Old China Hands Lunch 3 July

Back again

Another Old China Hands Lunch 3 July after the virus outbreak. Attendance was up with a total of 22.
Members blocked abroad and unable to return “home” are still close to 30.
Some are to give up on China for good, with their business, family life and social life wrecked. Beijing authorities don’t care and there is no end in sight for the misery, while Shanghai seems to to be looking for solutions.

Next lunch

Planned for Friday 7 August. Hopefully no “unexpected problems”.

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.

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.


RIP Old China Hand

Our Beijing little club

Calm down folks. RIP Old China Hand applies to a Hong Kong bar, not our little club, Yes, our last lunch was in January, see the report.
Obviously February, March and probably April is cancelled in view of COVID-19.

RIP Old China Hand (now for real)

That applies to a bar in Hong Kong, I learned about it through one of little club members who sent me a pic of the closed bar.
So I did some research and found out it was a well-known bar in Hongkong, been there for decades, it had to move once (guess why, increase in rent, as always).

Read here:
In 2015 The Old China Hand, one of the most famous pubs in Wan Chai, has been suddenly cleared out and had its sign removed. A veteran 45-year tenant of Lockhart Road, the bar appears to have shut down.
See: https://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/article/1853752/rent-rise-forces-old-china-hand-hong-kong-move-home

It later moved but it seems to be closed again.
They even had a Facebook page, stopped now.

Last location would be: 1C Davis Street, Kennedy Town, Hong Kong
The pics: I tried to identify the two different locations, Lockhart Road and Kennedy Town. See the names.
Sad! did not know about it earlier – I also lived in Hong Kong, in 1989, for one year.

COVID-19 struggles

The “mystery” of the health apps

I already mentioned several times the issue of apps some localities would use to check one’s “health status”, one of my COVID-19 struggles.
I put on it some “WeChat/Alipay Chinese experts”. After two days of research, trying everything, like submitting pic of passport (later “approved”), trying all tricks plus research: the Chinese person called the Beijing government and was told “Yes we know, it does not work in Beijing for foreigners, unlike in other cities.” So. both WeChat and Alipay health apps DO NOT WORK for foreigners.

See some screenshots from both WeChat et Alipay trials (not in sequence)… Wechat is straightforward: you can only enter Chinese ID.
Oh well. Give up. But we remain open to more-clever ones on how to do it IN BEIJING.

How to do self-quarantine?

See this excellent instruction on how to really do your home quarantine. Many people talk about it but ignore the rules.
“How to Quarantine Yourself”
Yahoo News – The New York Times – 7 March 2020
the original: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/06/health/self-quarantine-coronavirus.html

Stay home unless you must see a doctor. No work, school or shopping. If you must come out of your room, wear a mask. And don’t share towels.
Read here:
200307 selfquarantine

Bloomberg 10 March: prospects are…

Manufacturing firms across China told Bloomberg News that they are close to being able to resume full production as domestic infections slow to a trickle, but are now facing canceled orders and fewer opportunities to gain new customers as the virus grips elsewhere.
“We are actually more worried about the development of the epidemic in Europe and the U.S., which will affect their domestic consumption,” said Mark Ma, owner of Shenzhen-based Seabay International Freight Forwarding Ltd. The company relies on those regions for 80% of its business, with about a third of the goods it handles being sold on Amazon. “China’s manufacturers have no big problems taking orders and producing, the main problem now is how the epidemic is contained overseas.”

Interview denied

I was asked to comment on this survey for an interview with well-known Chinese media. I said no. I am not one of those foreign sycophants (I systematically kick those off my media).
Online survey in 28 markets – 34,000+ respondents total. All fieldwork was conducted between October 19 and November 18, 2019 (Chinese: did not see this? Well, that was before the bungling of the outbreak).

Chinese now refer to this report to trumpet how fantastic everything is.
All while they now show more and more xenophobic attitudes and deny reality. Now we foreigners are deemed dangerous people in China, transmitting the virus (all while the most dangerous are Chinese returning from abroad). And there are too many of us, a threat to China culture and workforce. Now, dare say anything (we don’t) about the millions of Chinese settling in our countries, many with as good as no education and just good enough to wash dishes. We would be branded as racist, anti-Chinese, name it.
And of course China does not need to say sorry to the world for allowing a virus to become a world pandemic – there are enough conclusive reports about that (see earlier posts). Yeah yeah, the virus comes from the bad Americans.

When is “back to normal”?

For me some very clear conditions:
– We can enter all our gates in our compound without ID and other check;
– I can resume my Old China Hands Monthly Lunch;
– I can travel to Phuket for a (working) holiday without being denied entry in Thailand nor to face forced quarantine on my return.

Some people do not think our situation in Beijing has anything to do with “misery”. Oh well, they might have another way of life. As I wrote on Facebook:
Maybe some people think the quarantine is “fine”, because they have little or no social life, happy to home school their kids and work online and only need some supermarket shopping. Well, people like me, we enjoy(ed) the intense social life in Beijing, the restaurants, the bars, massage, KTV, gym, getting stuff done, receptions, seminars, club meetings etc. YES missing ALL that is kinda misery.
It also explains why I am (still) staying in Beijing as Belgium is (was?) totally boring.

Welcome to Beijing?

When you arrive from abroad in Beijing, there is the big question: what happens? Quarantine?
Honestly we now cannot complain too much as other countries are much more draconian, the worst being Israel as it looks like. I already wrote about it several times, so I won’t repeat.
On another funny note: those arriving from Taiwan must quarantine. Because it is inside China travel.
See this revealing article:

“Beijing Capital International Airport Sections Off Entire Wing to Process High-Risk Flights”
10 March 2020
“In its efforts to contain the threat of imported infections, Beijing today announced that an entire portion of Beijing Capital International Airport has been converted into a makeshift screening and testing area for flights arriving from those countries considered high-risk, according to Beijing Times.
The area, T3-D, was chosen for its relative isolation and has been operational as of midnight last night. It will handle all passengers on inbound flights from countries currently experiencing high levels of infection, a label that has so far largely pertained to Iran, Italy, Japan, and South Korea. However, the Beijing Times report does not specify which flights, traveling from which countries, will alight at this new quarantine area.
And don’t be surprised if you suddenly end up in China International Exhibition Center in Shunyi.
Do note processing in Shanghai airport has been, well, more than chaotic.
Read the article for details.

See also: https://www.thebeijinger.com/blog/2020/03/06/flying-beijing-heres-what-you-can-expect