FTP Hacked!

Somehow my FTP password was hacked and this bit of JavaScript was inserted into all of the index.php files that run this site!

I found out through this email from Google – glad they told me as otherwise I may not have known!


Apparently this hack is a virus which uses stolen FTP password information then injects this bit of code to pages on the server without you realising it.  Where they got my password from I’m not sure, though I suspect it might have been my old work machine.  :reallypissed:

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Pros and Cons

Having worked in an office environment for almost a year, I have come to fully appreciate how much better your quality of life can be working in different environments each day.  Not just stuck indoors, at a desk, looking at a screen most of the day.  Being around  different people and having the freedom to choose how you approach your daily life does have its advantages.

I guess I am in a better position now to reflect upon these things, I guess strangely what’s best about this is that having the experience gives you the chance to put  things into a perspective that others don’t have; helps you see things in another light.

I spent almost 3 years teaching English in China full or part time and it was one of the most interesting and rewarding things I’ve ever done. At times it was tough, frustrating and difficult, but overall I still beleive it’s a positive thing to do if you ever get the chance.

Saying this,  teaching is an incredibly tiring thing to do. It is not like a desk-job – you have to constantly be on the ball and the amount of speaking/exertion of energy is quite high, which can really drain you.

I would say that it is more tiring than the 7am-7pm day I  have at the moment, even with all the commuting.

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Been working hard. Time has been going so fast recently, have got into the 9-5 routine which isn’t great, but the work is good at least.

Still find myself taking pictures of London walking to work, at lunch and coming home even though I Spend most of my time in an office looking out over the Thames.


Kind of feel a bit like a tourist at times, anyway…


  Wrote this rant a couple of weeks ago in response to some of the stuff been shown on TV and in cyberspace –

What a total joke the torch relay is.

I was in London as the torch procession went through, and I was appalled at how big a police operation was needed just to let 1 person carry a rather small torch through a stupidly long route of 31 miles around London.

Politics aside, whoever made the go-ahead for this torch-relay through London should be out of a job.

It apparently cost the UK taxpayer 1 million pounds (1400wan) just for the policing operation – money which I pay was spent on this is a total disgrace.

Perhaps the bill could be sent to the organising committee of the Beijing Games – why should my tax go into such an event???

The government here is so afraid of upsetting the Chinese government viz-a-viz the Olympics simply because the 2012 Olympics is here in London. They realise that any action taken by them that is seen to be negative by the Chinese, will probably result in tit-for-tat reprisals in 4 years time. How pathetic. It’s only a sporting event – if anything else caused so much fuss and budget overun they would cancel the event, but because it’s the Olympics every rational thought is removed from the equation.

Personally I don’t care what anybody ‘thinks’- it’s a simple question of wasting taxpayers money on an un-necessary and pointless event.

 I have the feeling that this is the tip of the iceberg and that this is just the beginning of billions of pound of taxpayers money being thrown into the Olympic black-hole. No-body really actually know the full price of hosting such an event, or whether it is finanically a goer – the only certainty is that those that run the Olympic movement -the IOC (an unaccountable bribe-taking group of degenerates) – are lining their own pockets.

I don’t believe why many people that say sport and politics are separate – who are they kidding?

I can only think they must be incredibly naive/bordering moronic. When you have people representing their respective countries in an international event then the two will inevitably overlap.

Personally I don’t actually understand why there is a torch relay anyway? Apparently It’s a tradition started by Hitler and the Nazis in the wartime Olympics- so why is it still continued??

I think the answer is that the people behind the Olympics – the very powerful and corrupt IOC – think that the greater the publicity and build-up to the event, the more money can be made though endorsements and merchandise and the like. It’s all about corporate business being able to associate their name with the globally recognised olympic brand and make more money through exploiting this.


At the torch relay in London there were Beijing Olympic flags being given out and these long blow-up tube things that are used to make loud noises when hit together. On the reverse side of the flags wasn’t the Olympic logo, or even the Chinese flag but a large black image saying – SAMSUNG…

For those particularly nationalistic Chinese that think the Olympics is about China’s coming of age from it’s ‘peaceful rise’ – my opinion is that is only a footnote.

