China 2011 UC Riverside EMBA Program, Cohort II Edison Michael Medina Class of 2012 I took a diﬀerent approach to my journal. I had a digital voice recorder with me at all 9mes recording what I saw and experienced and then transposed the informa9on to paper. July 5th, 1:10 PM Hong Kong Time I had a hard 'me sleeping, I am wide awake and the seats are completely uncomfortable… I have watched 2 movies. I am missing my two li>le boys back at home. My chubby Mike and Gabriel’s inquisi'veness is what I keep missing. Its 1 AM China Time, I have been in the air for 7 hours now, so they are probably having breakfast back at home, bugging their mom to make them pancakes. They are in my thoughts.
Wednesday, July 6th – Hong Kong 7:23 AM We can smell fresh paint; we would not see or smell this in the States. It smells like sharpie marker, very strong. My guess is that we will be pre>y high by the 'me we board our second plane. Scenery outside of the airport windows is nice green hillsides, very much like Guatemala. Very lush; looks hot and humid. It is so hot that we are even wondering if they have the air condi'oning on in the airport.
Thursday, July 7th – Beijing 5:35 AM I’m currently siLng in the hotel lobby. I should start with our arrival. We arrived at the airport 'red and jet-‐lagged. We believed there was going to be a shu>le wai'ng for us to take us to our hotel room. There was no shu>le and the humidity was s'ﬂing. It was very diﬃcult to make a call to the hotel, but we ﬁnally got to the hotel. Their website was incorrect about having a shu>le bus from the airport to the hotel, they told us it had not been updated and that we needed to take a taxi cab. We found an illegal taxi cab (did not operate with a meter, but rather charged you whatever he wanted), who knew exactly where to take us. We showered and went to town. We wanted to just walk around and see the local life. It is very interes'ng to see the locals and how they live. It appears that there is a lot to do, but you have to be in the know in order to really enjoy what Beijing has to oﬀer. We walked by a school, it truly is amazing how much these people take care of their kids. Parents are older, not young parents. The people who are rela'vely younger like my age, or even Tien’s age, don’t have children, they are probably just working or enjoying life. Every 'me I saw a li>le boy, it reminded me of my boys back at home and consequently makes me miss them even more. It rained last night at 3 AM, the rain hit our window hard and we heard and saw the thunder. The food here is interes'ng, we could barely order anything on the menu, lots of liver, hearts, pig tongue, pig feet, etc, etc, things we are not accustomed to. We had some delicious chicken wrapped in lemon grass herbs. When they cut the chicken, they cut straight not strategically to avoid “bone chips”, so you have to be careful. The people are somewhat friendly, they never say “no” to anything. There are lots of pre>y ladies. Very interes'ng place, we will be taking a tour of the Great Wall and I plan to take a lot of pictures. 9:30 AM I am currently in the subway to our ﬁrst stop of the day. Subway line is completely packed, it is very nicely air condi'oned. Point of no'ce, they have adds outside the windows, they adver'se outside the moving windows with 'med lights to make out words and shapes. Rafaela just got whipped by some !hair from someone next to her. That is how packed like sardines we are. 2
Thursday July 7th – Beijing 10:05 AM We are in the temple of heaven. We are seeing lots of re'red old folks, the older men here are taun'ng us to try their ac'vi'es which are extraneous in nature. One is an abs rolling wheel where you start out standing up bent over and end with your body completely ﬂat. There is dancing, singing and regular walkers. They come to this park to workout. There is music wherever you go and lots of ac'vi'es to partake, there is a strong sense of community, this is where the re'red folks come to meet with their friends and make new friends. There are so many things to do, stretching, playing hacky-‐sack, abs rolling, ping pong, and Tai-‐Chi. 10:45 AM We are walking through the Tai-‐Chi sec'on. I am amazed at the amount of ac'vi'es. Mandatory re'rement here in China is 55 years of age for females, 60 for males, we are told by our guide. We made our way to a sec'on of the park where there are people playing small violins with 2 bows. Everyone I see is playing, they are making interes'ng noises, they come here to sing and relax. Some, I am told are very tradi'onal songs. This is a very peaceful place, even amongst all the noise. There is no way to get bored. These older people are very healthy, no sign of senility or other diseases that aﬀect the elderly. 