Xi Jinping Sex Stories

I was jerking about on Reddit recently and wrote these dirty little stories featuring everybody’s favourite Communist dictator Xi Jinping. Thought they were entertaining enough to feature here as well. Enjoy.



Xi Jinping sat in his Audi A6 as it passed through the car wash humming the theme tune of “Without the Communist Party, there is no new China”. All the windows were soaped up and no one could see in so, for the briefest moments, he thought about having a wank. But his daughter was in the back so he decided against it.

After dropping her off at school, Xi Jinping was at a loss as to how to fill his day. He was delivering a motivational speech to a bunch of spastics tonight at the Global Times so he didn’t want to overdo it. He felt a twinge in his back. It had been aching since him and Bo Xilai had wrestled naked in front of a roaring fire at Bo’s 12 million RMB mansion in Chongqing. Xi had smashed a porcelain bust of Bo Guagua and he had had to leave.

Before he knew it he was at a massage parlour and had paid his 100 RMB entry. Before he could get to the changing rooms he slipped out of his navy windbreaker and could feel the fragrant steam of the sauna tickle his massive balls like a poacher under a trout.

He applied a towel to his lower torso, barely able to conceal his pulsating fleshy fire hydrant. He stepped into the room and lay down on the pleather massage table pushing his face through the hole and letting his cock hang over the side.

Behind him the door opened and Xi’s pussy senses were raised to Severe. The aroma of chicken and sweetcorn soup and whelks hit him like a steam train and he knew right then that he would sire another child.

Small hands covered in oil began to explore his muscular, egg coloured bodywork. As the girl’s hands reached his proud buttocks he tried everything in his power to hold back a huge fart he had been brewing since he’d parked in the multistorey car park.

When the girl slipped a greasy little finger up his brown eye he let out a yelp and nearly roared “Harmony!” but he stopped himself. The hands of the girl motioned him to turn over, which he duly did.

His eyes found a young Chinese girl wearing a little white tunic which he knew concealed a pair of juicy little boobs and almost certainly a clunge as ripe as a week-old banana. As he lay on his back, blood rushed into his veiny Tower of Pisa quicker than an old woman into a FamilyMart on Free Rice Day. He lay there looking like a drawing pin as the girl starting applying more and more oil. He was so hard and tall that he worried slightly that the price of oil may be affected by his erection.

Her tiny hands kneeded his giant oak and at one point Xi half thought she was an Ewok trying to climb a Giant Red on Endor. He leapt up and ripped open her tunic revealing, as he had suspected, a gorgeous set of two tits, nipples as dark as Dove Chocolate and a pussy so wet and hairy he was reminded of Mario during one of the water levels.

He dived into her like a released rapist and set about plunging into every orifice that was available and some that were not. Within hours he was on his final strokes and let rip with such a gush of spunk that the poor girl tried in vain to make a call to the Japanese coastguard.

Spent, sweating and panting Xi untangled his yawning cock and slipped on his windjacket. The girl, who later from police reports he found was called Hi Tide Run, lay on the floor, a shredded mess of manfat, baby oil, matted hair and rice. Xi looked at his Casio watch/calculator and saw that the spastic thing started in 20 minutes. He bent down over the meal he had just demolished, whispered “Harmony” in her ear and patted her on the fanny.


Erm… something about Xi Jinping and fisting…

Xi Jinping scaled the walls of the 13 million RMB Pudong condominium with all the stealth of a gekko on a Shenzhen shower wall. As luck would have it the window was open. He dropped in and slipped out of his windbreaker jacket and let the cool air caress his polished skin.

The house was quiet. He looked into one room and saw the sleeping Huang Xiaoming – handsome star of many famous Chinese TV shows and films that I cannot name right now. Without the wig and wax on his face he was rather beautiful. But Xi Jinping wasn’t into arses. Not today.

He heard a noise coming from the bathroom. He ran along the landing, his giant cock swinging in the air like Hilary Clinton’s neck after a Trump Presidential win. He looked into the bathroom and saw a tired wrinkled old woman cleaning the toilet floor with a cloth. Xi Jinping was disappointed. This wasn’t the Angelababy who he had masturbated over into an oven glove. The reality was some old crone who he suspected had breasts like a nong’s luggage at Chinese New Year and a cunt as wide and useless as the One Road One Belt project.

