Perception of the U.S. in Asia would be surprising to most Americans. When Americans advocate human rights, we feel justified in our efforts to improve the world. The rest of the world sees 250 years of slavery of Africans and the systematic genocide of the Native American people and cultures. Americans see progress, but unfortunately, other countries see zero moral authority. From the Chinese point of view, especially, it is the ultimate hypocrisy to have Americans lecture them on human rights.
I think it is important understanding Global Perspectives on how they see Americans. As an American born human being, I grew up with the US culture and US perspective. Living abroad, mostly in China, 10+ years and now in Thailand, I have had a bunch of different perspectives. Today’s guest we will discuss how other parts of the world – and more specifically, China – may see the US culture perspective.
Topics Covered in this Episode
Where have you heard these various perspectives?
In government, in education, in normal day to day interactions?
Give me an example of how this conversation gets started
A story of some of these cultural insights
Similarities of Chinese and Americans
I’d say there are a lot of similarities – both huge economies and very patriotic.
How do you see this trade war going?
How Americans can do better in the Chinese business world?
Is the Trump style of negotiation effective in China?
Why China doesn’t listen to everything USA says
And how some feel it is hypocritical to discuss human rights.
Americans welcome to China anymore?
These are scary times, will Americans be allowed to enter China anymore?
Your book -can you share about it
People / Companies / Resources Mentioned in this Episode
Episode Length 56:37
Thank you, Richard for sharing and thank you everybody for listening. That is hopefully some insights for you. So this week it’s been an amazing time and I learned a lot from his book.
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Episode 278 of the Global From Asia podcast. Why does the rest of the world hate America? Welcome to the Global From Asia podcast, where the daunting process of running an international business is broken down into straight up actionable advice. And now your host, Michael Michelini. Recording from Hong Kong today.
[00:00:24] Buddy Lorenzo here, what’s up Lorenzo. Pretty good. How about you guys? Yeah, I mean, it’s been a heck of a few weeks. I was in Bangkok for DCBKK. Then Cross Border Summit in Guangzhou and just wrapped up with the Global Sources Summit and show and it was great to get to spend some time with you and Lucian and a whole bunch of other amazing people.
[00:00:47] Yeah, for sure. All was good to catch up, man. I always get to top review and also during Cross Border Summit, not Cross Border, but the Global Sources. It’s always becomes almost like a, like a reunion. You catch up with old friends and meet new people. So that was cool. Definitely, definitely. And I’m bogged down that, I mean, I’m sorry that I couldn’t make it to your Cross Border cause I was back at Tom in Toronto for my sister’s wedding and my birthday.
[00:01:12] Otherwise, Might’ve been a pleasure to attend that as usual. Yeah, I mean you’re regular always, always appreciate the support. Also, I got you a copy of the book I kept. I kept one for you, so I’m excited to hear, hear your feedback. I appreciate that. I’m also looking forward to reading, but lately I’ve been so busy.
[00:01:26] Just came back from home last Thursday. Jet lag has been killing me. Plus there’s Global Sources haven’t any time, but I’ll definitely get to it the next few days. Sure, sure. So this week’s show is quite an interesting topic. We have a Richard Conrad, which wrote a book about cultural differences, and it’s a, it’s interesting to read.
[00:01:46] I read the whole thing. I’m going to give my summary of the book as well as some stories in the blah, blah, blah session. Like always, where actually I was in Italy and somebody told me something really interesting back in the day about how much he didn’t like Americans. So today’s show is two Americans talking about why the rest of the world might not like Americans.
[00:02:05] So I’m an American. Well, Lorenzo’s Canadian, I’m talking about the guest, Richard is American. Then we have a interesting talk, as always, I try to keep it real. Actually, Uncle Gary was on the show a few. Well, you have a few weeks actually. A lot of people like that. Yeah. I love that. I listened to a part of it, but it was quite entertaining.
[00:02:24] Yeah. A lot of people have, uh, liked that show. I met, uh, in my travels last few weeks, that one has taught, picked. He wants to come back and actually Bloomberg is interviewing them. Nice. This way I can see why, because very down to earth, no BS and straight to the point. And lot of people can relate to that.
[00:02:40] So that’s good. They’re going to his house in Florida. Damn. They did the trailer. Man. It’s going to be crazy. So they can bring it out later. But, um, who he wants to come back in the show. So he was talking to me last night, kinda want to get back on the show. So anyway, let’s go into this interview.
[00:02:59] You know, I think it is a little bit of a clickbait topic or title with the Ha-, hate Americans, but it is an insightful discourse discussion about, you know, why maybe China and Asia and other parts of the world may think America is a little hypocritical about its, um, stands on certain topics.
[00:03:16] So keep an open mind. As always, I try to chat, I like to bring these topics on to challenge your normal thinking. A lot of us are stuck in our own culture and our own point of view. So if you keep an open mind and just listen to all different perspectives, I hope, I hope you can enjoy today’s show.
[00:03:34] Awesome. It’s going to be a good one. Are you looking to sell your Amazon business too? You want to work directly with an investment company? I am a partner at Alpharockcapital.com and we are buying and rolling up Amazon businesses and working with investors from all around the world. We’re a US-based
[00:03:54] Company with office, mostly in Manila, Philippines, and I’m hanging out in, in Thailand and they support this show. They support what we do here. They support the Cross Border Summit. Marc Roca is amazing guy running the show there and I just want to make sure that if you guys appreciate this show and want to support, definitely reach out to Alpha Rock.
[00:04:13] Whether you’re looking to invest or whether you’re looking to sell your company. We are there to work with you. Big things are in the works there that we cannot publicly say, but I do appreciate them, us. I’m a part of it, and check them out, www.alpharockcapital.com. There’s also a podcast we do as well as different forms and ways you can connect with us.
[00:04:35] Okay. Thank you everyone for tuning into another Global From Asia podcast. We’re in for a treat. I think it’s the last, you know, few months have been very, uh, very interesting for people in the cross border international doing and with China and Asia world. And today we have a special guest too with us talking about maybe the other side of the perspective, you know, from the Asia.