1:15 PM We just got done ea'ng food. We ate at this restaurant, they bring out 2 pots, one is a hot water pot, and the other is a hot spicy pot. They bring out raw vegetables, meats, ﬁsh and you cook it in the boiling pots for however long you deem necessary. In my case, I wanted to make sure it was very well cooked before consuming. Ducks blood, which I vehemently avoided due to my religious convic'ons, was also served in like a “bouillon” s'le cube to add to your steaming pot. Bre>, my roommate ate it ( that Godless heathen!). You dip the boiled vegetables and meats in a peanut sauce then you consume. It is communal so however sits in your chair aeer you leave, gets the same 2 pots to boil their food. Now, this would not be too bad, but they use their chops'cks directly from the pot to their mouth and vice versa. So, their saliva and possibly other bodily ﬂuids are being boiled and shared. For the most part it is not that bad, once you get past that. It was extremely hot, no air condi'oning, humidity was horrible and we are siLng over 2 boiling pot and the food was spicy—Not a very good combina'on. On a separate note, Rafaela has become our celebrity person; Chinese people must think she’s Opera or something. Black skin must be something they don’t see every day. Everyone wants to talk, see her, take pictures of her and with her. Black is beau'ful! !
Thursday, July 7th – Beijing 2:35 PM We are at the gates of the Forbidden City… It is a weird feeling walking into this palace that was originally meant for royalty (the son of heaven) and closed oﬀ to the world, and now is a tourist a>rac'on for everyone to enjoy—UNESCO heritage site. People from all walks of life are visi'ng. It does not look well taken care oﬀ from the outside, but we will see how it looks like from the inside. Andre bumped into a monk, which was an interes'ng interac'on. In the US they both would have had a confronta'onal stare-‐down, here; the monk was very apologe'c, which is expected from a monk, but so was Andre.
Friday, July 8th – Beijing 8:30 AM I was mistaken, today is when we head out to the Great Wall, it is interes'ng to see the diﬀerence between the City (Beijing) and the countryside. There is lots more vegeta'on and the people are diﬀerent. There is a peasant-‐ farmer feel to them. We drove by the high rise business district; it looked interes'ng and very busy. Traﬃc is fantas'c once you leave the city. It takes about 40 minutes to get there once leaving the city. Our tour guide Jessi is very knowledgeable and is always willing to answer all our ques'ons. Our group consists of Katrina, Rafaela, Gregg, Bre>, Andre and I.
Friday, July 8th – Beijing 11:00 AM I AM CURRENTLY ON THE GREAT WALL. IT HAS BEEN AN AMAZING TRIP SO FAR. IT HAS TAKEN US HUNDREDS OF STEPS JUST TO GET TO THE WALL. It was a bit of a heart a>ack just to make it. It is breath taking to see it in the distance, but once you are on it is hard to describe the feeling. It is very impressive, beau'ful and amazing. Very well constructed, it has not only stood the test of 'me, it is in strict compe''on with 'me. We want to go to one of the towers to see it from the top, not all towers are opened to the public. There are diﬀerent people from diﬀerent na'onali'es walking around; I have heard Spanish, Portuguese and French being spoken. Depending on the inclina'on, there may be stairs to aid the walker from one end to the other.
1:35 PM This note was originally made in Spanish because I did not want to oﬀend our tour guide. She was very kind in buying some fruit for us and oﬀering it to us since it is our last day with her. Our lunch was great! However, there were fresh vegetables, which we did not touch. Our group has been very good about not ea'ng ANYTHING from the streets; including fruit and also not drinking the water unless it is bo>led. Well, our tour guide bought fruit and washed them at a drinking fountain outside of a restaurant near the great wall. Two big no-‐no’s from our group. We did not want to eat the fruit, but did not want to be rude. I ate it (with a mental prayer prior to bi'ng into it), the others pretended to eat them or would split the fruit and eat the inside (which was the smartest idea).
