Many Chinese revere Hitler. This may seem unfathomably
irrational to Europeans, especially when coupled with the intense dislike most
Chinese have for all things Japanese, but it fits in with the Revere the Big
Man Effect that dominates vast aspects of Chinese culture.
A RBME is usually followed closely by a RBCE -- Revere the Big Culture Effect.
Hence the "German Race" is held up as an example of one of the few races on
the planet worthy of prolonged admiration, for having produced a Big Man worthy
of reverence and a whole slew of gadgets and machinery equally worthy of reverence.
Add to this the fact that the "German Race" can trace its history back a couple
millennia -- back to those hairy tribesman that were forced West by a chain
reaction that (I was told) began with the high speed departure of not-so-hairy
barbarians from lands commandeered by Tang Dynasty armies – and you have a nation
Chinese feel comfortable admiring.
France has a culture Chinese find especially comforting. No cuisine can match
the magnificence, mystery and diversity of China, but the French have spent
a few hundred years giving it their best shot. Chinese acknowledge these efforts
sagely. French also are a philosophical people, not in the gloomy, gothic "stone
walls in winter" way the Germans are, but more in a "waves lapping at the boat
as we drink fine red" way. Very compatible with crafted gardens of pebbles and
plum blossoms, calligraphy lessons, flowing tea and poetry contests. "The French,"
says my avant garde Chinese buddy, " are the closest thing the West has to Chinese."
This is a commonly held view, and should be considered fact, by virtue of sheer
numbers of people willing to testify that it is, indeed, so.
In the Realm of Face, an Italian suit is a serious jowl inflator. Italian accessories
of all kinds greatly enhance the presence of any Big Boss. If his minions possess
Italian accessories as well, then the Big Boss is truly Big. Again, a culture
that can trace its origins back a few centuries, with several RBMEs to its credit,
is worthy of consideration in China. "Italian noodles" or pasta as they like
to call it in Europe, are delicious, demonstrating the ability of cultured Europeans
to master tricky Asian recipes, and even enhance them a bit.
Now Europe tends to blur a bit around the southwest and northeast borders of
France and the eastern and southeastern borders of Germany. Assuredly, Sarajevo
has a Chinese noodle shop, as do Gdansk and Sevilla – but for taxi cab drivers,
Europe consists of Three Big countries and several smaller ones. Refer to RBME
and RBCE for insight as to why this is so.
The nation(s) of England/Great Britain/United Kingdom/assorted satellites is
(are) deservedly considered apart from, yet stubbornly attached to Europe. This
collection of people’s "consideration" of what the US deems a "bad idea," and
the US reaction to consideration vis a vis obedience speaks volumes to Chinese
consumers, students and Big Bosses. Therefore Burberry will be bought by Bosses
and minions in ever increasing numbers and Oxford will gradually replace Harvard.
For the time being …
China’s business climate is clearly absurd to all rational Westerners, but
what patterns can be gleaned by crack Orientalist-cryptographers denote the
Chinese do business based more on personal relationships than on professional
Huge contracts involving massive engines and the livelihoods of small towns
are handed out according to "fact" #1
"fact" #1 has been a fact for some time in Asia and no amount of MBA training
and/or consulting from American firms seems capable of changing this
Therefore it is clear that China and Europe are destined for a beautiful friendship
in which France supplies Airbus parts and nuclear plants, Germany supplies Heidelberg
printing machinery and … gadgets and Italy and England will keep the Chinese
Big Bosses clothed and fed.
In return, Europe is allowed to bask in China’s glory.
(Nod to Neal Stephenson and his excellent novel, Crytptonomicon.)