[00:04:55] Perspectives of the West, or more specifically in the U S uh, before we get into the topic, I’ll, I’ll introduce, uh, Richard Conrad today. Thanks for coming on. Richard. Thanks for having me on, Michael. It’s real pleasure. Yeah. So I’m going through your book now that just came out this year.
[00:05:11] Culture hacks, and you are a culture experts that you know, why you talk about China might not want to be in conflict, although it seems right now that there’s definitely a lot of conflict happening. Uh, they do, you know, have the desire to avoid invasion, whether it’s psychological or otherwise, and we’ll fight to build a sufficient buffer around China, make them feel safe.
[00:05:36] And a big challenge over the next 50 years is the U S and. The U S kind of seeing them, China’s rise and dealing with that. Richard, you grew up in Washington DC, and you’re one of the only Americans ever earned a master’s degree as a local student at Fujian University in Shanghai, China spent the last 16 years working for a large money management firm, researching, analyzing, and investing in Chinese and Japanese equities.
[00:06:01] So you have a quite a deep understanding of the cultural differences, the U S and China. And as we just said before the recording, of course, you’re must be nose-deep in the trade war. It has been happening, rocking the world and quite a few other kind of political things in, uh, the South China. So thanks again for coming on the show.
[00:06:21] Richard. Oh yeah. I’m very happy to be here. It’s very timely. Yes. Yes. That’s what I felt. I mean, I’ve been talking to one of your team members preparing for the show, and I feel like, yeah, it’s definitely, uh, um, so much we could talk about, there’s honestly, it could be multiple shows, so it’s going to be hard.
[00:06:39] I, I picked the topic to talk about. You know, and how America is perceived in Asia, maybe even in China, you know, you’ve, you’ve got perspectives in Japan and China in your book. What, we’ll probably more talk about the China side today. Um. In, in our intro of the show, we say, you know, Americans advocate human rights.
[00:07:01] And I as American myself, you know, we feel that we’re justified as the world police or as the world, uh, to save the world and prove the world. Um, but sometimes people in other parts of the world see the last 250 years with the slavery of Africans, the genocide of native Americans and cultures.
[00:07:21] You know, America sees progress, but other People, other cultures or countries might not see that the same way, especially from the Chinese point of view with their 3000 years of history and might not see that. So, um, yeah, with, with the intro, if you want to add to that a topic or that point.
[00:07:42] Well. Excellent. I think, um, there’s a lot of misunderstanding right now on the American side on how to interpret the Chinese view of the trade war. I think that’s an interesting topic. I think there’s, uh, a lot of misperceptions in terms of how the Chinese and Asia in general views the U S yeah.
[00:08:02] So we’ll definitely do it. Uh, give some people some more perspective in today’s today’s episode. So. You know, I’m an American born, I, you know, I grew up. Ben, like you asked before to show up in a living. You know, I’m not in China anymore, but you know, over 10 years in China, and I have a Chinese wife and, you know, kids, their family, kids, you know, half Chinese.
[00:08:27] And I think living abroad has really opened a lot of our mind. Uh, and then we almost lose reality of what our American friends and family back home. I said it on my show and my mom cries when she knows, you know, when I left America that there wasn’t enough PR, why would I do that? And. There, um, there’s always kind of a, especially, especially my mother, about me being, uh, outside of America, America’s the greatest place in the world.
[00:08:55] Why would you need to leave? Um, so it’s a little bit emotional sometimes. I know they don’t listen to the show, so I can, I don’t have to worry too much, but, you know, I just think it’s, it’s, um, you know, I think there’s these different from the government, from the educational, from normal day to day.
[00:09:15] Ah, interactions, the news, the media, you know, where, where, where do you think people get these perspectives, I guess, it’s a mix of everything. And just in general, I guess both China, America, you know, everywhere in the world. Where would you say people get these inputs and or their cultural feeling.
[00:09:35] So I’m, I’m 25 years overseas, like you were born and born and raised in the U S and my conclusion after all of this time overseas is that there, there isn’t a right way or wrong way of thinking or believing. Um, they’re just different. And the differences come from speaking different languages.
[00:09:56] Um, having different education systems, different belief systems, the different histories. And it was for me, it was while I was speaking, cause I speak Japanese and Chinese. And when I speak those languages, my personality changes, but also the way I think and process information changes. And so I wanted to really understand why do we think differently?
[00:10:21] And I had an epiphany of sorts. Um, when I was in Tibet and the altitudes very high and I was probably a little bit, um. Out of it, but it just struck me that we as Westerners believe that time began at a single point, that there was a beginning in the Bible. It says in the beginning, and God said, let there be light.
[00:10:44] And Western science says there was a point 13.8 billion years ago. Where the big bang occurred and time has occurred, um, in a straight line linearly, ever since, till today. And because we have these fixed points, we in the West tend to believe in absolute truth because we have absolute points we can anchor on.
[00:11:06] And out of that linear time, we’ve developed linear logic where our thinking progresses from subject to object, step-by-step building on um, self. But in Asia it’s completely different because in their view, in their belief system, time is always circular. And we have circular time with our clocks.
[00:11:26] You know, it’s eight o’clock again, or it’s Tuesday again. Everything’s circular for us, except for years. We think years are linear, but for them, even years are circular. They, um, in the original East Asian belief that came out of India, it’s eons and eons that, um, there are infinite universes.
[00:11:47] Um, in the past and the future in existence today. And so there are no fixed points of reference. And what that means is with no fixed points of reference to them. Truth is always relative. And that’s a stark contrast to our belie- belief in absolute truth. And that has a lot of implications on how we misinterpret each other and how Americans get viewed differently.
[00:12:10] And then the reasoning is different. They don’t reason in a linear manner, like we do. Chinese reason in a lateral manner from subject to subject. It’s based on context. Japanese interestingly reason in an intuitive manner. So not only do we have this different view on truth, we also process information differently, and so that leads to a lot of misunderstandings or misinterpretations or different views.