“Xi!” said a voice behind him. “Stop looking at my ayi with your cock out”.

Xi Jinping slowly turned around and saw Angelababy in front of him – wearing nothing but a Hello Kitty one-piece and the slightest glistening of her ample vagina. It was dripping like a burst xiaolongbao with a clit as thick as Xi’s own collection of quotes on the governance of China.

As ever Xi’s cock became harder than the gaokao exam and proceeded to bang Angelababy’s tits off as the ayi ate a bag of sunflower seeds from the floor that Xi had brought just in case.

Before Xi left he wiped his now dying cock on the hungry ayi, and bent down to the prone Angelababy, who had been covered in his man-gravy like pumpkin spice powdered over a fempat’s latte. Xi softly whispered “Harmony” in her ear and patted her on the fanny.

Angelababy: Loves a fanny patting


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.

Announcing my book: Party Members

In January this year I restarted blogging after a considerable absence from all things digital. Back in the mid 2000s I was fairly prolific on the China blogging scene with my two blogs Yellow Wings and Sinocidal, but stopped writing by 2008. Some readers may be wondering why I decided to return to blogging after such a long hiatus…

The answer, of course, is because I have something to sell.

I’m very pleased to announce that August will see the release of my first book – Party Members. It is being published by Taiwan-based Camphor Press who are an independent publishing house focused on East Asia as well as being the guys behind the fantastic literature review site Bookish.asia.

Party Members is quite different from the regular books out there that are concerned with China. You can expect all the dark wit and venom that you’ll find within my normal writing. Party Members is a fictional story about a mid-level government official called Yang Wei who lives in the backwards city of Huaishi (first mentioned in my Dumplings short story). Yang Wei is a mediocre government official in a mediocre job. However, one day his content life of bureaucratic monotony is shattered by an encounter with the advanced consumer goods he has long been deprived of.

Aided by the cynical advice of a very unlikely mentor, Yang Wei embarks on a journey of greed, corruption, and murder that ultimately takes him to the diseased underbelly of Chinese society.

This is dark comic fantasy about a world where to get rich is glorious, no matter who gets hurt in the process. Designer handbags, sex, karaoke and shady property deals combine to paint a picture of modern China unlike anything seen before.

I really wanted to write something different to what is currently out there regarding China. Readers can expect a black comedy that draws on American Psycho, Fight Club, Terry Gilliam’s Brazil, Kafka and even a bit of Lu Xun for good measure.

I shall release more details about the book in the run-up to the release in August and if anybody has any questions they can contact me via the “Contact” tab at the top of this page.

In the meantime, here’s a preview of the cover which features an original artwork by the dissident Chinese artist Badiucao. Badiucao recently did the artwork for the acclaimed documentary movie Hooligan Sparrow, so you can see I’m in pretty good company. It’s a wonderful piece of design and will give you a flavour on what to expect.

UPDATE! Party Members is now available on Amazon for pre-order at the special limited period price of $2.99! Go go go!


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.

Big Announcement Coming Soon!

Everybody’s favourite China blogger Meursault has been back online for almost six months now. During that time we’ve reacquainted ourselves with old housemate Nile, met China’s new cartoon character Mr Yang Wei, slagged off almost every so-called expert on China (as well as Mark Zuckerberg) and reposted some old favourites from ten years ago.

The burning question is why?

Why did I decide to make a return to writing about China after all these years and what was I doing during my eight years of digital silence?

Well, the answer will be revealed in a blog post this Thursday which features an exciting announcement for anybody who is a fan of my writing (that’s you, Mum). Contain your anticipation – it’s only a three-day wait. Apparently there is some kind of referendum happening in Britain on Thursday, but that pales into insignificance compared to what is happening on arthurmeursault.com.

In the meantime, here’s a very sneaky peek on what to expect…

Sneak Peek
What could it be?


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.

How to write a China article

(I first wrote this in 2007 for Sinocidal.com. Arguably, it was my most successful ever article. It was reposted in quite a few places, was translated into German, got featured in some mag, and even got linked to on Shanghaiist. Most of that seems to have completely disappeared now. There was even one person at the time who claimed I copied this off a Kaiser Kuo article. Pfffft, as if. There are better places to plagiarise from than that. The article still seems to hold as true today as it did back then. If you want to use this template for Japan just replace any instance of “Dragon” with “Samurai”. I’ve updated a few dated references too.)

