Mike the Psych's Blog

What if psychologists ruled the world? In real life?

How not to choose a mistress


money_stairs_stick_figure_chinese_5753This story goes back a while but I want to share it with you.

Donglu Fan, aged 43 and a factory owner in China, held a competition to decide which of his 5 mistresses to keep.

It was intended to be simple knock-out competition.

First they had to complete a personality test (sounds like good HR practice so far).

Then there was a modelling and singing competition.

Finally there was a drinking contest where the winner would be the last mistress standing who had drunk the most.

Unfortunately for him the five went for a celebratory drive together after the drinking contest and drove off a cliff. Four were injured and one died.

The family of the one who died is suing him for £60,000 and his wife is divorcing him!

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It’s China’s Internet Maintenance Day today

The events in Tiananmen Square in 1989 will not be found anywhere on the Chinese internet today, or any other day for that matter. dont-try-searching-for-tiananmen-square-in-china-today

As far as the Chinese government is concerned this never happened.

Xian: Who’d be a Farmer? (and how to spot a fake) China, March 2013


The gentleman stuck behind the table won’t make eye contact with me. I’m sure he’s heard the introduction given by our guide hundreds if not thousands of times – “the man who discovered the Terracotta Army”. It’s not easy to tell what he’s thinking, but he doesn’t have the look of a man with great job satisfaction.  I wonder if he ever regrets the life-changing discovery of that first statue.


With an estimated 8,000 soldiers, 130 chariots with 520 horses and 150 cavalry horses, each having its own intricate and unique details, the extent and the detail of the terracotta army of Emperor Qin is incredible, but I find this man’s story just as fascinating.  When the significance of the findings from March 1974 became known, I’m sure that he and the six other farmers credited with making the discovery thought they had found an escape from some of the…

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Enter the Digital Dragon

chinese_friendship_symbol_500_wht_189China’s ancient and highly-prized culture included hand writing but the system is so complex – an estimated 10,000 characters used in daily life – that people are forgetting how to write!

The state broadcaster launched  a Chinese Character Dictation Competition to try and improve the population’s  handwriting as they fear it is going into decline.

They discovered that fewer than half the audience could write common Mandarin words such as “thick” and 70% didn’t know how to write the word for toad.

Mandarin has about 50,000 pictograms which children learn by rote. Now predictive texting on digital devices means that you only have to enter the words in pinyin, the Romanised system of Chinese pronunciation, for the device to write the character you want.

Keyboards are having a major impact on the writing of Chinese characters and it’s an irreversible trend. It doesn’t help that the learning of Chinese characters is a life-long trend and if you don’t use them regularly you forget.

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Buying Fake Consumer Goods creates Misery

2ae54a912650764e0c563cdd69585997On a recent trip to Germany I watched a TV documentary about fake consumer goods, handbags, hair straighteners etc. which are sold for €millions.

It showed German customs officers destroying the fake goods, which originated in China, in huge furnaces.

It also showed Angela Merkel having angry exchanges with a Chinese official who arrogantly dismissed her complaints with a wave of his hand as he walked away. You didn’t need to be able to speak German to understand the gist of the exchange.

Finally it showed footage shot in China of the people who make these fakes for Western consumption. They call them cage workers. Not because they work in cages but because they live in them.

The cages are like dog or animal cages, about 6′ x 2′ and made of wire mesh,  each containing a pillow or a mat and a bottle of water. Clothes are hung up either to dry or to provide some privacy. These cages are common in Hong Kong among other places and the occupants can pay as much as $200 a month to rent one. They are piled high on top of one another like cargo containers.

As you can imagine the living conditions are primitive and more like a concentration camp than a workers’ hostel. I won’t forget the faces of the people existing in those conditions and neither would you.

The authorities say that fake goods support other types of crime and racketeering. To behold the the sheer misery of these workers should be enough to make anyone think twice about buying a fake on the local market or in the pub. So if you do buy fakes to satisfy your vanity shame on you.

Powerpoint, social media, and prostitutes

money_stairs_stick_figure_chinese_5753Not three things you would normally expect in the same room but in China they are giving business advice to newcomers on the game even though prostitution is illegal. A report in the Times told how part of the training session was captured on a smart phone

So the oldest profession is embracing the newest technology: social media, micro-blogs like twitter, and digital photography.

Marketing methodology linked with social media to deliver higher business volume and bigger tips is the message on the training course.

Apart from the IT stuff they being advised on how to look good, the best kind of photo to post on web-sites, and how to  be flirtatious and use euphemisms to cover the transaction.

They are directed to popular “find and flirt” apps such as Momo  as a source of business and a way of arranging casual sexual encounters

FYI there is now an English version of Momo available as an App on iTunes. Tag line: “Discover, Meet, Friend”.

Loo rules: two flies and a six-point scale

In China authorities have decreed that there must never be more than two flies in a public lavatory.

This clearly begs a number of questions. Do dead flies count? If there are two flies are they allowed to stay? If there are more than two do you kill them all? And how do you actually kill and dispose of them?

The six-point scale applies to the smell on a scale of odourless to unbearable. There should be no dust, surface water, litter or ice – and of course no more than two flies.

An official said that: “while the rule is specific and quantified the inspection methodology will be flexible”. So just like many government targets over here!

Image from fohn.net