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Booze, Sex, and the Dark Art of Dealmaking in China (2015) (chinafile.com)
312 points by johnny313 7 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 242 comments



I'm a foreign CTO working in Bangkok and being fully fluent in Thai showed me that it's exactly the same practice in SEA regions: Got to close a deal with a government official? They'll head to the "bathtub massage" area Huai Kwang. Need to bond with a local Business man? Deal closes there as well. Bond with male work mates? On to the bathtub place! Everyone knows it, there's jokes about it and this particular business has licences to run legally, even though prostitution is normally illegal in Thailand. I turned down several invites to such activities and got the usual gay jokes behind my back.


Heck in the US 20 years ago, a coworker of mine was assigned to a job where his first account was some old school east coast bank. One night dude calls "OMG man we are at dinner and the sales guy didn't show up so it's just me and them and they want to hit the strip clubs a couple blocks away after this." I had no good advice as I was a n00b too so I told him to call his boss. He was told "keep them happy" so he spent thousands on dinner, drinks, and strippers for most of the night on the corporate card (cash for the strippers...).

He was sure he would get fired or something. The following Monday his boss told him he heard that everyone had a great time, gave him a pat on the back and noted "I probabbly should have told you they party pretty hard."


I helped a sales focused tech company as their CTO for a few years. The sales team met at the bar for lunch and after work. Drugs were everywhere. The CFO kept a liquor cabinet in his desk drawer. There were parties all the time. Orgies were not uncommon.

They ended up being acquired before they could get full on wolf on wallstreet going but it was damn near close.

I drank with them but never took it any further. It’s a really unhealthy life both physically and emotionally.


Why would they get acquired? They were doing good work in-between the partying?


The sad thing about this is that if you are doing this real goal driven it might be your main source of income.

You spend your company's money on private immoral fun of customers, customers spend their company's money on your products/services instead of the otherwise not so different competition. The key part is that nobody actually invests their private money, but the value they get out of it is private. That's why it works and that's why it's usually illegal, and like most illegal things it happens anyway until someone at the top gets really pissed with you/your department/your company specifically.


I wonder how much things would.change were all of this legal. I mean, booze and stripping is already legal; consider also legal prostitution and cocaine.

Is this just having physiological fun together, or having an evidence of illegal conduct for each other, potentially usable as a weapon?


They 24X'd revenue in 12 months.

Whatever they did produced results.


Any profit or income?


It's like that famous saying: "People who attend coke fueled orgies together, do multi-million dollar deals together".


Partying with the right people?


People buy from people they like, I guess? I'm not in sales but it's a lot easier to bond with someone while having dinner together and drinks, than it is in an office meeting room.


This appears to be extremely common, especially in some fields, such as advertising. In one of my former companies (in the UK) the sales people (whom I've usually seen either with heavy hangover or outright drunk/drugged) called this 'drugs and hookers -driven sales' (or something aong these lines), and were extremely successful in getting the new contracts signed.


~20 years ago I was a sales engineer to the extremely good salesman. We had submitted a substantial quote followed by invoice to one of the tier I carriers in US, but for reason or the other, it wouldn't get processed / paid. Rumor has it that the (now retired) VP blocking the payment at carrier in roundabout ways told to our sales exec that he will be going to Toronto at a given date and that he has never spent a night with sisters. Allegedly arrangements were made, and as soon as he was back, that PO was approved.

Till today, I do not know if that's how it expired. The salesman never admitted to anything. And in all ways he was one the most organized and professional salesman I've ever worked with. And in that vain, I want to believe this is how it also happened.


I was also a sales engineer 20 years ago. There was a ton of drinking involved, but never anything wilder. I was honestly a bit surprised how tame the after-hours excursions were given what I'd heard from friends at other companies with similar clients. Ability to drink heavily was a requirement of anyone on the sales team though.

I did get a lot of nice dinners and bbq lunches. Seriously, every client had a favorite bbq place they had to show off. Weird in retrospect.


It is really nice that they got him in touch with his estranged family!


Never spent a night with sisters? Just to clarify, was that literal?


I think sister here means prostitute, but I'm not native English either.


He wanted two prostitutes that were related, i.e. sisters.


*in that vein


I think he meant “transpired”, too, not “expired”.


I think this is not uncommon, even nowadays. Noone likes to admit it because being politically correct and stuff. Even at company parties at big corporations, some Sales and Marketing folks tend go a bit overboard - and employees hooking up with each isn't unusual during such festivities either.


> employees hooking up with each isn't unusual Of course they do. Employees are not slaves. They are free to bond as they like.


Isn't this a cultural difference in the US that's different from Europe, in that colleagues don't get involved?


The problem is that in the current #metoo environment, that would be taking a massive legal risk. Sweden recently passed a legislation that requires a proof of consent, or otherwise treats any sexual relationship as rape by default...


I have seen this a few times here on HN and it's just totally incorrect. The new law still places the burden of proving that consent was not given on the victim. Some papers reported it incorrectly but have published corrections.


First result on google: https://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/consent-law-r...

I don't have a view on whether this reflects the Swedish law correctly but if it does, I don't believe that changes anything nor that I am incorrect. Unless the other party established explicit, provable consent (he says-she says won't help in court), we are in absence of consent, and therefore rape territory. You can't prove absence of anything.


Colleagues get involved a lot, but it's often fraught/stigmatized--but not too much. Most Europeans I know feel similarly: it happens, but is a less-than-great idea for a lot of reasons, chief among them that if it goes badly you might still end up having to work closely with the person, or choose between them and the job.


It's extremely common, they just keep it quiet from HR. If they end up getting married it becomes known and is acceptable in the open.


> Even at company parties at big corporations, some Sales and Marketing folks tend go a bit overboard - and employees hooking up with each isn't unusual during such festivities either.

Heh, you should see company parties in northern Europe.


I think that's largely a myth or at least an exaggeration. I've worked in both Norway and Sweden (and currently live in Sweden) and I've never seen an office party get even close to going way overboard. Office parties in the US and the UK I've seen have been 'worse'.


I work in a Fortune500 company in a Nordic branch.

It's extremely easy to hook up. There's like a mentality that "since you work here" you're already pre-screened :)

Summer parties at the office often devolve into something like this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AIf1fydxrfo

Global gatherings are, indeed, very crazy.

Maybe it's something like this: "If you can't be corrupt anymore, at least you can be sexually corrupt!"


It's extremely easy to hook up.

Sure, but in my experience most of those hookups happen normally and after normal adult interactions, and not as the unintended fallout of an out of control party.


Prescreened?


By hr:)


>I've worked in both Norway and Sweden (and currently live in Sweden) and I've never seen an office party get even close to going way overboard

Perhaps you're not invited to the good ones...


Well, that has been my secret fear since I was about 13...


Same here, so I can't really feel much superior :-)


Maybe it's more of a Danish thing but that description is pretty accurate of the parties here: getting blackout drunk and hooking up is bread and butter.


You do know that this is normal don't you? Very tame by any stretch of the imagination.


I don't know. After we were bought by a west coast company the stories like that stopped. While I worked with sales teams, I also worked with engineering teams so I wasn't on the front lines in that way. Did the events end, I don't know.


God bless the best coast.


Extremely normal for sales (in my experience)


Totally. My dad worked in sales at IBM and it seemed like a regular occurrence to take clients to strip clubs. This all happened on huge 10-100+ million dollar contracts and of course was all charged to the company credit card.


This is true.


> I turned down several invites to such activities and got the usual gay jokes behind my back.

I'm surprised they didn't just invite you to a place that caters for both.


I think you missed the point; he didn't turn down the invites because he's gay, they called him gay because he turned down the invites...


I think you missed the obvious joke


If you've been to Thailand, there's no reason for it to be said jokingly, at all.