“My name is Shaun Rein and I fully endorse this guide on how to write a China article.”

You’ve just arrived in your 5-Star room at the Shanghai Hilton and unpacked your fancy new Apple laptop.  As you pull the top off the mini bottle of Hennessey XO, you finally turn to your instructions from the editor back home.  2000 words by Monday about the important issues facing China today.  Easy.

But two days have passed and you are still staring at a blank screen.  You’re experiencing a stretch of writer’s block as long as the Great Wall of China and the deadline is hanging over your head like the proverbial Sword of Damocles.  It seems that more research than flicking through a copy of Wild Swans in the airport is needed after all.

Sound familiar?  Then you, my journalist friend, need the Meursault’s fully patented guide on how to write that Pulitzer Prize winning China article.  Simply follow the steps below, and you’ll have your name splashed across the front page of every newspaper in Britain faster than a convicted child molester.


Each and every good China article begins with a carefully considered and well thought-out title.  “Cor, what a scorcher” may be good enough for a tabloid article about heatwaves in April, but if you’re going to impress your fellow tofu-eating, goatee bearded colleagues at the Grauniad office (not to mention that hot feminist who writes angry columns about women’s issues), then you’re going to need to think up a snappy headline.  Thankfully, titles for China articles follow a strict guideline, and a catchy media soundbite can be created in seconds thanks to Meursault’s (TM) China-headline-o’matic.  Just choose one of the words from column A, and match it with a random word from column B.

The Dragon
The East
1.3 Billion People
Red Star

Does Dallas

The only exception to this rule is when writing an article about the clash of western commercialism against old-style Communist practices, in which case the title “Mickey Maos” must be used.

Interview a taxi driver

You may well be isolated from the unwashed masses of China in your luxury Shanghai hotel room, but for God’s sake, you don’t want the brainless idiots who read your newspaper to know that.  A good journalist never loses his common touch: after all, the whole point of your article is to pretend that you care about “the Chinese people themselves” and how unfairly the system treats them.  Bob Geldof has made a career about appearing to care for African people, and hopefully you can do the same for Chinese people, earn loads of money, and buy a big fuck-off house in the south of France.  There’s no way you actually want to meet any of the Chinese people though.  It’s OK to let some of them clean your hotel room, but any more contact than that and you risk catching tuberculosis.  So you might as well make use of the only Chinese person you ever come into contact with – the taxi driver – and pass off his opinions as your own.

Interest rate predictions for the coming quarter?  Ask a taxi driver.
Improving Sino-Japanese relations in the post-Koizumi era?  Ask a taxi driver.
Financial aid to developing African economies?  Ask a taxi driver, but leave out his politically incorrect opinions regarding “those dark folk”.  The students in the Harvard reading room don’t like reading about that kind of thing.

If you can’t find a taxi driver whose political views match those of your readers, then just make one up.  Call him Mr. Wang, inform your public that he only earns a hundred dollars a month, and they’ll believe any old crap you write.  “I’ve been following the latest series of Game of Thrones with interest,” says Beijing cab driver Mr. Wang (43), “though Ramsay Bolton’s recent behaviour has been quite reprimandable.  Still, it’s hard to follow all this TV gossip when I only earn five yuan a year.”


Nobody really understands China.  Especially you, because you hadn’t even heard of the country until last week when you failed to be chosen as a New York correspondent.  So get around the whole problem of writing difficult conclusions by just presenting a series of contrasting images.  Here are some easy ones to start you off:

  • A statue of Mao with an advert for Coca-Cola in the background.
  • An elderly Chinese man, with a long wispy beard, sat on a bench next to a fibreglass model of Ronald McDonald.
  • A sign saying “Promote Environmental Awareness” stuck in a field full of nuclear waste and dead babies.
  • A girl with a mobile phone walking past a tramp.
  • A description of a fashionable Shanghai socialite who hangs out at Starbucks and likes KFC, quickly followed in the next paragraph by a description of a former prostitute who works 5 million hours a day in a condom factory for just two grains of rice a year.

