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Q: serpentza made a milk formula video, and it got me riled up

I sometimes like and hate serpentza, for the stuff he puts online. A very down-to-Earth presentation style that's got him lots of fans, but he shits on people sometimes. Years back, he described the teaching industry in China, and the way he completely blamed foreigners for the sorry state of education in China really pissed me off. It felt like he was a mouthpiece for Chinese stereotypes against foreigners, and also mimicked the lack of self-reflection Chinese have about their own system. I was a crap teacher in China because my boss specifically instructed me to focus on making children and parents happy. When I attempted to challenge kids to learn more, it made them insecure and complaining, which had immediate consequences for my perceived value as an educator. How can foreigners be to blame for the low education standards in China?

Anyway, this post is not about education.

serpentza went after milk powder sellers, with all the overused stereotypes and latent discrimination I've already experienced from him. Since I'm the only "daigou" I know who runs a legal registered business and pays taxes for what I do, I might be the only person freely able to defend this discriminated community. So I went on a RANT with capital letters!

 

The Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YQm5FZMforg

Video Description: "It may seem absurd, but Milk powder and chocolates are being illegally trafficked into China at a rate far larger than any sort of illegal drug or commodity! Come and find out about this bizarre phenomenon! "

 

Copy-pasted comments I put under that YT vid: I read how you explained the daigou thing, and it's an oft-repeated tale for me. I'd like to offer an insider perspective, since I run a legal export (small family) business. When there's money to be made, everybody plays dirty, and perhaps I'm foolish to have a registered business providing this service, because everyone else has competitive advantage over me, since they're not paying business taxes. I'm Dutch/British, lived in Sichuan for 3 years. Essentally, we made the move to Germany because the people we were relying on in Europe were taking such a big cut of the profits, that we were starting to lose money, just to provide people in my wife's home village with products they needed. We earn money for our family, the stereotypes of greedy illegal Chinese traders aren't always true.

 

I'd like to call attention to an aspect you either overlook or are unaware of. First of all, please understand that the "shortage" in shops abroad is more marketing and trade war than how you describe it as "Chinese raping and looting other countries' stores." Look at where the money goes: Supermarket holdings and multinationals are all trying to profit off this business like daigou do, but failing because they provide no customized food security service. They just open an online shop in China, export the stuff tax free (always pay attention to the money flow), and sell the stuff with a 'guarantee' of it being imported and untampered. Many Chinese buy it, but there have been numerous incidents of repackaged old milk, or swapped with fake milk powder, or inspected by authorities (and tampered with). So the ONLY 100% certainty a Chinese buyer can get, is if they see some daigou they have a good relationship with buying it abroad, packing the boxes with their name on it, and the buyer receiving the same box unopened. That's the food security that daigou's offer.

 

The point I want you to be aware of, is the massive and provoked discrimination against Chinese. Buying restrictions don't prevent daigou from getting what they need, but it mildly inconveniences them and makes them more highly visible and seen in public, having to visit many supermarkets to get what they need, giving sellers a justification to raise prices. The provoked racism, which you unwittingly take part in, is the most potent result: Otherwise normal, well-behaved people become convinced they are helping local mothers and children by stopping Chinese from buying milk powder. But despite all the drama, even the newsmedia confirms that there's no significant shortage for local babies, and parents can always order online and receive within a few days.

 

Supermarkets massively obstruct Chinese people from buying, allowing their holding companies to ship the "unwanted" goods to China tax-free. This is a huge violation of consumer rights (supermarkets are allowed to order the products on the basis of their duty to supply to whoever wants to buy it; discriminating or withholding goods for other purposes is illegal), but Chinese have been found guilty of the huge crime of buying-what-they-need, and nobody feels even a little bit bad about actively discriminating against them and violating their rights for the profits of their holding companies. And dimwitted wage workers have a justification to bring up all their insecurities wrt Asian women to the surface. It causes a great deal of stress for my wife. Mostly female shop staff behave rudely, a shameless race-threat reaction that would otherwise be restrained if not for the horrible media coverage against Chinese. Random people of Middle-Eastern descent heckle her on the streets, so happy that a news story casts a shadow on a different group of immigrants than them. It's utterly disgusting.

