Sunday, September 2, 2007

Market Meets Revolution

Above: The East is Red DongFang Hong is a singing and dancing movie performed in 1964 in The Peoples Great Hall at Beijing TianAnMen. It shows the spirit in China before Culture Revolution (1966-1976).


Market Meets Revolution
CHINESE BUSINESS MINDSET SHAPED BY CULTURE REVOLUTION

I had just returned from holidays in Europe, when my Kaddafi-looking Chinese friend, a wholeseller, called. He said we are going to a special dinner, and repeated a famous slogan from the past:
Mao ZhuXi Hui Shou, Wo Qian Jin!
Chairman Mao waves his hand, and I march!


The following took place in Beijing, August 2006.

RESTAURANT
It all happened far from Beijing city center. We drove GongTiBeiLu Avenue towards east up to Ring-5, beyond Chaoyang Stadium. Then small lanes, but still in Beijing.

Restaurant's name was HongSeJingDian - Red Classics. Building was probably an old factory. Entrance had a big GongNongBing statue, workers-farmers-soldiers, welcoming the guests. Picture taking was forbidden.

Dining hall had two floors with big opening in the middle. At one end, against the wall towards kitchen, was a huge Mao poster and the stage was in front of it. Looked like the actors were going to run to stage from kitchen, from doors both sides.

It was Friday, reservation was needed. Some 300 guests had arrived, every seat was taken. Tables in front of the stage were 600RMB (60EUR or 70USD). My friend had booked a 400RMB round table for eight in the middle of the hall.

UNIFORMS
Waiters and waitresses, many of them, all had Culture Revolution, WenHua DaGeMing, era's Red Guard uniforms.

DINNER
First came a huge hot iron pot of fish, then another smaller iron pot of chicken, then still vegetables and pancakes. Feeling was industrial.

Tsingdao beer was served to dinner tables in brewery boxes, each box 12 big green bottles. My friend asked two boxes. We were prepared.

CULTURE REVOLUTION SHOW
The show was about to start. I didn’t see other foreigners among diners and felt privileged. Show started with surprise: tens of waiters and waitresses suddenly morphed into revolutionaries with a message.

HISTORY REVISITED
Show inspired dining audience which clearly had experienced the Culture Revolution. Acting waiters and waitresses were young, they could never have the same understanding about what really had happened, as elder audience did (as many as 20 million died). But they acted passionately and managed to remind audience in credible manner.

RED FLAGS AND SLOGANS
I witnessed group dancing with big red flags, group shouted slogans, revolutionary songs and acts, solo dances. Soon the whole dining hall was show room, the stage, from corner to corner, to repeat the history.

LID WENT OFF
The show managed to push audience's lid off and emotions got released. Result was an emotional clash, feelings bursted openly. Many went up onto stage and joined singing. I saw tears and joy. Survival.

MEMORIES OF YOUTH
Long ago these middle-aged diners had blindly and with passion joined the Culture Revolution movement. Afterwards they knew how stupidly it all was aroused, when they were young.

During the show audience felt same passion they once had. Show brought back their memories of youth and helped them to release some of their feelings. Show repeated the behavior they once had, and gave them chance to have an ironical laugh of what they once had followed.

These were people, who had wasted their time when young, but who managed to catch the train of market economy. Not everyone did.

During the decade of Culture Revolution these people sacrificed themselves for political enthusiasm to serve communist cause.

OUTCOME
After Culture Revolution another extreme followed. No longer these people care about collective well-being, instead, now they prioritize their personal wealth and well-being.


Epilog

Many of the Chinese people who now are over 45 years old, have experienced Culture Revolution. Once they were so called ZhiShiQingNian, knowledgeable youth, and were sent to poor countryside. Some managed to get through and made up their career.

HARDENED BY PRESSURE COOKING
Some of those who experienced Culture Revolution became more cautious in speaking, insecure and self-protective, or even cynical. Some hard-boned individuals became more decisive, self-confident as they went through the hardship and managed to succeed, and even more aggressive in taking risks. They went through pressure cooking but became out even harder.

NOW IN KEY POSITIONS
Their life path has been mostly influenced by the system. Now these people are in key positions in Chinese society: business management or government officials. Many of them are influencers, enablers, enforcerers, your potential business partners and customers. They are people, who know how to operate within the system the best.

If you want to succeed with business in China, it is essential for you to think through and understand the social chaos of the Culture Revolution. It changed and shaped the generation who now are the main force in China. After 10 years, Culture Revolution ended with Mao's death September 9, 1976.


BeijingMan aka Kippo

List of all BeijingMan Postings

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Just back to Beijing from holidays in Italy, Germany and Finland. Very refreshing. Since year 2006 is Italian Culture Year in China, I have some pictures from Italian Dolomites and Madonna Di Campiglio. I was there hiking for a week, excellent experience! These pictures are taken with Canon 20D with EF-S 10-22mm zoom. Click to enlarge.