A comment on “guanxi”

It is absolutely essential that you insert at least one line about this mysterious Chinese force called “guanxi” – pronounced “GWAAN-SHE” that dominates Asian business. Nobody in the West can even comprehend what “guanxi” is, let alone utilise it, so it is a huge obstacle to foreign businesses. Don’t forget to say that there is no English word equivalent for “guanxi”, except maybe “relationships”. Or “connections”. Or any of the other twenty words that can mean “guanxi”.

Vague Conclusion

When you’ve finished writing your pointless and vague summary of obvious contrasts, follow it up with an equally pointless and vague conclusion.  Write how some things point to x, whilst some other things point to y.  “The future, it seems, is still uncertain for China” is always a good one to sign off with, especially because other countries are all governed by psychic fortune tellers who know everything that will happen for the next 200 years.

If, for whatever reason, you want to try something different (perhaps this is not your first time to write a China article.  It might be your second, say), highlight the enormous population of China, and then focus on a single individual.  That way you’ve covered all the bases and it looks like you care.  You could even try and combine both conclusion styles if you’re feeling cocky.  For example:

“It seems that the future is looking bright for the 1.3 billion people who make up the world’s most populous nation.  But for Li Hui – who is still working at the condom factory for just two grains of rice a year – that future is still unclear.”

Follow the above guidelines and you can’t go wrong.  Before long, you’ll be printing the words “CHINA EXPERT” on your business card and you’ll have your own book about the Chinese political landscape listed under the Lonely Planet Guide to China’s list of recommended reads.

Perhaps you could even call the book “China Awakes”.

“My name is John Naisbitt and I categorically deny ever using a how-to guide on how to write a China article.”

Don’t believe me on the titles? Take a look at these…


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.

Yang Wei #14: Manners

Cultural differences are funny, aren’t they? I mean, where I come from, stoning adulterers and cutting off people’s heads would be considered a bit of a social faux pas, but in the Middle East it’s classified as light weekend entertainment. Ditto for China. Go to your average tier-3 restaurant in a tier-3 city and you’ll see all kinds of behaviour that cultural relativism tells us is fine. However, despite the apparent lack of manners, there’s always one area which Chinese seem especially particular about…

Detective Daisybird

The last few posts have been overly serious, so it’s time to return to doing what this blog does best: offensive humour.

Not China related, but I feel we need a break after this week’s South China Morning Blues and Peter Hessler. You can have too much China – just ask the Philippines.

Have you ever noticed that every TV detective has a quirk? House is misanthropic and addicted to painkillers. Columbo wore scruffy clothes. Dexter kills people. Well, since my China writing isn’t paying the rent, I’ve decided to have a go at this TV Detective lark. After a thorough search of IMDB.com I’m convinced that I’ve managed to find one Detective-Quirk combination that hasn’t been done yet.

Just, one more thing…

Here we go…

SCENE: Funky 70’s music plays over the backdrop of an urban London cityscape, suddenly a red sports car is seen in close up crashing through a brick wall. Huge letters in an aggressive yellow font zoom out to announce the title.



A fat, greasy policeofficer with thinning hair in his mid-forties wheezes out of the car. He pulls a lollypop out of his jacket pocket, turns to the camera, and smiles.


A montage of exciting scenes commences. Detective Daisybird chasing a gang of criminals; Detective Daisybird offering a bag of jellybabies to a small girl; Detective Daisybird flinging a dustbin lid like a frisbee and knocking out a murderer; Detective Daisybird sat in a parked car opposite a school; Detective Daisybird firing a gun into a suitcase full of drugs; Detective Daisybird masturbating furiously into an oven glove whilst watching The Goonies.
A huge explosion fills the screen.


SCENE: Detective John Daisybird has finally gathered together all the suspects in the Sootikin murder within the drawing room of Kiddiefuck Mansion. The assorted suspects sit nervously in various poses while Daisybird paces up and down in the centre of the room. Two uniformed police officers stand alert by the main door.

DAISYBIRD: As you all know, I’ve gathered you all here because tonight I can finally reveal who was responsible for the savage murder of Sir Humphrey Sootikin. Every one of you had a grudge against Sir Humphrey, and every one of you was somewhere within this building when the murder was committed. Isn’t that right, Professor Cervix?

