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  1. #1
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    White Guy for Rent

    Scrapping by as a teacher? Why not become a white guy for rent. Seems like all you need is a real business suit (not a Mr. Singh special on lower Suk) and the ability to string a few sentences together.

    http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2010/07/rent-a-white-guy/8119
    Not long ago I was offered work as a quality-control expert with an American company in China I’d never heard of. No experience necessary—which was good, because I had none. I’d be paid $1,000 for a week, put up in a fancy hotel, and wined and dined in Dongying, an industrial city in Shandong province I’d also never heard of. The only requirements were a fair complexion and a suit.
    “I call these things ‘White Guy in a Tie’ events,” a Canadian friend of a friend named Jake told me during the recruitment pitch he gave me in Beijing, where I live. “Basically, you put on a suit, shake some hands, and make some money. We’ll be in ‘quality control,’ but nobody’s gonna be doing any quality control. You in?”
    I was.
    And so I became a fake businessman in China, an often lucrative gig for underworked expatriates here. One friend, an American who works in film, was paid to represent a Canadian company and give a speech espousing a low-carbon future. Another was flown to Shanghai to act as a seasonal-gifts buyer. Recruiting fake businessmen is one way to create the image—particularly, the image of connection—that Chinese companies crave. My Chinese-language tutor, at first aghast about how much we were getting paid, put it this way: “Having foreigners in nice suits gives the company face.”
    Six of us met at the Beijing airport, where Jake briefed us on the details. We were supposedly representing a California-based company that was building a facility in Dongying. Our responsibilities would include making daily trips to the construction site, attending a ribbon-cutting ceremony, and hobnobbing. During the ceremony, one of us would have to give a speech as the company’s director. That duty fell to my friend Ernie, who, in his late 30s, was the oldest of our group. His business cards had already been made.


    Dongying was home to Sun Tzu, the author of The Art of War, and that’s just about all it has going for it. The landscape is dry and bleak, with factories in all directions. We were met at the airport by Ken, a young Canadian of Taiwanese extraction with a brush cut and leather jacket, whose company, we were told, had been subcontracted to manage the project.
    The lobby at our hotel was dimly lit and smelled like bad seafood. “At least we have a nice view,” Ernie deadpanned as he opened the drapes in our room to reveal a scrap yard. A truck had been stripped for parts, and old tires were heaped into a pile. A dog yelped.
    Ken drove us to the company’s temporary offices: small rooms with cement floors and metal walls arranged around a courtyard. We toured the facility, which built high-tech manufacturing equipment, then returned to the office and sat for hours. Across the courtyard, we could hear Ernie rehearsing his speech.
    The next morning was the official ribbon-cutting ceremony. A stage and red carpet had been set up near the construction site. Pretty girls in red dragon-patterned dresses greeted visitors, and Chinese pop blared from loudspeakers. Down the street, police in yellow vests directed traffic. The mayor was there with other local dignitaries, and so were TV cameras and reporters. We stood in the front row wearing suits, safety vests, and hard hats. As we waited for the ceremony to begin, a foreman standing beside me barked at workers still visible on the construction site. They scurried behind the scaffolding.
    “Are you the boss?” I asked him.
    He looked at me quizzically. “You’re the boss.”
    Actually, Ernie was the boss. After a brief introduction, “Director” Ernie delivered his speech before the hundred or so people in attendance. He boasted about the company’s long list of international clients and emphasized how happy we were to be working on such an important project. When the speech was over, confetti blasted over the stage, fireworks popped above the dusty field beside us, and Ernie posed for a photo with the mayor.
    For the next few days, we sat in the office swatting flies and reading magazines, purportedly high-level employees of a U.S. company that, I later discovered, didn’t really exist. We were so important, in fact, that two of the guys were hired to stay for eight months (to be fair, they actually then received quality-control training).
    “Lots happening,” Ken told me. “We need people for a week every month. It’ll be better next time, too. We’ll have new offices.” He paused before adding: “Bring a computer. You can watch movies all day.”


  2. #2
    Thailand Expat
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    Damn true n all. I've had several of these 'white boys for rent' come through my office door looking for investment monies for some bullshit scheme, when I was in HK. One look at them, and the Proposal was binned- cheap ties and shoes (dead giveaway), ill fitting chinese tailored suits. Recruited from a boiler room, a TEFLer or even a drafted backpacker. The naivete of it, thinking they could fool a banker.
    probes Aliens

  3. #3
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    Have had the experience of being the Guaylo (sp) on many many occasions. Difference was I was the President of the actual company. Our intro into the industry was based on the fact the company was based in San Jose, high tech nirvana.

    At the time any high tech from the US was deemed better than any local products, especially in the Education Department that was striving to be known for its "cutting" edge applications.

    Yes, we had a product far superior to anything the Chinese had, but, getting the government to spend the money depended on the gov't being comfortable with the supplier. Since we were from SAN JOSE we were obviously better than anyone else.

    For some reason the appearance of a well dressed white business man with some iota of knowledge carries a lot of weight. The racism in China, amongst its own population, is very similar or even more dominant than here In Thailand.

    With that said however, you don't do business in China without some strong connectivity on a personal basis.

    E. G.
    "If you can't stand the answer --
    Don't ask the question!"

  4. #4
    HKT
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    I was thinking this was about a gigolo gig.

  5. #5
    Thailand Expat AntRobertson's Avatar
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    I used to do this all the time when I was working for LG in Korea. Used as a prop mainly, taken to meetings and sat there as though I was somehow involved. Even made the news a few times.

    Never got paid any extra for it though.

  6. #6
    I am in Jail
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    jesus christ, where is this world coming to

  7. #7
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    A have a friend here in Los that was sat in front of the TV cameras by an associate/friend of his that is a Thai Judge.....he was introduced as a forensic expert and did not have to say a word, just nod.

  8. #8
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    Wink

    Devious those Chinese, there's a story about the western executives being picked up by at the airport by a limousine driven by a chauffeur who could not understand their questions so they spoke freely during the ride.
    The next morning they discovered that the Chinese CEO and the Chauffeur were one and the same.

  9. #9
    En route
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    I've got lots of stories like this.

  10. #10
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    Sounds a bit overstated to me

  11. #11
    En route
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    sounds like exactly how it goes to me.

  12. #12
    Pedantic bastard
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    Quote Originally Posted by HKT View Post
    I was thinking this was about a gigolo gig.
    I always though I could handle that job. I mean two minutes work every three weeks, come on, money for old rope I always though....

  13. #13
    En route
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    Quote Originally Posted by nidhogg View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by HKT View Post
    I was thinking this was about a gigolo gig.
    I always though I could handle that job. I mean two minutes work every three weeks, come on, money for old rope I always though....
    me too, and I'm really good at it, I always come first.

  14. #14
    Pedantic bastard
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    ^ there is another way????

  15. #15
    The cold, wet one
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    ^^ & ^ I'm impressed you know that the female comes. Whether first (guffaw) or second. Yay!

  16. #16
    disturbance in the Turnip baldrick's Avatar
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    ^ all the effort for what

    gave the missus an orgasm last night - and then the ungrateful bitch spat it out

  17. #17
    Pedantic bastard
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    ^ just had to wipe coffee of my computer screen....

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