media report Russian aggression in Georgia and America's efforts in Iraq.

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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Day 5 - I Love China

What a difference a day makes. Today I went and watched the China-Spain B-Ball game and it was off the chains. The big difference between yesterday's tennis and today's hoops was that the Chinese know and love hoops.

The guys in front of me loved Clyde "the Glide" Drexler and the old man in back of me said his favorite player was Dr. J. It was awesome. They booed the Spaniards and did the wave for the entire halftime. When Pao dunked on Yao and swatted away Yi Jian Lian the crowd cheered ... they clapped when the Spaniards did some alley-oops or smooth moves. They love the sport baby.

As for the game, I won't comment too much. It was a great game and China had it, but Pao did his thang in the end and Yao fouled out ... When Yao went, no one stepped to the plate. I like Liu Wei, he played awesome and he has a great heart. And that kid for Spain Nunio, the lil Thief ... dude had like 10 steals, but i think only 6 counted cause of fouls.

My floor is covered in cash and tickets. Kinda reminds me of the old days ... I have always loved the petty hustle. Its street level down low capitalism and its raw and i'm lovin it. Today I hustled my way into some serious cheddar and it feels good. I met an old Cuban today and we haggled to a standstill. He told me that the Olympics are always like this: scalpers on the streets, trades and back alley deals between sponsors, embassies and athletes' families ... its the whole point of this thing. You know Spartans and Thebians were placing mad bets back in the day ... talkin bout who was gonna win then trading tickets for each others' favorites ...

Peep the Chinese gymnasts ... they are out of control. I read a story in the times that said, On paper, the other nations had no chance before they even rolled in ... due to the vast difference in difficulty that the Chinese take upon themselves.

The Uighers are killin pigs in Xinjiang left and right. More than 20 police dead in one week and as many wounded. They are using suicide bomber techniques and going toe to toe with the security like never before. It seems clear that the group that claimed responsibility for the Kunming Bombings in a video, the Islamic Party of East Turkestan, has learned some techniques from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq. So far all of the major violence has been far from Beijing, but there are still ten days left.

The security is blanket, but not necessarily tight. So anyone in Beijing reading this be careful and keep aware ...

I hear the Chinese used some special effects for the TV broadcast of the Opening Ceremonies, sounds like something they'd do, but it don't matter:

Check out these beautiful pictures.

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Monday, August 11, 2008

Day 4 - Chaos and Order

Welcome to China ya'll.

Today started off fine, I woke up and went and did some gong fu with my man Shifu Li Chuan cuz he's back in town and we showed Yves and a few of his Dutch partners some moves. While chillin with Yves in his apt later, I realized I did not have my passport on me. I became frantic. Big Big Issues if I lose my passport ... for the next two hours I am tripping. I go to my house, it aint there. I call the cabbie, it aint there. I go back to Yves' spot, it aint there. Search the gong fu spot, have the hotel people check the cameras .. TRIPPIN thinkin about the moneyloss, pain and torture I am going to have to experience real soon.

I say a prayer to the Lord. The girl at the counter says: yo call the cabbie again cuz sometimes they dont look hard enough. Eureka. I thank the Lord.

I then head to the Silk and Pearl Market to hustle some tickets. I sell some handball, buy some water polo, sell some ping pong, trade for some athletics and then I run into the Cockney Brits and we make a deal for 1500US. The deal falls through. No more Cockney&Chach ....

Then i go and pick up Anna and we go to watch some tennis. Its the bomb, we roll up just in time to see Venus dispatch some Swiss girl and then Novak Djokovic (World #3) shows up and plays Robby Genepri. Anna drools over Robby, Novak whips his ass, I take pictures for Anna and holler into the crowd. All the smurfs try and shush me but I only get louder.

These Olympics are for Chinese only by the way. Just in case you thought this was international because your TV station says so, hahaha NO.

There are armies of FREE little students running around acting like robot-people speaking some cute English helping all the laowai out, but its just cuz thats what the cute, free, robotic students are there for. In the end i trip over them heading through the gate as they stutter about some rule that says if i leave the stadium, i can only return on odd periods of the match ... i'm like dude thats for the gray skies that hover above, not me and this here tennis match ... i make it through cuz i can talk fast and their just students.