[00:12:36] True. I’ve mentioned before recording, I’m going to comb through your book, which is of course recommended, and we’ll, we’ll talk about that throughout the show at the end of course, but in, in your book here. I’m reading the, of course you talk about Japanese culture. I’m not as, I’m not as much involved.
[00:12:53] I don’t have much experience in Japan but more in China. So I like the parts where you’re talking about, you had a CEO visiting China and you’re in the car with the driver of a factory or a big company, and the driver got lost and the CEO was really upset because how could the company driver not know where the.
[00:13:13] The address is or where the location is, cause he’s a driver for that company and he’s yelling at the driver where, why don’t you know where we’re going? And then you are, you didn’t interpret that to the driver. You said he has to go to the bathroom really bad and he’s just upset. But uh, yeah.
[00:13:30] That’s also just indirectness I think that’s a big one. I mean, kind of tying back to the whole current trade war. It seems like a t- cult to you and me. It seems like obvious. It’s like Donald Trump is his direct face losing Twitter, screaming guy that’s like, you know, losing face of in, how are you going to make the Chinese ah, president or whatever you want to call them.
[00:13:57] You know how you’re gonna make this the leadership of China lose face to the whole world and it’s just so classic to me of a cultural differences still happening today. I think that’s a fantastic misperception right now. Um, because the Chinese believe in relative truth. Whenever they go into a free trade agreement, they’ll only agree or only negotiate a deal where they benefit more than the other side.
[00:14:26] For this reason, there is no free trade agreement between China and Japan or Korea because they, they relative. Truth, believe in countries could never agree because one side would always be the winner, relatively, and the relative losers would always say no. Whereas in the West, because of absolute truth, we believe in win-win outcomes.
[00:14:46] So we can have a free trade agreement with Mexico and Canada because maybe they benefit more. But we benefit also in it, it’s an absolute game for all of us. But in the negotiations with China, we’ve got this unique situation where Donald Trump is a very unusual American because he’s a believer in relative truth.
[00:15:05] And as you’re saying for face. He’s only going to agree to a deal where he benefits more than the other side. He’s a zero sum negotiator, and as you’re saying, Xi Jinping and the Chinese are the same way. They can only agree to a deal where they’re the relative winners. And I think this is where the major misperception is.
[00:15:25] So in our American minds were thinking of a win-win outcome. Both sides are going to win. One side’s going to win a little bit more than the other, and we’re trying to find common ground on that. But these negotiations have actually already passed that phase, and now we’re into the phase of Lose-lose, who can hurt the other side more?
[00:15:45] Because to a relative truth believer, if I can hurt the other side more than they can hurt me, then I’m going to win. And so the Chinese are trying as hard as they can to hurt the Americans more than the Americans can hurt The Chinese. And, Donald Trump actually thinks the same way. Visa VI China. So instead of negotiating towards a trade deal, the reason we’re not getting a deal is because this is turning out into.
[00:16:10] Um, an economic war. It’s going beyond trade. It’s, it’s engulfed, it’s touching tech. It’s going into the finance phase, um, and currency at the, at from the stage it’s going forward. And on that analysis, it’s actually going to be getting worse. And I think this is where the Western absolute truth perception may not be understanding, um, that it’s two negotiators going towards a lose lose outcome.
[00:16:39] Yeah. I feel, uh, feel the same. Yeah, it’s, this is the new long cold war. It’s like a, people ask when it’s going to go away. I was hoping, I think when it was May that tweet that he says, there’s no deal now. They’re not, they’re not agreeing to our terms and they’re trying to change what they said, you know, to Chinese said is like, we’re, we’re, we’re, you know, we’re not accepting this and.
[00:17:04] I don’t know, we’ll never know what was really said behind the closed doors, but it seemed like pretty, I knew that, that when that happened that, uh, you know, China wasn’t going to lose face to that, uh, kind of a comment publicly on, on Twitter. So since May, I’ve been also talking to different media, the larger media companies, you know, asking me what they think is going to happen and it seems like it’s going to be a long drawn out.
[00:17:33] Unfortunately, like you said, Lose-lose kind of situation where you know, then, yeah, like China doesn’t want to buy the food from America or cutting the purchases and try to replace it, and it’s, um, it’s really what I would say. I don’t know. I feel like in a way though, America and China’s very, there be, they’re both such huge economies and huge groups of people and they’re so patriotic and proud of people.
[00:18:00] You know? I think where Europeans have more, smaller countries and they have to deal with other cultures, I think, I think that there is some similarity in just because they’re so big and patriotic that they think they don’t need anybody else. Sometimes I have noticed in some of my, just my.
[00:18:16] Perceptions. They don’t really need to leave their home country ever, you know, travel unless they want to. So, um, maybe there are some similarities. Yeah. There are a lot of similarities between Americans and Chinese. Japan was the country where I always felt the cultural gap was so much bigger.
[00:18:37] Um, that cultures totally different. Japan, uh, is. Making money in Japan is a bad thing. The merchant class was the lowest, almost hierarchically. Um, they’ve got a culture of death. It’s, it’s very different. Chinese and Americans both believe that living a long life, a healthy life is a good thing.
[00:18:59] Both groups like to make money. Um, both groups are very outgoing, um, very accepting. Um, you know, in China you’re allowed to take a Chinese name. In fact, you’re encouraged to take a Chinese name. When I lived there, I would say my name and they would say, Oh, that’s not a good name. That sounds like a foreign, or you need a Chinese name.
[00:19:21] But in Japan, you absolutely cannot take on a Japanese name, that would be totally unacceptable to the Japanese. They’re very exclusionary. Um, but the Chinese, they border more countries than any other country in the world. Um, they’re very open to ideas from the outside. The U S of course is an immigrant country.
[00:19:41] Very open ideas from the outside, but at the same time, as you said, they’re both very arrogant. Americans, and Chinese are, are very, very arrogant groups. And it’s one reason, um, we got into the current situation. The American arrogance was, um, allowing a communist country into their free trade zone and thinking they would be able to change that communist country into a liberal democracy, um, by raising their wealth level.
