Dealing with ‘security controls’ from my university

I was trying to see if I’ve officially graduated, as I’ve already completed all the units.

Email from my former university:

Please check your ***** supplied student email account as all official correspondence is sent to that account (this was advised on 4 March 2016 and again on 11 April 2016).

It is understood that all official graduation documentation (official academic transcript, testamur and AHEGS statement) is currently being dispatched to all students who did not register to attend the actual ceremony last week or elected not to attend.

My reply:

Hello ****,
Yes that would be good, but I haven’t had access to the ***** system and hence the email for quite some time.
It keeps saying that the password I’ve entered is incorrect, even though I’ve copied it from a saved place.
And then when it inevitably asks me to change my password because I’ve ‘forgotten’ it, then I have to change it to one I haven’t used before, which means as I’ve changed it more than 10 times now, it is ever increasingly likely that I won’t remember it, because it becomes more and more obscure.

I mean seriously what kind of secure system is that?  It is so difficult to get in, that you can’t use any of the functions because you won’t be able to get past the initial login.

But hackers can still get in, because they’re going to find a way around the system anyway. It’s just the person that wants to use the account can’t.  Brilliant!

Also, I seem to remember that this particular university system asks me really strange questions when you go to change your password.

Like ‘Please answer your security questions’

However I’m pretty sure I’ve never typed in those security questions.

So instead of ‘What was your Mother’s maiden name?’

It will ask something like ‘Where was your Aunty’s first apartment in Australia?’

Or… ‘What was your father’s childhood dog’s name?’

Or.. ‘How many pairs of socks did you own as of March 2015?’

Errr…. I don’t even know the answers to these questions.  And I’m pretty sure I didn’t choose them as my security questions.
Ok the last question is a bit ridiculous, but you get what I mean.

It will always tell me though, that I’ve answered it correctly, which makes me just assume that it’s somehow collecting information on me.
Yes my cynical, paranoid mind kicks into gear.

But then it say.. ‘OK please wait 24 hours whilst we clear this information for security concerns’

By which you forget the damn password you just changed it to, or…you forget to login again after 24 hour and then you even forget where you stored the password that you had the foresight to actually write down.

….Why does it have to be this complicated?

Tiger & natural selection

tiger natural selection






I think ….in something like this… its just natural selection.

If someone could ignore all the signs that say ‘Don’t get out of your car’
‘It is forbidden to stop’ etc, and on top of that just ignore plain old common sense, then this is something which yeah.. many people feel pity for her.

This is classic Darwin Award kind of stuff, where the ‘unfit’ remove themselves from society, however with one key difference.

This lady looks old enough that she might have already passed on her genes. So she doesn’t qualify.

Damn.  Forfeited 2 things in one day, her life and the award.

In the video below, which is showing the actual incident. (Apparently the woman was angry at someone in the car and decided to go out and sort him out…. however you’re right next to him?  what kind of stupidity translates to you having to get out of the car for that??)

Anyway, it becomes apparent that its just another case of, even though the warning signs are given, the WHY, which is so important, is not actually given.

You see this time and time again in China.  ‘Wear a seatbelt’ ‘it is forbidden not to’

The forgotten why: because if you crash, the inertia of you inside the car means that even though the car has stopped, you won’t have, and you’ll go flying through the windscreen and die.

‘Weight limit of 20 tons on this bridge’

The forgotten why: because this bridge was only made to cope with 40 tons, that’s 2 trucks of 20 or less each, if there’s 2 trucks of 25 tons each, the bridge will possible collapse and people will die’

‘Don’t get out of your car in a drive-in tiger park’

The forgotten why: because tigers are predators, they’re not domesticated animals, they are probably not fed that well so that they can provide some sort of ‘entertainment’ in China for the people visiting, so that when they actually are fed they ravage their prey / food, so getting out of the car in a park filled with hungry predatory animals means that you’ll likely be eaten.

People here… a lot of people are lacking what many would refer to as common sense, they’re not taught the ‘WHY?’ and their education is designed around not conditioning people to question things, or ask the ‘why’ for themselves.

If authorities think that people are just going to obey stated things like military orders, then they’re having a laugh.