You know, the stands are filled with 90% Chinese while foreigners are on the streets scalping tickets and trading left and right. Nothing is labeled, buses are a pain in the ass, there are no schedules handy blah blah .. its a mess. Transportation is funky and the top-down dictatorship of the "proletariat" means that these little robot-students have a firm grip on their personalities. They follow rules so damn well its infuriating. The rules aint logical to us Westerners, but that dont matter, cuz these Olympics are for Chinese only.

No huge crowds of foreigners descending on spots, no crazy Brazilian mobs dancing naked with pale, drunk Brits. None of this. Just a sea of Chinese swirling around clumps of Others.

When Venus and Novak played, the crowds were silent and waited bored for the last match which was Li Na (Chinese) against Svetlana Longlastname from Russia. Then they came alive doing the Borg-like chant of "Li Na Jia You!" (Li Na Add Oil!). Even the little girls were doing it and even though a little girl doing anything is pretty cute, this was a bit creepy.

I wonder if all the Games are like this: the host country basically dominating everything (not necessarily Games and medals, but environment, chants, stands etc.)

It can be creepy listening to everybody do a chant over and over again, but the cute little robot volunteers are really cute. As we left the stadium, they lined up like Mascots from Disneyland and waved us good bye enthusiastically. They are lovely kids no question, just a little weird. They seem so Borgish ...And it really hits me now that i see how everybody else in the world acts ... East Asians are very weird to us man. so collective in what they do ...

Its like Half-Life the video game. A 30-something woman's voice constantly repeats slogans, exhortations, info, and commands via a recorded loudspeaker in Chinese and English. Her echoing voice piercing the air reminds me of phrases like "thought control," "you will be happy" and "nothing can stop us!"

On the way home I met a girl who was asking me about safety in the US, American views of China, my thoughts on China's development etc. I call this THE CONVERSATION. I have had it probably close to 100,000 times, most likely much more, but i dont want to get ridiculous with the zeros.

However silly some rules might be, creepy some chants might be, annoying some draconian measures might be, in the end it doesn't matter cuz this aint our home. Thats what i told this girl, i said you should stop caring what other people think so much, might make life easier and you less of a SUPERDORK-ROBOT-PHRASE-SPITTER.

She smiled with indulgence at my ignorant hairy ass and said, we chinese are so much better off, we are so happy and we think it has been such a great change, what do you think? Oh, by the way, can you walk out of your door at night safely?

Sigh. "yeah most of the time. have you asked Papa Party if yer allowed to poo today yet?" I didnt say that.

Its a crazy mess, the Jia You chants are getting old already but somehow the Games slurch on forward. I am going to China Spain B-Ball tomorrow and USA-Nigeria soccer the day after. Got some boxing and stuff coming ....

Cuz in the end, me yelling out when the crowd is silent is what its all about ... And of course, good fun watching good sports up close

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Saturday, August 9, 2008

Day 3 - Dank and Dreary ... USA whoops China in B-Ball

Today I saw a one armed Cockney Englishman marching through the crowds around the water cube trying to sell swimming tix for 2000k US. The hustle continues ... I'm getting deeper into the tix biz and its fun.

Today it was hazy and dark all day and then it started to rain at about 4pm and still hasn't stopped. I sloshed through the Agricultural Exhibition Center grounds where the Holland House is and my shoes squeaked as i walked. The Dutch beauties want me to get them into the Budweiser House pool for late night skinny dipping. Lord have mercy.

I broke away early after opening the secret back gate for the Dutch Prime Minister, just in time to watch the Second Half of the China - USA B-Ball game. Thank God it was an ass-whooping. The team is playing great and I think it'll be gold this year. As it should be.

But yo, keep yer eyes on the US Men's Soccer team. They had Japan and Holland on the ropes and they both barely got away for a tie.

As for the terrorists, they have been blowing stuff up and killing people in Xinjiang and people here are starting to ask a few questions. I am amazed at how many people here do not have their passports with them or do not carry any ID at all. They also seem pretty uninformed about China and Chinese political BS in general ... even with the media blitz all year.

I will be serving champagne in a bow tie when the Dutch girls go swimming.

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Day 2 - The Hustleman

Yeah its always the same wherever I go. i become Red from the Shawshank Redemption. I am now in the ticket business and it is quite fruitful. I will be able to see beach volleyball, tennis, baseball, some basketball (no USA yet) and some girls field hockey.