Yeah, I didn't mean it disparagingly or jokingly. Some places in Thailand quite openly cater to all proclivities. (Once when I was backpacking there, some guy came out of a side alley and approached me saying "young girls, beautiful girls!" and when I said no thank you, immediately switched to "young boys, beautiful boys?")


So this automatically excludes any woman, I guess?


Anecdotally not the only dodgy business practice that excludes women. In Europe some companies (often state-owned) or public administrations are known to be free-masonry strongholds, and being a member of the right lodge is pretty much a necessary step to progress a career. Problem: despite pretending to be progressive, most lodges are either men or women only.


[flagged]


I'm not OP, but how about I live where I want, and do what I think is right? The good people in these countries are moving away from this stuff for a reason. If your hosts were abusing kids, would you join in?


Oh the `good` people of these `countries`. By what yard stick do you measure `good`. These `good` people considering it normal. I think you need to stop bringing your naive viewpoint of the West to Asia.


I know a lot of Thai people and the men might be fine with this but none of their wives or girlfriends are. You don't have to accept something that you think is immoral just because it's in someone else's culture

hackits 7 months ago [flagged]

The point I was making is you're making a moral judgement based on your upbringing to a different culture that has different cultural normal around sex and Business. In essence you're putting your moral judgement above the men you're associating with.

Do you really believe their wives and girlfriends are princesses who are innocent little delicate snowflakes that need your manly protection? You're getting played my friend with the oldest trick in the book.


If you can't make a moral judgement about other people just because they are different from your culture, you are both setting them apart from you as a human and saying that your morals have no values.

There are some viewpoints like which is the best kind of bread that you can leave to personal taste, but if you view something as evil and let others off for it just because they are different then you might as well have no morals

Edit: Also your insinuation that I find cheating bad only because I'm some kind of White Knight is uncalled for. There are certainly Thai women that cheat, but it's not part of their culture to treat it as a standard and necessary part of business. People will make mistakes or just be bad people, but normalising that is not ok


Sorry lovich, you're making this personal. Cannot have a personal discussion here. Only can make witty, conforming viewpoints of society and social norm's here. I agree completely with your view point and it's great to have such a open discussion with it here. This is a safe space of truth, and cast no moral, social, political bias.

Have a nice day.


You can have a discussion and disagree with me, you just have to avoid the insults man. I've done it in the heat of the moment and been reprimanded as well, but it's better for all of us if we try to not start with that


You've broken the HN guidelines by making this personal. We've warned you about this before. If you do it again we will ban you.

https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html


FWIW there is much disapproval in East Asia of these antics, and the guanxi culture emanating from China.

Sadly American business culture seems to be also drinking these guanxi- and gravitas-obsessed kool aids, and less disapproving (from what I have seen) than East Asia.

Others who are more connected and experienced would know more than I do.


>FWIW there is much disapproval in East Asia of these antics, and the guanxi culture emanating from China.

"Disapproval" in the same way that some groups were for tee-totalling in the US. Some small minority is against the practices, but they are extremely prevalent all across Asia (and China has little to do with it, besides being the new big customer in lots of those cases -- Japanese do the same kind of stuff, Koreans, etc.).


I don't know, corruption and prostitution is pretty easy to find in SEA and China, even in SG, but it's not that way in East Asia in my experience.

Even in Hong Kong I find you're likely to run into people who say something like: "Mainlanders just want to be successful through making some deals with their friends, we aren't like that."


>Even in Hong Kong I find you're likely to run into people who say something like: "Mainlanders just want to be successful through making some deals with their friends, we aren't like that."

Isn't Hong Kong known for it's prostitution scene?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prostitution_in_Hong_Kong#Hist...

I think what those HKese wanted was to distinguish themselves from their more uncultivated mainlanders (like a yankee vs redneck thing, but with being an ex-British Colony thrown in).

Otherwise, HK has long before uniting with China been known as a haven for prostitution, smuggling, drugs, and so on. The archetypical "seedy harbor town". I doubt very much has changed since...

Then there's the westerners there, that could be even worse:

"The first time I walked down the main drag in Wan Chai in Hong Kong, I couldn't believe what I saw; all the mama bars there and prostitutes openly in the street outside trying to get guys to go in. Within the first week I'd already been offered cocaine, though I didn't take it at that stage. When I did, it was easy to get. I know 100 guys between the ages of 20 and 50, and I'd say around 30 of them were regular cocaine users. Not all were working in banking, but most were, of the ones I knew. They were all Westerners."

https://edition.cnn.com/2014/11/03/world/asia/hong-kong-bank...


East Asians are self-aware enough not to flaunt their dealings to foreigners, since they know how up-tight foreigners are about such things.

I've lived in Korea for many years, spent a lot of time in Japan, and do a lot of business in Hong Kong. Prostitution, particularly in room salon settings, is the primary setting for most intra-Asian business. Business drinking volumes are also off the charts, particularly in Korea.


I just know about the heavy drinking, which yea is how it is in SK and Japan.

Perhaps I'm naive or not important enough to know about these things. In SEA the prostitution is in your face and even in SG they will stand streetsidr asking you to come in; but in East Asia it must all be behind closed doors I guess because I've just never been privy to that sort of thing.

I'm likely biased in my experiences because I'm not into those types of things personally, would never use a prostitute.


>but in East Asia it must all be behind closed doors I guess because I've just never been privy to that sort of thing.

Sorry, but what do you mean with "East Asia"? China is East Asia, and this is very much a thing. So is Korea and Japan.

"Since Japanese law defines prostitution as "intercourse with an unspecified person in exchange for payment," most fūzoku offer only non-coital services, such as conversation, dancing, or bathing, to remain legal.[2] Nevertheless, polls by MiW and the National Women's Education Center of Japan have found that between 20% and 40% of Japanese men have paid for sex."

" Kabukicho, an entertainment and red-light district in Shinjuku, Tokyo, measures only 0.34 km2, and has approximately 3,500 sex parlors, strip theaters, peep shows, "soaplands", 'lovers' banks, porno shops, sex telephone clubs, karaoke bars and clubs, etc.[32] (...) It was reported in 2003 that as many as 150,000 non-Japanese women were then involved in prostitution in Japan."


I just meant East Asia excepting China/NK

If your stats are true that 20-40% of Japanese men have paid for sex than I am incredibly naive, however I dont believe the stats are that high


Isn't this pretty common in East Asia though? I've heard similar stories about South Korea, and the salaryman culture there is supposed to be pretty bad.


Pretty much. One of the most strange things I experience in America is the insistence that America is somehow the most sexist / racist country. Oh boy!

When the current generation of social justice from America floods its banks and arrives in Asia there is going to be an ugly reckoning.

I think the idea that many of China’s troubles (corruption / pollution / freedom reductions) are a byproduct of the extreme rapid move from poverty to wealth combined with an equally extreme arrival of wealth inequality is true. You simply can’t hit the gas pedal and accelerate 40 years into the future in one decade without creating the potential for major discontent.

But socially speaking, the era of progressivism America has experienced has not yet leaked out but it will.

American millenials think they are oppressed, they have no idea what the rest of the world finds normal. This article is a great example of how the rest of the world is currently socially caliberated compared to the USA.

The truth is that America is a paradise of social justice.


It's always easy to tell someone they have it good when we all live on a power law. Just tell them to look a notch down and see someone half their height, just as long as they don't look up at you and see your waist. The entire structure of the American economy and the attitudes it uses to keep its subjects in check are of this form.

In many ways, the US is advanced but in many ways it also lags other places, namely in Europe. In other ways it's better. I think if you take an every day liberal or social justice advocate, you'll find that they may be surprised at the level of racism and sexism that pervades other countries, specifically in Asia. But, I don't think you'll find that attitude from activists, academics and others who try to be informed about these things. They know it is the structure of things as they stand and as you said, there is a strong chance that these issues will become important elsewhere as they too find they must deal with the intrinsic contradictions in their society.


