Prenup 'partment

This is completely anecdotal, but in talking to some young white collar employees at major companies/firms in the business/banking/legal fields, I've been hearing some really interesting stories. It seems that prenuptial agreements are growing in popularity among this subset of people, and its not because they've spent too much time watching Sex in the City and other such shows. When I first heard about it, I thought it was just mistrust in courts to properly divide property and provide an equitable outcome for both parties. Instead, the reasoning seems solely concentrated on the crazy real estate situation (you don't think crazy is the right word? peep this) and the risk of being left without an apartment (or with only the right to half of one) down the road.

With property prices and the divorce rate constantly going up these days and with it being common that women require a man to have an apartment before they get married, many of those guys are making sure their apartment is fully protected in case of a divorce. While, typically, this wouldn't be deemed as communal property, it appears that courts have sometimes deemed it such as the apartment was purchased shortly before marriage and as a precondition to the marriage taking place. There is also a desire to protect potential communal property in the case where one spouse knows that in the marriage, they will take on much or all the burden of the apartment purchase and/or mortgage. Interestingly, in the first situation, often it is the spouse that didn't buy the apartment who is pushing for a prenup that will grant them a right to the apartment in divorce as they are very concerned about not buying an apartment before marriage only to find that prices have doubled or tripled when it comes time for a divorce and they are left in the cold.

As I said, purely anecdotal, but I've heard it discussed a lot lately, anyone else hearing similar things?



A Very Merry Musical Month

Once again, I'm breaking the focus of this blog to talk about what is an incredibly exciting month for Beijing music fans. Over the next few weeks, we'll see Karen Mok come to Worker's Indoor Stadium (on the 11th), the "Godfather", Cui Jian, doing is thing at Capital Gymnasium once again on a very unique way to enjoy Christmas Eve, while on the 31st, Na Ying will play what is sure to be an extremely memorable New Year's Eve show after 7 years away from performing, word is that she's been preparing for over a year for this one.

If you haven't run off for the holidays, attending one (or all) of these shows is sure to be a lot of fun. Tickets are available at


Made in China Part 3 : Made in China, Made with the World?!?

The new "Made in China" advertising campaign has received a lot of media coverage over the past few weeks and is interesting for a number of reasons, most importantly that this is the first (?) time the Chinese government has come out with a major, international ad campaign. The campaign, done at the behest of the Ministry of Commerce and prepared by the advertising firm DDB with the tag line that served as the title to this post as well as "Made in China, Made WITH China". The ad focuses on daily items, like a pair of (Nike?) athletic shoes, an (iPod?) mp3 player, and a luxury French bag.

The idea is that while many of the daily products that you use are Made in China, the reality is that they are designed by experts far away from China and that Made in China doesn't say anything about the quality of the item. Its an effort to remind people that not everything Made in China is low quality and potentially dangerous. Its interesting to note that the ad was originally supposed to come out during the numerous scandals of last year and the government (rightly) decided to delay it, though the fact its coming out at Christmas is also worth noting, if this was done purposefully, the government deserves a lot of credit. The ad will initially air on CNN in Asia and the United States.

Will the campaign do much to change the minds of foreigners? Probably not. Most consumers don't care that much and for those that do, Made in China is already poisonous. It doesn't seem like the target of the campaign is necessarily those everyday consumers who are sitting in front of their televisions but instead for small businessmen and entrepreneurs who are going factory hunting and may not have considered China or have misgivings about locating their production there. The idea's furthered by the fact the campaign was delayed during those scandals of last year, instead of being used as a proactive defense of Chinese production. Putting out the ad at that time would seem to say that while lots of things are Made in China, its on the companies (and their quality control people) to make sure that quality products are made there.

What say you and do you think the ad will help change the opinion of the common American consumer?

Double Deals Just Got Doubled

Blue Frog's "Burger Burger" Monday's is well known due to this little incident as well as the big time bloggers who are all for it. I make sure to hit up Blue Frog about once a month (with a review to come) for their Monday deal, but the true bargain of it hit home when I was enjoying my Burger King whopper today, which set me back RMB30, whereas if I brought a friend, a burger at Blue Frog would have only been RMB5 more.

Well, now the Beijing deal seeker (aka cheapskate) has another day to add to their calender. On Tuesdays, the Meat and Wine Co., an excellent spot that doesn't get enough love (another place to be reviewed soon), is having a buy-one-get-one-free Rib Night. Meat and Wine offers both beef and pork ribs and at US$50+ for a full slab, they have to be some pretty damn good ribs. Good BBQ ribs are something that's hard to find in Beijing and from the description (though it only says they are slow cooked and then finished on the grill), these don't seem as blasphemous as all the non-smoked "authentic" bbq offered in the city.

A good "deal" offered by one of the city's top western restaurants.


Mao Claus and the Commie Carol

I know the plan was to keep this blog focused on food and style, but sometimes I just can't help it. Is it just me or is China getting into the Christmas spirit in a unique way? I don't know about any other subway stations, but I've walked through the Guomao station (the Line 2 portion) a few times lately and heard muzak that sounded a lot like Christmas carols (lots of strings and horns, what sounds like 4 year olds singing, etc) except when I get closer and take a good listen, it turns out they are renditions of such classics as “Song for a Hero" (英雄赞歌) or "I Love You, Motherland" (我爱你,祖国).

There's nothing wrong with this except that its sudden appearance during the "holiday" season is really messing with my mind...

Made in China Part 2 : What's Worse Than Made in China?!?

"Made in China" gets a bad rap, especially amongst those lefties who are all about "causes" and don't like China's politics. Well, for those that thought "Made in China" was the worst possible label one could find on their clothes, it gets worse, "Made in North Korea."

That's right, an enterprising Swede is bringing Noko Jeans to the world. Yes, just in time for Christmas, you too could own a pair of jeans made by an entire family locked up in a prison camp happy employees in the "glorious, worker's paradise" that is North Korea.

And how much for these superwonderfulexcellent jeans from the world's most oppressive country and one of its poorest? Only about 6 months average salary for a North Korean or US$215. One wonders why they don't read the New York Times in Pyongyang (or in Sweden for that matter) and know "premium" denim is a thing of the past. Oh wait, because its North motherf***ing Korea we're talking about.

Watching the video on the company's website is a must for tons of unintended fun. "Can we learn more [about North Korea]? Can we get to know them? And most importantly, how?" I know, I know, let's pay them peanuts to make crappy jeans and charge a fortune for them.

Is North Korea the "final frontier"? What would be worse than North Korea?!?