Below is what I think is an interesting document. It’s an email from a former MBA student. He is a Singapore Chinese who spends a lot of time doing business inside China, in Mandarin. He is an intelligent and well-educated man. I know him to have a conservative temperament overall but he is also a keen observer and an independent thinker. Some of his statements are disturbing to me. I post this document on my blog for its intrinsic interest, not as an endorsement. I note with interest that he has not asked me to delete his name in spite of his denunciations of Singapore’s treatment of its dissidents. I withhold it nevertheless. He can add it subsequently if he wishes.
I have been hearing lots about evil China and their evil products (mostly from Taiwan opposition party folks, Chen Sui Bian and his gang).
There have been lots of negative press about manufacturers in China and how bad they are. Thing is the blame needs to be shared. I sourced in China as well and I what I have seen appalled me. Not that the manufacturers are out to get the buyers, but more so, the buyers are working so hard to get the manufacturers. The incident about Mattel, for example, I feel it was an error on Mattel’s part not to confirm that lead-free paint was going to be used. They probably assumed it.
And they probably pushed the price down so hard that the manufacturers had to cut corners to make any sort of financial sense. And when excrement hits the fan, they sad the manufacturers were to blame. And what about Walmart? Most manufacturers I know, many of whom are my friends, are refusing to sell to Walmart. Walmart are so harsh on pricing that they would specifically ask for the lower (if not lowest) quality goods. They would put such a large order, so huge that they would take over the entire manufacturing capability of a factory. If the factory is dumb enough to let them be the biggest and majority customer, they will be in for a fix. Walmart to hit prices down low and threaten to move elsewhere. The factory would have no choice but to budge because, if Walmart left, they would go out of business. So corners are cut, and Walmart knows about these cuts. All they care about is price and in the end, the customer suffers. It is not just the savings are “rolling back” to the customers, but the poor quality of the products are going back to the customer as well. By the way, Walmart usually price their goods anywhere from five to twenty times that of the cost they procured it at.
My view on communism is very different from the average person in the “free world”. This is the “new” communism in China. My opinion is that things actually get done here and quick too. In the time that Oakland took to rebuild the Cypress Highway that connects 880 to the Bay Bridge after the earthquake, Shanghai has constructed more than 10 times of that distance in highways, most of them elevated, a complete subway system, 3 large bridges and 3 underwater tunnels, a full
industrial park (cao he jing) a full financial center in Pudong, A new airport, and a new half of the city in Pudong literally done up. This is just within the limits of Shanghai city, excluding all the work done for the interstates. What can I say?
Comparing it to Singapore with a “democratically” elected government, China enjoys more freedom. Now, I say this as a person living in China, not as a politician. I see demonstrations from time to time in Shanghai and recently, the Shanghai government has been listening.
Talks happen, and situations get changed. It is true that China has seen more restricted times in the past but Hu and his current government is set to change that. The situation in Singapore is much more different where the law is often used to suppress opposition and dissidents.
People in Singapore mostly just take it in and forget about it, choosing to think about car payments, house payments and if their favorite British soccer team is going to win.
Anyway, these are just some of my thoughts. Of course, there are things that gets to me in China and Singapore as well, and also many things I like about the USA. These are some ramblings I have. Feel free to put them on your blog if you want to. I really miss talks with you outside Kenna Hall while you are bumming cigarettes off me.
P.S. I haven’t seen the Palin article on your blog. I will look it up. Every time I see her picture or video anywhere, I always get the impression of a deer in the headlights.
P.S.S. I have been out of touch with a lot of things. I really disapprove of Obama in 1) his work on 90% tax on the AIG bonuses (which I think is stupid and unconstitutional) and 2) him sending more troops into middle east.
[Editor's note: this essay first appeared on Dr. Delacroix's blog, Bay Watch, on April 8th 2009]