Alright, I know I’ve been crap at posting lately, but it’s not my fault! The only reason this is getting posted is through the grace of Buddha and his karmatic rewards. See, I’m stuck on dial-up, which though slow usually allows some movement on the web. However, for whatever reason every time I’ve tried to go anywhere online for the last week I’ve just been met with “Page Cannont Be Displayed” errors.
Until about five minutes ago, I was beginning to think it might be something ill in my new system (more on that in a moment), but as this page seems to be working, perhaps others are as well. There may be hope for this dial-up thing yet.
Right, so I’m typing this on my brand-new, fresh out of the box (as of Monday) laptop. Now, not to get all gushy about inanimate objects… but it’s love. I know, I know… I’ve been throwing that word around on this site quite a bit lately… but after suffering through a mediocre system for the last two years, it’s nice to have some power again.
For all the techno geeks out there, the following is for you, and for the rest of you, just skip down a bit:
What I had
PIII 750 MHz
10 GB HD
8MB video RAM
What I’ve got
P4 M 1.7 GHz
60 GB HD
15.4″ WXGA wide-screen display
256MB video RAM
DVD player + CD-RW
I looked around at name brand computers, and settled on getting a Chinese brand called Hasee. I checked out the company online and feel pretty comfortable about the purchase, and the comprehensive warranty is nice too. When I went to look at computers last Friday it was priced in the flyer at 8999 yuan, but when I came back on Monday the price had been dropped by 400 yuan to 8599 RMB. So, paid to sit on it over the weekend – and it was nice because I had already settled on paying 8999 anyway. For all those without a calculator, that’s about $1,300 Canadian. Not cheap, but well… if I’m not going to Australia, I think I deserve a treat. Ok, ok, Maggie’s the treat… the laptop is just a bonus.
So now a word on the Chinese employment system. I’m having the fortune of witnessing first-hand what an averagely employable Chinese person needs to do to get a job here. About a week ago Maggie started seriously looking for a paycheque, and though I’ve asked loads of questions, I’m still pretty much in the dark as to exactly how it all works.
Basically all the ads she answers in the newspaper are from a few (maybe one?) headhunter-like companies that search out employees and match them with a job. The catch is that unlike any employment program I’ve see, this one runs you 150 kuai. So, after an interview with the employment company and forking over some cash she was given some good leads to follow – of which nothing seems to have panned out. Then yesterday she went to another interview where she was told about an internet sales job and was also offered 300 RMB for 3 hours of modelling work. Modelling what? Well.. underwear for the Japanese market. She was promised her head would not be shown and her body would just be seen by Japanese… she passed on it.
Going to the Internet sales thing today she learned it was actually trying to sell Web design to businesses on a 15% commission, no salary – meaning no sales, no money. Again, pass.
The kicker is that the best job she could really hope to get would be maybe a 40 hour/wk. job as a clerk or receptionist, pulling in about 1,000 RMB a month. That breaks down to about 45RMB/day – less than what I make in an hour of teaching at Future School (less than half of what I’d make an hour doing private tutoring).
She wants to get a job to help out, pay her own way for things, and start saving for coming back with me to Canada next summer (that’s right Cory, looks like I’ve got a date for the wedding). I put this all in perspective though, and it just seems like she’s throwing pebbles in the Yangzi to help build the new dams.
It really makes me feel lazy too. I do bugger all (work 2 days a week – and not even full days) and get paid more than three times the amount of someone who slaves away Monday to Friday…
So, things I’m planning to do to help kill my laziness and eventual boredom:
1) Study Chinese
2) Learn how to cook Chinese food
3) Pick up some tutoring work (mostly to refill my bank account – damn laptop!)
4) Get fit (yeah, that’s been on the list for years… but meh)
5) Get back into writing professionally
And if all that fails, I bought all ten seasons of Friends on DVD yesterday (for 55 RMB!).