Wednesday, June 21, 2006

You Got to Move
The Standard and its parent company, Sing Tao publishing, are moving to a new building soon and the memos have been flying. Squirrelly and burly small men in sweaty T-shirts with hand carts stacked with boxes, chairs, desks, computers and file cabinets block the aisles and shanghai the elevators. It's a cluster f*ck anyway you cut it.
Reason no. 112 why The Standard's future is not, as they say here, auspicious. An initial directive/memo telling us when and whatfor etc has a breakdown of every publication in this building and what furniture they can expect to find at the new digs. Every publication -- three Chinese mags and one Chinese newspaper -- except The Standard is assigned "new" furniture. The left-handed red-headed barbarian stepchild gets "existing" chairs and desks.
Reason no. 321 why when the Chinese bureaucrats take over the world, the rest of us are doomed. Another memo states that we're to have items not essential to the paper's production packed, sealed and labeled about 4 days in advance of the move. Among the items listed as non-essential to the paper's production are telephones (huh?!) ... and "garbage bins." Admittedly, trash cans are not "essential" to putting out a paper, but where the hell are we going to throw our trash for the 4 days we're still here?
Which reminds me of another item for "when the Chinese bureaucrats take over the world..." C and I were having lunch last weekend at a Chinese-run Korean restaurant. I'd ordered a side dish of rice to go with the kimchi and some other appetizers. After going rice-less for about 20-minutes I asked her to remind the waiter to bring it. Waiter summoned. Long conversation in Chinese ensues.
Waiter shrugs and walks away.
"What did he say? Where's my rice?"
"He said rice only comes with the soup. The soup is not ready. If you want rice now you have to order another one for more money."
Are you saying that packing your trashcans and telephones 4 days before the actual move would be unwise. Hmm… Guess C. and I have to change our planned Chinese procedure when we move in about 1 week.
I can't wait until Chinese bureaucrats take over so we can all see that the sky is blue and the grass is green.
what are you saying? all of this sounds perfectly "normal" to me...then again, I've been in China too long....what do I know?
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