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Dongguan - Kettle Calling Pot Black

Popularity 10Viewed 12062 times 2014-2-12 05:12 |Personal category:Donguan: Kettle Calling Pot Black|System category:Economy| within, Black, China

Huaren- is a businessman traveling frequently within China. 
Dongguan is one of the City he visited. 

Here is a progression of similar cities as they struggle to their own way as they adopt to their own situation of survival...

(A) NEW Orleans, Lousiana, USA) 
In the late 1880's of the Civil War in the USA, the victorious Union soldiers marched through the street of their former enemy, the vanquished Confederates. They were delighted to be served wine, liquor, song, and sex in the French Quarters of New Orleans.
The food was great, liquor was a tad strong but the companionship were irresistible be it southern women, Italians, French, German, British, Blacks or Irish. There seem to be no discrimination of any kind. C'est la vie. Life continues to flourish.

(B) Change Alley, Singapore. Located in the tip of the Straits of Malacca where more than half of Asian trade goes through this tiny island, even more so today. Money of different denominations and nationalities were exchanged. For many sailors who were seaborn in months, human companionship and sexual release even with male prostitutes were common and legendary. Today, it is now occupied by skyscrapers where commodity and banking groups now made their offices. 
These amorous activities moved to the lower cost Geylang or to the medium cost Bukit Timah district or the higher class of the Marina or Orchard Road districts;

(C) Right after the Great War, The Kuomintang had been humiliiated into a tiny island of Taiwan. Together with Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Malaysia, and the Philippines, they formed the Bamboo Curtain that was to choke China into economic submission.

Common entertainment area were in Peitou and Keelung port where business contracts of reconstruction were mostly celebrated. It is common that women were rented as secretary, scribe in the office by day and courtesan by night, weekly or even monthly. Many of them were children of highly educated and from family of high officials in China who had lost in the Civil War.

(D) Meanwhile in Akihabara, Shinjuku districts of Tokyo, after The Great War, Japan re-invested itself and restructured its economy as an export oriented capital goods economy with the same elders that lost the war. Lots of sake and shashimi along with songs and poetry were rendered in these seemingly seedy area. Once relieved of their daily burden, many men returned home to their wives with their second late dinner and green tea waiting to keep them sober for the following day. 

(E) Meanwhile, South Korea was more devastated both by The War ( as a colony of Japan) and then the Korean civil war of the 1950s (where Korea tried to re-unite). The American GI were camped outside of Namdemun and soon Beiro, and Korean potato wine Soju washed down kimchi dishes with Bulgogi or Kalbi meals. 
In the 1980s the Geising parties were fabulous. There were courtesan with skills in poetry and songs that would sway the hearts and minds of the leaders of the business giants or any men or women. It was not totally sexual treat but developed into an art of entertainment , the Korean style....the Korean Geiseng Parties.

now enter, what many vilified as dank, dirty and sinful Dongguan. Being a suburbs of Guangzhou, the municipal administrators were free to re-invent the running of their minicipality. 

Across the Pearl River was Panyu, the hometown of China ally, The Fok Yin Tong Group ( Owner of the Bank of China Building in Central Hong kong). Commerce related to supplying Hong Kong were held tightly in the hands of Panyu. 

Yet the 2 million souls of Dongguan needs to eat and survive. Thus the transformation from a farming community into an export processing zone and then into what is today as Glitz and Gilded entertainment district of Dongguan.

Many governments officials, nearby or from the Northern provinces were entertained here in relative anonymity and because it is just adjacent to Guangzhou where the twice yearly Canton Fair witnessed Life changing contracts. Yet many government official used this as an extension of their own in-fighting and settling of scores by deliberate entrapment or by foolish disregard of official discipline.

I wonder if one should vilify and condemned Dongguan for the unique path it took to develop its city as did New Orleans, Change Alley, Geylang, Akihabara, Shinjuku, Namdemun , and Paitou. 

I wonder if any self-righteous cities would claim it is completely sinless. I know that whatever Dongguan can offer many cities inside China can offer the same if not more. 

Likewise, cultural, arts, education is being develop at a much rapid rate than many secondary cities because Dongguan can afford it. Donguan is not just about sex and immorality just as New Orleans, Keelung, Peitou, Geylang, Akihabara, Shinjuku, Namdemun had their share of humiliation and dark moments but had transcend to a more respectable place once they succeeded in survival.

I dare not suggest The Kettle to call the pot dirty.

(Opinions of the writer in this blog don't represent those of China Daily.)




