The Chinese lesson

Delegation at NYS SBDC, March 18, 2013
A couple months back, I was asked to speak to a Chinese delegation from Shenzhen province about these aspects in the United States: “statistics system in government organizations (structure, operation, management, what they do, etc.)” and the “government division responsible for business registration (when the division established, its history, etc.)” and “a brief overview of the business registration file or database establishment (industry categories, quantity, geographical distribution of industries, employees, etc.)”

I dutifully prepared some remarks. Some of the questions were lost in translation, I feared. Others were quite overlapping. On the other hand, I DID discover that the NYS Department of State, which registers corporations in the state, was established shortly after the Declaration of Independence.

It was interesting that, along with their titles, I was given the delegates’ dates of birth, which ran from 1958 to 1975

Do you know what was THE most popular thing I talked about? It was after the session was ostensibly over, and they were talking about their itinerary, going to New York City. It was going to be 70F, but they didn’t know what that meant in Celsius. I started feverishly writing two columns by hand on a board in the room:
F/C
32/0
41/5
50/10
59/15
68/20
77/25
86/30
They were SO excited by this information that they started taking pictures of it.

Later, they gave me this lovely scarf in appreciation for my assistance.

Speaking of international, I went to an import/export workshop recently, and the presenter indicated that most products needed to ship in metric units, such as milliliters and kilograms. The instructor said, rhetorically, “I mean, who else besides the United States even USES our system of weights and measures?” I said, with assurance, “Liberia and Burma.” I was remembering the map from this blog post from a little less than three years ago.

Gee, even *I* learn something from my blogposts, occasionally.

5 thoughts on “The Chinese lesson”

  1. Gifts mean important things in Chinese formal gift giving, like students to teachers or business exchanges.

    I only know this because when the Dalai Lama came to visit Field he gave all the coordinators a scarf and we all had to go through training to learn the right responses to things like scarf-giving and receiving. (I got a blessing, but not a scarf. Which was still super cool.)

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  2. Roger, I honestly didn’t know any other countries had not yet embraced the metric system. Jimmy Carter tried his best, but, just as our generation was stuck on analog clocks and our kids have no problem with thinking digitally, the time is WAY past due for us to adopt the metric system.

    If Coke can come in litres… I’m just saying, you know? Amy

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