Saturday, July 9th – Beijing 7:05 AM We are wai'ng at the airport ready to take our ﬂight to Shanghai. Last night the boys (Gregg, Andre, Bre> and I) decided to go out and celebrate our last night in Beijing. We had a few beers and some wine at this li>le restaurant near our hotel. The evening was nice, it was not too hot or muggy, there was a breeze going, it was a very enjoyable evening. It was an Italian restaurant, we did not order food, just had drinks. We decided to get a massage at what looked to us to be a reputable place; I believe the name was “the Pleasure Palace”. We paid for a full body massage, but it really was a full back massage. We had a “lost in transla'on” moment, when they said something indecipherable to us and we just said “ok”. They brought out some cups and handheld torches and heated the cups, then proceeded to suc'on our backs. We had what felt like 8 cups on our backs, we have some serious bruising, markings and pain. The massage was good, but it was at the point of the cups where it took a hard lee turn. Katrina will be boarding her plane later on; she will not be with us in our ﬂight, so the group stands at Rafaela, Gregg, Andre and I.
Sunday, July 10th – Shanghai 11:25 AM I am siLng in the lobby of the Langham Yang-‐Tze hotel, day two of our stay in Shanghai. Naviga'ng the airports is very frustra'ng when you do not understand the language or can communicate eﬀec'vely with the people. We waited in three diﬀerent lines before ﬁnding the right line to stand in. The ﬂight to Shanghai was short, an hour and 20 minutes at most. Pudong airport is really far away from Shanghai, it is at least an hour and a half drive! We showered and went out and had lunch. We had really good beef with sweet sauce, the menu was extensive! It was about 40 pages long; it had diﬀerent sec'ons for the diﬀerent food (Beef, chicken, ﬁsh, etc.). We stuck to what we knew. We ordered s'r fry and everything was delicious. Everybody smokes in the restaurant, there are no non-‐smoking sec'ons, or at least that we could see. Aeer 15 minutes you feel like your suﬀoca'ng. We were followed into the restaurant by two haggles trying to sell us knock-‐oﬀs, a male in front of us, and a lady behind us. They followed us all the way to the restaurant and waited outside for us. We escaped his watchful eye while he was reading his newspaper outside the restaurant. We went to a back alley store on our way back to the hotel. I was very cau'ous; I did not know what we were geLng ourselves into. We bought watches; I paid 430 RMB’s for a woman’s Rolex watch. The watches looked very good and they were in working order. Our tour guide in Shanghai will take us to other loca'ons, so I didn’t want to buy too much. Later on that evening we decided to go to an outside bar and have drinks, we were haggled by people trying to sell us all types of useless things. We quickly learned the local dialect for “No thank you, I don’t want it”—Shi-‐Shi, Boo-‐Yaow! There was a li>le boy who had deformed legs and was shirtless and dirty and kept bugging us for money. It was so sad to see him; he must have been 6 or 7. He was touching some of my classmates in very inappropriate ways and basically solici'ng himself to our group. It was heart breaking because as a parent I saw my li>le boy in this child’s eyes. You watch sexploita'on in the news all the 'me, but when it is this” in-‐your-‐face” it really is impacqul. He was being monitored by an adult, most likely pocke'ng his money. Andre, who has traveled to India told us that it is more than likely that that li>le boy was not born with broken, deformed legs, rather it was done to him inten'onally to gain sympathy and make more money. Needless to say, I cried privately in my room. We also met with Alumni at the hotel, it was interes'ng interac'ng with these Chinese na'onals who have studied or will study at UC Riverside. The hotel is amazing, very elegant and beau'ful, we are very comfortable. !
