Old China Hands Lunch 5 June

Back again

Old China Hands Lunch 5 June marked our second lunch after the virus outbreak. Attendance was still pretty modest for several reasons: we were 17. All in all not too bad.
I have tried to have an idea about how many of our members are blocked abroad and unable to return “home”. Well, it is not a nice picture with close to 30 of our usual attendants unable to return; probably there are more, some did not yet reply to me. As I mentioned earlier, I expect many to give up on China for good, with their business, family life and social life wrecked. Chinese authorities couldn’t care less and there is no end in sight for the misery. China is losing many friends, that’s for sure. Really sad.


See the dishes I chose. The restaurant is now also well known for its collection of fresh flowers, done by Susan.

Next lunch

Tentatively planned for Friday 3 July.
All of Morel’s Restaurant staff has been tested for the virus and the restaurant is regularly checked by the hygiene department. As the restaurant observes all regulations strictly, they are one of the locations still allowed to operate.
I also must stress again to our members that the restaurant is giving us a very special deal and they should respect that. You are expected to pay for any extras. If you don’t like it, you go somewhere else.

iMAC G4 CD tray

CD tray does not open

I still use this old but beautiful iMAC for some software and to read small CD sizes that new MACs do not accept anymore (you need to place them on a tray). But the iMAC G4 CD tray refused to open.
A few years earlier we managed to repair the screen backlight years ago (mentioned in my book TOXIC CAPITALISM).
I needed to read a small size CD and realized the tray got stuck. There were some faint click-clacks but that was it.

The solution

Out of desperation I poked around the tray, trying to pull it out, with the lid opened. Finally I pushed inside the white plastic (see pic 4), which “clicked”, see pic 5.


Then with the keyboard I opened the tray that slides out.
Simple, works…

Old China Hands Lunch is back

A modest restart

Old China Hands Lunch is back after a 3 months “pause”. As 1 May was the first Friday of the month we decided to do it on Friday 8 May, giving us also more time to evaluate the “situation”.
I asked our members for an update on their situation and sadly many of our regulars are stuck outside of China as they are not allowed to return to China. They are in UK, USA, Australia, Thailand, Germany, name it. It does not look good when they could return, I think not before October in the best case.
That is obviously dramatic as many have office and home here with all their belongings. Their business is, the least to say, seriously affected.
Some say they will leave China for good. I can’t blame them. China and in particular Beijing is turning against foreigners and racism and xenophobia pop up regularly.
China for sure knows how to turn friends into enemies. And they couldn’t care less.

Our lunch

We were exactly 16 and I insisted on all observing the rules of social distancing, 4 per table, temperature check etc.
Some were still too scared to “mingle”, some simply freaked out. Oh well.

Anyway who came was pretty happy and Morel’s Restaurant served us well.
I am planning the next lunch for Friday 5 June.


My COVID-19 Newsletter

Looking back and evaluating

I started my COVID-19 Newsletter about two months ago, first article was “Virusland is back“, dated 30 January 2020.
Since then I have been posting nearly every day.
Preparing the newsletter has demanded lots of work, and was time-consuming.

My sources were international TV (I watch a lot every day), SCMP, China Daily, NYT, KNACK/TRENDS, De Standaard, Het Laatste Nieuws, Caixin, and many other such as daily newsletters from various sources such as AXION and Sinocism.
I did not intend to be a “news channel” covering everything. The idea was to focus on what has been affecting us in China, how we were dealing with quarantine and lockdown, and the impact of the virus worldwide.
I also tried to double-check sources and give a balanced view while avoiding some sensitive topics that might affect my residence status in Beijing.

I closely monitored the views I get on my different media platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook and others. I also closely followed the hits on this website, that also reveal how people reach my website. Many people on media such as LinkedIn don’t bother to read the article but start commenting. Oh well!
Overall I feel disappointed by the numbers. I don’t show them here but you can comment on how many hits would be nice in your opinion. (Nobody will give feedback anyway!)
One indication: the very few (valid) comments I receive.
It is also clear for me that the people close to me (and the ones I value) hardly ever visit this website.
Yes, quite frustrating.

Websites: a bygone era?

I feel that overall, people have become very superficial and have a very short attention span. Digging a bit deeper in issues is pretty rare. People seems to love very short news clips and rather love fake or sensational news. But you find a lot of “strong opinions”, based on hot air.

It is also very disturbing to see how world leaders such as Trump, Boris Johnson, Jair Bolsonaro and some others drag their countries deeper and deeper into the abyss. Worst, they have followers who remain blind for facts and with whom it is a waste of time to argue. For them, the earth is flat. It shows how our Western democracies are imploding.