[00:20:13] That was pure misunderstanding of Chinese culture, of Chinese intentions. Um, and it was purely American hubris. And, um, you know, middle-class America lost a lot of jobs because of that. And, and China over the last few years picking this trade war with the US right now, um, I’ve concluded, you know, this is about 10 years too early for China to confront the U S and my conclusion on it was, it was Chinese arrogance.
[00:20:41] Okay. Yeah, I do. I feel, I mean, you know, a lot of different groups and you know, in our community here with the listeners, we do feel that it’s necessary for Trump or the U S to start to reverse this because just to kind of summarize her or simplify maybe what you just said, um. I think I’ve started reading, reading a lot of older, older articles and watching old videos from the 80s.
[00:21:13] Uh, we had a sh we had a guest. My uncle was on this show. He’s not very famous at all, but he, I, he said he talking about the destruction of the American blue collar worker. Um, and he was saying how the news would say in the eighties and nineties, Oh, we’re going to do business with China, and then they’re gonna do business with us.
[00:21:29] Like the Clinton administration says, by letting China, you know, by buying cheap Chinese products, they’ll get rich and then they’ll buy stuff from America and yeah, like you just said, that’s not what they’re planning and never, or have gone, if you asked how to, okay, we’re going to buy all your products, are you going to buy it from us?
[00:21:46] They probably was. Maybe they weren’t. It doesn’t. That was not their intention. Right. Ever. I think Americans just assumed we’ll let China get rich. We’ll buy all their products. Of course, there’s also the benefit getting cheap products, but you know, um, they’ll also get rich and buy back from us, which is probably never, never the intention on the Chinese side.
[00:22:09] So China sells to the US about $570 billion worth of goods a year, and they buy from the US about $170 billion worth of goods. There’s a huge gap, and it was silly for the Americans to think that as the Chinese got richer, had been, it was arrogance. We thought they would become more like us.
[00:22:34] But the Chinese have always been a very mercantilist, uh, culture, a very mercantilist people. And that we thought that would change was, um, it, it showed a naïve- and naivete on the part of the Americans. It’s true. I mean, I’ve, I’ve been frustrated. I came to China 2007 and like many Americans, I thought I could change change things.
[00:23:02] I guess that’s an American culture thinking, right? Like that’s something like a lot of America, uh, for, how do I say, uh, foreigners are not American. Say about America is we think we’re right and we think we can do better and we can change and make things more efficient. Cause I was so frustrated buying from factories.
[00:23:20] You know, I worked at Wall Street, I was selling on eBay and I was trying to buy on Alibaba and I was searching for products. I was talking on Skype and I was so frustrated, I didn’t understand what I was seeing. And I was drawing it out. And I was, you know, talking on Skype calls at 11:00 PM on my fifth floor, wake up in New York city.
[00:23:38] And, uh, you know, trying to say, this is what I want and I wouldn’t get what I wanted. And you know, you came there and thinking you’re going to go to factories and. Even today’s, I mean during recording and I, I booked a bunch of hotels for an event I’m doing. And, uh, they sold them, but they don’t have them.
[00:23:57] And they’re trying to negotiate with me. And I spent about an hour talking to them about, you know, renegotiating. It’s just a, I think that this is what I say is on my talks. Cause yeah, you can’t, I think maybe it’s Americans or is it other as a, as a human nature to think you can change people.
[00:24:14] You know, I think we shouldn’t try to change people, right? Whether is that an American thinking or is that like a, as a human thinking, I don’t know what you think of that to change someone, whether it’s a woman dating a man that’s a, you know, a drunk and a and a loser thinking that she can make him a successful turn his life around.
[00:24:33] I mean, sometimes maybe we think we can make culture’s better and improve. Which I think is a, is what a lot of Americans try to do around the world. That you’re correct. That’s very much an American trade. It’s a Western trade. Um, we, because of our belief in absolute truths, it means that if we found truth that it must be correct.
[00:24:58] And if it’s correct, then it’s universally correct. And so we should share it because it will be universally correct for everyone. And so when you look at the history of the West, you can see. I’m trying to spread Christianity around the, around the world, trying to spread it to different countries and different cultures.
[00:25:15] If, if, and then today we’d do it with democracy and capitalism, but if you look at the history of China, they, they built a wall to keep the foreigners out. They never tried to go outside of China and convert other people to Chinese ways. Um, the, that is just because they believe in relative truth and in relative truth.
[00:25:36] I could, I’m right. But you can be right also. My belief system can be right and yours can be right too. So there’s no need to proselytize and go around and try and convert people to your way of thinking. And the real disaster of this in my mind was when the U S thought they could go into Iraq and convert Iraq.
[00:25:55] A militarly into a democracy. When you’ve got three different, um, groups. The Shia Sunni and Kurds to have been at war with each other for centuries. They come from a completely different religious background, completely different, um, historical background. They never had that Greek tradition of democracy like Europe had and or we had in the West and trying to impose the system onto them, um, went with totally different education systems.
[00:26:24] It, it was bound to be a complete failure. And I think, I think that was also American arrogance to think that we could spread our system there. And that’s the same way with, with capitalism and democracy. And. Um, you know, uh, Francis Fukuyama said it to the end of history, uh, liberal democracy as one, but the Chinese never believed that.
[00:26:46] They still don’t. They believe the, in fact, it has They believe that society transitions from feudalism to capitalism and then to socialism and to communism. And this is an historical inevitability. So they don’t, they didn’t believe are, um. The idea that they had to become more liberal or democratic at all.
[00:27:08] They, they, um, have gone the other direction actually. So it’s a very American thing to want to spread our thinking. You wanted to spread, your knowledge and your ideas to help China to improve because this is going to make the world a better place. Um, but the Chinese and those in the East, they see it differently.
[00:27:29] They have their way. You have your way. We can learn from each other, but there’s no need to try and change each other from their perspective. Yeah. Yeah. So I, I wonder, like, okay. Yeah, like you said, the wall and then investing just in their own economy in, whereas Well, it’s tricky. I mean, I guess they call it the war machine.