CERVIX: I don’t know what you are trying to insinuate Detective. As I have said before I was busy researching my thesis on antelopes of Southern Ghana in the library when I heard Sir Humphrey scream.

DAISYBIRD: That is true. Though you harboured a deep enmity for the late Sir Humphrey due to the incriminating photographs he possessed of you wanking off a Golden Labrador, I know that you could not have reached the games room in time to commit the murder…

(Professor Cervix breathes a sigh of relief)

DAISYBIRD: Unlike you, Miss Hymen, who was in the room next door and could have accessed the games room easily at the fated hour.

HYMEN: What? That’s absurd! I loved Sootikin, everybody knows that. I could never have hurt him.

DAISYBIRD: Really? Even though he cheated on you with Mellors the Gardener? Even though he made you abort the child you wanted to keep? Even though in your diary which I found this morning you wrote “I hate him so much, I wish he was dead”?

HYMEN: But… I….

DAISYBIRD: Fear not, Miss Hymen. I know your womanly hand could never muster the strength to have lifted the lead piping which dealt Sir Humphrey that fatal blow. No, I can reveal to you all the identity of the killer quite easily. Constable Sodom! Hand me a 9 year old boy!

(Constable Sodom leads a nervous and naked 9 year old Malay boy into the room. With great courage, Detective Daisybird takes off all his clothes and penetrates the boy both orally and anally. This continues for 20 minutes – including one advertisement break – until finally the boy is taken away and Daisybird dresses himself)

DAISYBIRD: And I can reveal now, absolutely and without doubt, that Senor Mustachio – the local foreigner – killed Sir Humphrey Sootikin, in the games room, with the lead piping, because of a bad gambling debt.

MUSTACHIO: O Dios Mio! But you fucking that 9 year old boy proves nothing!

DAISYBIRD: (Holds a video tape out high) You’re quite right, but this security footage of you killing Sir Humphrey certainly does. Boys – take him away!

(The two policemen grab the evil Spaniard and drag him out of the room)

HYMEN: Detective Daisybird, that was most impressive. Yet I heard that you may soon be retiring from the force, is that true?

DAISYBIRD: Not at all, Miss Hymen. Wherever there is evil, wherever injustice lurks, and wherever the innocent are in danger – Daisybird will be there. The day I stop fighting crime, will be the day I stop fucking kids. Never.

(Everybody claps)

DAISYBIRD: Just kidding. I’m off on a one-way trip to Cambodia next week.

ALL: Hahahahahahaha!

DAISYBIRD: I’m really not joking.

NEXT WEEK: Detective Daisybird arrives in Phnom Penh only to find that his 6 year old bride-to-be has been kidnapped by an embittered 1970s glam rock singer.



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.

Thoughts on Peter Hessler and River Town

What the hell is going on? For the second time this week I’m going to write a serious and non-sarcastic blog post without any humour whatsoever in it. What am I becoming? If I start writing about politics and going all liberal then I might as well rename this blog The Peking Duck.

As I was reviewing South China Morning Blues, it struck me yet again that there has always been something about Peter Hessler and his writing about China that has never sat right with me.

I was planning on writing an article about my thoughts on Hessler, when I found a series of long comments over at the now defunct Lost Laowai blog in response to an interview with Hessler himself. The comments are made by one Jack Cameron and summarise most of my thoughts on Hessler much more succinctly than I ever could.

The commentator Jack Cameron caught some flak on the article comments for his opinion, but I believe a lot of what he says his true. Here are some of his well-thought out opinions on Hessler. I’ve highlighted in bold my favourite parts. The last paragraph in particular is gold.

Hessler is quite possibly a nice enough guy — we actually corresponded once (by email), very briefly, back in 2006/06, when he sent some original copy to the magazine I was at the time editing. He was accommodating, sincere, and I presume understanding when the local government (at the 11th hour) demanded I pull the piece. But here are my problems with Hessler.

Let me say that, in fact, none of my issues have anything to do with his writing qua writing. He has matured as a wordsmith, and Oracle Bones is very well-crafted. It’s rather how he got into the China-writing game that bothers me — and if you care about good China-writing it should bother you too.

