China Diary:
Western Contacts


[Leaving Home] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Settling in Shanghai] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Getting to Work] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Becoming Routine] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Western Contacts] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) ["National Day" Trip] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Meeting Folks] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Plenty to Eat] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Downtown] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [South by Southwest] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Socializing] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Dance Fever] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Exchanges] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Business Week] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [North by Northeast] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Computer Crash] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [The Good and the Bad] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Wrapping Up]


Sep. 21: Ups and Downs – Electronically check my bank statement only to find a home university deposit has still not been made. What else could go wrong? Losing motivation because my stay here for next semester remains unsettled. In fact, my university I.D. expires at the end of this semester. What else could go wrong? Nonetheless, I begin preparing case and lecture for tomorrow’s MBA class only to discover I don’t have all my presentation files on my laptop (hard copies and disk must be in storage somewhere, I optimistically convince myself). What else could go wrong? Get a letter from home, prompting me to call my daughter Debbie. She tells me she totaled my car. Vow never to ask myself, "What else could go wrong?" Puts my bike accident in perspective. Get phone call from my ally at Waiban office. He spoke with the Dean of the School of Management about me teaching there next spring. Shortly afterward, receive call the School of Management requesting a list of courses I could teach next spring. Later, Gay (from the Norwegian School of Management) joins me in some hoops, and we get a tutorial. (They must have figured out my one move.) One of Gay’s colleagues from Norway joins us for dinner at the Radisson, which is owned by SAS. We have Western all-you-can-eat buffet at Scandinavian prices and I have my first caffeine in weeks, but Finnish too late for the sauna and massage.

Sep. 22: Case and Lecture – Tuesday’s MBA class was supposed to read one case and one text chapter. Enter packed room, spilling over into hallway. New faces; not enough materials. I push on. I ask who has read the case. Several hands rise. I ask who has read the chapter. A few more hands rise. Tough gig. I push on. After abbreviated case discussion, I lecture on text material. After class, a dozen newcomers follow me up to office to receive little remaining materials. They push on. Bedlam.

Sep. 23: Mel and Nancy – Next Spring becomes settled, and I’ll be teaching the same courses. For dinner I meet Mel and Nancy at the Portman Ritz Carlton. Mel and I met before I left; he’s a retired GE executive who spent nearly ten years in Asia setting up joint ventures, the last half-dozen in China. He taught at Jiaotong in Shanghai last semester and came back to teach a one-month course. He shares some contacts with me. His wife, Nancy, is a China antiques seller. She visits often to buy antiques and ship them to the U.S. The Portman (formerly the Shangri-La) is arguably the most exclusive hotel in the city. It has two towers for hotel guests, the popular Shanghai (business) Center, and a couple of other towers for apartments that house many expatriates. Mel and Nancy use a friend’s apartment while she is back in the U.S. President Clinton stayed at this hotel when he was here last summer. After dinner, as we mill around outside, an entourage pulls up and out comes San Francisco Mayor and F.O.B. Willie Brown. Turns out San Francisco, the other city on the bay, and Shanghai are sister cities.

Sep. 24: Nothing Works – I find a "Do Not Disturb" sign and hang it on the outside doorknob. Sleep late. Turn on the laptop, and can’t get Internet connection. Discover drawer I thought was empty has a lot of "old stuff." Musty. Hit the shower; no water. I wait. Each lunch, dishes piling up in sink. No water. I wait. Eventually, only hot water only comes steaming out of faucets. Moral: "Be careful what you wish for." I head for the basketball courts wishing for a good workout. I get creamed again. These guys got my number (#13).

Weekend – I go to do my laundry, but the washing machine is broken for the weekend. Food in the refrigerator begins to go bad, so I defrost. I prepare my lectures for next week. Catch up on some business magazines over the Internet. Come across an item about the Ivey School of Business at The University of Western Ontario having a program to train faculty in China to use the case method, including Fudan. I request information. For dinner, I head for Mr. Pizza (order the Shanghai special) then some soft ice cream at KFC. On the way home, I stop at the local hotel to buy a dictionary and some post cards. Wandering around, I stumble onto its dance hall. Cute, quaint, and tame. About a dozen couples are sitting together, taking turns dancing the fox trot and singing Karaoke. On Saturday, Mel faxes me business cards for half a dozen Westerners involved in the business or education community. I receive response from Ivey Business School that they will send me their recently published international business casebook for the China market. (They also notify me there are copies at Fudan which I did not know.) For dinner, I try an Indian restaurant downtown but don’t pay Asian prices. After, Maurice and I return to the dance hall but since it’s Saturday night the music has a quicker tempo. On Sunday I e-mail or call the contacts Mel gave me. For dinner I open one of the Suntory cans only to find it’s coffee; apparently, Suntory is diversified into many different kinds of beverages.


[Leaving Home] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Settling in Shanghai] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Getting to Work] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Becoming Routine] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Western Contacts] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) ["National Day" Trip] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Meeting Folks] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Plenty to Eat] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Downtown] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [South by Southwest] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Socializing] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Dance Fever] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Exchanges] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Business Week] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [North by Northeast] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Computer Crash] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [The Good and the Bad] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Wrapping Up]

Rainbow

Copyright 1998 Paul Miesing. All rights reserved. Please do not use without permission unless in the People’s Republic of China which does not enforce intellectual property rights. Revised on January 17, 2001.