So apparently you don't actually have to be an expert in anything to become a foreign affairs/political affairs commentator in China. That's where I come in. As a former English teacher/professional bum, I can at least order kung pao chicken in Chinese, read blogs by people much smarter than me, and install a VPN, so I'm good to go.

Now, being serious for a second, I hope to accomplish a couple of things with this blog.

1) To explain Chinese and Asian culture in its full weirdness, and its economics likewise in its full weirdness; and most importantly, how these two things match up. What is a ‘savings culture?’ How does financial repression work? (And is that even related to culture?) Etc.

2) To give a balanced perspective on how well Asian institutions actually work. You will sometimes see people with their hands in their ears not believing anything they hear in the ‘foreign media’ – typically people who just arrived here – because things are so different from what they think from the outside. Then you will also get the equally negative types, who get to be a bore to listen to. In reality, I suspect most of Asia’s leaders don’t really know how well suited their societies are to the modern world, and they are experimenting, just as Western countries are in their response to Asia’s rise. This is a much more interesting, and ultimately relevant, subject then the fate of a few islands…

Now grab your chopsticks and dive in.