So far as I can tell, Hessler’s stint in the Peace Corps (which got him to Fuling) seems to have been calculated to get him on the fast-track to publishing — he’s shared with readers enough about personal life, background, and his time at the feet of John McPhee to warrant that inference. Not that there’s anything wrong with that per se; its just that, when someone sets out to discover a place or a people with a specific view to writing about it or them, they tend to see things in editorial terms — how to describe this, how to explain that, etc.

I know this from my personal experience as a travel and feature writer. When my team and I descended upon, say, some village in Lishui (Zhejiang Province) with the publisher’s brief to bring back photos and stories about where to go and what to see and what to eat (etc), we hit the ground focused on that task. We taste the food knowing that every mouthful is a rough draft; we tune-in to the sounds of our assigned locale with a journalist’s ear, and scan the horizon with a photographer’s eye. That’s a casualty of writing for a living, and it is tricky to get around.
One can’t fault Hessler too much for sins endemic to the profession.

Its just that, the younger Hessler of River Town landed in China not merely the innocent abroad who turned to writing, but a MSWord mercenary, knowing rather clearly that this country and her people were grist for his future mill. (If you’ve done a lot of traveling and writing, you can smell this kind of thing.) What’s more, his observations suggest strongly that he has never really engaged China, so much as siphoned just enough color, tone, and pedestrian insight to satisfy his readers’ hankering for dirt on ‘the real China’. Little wonder his editors/publishers adore him. Like his mentor McPhee, Hessler is safe, formulaic, witty, and after a while totally predictable — the Garrison Keillor of the Far East.

Hessler’s China might be fascinating for those who don’t know the place or people, but for those who do, the content of his admittedly well-written essays and books is trite and aenemic. It is a pity that he is feted as a kind China expert. He is not. He’s a long-term tourist with a laptop and expense account from America’s intellectual-Lite clearinghouses for NPR-style voyeurism.

This might sound harsh, and needlessly ad hominem; but, you need to read Hessler carefully, and pause now and then to think about the man telling you the story. In Fuling, he comes down awfully hard (shamefully so, in fact) on the young girl he assumes is a prostitute — pity, because he would have learned a lot more about Fuling and about China if he didn’t brush her off with brahminic disgust. He also took part in a local road-race (read: by the locals, for the locals) that he surely knew he was likely to win (not a very friendly gesture from out Peace Corps ambassador), and – at his school’s banquet – got drunk and ran around shooting plastic pellets at his lao’wai fellow teacher. (Oxford graduate? Is that right?) These behaviours say loads about the man; and if it is ‘ad hominem’ to evaluate a foreign correspondent partially in terms of his actions, so be it. I do not see how someone who gets squeamish at the thought of chatting with a hooker (if hooker/’sanpei’ she was) can be a very good journalist, in a country where business and government involve copious amounts of Chivas, cigarettes, and ass.

The older, wiser Hessler of Oracle Bones again gets fidgety in the presence of sexual vice, this time in a bar/ktv joint (I forget which) in Beijing — there’s that good Catholic upbringing again, being judgmental and a-prioristic. He complains when Chinese law enforcement personnel demand to see his passport (etc) when Hessler pitches a tent on/near the Great Wall, as if it is old-school Red thuggery for the Chinese constabulary to require a foreigner to obey the law. Most puzzling perhaps is when Hessler very bizarrely devotes a few paragraphs to tell the reader about his attempts to persuade his former student to feed a live baby duck to an alligator/crocodile in a Shenzhen zoo. (Shrinks from contact with prostitutes; awkward and self-conscious at a KTV; wants desperately to see a large reptile eat a duckling. Hmm. You connect the dots).

Throughout the book plays fast and lose with (eg) prices/wages (now in $USD, now in RMB, depending on whether he wants something to seem expensive or insanely cheap), and in general packages a vision of China that is not too offensive to his Chinese hosts/friends/et al. but which hits enough of the right points to ensure that Chinawatchers will love it — love it like crocs love fresh young poultry.

Hessler is to China-writing what Sue Williams is to China-filmmaking: Better than a hamfisted hack, for sure, but no more than another bright middle class yahoo hopelessly compromised by his prejudices, weak-kneed, and soft around the middle — no doubt the latter condition coming from being suckled so long on the teat of The New Yorker. It’s not his fault that he was born with a silver spoon up his arse, and I don’t begrudge him his good fortune. 

