50 things you should never trust in China

You definitely can’t trust anything with this word in it. Or that man’s ladder.
My active blogging period was between 2006 and 2008. Two glorious years of online activity before my death in 2008 when I was fatally pierced by a shaft of frozen urine which had fallen from a leak in a toilet facility of a passing overhead plane.

Urine Spear
Actual footage of the tragic event. #Pissgate – never forget.
After my death a few attempts to revive me were made that resulted in the (very) occasional post over at my good friend’s website mylaowai.com. Mr Mylaowai has been a very good friend to me – especially during that difficult period of my sexual history where I decided to become even straighter than I am now and instead of coming out went further in – and part of my Last Will and Testament was to allow him to re-post some of my old Sinocidal articles on his blog for all to see.

Originally posted on April 1st 2009 (not an entirely coincidental date), here for your enjoyment is a list I made of 50 things never to trust in China. Lists are great for writers as they require absolutely zero effort beyond figuring out how to Word’s bullet point feature – a fact that Cracked.com discovered years ago and has used endlessly ever since. Maybe I should write a book that is simply a long list of things not to do and things you should do. It could be a bestseller, but I fear the Koran may have beaten me to it.

Looking back on these after seven years I’m amazed that all of them are still absolutely 100% correct. Plus ca change, as they say in Manchester. To spice things up I have decorated this list with pictures of untrustworthy things Chinese girls say that I totally stole from a meme site.

50 Things Never To Trust in China

Waaaah ni hao!
1. Anyone claiming to be collecting for the Sichuan Earthquake Appeal.

2. A person who’s hair has right angles.

3. A 50/50 androgynous student. Always assume the worst.

4. Cloakroom attendants who look after your bag and coat while you go and dance.

5. Taxi Drivers.

6. Any middle aged foreign man or woman who has been teaching full-time in English for more than 12 months.

7. Any foreigner who claims to be a China Expert who has not worked within the porcelain trade for the last 20 years.

8. Specials in restaurants that are priced at figures ending in 88.

9. Chinese who loudly drop English words into their Chinese conversations with other Chinese when a perfectly normal Chinese word would do.

10. Foreigners who loudly drop Chinese words into their English conversations with other foreigners when a perfectly normal English word would do.

11. Anything that costs over 10 yuan.

12. Any declaration or announcement from any Chinese authority that begins with the words “For your safety”.

13. People with more eyebrows than teeth.

14. Shops that only consist of a man in a bomber jacket smoking a cigarette next to a fridge.

15. “5000 years”.

5000 years
“It must be true. My teacher say so.”
16. Declarations of eternal love from somebody who has just accepted 100 yuan from you for hand relief.

17. Directions from a man who pauses for more than one second.

18. Hairdressers with a hair colour other than black.

19. The Lonely Planet Guide to China.

20. Websites that are not banned in China.

21. Cigarettes in red packets.

22. Un-labeled meat.

23. ISO9001.

24. “This is my first time”.

25. Language partners who claim Mandarin contains no swear words.

26. Your instincts after 13 bottles of Tsingtao.

27. The plumbing.

28. Waidiren.

29. A woman who says “Don’t worry about a condom, I drink so much I doubt I can actually get pregnant. If I could it would definitely have happened by now!”

No, it’s not.
30. Unsupervised tradesmen or ayi’s.

31. The information plaques in museums.

32. School textbooks.

33. “And now on CCTV, news from our Tibet Correspondent.”

34. A Chinese manufacturer that uses white actors and actresses dubbed in Mandarin for their 15 minute infomercials to imply international levels of quality and global recognition.

35. “Mei wenti”.

36. Boasts of extraordinary achievement from somebody posting anonymously on an expat forum.

37. Anyone recommending a holiday to a Chinese Province that does not possess a coastline.

38. People who don’t drink.

39. Yang Rui, seriously.

40. Claims of sovereignty.

Whatever you say, love.
41. Communists.

42. A twenty-something employee with access to your database.

43. The exact time in Xinjiang.

44. “There’s no need to write anything down, we are friends!”

