Blogging is hard work

In less than a year I have gone from daily blogging to forcing myself to find something to write about once a week if that.

Since my return from China two weeks ago, I have been working like crazy trying to bag all the new business raining down on PassageMaker and China Quality Focus. The world economy is not out of the woods but we are definitely seeing an explosion of new RFQs, led by Australia. They are booming exporting the raw materials for China’s industry. Let’s all raise our glasses to Australia! More on that later…

I have been picking away at the travel log in my minimal spare time, but here are some interesting articles (some a bit old, but nonetheless).

  • Nixon wasn’t so bad after all – USSR planned nuclear attack on China in 1969 – and Tricky Dick stopped World War III. This is the kind of stuff you do as President that you can’t talk about, you have to hope historians get it right.
  • From Instapundit, a link to great blog about Japan, Ampontan. Today’s post is called Lame and Shameless, about ridiculous Western reporting on Japan. I am reminded of Andrea Martins, our representative in Brazil, who was actually born and raised in Beijing, the first and only Caucasian I’ve met who truly speaks native-level Mandarin. She told me once that if you visit China for a week, you can write a book. Stay for a month, you can write an article. Live there for 25 years, you have nothing to say.
  • Every once in a while you need to remind yourself how utterly insignificant you really are – Jupiter loses one of its stripes and scientists are stumped as to why.
  • Every once in a while you need to remind yourself how great your life really is – N.Korean women up for sale in China: activist. Tragic and terrible. I hope China steps up.
  • Interesting article from Mother Jones. Yes, really. The Last Taboo.
  • The New York Times finally realizes that many jobs aren’t ever coming back – The New Poor: In Job Market Shift, Some Workers Are Left Behind.
  • Speaking of vomiting…U.S. posts 19th straight monthly budget deficit. (hat tip to Dave Learn)
  • Dear God, let’s hope so – N.J. gov. sets tone for US – I have heard Christie speak, and it is QUITE refreshing. He sounds like a no-nonsense CEO sent in to save a company on the ropes. Math doesn’t lie. There is no money tree. You have to cut spending. However, if you could just raise taxes on The Real Housewives of New Jersey and leave the rest of the state alone, I think you could sell that. My God, what tacky people. The rise of China should be seen as largely a good thing, and maybe the Chinese economy will grow larger than the USA’s, but that was never a foregone conclusion. Our current political leadership across the board seems hellbent on making sure it happens ASAP though. As someone who has business interests in both USA and PRC, I just wish the USA would quit shooting itself in the foot. We businessmen would be just fine if we knew from one day to the next what was coming out of Washington.
  • Globish – I love it. What a great word. And the author nails it; I have had similar experiences many, many times in the Chinese-speaking world.
  • And finally, I can’t resist – Dog on the menu for Chinese astronauts. Actually, dog is pretty tasty, though I’ve only had it prepared in Korean restaurants in China, so I haven’t tried the Chinese version. Have to put that on the to-do list.
Back soon, hopefully with some travel blogging.

The “Sweet & Sour” China experience

Andrea Martins, our sales representative in Brazil, lived in China for 25 years. She makes Mike and I look like amateurs when it comes to the crazy China stories.

She has my favorite term for dealing with China – “Sweet & Sour”, like the famous pork dish. During our regular calls, she will say such-and-such a potential client has had a “sour” China experience and wants our help to get to “sweet”. More food-borne analogies, I know, but this time it’s not my doing! And she sounds wonderful saying it in a Brazilian accent, so there.

Recently, a potential client decided to visit us in China without letting us know in advance. They dropped in to see us towards the end of their trip, thoroughly dispirited with their journey thus far – didn’t like the food, bad hotels, creepy new Chinese “friends” approaching them on the street, etc. They were desperate for someone to treat them right and handle their requirements in China with professionalism.

I have no idea why people assume that China is going to be easy. What, did you think you could learn Chinese on the plane ride over? There are thousands upon thousands upon thousands of words printed daily on the challenges China poses, and yet we regularly see otherwise savvy clients naively blundering about as though nothing bad is going to happen. After the inevitable does happen, we are happy to help get things moving again, but it is so much simpler to do it right the first time.

And now, because Sweet & Sour Pork is one of the very few dishes that appears on “Chinese” restaurant menus in America in something close to its original form, here’s a link to a pretty good recipe. Enjoy!

Our new partner in Brazil, Andrea Martins of OverChina

I am thrilled to announce that PassageMaker now has sales representation in Brazil. Ms. Andrea Martins, co-founder of OverChina, has joined the team, representing PM, China Quality Focus and SafePassage.

Ms. Martins has more than 25 years experience living in China, and has an impressive academic and professional resume. Here she is discussing the 60th anniversary of the PRC on Brazilian television (in Portuguese). Thankfully for me, she also speaks fluent English.

The PassageMaker web team is working to update our website with bios for our global sales team, something I hope to have up within the next two weeks. Short post tonight – computer trouble. More later…