My New Zealand

The first online series in Chinese, for Chinese, by a Kiwi

Author: Simon

Why I wear a hat

(This was originally published on my WeChat Official Account in September 2016. I hope it inspires you to “wear your own hat”!) A lot of people ask me… Simon, why do you wear a hat? I answer, why don’t you wear a hat? I’m serious. Why not? For men, 50 years ago, everybody wore a hat. It was standard. Normal.…

Why I should and shouldn’t get into politics

Why I should get into politics: * I’m a typical far right extreme centre neo-Marxist, really clear on my policy positions. I guess that makes me extremely centrist. * I’m well-versed. I’m a big fan of the writings of Marx, especially Groucho. People ask me if I’m of the Keynesian economic school, I said yeah I’m keen as but I…

Why learn Chinese? A few reasons

(This continues from yesterday’s blog post) So there’s a way to learn Chinese … but why learn it? It’s funny, I get asked this question a lot … by Chinese people! It seems they don’t realise just how important their country has become. Meanwhile, in the west, it seems we are becoming more aware of the importance of China –…

Mandarin for Lazy Learners: A taste

This is embarrassing. For about a year (a YEAR!) I’ve been planning to write the book on how I learned (am learning) mandarin Chinese through social media. It’s got the attention of a lot of people, and I think there’s a market for it. So, I’m finally putting virtual pen to virtual paper. And I’m going to share bits and…

Back from China

My trip to China (March 24-April 9) was amazing. I visited 5 cities in 18 days, and along the way met business contacts and friends. The cities I visited were: Guangzhou – food, casual clothes, humidity, and a down-to-earth personality Shenzhen – money, technology, fashion, and not many people (I was there on a public holiday!) Beijing – cold, crowded…

Simon goes to China: March 24- April 9

It’s 12 days (and 11 hours) till I get on the plane for Guangzhou, China where I’ll be speaking at this conference. Why is the British Government flying a New Zealander to China? I guess because I had something to say at last year’s Education New Zealand conference, where I questioned the business model of education, and suggested everyone make…

Why Social Media is dangerous … and amazing

We’re living in the age of the Invisible Revolution … and revolutions aren’t always nice. This particular revolution has given power to anyone articulate enough to gather like-minded people behind them. Included in that is people with an axe to grind, or just out to break the rules. That’s the case with many schools “OMG Confessions” pages, which are popping…

Are your Facebook friends really friends?

Turns out Kiwis are becoming more sociable on Facebook – our average friend count has gone up in the last year. Does this mean we’re getting more friendly? Not necessarily. The NZ Herald’s Moana Tapaleao asked me whether Facebook is becoming a bigger part of our life, and whether people are making “Facebook-only” friends or just people they know in…

Trading your personal gold

We all have talents and skills that are like gold. And just like gold, it’s not always obvious how to make it useful for you. If you had a gold bar, you probably couldn’t get a McDonalds happy meal for it. Or most other things on the main street. You’d have to find a gold dealer, someone who a) sees…