Tuesday, October 9, 2007

A Flooded Hangzhou

The typhoon hit with not much wind but a LOT of rain.  It rained HARD for about 48 hours and the local news said that Hangzhou had not seen this much rain in 40 years!  I had to teach during the typhoon, and the one hour bus ride back turned into  nearly 3 hours since many of the roads were flooded.  Our bus driver finally got impatient and braved the 1 - 2 feet of water on the road with the bus.  The cars were moving through the water very slowly with their tires entirely submerged!

My Chinese friend wore his flip-flops to work this morning, and he carried his fiancée on his back so she wouldn't get her nice shoes wet.  How sweet!  On top of that, he said when he was walking in the street a fish swam by!  The rivers and canals are overflowing.

Hanzhou 019 

Here's a quick picture of the kids at Peter and Jack's school doing their morning exercise.

Hanzhou 021

Today I played "Simon Says" with my graduate students.  I said, "Simon says turn to face your neighbor."  Then I said "Simon says, close your eyes."  Finally I said "Kiss your neighbor (no Simon Says)".  Two of the girls actually kissed much to the surprise of myself and the rest of the class! The rest of the students got a big kick out of this. 

I also had each of the students do their own balance sheet and income statement.  It appears that most students get a monthly allowance from their parents about 800 quai (a little over $100 / month), from which they buy food, utilities, cell-phone minutes, books and more.  They are good at making a little money go a long way! 

I asked how much of their income people save if they have a job. The average seems to be about 40% of income is put into savings, and then used to buy property or other investments.  Smart, hardworking people here!

Get this: No one here files a tax return - the general tax rate appears to be between 7% and 20%, and it is taken out of your paycheck automatically.  There are no tax returns to file, no complicated tax code.  Just pay off the top and forget about it - what a great idea!  I explained the American tax system; filing returns, the tax code, deductions and so forth.  They looked at me like I was crazy!


Anonymous said...

Hi All,
A few years ago I think it was Mr Forbes of Forbes magazine who ran for president on the idea that the tax code here would be sent in on a postcard and would be a percentage of your income. I LIKED that idea and wished everyone else would have too.
I'm off to China today see you in less than a month!!! Love to all! Grandma Kapi

Anonymous said...

I like the sound of 7-20%
for a tax rate for all.
Maybe we should send our IRS
people to China. Curious in US