Well, actually, I do. He enjoys his commercial success because his academic pedigree and connections – and not his talent as an observer – opened doors for him.

Read his books, because they are not terrible. But read them on library loan. Let someone else subsidize undeserving mediocrity.

There are a couple more gems further down in the comments:

Mr Hessler deserves full credit for his hard work – we don’t see my books on Amazon, do we? – but let’s not overstate his talent. Any one of the long-term expats I know would be capable of writing an informed and engaging book or two about China and her people, and the only two things that distinguish Mr Hessler from half the Americans I know in China is (a) his guts, confidence, and discipline to keep putting pen to paper, and (b) his very supportive network of liberal media assets. I have never denied that I envy both his success and his drive, or that I read his books; but the fact remains, that Mr Hessler is successful in spite of his talent, not because of it. The (fashionable) acquisition of a Chinese wife won’t hurt — although it seems to have done nothing for Mr J Pomfret.


What I find objectionable about Hessler’s work (that bit with which I am familiar) is that it seems (a) very naive and not particularly insightful, and (b) strategically crafted to strike the right chord with the publisher’s targeted readership — a demographic swollen with Volvo-driving, Chardonnay-sipping, soccer-mom lefty pinheads.

There isn’t much to add to the above commentary as Mr Jack Cameron does it so well, hence why I transported these comments from the dead Lost Laowai to my own vibrant blog cavalcade.

I’m fully expecting to receive some comments from people disagreeing with myself and Jack Cameron, but the fact remains. Certain types of people and views get published in the mainstream media; others do not. You’ll never see my future book published by Penguin. That’s why I’m thankful that the rise of self-publishing and smaller publishing houses are providing a platform to other voices that aren’t so manufactured in their process, structure and opinion. It’s time for Peter Hessler to make way for new and more honest writers.

PS: Isham Cook writes some similar thoughts on Hessler over on his article The Ventriloquist’s Dilemma. Worth checking out.

PPS: Don’t worry, the next blog post will feature a return to snarky humour, irreverence and – most of all – irrelevence.


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.

Book Review: South China Morning Blues

(Standard disclaimer: Book reviews don’t follow the usual blog rules of taking nothing seriously)

What is nice and what is nasty? When we wander through life we tend to consciously divide the people we meet into two camps: nice guys and assholes. Probably no other social classification is as clear-cut once we move away from fixed biological terms like race, gender and age (though in this day and age even those are debatable). We all know who the nice guys and the assholes are: just look around the office you perhaps work in. Nice guys will be those stand-up chaps who share resources, participate in the social events, and always have a good word to say about anyone. Assholes, on the other hand, tend to be rude and often vindictive. We all want to be seen as nice guys, right?

This classification seems to be a general rule within Western culture, though I have strong doubts that it exists so clearly within others. Western cultures tend to praise nice behaviour – after all, our whole current liberal political climate is just one long spiral of virtue signalling. Being nice and “doing the right thing” is seen as a virtue. In other cultures, perhaps less so. There is undoubtedly a strain within Chinese culture that respects nastiness and cunning, though it gets painted over by nice words like “harmony” and “entrepeuniaral”. The Middle East certainly doesn’t respect nice guys like the West does. Anybody who has ever had any dealings with Iranians will know of their deep respect for anybody who displays the characteristic of zerangi – which roughly translates as “cleverness” or “cunning”. Zerangi can be either ethical or unethical, but it really doesn’t matter. In Iranian culture the nice guy who loses is viewed with less respect than the zerangi man who cheated him. Turkey has a similar cultural respect for craftiness too – it’s called Byzantine politics for a reason, kids.

In a very roundabout way, this brings me to Ray Hecht’s book South China Morning Blues published by Blacksmith Books. This was a book that I struggled immensely with. It’s not a bad book, it is cleanly written and will appeal to many people for sure, but I just couldn’t get into it. The book follows twelve characters – male and female, Chinese and foreign – and their lives within the Pearl River Delta cities of Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Hong Kong. The book features sex, drugs and rock n’ roll (well, dance music at a rave to be exact), yet it left me cold. Ray Hecht comes across as a decent guy on his blog, in his writing and in the interviews he has held… and I think that is the problem. He is a nice guy writing about nasty things, and it shows.

