Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Kickin' It Beijing Style

After a week here, I think I have figured out what you need to fit in with the two types of Beijing elites (old school and new economy):

Old School
1) Chairman Mao horn-rimmed monster-sized eyeglasses--no matter what your age
2) A VW Passat (or for the poorer party member, a motorcycle with a little cab over the back seat; photos to follow when I get home).
3) One word: brylcreem

New Economy
1) Prada, Gucci, Marc Jacobs whatever--as long as it's designer
2) Audi or BMW
3) Cup of starbucks in your hand

I cannot tell you how much I am enjoying the Chairman Mao eyeglasses. It rocks. There is nothing like seeing a thirty year old man wearing these huge I-Wanna-Be-Jiang-Zhemin spectacles. I am considering bringing the look stateside. Who's with me?!!! Anyone? Anyone? Hellooo?

The young and rich Beijingers are another story. It's quite an epiphany for an American to look around The People's Republic of China, which has been Communist for decades, and think to yourself, "Man, I wish I could afford what she's wearing." I'm not kidding. Rich people here are RICH. Most of them young, most related to electronics and video game revenues. There are Chinese people who could buy and sell me, which I have to confess I did not expect in the least.

This state of constant surprise has been the overriding theme of my trip to Beijing: expect the unexpected, lose the preconceived notions, relinquish the control, embrace the city for what it is, and truly internalize what this country of more than a billion souls is achieving right before our eyes--and then take a deep breath and imagine what they could achieve if the full power of their intellectuals and artists and entrepreneurs and thinkers could be unleashed.

You don't need Chairman Mao glasses to see a superpower in the making.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

While it's true that so many people have achieved so much economically, do not forget that it's the piracy of so many brands that saturates the landscape in China. EVERYthing is not *really* Gucci, Prada, Nike, Chanel and you could *definitely* afford to wear what many passersby are sporting!

Raine said...

I find it funny that you would post anonymously, and then make claims about piracy flooding other nations. Is there something you would like to confess?

I'll wait for E's pics when she gets back before determining exactly what state China is in, but I severly doubt it's the economic fraud that many people make it out to be.

Anonymous said...

http://www.afterdawn.com/news/archive/6138.cfm is but one article about the government's own admission that IP theft and copyright infringement are large problems in China.

I did not make any claim against other nations (plural). I spoke only of China.

I work with many amazing and talented people in China and am involved with curtailing IP theft in China. I made a comment about how many have achieved so much, but that this is an issue. I speak from experience and knowledge shared by Chinese colleagues.

Do you ordinarily get your news from blogs and vacation pictures?

Raine said...

On further review, I came up with over 150 articles talking about brand piracy in China. I offer my apology Mr./Ms. Anonymous, I spoke before I did my homework, so to speak.

However, the whole point of blogging is not news, but rather opinion. And besides, pirating a brand name is a double fraud, as designers charge over three times what their product is worth, simply for the novelty of it. It's like art, except it's mass produced.