What They Dont Teach You At Stanford Business School

Stuff you can't learn in B-school: LARRY CHIANG

The Seven People You Meet in Hotel Quarantine

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Edited by Larry Chiang

I get mentored by people in places I never went to. I learn from my friend Mike Su who got quarantined in China. Mike was part of “Geeks on a Plane” group of Silicon Valley tech leaders organized by Dave McClure and Christine Lu.

Mike Su was quarantined and pulled out of the Westin’s 5 star flagship property in Beijing where he was staying and participating in Startup2Startup Dinner. He takes us behind the scenes at “Hotel Quarantine” by character compassing seven types of people you would meet if YOU got quarantined.

By Mike Su

Having now spent almost 3 days here in Hotel Quarantine and adjusting to life in the Big House, I’ve noticed some common patterns among the types of people I’m encountering and sharing these experiences with. Generally, they fall into one of seven categories:

The American Born Chinese (ABC)

waddup biotch?Yo, T.I., hollatchaboy

Why He’s in China:
ABC’s are American Born Chinese. Most of the ABCs are here in China because they heard a friend of a friend of a friend moved out here to teach English and ended up becoming a VJ on MTV and gets tons of tail on a regular basis. His parents love it because they think their little twinkie (yellow on the outside, white on the inside) is finally interested in his cultural heritage, when in fact he’s just interested in going to a club and not being “that asian guy”.

What He’s Like In Quarantine:
After spending his entire adolescent life being the Asian dude that all the girls don’t mind hanging out with but would never date, fighting stereotypes of being a math whiz and battling dumb whities doing the whole Bruce Lee “waaaa taaaaa!!” sounds at him, he is now able take on his long repressed gangsta rapping alter ego. This is a major opportunity for some major street cred, and as he bounces his head to T.I. playing on his iPhone, he thinks to himself, “Yo T.I., I feel ya homeboy. Prison ain’t no joke.” Except, of course, he gets to listen to his iPhone and doesn’t have to be scared of being raped. You can spot him from far across the way by the way he throws that gangsta limp in his walk, and you can hear him using the N word when talking to staff that can barely speak English, much less ebonics.

The Family

FMLCouldn’t we just go to DisneyWorld in Florida?!

Why They’re in China:
Most of the families here are actually Chinese families with their American born kids. For the parents, this is an opportunity to show their kids their roots. For the kids, this just sucks and they wish they could have just gone to DisneyWorld in Florida instead, like the Feldman’s did.

What They’re Like in Quarantine:
If people’s thoughts were written on their foreheads, you would see “FML” in bold and all caps on the parent’s foreheads. For the kids, however, this trip turned out to be much more fun than they expected. Instead of doing a ridiculous hike up the Great Wall in 98 degree weather, they get to stay indoors and watch three times as much TV as they normally do at home, the hotel has turned into their giant hide and seek playground, and their parents let them have all the candy they want since they feel bad for having their kids trapped. If the parents’ marriage can survive these 7 days without a divorce, they will enjoy a long and happy life together.

The White Guy with Yellow Fever

i like asian chicksBest…place…ever

Why He’s in China:
This guy is in China for the same reason Catholic priests start all boys schools. Instead of spending time on eHarmony or Match.com, this white guy spends all his time on local Chinese BBS sites, and already has three different dates lined up with local girls. Though his dead end job as a sysadmin for a large, crumbling bank back at home gives him little hope in life, he’s created an image of himself on these BBS’ as a shorter, paler version of Brad Pitt. Meanwhile, the local girls who work crappy jobs as tollbooth workers see him as a one way ticket to the American dream. When they tracked him down to bring him into quarantine, he was found at the night market buying up tacky silk robes with lots of dragons on them. This guy would give up both his legs for one date with Zhang Ziyi.

What He’s Like in Quarantine:
He can be seen walking the hallways in his tacky silk robe, listening to the Rosetta Stone ‘Learn Chinese’ series. He tries to flirt with staff constantly, he loves the giggling reaction he gets from the girls at the front desk, not realizing that the girls are giggling about the furry dead animal that is growing on his chest. Furry chest hair peeking out from behind the robe is very foreign to Chinese girls. He’s in love with everything about this place. He loves that every meal is Chinese food and loves the “authentic” sweet and sour pork that they cook here. The staff makes the specifically for the Americans by making it Americanized. True story. After “guay lo” (Chinese slang for ‘white ghost’) gets out of quarantine, he beeline it to the Westin for his barage of FOBie dates

By summer, he will finally fly back to the US to pick up personal items from his cubicle, liquidate his 401k (with panalities), and move directly to China.

The Black Guy

black guy in chinaNot a lotta brothas here

Why He’s in China:
He’s in China for pretty much the same reason any other tourist is in China.