>> They know it is the structure of things as they stand and as you said, there is a strong chance that these issues will become important elsewhere as they too find they must deal with the intrinsic contradictions in their society.

I highly doubt that Japan will ever become as "socially aware" as the United States is currently, which is not really that much, if we're being honest. These countries are already very developed and have strong near-monocultures in them, and a pasttime for both Chinese and Japanese people is to make fun of Americans for being "soft" or giving a shit about social justice.

If you adjust your timeline to hundreds of years, maybe. But I really don't think a wave of social justice is likely to happen in those countries at the rate it is happening in the United States.


Actually many decades to 100 years is what I mean.


>In many ways, the US is advanced but in many ways it also lags other places, namely in Europe.

There is an equal or higher amount of racism in Europe. We may not have as much of the american black type but the cultural and ethnic divide with so many countries as well as the centuries of history has created a very complex situation. Eastern Europe is particularly bad with antisemitism for example. Southern Europe( e.g. Greece) has seen a big rise in fascism( the "hate all outsiders" type). I know immigrants who died in Germany by neo-nazi attacks. The list goes on and on...


A premise that there's less racism in Europe than in the US is just wrong (I'm a European who've spent a lot of time in the US for work and school). US is the PC capital of the world (for better or worse). There's just not a whole lot of non-white folks in Europe even now.


You seem to have a better perspective on this than me, but isn't it also a question of how much people talk about race issues in the US vs. Europe? To me it seems like a bit of a mixed bag:

* US Americans are generally very sensitive to the issue and try to be PC as much as possible.

* Europeans are rather insensitive to it, which shows in two ways: A lot of people seem to be more color-blind, which IMO is the upside, and a smaller but very visible bunch of people are more openly racist.

* This also applies to public discussions - the skin color of immigrants or inhabitants is rarely mentioned, people and the media rather just differentiate between natives, people with immigration background and immigrants - here in Switzerland maybe with special mentioning of Germans, French and Italians, as those three originating countries tend to be the most prevalent. Thus, it seems much less a race-, than a nationality issue.

* On the topic of numbers, I gotta say I think it depends. Here in Switzerland roughtly 30% of inhabitants don't hold Swiss nationality, tendency rising rather quickly. Of those, roughly half come from neighboring countries (i.e. culturally close), the other half is mostly from Ex-Yugoslavia, Middle East and Northern/Central Africa. Switzerland today seems much more like a melting pot than it was a decade ago, which is something I actually appreciate (I married an Asian immigrant myself and my son has two nationalities, which is actually a majority phenomenon in the whole greater Zurich area now).


Your description is very accurate. But to me it's exactly why Europe is more racist or inegalitarian.

> differentiate between natives, people with immigration background and immigrants

Yes, in a racist/othering manner. Sure, in the US you might hear about someone being an immigrant or being born to an immigrant family. But this is almost universally mentioned as a positive reflecting ones Americanness. With illegal immigrants being the only notable exception. In Europe it's often the other way around.

This "it's not about race, it's about nationality/whatever" gambit is exactly how Europeans fool themselves into believing there isn't a problem. It's not about the word, it's about treating people badly for who they are.


I agree very much with you, we should head towards a society where the origin of people, their skin tone, gender and sexuality doesn't matter at all, at least in public life, jobs and home search. I just want to add that US and Europe seem to be on different paths and I'm not entirely sure that one is ahead of the other. To me the problems in the US in that regard seem more systemic (e.g. low social mobility), while the ones in Europe seem more personal, comparatively, although with greater regional/national variability. Intuitively I think that PC culture is not helping - it's like paving over social problems instead of letting them go their natural course until a culture has finally absorbed an immigration wave. Heavy handed government- or corporate regulations often seem to have adverse effects.

Although saying that, I do have a picture on how heavy regulation could work better - have more stuff selected blindly. And I do mean blind - no names, no voices, instead you get assigned a case ID (from government?) and you communicate through secure chat, until an offer is either accepted or rejected from any party. That could at least meet discrimination at the initial selection process - of course you still have adverse networking effects leading to lots of jobs not being offered public anymore and the subsequent workplace discrimination issues - these are harder nuts to crack. But the way e.g. job applications in the US are handled is an incomplete shield, it should be either all-in blind or just open to 'cultural fit' questions from start IMO.


I guess you haven't been to UK or France recently ;)

Being PC doesn't mean not being racist. They will keep their thoughts to themselves and will not let you know directly. But behind your back, oh boy...


I'm literally in France now.

I hear people talking trash about 'brown' refugees on a daily basis here in Paris. I've probably heard something similar once or twice in my 8 years in the US, mostly coming from mentally unstable people like the ones you see in the streets in San Francisco.

TBH UK is a lot more sensitive than the mainland Europe (there's a lot more immigrants in London too).

Anecdotal, of course, but that has consistently been my impression.


To be fair, that's a common thing in the US too, it's just people can't be overt about it.


You mean “until recently” right? People have stopped even using “I’m not racist but...” when that was much more common a few years or so back. The political climate and subtle language has changed everywhere. It’s tough to notice as a white person but if you’re in the South and aren’t white the differences are obvious even once you go into suburbs.


Actually, regarding racism, I don't think Europe is better, at least generally, that is one of the ways the U.S. is better, although it still has room to grow.

Of course, the U.S. has other issues (an increasingly violent police force as well as income inequality) which makes the effects that stem from racial discrimination worse than they would elsewhere, although that's just my take.


This is so true. Living in Southern China, things are done a certain way, many young women want the "good life" as they perceive it, with all its trappings, and that means becoming mistresses, KTV girls, and everything in between. With a dirth of good paying jobs, people go where the money is. There is a saying, "cry in the back of a BMW vs. laugh on the back of a bicycle". Much more pragmatism here when you don't have to deal with the judeo-christian restraints. Not judging, it is what it is.


> The truth is that America is a paradise of social justice.

If you're white.

Like, I get that racism specifically is way more prevalent other places. But it's pretty fucking bad in the US, especially for certain ethnicities. Not a "paradise" by any means.

There are some aspects of the social justice advocacy in recent years that may have gone a bit far, but your statement was pretty hyperbolic, and sounds a bit like the proverb where the man without limbs tells the man without legs "you have nothing to complain about! Nothing at all!".


It will be truly glorious when the light of social justice shines in Tokyo, transforming it into the paradise of that progressive city on a hill, San Francisco!


I disagree with the progressiveness. There is some, but a lot is actually just discrimination in the other direction. US youth really goes over the top with that stuff.


The article really isn't about the vice. The more interesting part of this conversation is, how do you know you can trust someone? The value of most agreements is not in their letter, but their spirit, and you need to know if you are dealing with someone who will honor the spirit of an agreement.

Probably the most meaningful aspect of this article, "But the purpose of these visits isn’t a good time. It’s to cement business and personal ties, binding men together through the power of taboo and mutual self-exposure, or at least the pretense of it. It lets them judge that the others involved in a potential deal are men of the same stripe."

And one paragraph down, " As one saying that went rapidly around the Chinese Internet in 2011 put it, “It’s better to do one bad thing with your boss than a hundred good things for your boss. Over time, this can extend to an actual exchange of what criminologist Diego Gambetta in his pioneering Codes of the Underworld calls “hostage-information,” mutual knowledge of each party’s sins that acts as a powerful guarantee neither will break their agreements."

And, "But vice serves as a kind of screen, weeding out the rare few who might have moral qualms about future dealings. It tells both sides that they’re playing by the same rules."

It's not just vice. There is an aspect of these transgression trust rituals in pretty much every organization I have seen.

What I read in this article is that vice is collateral in a relationship, where if there is no collateral, there is no basis on which to trust someone.


