China Culture?

On a lighthearted note, here's some interesting snippets of Chinese society. No disrespect meant if any of you feel offended. =)

This is a sign for virility inside the Yue Fei Temple. Tourists were flocking to it as it was rumored touching it will bring good luck for those hoping to conceive. However, I saw more middle-aged citizens touching it as the tour guide shrewdly construed the sign to bring luck too for grandparent shopping for grandkids.

But i thot this sign reminded me too much of the "69" instead.

A visit to the silk museum of Hangzhou and the itinerary kicked off with a fashion show to showcase the best and most fashionable of designs out of silk fabric. Most fashionable? I leave you guys to decide in the 2 pics below. Check out the cool "aunties" catwalking as well. lol…

Lets take a short break to more serious issues: the environmental pollution in Shanghai. Yes, i am a sceptical tourist, i peer out to the world from a more cynical pair of human (and digital) lens. I took these pics from the 87th floor of Jinman Tower, which used to be the world's tallest building 3 plus years ago.

The pollution in this one is bad.

This pic below is hilarious. For non-Chinese, Chinese words and characters in the ancient times were written and meant to be read from right to left. What this shopowner did was merely apply the same archaic rule to English too. Note that the English letters ain;t even laterally inverted.

This pic below is taken in the CBD area of SHanghai. I was surprised to notice so many men gathered in small groups of 20 or so listening attentively to usually one person talking passionately about something. At first, i thought they could be religous zealots or political activists. I was wrong and the truth underlined another trait of China's rise — increased stock investing by CHinese citizens in its nation's economic rise. These Sunday public gatherings were free investing seminars by unlicensed, private stock watchers dishing out investment advice and stock tips.

CHina has 1.3 billion people, we know, which also means they have an enormous labor force. But have you wondered about the more oddball jobs some of these millions of CHinese may be engaged in?

Check out the SWAT TEAM. These two workers below work in a canteen in a shopping mega-mall. I would calassify their job to be in the hygiene department. Their job, as I observed over 30minutes, was to…


Highly labor intensive and low tech approach to solve a problem. Installing one of those electronic fly-swatters that relied on frequency transmitters will do the trick. BUT, using such technology will create social problems. In some way, this incident reminded me of how inefficient CHina is. Everywhere I go, I cant help noticing the utter waste of manpower. From the hotel reception staff of 5 taking 30 mins to check in our delegation manually with pen and paper despite their possesion of 2 Dell Computers. Shopping centres that are overstaffed by dozens of saleswomen in ratios of 2 to 3 times more than those seen in US or Singapore. Assuming the same level of complexity in terms of taks performed in these jobs, we hypothesize that jobs in CHina are compartmentalized and segmented into micro-portions to order to justify sufficient differentiation so as to employ different individuals to perform such micro-tasks. If this is true, it might explain the low levels of job satisfaction in CHinese employees, not to mention the chronic low levels of pay in the Chinese job market, especially when 5 persons are employed to do the job of 1 person.

Will the abundance of human labor in CHina impede the adoption and implementation of more modern management techniques that rely on technology? 


6 thoughts on “China Culture?

  1. Are you serious about the SWAT team? If yes, you managed to beat all the stuff I have seen in India =)

  2. haha.. yes, it was quite a sight..

  3. hey there. jus to digress abit, has it ever crossed your mind that when you “take” or “shoot” or “capture” such shots (pictures), you actually are “stealing” some privacy and rights off the subjects in your photos? or at least it gives the sense of a photographer(you) stealing images.

    but….i know its all in the name of humour. 🙂

    good day

  4. 1. the pollution in beijing is not any better. but beijing is working hard to improve it as 2008 approaches. 2. i’m not too sure how much you know about the chinese stock market. it’s killed many people’s lives – some died of heart attacks… and many lost tons of hard-earned money… it’s often said that only 1% or less are making money in the chinese stock market. there are many audio and television programs for stock market analysis every day, but not many dare to speak because of the unpredictability of the market. 3. you should have gone to other rural places in china and i bet the hygiene is even worse. and not only china, many other southeast asia countries face similar problems too. 4. about technology. anubhav and i volunteered at the world hr conference for the past three days. what we’ve learnt is that china’s competitive advantage now is still the cheap labor for doing low-end jobs but it’s starting to move slowly to innovation. however india has a really talented pool of labors who are capable of doing much more skilled jobs.

    although i don’t know much about today’s china, i can still offer a partially chinese perspective to your encounter in china and that perhaps can help you understand better what’s really going on in china. but as i’ve said, i’m also sort of an outsider now. look forward to your future entries dude

  5. thanks for the info, suhao.. my post was a lighhearted view on china that I wanted to share as an entry-level kind of orientation to the more unique and eye-catching aspects of chinese society. DIdn;t intend it to encapsulate what I learnt in CHina, that prob has to come from natives like u. =)

  6. hey it’s a good post! don’t be too humble bro. anyway i missed a point earlier. you said that there’s a waste of labor or human resource. but do you know how many people in china fight hard to work for such low-skill jobs but can’t make it… millions of millions of people are relentlessly getting retrenched…and it’s a blessing to those who are fortunate enough to save their jobs, however, i don’t think that they feel safe in any way because they may get fired any day… but you just can’t help it… retrenchment is not only happening in china but the US too… as the world’s getting increasingly competitive each day, it’s a blessing to these low-skilled workers that they can save their jobs and get a stable pay…

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