Friday, January 21, 2011

Don't try to understand the system: just accept it for what it is

Our air cons broke down around the same time we came back from Australia. One simply wouldn’t start, and the other one started producing so little heat that we started questioning if it was useful or not. For a few days we walked around with a mini-heater, bringing it with us wherever we went (bedroom, kitchen, bathroom… it had to come, otherwise it got too cold). Obviously we also told our landlord, who promised us “two new air cons, a.s.a.p!” After four days of misery we decided to tell him that a.s.a.p better be now, or we were going to freeze to death (being dramatic really works over here so I made sure to use sentences like “cannot stand this any longer!” with a high-pitched voice when I explained to him). That did the job. Some hours later he called us and said there would be a delivery with 2 new air cons the next day. Could we skip out of work in order to greet them?

My bf did, hoping that it would be quick and smooth. It wasn’t. They were supposed to come at 4pm but at 1pm they called him, saying they had been waiting at our door for 45 min. China in a nutshell.

He rushed home and was greeted by the delivery guy + our landlord’s dad. The dad told him that he needed to give 2 new dates and times: one for them to come and remove the old air cons, and another time for them to come and install the two new ones.

Couldn’t they do it at the same time?

Absolutely not!

Was it possible to come after working hours?

Definitely not.

Eh… righty. So my bf managed to negotiate them into coming to remove the old air cons at 4pm on Thu, and then we would have to wait until the wknd for the installation. We simply cannot skip out of our offices every now and then.

Thursday came and at 12pm our landlord called my bf:

-We are here now!

-Eh… right..

He rushed home to let them in and then our landlord told him that he would stay and supervise it all, and that they would also install the new air cons. Riiiiiight.

When I came home yesterday, around 6.30pm, we had 2 new air cons and a filthy, muddy floor. Still, I could not have felt any happier.

Think something will ever be smooth/go the way you have been told in China? Oh no. But don’t worry about that. Main thing is that it happens. Also, never trust comments like “it is not possible” because it always is, but they won’t admit that until they know themselves for sure. Also, come to peace with the thought that you will never fully understand the system over here. I have. And it makes life easier. And gives you less headache.

Now we are going to enjoy living in a heated home! Who said that small things don’t matter?! It’s the small things that make your day!


ewaffle said...

Unfortunately your experience sounds very much like what people in the U.S. typically go through when cable television, a new phone line or a number of things are being installed. One main difference is that you were dealing with a grumpy landlord doing things on his own schedule instead of a call center half a continent away.

Which doesn't make you experience any more pleasant, of course.

Anonymous said...

when I lived in Nanjing we had a saying "In China anything is possible but everything is difficult" that pretty much summed it all up
Becky k

Annie Hall said...

hahaha that is one thing I will never understand about Chinese people... they can't EVER seem to make/stick to any definite plans!

mantse said...

i have never understand.... but i think this is what we happened around the world?

Jonna Wibelius said...

ewaffle -really!? That surprises me! In Sweden people always stick to the decided schedule. Showing up on another time than decided would lead to a fight!

Becky -very true. Even after 4,5 years in this country.

annie -I guess it's kind of charming... 6 months later when u can laugh about it.

mantse- Not everywhere for sure...

Anonymous said...

it makes me appreciate what i really have here and how service is.

we all got to tolerate the fact, when we're not in a western developed country, the reliability and communication factor is very questionable and not high on the scale.

i'm glad things turn out good for you

Storm said...

In Sweden things are so efficient because of Germanic and North Europeans' nature. It's the same in Norway, Finland, Germany, Holland, even in the UK to some extent. Asians are just a different mentality and culture, really.

Anonymous said...

Should use the Canadian way:

Technician will come to your home in between 12:00 PM ~ 5:00 PM or

The delivery will be schedule from 2:00 PM ~ 8:00 PM

TimN said...

Hi, Jonna,
Dont fool people who have never been to Sweden before. Those people never living in Sweden thinking Sweden is like heaven, Swedish people are like saints. Jag är en kinesiska kille som bort i Sverige för ett och ett halv år.
In Sweden you will never afford to have someone install air conditioner for you.
In Sweden No one will do anything for you, you must do it by yourself. I never see any Swedish people around complaining even professors from university.
Swedish people always on time, that's a myth.
As to you Jonna, Shanghai is a much better place even than your hometown Malmö.
Malmö is like a mess now, lots of local Swedish people moving out, and the condition of Malmö continually declining.
I can tell you that you will never dare to go outside in some place of Malmö after 8pm.

I can understand your whining here as there also many immigrants complain every day here in Sweden.

To Storm:
Most people from Germany or Northern Europe will stare at you and leave you if you speak this comment in their countries.
As far as I know Slavic people are the race inferior to Germanic people, as in the propaganda of Nazi.

Storm said...

All I meant is that people in Northern Europe are more organised. That's a fact, nothing racist about it, no need to drag Nazi stuff in it. I never said that Asians are worse, they're just different, the same way Australians are different, South Americans are different, Africans are different... every culture and ethnicity is different, that's what makes us human. Unfortunately in today's society if you say something like this you're automatically racist. That's a stereotype stygmatising modern socienty.