What’s more, they seem to trust people to know the ‘why’ themselves when they know that they haven’t provided the masses the necessary conditions for that to be true.

I can’t stress that enough, if people are clearly not thinking about the WHY, or have the ability to supply rational and logical reasoning to a situation, then they need to be told, and shown examples of what happens when they don’t pay attention to the explicit rules.

If not, …. isn’t it just a form of messy population control?

Watch the News article here

But they’re foreign languages, and you’re a foreigner

hahah I got asked for the 2nd time by a colleague: Can you read this?  is it German?

Me: no, I think its Dutch

Colleague: Can you read it?

Me: hahaha no

Colleague: But I thought you were European?

Me:  errrrr

hahah Australia  ..yeah sure = European, and yeah sure regardless of that ….all Europeans can understand ALL European languages… because that makes sense.

The 1st time this happened was when a high level manager asked me to translate into 5 different foreign languages (all European) from Chinese.

And I was like….errr, but I don’t know those languages.

But they’re foreign languages, and you’re a foreigner, he said matter-of-factly.

Me:  hahahah , * then a look for which I realised he was serious*
errr but that’s not how it works.  I only know English & Chinese.

I can recognise which ones are which, but just because I can do that, it doesn’t mean I know how to read them.

That’s one of the first times that it kind of hit me that Chinese people really DO just think all ‘European’ looking people are the same.
And think that all the culture and everything is completely shared.

Of course it would be silly if WE were to think the same about them.  ie. Japanese, Chinese & Korean as being all the same, despite the fact that THEY actually do share common language points as well as historical & cultural points.

But perhaps ‘foreigners’ only know that because they’ve travelled a bit, and a more open to the world.  Or perhaps not really open, just not as closed as China has been, and in some respects with thinking….still is.

It’s another case of ‘us & them’

I’m astounded when I come across this, however you’ve got to realise that for many colleagues, I’m the first foreigner that they’ve had proper contact with.  So in a way .. .I can kind of understand this.

Punishment for knowing the way

On my way to a friend’s birthday party yesterday evening. The address I told the taxi driver was 朝阳路, 五环外。 [Chao yang road, outside the 5th ring road]
And then told him I would tell him how to go from there.

First of all I live north east, between the 4th & the 5th ring roads. And the first thing the taxi driver says is ‘shall we take the 4th ring road?’

To which I said ‘but the 5th ring road is just behind us, why don’t we just go for that?’

To which HE said ‘humfff’   (He was not impressed with my logic, that if we were going outside the 5th ring road anyway, we should not go inside it in order to go back out)

So… he did what he was told and took the 5th ring road.

But he didn’t seem happy with it, even though there were very few cars on the 5th ring road and we could power on down without being impeded.

And then what did he do?  Instead of getting off at Chaoyang lu, (the simple direction would literally just have been 5th ring, get off at Chaoyang lu….keep going for a bit, and then stop, done, arrived at destination)

So instead he decided to get off a good 3 big intersections beforehand, and onto a highway that would begin taking us to the 6th ring road.

Basically I was getting the feeling that this guy didn’t like the 5th rind road, and would prefer to either use the 4th or 6th , anything but the 5th. But whatever.

All the while I’ve got my phone open to the map page, and the gps is calculating the best way to go each time, every time he makes a wrong turn it calculates the next quickest route.

So now as he’s powering towards the 6th ring road, I say. ‘look we can still take this road, and we can get there’

To which he is like… ‘oh ok.’  (a blank look creeping over his face)

We turn right into the street…and its just jam packed with traffic…  traffic that’s not even moving.

And after 5 mins of me thinking…well this is clearly a failure, and waiting for him to realise that and turn around… which he never does, I say ‘errr….how about we take the next road? Because this road is blocked isn’t it?’

To which he says ‘ yes…..ok.’

So we take the next road  and don’t forget if we just stuck by the damn 5th ring road , we’d be there by now, and as it turns out this next road is still heavily swamped with traffic.

So he’s now on a mission… a mission to get himself stuck in traffic. .  In fact I think he was on this mission all along , and he was trying to punish me or something.
Punish me for the simple reason of knowing that taking the 5th ring road was the best idea.

