Saturday, July 28, 2007


Saturday, the second day of the 'hip hop' competition:

I’m glad my name isn't Zhang Wei:

'There are 290,607 people called Zhang Wei in China, making it the most popular name in the world's most populous country, a report said.

I wonder… How many John Smiths in the world?

Yesterday (27th), a most interesting day, if only I can remember it all… From getting 'ripped off' by the Bank of China (again) to being caught in a 'dust devil' to watching a Lars Von Trier movie! Additionally, many people came by… This is 'full moon' time! There was something about someone at 1000, and something about a singer at about 1700 hours… But, in China you're never quite sure--you're always surprised!

Li Zhongwei ('Jerry') had spent the night and he appeared early. But, he was out walking when XTRicha awoke. They had breakfast outside together (how they met up I'll never know--mobile tele. doubt?). Then Ju Gui Ying ('June') arrived. Zhang faju ('Judy') is no longer with us. On the other hand, it's school summer vacation time, and we're awash with students wanting to work with us.

At 1000 Mr. Wang's friend's son came, a young man from Beijing who'd come to meet us at the 'Hip Hop Competition.' He had a 3-page resume, full of the software programs he's facile with! Turns out, however, he's married and has to support a wife! When I got through with the reality of the situation, how we start everyone (test: no pay), we'll never hear from him again. I wish him well; as for every job in China there are 3,000 qualified applicants!

Young people so stupid! It's hard enough to get a job, without burdening yourself with a family before you have money in the bank! But, try to tell them (me included!).

At the same time a Tibetan man came by named, Ang (last name ?), a student at Qinghai Normal University. He's very 'cool' dressed in jeans and a coat jacket. We had met him at 'Haaqi's English Club,' a month before. I had been impressed by both his English and knowledge of movies. He wants to learn how to make 'movies.' So, I showed him our Panasonic camcorder and he screened what we 'shot' of the 'Hip Hop Competition' in People's Park.

We took Ang (common Sherpa name in Nepal) to lunch with us. I ordered broccoli ('xi lian hua' - 硬花甘蓝) as I'd seen it in this restaurant before. Turned out everyone liked it.

After lunch things began to get interesting… XTRicha went off to the 'hip hop' competion, and I went off to the Bank of China to withdraw from my Bank of Texas account in the U.S. And yet another mistake!
I had written about this unhappy episode with the Bank of China, getting 'ripped off' at an ATM last week. But, that was at a new branch and different ATM machine. I thought if I went to the 'old' one, where I'd had no problem before, there would be one!

Lo and behold, I got 'ripped off' again, this time to the tune of 1,000RMB / $135U.S. This time no cash, but a receipt that said the transaction 'rejected!' I immediately told the 'duty officer,' but guess what…? Of course, they don't want to know, don't give a shit if you're 'laowei!' And I can't speak Chinese!

Back at the flat (business address) I went online to check my account. And sure enough the money ($135U.S.) had been withdrawn from my account. Angier than a nest of hornets I couldn't believe this could happen a second time, but knew now it was a computer snafu (two different ATMS at two different branches of the BoC). But, why don't they put a sign on the ATMs ('Out of Order?')? Because in China they don't really think or care about the customer. It all comes under the heading, 'Too bad; tough shit!' There is no functioning 'legal system' in China for the 'little guy' - a way to redress inequities!

I immediately called Xutanda. He was still at the 'Hip Hop Competition.' He got the message, however, loud and clear! Return to the flat as we have to go to the BoC--same bad deal again!

I was downstairs waiting when he returned!

At the Bank we accousted one woman the 'Duty Officer,' and a man supposedly 'in charge of the workers!' This time they were more amenable, and explanatory, apologizing and ensuring the money would be reimbursed to my account (thanks to Xu Tan). What to do? Luckily, Rucha has saved the day by transferring 'E' into my other account or I'd be SOL!

I was angry the rest of the day! 'No wo ai Bank of China!'

Then at 1700 (5P.M.) they came, four people and a dog--the singer (Jia Xiao Yun)! It took most of the first few minutes to understand who was who. I had been told by Xutanda that 'the singer' had an agent. One of the four people (three women and one man) turned out to be 'the agent.' An attractive woman in her own right I was thinking as possible model--'the agent.' The dog, a Pekenese (the standard Chinese dog), was cute (I get along with animals and children)--I played with it.

The man, dressed in an undershirt is her 'coach.' They wanted to see our business license. Luckily we have one! They wanted to see a sample contract. I said next week. They asked if 'they' signed, what about a 'salary' in the meantime? I explained that artists in the West have a 'day job!' We don't pay a salary. But, we do our best to get artists paying jobs! Plus, the first thing we'll do is produce a music video to help sell her talents (she has won singing contests). They seemed happy.

We ushered them out and the 'bass player' (Li Heng) in! Note, one day in the life of Haqi ('the Magic Dragon'). Turned out this is a group (name?) not a bass player. They don't have a CD. They're favorite group 'Metallica!' They want to sign with us (this is how desperate artists are in China). We're going tonight to hear them perform at a club!

Suddenly, we have three clients: the 'Hip Hop' group, Dancer's Dream, the singer (Jia Xiao Yun) and the Rock group (name ?) is on it's way, yea!

I finished the day watching Lars Von Trier's 'Europa.' This story taking place in Germany in 1945. It's 'hypnotic!' in black and white (going to color occassionally).

Tomorrow we're cranking up to the top of Bei Shan with Mr. Liu (he's been riding our bicycle). I want him to look at the building and advise as he works for the Construction Government. My vision is for this site (and unoccupied building) to be the future home of : the Bei Shan Institute for culture, arts and music!

I have a wonderful life in spite of the challenge of living in China!



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