 

In 2012, the media presented a story in Holland, that ALL the milk powder in the whole country had been bought up by Chinese for a whole month, and then became available again afterwards. Nobody gave the preposterous story a second thought, but a wholesaler, Makro, was wondering why none of the supermarkets were ordering any of its rapidly growing overstock during that month. It was so obviously the supermarkets conspiring to stir up some drama, push the smaller fish (daigou) out of the market so the bigger fish (tax-avoiding supermarkets) could take over demand. Nobody even raises an eyebrow when big corporations cheat the system!

 

To finish off, I'd like to emphasize that even the illegal daigou pay VAT and buy shipping services, which is way more than goes to the treasury when large corporations ship it all to China tax-free, and pay a little bit of business tax to the Chinese regime. Illegal daigou are doing more to protect children and keep them supplied with trustworthy nutrition, than all the large traders and their dumb, consumer-obstructing shop staff elicited into racist behaviour. Families who need daigou to supply them with uncontaminated food are at a bit more risk than a family who get worked up and flustered over occasionally empty shelves. Even illegal daigou do more to preserve the jobs of the idiotic wage workers who discriminate against them, since the workers' jobs are dependent on the store's turnover, not the total profits of millionaires who operate the supermarket chains. And strange as it sounds, those Chinese faces waiting in line at the checkout are helping the economic success of the country they are buying in, which is more than can be said for the big supermarket holdings who avoid taxes by exporting, or the wage workers with their customer-unfriendliness. I hope that next time you see a daigou, you regard them with a bit more nuance than before.

 

Also, I have to say, the way you video people buying what they need for their friends and families, who are at real risk of buying contaminated goods if they don't buy abroad, and characterizing the daigou as criminals and smugglers, goes a bit too far. I don't care if you are bothered by the long waiting lines; the daigou are not to blame for intentionally limiting availability of what should be free to buy. If it inconveniences you and looks bad, tough, get over your biased perceptions. Do you think it's OK for Hong Kongers to refer to Mainlanders as "locusts" because they pay for things they need? Since when is buying goods a crime? Milk formula is something that is in high demand for a good reason, and could easily be made more readily available if the sellers were willing/allowed.

 

The breakdown of trust and social capital is an ongoing problem in China, that serves the valueless Chinese regime fine, so they are not measured by any ethical standards (and found lacking). Letting poor people's babies suffer while allowing access to foreign milk formula to wealthy people is the regime's improvised solution for the fallout of Mao's breeding-imperative followed by one-child-policy; now there's too many uneducated countryside kids, and not enough skilled city workers for the regime's needs. Daigou are helping poor people in the countryside survive the new era of cruelty and population control instituted by the state. Your stream of thought feeds into the racist narrative, causing trouble for people just trying to feed their children, which makes me wonder if you might be an (unwitting) agent of the state.

1 year 21 weeks ago in  Family & Kids - China

 
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Never liked him very much. He lies, E.g. he's South African born and claims to be British with a surname like Stertzel which is clearly German, and then he says he could easily have a British passport, it would just require him to fill out some paperwork. Being South African myself, I know that if there was any chance I could obtain a British passport I would jump at it. Secondly, the way he brags about having a "doctor" wife is so cringy, it's difficult to watch. The guy also claims to have had a successful IT business in South Africa, another lie. He's just a LBH, with no education, and is making money using click bait videos on Youtube.

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1 year 21 weeks ago
 
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Never liked him very much. He lies, E.g. he's South African born and claims to be British with a surname like Stertzel which is clearly German, and then he says he could easily have a British passport, it would just require him to fill out some paperwork. Being South African myself, I know that if there was any chance I could obtain a British passport I would jump at it. Secondly, the way he brags about having a "doctor" wife is so cringy, it's difficult to watch. The guy also claims to have had a successful IT business in South Africa, another lie. He's just a LBH, with no education, and is making money using click bait videos on Youtube.

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1 year 21 weeks ago
 
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Maybe I need to watch the video over , I saw nothing what you claimed to be insulting. Can you quote exactly what he said?

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1 year 20 weeks ago
 
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