[00:27:52] You know, I, maybe there’s different reasons. There’s Iraq Wars and other Wars and in certain places, but you know, there is the belief that America is trying to help be the world police by, I don’t think it’s all just for the multinational corporations to get cheaper oil or whatever. I think that there is other, do we need a world police?
[00:28:13] I mean, America seems to assume this role. I mean, China never seems to to be assuming like highlights as far I understand they’re not really a, invest. This isn’t. My uncle said with him on a show, he says, you know, China, it takes the money it earns and invest back in their own people, whereas in America, they earned the money and then they feed the war machine.
[00:28:36] And, uh, you know, I, I don’t know if you know, do we need a world police in do if China was to become the number one economy in a big global leader? Okay. Would they be doing what America is doing? I mean, which is maybe a good or bad? I don’t know. I don’t know if I have a really specific question here.
[00:28:54] Yeah. Kind of just still wondering. You know what I mean? America takes this role of like trying to, what’d he say? Spread it’s hell a spread, but also how I believe there’s some help in their attention. Well, absolutely, Americans believe they’re doing the right thing. We believe democracy because we believe in absolute truth.
[00:29:15] We believe democracy is an absolute good. So the more we can spread it around the world, the better the world will be. Um, the Chinese. They look at India with their democracy and saw how much it slowed down Indian development in their mind, not having democracy help them to develop a lot faster.
[00:29:34] So in the Chinese mind, it’s all relative. May be after a certain wealth level. Democracy is good, but not when you’re still a developing. Um, status level, but for Americans, it’s always an everywhere good at, it’s an absolute good. And so you can, the war machines, the cynical way to look at it, and there’s certainly a cynical angle, but behind it all is this American belief.
[00:29:56] We really believe we’re helping other people. We’re helping other countries that were making the world a better place. And that’s where the big, big misinterpretation comes from because to East Asians who believe in relative truth, they look at Americans and say, well, the Americans are kidding, right?
[00:30:14] They don’t really believe what they’re saying. They talk about human rights as this good thing, and Americans want to spread human rights and encourage human rights around the world, and Americans believe it makes the world a better place. But from the Asian perspective, they say. Well, how come you apply one standard to Saudi Arabia, but then a totally different standard to the Chinese that it comes across as very hypocritical, um, to the Asian side of the world.
[00:30:40] Whereas to Americans, they really believe they are making the world a better place by pursuing, uh, human rights. And that. They have to be pragmatic about it, I guess that sometimes, or, or Americans may just have a blind spot. You know, when you talk to Chinese or Japanese about it, they say, well, 250 years of slavery, um, genocide of the native Americans.
[00:31:05] How come you’re talking to us about human rights? You know, who do you think you are? And Americans would say, Oh, that was a long time ago. We’ve changed. It’s very different today. Um, but maybe it’s a bit of a blind spot. And. Where we feel we have the moral high ground, but the perception from the other parts of the world is that the U S doesn’t have the moral high ground.
[00:31:27] And that leads to a lot of confusion also, I found, sure. Yeah. Before to this show, sometimes I put the topics we’re gonna talk about and some of our social media groups, so. You know, even Brazilians, there was some other non-Americans that were, cause I kind of said, you know, why does the world hate Americans?
[00:31:46] We’re going to talk about it as, what do you guys think? And then I talked about the slavery and the genocide and it, a lot of people would just say that was a long time ago, but it’s still happening now in China to this day. You know, with certain places. Um, I don’t want get so afraid of getting in trouble with me to tell my wife not to put this one on our Chinese, uh, WeChat.
[00:32:07] But, uh, you know, they say it’s half still happening. Now, some of these issues of human rights, um, let me give the Chinese perspective because the Chinese have a perspective here that yes, they’re, they still love human rights issues. But we have to look at where their human rights level is at this current level of development and compare that to where the U S or Europe was at that level of development.
[00:32:35] Not at today’s level of development because the U S you’re probably 50,000 us dollars per capita GDP. China’s about 10,000 now, one fifth of that level. So they say it’s, it’s apples to oranges to compare it, different levels of development. And the other thing is. The other Chinese point of view is they’ve taken hundreds of millions of people out of poverty over the last few decades.
[00:33:00] Isn’t that a great achievement in human rights? And I think they do have a fair point on that. And then on the American point of view. When we think Chinese should have more representation, that’s a really a civil rights issue that they should be able to vote and have representative government that’s really civil rights instead of human rights.
[00:33:21] But there, there are human rights issues in China too. I think we all, we all know that also, but the Chinese view is that there is no absolute truth here, but that the Chinese are getting better. And I think we can see that. Yeah. I definitely want them to get better. Faster. Yeah, that’s true. I mean, a lot of like, you know, there’s this, um, similar perspectives I have, like I, I know I do a lot of eCommerce.
[00:33:49] We know we talk on the show a lot about Amazon or import export and trading. So I, I’ve gotten myself in trouble just by being in China, associate with Chinese businessmen where lawyers in the us are looking for me for information on a certain Chinese people and they find my parents in America.
[00:34:05] And so the reason my parents think, uh, it’s a little scared about what I do. And, um. I’ll talk to the Chinese, like, you’re selling these fake products, you know, like this Louis Vuitton, or you’re selling this Gucci illegally or on eBay on your website. Um, you know, isn’t this bad to them.
[00:34:27] You know, I’m in a restaurant having dinner with the person, just making pretty good money. And then he says, he has this Robin Hood thinking. And a lot of these sellers online, uh, Chinese sellers will say, we only have 30 years of this, you know, ability to do this. You know, we don’t know how to make our own brands.
[00:34:45] We don’t know how to do these things. We were held back by the multinational companies and these rich brands that made us work for a dollar an hour, and they would sell it. That product, they got for $3 a sell for 500 I’m just trying to make some money back, or I’m just trying to make a little cut of that.
