Why am I not surprised?

A long and excellent post by one of the very best bloggers out there concludes with a recommendation and a link to a video that sounds like a must-see. But alas, when I click the link, I get the following message:

Thanks for your interest in Google Video.

Currently, the playback feature of Google Video isn’t available in your country.

We hope to make this feature available more widely in the future, and we really appreciate your patience.

That’s sweet of them. But I won’t hold my breath; this is, for all its progress, still China, and some things are changing faster than a bat out of hell , and some things aren’t changing at all. While the choices and conveniences here have expanded exponentially even from just a few years ago, it still took me two hours to open a bank account today, with just as much idiotic paperwork and mindless, non-stop paper stamping as four years ago. And even then they screwed it up and I had to go back to fix it.

The colleague who accompanied me kept apologizing, but I was laughing. It was nothing new and nothing unexpected, I assured her. Just like that discouraging and rather squishy message from Google. You just get used to it, or you get out of here. I’m used to it.

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Richard Burger is the author of Behind the Red Door: Sex in China, an exploration of China's sexual revolution and its clash with traditional Chinese values.

The Discussion: 4 Comments

You can see it if you use a proxy. This tricks Google into thinking you are somewhere other than China.

February 1, 2007 @ 10:32 am | Comment

It took you two hours? I remember opening an account at an ICBC branch in Shanghai back in 2002 and thought it was a fairly painless process. It was a simple savings account from which my cable internet fees were to be deducted from.

February 1, 2007 @ 12:57 pm | Comment

What LL said above — I can help you set up Tor some time this weekend, maybe, if you have the time. It’s not super-fast, but it gets the job done.

February 1, 2007 @ 3:01 pm | Comment

Caliboy, I gave them 3 kinds of currency – US, HK and RMB. This seemed to drive them insane. I’ve never seen so much paperwork for converting currency. In 2002 it took much longer, but a lot of that was time waiting in an endless electronic queu.

Brendan, I’m taking you up on it, thanks

February 1, 2007 @ 3:18 pm | Comment

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