Tuesday, September 25, 2012

25 September 2012 -- Journal Log

Scooter's Journal Log
Earth Date Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Official Resident Permit for a Foreigner in the PRC
Woo-hoo! I received my official resident permit for a foreigner in the PRC today pasted onto page 11 of my passport.  This, along with my foreign expert certificate, I believe completes my necessary document drama to be an officially welcomed person to live and work in the PRC!  This was a lot of work and a long-time process, and certainly one that took many more hours of paperwork and processing behind the scenes at BNDS than I will probably ever know.  I am very grateful to the excellent staff at BNDS who have handled the lion-share of the work to accomplish these procedures and tasks on the behalf of all of the new international teachers of which there are 8 AP teachers, two babies, and 4 new oral English teachers for a total of 14 people to process and this is just in our department.  I have no idea how many other foreign teachers are employed by the National Program, I just know there are quite a few.  I was informed by David, our Chinese colleague in charge of the expert certification of foreign teachers, that most of this work only has to be done the first time, and the next time, it is a matter of re-application which is apparently very simple in comparison.  

Warning: Political Commentary Ahead
In any case, when I reflect upon this process and think about the way the Chinese government and people have welcomed the people with foreign experiences to fill job needs they have, because remember they do not have a shortage of people to fill jobs, it is really quite remarkable that this opportunity even exists.  It is one I certainly do not take for granted and feel both honored and privileged to have received.  I also believe, which I feel may be an unpopular idea with some people in the USA, that there is much we might learn about giving people with skills our country needs and jobs that need workers the opportunity to obtain credentials to live and work in the USA without becoming citizens if they either do not want to or are not needed in the long-term.  The work permit could be a nice intermediate step for many who work illegally in the USA but whom those who are willing to admit it are needed for particular jobs.  Rather than treating these people like criminals, there are alternatives.  I, for one, will be a tax paying person in the PRC where 15% off the top of my wages will go to taxes.  There will be no tax refunds for which to apply.  There are no tax loopholes nor havens for me to utilize.  I will pay 15% of my earning to the government to pay for roads, schools, jobs, housing, etc. of the workers like myself.  You can think of it as a tax, or you can think of it as an investment in the country and, in a way, in myself.  

Occasionally I think this aspect of taxes is lost on Americans particularly those who work to try to avoid paying them by paying accountants to find loopholes and deductions.  Paying taxes in a country is investing in it.  It is a different sort of investment, but it wasn't a private company that paid to build the bulk of the interstate highway system, it was the US tax payers who made a gigantic investment in our nation's infrastructure.  This is but one of thousands and thousands of examples of investments made in our nation by tax payers.  Clearly, you can work to avoid investing your money in our nation and you can believe that private companies or public ones would or will do better than the government ones.  But, there is not only no evidence of this, there is must evidence to the contrary.  Look at what happened when Mayor Daley sold the parking meters to JP Morgan.  Ask Chicagoans what they think of that decision to privatize the parking meters.  If you live in the east and drive on the interstates paying huge tolls every other mile, you may have a different take on them than westerners who have no clue what a toll road even is.  When private companies get involved and want to charge you and nickel and dime you all along the way, rather than building and turning it over to the people, you get years, generations of payments and interest.  You wouldn't own your school building, you would be paying rent on it forever.  Your school might get evicted in a lean year and so on.  In the USA, we have a nice balance between expenditures for the common good and investment by private companies.  But to say that taxes are evil and we are better off paying as little as possible and allowing private companies to do their jobs is just plain ludicrous.  

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arrived at school • got passport back • proctored 11c homeroom • administered first bio test for fre-AP 10s • worked on vacation and break homework for 10-11 • very rainy today • no desire to walk to dry cleaners or lunch • snacked on candy and Xiong Mao (Panda) cakes •  met with Todd • chilled with 大 Jarrod, Cameron, and Phil • left school at 6:30 and walked to pharmacy

Chinese Pharmacy
Back in the USA, were I sick like this, I would be thinking to myself, "I think I need antibiotics, but I don't want to go to the doctor for $125 and two-hour wait to be given a prescription for an antibiotic. Well, here in 中國 / Zhōngguó you can skip the whole doctor step. That's right, you can walk into any pharmacy and but pretty much over the counter at cut-rate prices just about any medicine you can think of.

Hey, America, you want to save money on health care?
How about letting grownups buy antibiotics without having to go through the motions with a physician's asst. and a co-pay to an insurance company only to be denied because you haven't met your deductible yet -- a fact you won't find out until the second bill and the subsequent application of the late fee, now at $25, for an antibiotic for a bacterial lung infection? You let people buy cigarettes -- a substance known to Surgeon General to cause lung cancer and emphysema but you won't let us touch a prescription antibiotic for less than $25 not including the cost of the medicine. Well, not so in China. I walked into the pharmacy, found the amoxicillin. I walked out literally five minutes later with 20 250-mg doses of amoxicillin for 36 RMB ($5.73). That is less than most USA hospitals charge for 1 aspirin!

walked to McDonald's for McNuggets • went home to eat and take antibiotics • watched season premiere of JJ Abrams new sci-fi allegory, 'Revolution' which I downloaded for free from iTunes® – I thought it was pretty good though a lot seemed right from the pages of The Hunger Games right down the bow-wielding heroine.

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