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eminence grease
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18,538 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Talk about the kinds of problems most of us (Americans) never have to face.

This place is about a corrupt as you have imagined - everyone is on the make. One of the big things for we expats is the driver program - it's so dangerous that we are simply not allowed to operate a car.

To a man, the drivers are always looking for an angle. They get paid about 1500 kuai ($220) a month in base salary with the opportunity to greatly increase that via overtime. Drivers will quit if they don't get enough of the latter. All the recording is done via timesheets so there are many opportunities to cheat. And they are bold about asking so a lot of my peers use them on the weekends to just sit out front and be there on the off chance that they are needed. I am one of the lowest in terms of overtime use, because I ride all day, both days on the weekends and I don't use my guy for all the stupid little errands that others use them for.

It's a tough thing, they make peanuts and we can change their financial lives. What's a little bit under the table, right? But, it all boils down to business ethics in my book.

I've been lucky, my guy never cared about OT and was glad for what little I gave him. We never talked about it until today when he asked me if it would be okay if he simply falsified his timesheet to show hours on this past weekend. The language was subtle and difficult so I played dumb until I got my wits about me and formulated an answer. Now, because of "face", I couldn't just call him a thief. On the other hand, it's a drop in the bucket and I know he's had a bad month - new washer, kid going back to school, friend's wedding, new air conditioner - stuff that would wreck most of us.

What I finally did was tell him that my car usage is heavily scrutinized. He argued that they would not know. I told him that everyone watches me - someone sees me at Starbucks and tells someone else who tells the timesheet person, etc. Now this is all BS but I told him that I would be fired if this came to light. He dropped the inquiry.

While I have hated a lot about this place, I've also liked some of it too. It's been a great personal experience for me in so many ways. And now the reality of this culture comes right up at the 11th hour and smacks me in the face.

I'll admit it, I'm under a gray cloud today.
 

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I want a Road Bike :)
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4,111 Posts
Terry, I live in Mexico, you're not going to talk "Corruption" to me... :)

// think what you're going to do, if that may affect you, be careful
 

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eminence grease
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18,538 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
mtymxdh said:
Terry, I live in Mexico, you're not going to talk "Corruption" to me... :)

// think what you're going to do, if that may affect you, be careful
I know it, I think you're one of the few around here that can relate to what I am saying on a personal level.

It's just so damn dirty.
 

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waterproof*
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41,608 Posts
Hey in a corrupt world, watching out for yourself is part of the deal.

Reminds me of the old salesman's adage - "somebody's gonna get sold on this call, and it ain't gonna be the buyer selling me 'no' for an answer."

I would be a bit more offended than I get from your post, but I get it that you've seen so much of it you're kind of resigned to the shakedown.

It's ok to be sympathetic, just pisses me off when people try to take advantage of my good nature and supposed wealth... I can tell a shakedown when I see it.
 

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eminence grease
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18,538 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Creakyknees said:
It's ok to be sympathetic, just pisses me off when people try to take advantage of my good nature and supposed wealth... I can tell a shakedown when I see it.
I'm a mixture between pissed off and just plain disappointed that after all this time, it just boils down to a shakedown. Problem is, I let my feelings sneak in here. I've been a very good boss to this guy and thought that would buy me some immunity. It didn't.

I came so close, only 20 days left and that' probably what prompted our relationship being taken to this new level.
 

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Formosan Cyclocross
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3,378 Posts
I hear you.

Most people here in Taiwan would like nothing more to do with China than take advantage of cheap labor.... Actually, people really don't like China or the Chinese who come out on tour.... So it always boggles my mind why the party in power and the rest of the world would like us to be annexed by China so badly. That place has problems and will continue to have problems as long as it is a one-party state.

Still, any expat goes through the bipolar oscillations between love and hate with a place. Upon visiting Seattle, the place I was born and raised, I went through some severe culture shock. I have more or less acculturated to my life in Taiwan.
 

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I want a Road Bike :)
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4,111 Posts
terry b said:
I know it, I think you're one of the few around here that can relate to what I am saying on a personal level.

It's just so damn dirty.
years ago I used to work in a logistics company, the main route was Monterrey---> Tijuana.

The truck drivers needed a legal copy of the truck registration, we didn't provide the original because the drivers always lose it or some guys simply left the trucks in the middle of the road, whatever,

once a traffic cop stopped a truck because he didn't had the original... the cop talked to my boss about it and my boss explained why the driver had a legal copy...

to make it short..... We had to pay the officer to let the truck continue the trip to his destination... AND I HAD TO GO TO THE BANK AND DEPOSIT THE MONEY ON HIS WIFE'S ACCOUNT!!! I was cursing like a sailor and explained why i was making the deposit to the bank teller but apparently he didn't care....
:mad2: :mad2: :mad2:


terry b said:
It's just so damn dirty.
 