Well, we finally got to a traffic light to which the traffic was once again block, like we were the 2nd car waiting at the red light, and after it had gone green, the first car didn’t even make it over the intersection.

To which it would be obvious to everyone except ironically a Beijing taxi driver…from way back, that this route wasn’t going to work.  So I showed him the map, and said, ‘look if we take a right here…where there is NO traffic, then we can take a left a bit later, zig-zag our way down to the right road’ (showing him the gps map.

And he’s like ‘ ahhh but I don’t know if I can get through there… at least this road goes to where we need to go’

To which I’m thinking ‘well the damn 5th ring road got to where we needed to go, but you didn’t take that one now did you?’

And then I said to him ‘ yes, but you can’t actually go down this road, because there’s too many cars.  You see…cars’ (pointing at the cars in front of us)

And he said ‘but I don’t know if the road you’re pointing to allows us to get out the other side’

Me thinking ‘what the fuck do you think I’m pointing to?  Its not some hand sketch that I’ve drawn out, this is a map.. a MAP, have you heard of it?  The MAP says that there’s a road that we can access, and the MAP is MAPPING out exactly how we should go’

Said ‘but look at the map’

And he said ‘ ok. We ‘try’ ‘

Me thinking ‘ try?  Wtf? Try? Of coruse we bloody try… in fact it’s the only option unless we want to just sit here for the next 3 days? What kind of fucked up logic, fucked up reasoning is that?? Huh?  We’re stuck in completely non-moving traffic, and yet you think that is a better option because it definitely gets to the place you want to go …despite the fact that you CAN’T actually get there because its blocked… and you resignedly ‘try’ a route which is proven on a real-time gps guided map to get there by another route?’


Eventually he got to the place. Only because I might have shouted at him one more time.

And in the end he said ‘慢走‘ which means go safely kind of thing, but the literal translation is ‘slowly go’

To which I prevented myself from shouting at him saying ‘ slowly?  Motherfucker, I can’t go slowly anywhere now, because its exactly the fact that you were so fucking slow in the first place for why I have have to run everywhere now… fuckface!’

But I didn’t … peaceful music….peaceful music.

I swear Chinese driving is exactly like drunk driving sometimes.  Like the meticulous overly drunk kind,…where you’re going way too slowly and edging your way into traffic etc. …
You can do it. It IS possible, but the reaction times…the amount of thinking that goes on….is just not sufficient for what I would consider is proper driving.

The fact that everyone is driving this….painfully however, means that they never go that fast, and the crashes when they happen…and oh yes, they happen…are not so bad. (or not as bad as you think it would be given the amount of retardation. )

All laowai look the same

I had a mini argument with a Chinese friend over the fact that she said ‘ I think all laowai look the same’

To which I pointed out that some people are black, and some people have orange hair… and apparently that was too much logic for her to handle… and I haven’t heard back from her.

I thought originally that Chinese people just said ‘Laowai all look alike’ because it was a childish retort to some people saying ‘all Asians look alike’

As if it was a ‘I know you are, but what am I?’  kind of thing

But I think there’s many that can’t tell the difference….  and what’s ironic, is that they also can’t tell the difference between Koreans, Japanese and Chinese… I think that’s very funny too.

the definition of laowai 老外

See glossary definition

People have their own definitions of it, but it runs something along the lines of all European decent foreigners. This means, anyone that is white and ethnically from Europe, so English people, French, Americans, Germans, Australians, Canadians, Lithuanians….whatever.  But Black people don’t count.
Old/ respectful Outside…which is the literal meaning was only used when China went through its ‘learning from foreign talent abroad’ phase, which was when China still had an Emperor.  And I don’t mean Emperor Xi.
You may have noticed that black people don’t count.  And that’s because at the time that the Chinese first coined the term ‘Laowai’ they thought they were the centre of the world in terms of civilisation and culture and knowledge.  Everyone outside the borders of China were actually called 野蛮, 野人 savages, or ….鬼子。 Devil. Yeah that whole foreign devil thing…was real.
It worked in terms of geographical distance away from the borders of China. So the further you were from the cultural reach of China, the less civilised you were. And black people in Africa was about as far away from China as you could get.