But as the article points out, it's not actually a good way of building trust:

"I told my husband that if he cheats on his wife only after a year, he will cheat us. He said no way, he’s a good guy, we can trust him!” She looked a little smug. “Now this man owes us a lot of money that he won’t pay.”"

It's completely true...if you get the impression that someone has dubious morals, they will just as easily cheat you. I never trust anyone in business who even hints at breaking the law or cheating on anything.


Arguably that particular situation was more a symptom of bringing a paramour to where spouses would be present, demonstrating disrespect for his clients relationships (and in turn his clients). That was the tell.

People generally don't cheat their in-groups, and these vice collateral rituals establish in-group status. Showing disrespect to the values of a group is a good indicator your perceived cost of defection is low. Signalling you don't value your collateral is a good way to put off counterparties.

The guy showing up with a mistress showed not that he was necessarily immoral, but rather, that he didn't value the esteem of his clients or vice collateral he had established.


In my own experience, people who have dubious morals are not good for business.

>People generally don't cheat their in-groups

Perhaps "less likely". My own experience is that people who try to bend the rules are less intelligent, and less likely to be successful. This seems to be backed up by research:

http://uk.businessinsider.com/intelligence-and-cheating-2017...

Of course, this may not work in China, if things are still the same as described in the article.


AFAIK, many foreigners [read: other Asians as well as a sprinkling of non-Asians] (as well nationals from outside a city but who do business in said city) who are married have either "second wives[1]" in these alternate city offices or they have their marriages die in said places.

It has some intriguing aspects, such as the children of the "first wife" are often seen as more legitimate. Also often the wives tolerate each other. And more[2] in this abstract.

[1] in most cases it's hetero males, ergo the wives part. I believe one of the (perh former) chiefs of Foxconn [from TW] had several "second wives".

[2]journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1097184X11412171


> It has some intriguing aspects, such as the children of the "first wife" are often seen as more legitimate.

My wife is Cantonese-American. Her fathers brothers, the ones who remained in Hong Kong, each had second wives. The children of the second wives aren't really considered family "publicly." They're never mentioned at family events or reunions, nor ever invited, either. When we visit Hong Kong we always carve time out to see a couple of her cousins from second wives. It was strange to me at first (as so many things are) but I've come to understand that it was very common among the older generations.

I'm not sure what's going on with her male cousins who are in Hong Kong. I've never thought to ask and don't want to pry but I am kind of curious now to know if it's being picked up by younger generations, as well. I guess in my naivety I had unconsciously assumed the practice would die out.


No, this is definitely not common in HK and is very much frowned upon among the younger generations. In fact, this is the very reason why Jackie Chan is universally hated by the younger generations here, despite his apparent popularity elsewhere.


What changed attitude-wise between the older and younger generations?


Yes, the first family has more status and usually will be the ones that get the bulk of the inherited wealth.

It seems to be sort of expected that once you reach a certain level in your business life, you will get a mistress.

This is so prevalent in the Philippines that the family law concerning whether or not you can use the last name of your father is explicitly spelled out.


Off topic: are you filipino?


I wouldn't want the last name of someone that is expected to and has a mistress regardless of their level in business... They dishonored that name.


It’s not that easy. On the one hand a name can open doors of opportunity in a place where such opportunities are fenced off, on the other hand you can have your pride but not have such opportunities. Given their status options, one can guess what choice most people would make.


It's that children wanted to be acknowledged by their fathers, or to be able to claim status similar to their "first family" half-siblings.


In the Philippines, people would think you were a massive loser if you achieved business success and didn't have mistresses.


I'd rather be considered a loser with honor than a cheater with success. I have previously declined business because of the persons extramarital affairs. If they can't respect the single most important relationship in their life, I doubt they will respect our business relationship. they are not worth doing business with.


> often the wives tolerate each other

I don't think so. They'll not fight the man, because the man is the source of money and social security. But they'll certainly fight each other, including physical battles in the parking lot.


Seems very similar to what happens to both men and women of status in other parts of the world.


I'm surprised at that amount of surprise in this thread. I have a good friend who is (was) in sales. He had to get out once he realised that he'd turned into a full-blown alcoholic and that he'd wouldn't be able to do business if he at all tried to slow down. Heavily dependent on the industry though.


A few female entrepreneurs, however, explicitly reject the values pushed by businessmen. “One of my husband’s business friends got married just two years ago,” explained Li, in her early 40s, who co-owns a steel business with her husband, “We went to his wedding. But when we hosted an event last year, he came with a young girl who was obviously his mistress. I told my husband that if he cheats on his wife only after a year, he will cheat us. He said no way, he’s a good guy, we can trust him!” She looked a little smug. “Now this man owes us a lot of money that he won’t pay.”

As women get more powerful in society, they'll stand up a bit more for themselves and their gender. I recall reading an article that I can't find about women working in South Korea. It's difficult for them to get promoted to senior positions because they're often not interested in bringing their customers or business partners to strip clubs and the like, as it makes for an uncomfortable work experience. But the same article quotes men who say they're more comfortable working with people with whom they share dark secrets and experiences.

You can totally see that reason not flying over time if women become more powerful, similar to the woman surnamed Li. After some time, Li probably won't only speak up, she'll probably have more influence over decisions too.


A bit off-topic - well, to be fair, it may have been the other way: the man could have been the one saying "he'll cheat on us", and the women telling him "it's ok". Women are as prone to cheating as men. Women are not inherently faultless just because of their gender.


Power and opportunity corrupt - my sample size of one anecdata is that when a bunch of female magic circle solicitors were away on secondments they held a competition for who could cheat the most on their boyfriends at home.

Humans are flawed


In a more equal world like the western one we both (probably) live in, absolutely. In a place with strong gender roles (like the one in the article), being successful and female means being purposefully contrarian and acutely aware of gender roles; hence I would trust a female Chinese businesswoman more by default than their male counterparts because she operates in a gendered society.

My point is we have strong evidence people's behavior is effected by society. So in a society with strong gender roles its easier to make assertions about specific genders with less information because of how gender roles operate.


Thank you for the nuances, I wanted to spell it somehow, but didn't find the words (westerner too but not native english speaker).


You are probably right, with the same opportunities and power, women should cheat as much as men.

But if it was the wife cheating in public, i'm pretty sure no one would have made a deal with her and her husband would have been warned within the hour. Women are not faultless, but those in power have to hide their faults and vulnerabilities harder than men.


I would not trust any person who cheated on their spouse either.

Nor would I want to hang out with colleagues at a strip club if we were not friends outside of work.

I don’t think this is some gender thing. Maybe be men are more likely to be coerced into doing these things. But I think they’re having fun.


Completely agree on this. Cheating on someone (be it a spouse or a business partner) is the definition of being untrustworthy.

To be clear, obviously I don’t mind how and with who people are spending their nights, as long as they are not deceiving someone. It’s a shame that open relationships are not more accepted, but that’s not an excuse because nobody forced a cheating person to take an engagement in the first time.


  > I would not trust any person who cheated on their spouse
  > either.
In personal relationships—by all means. In business matters—it depends, unless you think that someones views about family directly transfers to the business world. If anything I'd speculate there should be an inverse correlation: the more seriously someone treats their business the more sloppy they can be about personal relationships. I would not be surprised if workaholism caused more divorces than cheating.


>>> I would not be surprised if workaholism caused more divorces than cheating.

Doubtful. The man is traditionally expected to have the job and provide for the family, while the woman can take care of the children at home. It's somewhat assumed that the man will spend a lot of time at work.


>I would not trust any person who cheated on their spouse either.

I would be careful about that, because that group includes the likes of Martin Luther King, Jr., Stephen Hawking, Einstein, etc. Don't get me wrong, I'm inclined to feel the same way, and have ended personal relationships when I found out someone had cheated on their spouse, but some of history's greatest figures cheated on their spouse.