Foreign governments and embassies

You can wonder, especially recently, what embassies and representatives of foreign governments bring to the community.
Many embassies seem oblivious to their nationals in the country, hardly ever send out notices except to refer to the websites of their home ministry. How many keep their nationals informed and show interest in solving their problems?
Many embassy staff have no access to external websites. You can wonder how they can stay well-informed. You also wonder what they are actually doing. Have a problem? Please register your case online. Anyway most of the worries of their nationals “are not their responsibility and not in their scope of work”.

All of course depends on the big boss – the ambassador. In my 40 years here I have seen very different attitudes. Creativity, flexibility and initiative are often absent. Of course there are always exceptions. More than often, their work is made more difficult by the instructions and limitations they receive from their foreign ministry. In the past I did receive invaluable assistance from my Belgian embassy (and others). I accept their job has become more difficult by the short-sighted governments, and budget cuts.

Why am I doing this?

A good question that I often asked myself. Those who read my newsletter can agree I have no commercial interests to promote. As for my consulting company, we do not look for clients and we are very choosy.

One aspect I can mention is the promotion of my two books. Here again I see my closest contacts being of little help, if any, to help promote my books, or buying them (kidding, right!). The e-books are actually pretty cheap.
As a reminder, here they are:
“LAUGH AND GET WISER! Jokes and witty wisdom for adults”
The Kindle version: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07H291Z61
“Toxic Capitalism – The orgy of consumerism and waste: Are we the last generation on earth?”
E-book: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0792X896M/

The impact of my newsletter in this respect has been close to zero. Very disappointing. This is how you know who your friends are, while I am (or better, was) always too ready to help others.

Trying to help EU countries

Through one of my positions with the Chinese government I was asked to help donate 1,000 test kits to some European countries. The test kits are of a very advanced, we can say, revolutionary design. They offer a COVID-19 test in 5 minutes without using a laboratory. Done on the spot. The kits have all certificates including CE (from The Netherlands) and I have the detailed documentation.

The idea was to donate (officially) to the embassy who would then decide with their government to use it in hospitals, research centers or any health organization interested to test the technology.
Oh well, red tape, inaction, zero response. And oh! Gosh, politics with the Chinese government! Can we do this? (BUT! Welcome Jack Ma! He brings business!)
I have now canceled the offer. Time was the essence but as it stands EU governments have been turtle-like to react. Learn from China!
Anybody interested, contact me. I do not have any business interest in this. I thought I could help…

Too bad, not a surprise that EU countries are hopelessly behind in tackling the outbreak, don’t have masks while they were warned two months in advance. Then they find some millions of masks rotten in a military warehouse.
If one tries to mail masks to family in Europe, good luck. Red tape (WE NEED CE!!!!!) and total lack of cooperation from customs (not to mention embassies) make it virtually impossible.
Remember when Chinese bought ALL masks around the world and shipped them to China? Chinese customs had special procedures to let them in.
Poor EU.

In short, bye. No more COVID-19 stuff

And don’t bother to ask me how are things over here in Beijing. Ask your embassy.
We will watch from Beijing how you all cope (?) to put in place logistics, equipment, health care workers, fail to use masks when needed (= as we do over here for a good reason), implement lockdown, …

Yeah interesting to look how crazy/idiotic people are. Keep hoarding! Buy toilet paper (they shit a lot!!!). And if you ever come to Beijing, your zero star hotel welcomes you in Xiaotangshan (now refurbished after its operation for SARS). And behave in the lift (elevator for others).
Yep, my last little humor (much more in earlier posts).
Meanwhile I will enjoy more great Belgian cuisine in Morel’s Restaurant.

COVID-19 devastation

Not getting any better, on the contrary

The COVID-19 devastation is becoming more obvious, not by the day but by the hour.
Shocking to read that in Antwerp (Belgium) 5 older people in the same service flats building died in one week; 3 men and 2 women, ages between 65 and 80. It shows how this virus can be a ruthless killer.
With incompetent leaders like Trump and Boris, as well as in other EU countries, this is going to get worse. Good luck for Easter Holiday.

At least, slowly, the situation in China is getting better, but I don’t expect restrictions to be eased soon in Beijing. See what people arriving to Beijing will face. Those trying to fool the health people by taking fever medicine will end up in prison. Because a urine test will be used to detect that.

