chen-yi nursery

Rodger Whitlock
Sat, 08 Jun 2013 11:28:45 PDT
On 8 Jun 2013, at 7:21, The Silent Seed wrote:

> I sure hope there are no other people on here who love, or appreciate, the
> Chinese, or China. I have some friends in China who would be appalled at the
> mockery. I did not expect that on here. Or maybe I did. I know what you mean,
> but can we be more diplomatic about our language?

The unfortunate fact is that China now has an unenviable reputation as *the* 
source of fake goods, contaminated goods, everything you would expect where 
"making a buck as fast as possible, the devil take the hindmost, and damn the 
consequences" seems to be the prevailing attitude in business and manufacturing 
circles. One cause of this development is the ceaseless pressure from Western 
corporations (notably, but, I suspect, not exclusively, from Walmart) for ever 
lower prices. As one of China's government ministers said within the last few 
years, if Westerners want better quality out of China, they'll have to pay for 
it, that Chinese manufacturers cannot produce anything of quality for the 
pittances that the Walmarts of the world insist on paying. Thus we get ice 
trays made of the cheapest plastic which are brittle at ice temperature.

Historically, this is at odds with the reputation of the Chinese as a people 
you could do business with on a handshake, to say nothing of the quality of 
many of their manufacturers, particularly anything in the porcelain and pottery 
line. Another, less admirable, historical characteristic of China has been 
corruption on the grandest of scales, which in the Imperial era reached some 
kind of climax during the reign of the Empress Dowager. Google "Chinese marble 
boat" to see the result of her embezzlement of funds intended for naval 

But fear not: China still produces many excellent products. A friend of mine is 
a creative cook and uses many Chinese sauces in his dishes. I once asked him 
how he decided which of the many brands of, say, hoisin sauce to buy. His 
answer? Simple: go for the most expensive. As he put it, "the Chinese are a 
pragmatic people and in dealing with them you get exactly what you pay for."

The proprietress of the Chen-yi nursery might do far better in the long run 
propagating her wild-collected plants, growing them on, ascertaining their true 
identities, running an immaculately clean operation, and then selling them for 
considerably higher prices. However, I don't know if I'd have the self-control 
to do that myself, were I in her shoes.

Rodger Whitlock
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Z. 7-8, cool Mediterranean climate

More information about the pbs mailing list