So all this was until white foreigners came across and showed Chinese astrologists up in a few competitions that the Emperor at the time set about for accurately determining certain dates etc. Also for war machines and other useful inventions.  The Chinese at the time had to admit that there were some foreigners that had not been touched by the grace of Chinese civilisation that were as smart, if not smarter than they were.  So they gave these foreigners the term Lao wai 老外.  Lao 老meaning old, but also practiced & learned much like a teacher ie. Teacher is Laoshi 老师. And Wai 外meaning outside.

At that time…laowai really was a respectful way of saying foreigner. There is of course a bit of resentment, because it was these same laowai that forced the Chinese people to realise that their place in world wasn’t sitting at the top of civilisation that there could be people equally civilised and educated sitting at exactly the same level or even higher.  So this was a rude awakening for them. Something that of course anyone in that position would not be so happy about.

So what do they say for black people?  Well one is just 黑人 literally = Black person.
But they will call this to people even if they are obviously from the UK, France, US or whatever. Its not about their cultural background or how they associate themselves as what counts, merely that they are black, therefore Chinese people call them black.
Or… which seems to be used interchangeable unfortunately is 黑鬼 black devil.  Again its anyone that is foreign that they don’t like that they add in this 鬼 = devil. 日鬼子= Japanese devils.

Foreigners of all ethnic backgrounds can be called 洋鬼子 = yang gui zi, across the sea devils. (Foreign devils)
Essentially Chinese people were feeling pretty damn good about their place and standing in the world until they actually met other people that lived in the world and then realised that …shit….well the only way forward it to resent and hate everyone that is different… because you know… that makes sense.

To be fair, many cultures do this.  Let’s just name one….the UK.

By the way, when a foreign force occupied China for an entire dynasty…ie the Mongols, why is it that the Chinese don’t refer to them as savages or barbarians?  Well its because they think that Mongolian dynasty was actually just another Chinese dynasty, that the Chinese never gave into the Mongolian culture, than instead the Mongolians actually gave in to the Chinese culture…and that the height of China being conquered by Mongolia and Kublai Khan was actually the height of China conquering the world.  Kublai Khan actually modified official history by writing into the books back then and backtracking to give himself justification to rule by saying that Genghis Khan was in fact Chinese and that he was a ruler of China.

Brilliant! So the Chinese think that Genghis Khan was Chinese, and that the good things they got from the Mongolian Empire was actually Chinese innovation at work.  This includes the grid patterned streets and the forbidden city which is famous in Beijing.

So the Mongolians weren’t barbarians in the Chinese mind, they were actually Chinese, which means they were actually incredibly civilised.  Which they were to be fair. But considering how the Chinese treat the rest of foreigners…this is quite surprising.

Basically though the word is charged with negative emotions, so even though some people will tell you ‘it just means foreigner’   this is complete crap.

外国人 is politically correct term for foreigner. This actually just means Outside country people.

There is no 内国人 inside country person because…they’re just called Chinese.

The point with Chinese people’s perceptions of other people is that it really is a case of ‘them against us’.

Therefore, this combined with above is why you can often hear Chinese people saying ‘laowai, laowai’ , ‘laowai’s food is so bad’  even though they may be in a foreign country.

Laowai doesn’t actually mean foreigner to them, it’s not respective of where THEY are.  It just means anyone that is not Chinese.  Ethnically Chinese.

So in saying that, my Dutch friend who has grown up in the Netherlands, speaks Dutch and considers herself Dutch, is not Dutch in the Chinese people’s minds, because she is ethnically Chinese. Therefore, even when Chinese people are in the Netherlands, the Netherland native people are still ‘laowai’.

Brilliant right?

I hope this explains a bit about the logic of Chinese people, and shines some light onto the actual meaning of the word Laowai, and shows a bit of how Chinese see themselves in the world in terms of culture and civility.

I hope it also sets the record straight for any Chinese person who maybe not so surprisingly hasn’t thought enough about the words they use and that saying a word with a negative tone conveys a negative meaning.