Monday, July 11th – Shanghai 8:45 AM We are currently in the G7002 fast speed train to Nanjing. The speed tops oﬀ at 305 KPH; we had our consumer report yesterday. I was in the group with the two doctors in our class. We were sent to a very nice hospital in Shanghai. It was more than what I expected—very organized, clean, sanitary, and high tech. It was a government hospital, so I was really surprised. Private hospitals are not as nice, which is the opposite in the States. You must have insurance in China; the government will not provide you with any healthcare. If you are poor and uninsured you will not be able to receive treatment. We were fortunate to run into an English speaking engineer who was a recent father of a li>le girl, he was there to make a payment for the charges associated with his child’s birth. His wife had a C-‐sec'on birth. As it turns out, most births in China are C-‐sec'ons, where the doctors 'e the tubes to stay on top of the one child per family policy. There is a VIP ﬂoor for the more aﬄuent and for party members. I’m feeling a li>le sick, sore throat, sniﬄes. As we sit in the train, the nuclear plants are very no'ceable and all the people living around it make you wonder how safe and healthy they are.
11:45 AM We just got ﬁnished touring HoHai University in Nanjing. Very nice campus, they are not behind in their technology. The classrooms siLng is oval round shape, giving almost all the students equal distance from the professor. We were warmly welcomed when we arrived, and while our faculty met with HoHai’s faculty our group met with the MBA students there. We had a diﬃcult 'me communica'ng, but it was very clear that our programs were similar in structure, but their instruc'on is all theory based and very li>le to no experience is shared by the professors to the students, because the professors do not have the experience. They envied our instructors, who themselves have years in the “real world” and share their wealth of knowledge in how things “really” work with us. They invited us to have lunch near a Confucius temple. 7
Monday July 11th – Nanjing 4:23 PM We are on our way back to Shanghai. We are leaving Nanjing on the fast speed train. Lunch with the HoHai students was fantas'c. We had six diﬀerent soups, and countless dishes. There was a turtle plate, ﬁsh, meat, shrimp, vegetables, rice, and a hard-‐boiled egg with a baby chick inside of it. This was taboo for our group. Bre>, my roommate was the only one in our group that tried it (my guess is that he was trying to impress one of the HoHai students siLng next to him), I was told the Dean also tried it. There were also dumplings. This was feast that was not typical, only in special occasions. It rained on us; the Dean of the business school of HoHai University bought us all umbrellas. We took a li>le bus to tour old Nanjing. Jane, an American student from Virginia tagged along with us, which was fantas'c because she was able to translate for us. She is half Chinese and half German, so she was a lot of help. There is a rich history to Nanjing, from being the na'on’s capital under a dynasty all the way to its horriﬁc plight during World War II, commonly known as the “rape of Nanjing”. Jane was really helpful, she told how you really don’t see the government, but their presence is there. The walls of Nanjing are amazing, a miniature Great Wall, with halls and courtyards. Our tour guide at the Nanjing wall was not useful at all, her English was horrible! I spoke with Jane at length regarding the nose picking, and spiLng and she told me of that it was very common because Confucius teaching promoted benevolence and considera'on for others. During the communist take-‐over, the party wanted to get away from anything in China that was “old” and thus propagated things that were considered rude or distasteful to be the norm. This includes urina'ng outside, spiLng, hacking up of mucus, nose picking and ﬂatulence in public. This was really interes'ng to me. !
