01 November 2010

Chinese shops everywhere

Twerp letter of the month ~ Athens News

"IT HAS come to my notice the proliferation of Chinese shops that have opened on Corfu and probably throughout the rest of Greece. I have counted nearly ten! These shops go under the various titles such as China City, China World, China Town etc. All are selling clothes and clothing accessories with many sο-called designer labels - Addidas, Nike, Gucci, Reebok etc.

The prices being asked for these items mean that none of them are the genuine product and surely must be fakes, manufactured in the many sweatshop factories in China. I also have it on good authority that the rent for these premises is being paid for by the Chinese government.

Whilst the cheap prices at these shops are very attractive, do the shoppers appreciate that the Greek shops offering similar items are going out of business and that the money spent in the Chinese shops is going abroad, back to China and not remaining in Greece?

I’ll also bet that there is no similar agreement for Greek shops to open in China!

Mick Luxford - Corfu"

To which I responded [second letter down] that,

"I chuckled at Michael Luxford's trick of pretending that our 'proliferation of Chinese shops' has merely 'come to his notice', as opposed to smacking him in the eyeballs like the rest of us with their ubiquitous colourful shopfronts, oodles of parking and seductive window displays.

I lived in Hong Kong's Stanley Market for many years, so I know fakeroo brand labels. I made sure the Luxford letter 'came to the notice' of my favourite shopkeepers and asked for a guided inspection of their stock. I did not find nearly as many 'so-called designer labels' as Mr Luxford suggests.

As for everything with the Made in China label being 'manufactured in the many sweatshop factories in China', I advise caution when perpetuating this sweepingly jaded generalisation.

I put to them that their rent is paid by the PRC. That particular memo appears not to have reached the Corfu-based Town & City World accountants. I was delighted to inject some paranoia by suggesting that a rival neighbouring tong must have wangled a state subsidy.

As for their takings going abroad, oh poh poh: scrutable Greek gestures and rolling of almond eyes as they assured me that just meeting local rents, taxation and wages disqualified them from meeting patriotic target quotas back home.

Mr Luxford bets that 'there is no similar agreement for Greek shops to open in China'. I've checked with business contacts in the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) and brand-name purveyors in boomtowns such as Shanghai and Hong Kong.

Apart from puzzlement over what 'agreement' Michael has wind of, no-one saw any problem trading in Mother China.

Indeed, the general mood was that anyone able to negotiate the labyrinth of Greek paperwork and red tape should find it a doddle setting up shop and getting rich in China."

I was about to say that I reproduce my letter here, not out of overweening wetness but to show how even slight tweaking can lose the oomph of a letter ... but on second look at the Athens News version, it is not THAT bad.

I'll shut up for now and post the printed version when it appears on the paper's website.

Made in China:

I CHUCKLED at Michael Luxford’s letter (Chinese shops everywhere, October 18). He’s pretending the “proliferation of Chinese shops” has merely “come to his notice”, as opposed to smacking him in the eyeballs like the rest of us with their ubiquitous colourful shop fronts, oodles of parking and seductive window displays.

I lived in Hong Kong’s Stanley Market for many years, so I know fake brand labels. I made sure the Luxford letter came to the notice of my favourite shopkeepers and asked for a guided inspection of their stock. I did not find nearly as many so-called designer labels as Mr Luxford suggests.

As for everything with the “Made in China” label being manufactured in the many sweatshops of China, I advise caution when perpetuating this sweepingly jaded generalisation.

As for their takings going abroad, their scrutable Greek gestures and rolling of almond eyes assured me that just meeting local rents, taxation and wages disqualified them from making patriotic quotas back home.

Mr Luxford bets that there is no similar agreement for Greek shops to open in China. I’ve checked with business contacts in the Special Economic Zone and brand name purveyors in boomtowns such as Shanghai and Hong Kong. Apart from puzzlement over what “agreement” Mr Luxford has gotten [sic]wind of, no one saw any problem trading in Mother China. Indeed, the general mood was that anyone able to negotiate the labyrinth of Greek paperwork and red tape should find it a doddle setting up shop and getting rich in China.

Feedsback

Gratifying interest in Athens News' handling of the letters and my bleating blog.

I'm constantly impressed by others' sensitivity to nuances of the printed word. I catch them with the instinct and eye of an Abo' tracker but I don't expect anyone else to.

For instance, my reference to

  • " ... everything with the Made in China label being 'manufactured in the many sweatshop factories in China'"

Many readers pounced on the fact that the cloth-eyed editorial flunkey's removal of those quotation marks altered the whole weight and jab of the sentence, making it sound as if it was my description of China's production lines.

  • "I put to them that their rent is paid by the PRC. That particular memo appears not to have reached the Corfu-based Town & City World accountants. I was delighted to inject some paranoia by suggesting that a rival neighbouring tong must have wangled a state subsidy."

No-one can see why that sprightly comment was excised.

  • "As for their takings going abroad, oh poh poh: scrutable Greek gestures and rolling of almond eyes ... "

Again, bafflement at such ham-fisted clunkification of that sly slide of the linguistic razor.

I particularly appreciated the observation by LM of Poulathes that readers' letters don't just inform but enhance the paper with new voices. To flatten those voices to fit the tone-deaf blue pencil of some editorial drone is to miss the whole point of such correspondence.

As for the mistaking my sleek prose as coming from someone who'd use such a grotesquerie as 'gotten' ....

2 comments :

Simon Baddeley said...

Let's see if you or I can make up one of these letters and get it published (:)) Points for publishing, laughs for recognising it when it appears. I've had two in The Sun and even got £15 as letter of the day. I'll dig it out sometime. Could we do one on the lack of signs in English in Corfu - whoops did that. Needs to be a bit more subtle.
S

Corfucius said...

you dont know the worst. i wrote a witty cutting response that appeared this week, every sting removed. i shall be reproducing my shallow but perfectly formed reply and the blithering idiot letters editorial flunkey's handiwork.

gahd aint it cheap when they mess you around.

clue - and blanch away - they replace my prose with 'gotten'. yes. someone must die.