Trip Start Jun 30, 2008
Trip End Dec 31, 2009

Loading Map
Map your own trip!
Map Options
Show trip route
Hide lines

Flag of China  , Guangdong,
Wednesday, June 3, 2009


These are two independent phrases I have heard over and over again while living in the West. Admittedly, I am NOT an expert in these areas but I can speak of many personal and business experiences. First of all, I can't think of anywhere in China right now that is not a SWEAT shop IF it does not have air conditioning. It was just announced yesterday that Beijing has above normal spring temperatures of 37 degrees!

I studied here 20 years ago and now more recently have lived and worked here visiting a number of small and large factories. I have never met anyone here or in North America that is thrilled about working in a factory. However, these workers are thankful because it provides them with more than they would have otherwise. Factory workers typically earn enough each month to send almost half back to their families in the countryside. Admittedly, this is not a lot of money from our standards but it is a vast improvement over what they could otherwise earn on the farms.

The poor and less educated typically work in factories until they have 'more' (money, education and/or courage) to do something different. I tried factory work in Canada while attending university and almost lasted 2 months!! It was hot, boring and I couldn't wait to get done! I have yet to hear of a factory worker who thinks that factory life is great. Factory work is a way to a means and also a way for you and me to buy for very little money mp3/4s', cameras, computers, and other gadgets you are now using made right here in the 'sweat shops' (factories).


I, like many of you have used this phrase when something breaks and you flip it over to read: MADE IN CHINA. I will be the first to admit that many of the products made here are much lighter and less durable than in the past. As a family with four children we used to frequent the $1 Stores as that was the best place to get a toy that would last as long as the child's interest in it. However, when purchasing other products they often don't last and you tend to be better off paying more for a better product. The problem is that the big chain stores like Wal-Mart all get their products from China based on the specifications (lowest price and thus low quality) they give to the Chinese manufacturers. Furthermore, many of these factories are joint ventures and/or wholly owned by us foreginers and that is why you can't find a lot of the 'cheap' stuff we have at home here.

I tell you this because we have not found $1 Stores (discount stores) here like we can at home. Our $1 stores have a huge variety and are often the best place and price for buying what you need. You know those once or twice in a lifetime items that you need on hand but may not use? Although all those items are made here in China you can't find them here and if you do find what you would find at home in the dollar store it is 2-3 times more here than at home.

China does not have $1 stores like we have because they simply don't like CHEAP CHINESE SHIT. I can't tell you how many times we have been warned not to go here or there or to be careful that 'it is not good quality'. The Chinese will generally spend more to get better quality and take very good care of it then to buy cheap. Examples are the cars they buy and how well they take care of them. Furthermore, products that break for us stand up much better and are used more aggressively here because the Chinese are much lighter, smaller and more agile then we are (see last post: YOU TOO FAT). You will see 2-4 people on one single bicycle or an adult riding a child's bike. A minivan that we would have 7 people in the Chinese will transport 20!!

  • Last week we celebrated a nationwide holiday called Dragon Boat Festival (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dragon_Boat_Festival). Thursday was the holiday but Friday was taken off too and so Sunday became the day lost on Friday. It seemed strange to see school open on Sunday.

  • Sabrina and I have taken up badminton after school each day (when in China do as the Chinese do)

  • Middle School students arrive at 7:15 am, have a 2 hour lunch break (eat and sleep) and return home again at about 5 pm while others stay for extra activities.

  • 130 teachers to teach 1800 students (1:14) which seems great but each teacher only teaches 2 classes. That means they put a lot (everything) into those two classes and produce a lot of planning, teaching and marking to ensure their students excel.

  • In a school of about 2000 people there are very few janitorial staff. The students all work to clean the school 3 times per day.

  • Good versus bad. In Canada a score of 85% on a difficult math test would be considered great but in China it is considered bad. One of my students received 85% on his math test and was then not allowed to have friends over on his birthday!!

  • Just when we thought we had all the Green tea we could handle we bought Colgate toothpaste that turned out to be Green tea flavoured!

  • While out driving late one night/early morning it is evident that the economy here is still growing as crews were working 24/7 on high speed rail lines, high rise apartment buildings and other infrastructure.

  • In an energy cutting measure, lights along the freeways are turned off on one side of the road.

  • Censorship is at a peak right now with the anniversary of Tiananmen Square. You can forget about accessing YouTube and other social networks that like to share and bare everything.
Slideshow Report as Spam
  • Your comment has been posted. Click here or reload this page to see it below.

  • You must enter a comment
  • You must enter your name
  • You must enter a valid name (" & < > \ / are not accepted).
  • Please enter your email address to receive notification
  • Please enter a valid email address


eddakath on

Usually Foreign Owned
hahaha mate your blogs always make me laugh mainly as I've in the reality of it all too but one thing you forgot to mention about all the Chinese 'Stuff' that breaks is that usually the factory is owned by a westerner, it is imported by a westerner adn we westerners buy it because we want to buy cheap things to save money YET who better to blame when it breaks...the Chinese of course...never the long line of westerners who own, import and buy...blame the Chinese!

maaske on

Re: Usually Foreign Owned
You are right!! I forgot .........I will go and edit is because the Chinese are blamed for just about anything that goes wrong or when someone gets sick. Sure there are problems in the system but as you said most of these are Joint Ventures or foreign owned. A prime example was the toy recalls that were blamed fully on the Chinese when the toys were mostly made to the specifications given.

ndiloren on

chinese stuff
I love chinese stuff and when I can buy I chinese car I can probably replace it 4 to 1 for the price, if I were to by an amercan made car and probably still have money to by one more chinese car

maaske on

Re: chinese stuff
An 8 seater new fully loaded mini van here is $5000-7000 Cdn.

Use this image in your site

Copy and paste this html: