Date: Tue, 29 Oct 1996 20:12:03 -0500

From: "Barry A. Popik" Bapopik[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]AOL.COM

Subject: Guanxi!

This is from Christopher Caldwell's column "Hill of Beans" in the New York

Press, October 30-November 5, 1996, pg. 14, cols. 3-4:

My favorite rationalization is that we have to understand Chinese folkways

in order to understand the Lippo scandal. "Five hundred thousand bucks?

That's nothin'," _The New York Times_ and _Washington Post_ tell us. "It

costs a million to join a businessmen's golf club in Hong Kong. In

Guangzhou, businessmen give their associates' wives diamond tiaras for

Christmas--even though they don't celebrate Christmas. In Beijing, it's

customary for businessmen to pay for politicans' houses. It's just


_Guanxi?_ Leaving aside that it's the linchpin of this particular

elaborate rationalization, the thing I'm sickest of is the sudden

omnipresence of this word _Guanxi_. Here is a word no one ever heard of two

weeks ago, which appears set to take its place in the language alongside

samizdat, chutzpah, esprit de corps, sprezzatura, intifada, glasnost, glog

and Schwarzwalderkirschentorte. And now, people who don't even know the

Chinese word for egg foo yung are writing about "the importance of _Guanxi_,

or connections"--and pronouncing it, in impeccable pseud fashion, _with a

Chinese accent!_ You hear it on television and radio as "hwannnn-shhhi" and

you can almost see the announcers bowing as they say it, just as, when NPR

newsmen pronounce Bosnia ("Bwooznia") or Chechnya ("Chitch-_nyar_"), you can

picture people puckering their lips and pursing their brows. Rather than

call them "_Guanxi_, or connections," why not just call them "connections"?

If Chuck Woollery ever needs guests for the LOVE GUANXI, count me in.