Remaining holiday-festival updates, #9 - 999, all in one place

Labor Day weekend has, sigh, reached its close, and with it the feeling of summer. To clear out the list of update topics for this weekend-long festival:

- #9 Striking gold in China. I mentioned previously my skeptical response to the story of Americans showing up in China and suddenly finding great jobs. Seems that this was pretty much the response by the expat community in China too. See this and this from last month -- plus after the jump, a reply today from someone who showed up a year ago in China and has put the  "Chinese streets are paved with gold" hypothesis to the test.

- #10 Is China (unfortunately) starting to learn from the TSA? Secondly after the jump, an account of a new wrinkle in Chinese airport security: having passengers take off their shoes, just like in the U.S.  Not sure whether this is a local aberration or the beginning of a new policy.

- #999
President Obama speaks to the schoolchildren. I was all in favor of this earnest buckle-down, back-to-school pitch until I saw the way the presentation ended. Sigh. And that brings us to the end of this holiday weekend special!

#9 Get Rich Quick in China. A reader writes:

"The NY Times article you mentioned is basically treated as a joke here within expat circles. Laughed at and dismissed. As you mention, you can become an English teacher immediately. Anything else takes luck, work, and contacts. (Your own or others; I know a guy who did get an architecture job here fast: he's best friends with one of the most well-connected people in Beijing. There may be a connection.) I know [one of the people]  mentioned in the NYT article: She speaks fluent Chinese, has a Yale education, an impressive resume, and works 20 hour days. She's not some gal who just showed up in China because she couldn't find a job in the States.

"I've been here for a year now and am very aware of how my poor Chinese hampers me. Even though I'm a senior-level copywriter and my abilities are much needed, my rudimentary Chinese keeps me from being hired full time (fortunately, I want to be a freelancer). I've been told that the whole [major advertising] group requires now that all new hires speak Chinese reasonably well -- which means none of my clients could hire me if either of us wanted that...
"The other issue is contacts, which seems to be the way work is handled here. Now that the economy is improving, or seems to be, I'm suddenly busy -- but it's taken a year of going to networking events, writing talented designers out of the blue, and being friendly at parties to get to this point. I'm sure people who are more gung-ho and social than me...  could get well-connected faster that I did, but I'm skeptical of a know-nothing recent graduate with no special skills and knowledge to offer being able to connect quickly with the right people and then get a good job."

#10 Airport security in China: learning from TSA. Reader Andrew Galbraith writes:

"I was in Wanzhou, Chongqing municipality last week (population 1.6 million, now home to a Wal-Mart), where in addition to friendly people and some amazing Sichuan/Chongqing food, I encountered something you said you had never seen in China: passengers being made to take off their shoes at security to be X-rayed. [JF note: I never encountered this on Chinese domestic flights, only on ones headed to the USA.]

"The checks didn't seem to apply to all passengers, but I and and least three or four other men behind me were asked to take our shoes off (As an aside, I have an artificial leg, and so am used to being subjected to at least a pat-down. In Shanghai, but in few other places, I'm usually taken into a side room so that they can see the leg, despite me telling them I'm happy to pull my pant leg up at the security checkpoint. It's still better than the Calgary airport security check where I was asked if I had a medical certificate to prove I needed my prosthesis!!!). There were some chairs set up past the metal detector gate with a pile of baskets for shoes next to them, indicating that this wasn't an isolated occurrence.

"I have no other complaints about Wanzhou airport, which was kind enough to offer slippers to those waiting for their shoes to emerge from the X-ray machine. Ours was also the only plane in the airport, and we left 30 minutes early - taxiing down the runway then doing a U-turn, rather than using a separate taxiway -since everyone had boarded. It's a shame that an otherwise pleasant experience was marred by silly security-theatre behaviour!"

#999: The President speaks to our youth. Rousing conclusions of President Obama's address to school children as they begin their new school year:

"Your families, your teachers, and I are doing everything we can to make sure you have the education you need to answer these questions. I'm working hard to fix up your classrooms and get you the books, equipment and computers you need to learn. But you've got to do your part too. So I expect you to get serious this year. I expect you to put your best effort into everything you do. I expect great things from each of you. So don't let us down - don't let your family or your country or yourself down. Make us all proud. I know you can do it.
"Thank you, God bless you, and God bless America."

And I end the summer saying: God bless you, the Atlantic's reading public; and God bless America. Plus China, and everyplace else.