Trustworthy =/ World changing.

People can have a net positive on the world and still regularly backstab acquaintances. See Steve Jobs.


I think, generally speaking, there are very few people who would consider Martin Luther King Jr., George Washington, etc. as "untrustworthy." Some historians suggest that "Honest Abe Lincoln" cheated on his wife with two men.

What could trustworthy mean if historical archetypes of honesty and great morality are not considered trustworthy?


> What could trustworthy mean if historical archetypes of honesty and great morality are not considered trustworthy?

What do the two concepts have in common at all?

Trustworthy means he will not screw me over if, say, I were to borrow him money. That simply has nothing to do with "who the person" is but only with "what he is like in his personal relationships". Business relationships are very personal and greatly dependent on one's personality.

In fact, the "greater" the person (in those historical, societal senses of the word) I'd actually be biased to trust them less even without any knowledge of their otherwise untrustiness.


It doesn't mean they are bad people. Everyone makes mistakes. You can do business with someone you can't trust, just don't put yourself in a position where your life/business/career/happiness depends on them behaving.


It doesn't necessarily mean that they're bad people, but it's certainly a good indication that they're bad people at least on a personal level. Of course this is assuming that they operated in an environment with the same ethics as my own.


Men are not wired for monogamy. It is like saying you might be bad person because you breathe. In a relationship this is a mutual effort to resist those needs, but failing to do so doesn't make you bad.


I find it hard to imagine most social norms, and much of what we consider to be good/bad behavior, is reliant on what we're "wired" towards; influenced by, sure, but I would imagine most of it is along the lines of "regardless of human nature, this is the way we should operate". Respecting monogamy, at least in America, is one of those things: regardless of how we naturally would like to behave, we are expected to (and promise to) respect the sanctity of marriage. That one fails to is not excused by our wiring; we obviously should be capable of exceeding that. It is, supposedly, one of those abilities that make humans as a species notable.

And if we go to an extreme, that you operate solely on your wiring and nothing else... well, you're hardly a modern human at that point.


And dare I say it... not only "one of those abilities that make humans as a species notable", but

...one of those abilities that make humans as a species noble.


> Respecting monogamy, at least in America, is one of those things: regardless of how we naturally would like to behave, we are expected to (and promise to) respect the sanctity of marriage.

When did residing in a particular nation-state define such specific moral boundaries? Are you saying if I move to China I can cheat on my spouse because that's how things are done there? It seems you are applying your own morals to 300 million members of a very diverse group of people.


Im saying that I'm only going to speak for country I know. I considered christian/puritan, but its not just them, and I thought perhaps abrahamic was sufficient, but im not sure of the muslim treatment. I'm also aware that hindus curremtly have a far stricter, and more culturally/socially enforced, view on marriage; most Americans I've met have difficulty even processing how important they take marriage to be, arranged or by love. The non-christian chinese and africans, I have no idea.

So I'll only make the general claims for Americans.


We’re also wired for murdering, raping and pillaging. That’s not gonna stop me from judging people who succumb to their desires at the expense of other people


What expense does a person suffer if they are being cheated on? Some forms of cheating involve financial irresponsibility, but not all. Some forms involve health risks, but not all. So let's not generalize all cheaters as perpetrators of harm to their first partners.

Judge all you want, but if it ain't illegal don't shove your values down people's throat.


Do you realise you're using the word "cheater"?

Having multiple relationships, known to all parties is subjectively wrong and we can argue about it as much as we want.

Agreeing to a monogamistic relationship and secretly breaking that agreement, as implied by your use of the word "cheater", is objectively wrong.


Actually, cheating involves lying. A spouse is explicitly or at least implicitly expecting the other part no to lie about extra relations. If lying about those extra relations in this context doesn't makes you a bad person, then I don't know what is.


Fair point. If I knew a couple in an open relationship, I'd be uncomfortable, but I wouldn't make a judgment on their integrity.


Logical fallacy. Doing one bad thing does not make one a "bad person" if such a thing even exists.

If the alternative is to break up a family so the cheater can be 'honest' with him-/herself, is a lie and a happy family worse than a broken family? Stop seeing things black and white.


At the beginning a family is made of two parents. When only one parent takes such dramatic decisions as to lie to their spouse in order to hide its cheating under the umbrella "its for the best of the family", then I stand to my point of view: this person is acting badly (shortcuted to "a bad person").

And I can understand specific contextes, so don't come up with things like "what if the other is handicapped".

But it's ok, you place value in peace of mind, I place value in respect, different points of view, nothing new, no big deal.


I don't believe in happy relationships based on lies. The deception will always affect the relationship.

- If someone wants to believe the lies, then in order to avoid discovering the truth, they will keep the relationship intentionally superficial.

- If someone doesn't want to believe the lies, they will discover the truth sooner or later and they will just be acting through life.


Ask the wife whether she'd prefer to know, then decide whether the alternative is preferable. And besides that, other alternatives exist too. Marriage counseling is a thing.


Yes, hypocrisy is one of the worst things that you can to yourself and others.


Think about it this way. The guy who, with his nature and peer pressure both strongly incentivizing him to cheat on his wife, and still not cheating on her, that person is much more likely to be trustworthy. At least predictable and dependable.


The older I get the more I realise life is complicated. I get the need for us to strive to be the best we can be and to those around us but it ain't easy. Please don't get me wrong, imoral acts should be condemned but often I wonder when I reading wording on headlines whether the person killed 3 innocent people or had an affair.


> imoral acts should be condemned

What defines immorality and how should that condemnation take place?


Ah you have hit the nail on the head. It's not just who defines morality, it is often also circumstances surrounding events that all combine to make life complicated. A man and a woman swear to be faithful to each other, then it is immoral to cheat on each other. The religion you follow also defines what is immoral and what isn't. There are also different ways to intepret religious passages.

The reason I said life is complicated is because it is impossible to define immorality for everyone. There is also the issue of the law, what is legal may not be moral. Then they are personal circumstances. Is it immoral for an abused married woman/man to cheat? Everyone will have their own answer based on their beliefs. This is why life is complicated. It isn't as straightforward as media headlines we see.


Don't forget Schrödinger. Is there a correlation with being a physicist?


Such an absolute and unconditional statement can’t ever be right, Never say never


Relationship not working for you? Tell them. I’d love to hear a logical reason to cheat.

I suppose at the same time you shouldn’t jump to conclusions.

But if I knew someone was cheating. Definitely trusting them much less.


It is easy to take moral high ground if one has never been in such situation. Those things are complicated.


There are plenty of people who have been in that situation and have regrets. They themselves take the moral high ground in condemning themselves. Hopefully, they heal by also forgiving themselves. People who refuse to admit wrong are more on the sociopathic side of the psychological spectrum.


I was just skimming the comment (didn't read the article yet). But to me this feels a lot like Mad Men. In those series similar dark secrets were shared. And to me it seems to be good depiction of sexism in the 1960s in New York.

I'm just noting this since I know that I would have had much less of an image of a quote like this in your ocmment without having seen the series.


Have you been around in the 1960s in New York, or how do you know it is a good depiction of sexism in the 1960s in New York?


I'm sorry I communicated it too unclearly to you. I italicized the word seems on purpose, and for this reason. I did this to communicate that I don't know whether it actually is a good depiction but it seems to be. If I would have known, then I would not have used that word.


OK, sorry, I didn't notice that it was italicized. That hint was too subtle. Maybe dependent on screen.


“One of my husband’s business friends got married just two years ago,” explained Li, in her early 40s, who co-owns a steel business with her husband, “We went to his wedding. But when we hosted an event last year, he came with a young girl who was obviously his mistress. We discussed it with him, and discovered that the nuances of marriage and relationships in other countries might not comply to our narrow points of view. I told my husband that we should have a more open mind about the kind of relationships people have. He agreed -- he’s a good guy, we can trust him! Now this man owes us a lot of money that he won’t pay. But, really, it has nothing to do with how he chooses to live and love.”