Ya'll need tickets? holla at me. Ya'll got tickets? holla at me.

I got these tickets "free" through various deals with the Dutch at the Holland House, the Americans over at Budweiser and this salty English gangsta-hustla who was hanging with his boys outside of the Bird's Nest.

"This bounty hunter is my kind of scum."

So its all good. I work like a slave every day though, but its a lot of fun. I get along great with everybody at the Holland House (heineken sponsored it so its a big party house -- google the site, too tired to find the link) and i have become quite indispensable as the one of the few that can speak a few languages fluently.

The Opening Ceremony was amazing and it really gave us all here in Beijing a new and fresh perspective in the Games. I know now that they are sacred and beautiful and should be treated as such. Now the spirit of the Games may be a sacred force, but being human, we do our best to sully it with our slimy devlishness ...

Such as all the hustlin I been doing: massages, cars, tickets, clothes etc etc if i were full time hustlin and not working as a smurf with skills for the Dutch, I would be having one hell of a time and makin bank. I will try, from now on, to squeeze them both in. I have just begun to see the possibilities. Means I can't sleep though. Like ever. three weeks non-stop ... word is bond.

Last night i walked to Tiananmen Square and met my people Zachary Mexico, Li Du, Anna the Persian Princess and Mr. Yunnan Jeff Crosby. We were raucous and loud and the Chinese gathered around us and took pictures. Every five minutes, companies of PLA soldiers would march by.

Its actually pretty funny, the ostentatious show of security belying the shy nervous looks on these young boys' faces as they march past, staring at the head in front of them. I could walk up to a formation and throw a grenade in their midst. Instead i keep pace and beatbox to their rhythm.

We ended the night with hot pot and smokes. Anna took a great picture of me wrapped in a Chinese flag under some red lanterns smirkin. But then she erased it accidentally. thats right. erased it. (She has two Ivy League degrees ...)

At the Heineken House I have noticed a great many fly Dutch girls ...

East Asians are pretty funny with their displays of emotion. They do the mass chant and maybe a peace sign. Bang plastic stuff together. They sure aint Brazilian. I have noticed the Chinese staring in wonder at the supporters from around the world dancing, screaming, wearing strange costumes and painting their whole bodies in national colors. China wanted the Olympics so bad, now they have em.

Its still an international party though ... thats the whole point. The Budweiser Party tonight was FILLED with Chinese "princes," overseas Chinese ballers and Chinese from Taipei, HK, S'pore etc bringin their Mainland sweeties ...

They drifted in and out of the Holland House and vice versa. Brits, Aussies, Kiwis, Germans, French, Irish, Italians, Greeks, Russians, Tanzanians, Malaysians, Japanese, Syrians ... Its just a matter of time 'fore everyone gets naked.

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Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Day 1 - Opening Ceremony Ticket Scam

Today has been a very weird day so far. Last night I drank late late into the night with some security guys -- old warhorses from Ireland and such -- and they said i fit the profile of an "agency man."

This morning I was helping Jim Leprino, one of the richest men out there, recover his Opening Ceremony tickets.

Thousands of people have found out that their Opening Ceremony tickets are fraudulent and will not be accepted at the gates. People paid 3000USD and up for these tickets, getting them off of Craigslist, Beijing and other spots and none of them will be able to see the Opening Ceremony. For you people at home, perhaps the birds nest will look a little empty.Its not yet clear who is responsible (HAHAHAHA), but I am sure we'll find a sneaky bugger at the end of the line. So far BOCOG s hiding its head in the sand and doing nothing about this, because too may people have been affected:

We're talkin all of Nike's tickets, all of Google's tickets ... and several thousand regular Joe's who also can't get in.

They are walking the streets now trying to scalp some tickets off of people. There is so much to write actually, but my head hurts, i need to work at 4pm, i have been up all morning getting Leprino his tickets -- ended up that some of the Sponsors have"extras" and certain people are able to get their hands on them. A lot of people have been royally screwed by this ticket scam ...

anyway. Here are some pics of my smurfy ass (smurf=rent-a-cop) and that sunrise i mentioned several posts back. Since that sunrise, every day has been gray and dreary. You can stare directly into the sun ... on this day (below) i could barely open my eyes.

Today is weird.

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