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I want a Road Bike :)
Joined
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4,111 Posts
Creakyknees said:
It's ok to be sympathetic, just pisses me off when people try to take advantage of my good nature and supposed wealth... I can tell a shakedown when I see it.

Creaky, if you decide to drive across Texas, and follow my advice Dallas-->Mty , can you bring me a Road Bike..?


// a Trek would be fine

/// size 54

KTHXBAI

:D
 

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eminence grease
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18,538 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I've been shaken down many times crossing into Sonora. Seems to go in waves - every time and then nothing for years. Unlike most Americans I simply play dumb - I use a little Spanish, I pretend to try to understand, I apologize for my lack of subtlety until they get bored and walk away. One year, the "bad cop" told me to unload my whole Suburban. I said "fine" and started to. The "good cop" came over and told me to stop and got in the back seat. He asked me five or six times "drugs, arms, cartridges" and of course I pretended to be offended. The he asked what the value of our things was - he was trying to estimate the "import tax." I just kept saying "no value, old, used stuff." Over and over and over while fumbling with the language.

He gave up and sent us on our way.
 

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Formosan Cyclocross
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3,378 Posts
My mother lives in Mexico and she sent 7lbs. of goods back to Zacatecas. When the packages arrived they had been opened and some of the contents were missing.

When she complained to the post office, the woman at the counter assured her everything had arrived... all 7oz. of it.
 

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eminence grease
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18,538 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Dajianshan said:
So it always boggles my mind why the party in power and the rest of the world would like us to be annexed by China so badly. .
If reunification ever happens and Taiwan is treated like HK - no problem. Otherwise, everything that's good will be destroyed by this culture.
 

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Formosan Cyclocross
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3,378 Posts
Actually, Taiwan is not analogous to HK and it would be a huge problem as Taiwanese do not identify as Chinese and there are many who will fight to the death over it. The HK model is detested my most. Different cultures.

(Re)unification implies a prior union. There never was one.
 

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eminence grease
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18,538 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Dajianshan said:
Actually, Taiwan is not analogous to HK and it would be a huge problem as Taiwanese do not identify as Chinese and there are many who will fight to the death over it. The HK model is detested my most. Different cultures.

(Re)unification implies a prior union. There never was one.
I get that.
 

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Windrider (Stubborn)
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22,021 Posts
For me the worst thing about the situation you describe....with that much corruption, the whole thing could be a set-up. You get to a position where you have to second guess everything.

Len
 

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your text here
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13,192 Posts
terry b said:
I came so close, only 20 days left and that' probably what prompted our relationship being taken to this new level.
this.


any way you can give him a thrill this weekend and have him drive you around for 8 hours?
 

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No hero that's understood
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6,100 Posts
If you are happy with the service he has provided you over your time there, why not slip him $50-$100 as a thank you for good service. This isn't dishonest, you'll be helping him out, and will end your angst.

From your post, it sounded like you like him and since you won't be there much longer, this won't come up again.
 

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eminence grease
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18,538 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Len J said:
For me the worst thing about the situation you describe....with that much corruption, the whole thing could be a set-up. You get to a position where you have to second guess everything.

Len
I think about this all the time. Every single instance where some female friend of a work friend asks me to come into town for an innocent cup of coffee, every time some Chinese asks me to bring back something from the US, instances like this.

You just don't know. You might find yourself sitting in a dingy green room having the situation described to you with the expected conditions that you must adhere to.

It's like the story I wrote about recently in Beijing, attractive young woman, in town, wants to talk, shows me where some highlight is, invites me to a "tea ceremony" where I would have been presented with a $200 tab in an unrecognizable part of town and no clear path to the door. I knew about that one, two guys in the Marriott lounge I was chatting with didn't get to leave until they forked over.

It's a minefield.
 

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eminence grease
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18,538 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·
q_and_a said:
If you are happy with the service he has provided you over your time there, why not slip him $50-$100 as a thank you for good service. This isn't dishonest, you'll be helping him out, and will end your angst.

From your post, it sounded like you like him and since you won't be there much longer, this won't come up again.
Last January in the custom of Spring Festival I handed him the "hong bao", red envelope, with $500 in it. Two months pay.

I was planning to do the same in 3 weeks when I leave. An early hong bao since I won't be here during Spring Festival. And I still will. I can't jsut slip him some cash because of "face." He won't allow me to pay for dinner when I've gone out with he and his wife. This is very delicate.

It's just being treated this way that's gotten under my skin. Other problem is he's been smoking in the car when I'm not there and my clothes are starting to stink. I told him next time he goes to the car wash to have them detail the inside because the smoke is bothering my allergies (again, saving face). He now keeps the windows down when he's waiting for me.

There are two problems here - 1) we have become too close and 2) I'm leaving and he will be unemployed. He has nothing to lose and no motivation to behave.
 
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