> the nuances of marriage and relationships in other countries might not comply to our narrow points of view

Except Li is from the same country, so your attempt at writing her story off as a foreigner's biased view doesn't really work.


> As women get more powerful in society

Probably not gonna happen in China. Just google around to see how #metoo was turned down in mainland at least.


I see this as an East Asian phenomenon, I believe Koreans and Japanese do this to a certain degree as well as certain other East Asian groups. I've heard Russians do bathhouse deals as well although I could be wrong and there is also the finance sector's strip club visits with their clientele that I've heard of (https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-12-12/it-s-clos...).

It seems so weird to see people have to do things just to do business deals/sales all over and I'm curious as to even why. What advantage does it hold over normal sales?


> What advantage does it hold over normal sales?

Same reason as gangs requiring a new initiate to kill someone. If you have someone expose themselves doing something taboo and you yourself do it too, then a mutual bond is built.

The article says as much.


It's far more simple than that. Many men absolutely love sex with new women. Humans are heavily social, and moral boundaries are strongly influenced by those that surround them. It is much easier to break certain moral boundaries when those around you also break them, and this gives men an opportunity to fulfill their desires.


It can be both. The article says there's the idea of sussing out that the different businessmen are "the same kind of person" with similar 'desires'. That's why the article mentions cases of men trying to signal wanting to have wanton sex, but actually going to lengths to not engage in it.


Russians do bathhouse/sauna deals without sex (most of the time). In Russian culture, bathhouses/saunas are a very traditional safe place for a group of same-sex friends to socialize and get drunk together. And naturally a lot of unofficial political and business discussion happens in saunas too.


Same here in Finland, although it is mostly a joke that has some corruption undertones. But it still happens.


And after a proper session in a Russian-style sauna one is totally exhausted to even think about sex.

Surely there are stories about businesses booking saunas for private events with hookers to bribe officials, but in most cases these are urban legends.


I see this as an East Asian phenomenon

Heck no! There was plenty of dealmaking which was "celebrated" afterwards at Houston strip joints up through the 00's.

(EDIT: I had one coworker who had a kind of perverse "nationalistic" Texan pride around the notion of things like "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas" and actual whorehouses.)


> I see this as an East Asian phenomenon,

I see this as one of the effects of European colonialists on East Asia and South East Asian colonies. The practice of colonialist generals/warlords, typically of a naval background of using brothels as a place/culture to bond with other warlords/generals and their local puppets is the predecessor of the current "elite level" business culture observed in these former colonies.

For a more contemporary example, Thailand did not have this sexpot/sex tourist city reputation until after the Vietnam War. It was the exploitation of Thai beach resorts and cities as RnR locations for US soldiers that created the current conditions.


I'm pretty sure it's always been very normal in Thai society. The sex tourism, at least for westerners, started with the RnR stuff, as the story goes, but Huai Kwang is 98% Thai clients and probably 30X+ the size of any of the more visible Bangkok "sex tourism spots" (patpong, nana, cowboy). 97%+ of the sex being paid for in Thailand is being paid for by Thai people. The main thing that changed due to foreign influence was Thai people letting the sex workers spill into the streets instead of working more discretely.


> I'm pretty sure it's always been very normal in Thai society.

It is unclear which "it's" you are referring to. Group sex dealmaking or using group sex for bonding business partners as per the original article? I don't think that is normal in Thailand or any Asian society for that matter.

As for the history of prostitution in Thailand. That's a well covered subject. You're points are somewhat accurate but OP's point appears to be different than what you are addressing. I thought he/she was implying that the Vietnam war had overarching societal and economic consequences, one of which was the availability of vulnerable exploitable migrant and rural women in Thai cities.

https://www.endslaverynow.org/blog/articles/history-of-prost...

The location of Thailand plays a key role in the success of the sex trafficking industry. It is close to war-torn Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia. China and Vietnam are also nearby. Various waterways along with porous borders also facilitate trafficking.

If the point that was being made was that the Vietnam war had huge side effects, including enabling horrific sex trafficking and exploitation, then yes, I would agree.


> It is unclear which "it's" you are referring to

Sorry, I just meant the sexual service industry in general.

> The location of Thailand plays a key role in the success of the sex trafficking industry. It is close to war-torn Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia. China and Vietnam are also nearby. Various waterways along with porous borders also facilitate trafficking.

I know lol, I live here and have travelled to all of those countries dozens of times. Regardless of whatever you have read, 99% of the prostitutes are Thai women and are working by their own choice, at least as much as any bricklayer or garbageman in Ameria has chosen their line of work. Any other nationalities should be a footnote.

> https://www.endslaverynow.org/blog/articles/history-of-prost....

I'm sorry but this article is silly.

"Trafficking" and "Slavery" in this case are ideologically-loaded euphemisms. There is the sex industry and there is economic (and often illegal) migration. There isn't really a super unique and exploitative sex trafficking industry.

I have never seen a large movement by the Thai middle class to fight "sex trafficking." That's not because Thai people are evil or ignorant, it's just because it's not a big problem that really exists. No one is going to risk enslaving women for sex work when (a) there is a surplus of women perfectly willing to do the job without being enslaved and (b) normal men don't get off on the thought of having sex with slaves.

There is no sex slavery epidemic in Thailand.


I see this as one of the effects of European colonialists on East Asia and South East Asian colonies.

No. There were brothels somewhere in Asia, basically forever. Rough men have made deals in and around them, basically forever.


> No. There were brothels somewhere in Asia, basically forever.

I believe you're intentionally misconstruing my argument. It would be ridiculous to claim that Europeans invented brothels in Asia. What I am pointing out, which is well supported by historical evidence, is that European colonialism, resource extraction culture, such as the encomienda system in the Americas created the political and socio-economic structures that are the dominant structures behind the sex trafficking and "sexual activity based dealmaking" that is discussed in the article.

For example, impoverished indigenous Americans like the Mayas/mestizo are used as sex exploits/rites of passage/sex maids by the modern teenage descendants of Spanish conquistadors who treat it as a bonding experience. Much like how frats have group sex acts with women from impoverished backgrounds (or minorities) as part of their hazing/bonding rituals.


Very interesting. Could you point to any reading (hopefully online)?



Social bonding gone inappropriate. You like to buy from a (pseudo)friend more than a stranger. You've heard about the entire 'wining and dining' part of sales correct?


I've heard Americans go to strip clubs


Much in the same way as europeans. It's a universal behaviour, hardly specific to asia...


It's an ancient custom of mutual imprecation.


This article reminded me of a primatologist reporting on a social behavior of a group of bonobos.

I speculate that sex as social norming behavior is something many in the west are far-removed from. The heavy drinking is still present -- alcohol seems to lubricate anything -- but the pressure for sexual activities isn't anywhere near as strong here as it is in other places.

We commonly think of sex as romantic, even a quick fun-filled romp. We don't think of it very often as being a group social sorting event. Fascinating. Thanks for the link!


is it just me or the amount of bigotry in the comments here is ridiculous?

some people do business differently, get over it. Not everyone agrees with the western "politically correct" approach to life, and that's ok.


Maybe it is you. From TFA:

"“The more guys, the less safe the girl is. When there are other men in the room [for sex], it’s like the men are competing with each other, and they get rougher, so the girls can get really hurt.“"

Not much need for bigotry to see that if people get "really hurt" in an inter-company bonding event, something must be wrong.


I'm sure the prostitutes knew what they were signing up for.


Like they have a choice? Did you see the part where it's basically impossible for women to succeed in business as any average man would because of this system?


Woman can use their sexuality to succeed.


