Thursday, August 31, 2006

Column response

I am going through the letters from my last column and editing them down to run this week. But I wanted to share this one with you. I would actually like to run part of it but it is hard to edit. Read it all the way through, then my response.

I have a lot of experience dealing with hostile emails, after over a decade as Guitar World’s Online Editor. I regularly get emailss that are some form of “You and Guitar World are corporate whores who should die slow, painful deaths…” And when I write back “I’m sorry you have been unhappy with the magazine of late” I almost always get a repl;y that begins, “Gee Mr. Paul,. I’m sorry I insulted you. I have been reading your work for years…”

And so it goes.



Normally I would not even consider taking the time to sit and write my reaction to such a surprisingly ignorant article as the one you have written, but think of it like a hangnail - I can't help it, I have to chew on it.

I have been in Shanghai for one year working for an automotive supplier. I am slated to return to the USA next month and I can't wait. Although I have taken the time to learn some Mandarin and I have tried to take in as much of the Chinese culture as I can stomach, you will never hear me call China home.

It's not amazing Alan, it's dirty, it's polluted, it's backwards, and I hate to break the news to your child, the food is not good. If I go home and see anyone sucking on a foot or a head of any kind I will choke them where they sit. Oh, and if I hear anyone speaking Chinese, I will not hug them. I will, however, hug everyone that I hear say God bless America.

Yes, at night the skyline of Shanghai is quite impressive - if you embrace overpopulation and destruction of the environment. Let's face it Alan, a gold plated pile of dogcrap is a sight to behold, but at the end of the day it is still feces.

Let me tell you one thing you have going for you Alan. You deserve China and China deserves you. You are not free in China, it is an illusion. You are not safe there either. You are not Chinese. If you prefer China over the USA then do everyone a favor and stay there. I am sure your family is way better off, and you couldn't possibly provide your children with a better childhood. Oh, and don't worry if you or any of your family members get really sick or develop special medical needs - the health care system in China is wonderful. I have been in Chinese hospitals more than once during my stay here, due to the wonderful food here in China, and I have seen barns that are more sanitary.

So, enjoy your time in China Alan. Relish the fact that you are living in a communist country where you can't drink the water. Pray that you don't get really sick or injured. When you wake up in the morning and take a deep breath, don't be fooled by the smell - it's ok that the air always smells of garbage and sewage, just drink green tea and the pollution won't affect you.

As for me, I will be in Michigan. In America - the greatest nation on the planet. I am going to throw a real steak on the barbecue, drink water from the tap, flush my toilet paper, drive my car to the 7-eleven and give the clerk a high-five for being intelligent enough to know where the greatest place in the world is. I will shoot my guns, I will vote, I will watch cable TV, I will tip my waitress, and most of all, I will be free while I am doing it.

Proud to be from the USA,

David DeBiasi
Director of Process Development
Jiangyin-Venture Interior Systems Co., Ltd.


David,
I usually start these letters by saying something like thanks for reading the column and taking the time to respond. And so I will here. I understand from my own experience that vitriol can be a powerful motivator, and I take it that my column enraged you enough to share your thoughts. Whatever your motivation, you’re a fine writer who expresses himself clearly and I’m sure that your book will be well written if you actually pursue it. I would urge you to do so and would love to read it when it’s done.

Iappreciate a good head of outrage, but I want o be clear about one point. I’d like to make it clear that I consider the USA my home and I have no second thoughts about where I will be ending up long term.

Best of luck with what I'm sure will be an easy transition.

Alan Paul


Alan,

Wow Alan, now that I have recieved the response that I never expected from you I feel bad. I did not mean to attack you, although I did. I hope you are not offended by anything I have written. I am sure you experience many of the same frustrations I do here in China. Unfortunately I decided to vent and aimed it at you. For that I apologize.

I am serious about writing the book. I will be sure to look you up when it is finished. Thank you for your compliments Alan, and if you are in Shanghai next month for any reason, contact me. I would love to talk to you about your experience here. I wish the best for you and your family. Good luck with everything and thank you for taking the time to respond.

Regards,

David DeBiasi
(86) 13524628942

P.S. - I am relieved that you are also intelligent enough to know where the best place in the world is. Do your time and get back to the USA. We need intelligent people there.


David,

To be honest, I was offended by some of what you wrote because of its personal nature, but I'm a big boy and can take it, no problem. Overall I found your hostility towards China interesting and a good reminder that everything is not hunky dory.

The santary conditions and overall health system should a serious problem arise are by far my biggest concerns aboutliving here. But I am really enjoying the change of pace.

In terms of my wanting to hear about my experiences here, I am a pretty open book. Just read the column every other week. I don't really hold back, a trait to which you can surely relate.

Best of luck with everything and do keep me posted on the book.

Alan