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Comment Comment (8 comments)

Reply Report wingless 2014-2-12 12:19
How absolutely true Huaren.
Reply Report huaren2323 2014-2-12 13:04
wingless: How absolutely true Huaren.
Once a famous prophet had said..."Let the one who is sinless cast the first stone"....
Reply Report voice_cd 2014-2-13 09:20
Thanks for sharing your story here! We have highlighted your story to the homepage.
Reply Report juzunme 2014-2-13 14:53
Well said Huaren. Life is not easily divided into black and white. Some people aspire to better things more quickly while others just need to survive day to day. Whichever path they took, life will find a way. We just need to be more understanding of the circumstances in Dongguan but we must also ensure that women are equally protected and not exploited.
Nonetheless it's an interesting article. Love reading it.
Reply Report huaren2323 2014-2-13 17:07
juzunme: Well said Huaren. Life is not easily divided into black and white. Some people aspire to better things more quickly while others just need to survive  ...
Unfortunately, exploitation of people of both sexes probably exists , whether voluntarily or enforced. As a fellow human being, each of us may mitigate the situation in whatever ways we see fitting such as refraining to deploy temptation of the flesh in business transaction and or by outright refusal to give in to such temptation when offered.
Glad you enjoyed what goes on (sometimes) in the undertow of business development in some places.
Reply Report MichaelM 2014-2-15 06:33
I'm a bit surprised that I can't find any story here about a similar incident here in Zhengzhou. A huge prostitution bust was made that involved around 1,000 police. A club called Royal No. 1 was closed down. I heard last week that the building was torn down as well. Before, it had very wealthy clients. It was said that a Rolls Royce graced the prime parking spot near the front door. The police had several buses that those arrested were taken away in. Perhaps it was too small to be newsworthy.
Reply Report huaren2323 2014-2-15 12:32
MichaelM: I'm a bit surprised that I can't find any story here about a similar incident here in Zhengzhou. A huge prostitution bust was made that involved aroun ...
There is an ancient Imperial custom to " slay the chicken bloody to show the monkey". Dongguan is the the chicken that had to be slain and vilified to keep all the monkeys in check.

I believe, the campaign to discipline government officials has reached its denouement and cascaded to the puppet masters who are to be taught that immorality does not bode well for business anymore.  The johns and pimps and the prostitutes ( male and female) were collateral damage.

I think by now the entire population knows this time the government meant business. They had Bo Xi Lai, then his reported confederates Zhou Yongkang and Jiang Jemin, so the path to righteousness and morality is on track. The unspoken  protection of top tier politburo from judicial discipline were disregarded for the first time in PRC's history.

"Slaying the chicken as bloody as possible to teahc the monkeys"

Henan, unfortunately is not anywhere near the central mass of political gravity. But believe me those who were involved in Royal No. 1 will be discipline as a means to purge political rivals. The back room negotiation and backstabbing to save oneself has began behind the curtain,. Wait another year, you will see how the story unfold.

It is low intensity but the ember remain hot and dangerous. This is a feature distinctively mainland Chinese.
Reply Report ColinSpeakman 2014-3-5 04:12
You may know that a fascinating book was written called Factory Girls about life in Dongguan. I use it with my students. In the book it becomes clear that the local government leaders do not see responsibilities towards the migrant workers or what their options are.

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Recent comments

  • 500,000 Chinese + Another 100,000 Chinese massacre in Indonesia - Lest We Forget 2014-8-25 20:10

    Michael, the truth shall be out whenever and so long as people remembers and more importantly lessons learned, ergo we progress as a specie. From the dawn of history men have brutalized each other but despite this we are still learning to live within  a Global Village. Teachers or as the Chinese say Lao Shu is important to instill in the young hoping that one day when they become leaders they can make the difference.
    There are many heroes that are not recognized in history but then what purpose o eahc of us have in this existence than to make a positive difference.
    Bring it on the Chinese corner or inside your classroom or just living and demonstrating by example. Even if it can be as unpleasant as arguing with a  street vendor for services she/he did sloppily.

  • 500,000 Chinese + Another 100,000 Chinese massacre in Indonesia - Lest We Forget 2014-8-25 07:44

    Huaren, Obama is an embarrassment to the American people. No one could have imagined the ineptitude and poor leadership that he has shown the world.

    The massacre at Nanjing is largely ignored in the USA. I never heard about when studying world history and even when studying World War 2. President Harry Truman has also been overlooked in Chinese history for what he did to bring Japan to their knees. Most students here know of Nixon but not Truman. If Truman had not had the courage to drop the two A-bombs on Japan, they would have likely killed many more Chinese and caused much more devastation. The Japanese have proven through history to be brutal and uncivilized people. If they had not surrendered, Truman would have dropped up to 10 A-bombs on them. I agree with your sentiment and feel the pain of the Chinese people over this situation. It is sad. America didn't acknowledge it because of what was happening on the Korean Peninsula. China was supporting the north while the US was supporting the south. I think this is why these things were overlooked by the US and China. The US didn't acknowledge the massacre at Nanjing and Chinese didn't give the credit to Truman that he deserved. All of this simply because they didn't agree about Korea.

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