Sure, but so can men. People don't assume men do, though - but the'll assume a woman that does well has put in time on her back.


Really ? Never heard about it.


I'm pretty sure I've seen it in movie or tv shows a few times. I've personally seen a man use his looks to get ahead - this was in a company that had many more women than men. And I'm going to guess that it happens with gay men as well.


what does that have to do with prostitutes having rough sex?


If you don't have a choice to be a prostitute, it has everything to do with it. Forced prostitution is bad enough, but being mishandled to the point of being hurt is worse.


So, you're saying, it morally OK to have sex with someone who's forced to be a prostitute, as long as you're not hurting them?!

I disagree. IMO consensual sex is fine (however BDSM it is), non-consensual sex is bad. Arguing the degree of badness, while sometimes useful, is (1) not relevant to the above discussion, and (2) a second-order effect, so vastly less important anyways.


No. what I'm sayin is that if it is consensual, whatever folks agree to is fine. It doesn't matter to me if someone wants to go through this stuff or agrees to it. There has to be choice. This includes a legal prostitute: The prostitute should have every right to refuse a sex act, whatever it may be.

But when it isn't consensual, the harm done makes the situation that much worse.


> I'm sure the prostitutes knew what they were signing up for.

What about the ones who were forced into it?


Those would suffer even if they were forced to have "normal" (i.e. non-rough) sex. (IMO legalisation is the best solution for that, but it's an orthogonal issue to the one parent was pointing out.)


They signed up for sex for money, not to get hurt. Workplace safety and all that.


Personally I don't care what others do. I care if I am put in a position that I have to engage in these activities, just to win a contract, get paid or whatever else. Especially if I wasn't warned in advance.

I guess it would be better for everyone if the interviewee is asked "You might have to participate in, err, hard parties. Would you be okay with it?"

The other thing you have to consider is these can be much worse for women and minorities than straight men.


>> I guess it would be better for everyone if the interviewee is asked "You might have to participate in, err, hard parties. Would you be okay with it?"

If you did business in Asia, you would quickly realize this attitude is ridiculous for any number of reasons, not the least being strip club visits.

Asian business is all about maintaining and saving face. When in China once, our factory rep offered to us let pick where to go get food. We chose four places and got "hmm, no, don't think that would work well for you" until we chose a place and they agreed. When we got there, our names were placed and the restaurant was clearly waiting for our group.

The entire thing was a sham and set up from the beginning to force us into a choice. But they wanted us to have the feeling of control, even if we immediately knew it was bullshit. They're not stupid.

Directness like you talk about is simply not acceptable when it comes to any number of negotiating tactics. This is something you learn very quickly if you do logistics or sales in China, or you simply just don't get any work.

>> The other thing you have to consider is these can be much worse for women and minorities than straight men.

Chinese businessmen don't care about this. Just because Americans do, or it's the right thing to do, doesn't make it something that's going to happen.


For me it personally, stories like this make it impossible to buy the theory that the world or work are meritocracy or fair.

It is not so much that it is politically incorrect, it is more that you can't simultaneously claim that this is how it is and is ok while also claim that everything is totally fair and demographic composition is not influenced by any of this.

Not just gender, also religious as it selects people with certain values - good traditional Christian boy saving himself for marriage is f-cked too.


Anyone claiming we live in a fair and just society is either asleep and in a fairy tale land, or is pushing an agenda. World is a dangerous place, full of things you may not like, not approve or are simply disgusting.

We should certainly work towards improving ourselves but I dont think we can grow unless we learn to respect each other's differences, even when we dont like them.

Certainly nobody is coercing anyone into going to strip clubs to close business deals and you can always walk away. Of course you will be walking away from a business opportunity but life is full of hard choices. We don't get to change the rules of the game just because we don't like the outcome.


Nobody is coercing you to go, but people will gladly claim that if you are poorer as a result then it is surely because you was lazy or less talented then those who went. And they will celebrate those who went and virtuous and if you dare to point out dark side, you are lazy and jealous.

I used to believe that people dont have right to try to change rules of the game, but not anymore. Rules are tilted towards those who are willing to change them and this ideology equals ideology of passivity and submission.

Certainly, people are entitled to try to change rules, because current rules are result of human activity - someone else setting rules in his favor in the past.


> Nobody is coercing you to go, but people will gladly claim that if you are poorer as a result then it is surely because you was lazy or less talented then those who went. And they will celebrate those who went and virtuous and if you dare to point out dark side, you are lazy and jealous.

Again, you make your own choices. If it is more important what people 'claim' about you, instead of how you feel about urself then it seems to me like somebody needs to readjust his moral compass and drop the 'what they are doing is not fair and just'. The hard truth is that people are not really complaining about the morality of the game, but about the fact that they don't get to play it because they have to keep their politically correct appearances.

> I used to believe that people dont have right to try to change rules of the game, but not anymore. Rules are tilted towards those who are willing to change them and this ideology equals ideology of passivity and submission.

You are absolutely right, I expressed myself poorly. What I meant is that that's the game they are playing. You are welcome to try and change it, but don't go crying (and claiming the moral high ground) when you are kicked out and defeated anyway.


What people claim happens to be important for many people. It also happens to influence what kind of laws pass - nice example in this context are laws that penalise poor.

In effect, it is a way how the system based on strip clubs defends itself from being exchanged for one that depends more on skills, abilities and work.

And absolutely, one reason people who can't get in due to own values (you will be shock to hear it exists) or social pressure from church is that they don't get to get business. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that motivation. That is how the world works, people tend to be interested in issues that affect them.

The idea that you have to be totally selfles in all motivations and circumstances to have right to have and push for values you consider important is wrong. Caring about social status or money does not make you hypocritical nor oblige you to be silent on what you disagree with. Most humans care about something like that to at least some extend. That is just another idea designed to silence opposition.

I also think it is ok to claim high moral ground when you lost, assuming you had high moral ground. It is totaly fine and even freespeech right to talk about experience, complain and generally not give up.


Actually a lot of the comments confirm that in the west it's teh same. It's just happening behind closed doors and there are really people (e.g. engineers) who don't know about this at all.


It excludes / make it awkward for professional women or even gay professionals.


lol, the Republicans coined that term. Pretty sure they wouldn't describe visiting prostitutes with your customers as not "politically correct."


This is the shit that the "Laoban" culture is, a culture of middle aged looser type officials - it is everywhere where the touch of communist "culture" reached. This shit started with party members, and state companies from North East, then it spread like a virus to everywhere where people from the region were hired in any much high position.

I'm not surprised that Westerners fail to perceive the essence of the it — this is an act of collective humiliation of junior employees who are made passive spectators of those disgusting orgies. It is a sublime message to his underlings — be my loyal shoeshiner, and maybe one day I will elevate you to a position where you can do this too.

Those middle age nobodies rarely if ever attend brothels just by themselves, the whole point for them doing so is to drag their subordinates into it, making them a part of the "humiliation pyramid." There is no "oiling of the deal" element here.


I do occasional business in China and Taiwan, the sex thing has never come up ... But threating, drinking and general socialising around business in Chinese, and more generally in Asian culture is something that I think is really healthy ...

In the west we negotiate a deal, maybe voices get raised a bit, people argue, we do a deal, people go away a bit pissed ...

In China all that arguing still happens but after we go out and socialise, we drink and eat together, and we become friends so we can work together on this thing we've agreed to do together

As I said I think the Chinese way, at least the way I've experienced, is more healthy


> the sex thing has never come up

probably because the other person knew/sensed that you are not interested?


Or possibly because our hot shot Mandarin speaking negotiator isn't a guy ...

Or in another case, when I do business there on my own because my excellent usual Chinese buyer/facilitator is also not a guy

But also I suspect that while that sort of may be common it's not universal


Sounds fun! America is so boring and uptight.