[00:35:02] Yeah. This is what he would say to me. Yeah. With relative truth, they can bend it any way they need to. Yeah. So, so, uh, this has been, you know, that’s been a fascinating, I know we could talk for quite a bit of kind of getting tour, a couple more points. So what do you, ah, I guess I have a, what’s the future of Americans or in China, you know, uh, is there any risk you think of, even with chapter, you talk about Japanese?
[00:35:33] There was, even when I was in China in 2012, I think there was some risks anti-Chinese protests. Uh, you know, breaking Chinese cars. It didn’t happen so long, but there was some fear. Yeah, Japanese. Um, it’s something about some of us, some Island I’m forgetting, I’m not, so I’m more on the business normally, but there was something about an Island with a Japanese, sorry.
[00:35:57] So I’m talking about anti Japanese stuff and there was also some obviously stuff from the war a long time ago that a Chinese still watch TV about war. My father-in-law loves watching these war movies still on repeat or something. But will that happen. Do you think, uh, I mean, seems generally Chinese people still have a positive overview of Americans.
[00:36:20] I mean, I think, I, I don’t really see that changing. Is there risks to Americans, I mean, in China or doing business with China? Well, the first comment I’d say is these, these events can happen, but we shouldn’t overreact to them too much. It was the. The Diaoyudao, the Japanese call, the Sengkaku and it, the anti-Japanese sentiment did get pretty strong for a while there, but.
[00:36:46] If you go to Japan today, and I mean almost anywhere in Japan, there are Chinese travelers like you wouldn’t believe. They just loved to visit Japan despite those movies that you’re, uh, you’re father-in-law likes. When I lived in China, they had a TV show where if a kid got a question wrong, uh.
[00:37:05] The urban. Great. So they would have a Chinese guy dressed up in a Japanese army uniform. He would run out and grab the kid and run off with them, and the kid was screaming and all the kids were screaming. And despite all that propaganda, there’s this very positive feeling towards Japan right now, but as you suggest, it’s really turning against the U S, the trade war.
[00:37:26] Um, the Chinese are certainly making it more difficult for American companies in China. They’ve cut back a lot on the purchase of us goods, the trade surplus with the U S ever since the trade war started. Um, despite all of Trump’s tariffs, it’s actually gotten bigger because they’ve cut back so much on us purchases.
[00:37:46] Um, there is a risk, and in my framework, this is going towards more of a lose lose outcome until I suspect. A decoupling, a bigger, you know, like the Chinese Internet’s already decoupled from the Western internet. I think at the end of this, a lot more of the Chinese economy’s going to be decoupled from the U S economy, and we’re going to go sort of, as you suggested earlier, to the cold war model of two separate zones.
[00:38:13] And in that case. In it probably will get more difficult for Americans from the propaganda perspective, but on the people perspective, you know, I’m Chinese people are wonderful. I love the Chinese people. They’re just so open and friendly and they do like parts about the U S I think American people and Chinese people get along really well.
[00:38:35] It’s just that our governments are going to have an increase in level of tension. Agreed. Um, I had, you know, shall cow or you know, street barbecue with some Chinese friends. This is one of my favorite things to do, you know, sitting on those small plastics doors on the side of the road, eating like meat on sticks.
[00:38:54] But, uh, he, um, if a friend of mine, David, uh, this is called David, he is saying like, as long as Hollywood is, as long as I’m, or Chinese are watching American movies and. Like I, you know, music and culture, you know, the Chinese government can never really make Chinese people hate Americans or can ever really stop this.
[00:39:20] I’ve even heard China ban certain in Christmas in certain cities of China. I saw some news articles last Christmas, you know, I think that maybe that’s one thing, you know, I think that will always I think everybody around the world likes American movies, American culture, American, uh, music. I think that’s what he was trying to tell me that, well, as long as that’s the case, Americans are like safe or, or it’s, it’s a funny conversation, but I think that’s, um, that’s me, one of my last points on this, this discussion, but, uh, I don’t know what you, you think of that, you know, the American.
[00:40:00] Hollywood is amazing, right? There are a lot of attractive parts about American culture, and I think American people in general are very friendly also, and that is the interaction between Americans and Chinese increases that, that, that that builds up the friendship between the two countries. But, uh, the layer on top of that is there are going to be rising geopolitical tensions and that will filter down into society.
[00:40:30] And, you know, as longterm China Watchers or livers like ourselves, we just have to deal with these changes and go through the changes. But everything goes through cycles. Um, the Chinese say, Ooh, gee, be fun, which is take something to the extreme and that’ll reverse and go in the other direction and that we’re in a
[00:40:50] Phase where the relations are going to be getting worse, but, but that won’t be forever. Okay, so let’s talk a bit about your book, I shared. I mean, I’m, I’m enjoying it. I. I have to really admit, I am embarrassed. I have no near nowhere near the skills of Chinese language or especially Japanese is, you did I?
[00:41:10] Um, I’ve tried, but it’s not stuck for me so well, but I, I enjoyed some of your quotes of some of the Chinese sayings and the face. I definitely recommend anybody doing business with China or Japan, um, to really dive into this book. Do you want it? Do you want to share a little bit about, about the book.
[00:41:29] Okay. Sure. So I wrote this book, a culture hacks, decipher and differences in American, Chinese and Japanese thinking, uh, because. About 17 years of experience working here, 25 total years in Asia. And I’ve just so often seen Americans, Chinese, and Japanese misunderstand each other. And my conclusion was, it’s not just cultural differences, it actually gets down to differences in the way we think.
[00:41:55] And so I wrote this book to describe how and why each group thinks differently and then how that has implications in terms of doing business or, um. Uh, say setting up a company or doing business meetings. I’ve got a whole section on business meetings. Um, different concepts like how important faces in China and how that relates to real world examples, um, or honor in Japan and differences in the way we think about building a company or starting from a business plan.
[00:42:31] And. Um, how that progresses. So I tried to put all of that into a book and essentially I was writing the book. I wish I could have read when I moved to Asia in 1993 that everything I’ve learned distilled, uh, for someone that starting out to try and help them out. Yeah, it’s true. I mean. The stress might be a little bit less, but I still think there’ll be some culture shock.
