Chinese efficiency? Don't bank on it
December 28, 2006 3:24pm CST
An interesting rant from someone who lives in China: QUOTE: Chinese efficiency? Don't bank on it Life in China Wednesday, 08 November 2006 Efficiency. A word often used by people observing China from outside its borders. Fair enough. The world’s highest railway, linking Tibet with the rest of China, opened in July a year ahead of schedule. Construction of the Olympic venues has slowed amid fears they would be finished too early and sit idle for months. However, away from the global eye painful bureaucracy is commonplace and some public services can not meet the demand of the masses. For many foreigners living in China, myself included, the completion of an everyday task can tap previously unknown reserves of frustration. A website known as China Rant, which provides “an outlet for all that pent up China rage”, is testament to this affliction, although it often spawns ignorant criticism. But there is one place in particular that unites Beijing’s long-standing residents and newcomers in disbelief - the bank. A trip to the bank is a monthly necessity, being the only place to top up electricity and pay the phone bill. My dread is now so great that I’m considering living in darkness without contact with the outside world. The concept is easy enough. Walk through the sliding doors, take a ticket and wait. Look at the number on your ticket: 146. Look at the electronic number above the counters: 266. Look at the bored people around you, pause to appreciate a moment when you share something in common with every Chinese person in the room, and prepare to write off over an hour of your life. There are eight counters. Four are in operation but only two are serving ticket holders. Over to the right of the counters stand three bank employees immersed in idle banter. My heart rate quickens as I work myself into a silent frenzy. Huge sighs are interspersed with gentle snores from my banking comrades. The number is now 171. More clerks return from lunch and disappear through unmarked doors. One returns, sits down behind a vacant counter and proceeds to count money for ten minutes before leaving. One and a half hours after I arrived it is my turn. I sign my name on the phone bill and hand over the cash. I am told that my name is incorrect. I tell him this is the way I have paid for the last five months. I am told that my name is incorrect. I write my name in Chinese characters. I am told my name is incorrect and please come back tomorrow with a different name. My banking comrades desert me through their own desire to return to normal life and I have no choice but to give up. It seems there is no solution. The other day I entered the bank, picked up a ticket and went away for an hour. By the time I got back, I had missed my turn. The situation has become so bad that a few entrepreneurs actually sneak into the bank, print off a load of tickets and sell them for a few yuan outside. But the security guards at my branch have blocked this cunning business venture so I’m sticking with my day job. It seems there is nothing to do but inwardly chuckle when someone back home extols Chinese efficiency. I think I might add a trip to the bank onto my tourist itinerary for visitors from Britain who would like to get to know the “real China”. source=http://www.dimsum.co.uk/china/chinese-efficiency-dont-bank-on-it.html If Chinese citizens wants to have prosperous societies, they have to be public-spirited. Serve the public well. By wasting everybody's time, the inconsiderate individuals are slowing down the peoples' activities which could contribute to the economy and well-being of the society. It's a very complicated subject but the ramification triggered by such action is a fact. This reminds me of Malay ineffeciency in Malaysia. There was a huge difference visiting a Chinese-run banks with that of Malay-run banks. The same applies to other sectors and government departments. I once tried to renew my passport at the immigration department. 45 minutes from time to knock off, the staffs are chatting and when enquire about my turn, I was told to come back again the next day. All the other applicants who waited with me got angry and start complaining. It is a common sight to see immigration staff at the counters to do their jobs idly. After finishing a job, they would chat for a while before summoning another person to the counter. But they have changed a lot these days. So, if Chinese people doing the servicing jobs wants to emulate this kind of attitude, before long, all your customers will run away from you. Especially so when China has opened up to foreign banks.