I think this article skirts about one issue without ever really stating it, and it sums everything so much more logically and cleanly. In 'regular life' people tend to be fake. They say what think they're supposed to say and act how they think they're supposed to act.

Alcohol, strippers come prostitutes, and other such fun do a good job of removing the social inhibitions in people. It's not about some sort of secret mutual blackmail or whatever (which is also not to say that does not happen) - it's just tearing down the social barriers that people put up. And this most certainly is in no way whatsoever unique to China.

Most people you meet you think you know, you will never really know. A bit of vice changes this for reasons that I do not think can be so easily explained as the article attempts to do. The point is that it does.


I'm glad that East Asia is slowly, but surely, becoming less sexist over time. You can see it in Korean dramas, which are very popular across east asia and way less accepting than TV used to be of this kind of thing. The article also mentioned real pushback from the Chinese government, which is great.


In an episode of Billions, they go to a strip club for some full contact lap dances. I met a Wall Street I-banker who went on and on about hooking up with strippers. I wonder how common this is still in the US.


San Francisco has the Gold Club for that.[1]

[1] https://www.forbes.com/sites/ryanmac/2015/07/14/gold-club-te...


Forbes literally spent 5 minutes now to save my cookie settings. Nice.


Similar report on US or North America deal making would probably involve much more drugs, and shooting ranges.

It seems that while no less false, Asia is much safer place.


is it all that different in the USA? It's certainly the stereotype we see in movies for wall street. Not having worked there I have no first hand experience. When I ask friends that have they tell me "oh the stories I could tell" but they don't actually tell.


Surely in the past, even at seemingly boring engineering companies. You used to hear about all kinds of stuff going on in the office. People getting blackout drunk at company Christmas parties, drugs in the restroom, co-workers banging each other in the conference rooms.. then all of a sudden, you didn’t hear about it anymore. Whoosh, it was gone! I entered the workplace as this stuff seemed to be dying down and just missed the party. Like jumping into the ocean just as the unstoppable crushing wave of political correctness slammed ashore, washing away the shenanigans and leaving only sterile, gray, cubicles, thicker “code of conduct” books, and HR helplines. Maybe it’s for the better. Things are obviously much more inclusive for professional women and non-drinkers/smokers, which is good. But at the same time I think we lost something.


You only hear about the crazy stories. Most workplaces then (as now) were probably very boring.

Same reason the news doesn't do stories about "Husband and Wife went to work, picked up kid from daycare. Situation Normal".


Partying hard is away to bond and form a brotherhood of exclusiveness. It's a relief not having to bother with that anymore, it just leads to misery in my opinion. Sure that brotherhood feeling can feel great, but it's so easy to take advantage of if you know anything about group dynamics, just takes one psychopath or an experienced player.

I'm really glad alcohol isn't an requirement anymore.


There are other ways to bond than partying. I've never had a drop of alcohol in my life, I don't even go to christmas parties. And for the past year, I am working remote. Still, ended up making a few friends from work, despite not being the "fun" guy.

I too am glad alcohol isn't a requirement anymore, though I still get weird looks.


Companies have their myths and legends too.

The truth is most likely that that boring company has always been a boring company, with not much happening. Still, sometimes, people fuck at work, drink a little too much at parties, and drugs exist. These things happen occasionally and sometimes, these events surface, get mixed up, amplified, and you get stories of orgies.


I don't know about other companies, but I work in global sales for an american Fortune 150 company and everyone knows that if there is even a hint of a rumor of something like the things being described here happening you will be fired faster than you can blink.


I'm pretty sure that, while they apparently party much harder on their private time, north-western Europeans appear to be much more "prude" in their work life than any other group in the world.

I also believe it's actually a part of their cultural inclusivity. It's a very stressful pressure if you're expected to go to a strip club with your colleagues after work if you're female, gay or in a relationship where such behavior would be sanctioned by the other party.

Americans and Asians apparently expect others to "fall in line" in all corporate policy matters, including this one. So as a result of globalization the corporate policy matters that one is expected to "fall in line" to have slowly become the least common denominator of all this cultures and that's the type of business chastity that is normal in today's HR rule books and everything outside is hastily sanctioned.


> When I ask friends that have they tell me "oh the stories I could tell" but they don't actually tell.

Well, the first thing I can tell you about us Americans is we make up a lot of stuff to impress people. Look at our president and his tweet about being a best selling author. Happy Fourth!


This is fairly common for Wall Street too, so lets not pretend it's not happening here.


“Once two men share a woman, they’re brothers.”

Is this for real ? WTF


Can we add (NSFW) for this? I know it is obvious but still.


Perhaps it should be marked:

     (NSFW US)
Nothing there that would have bothered anyone where I work (Norway).


Sounds like it is SFW at a lot a places in China and SEA.


They are talking about the article itself. You wouldn’t want to click on this at work because of the picture of the naked erotic dancer featured.


Pretty sure your parent knows that and was making a joke. (IMO a funny one, for what it's worth.)


Woosh.


Americans don’t like to acknowledge that other cultures have different aaproaches to business. Why is the implication is that these practices are wrong?


Many men are married and this stuff is frowned on for married men everywhere, including east asia. Also, it makes things incredibly awkward (to say the least) for professional women.


Can confirm this, some people just chose to play mobile legend(a very popular mobile game in china) with the girls to escape the awkwardness.


This fact is mentioned in the article.


So then they don't have to take part in it. Take your business somewhere else.

I can't believe you're all going to sit here and complain about fucking booze and sex while at the same time, by doing business there at all, you're supporting a tyrannical fucking monster of a government!


Double standards like these are present in America as well. A friend complained to that a financial firm based in Georgia went through this entire rigmarole of checking his Facebook profile as a prospective employee, only to have the first group meeting in a strip club. He asked me, do they assume that they are never going to hire female employees?


I read recently that the Chinese have a term for that, something like "Western white savior" to refer to westerners who moralize about Chinese culture and act like they will show the morally primitive East the righteous way forward with their progressive views.


Correct. Japanese do as well.

The idea that Americans are going to bring up the cultureless sexist/racist/whatever Asians is indeed made fun of regularly. Well-meaning Americans have decent intentions but are also pretty culturally tone deaf on Asian societies; before we seek to export social justice, we should probably figure out how and why their societies are structured the way they are and understand the timeline you're looking at.


>Well-meaning Americans have decent intentions but are also pretty culturally tone deaf on Asian societies

That. And because the country was founded by religious zealots, it still has a Christ complex to this day, regardless of if it involves a Bible Belter or a West Coast atheist. That and superiority ("manifest destiny", "leaders of the free world", "land of the free" and so on), it's just part of its cultural status quo.


In Chinese it's baizuo / 白左 - literally translated to 'white left'. It also shows up in various other languages and cultures. I cannot even imagine how one might view the state of American socio-political movements for those who still have the 'great leap forward' in living memory.


Well, for one, most things described here would be a violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act in the US; so if not morally wrong, it's at least illegal.


Could you explain how it would be a violation of the US Act?

The corporate policies I've had to read (without much interest as it's not relevant to my work) do not allow hospitality and entertainment for public officials unless it has been specially authorised by a senior lawyer, which suggests it's not clearly illegal in itself, though of course any attempt to "improperly influence" the official would be illegal.

Obviously it would be bad PR to be involved with the sordid stuff in the article but I'm curious about the legal aspect.


The US laws do not apply in China.


These practices are objectively wrong. For one, obviously, they exclude women and gay men from participating equally in the work place.


Oh no! Not Booze and Sex!! The humanity!

People who complain about "bro culture" won't be happy until everybody (and I mean everybody) is exactly like them...bland.


So unlike the clean and rational business decision making process in the gloriously enlightened West.


Why is hacker news still posting articles from 2015. It is less of a case than it was 3 years ago.




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