Meanwhile Beijing mentioned the wide application of TCM in the hospitals. Over 90% of the patients treated were given TCM treatment and 90% have shown improvement.
Read: http://covid-19.chinadaily.com.cn/a/202003/24/WS5e79429fa310128217281624.html

And read here the 6 effective TCM recipes for COVID-19:

Conspiracy story denied by … China

Interesting read:
22 March 2020 – Top Chinese official disowns U.S. military lab coronavirus conspiracy
No, Americans did not bring it to Wuhan.

On another note, memory being short in China (and USA), Xinhua had a name for the virus in the early stages. Needless to say, most cleaned up on the Internet. But the Internet has a memory…

Airborne, again again

WHO considers ‘airborne precautions’ for medical staff after study shows coronavirus can survive in air
16 March 2020

WHO reversed their earlier position that COVID virus is not air borne.
Copper, Steel – 2 hours
Paper, Plastic – 3-4 hours
Air – 8 hours or more depending on conditions.
Well, I mentioned this earlier already on 18 March 2020:
COVID-19 newsletter

Trump is married to the stock market

Trump is only concerned about the stock market (and his election). Screw the hospitals and the sick. He cut the budgets of CDC in the past(*), resulting in today’s mess. Does not mobilize manufacturing of the critically needed equipment. He wants to help companies and industry but never mind the workers. Oh yes otherwise he could be called a “socialist”.

Also, several months before the coronavirus pandemic began, the Trump administration eliminated a key American public health position in Beijing intended to help detect disease outbreaks in China, Reuters has learned.
The American disease expert, a medical epidemiologist embedded in China’s disease control agency, left her post in July, according to four sources with knowledge of the issue. The first cases of the new coronavirus may have emerged as early as November, and as cases exploded, the Trump administration in February chastised China for censoring information about the outbreak and keeping U.S. experts from entering the country to help.

Let’s guess and bet who will be right for USA by 1 May; see also further down:

  1. 300,000 infected 5,000 dead
  2. 1.5 million infected 20,000 dead
  3. Not close to any of the above, less or much more

(*) speech senator Sherrod Brown, see:

According to U.S. CDC projections:

– Between 160 million and 214 million people could be infected. That could last months or even over a year.
– As many as 200,000 to 1.7 million people could die.
– 2.4 million to 21 million people could require hospitalization, potentially crushing the nation’s medical system, which has only about 925,000 staffed hospital beds.

Next virus epicenter?

No comments. Read the article.
24 March 2020
U.S. could be next ‘virus epicenter’ as India locks down, global recession looms
GENEVA/NEW DELHI (Reuters) – The United States could become the global epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, the World Health Organization said on Tuesday, as India announced a full 24-hour, nationwide lockdown in the world’s second-most populous country.

Comments AXIOS (repeating what I said several times):
Millions of Americans are losing their jobs at the same time as their families face a once-in-a-century pandemic.
The lockdown is particularly devastating for service workers, blue-collar workers and small businesses, and Senate Democrats today blocked the Phase 3 stimulus bill for the second time in 24 hours. (They want more protections for workers and more strings attached.)
White-collar workers are obviously not immune from coronavirus hardships, but their jobs are the simplest to make remote.
Another short news flash: Las Vegas completely stopped. 200,000 people without work. Just one example of the many.

Bill Gates and other prophets of doom

Unfortunately they were right.
Bill Gates talked in 2015 of the impending catastrophe with a virus. What will kill is not nuclear missiles. It will be a coronavirus.
Could not be more clear.
“In his 2015 TED talk, Gates does not specifically call out the coronavirus but does predict the impact of a potential epidemic and lays out a path for preparing for it. Based on our research, we determine the claim that Bill Gates nominally predicted the coronavirus pandemic – and the world’s ability to respond to it – to be TRUE.”
Read: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/factcheck/2020/03/22/coronavirus-fact-check-did-bill-gates-predict-outbreak-2015/2890900001/

Link to the TED talk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Af6b_wyiwI

More chilling even is the warning of the research team that worked on the SARS virus.
They published the paper in October 2007.
They wrote:
“The presence of a large reservoir of SARS=CoV-like viruses in horseshoe bats. together with the culture of eating exotic mammals in southern China, is a time bomb.”
The bomb exploded in November 2019 as far as we know.
And I immediately commented on it. Read my earlier post:
Virusland is back
Posted on 30 January 2020
Nothing was learned.

Japan July 2020 Olympics

As predicted, not this year. That was pretty obvious.

New Chinese publication in French

“La Chine au Présent” has a new magazine, well done, see:

And yes, focus on COVID-19!