[00:43:00] You know? It definitely will soften it. Like, like your stories in a book of the, the stressed American that wants to, has the direct do this, why can’t you go from. You know the airport to the look, you know, why you get lost or why, why if I say I don’t want to eat, like, you know your jokes about like to get out of eating, don’t say stop giving me food.
[00:43:21] Cause they keep bringing you food in China because you have to say your, yeah, you’re full. Or you know, this food is so great. Uh, you have to really, um, go in directly and have a story and have a way to make them look good. And. Maybe lose your face and, uh, yeah, it’s definitely a very helpful, helpful tips and tricks for, for those which I think everyone that I do business with, China, even if you don’t come to China, you’re dealing with Chinese customers and your shops in New York and London all around the world.
[00:43:50] Chinese, like you said, tourists in Japan, they’re everywhere. So it’s definitely worth picking it up. It’s on Amazon. Um, I’ll link to the book. Is there any other things we should link to, um, about you or the book or anything else. That’s a relevant, uh, no, just culture hacks on Amazon. You can find it there.
[00:44:10] Um, I’m on Twitter at, at culture hacks one. Okay. Um, folks, feel free to leave a comment or ask questions. Great. Great. We’ll link up the Twitter too. Thanks so much. It’s been a fascinating conversation today, Richard. Great. Thank you. Michael, did you enjoy the e-commerce gladiator series at global from Asia in case you missed it?
[00:44:35] We wrote a book about it, ecommercegladiator.com/book or slash Amazon to get directed to Amazon page. It’d be a real pleasure if you could download the book. It’s just a few dollars online or order a print version. We have been busy last few weeks working on it and it just went live. Check it out today as well as other bonuses and other.
[00:44:57] Are ways you can engage with the community. www.ecommercegladiator.com. Thank you, Richard for sharing and thanks everybody for listening. That is a hopefully some insights for you. Definitely. Rick, read the book. I did read the whole book. Um, that’s why sometimes hard to interview guests that have.
[00:45:20] Books because I feel like I had to read their whole book. So this week it’s been an amazing time. And I told you guys I would share about his book. You know, I think some of the insights I even learned, the most important one is. Realizing you’ve got to repeat yourself almost like three times to some Chinese people, they just, you say you, you’re talking literally, and they think like, Oh, indirectly.
[00:45:47] So you’d say, give me X. And then they’re thinking, why is he asking me forX Y,Z Think that. I have X. They’re like reading into it, almost like a female and a male where if a man is just asking for something. And female females like reading so deeply into what you’re saying. That’s one thing I learned from his book for sure.
[00:46:05] I, I mentioned in an interview too. I was laughing a bit about some of his stories of, uh, in China where they’re so lost and, and, uh, in the directions and he’s so angry at the driver, but the interpreter that translated this. Did not know he was the interpreter, but the, the CEO of the American company was yelling at the driver, but when he, Richard interpreted it to Chinese for the driver, he says, Oh, the boss has to go to the bathroom really bad.
[00:46:36] And he’s angry because he has to go to the bathroom. He didn’t say that. You’re an idiot and why don’t you know how to drive to this location before we came here. So just being an indirectly, I mean, one other thing I already knew, but I think it’s so true. You can’t make, have Chinese people lose face.
[00:46:50] I think there’s one issue with Donald Trump. Donald Trump is very direct, very straightforward guy w uh, you know, no BS kind of talk, which is not really good for Chinese business negotiation. So he says stuff on Twitter and he offends people and doesn’t seem to really, almost doesn’t really care if somebody is offended and that I don’t really recommend.
[00:47:12] I try to do that anyway, but especially if you’re dealing with Chinese business, if you have, especially the leader of China, lose face publicly on Twitter, they’re not gonna really do what you want them to do later. That’s not the best negotiation tactic. The other thing I wanted to share was my story.
[00:47:29] I don’t even think Lorenzo heard this. I was traveling after college. In 2003 I backpack Europe, and it was a couple of years after September 11 2001 when the world trade center went down, and I was in Italy, and we’re just talking casually with some other backpackers, but they were European is spoke English to me.
[00:47:49] And I said, I’m from America. And you know what the first thing he said to me, he Lorenzo. You deserve nine 11 really? Yeah. That’s crazy. What was your from, I think he was a, That’s kind of like men as amazing sense. He says all this stuff you Americans do to people all around the world. You know, like finally something happens to you, you so you can understand how it feels.
[00:48:12] That’s the most horrible thing I’ve, I’ve heard sure governments or do bad things, but that doesn’t mean that the people deserve it. It’s two different things. Wow. That’s crazy. Yeah. I didn’t know. I said to him, so three I think is around 3000 or 2000 something people died from, depending on where you get your sources from.
[00:48:29] Okay. Well, even one person dying, is you know, they’re, they’re, uh, innocent people. I mean. They were going to work. I was right in New Jersey. I saw the buildings go down with my own eyes. I was, so, I think he maybe got some more perspective from me when I said I saw the day, I saw that go down.
[00:48:49] And, uh. Anyway. That was something I wanted to share in my blah, blah, blah. That’s the most horrible thing I’ve ever heard. I think he realized that was bad after, but he, you know, he says that like, America interferes with all these other people around the world, and that, uh, may be true, but it doesn’t justify the, the, the massacre of 3000, 4,000, 5,000 innocent people who are just going on the way.
[00:49:12] To do their daily job. That doesn’t, that’s unacceptable. I mean, I’m just, yes. Yeah. So I remember it at it’s, that was, Whoa, 15 years ago now or something. That’s 18 years ago. Wow. It seems by, so anyways, um, I hope you guys enjoy these shows. Will, you know, I’m trying to find more, uh, interesting perspectives.
[00:49:35] And we have all, actually, I recorded a whole bunch of interviews while I was on the road the last few weeks and I’ve got a whole bunch more guests that want to come on also, but doing more video content. I did some kind of like short four or five minute video clips. I a, we’re editing those now and so we’re doing some more short videos.
