This letter to Peter is a letter about working here in SZ and the unbelievable situation I have been placed in because of the working permit situation.
I believe if China wants to have an international city in Shenzhen this working permit for entertainers has to be less complicated. I have been waiting or trying seven months to start work and still it is being delayed this time by the hotel. The agent I was working through exactly lived in the States, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. First it was trying to get a fair contract which never happened. I called it the slave contract and the agent was so insulted She refused to do business with me. Since, according to her, was the only agent in Shenzhen able to write such a contract. Then it was finding another booking agent. Then it was choosing a booking agent. Then developing a relationship with the agent then getting the agent to act. Then finally getting everybody to agree and now the hotel hired someone else. Is this presales or what? And the hotel now wants me to say I will work for them when ever they say. Ya right.
My point is it has nothing to do with quality work, musical art, or ability it all has to do with money and who gets what and how much it costs. Well, let them have their Filipino Bands that is all they deserve because all they do is copy other artists. Just top forty music we call it in the States. The letter is to the food and beverage manager trying to explain in a polite way why I need my freedom to develop my life's goals and be treated like a international professional musician which I am, but seems to be of little concern to anybody except a few chosen individuals or maybe myself and others in my class. But nobody I know lives in Shenzhen nor wants too. All the time people ask me why am I living in this city?
I also go into the history of some of my work encounters and what music is and what it is not. Which no body never really cares about except maybe the few musicians out there who do. If you do care let me know and let me know if you can create a venue for live music?
I am looking for other work. I cannot promise you something and lie to you about taking the job and you spending the money and running off. I have met a lot of new friends and they are helping me get established here not just Ellie. Peter, you have been a faithful and hard working friend I will not dishonor our friendship over money or a position or with lies just to get ahead. I know others would think this foolish but maybe I am foolish. Many people, they think I am, or even 'off the wall'.
If you have made a decision to go else where with other groups what can I
do? Stop my life! I think your company is asking too much of you.
Hotels from my experience could careless if they have good music or not. You are the only one I have met in my life who is really concerned about this. Even the jazz clubs in NY only care about how many people you can bring into their bar it is not about music. Even Mozart had great difficulty in finding work so it is not about talent most of the time. But I think it should be, but it isn't. Why are less qualified musician working and I am sitting home is my question? I cannot accept this really but it is the way of the world just money.
When I worked for the hotel, Homestead in Hot Springs Virginia, which is a bomb shelter for the US Congress I heard the other day, very important hotel, they did not care about the music either it was just about bodies up on stage. Although I received so many compliments from the guests and even this information got to the management it still did not seem important to the management or to the agent. I do not know what to say about the music business anymore.
I heard of another manager at the Crown Plaza who liked better quality music, but he left there, and now all it is is a high class disco with no culture just a Mac Donald Culture with no real substance. I hated the music and the atmosphere at the Crown Plaza the other day when I was there. They have a disco down stairs it was awful too. There is very little taste in the world today when it comes to music. Artists are maybe movie makers and writers certainly not musicians or computer people. Although we have music around us 24 hours a day, for me it is amazing. My question what kind of music? It is music to dull the mind. I heard this rock music from the USA on a HK station last night. It was the most aggressive music I ever heard in my life. You have to be brain dead to enjoy this music. Why does the world respect aggression is my question? I think some of the movies are very good but the background music is not very creative. Sometimes I do hear very interesting music but very seldom. You see, since I have a lot of time on my hands I watch a lot of DVD's. Music is getting hit on all ends and is not allowed to be creative and progressive. It is just a tool for people to make money nothing to do with Fine Art anymore. I talk about Fine Art and people think I am crazy. I hardly think so to my critics.
The rich have money but very little culture, what can I say.
I get replies from my Newsletter 'is Greg OK; is he all right'. 'You should not
write this you will get into trouble.' People think I am crazy for talking
about such things. Well, for me it is just the opposite. I think they are
missing so much and getting abused by not knowing more about music and what it
is. I wish I had the answer the only answer I have is to write about it because
things will not change in my life time. When I walk down the street and look at
people and say to myself, 'these people will never know who I am or what I am
about'. My own family chooses to ignore me and my ways.
Your company is making it so difficult for you to do your job. But I guess maybe that is what they are paying you for. I wish I could say yes to your request but I do not want to be a liar and disappoint you with my words. If I can perform for your hotel I would love too. I cannot sit on the bench without getting paid.
To bribe or not: That is the question in China
By Li YongYan
BEIJING - What does it take to compete successfully in China's market? Is it advanced technology, presence, post-sale service, price or a combination of all of them? All correct, but off the mark, because the ability to come out ahead in China's business arena depends first and foremost on guanxi, or relationships, with your clients. Okay, you say. So let's go and develop guanxi with them. It cannot be more difficult than developing the next generation of high-performance chips and airframes. The sales manager has an expense account, too.
Unfortunately, relationship cultivation in China is not about entertaining a few local procurement managers in a Beijing roast duck restaurant. It takes a great deal more than a lavish dinner or free trip to visit your plant in Seattle or New Jersey. As China's market grows in volume and importance for an increasing range of products, so does the appetite of those purchasing managers who already have eaten it all and seen it all. Now they want it all. Between the greedy clients and the eager vendors, the line separating legitimate corporate gifts and illegal bribes becomes so blurred that ethics and profits are mutually exclusive. Last week, Lucent Technologies Inc, a United States telecommunications equipment manufacturer, took an unprecedented house-cleaning step by purging its China operations president, chief operating officer, a marketing executive and a finance manager. These four executives were held responsible for "internal control deficiencies" involving the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, Lucent said in a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. The nature of the "deficiencies" was not disclosed but Lucent said it uncovered problems in audits conducted in its operations in 23
foreign countries, including Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Russia, among others. The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act makes it a crime to acquire business deals through bribes in foreign countries. Obviously Lucent has learned its lessons well. A high-flying telecom player in the soaring 1990s, it crashed hard after the irrational exuberance evaporated in 2000 and angry investors sued the company for financial frauds and disingenuous accounting practices. Last year, the company was forced to settle the lawsuits with more than US$500 million.
