Living and Working in China
After 15 years of being in China, sometimes I begin to feel myself falling into China, or becoming all Chinese, versus American Chinese. Then something happens, or a series of related yet random events happens such that I really stop and think.
- I went on a ride up to the Great Wall with a colleague yesterday. He has not seen much in China, but he mentioned to me that he noticed all the gates and fences and wondered why they exist? I told him: “In China, it’s all about the good guys and the bad guys, the have’s and have not’s, just like the Great Wall we were visiting, to keep out the bad guys, the Mongolians”. Walk around any Chinese city…
- Earlier, I stumbled on an article entitled “Why Isn’t There a Mark Zuckerberg in China”. The same can be said of where is the Chinese version of Bill Gates? They don’t exist due to the Chinese education system built on memorization and societal pressures for conformance.
- Agile Development methodologies: In many recent software conferences, I have listened to talks where the basic principle is to ‘Turn Brains On”. With all the orders coming from the top, those following the orders turn off their brains and follow ‘the process’ rather than owning it. How to turn on brains? –> remove fear. Fear of failure, fear of looking stupid.
- Linda Rising’s presentation on Agile mindset provided me more food for thought on the Chinese being averse to looking stupid, and making mistakes, trying to be perfect, looking good, and saving face. This is multiplied by the one child policy where the one and only kid must be perfect. When a child thinks they need to be perfect, usually they are more risk averse, and even more likely to cheat.
- Wen Jiabao has recently been in the news, much to his demise, not for helping the poor and being Grandpa, but for accumulating wealth, amongst his family members, behind the scenes. This made me think of the coming transition of power in the Communist Party: I recently read about the new military appointments in the Communist Party. Whereby the Party chooses not only these posts, but all the posts including the next leader. I would say, actually, the next Emperor is chosen along with his subordinates.
- Twitter, Facebook and the like, are blocked in China. Why? Because the government does not want the Chinese mind to be corrupted by porno? I don’t think so. Rather, they exert AND demonstrate their power and do not want the masses to understand the world outside of their small domain.
- Government policies, government holidays… Almost everything is determined by the government while the people wait for orders… Letting them know when the holiday is…Letting them know this policy or that policy has changed this year. Leads to turning off brains. Waiting for the order…
These are mostly random thoughts… But it’s all becoming more clear amongst the pollution! This blog is blocked in China as well. Wouldn’t want Chinese reading wordpress blogs…