Above-1: Madonna Di Campiglio, Italy. Small but elegant town at 1550 meters, between Brenta Dolomites and the glaciers of Adamello and Presanella. One of top ski resorts in Italy, summertime excellent hiking resort.

Above-2: Madonna Di Campiglio, Italy. Lake in Campiglio center.

Above-3: Madonna Di Campiglio, Italy. Park beside the lake.

Above-4: Madonna Di Campiglio, Italy.

Above-5: Madonna Di Campiglio, Italy. Hiking team briefing.

Above-6: Madonna Di Campiglio, Italy. This is going to be fun!

Above-7: Madonna Di Campiglio, Italy. Hiking team leader Kari Biaudet has over 25 years experience of life in Campiglio and its mountains.

Above-8: Madonna Di Campiglio, Italy. Hiking team briefing.

Above-9: Madonna Di Campiglio, Italy. 6-7 hours per day.

Above-10: Madonna Di Campiglio, Italy.

Above-11: Madonna Di Campiglio, Italy.

Above-12: Madonna Di Campiglio, Italy. Briefing.

Above-13: Madonna Di Campiglio, Italy.

Above-14: Madonna Di Campiglio, Italy. Difficult to say which is harder, going up or coming down.

Above-15: Madonna Di Campiglio, Italy. Stops were only a few minutes.

Above-16: Madonna Di Campiglio, Italy.
- Hmm... some slow elements in my team

Above-17: Madonna Di Campiglio, Italy. Be brisk and you, too, can write your name on book there!

Above-18: Madonna Di Campiglio, Italy. Top!

Above-19: Madonna Di Campiglio, Italy. Book is in a box attached to that flagpole.

Above-20: Madonna Di Campiglio, Italy. Top.

Above-21: Madonna Di Campiglio, Italy. Top.

Above-22: Madonna Di Campiglio, Italy. Top. Exhausted? Possible.

Above-23: Madonna Di Campiglio, Italy.

Above-24: Madonna Di Campiglio, Italy. As simple as it looks.

Above-25: Madonna Di Campiglio, Italy. Lago Nambino lake is about 500 meters down. Now I know what rolling stones really mean.

Above-26: Madonna Di Campiglio, Italy. Up, up, again!

Above-27: Madonna Di Campiglio, Italy.

Above-28: Madonna Di Campiglio, Italy. Happy? Yes.

Above-29: Madonna Di Campiglio, Italy. Views.

Above-30: Madonna Di Campiglio, Italy. Lago Nambino.

Above-31: Madonna Di Campiglio, Italy.

Above-32: Madonna Di Campiglio, Italy. Lunch cottage. Sausages, cheese, polenta corn meal, red wine, water. Good.

Above-33: Madonna Di Campiglio, Italy. Moment of rest.

Above-34: Madonna Di Campiglio, Italy.
- Our next target will be a bit higher...

Above-35: Madonna Di Campiglio, Italy. Not from our team. He obviously hiked the higher mountains on other side of Campiglio valley.

Above-36: Madonna Di Campiglio, Italy. I saw fish (60-80cm) pulled up in the middle of Campiglio.

Above-37: Madonna Di Campiglio, Italy.
- Campiglio is pretty close to the paradise

Above-38: Madonna Di Campiglio, Italy. Hotel All'Imperatore had excellent rooms, services like swimming pool, jacuzzi, steam, sauna, massage, relax, gym, and restaurants: 5 cooks.

Above-39: Madonna Di Campiglio, Italy. View from my room.

Above-40: Madonna Di Campiglio, Italy. Not Ferraris, exactly.

Above-41: Madonna Di Campiglio, Italy. Saturday afternoon 22nd July 100 Ferraris arrived to Campiglio.

Above-42: Madonna Di Campiglio, Italy. 100 Ferraris.

Above-43: Madonna Di Campiglio, Italy. 100 Ferraris.

Above-44: Madonna Di Campiglio, Italy. Previous week I had Alfa Romeo GT in Germany, and it flies! But Ferraris are yet another category.

Above-45: Madonna Di Campiglio, Italy. Engines started... you would like to hear it.

Above-46: Madonna Di Campiglio, Italy. To Campiglio! To Italy! Cheers!


Hiking at Madonna Di Campiglio, Italy
+ Small Italian town with Switzerland quality
+ Excellent routes for hiking
+ Excellent rocky sceneries
+ Italian red wine, espresso, grappa
+ Excellent facilities, wine and food at Hotel All'Imperatore
***** HIGHLY RECOMMENDED FOR HIKING *****

Judgment is all positive, that's how I felt about Campiglio. Will go again.

Select web-cam to view Madonna Di Campiglio

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© BeijingMan aka Kippo 2012, 2013