[00:49:52] I’m also working on some short podcasts. Lorenzo’s, some people I learned said I should do like just a one question and an answer like five minute podcast and the title is just that one question. Because people say if you search something on Google, like one question about like they could, I’m going to ask you to question a question based on their expertise, their background.
[00:50:15] No, I think it would just be me answering each week and you ask it to a few people. I still haven’t, honestly, I haven’t figured it out yet. There’s something I just learned the last few weeks. But, uh, I think it would just be me on the, on that. So maybe even listeners could ask me a question like, you know, ask Pat, AskGaryVee or I think that they, I learned that they did it, or maybe that’s not why they do it, but one.
[00:50:39] then, if I heard is a question, is something people search Google for. So you can give them a spite sized answer in an audio, and it comes into Google results because podcasts are starting to get indexed in Google. Like today’s podcast probably won’t get indexed and won’t get searched because it’s such a long form content where you have these short answers.
[00:50:59] Um, also, I’m going to make a, I don’t know if I’ll make it a podcast, but I found how to get a bank of China bank account at the Canton fair with just a business visa. So I’m thinking about beginning short video, short videos, and short podcasts. You know, one question that would be quite popular, and I always wanting to ask every successful person I meet is, it’s a one question is asked always at a, at the end of a John, John Dumas.
[00:51:23] Yes. So let’s say you’re, you arrive in a new planet, you know nobody, you don’t have any network, nothing. You only have $500 just to eat noodles for the first 30 days to get back. What would you do. Okay. That’s a question that, uh, I’m curious to ask every successful person that I meet because it’s always good to know what is their background, what would they do now if they were to start again?
[00:51:49] And also because a lot of people would, would learn from it because each person has different backgrounds that take a different path to get to where they are. So it would really help a lot of people. So that’s something that I would be looking to, I mean, if I had any say to, that’s a question I’d be very interested to, to hear from.
[00:52:06] Okay. So people, maybe we could add that to the show. all right, well, I think that’s enough for our blah blah. Well, I think we’re gonna play some X-Box. I need to relax a little bit. Alright. I think you deserve it after this Rocky past few a few days, especially the past 24 hours can be quite challenging.
[00:52:22] Quite tiring. Yeah, we actually can stick that in the end if you’re still listening to them. I always wonder how he listened to the end of this, but interview is over, but yeah, I kind of got in a bad situation where I’m staying. If I, you know, the Lucian and Lorenzo, I have friends, that host me here so.
[00:52:42] There was a mix up of when I was leaving, so I didn’t have a room. And then I, I tried to get a room and I couldn’t get in, so I ended up staying in a love motel in Wanchai and I kept getting woken up in the middle of the night last night too, to noise through the wall. And you said you, when people are singing and dancing and I don’t, I think there was one Cantonese KTV room next door and then there was another, I’m a special massage.
[00:53:08] Room on the other side. So you got the full experience that, yeah. My experience, I didn’t get many protests this time. No. Okay. Well stay for the two week. Oh man. But another thing as I wear my black shirt, Oh yeah. And I wore my black shirt and especially with a camera gear and all that. Yeah.
[00:53:28] So what happened? I told Luc-, Lorenzo and everybody here, but I’m on the airport express, go into the Asia world expo for the sourcing, uh, global sources summit. And the first day, it was like Sunday morning, I have my black shirt and my camera, my my big bag. So I look like a reporter. I’m on my laptop typing up something.
[00:53:47] So he thought I was going to the airport to leave after the protest the night before to write up an article. And he’s like, do you enjoy what you do? Why do you do, or something like, why do you do what you do or do you really do you get a kick out of this? And then I just said, yeah, I loved it.
[00:54:05] I wasn’t obviously even writing about it, but I said, yeah, I love to do this. I mean, it’s a, I love to document. I’m surprised they haven’t allowed you to get on the, uh, airport express because they want to keep, the reporters has been a wave of almost a censoring soft censoring on reporters lately.
[00:54:23] So I’m surprised even allowed you to get on the airport express another reason that you hit Americans. Maybe I’m going to American reporter, but, uh, they, um, also I would, I got lost coming to find you once, and I went to ask a woman, where’s, where’s this place? And she’s like, Oh. There’s something happening there.
[00:54:41] And then it really, she thinks, I’m like, cause I was kinda running, I was lost and I was like, and my camera and my black shirt and my big bag and she’s thinking I’m like a reporter. I go into the case the new hot case. But I’m thinking you really have to be careful, especially nowadays, if you come back to China by land.
[00:54:58] Do not be carrying your, your camera on your, on your new shoulder because especially with what’s going on going on in Hong Kong that might, you know, Oh, maybe that’s why they flagged my car. I took a cross border car with Danny McMillan. It is the mother and Chris Davey and some others in a backpack or whatever.
[00:55:13] They hide. They took us to the inspection zone and I’ll tell you how the rest, they made me take all of my clothes out onto the counter and they went through my, they flipped through my e-commerce gladiator book. I think it’s a journal, the camera coming from Hong Kong and being American, so you get the whole, you know, almost a homegrown type of thing.
[00:55:30] Yeah. They didn’t say sorry. Usually they sometimes say, go over your, your phone, your electronic. No, luckily they didn’t get into the phone. I did delete some stuff from a certain people, you know, they send me photos and videos apps. I would, if I, if I were to go tomorrow or whatever, next few days to China, I would definitely delete Facebook.
[00:55:50] Instagram. And all those kind of thing that might put you in hot water. Yeah. And with that, uh, we love America. No, I miss America and Canada. Maybe. Maybe we can put some American music on here, but anyway, I think that’s a wrap for 278 show of Global From Asia. See you next week. We have so many more interviews and content to share and maybe some mini series too.
[00:56:16] Thanks for listening. Have a good one. Keep rocking, Mike. Thanks. To get more info about running an international business, please visit our website at www.globalfromasia.com that’s www.globalfromasia.com. Also be sure to subscribe to our iTunes feed. Thanks for tuning in.