Shanghai Gov't Establishes Department of Laowai Outreach, Addresses Laowai Concerns

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Friday, April 01, 2016 

under Culture

The Shanghai Municipal Authority announced today their commitment to addressing the pressing concerns of Shanghai expats with the cooperation of the newly-established Department of Lăowài Outreach.


“I’m thrilled to be heading this new initiative,” said newly-appointed department head Hēi Ànrén (黑暗人) to a crowd of reporters during the press-conference, “and I’d like to let all of our lăowài friends know that we’ve heard you.”


“We’ve heard everything you’ve said,” he continued after a short pause.


Hēi, who often switched between British-English and French mid-sentence without seeming to realize, explained that for years, the shadow department was just him sitting in a dark, windowless room, listening to thousands of hours of bar conversations recorded by concealed microphones placed in packs of Zhōngnánhǎi 8s and 5s. After nearly a decade, he has constructed a presentable data model for the most common and pressing Shanghai expat issues, thus earning him and his department funding, visibility, and a special honorary mention during the annual party meeting in Beijing.


“After years and years of listening to the same complaints occurring over and over again, I realized that the respected members of our expat community can make a major contribution to the improvement of our beloved city,” Hēi continued, leafing through a report the size of a telephone directory, and with a great number of folded corners and colored bookmarks.


“I mean, look at some of these, here’s one we recorded last month, ‘why is the metro so crowded, why can’t they have metros more than once every three minutes?’ Genius. Pure genius.

PICTURE: Boris Johnson's private concerns about people taking pictures of him on the metro were not specifically addressed


“Or this one, here’s a good one, ‘why don’t they make honking the horn so much illegal,’ or this one, 'why don't they ban unsanitary street stalls.' We’ve never thought to do that, this is exactly the kind of insightful advice we want to do more with going forward.”


Stumbling across a particularly bright red page marker, Hēi stopped and exclaimed, “Oh, and the spitting. The spitting! We’ve got a treat for you here. Based on an excellent suggestion made by a gentleman outside Kulou around 2 am this morning, I’m thrilled to announce that a new kind of Sidewalk Pollution Interdiction Technology is currently under development which we think will satisfy our foreign friends.”


Hēi brought up a projector and clicked through some images of pavement. “Looks like a regular sidewalk, yeah?” he said, pausing again for dramatic effect. “But it spits back at you!

PICTURE: Expectoration Specialist Chen explains the science behind the anti-spit sidewalk.

“Genius. Pure genius. Never would have thought of it in a million years. And believe me, we think in terms of millions of years.”


The press conference ended with Hēi promising to energetically pursue his dream of establishing an elite policy think-tank of twenty-something expats to fix China’s economy, education policy and gender imbalance, as soon as he hears back from his agent about how many visas he’s allowed to sponsor.


[EDIT: Happy April Fool's Day]