Ray Hecht, surrounded by white splodges. I imagine this is how he looks while relaxing on his bukkake bed.

For what it is worth, I don’t consider myself a nice guy. I’m cynical, selfish and anyone who has read one of my blog posts will know that I don’t mind being offensive. I have been in the world that Hecht describes in South China Morning Blues and left it feeling sickened at its shallowness and inanity. The events within the book seemed to me to be a nice guy’s observation of decadence but the observations of a guy who never truly experienced it deeply – like Edward Gibbon writing about the last days of Rome. Hecht tells us stories of drug overdoses and empty sex, though I never felt any real emotion within those stories. There was a lack of the horror that should be there once you have reached rock bottom.

Part of this might be a style issue. Again, there are two types of people: those who love purple prose and convoluted description, and those who prefer a spartan style. I am the former while Hecht is obviously the latter. It’s HP Lovecraft versus Ernest Hemingway. Hecht favours a minimalist writing style with straightforward descriptions of the world he creates. To his credit, he “shows” rather than “tells”, thus avoiding the traps that a lot of writers fall into. Nobody can accuse South China Morning Blues of drowning in adverbs. However, this Hemingway school of writing has always rung flat with me and I found many of the scenes in the book lacking in local detail or colourful description.

The twelve characters in the book are all aligned with animals from the Chinese zodiac and share the same characteristics. This is explicitly stated in the final part of the book when each character’s chapter heading is given a phrase like “I am loyal” or “I am resilient”. A lot of the characters certainly seem to share autobiographical elements with Hecht as well. There is an English teacher who drifts through life without purpose, a journalist with an alcohol problem who moves from one assignment to the next, and an aspiring artist who craves attention. I mention these characters because it brings me back to my primary problem with the book: I just didn’t like these characters. Since I’m an asshole these characters just struck me as lazy, undisciplined and narcissistic. I’ve met thousands of these types of people and I really don’t care for them. The only character that I had any respect for was the “bad guy” of the book Marco who is the Tiger character. Marco is a businessman who sleeps around and is the characteristic selfish expat with no concern for the world around him. Yet I liked his determination and honesty. Even when he loses all of his business to his zerangi Chinese business partner, he picks himself up, gets married and starts another business. Unfortunately the book punishes him by throwing his new wife into a seemingly incurable coma. I felt more compassion for him than all the other characters combined who spend most of the book in a hangover and wondering why the world doesn’t pay them enough attention. However, like I said, I am certain that I hold the minority view. Most people will identify with these people and find their journeys interesting. For me though, it was a series of tales about narcissists without any bigger picture. Yet this is my problem, not the book’s problem. In fact, there was a (great) line within the book that described perfectly how I felt about it:

It’s an anticlimactic story. I wonder why I even tell it. It’s self-destructive, solipsistic and beneath my education and ambition.

I’ve been quite negative in this review of South China Morning Blues, but should you buy it? The honest answer is, probably, yes. If you’re new to China then the book does a superb job of introducing the flotsam and jetsam that one will encounter living in the country. The characters motivations and desires all ring true. If you’re a “nice guy”, teaching or DJing in China or perhaps with just an interest in the country, you’ll enjoy the ups and downs of the protagonists and the situations they find themselves in. There is something for everyone to relate to in the book: loneliness, self-doubt, fear of the future. It’s only cynical old assholes like me (and maybe Isham Cook) that will have trouble finishing this novel. Like Marco the Tiger character, we are the “weird old guys” who everybody else thinks has a strange minority opinion.

It’s a good thing that there are people like Ray Hecht and books like South China Morning Blues out there to capture the zeitgeist of the age. They don’t tell my story, but they tell a story: a different person’s interpretation of life, China and what’s important. As the author says in the final chapter of the book, the twelve characters featured in South China Morning Blues have different viewpoints and inhabit different universes. What is true for one is not true for another. I might live in a different universe to Hecht, but what he has written is true for his universe. And it might be true for yours too. It really depends whether you consider yourself a nice guy or an asshole.

South China Morning Blues is available on Amazon and you can see more of Ray Hecht’s work on his blog. He draws cartoons too, which are drawn much better than the ones I do.



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.