Practicing Law in China; Closing out 2011 Michael Sylvester


This photo is at the top of a mountain pass heading south out of the Yabuli Ski Area in north China.  To get there, just head for the North Pole and take a left just before you see Santa.   It was - 30 C or so that day and was quite lovely when the wind stopped blowing...  There is even a ClubMed up there if you want to come and are too afraid of Chinese hotel service, which can be a bit scary if you are not used to it.


China continues to be, once and again, a strikingly beautiful place...when you get away from the sort of crowds that those living in the West can only imagine.  And what can we say about 2011 coming to a close other than, phew!!


While the world still seems to be worried about China taking over, they continue to crab claw their way forward, in a sideways sort of way, going in a direction perceptable only to them and those of us lucky enough not to get deported too often.  But in reality, the only real problems we've ever had here practicing law are where cultural - not legal - problems got in the way.  And 99% of the time, it is the foreginers that can not leave their presumptions at the door, rather than China imposing something onerous on us as foreigners living and working here.


And, while it has taken all of my hair and certainly a few years off my life due to stress, pollution and my own stupidity, China continually reaffirms that this was the right place to set up Sylvester & Associates more than a decade ago.  And to be perfectly honest, it is still a lot of fun too.  As for whether 'a good day in China is better than a bad day in San Francisco' it depends on which day of the week you ask, but in general, it has been and continues to be a hoot.


As any of you that have ever read any of the scribbles posted here may know, I'm not a 'panda hugger' ie Sinophile.  We are here because it is those cultural problems inhibiting the promotion of peace, understanding and well damnit, just learning how to get along together in a world that has become way too small for any of us to be able to legitimately harbor any illusions of having the 'right' answer that brought and keep up here.  


Roller coaster stock markets mean there is no safe place to stash any of the cash you may have saved, if you are lucky enough to have saved any at all.  Currency fluctuations and a potentially imploding Euro may be pushing us all back toward the US Dollar -- because there is not really any other choice.  And then there is that whole environmental thing that has now become front page news the world over -- not that we are doing enough about it yet -- but at least it is being talked about.


So, as 2011 rolls over and we all look to screwing up writing the date for a month or so until we get used to the idea of it being 2012 -- what can we say.


Well, we can say that if we all stand at the top of that montain pass and remember that getting to the top was only half way over the mountain and we continue to use the prudence and hard work that got us to that vista in the first place -- we we might just have something left of this messy world that we'll all want to show our children.


Take a few deep breaths, spend a few precious days with your family and get ready for what comes will not be what you think and it will never be boring.


Keep your hands and arms inside the moving vehicle at all times...