What He’s Like in Quarantine:
This is not so much about what the black guy is like in quarantine, but what everyone else around him is like. He’s pretty much like every other person in quarantine. Except that the staff really don’t get to see very many black people. He’s like the Jackie Robinson of Hotel Quarantine. There’s a lot of whispering when he’s around, wondering if he’s Obama, Kobe Bryant or Jay-Z. See, Chinese people are the most racist people on earth. Not only are we racist against other Asians (look down on Filipinos, will never forgive Japan for Nanking), but we’re racist against other Chinese people as well (north vs. south, this province vs. that one). On the bright side, the staff is really more stereotyping than discriminating.

The Student Tour

Great WallOMG this is sooo fun!

Why They’re in China:
Ms. Spolanksy from Litchfield High in Litchfield, Nebraska, had been planning this trip since last November. None of the 32 students and teachers had been out of Nebraska, nevermind the country, so they were very excited to bring the kids out to see the world. The excitement was palatable when they drove 198 mles from Litchfield to the airport to fly from Omaha to San Francisco via Dallas to fly to Beijing by way of Tokyo. By the time they arrive, all the teachers and chaperones are ready to kill each other and if they hear one more song from High School Musical 1, 2 or 3, they will hang themselves. But, they are recharged when they finally touch down in China, and the first two days they spend on a whirlwind tour of the Forbidden City and The Square That Nothing Ever Happened At.

What They’re Like in Quarantine:
Seven ambulances show up at their hotel the next morning to whisk away the entire group. The teachers are freaking out, they think they are going to be detained by the Communist government and forced to recite propaganda for seven days. Mindy, the pastor’s wife who is on the trip as a chaperone is their unofficial spokesperson since she’s the only one that has been to China that one time when her and her husband came to adopt a Chinese baby. They have one cell phone that all 32 people pass around and share. The adults are scared stiff, while the kids spend their time in the courtyard reciting lines from Zach Effron’s 17 Again. The kids are excited because they’re getting some press coverage on ABC 10 back at home, while the folks back at home hold candlelight vigils wondering if the US government will send Bill Richardson or Al Gore to help negotiate their safe return.

The Party Crew


Why They’re in China:
F*@#$%* YEAH! We’re in China baby! We are going to tear the roof off this mofo!!! We’ve been drinking from nip bottles the entire flight, they still haven’t checked our ID’s!! This trip is going to be like one extended episode of “Wild On E”!

What They’re Like in Quarnatine:
There are three emotional stages for the Party Crew:
Stage 1: Relief.
When the people tracked them down, they were 120% sure the government was after them for either the 3 pounds of weed, tylenol bottle filled with ecstasy, or girl at the night club the first night that may or may not have consented since they couldn’t understand what she was screaming in Chinese. They are just relieved that they were brought in for swine flu.

Stage 2: Detox.
For the next 36 hours, they drift around the hotel with slow and deliberate movements and are extremely sensitive to light. Though they can barely make it to lunch each day, they somehow find the inner strength to gel and spike their hair before leaving the room.

Stage 3: Reform.
Having spent the remaining 4 days in the hotel room left alone with their thoughts, each party boy reflects upon their lifestyle and how far they’ve fallen. A couple start reading up on buddhism online, another starts to read the Tao De Jing. All return to the US as vegans and their old friends find them far less interesting. All they’re sentences start with, “Bro, trust me, when I was in China…”

The Swine Flu Victim

toootally coolDude, it’s just a mild fever, It’s toootally not the swine flu!

Why They’re in China:
This dude/chick has been planning this trip since forever. They’ve bought all the guides on China, have spent countless hours on Google Earth virtually touring all the different places they’ll be. They’re usually not rich, but saved up for a while to splurge on this trip to the great Far East.

What They’re Like in Quarantine:
Two days before the trip was probably not a good time to head to East LA and get sneezed on at the Saturday market. But they’ll be damned if they let a small fever get in the way of this kick ass trip they’ve been planning since the dawn of the ages. So it’s off we go onto a sealed 747 that will double as a petri dish for spreading the new virus. Weee! In all seriousness though, you will never see this guy at Hotel Quarantine. When I went to the front desk to find out if my lab results came back, the said, “If you haven’t been carted off to a hospital by now, you can be pretty sure your results were negative.” Makes sense to me.


Follow Mike Su on Twitter to see his status @biggiesu

Mike Su is an ‘ABC’ working and living in LA. He skipped the Japan part of the trip because he still holds a grudge about Nanking. He thinks I (Larry Chiang) am retarded for getting brain washed into thinking that Pearl Harbor never happened. I believe the propaganda and think WWII was all fictitious and that the US just wanted to drop the A-bomb for no reason on Tokyo.


Written by Larry Chiang

December 11, 2009 at 8:33 pm

Posted in business School

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