45. Anyone who refers to you as “friend”, and especially anyone who refers to you as “old friend”.

46. Anything with tits and a fanny.

47. The quality of a DVD purchase.

48. Traffic signs, traffic lights, or traffic regulations of any kind.

49. Chinese proverbs that suspiciously back up EXACTLY the point the person was talking about.

50. People. 

There are actually two statements here you cannot trust.
At the time when this was originally posted I received the wonderful comment:

This whole rant is racist, short-sighted, and unbelievably puerile.

It’s positive life-affirming messages like that which have brought me back online.

Now, does anybody have the email address of the editor of Cracked.com? I think it’s time to send them my portfolio.





My name is Arthur Meursault.

Obviously that is not my real name, but due to some of the things I’m planning on writing, it would be foolish to reveal my true identity. Just kidding: I’m not an anti-Semite, though I do think Leni Riefenstahl was a wonderful film director.

Ten years ago in 2006, I started blogging about my life in China as a form of self-therapy. I had been sent (funny how the word “sent” can easily be elongated into “sentenced”) to live in Qingdao where I knew nobody and endured an extremely shitty job. China wasn’t new to me: I had been living there for several years in other cities and had even studied Mandarin for four years, but Qingdao was a bit of a low point for me. To counter the misery I was going through during those cold Shandong winters, I began reading forums like Talktalkchina. Talktalkchina was a big thing within the miserable China expat circle of 2006; for the first time somebody was writing funny posts about our daily frustrations and allowing us to share a platform to vent our own inanities. Commenting on Talktalkchina led to writing my own blog – the sarcastically titled “Yellow Wings”* – which I was proud to say was probably the first China expat blog to provide absolutely ZERO insight or seriousness on its chosen topic. Instead, I used the at-the-time wonderful new medium of the blog to write half-arsed little comedy sketches about China and several beer-fueled rants. Yellow Wings led on to a collaboration project with four other commentators from Talktalkchina after that website finally went the way of a donkey prostitute and bit the dust. From the ashes of Talktalkchina, Sinocidal was born. Most of it was complete crap , but my posts (written under the name ChouChou) were not bad.

None of that matters now and nobody has the slightest interest anymore. So, introductions over, let’s crack on.

Ten years on and we live in a wonderful new and shiny world. All those horrible remnants of the past like job security, fiscal responsibility and communicating face-to-face with our peers has thankfully been consigned to the dustbin of history. Now we live in a glorious techno-utopia where I can press a button on my iPhone and get a pizza delivered to my house within HOURS, and HR managers can look up my internet history and use that as a reason to say that they wish me luck in my current job search. Truly we are living in a Golden Age.

China has moved on massively since 2006: on an upwards trajectory till around 2008, puffed up with lies, smoke and mirrors for another eight years, and as of today in early 2016 looks like it may be re-joining Argentina and Chad in the shitty countries club. I thought it was a good time to re-publish some of my old posts from the old days so that young whippersnappers moving to China today can browse through this online museum of bitterness and realise they weren’t the first white person in China to get shocked at a peasant family taking it in turns to defecate in a KFC bucket.

I will be publishing my old posts (with additional commentary and hindsight) as well as some new ones when the mood takes me. Let’s see how long I can keep this up before an angry member of the 50-cent army leaves a comment on here telling me “IF U DONT LIKE THE CHINA U CAN GO HOME!!! :-/”

*Yellow Wings: an old and now out-dated slang term during my university days meaning the fictional award a young man could expect to receive for accomplishing the act of coitus with a female of Asian descent. Just which governing body was expected to issue this award was never established. University students probably wouldn’t use such terms nowadays unless it came with a trigger warning.

A lovely sandwich

Hello there!

This is the first ever entry in my very own blog, a work of literature which will one day be known as the Best Piece Of Writing Since The Torah.

However, I know that computers are the work of the Devil, so there is no way I’m going to write a witty and lengthy first entry with the danger of it disappearing up its own arse.

So, instead I’ll tell you that I’m just about to make myself a lovely sandwich: I will use white bread, and its filling will be ham and cheese. Perhaps I’ll even add some cheese spread, perhaps I won’t. That’s just the kind of living-on-the-edge guy that I am.


If you enjoyed this post you may also enjoy my book Party Members – a dark comic fantasy that exposes the corrupt underbelly of modern China.