Tuesday, July 12th – Shanghai/Suzhou 9:25 AM On the bus to the American Chamber of Commerce and aeer that we are going to Stryker Medical Manufacturing Company. Last night Bre> and I went out to get medica'on for our cold. We had a good western dinner back at the hotel with the group and we had a special speaker, Brian Sun. I had a very pleasant conversa'on with this gentleman. He reinforced what Jane, our tour guide, had told me about why people are the way they are in China. 9:00 PM The American Chamber of Commerce was a great visit. We were given a lot of informa'on about the proper ways of having an American business or a foreigner doing business in China, what to look out for, and to deﬁnitely come with a plan and an exit plan if you are going to do business China. It is diﬃcult, complicated and one should be ready to lose money, but the payoﬀ can be very big. In the aeernoon we traveled to Suzhou, we went to visit Stryker a medical manufacturing ﬁrm. It was a very interes'ng visit. We met with the Vice President of the facility, who happened to be Colombian (like myself). I made good contact with him. He gave us a lot of informa'on about his company, very op'mis'c about opera'ng in China, but very careful about introducing IP in China. Tito Or'z is his name, a very charming and interes'ng man. The machinery in the factory was beyond my understanding, but I am glad my roommate, who is an engineer, was able to explain the func'ons of the machines. We took a canal boat ride in what was described to us as the Venice of China—which the descrip'on was a bit of a stretch. I myself have never been to Venice, but do not imagine it to be the way it was in Suzhou. The water was not just dirty, it was ﬁlthy! People wash their clothes, cooking utensils, bathe themselves and their pets and I have no doubt that they cook with the same water. We were cau'ous not to get splashed on by any waves. Because the homes along the canal are subsidized by the government, the houses are not well kept, people do not invest anything for the upkeep of their home, and therefore, it is not a very pleasant canal ride. The restaurant we ate at in Suzhou was probably the worst out of our whole trip thus far. The server picked his nose, spit on the ﬂoor and popped a zit in the mirror covering the walls of the restaurant. Then brought out our food (without washing his hands), some of my classmates were not happy at the fact that I pointed that out. I suppose ignorance is bliss. We met with the tailor that evening, took our measurements for the suits. I’m looking forward to wearing it on our last night in Shanghai. !
Wednesday, July 13th – Shanghai 11:30 AM We went to Asian Paciﬁc Proper'es. This company focuses on helping expatriates ﬁnd a suitable home, comparable to western standards and providing the ameni'es required for success in China (like a driver, for example). Their main focus is not the worker, but the family, making sure that the wife and kids are taken care of. They have a lot of informa'on on schools, and other ac'vi'es for those accompanying the traveling execu've. They have Chinese emersion schools, English only, or a mixture of the two. 10:30 PM Our ﬁrst stop of the hunt was at the Confucius temple in Shanghai, we met with our tour guide Anita who was our tour guide. She was really nice and gave us a lot of informa'on regarding the Confucius temple. My partner and I actually took the 'me to learn as much as possible from the experience. We learned that Anita herself is a student of Confucius, which explains why she was so pleasant to be around. We gathered all the informa'on required for our assignment and took some 'me to ﬁnd peace in the courtyard of the temple which had a big pond with Koi ﬁsh. Our second stop was the Communist Museum, which was a tribute to Mao and the others involved in the revolu'on. Even aeer so many people died and suﬀered under the hands of Mao, the people s'll idolize him and have not forgo>en about him. In most countries, aeer the tyrant dies the people take out their frustra'ons on monuments, statues and anything bearing the name or likeness of the dead dictator. Our third and last stop was the Old Shanghai Tea House, which was fantas'c! The tea was really good and the way the tea was served was extremely charming. My partner and I took that 'me to relax, reﬂect on our stay in China and share some personal ma>ers with each other. Needless to say, I am glad the Tea House was the last stop for us prior to mee'ng the group for Dinner at a local restaurant. Dinner was great, another feast. We took the bus from the restaurant to the Acroba'c show which was amazing! I was impressed by the acrobats, who seemed to be very young. I was later told that they are recruited from daycare centers and schools and they start their training early in life. At one point we were at the edge of our seats because the two acrobats were performing a “roman'c” scene on long cloth without any safety ropes or nets.