Lucent's dismissal of the four top managers underscores a dilemma facing all self-respecting multinational companies doing business in China. On one hand, China is seen as large potential market for products ranging from commercial aircraft, fiber lines to pulp and iron ores. On the other, this market also presents difficult challenges in political, legal, regulatory and cultural areas. For example, every marketing handbook begins with a chapter on the importance of learning about, and adapting to the local conditions and climates. There is no secret here: when in Rome, do as the Romans do.
The mare won't run on an empty stomach Exactly how do the Chinese do it? Tip No 1, your Chinese partners and employees will tell you, is a Chinese proverb: There is no such thing as a mare that runs on an empty stomach. Tip No 2 is another proverb: power is like a ticket with an expiry date - use it while it is still valid. The problem is, those powerful horses are always hungry - for things that your company policy and especially your own national and local laws forbid. Free trips to Las Vegas are so yesterday. Now those hungry horses want their young colts to get a job in your company, a kickback in an offshore account or cold hard cash under the table.
A hard choice arises. If you join the force that you can't defeat, you violate anti-corruption laws like the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, and open yourself to blackmail as well as investor lawsuits. If you refuse the corrupting influences and assimilation, you will lose business opportunities and demoralize your local troops who, having been immersed in the culture all their lives, will regard this refusal as a lack of understanding and support from an excessively demanding and naive management. Your troops will tell you that corruption is so widespread and deep-rooted that bribery has become the grease that oils the wheels, the grain that makes the mare go - a way of life - and certainly an unwritten rule in Business 101 in China.
"Everybody does it. "It is all very true. But at the end of the day, one will be better off more often than not to resist temptations. Look at those Wall Street power houses that were forced to cough up billions of dollars in settlements with government and investors over shady deals. And ask those former Enron and Drexel Burnham Lambert executives who walked into court in handcuffs. Keep in mind, too, that political instability in lesser developed countries
brings about dark uncertainties. In the late 1960s, as soon as Colonel Muammar Gadhafi seized power of Libya via a coup, he expropriated an oil concession of an American investment group, on the grounds that it had been obtained through illegal practices. Using similar tactics, he went on to nationalize 51 percent of the concession Occidental Petroleum had bought with bribes to officials in the previous regime.
Honesty may not always pay. But crime sure costs. The good news is that a foreign company can expect to get a piece of business and still keep itself clean and honest. One way of doing that is to excel in your technology and improve your services. Even the most corrupt customer needs safe airplanes and reliable communications lines. Another cause for optimism is that starting May this year, SA8000 standards, or social accountability certification, will be widely implemented through the business sector in the world, bringing further pressure on less inhibited countries. For sure, clashes between different civilizations will continue. Meanwhile, it will be interesting to see which side will prevail. Either outsiders succumb to local practices or the natives adopt a new set of standards for conduct.
Reply from Steve:
Thanks for sending me two articles. I can't understand the context of the first, which I received several days ago. I was interested in the second article, which seemed to have been taken from print. It was interesting, but somewhat understated, I think, and even a bit too optimistic. I do not know what the situation is concerning bribery in Mexico is now, but it was the basic cash flow when I was there in the mid-80s. Reporters and editors were paid far below what it costs to live, so their real income came from the bribes they received.
It was said that the famous Mexico City journalist, Manuel Buen Diaz, was murdered simply because "he got too expensive."
A guy at the Shenzhen Daily called me yesterday and wanted 250 words on whether China should use the birthday of Menchius's mother as Mother's Day, Menchius being the main disciple of Confucius. No pay, of course, and I did it -- but the question is inane, and it is particularly stupid to put that question to a Gringo. But they don't care: the folks at the Shenzhen Daily fill up their newspaper the same way disco operators fill-up their rooms with "music." Nobody reads the damn thing, and small wonder: they are writing for their bosses, so their leaders can look at it and say we have a link between us and the foreigners, but it is nonsense.
In the case of the Shenzhen Daily, it is simply a fairly unimportant case of posturing and pretending and people have a better than average pay check, nice working condition and very little real pressure. The music scene is simply a reflection of a society where the most important thing is to find a place at the trough. When a human being's main goal in life is to raise his position on the food chain, the arts become of little consequence. A fellow at the SD once pointed out to me that the majority of the nouveau Riche of China had no sense of art or music, and do not support those activities. They like to gamble and find female companionship, drink too much if that is their bent, and protect their interests.
Many of the foreigners who complain most loudly about this miss an essential point. The Chinese did not invent it: it is merely MacWorld thinking without adequate law. The United States was, is and will remain a Calvinistic society where people equate a person's value with how much money they have. If a person is rich, that person is obviously decent (providing the person does not get caught with a goat or some such). If a person is poor, they are suspect. This is not far from the adage that "In China, money is honor and it does not matter where the money comes from."
So it goes. I am off to class.
Devitt Is this the same as Devitt on a golf course? Greg