Since I am still off from work due to the holiday in China, I decided to take the metro and go around the city with the intention of taking some nice photos. Unfortunately, the weather was not very good for photography, especially with a mere smartphone, so I went downtown to take a few photos and see if I could find any nice restaurants and other places of interest. After finding a reasonably priced grocery store, complete with a “deli” that would put the ones back home in Ralph’s and Vons to shame, I decided to check out my old stomping grounds in Panyu.
People in Panyu are generally nicer than those in the city center of Guangzhou, at least in my humble opinion. I was greeted with smiles and “Hello’s” almost as soon as I got off of the subway train. I wanted to see if my old friend still lived in the area, and was going to head up to hid residence (assuming that he is still there), but I ended up running into a Brother from Guinea Conakry, the capital of Guinea in Africa.
The Brother was off from work, bored, and wandering around, just like I was. The difference is, this Brother, whom I will refer to as “Brother I”, is not a pissant English teacher like I am; he is a success story straight out of a Robert Greene book. He currently works as an MC in a nightclub down in the Panyu District, and he also ships shoes to America, since he has family members in Atlanta that own a shop.
Sure, as Loser Laowai stated, such businesses do more to make Chinese rich rather than the African traders, but in my opinion, it is an honest living, it is better to have Black Americans buying Jordans from those that look like us than to camp out and fight in front of another man’s store for the sneakers. When looking at the numbers that “Brother I” claims, an average profit of nearly $5,000 a month, one can see that it is quite a lucrative business.
To top this off, he makes almost double what the average English teacher makes here, and he only works three hours a night. It wasn’t always so easy for him though; “Brother I” struggled like many African Brothers do when they first come to the Middle Kingdom. I sat down and had a conversation with him. Those that want to make it, particularly in China, but also in life in general, would be wise to heed his advice:
Master the Language
I have said this before as well (although I have failed so far to take my own advice in this regard). Knowing how to speak the local language is crucial for opening up doors in all arenas of life, especially for a person whose income relies on socialization. An English teacher can get by without learning Chinese, but those of us that want to venture into other endeavors, or even maximize the good times that we can have outside of the workplace would be wise to learn at least conversational Mandarin (maybe even some Cantonese here in Guangzhou). This goes triple for us Black folks in China.
His tips for mastering the language are to ask lots of questions, learn two or three new words every day and write them down, learn by listening to music, and if possible, get a Chinese girlfriend.
This is another solid piece of advice from. In the past, I talked about making local connections, which is indeed crucial, but “Brother I” encourages making and having connections back home and in other countries for those of us interested in international business. This is where a lot of African cats have advantages over Black Americans due to their familial ties, and having family members all over the world.
Read Also: “Coming Black to Asia” – Critique
Courage and Determination Yield Success
“Brother I” struggled when he first came to China, only making 4,500 RMB as a bartender. He pushed through and succeeded in the end, leaning the language bit by bit, learning how to sing Backstreet Boys songs to perform in clubs and garner more income, and earning respect, face, in the venues that he worked at. Realistically, not everyone is guaranteed success, but the lesson is still one worth taking away. When things get hard, it’s easy to want to quit, to puss out, but doing so forfeits any chance of victory. Continuing to strive forward through the hardship and pain gives us at least a slight chance of getting what we are after. It is indeed difficult, but we have to keep pushing.
Dig Deeper When Things Go Right
If we have to push through our struggles, we have to push even harder when times are good. Take full advantage of positive momentum, and don’t get too comfortable. We must always hunger for more and never be fully satiated. Falling into the trap of getting too comfortable can lead to stagnation, which opens a Pandora’s Box of potential pitfalls. Always stay vigilant for opportunities to advance, for those that want to steal your prizes from you, and do not fall into the traps of boredom or getting too comfortable.
Temper Your Emotions
This point ties in with the prior two since all three revolve closely around discipline. Life in China can be frustrating at times, but we must temper our anger and not go off at the wrong time. Brothers must also temper our lust and not get lost in the pussy, throwing away other opportunities that exist in this country, or getting into trouble over females.
Confidence is Key
When you know that you have the skill to do something, do not be overly modest about it. Show your skills and utilize them to your benefit. Find a niche and hold on to it as if it were your lifeblood. This is powerful advice, and something that I will meditate and affirm upon in the gym once they open back up after the holiday.
“Brother I” believes that the Chinese are generally nice, kind, and friendly people, and that China is a land of opportunity. He certainly has come a long way from his beginnings. There has to be a way for Black Americans to fight for and harvest our crop here too.