Thursday, July 14th – Shanghai 9:23 PM Today we took a trip to Lehman Brown, an accoun'ng ﬁrm. This visit was meant for Rafaela (the CPA of our cohort) and maybe Dr. Savich, who has made it his life’s work. The Chinese do not focus on exact numbers and they keep several books (internal, the book that they share with the public and possibly a book they share with the government). The numbers do not necessarily need to add up, but the numbers must show where the company is heading. The speaker was very well informed and apparently had given the talk to cohort I when they came for their visit. In the last year he had been promoted. Aeer Lehman Brown, we went down to Ace Interna'onal and met with a manager there who gave a very good PowerPoint presenta'on. He joked about having an Ace center in Libya, but was not sure if it was s'll standing.
Friday July 15th – Shanghai 9:00 PM Today we went to Beyondsoe, an IT ﬁrm doing business with Microsoe. Wendy, the manager who gave us the presenta'on (siLng with her entourage) was very op'mis'c, almost gi>y, about IP protec'on in China. She stated that there was no problem with protec'ng IP and even encouraged us to think about bringing IP to China. They were very cordial with us, having gies for everyone (very nice porcelain pens). They showed us their recrea'on room for their staﬀ. They had pool tables, video games, foosball, and plenty of space to relax. Aeer our visit with Beyondsoe, Our professors pointed out that one member of Wendy’s entourage was not saying much and taking plenty of notes, ac'ng like a party member of the ﬁrm, which would explain Wendy’s gi>yness when it came to talking about IP protec'on. All the cases we have read and all the places we have visited have told us otherwise. Knowing the truth about the safety about IP in China, it must make Microsoe very worried to hand over the codes and all proprietary informa'on to Beyondsoe, knowing that their informa'on could easily be stolen and used elsewhere for the beneﬁt of someone else. Our ﬁnal visit was to Brian Cave, LLP, a law ﬁrm doing business in China. Most of the informa'on for our presenta'on on Human Resources in China came from the Brian Cave presenta'on. They were very good to tell us how hard it is to ﬁre someone in China. I work for the County of San Bernardino and it is very diﬃcult to get rid of someone, but China is maybe three 'mes harder. Contracts are encouraged, but ul'mately there is the chance of geLng “lost in transla'on” when dealing with a mixed staﬀ. Doing business in China is extremely diﬃcult and complicated just to get oﬀ the ﬂoor, then you have to deal with trying to hire the right talent and leLng go of the wrong talent, if possible. !
Saturday, July 16th – Shanghai 1:00 PM We had our last consumer report today. Our group (E'enne, Gregg and I) was sent to the back alley market. We saw all types of food, cooked, raw and in most cases, s'll alive! Chickens are fresh—s'll alive un'l you buy them. They pluck the chicken or duck for you so that you can cook it for dinner that evening. There was a man selling the biggest cucumber I have ever seen in my life! Frogs, ﬁsh, snakes, birds, pigs—just about anything you can think of they sold there! We did not buy anything, but were amazed at what we were seeing and experiencing. The alleyway was crowded with people, shoppers and shopkeepers. Motorcycles and bikes made their way into this crowded alleyway. Deﬁnitely, the Chinese pallet is one that requires lots of diﬀerent tastes and textures. 11:00 PM We had dinner at the Kathleen’s 5, a very charming and elegant restaurant overlooking Shanghai. When darkness fell upon us the lights were deﬁnitely a site to see. Dinner was very tasty and the wine was superb. That evening we found out that my classmate Imil Desphy had been approved for a trademark on his paints. We cheered for him and congratulated him. The evening was very pleasant and relaxed and I was wearing my tailored suit that ﬁt perfectly. It was a good way to say goodbye to Shanghai and for some of us, China altogether. This was an amazing trip, one that I am blessed to have partaken in with such talented classmates and experienced faculty. Thank you UCR, Dr. Gregg, Dr. Savich, Dr. Stewart, Beijing, Shanghai, Suzhou, Nanjing and the en're staﬀ at the Langham. This will be a trip I will never forget! !