I interrupt this Olympics to recommend that you go and visit the China Business Blog and Podcast right now. It’s run by my friend, Kent Kedl who – in China, at least – has developed a certain level of fame on the basis of his year-long stint as the back page columnist at That’s Shanghai (among his friends he’s known as the second coming of Tony Iommi and, oh, a very well-respected consultant). That That’s stint, as he details in a fascinating, highly recommended post, came to an abrupt end recently:
The censors – the State-owned entity that controlled the publishing license – were on his case to talk to me. When that did not happen, they insisted that he set up a meeting between them and me. Ian held off as long as he could. “Sorry, lad, but would you mind meeting with these chaps? They’re on my arse about it.”
I said, “no problem” and was actually looking forward to it. It is not everyone that gets hauled in to the Great Principal Publisher’s office. I thought that, at least it would make great content for a new article!
I met with their chief rep, a very nice guy who had actually studied and worked in Australia for a bit. He was oily-smooth, just as I had imagined a publisher would be. “Kent,” he said, “Let me start off by saying that your article is just what we want our magazine to be. It is smart, funny, articulate, to the point. Great writing. Just great. It is the first column everyone around here reads every month. We love it!”
I nodded and smiled – and waited, because I knew it was coming. The Chinese word ‘dan shi.’ Dan shi means ‘but’ or ‘however’ in Chinese and it signals a radical turn is ahead – “I have been telling you all of these nice things, dan shi, I am going to give you the real story. And it ain’t gonna be pretty.”
“Dan shi,” he said.
Read the rest here. If there’s anything good to come from Kent’s dismissal, it is that he now has more time to write … for his own blog. Must-read stuff.
[Addendum: While I'm in the recommending mood ... might I once again recommend "Don't Do Anything," the flat-out jaw-dropping new recording from Sam Phillips? I've been a fan going on - well, many years - and if I can be so bold, there's simply no more daring or, dare I say, better American singer-songwriter at work today than Ms. Phillips. And I mean it.]