It’s more about western big business having a platform to advertise to a massive -as-of-yet, un-tapped market. To publicise and market it’s brands to the 1.6 billion Chinese that present a massive business opportunity in the next few years. To put this into perspective – there are about 300 million people in the US and about 500 million in the whole EU – the potential in China is massive.

I believe It’s also about those powerful people that run China doing deals and making lots and lots of money on the back of the Olympic brand. The whole nationalistic idea is a smokescreen for the true purpose of the games. Oh yes and there is a sporting event too.

I am not anti-China, It is great that somewhere like China has the chance to host such an event that It has never had the chance to host before.

If people in 4 years criticised the British government about some human rights abuses and there were protests at the London games, I can bet you that British people would not necessarily see it as a slur on their country and national identity as the Chinese have.

Here the government is separate from the identity of the country; in China it is not. To a huge extent, the communist party is China – you say something bas about the Communists then you are a threat to China.

It’s interesting reading some of the stuff you see in the UK Press about China – it almost all has negative connotations. Very few positive stories make the cut. Is this because there is are no good things to report in China? – of course not, but those are usually not so interesting stories for the viewers- plus news shown on TV here is usually negative by nature.   Just watching the BBC the other day the lead story was that ‘China is now the World’s biggest polluter’.

The coverage was ever so melodramatic, as if a milestone has been passed and that the end of the world is near and through implication China is now to blame for the most of it.   Yes the Chinese are big polluters, but the west has been doing it for more than half a century. 

For me this story was re-hashed old news and I don’t see how it could be justified as the top story on the evening news – so its no wonder when you talk to a westerner about China the first words they say are words like pollution, power-stations or human rights.

I think that people generally believe what they are fed on the news or at least subconsciously absorb the information without thinking about it. Just as the people in China are fed a news-diet of censored government propaganda, in the UK the news organisations also have their own agendas. The problem is that if a story has a potential to be sensationalised and people can relate to it through images, then it sells more papers, gets more viewers. And that’s what the bottom line is.

I’ve read lots of Chinese news sites showing articles with Chinese people getting annoyed about what’s been shown on CNN, the way it’s been sensationalised and some of the particularly dull commentary made by it’s journalists. I think Chinese people have to realise that CNN is simply sensationalising the story in order to capture more viewers/ appeal to their viewership (ie. lowest common denominator /not very thinking people ((mostly Americans in this case)) ) – something that American news channels do as a matter of course.

This is nothing new.

Just as the Chinese press is far from impartial so is the UK press – the difference is that when bad things are said about the UK by the Chinese press, people in the UK really don’t care;

People even show their nationalism throughMSN Whereas in China people are much more nationalistic and proud and therefore more sensitive to criticism (right or wrong) of the state and see it as an affront to the dignity of Chinese people. In the west we are used to hearing bad things said all the time about our country, In China you are you not.

This is in-part due to people in mainland China only ever reading and viewing what the government wants them to read/see i.e never any bad news about the Communist party – unless it’s scapegoating an individual as a means to show how the party is weeding out those so called bad apples!

There is also a slightly sinister side to this I think; when the political might of the Communist party gets behind the whole ‘China’ issue and propagates it’s view of the situation to the people.  The Chinese are very fast to jump on the bandwagon – and I would have to say If the object of their derision is non-Chinese (i.e foreigners) It is very easy to whip-up those people into nationalistic frenzy.

I witnessed this kind of reactionary behaviour during the Japanese textbook row erupted a couple of years ago. Many Chinese were incensed and threatened boycotts of Japanese goods and all sorts of other punitive actions-  But what actually happened was nothing. When it came to the crunch people were not willing to fore-go their JVCs and Toyotas.

The whole Tibet argument is not something new, it has been around for decades. Everybody in the west knows about China and it’s human-rights recordm- this is also old news.

My opinion is that this is not as clear-cut as many of the protesters like to make out, bad things go on in all countries – just they are better at keeping it secret in the west.  In my opinion  western governments have very little moral high ground, if any at all to lecture the Chinese.

It is only now that the stuff in the Chinese media has started to show less towards foreigners and more direction it at the ‘dalai clique’ (who incidentally don’t even want independence for Tibet, simply the ability to run their own affairs within a region of China like Hong Kong) – even the communists know that it’s western business that makes the Olympics what it is, and for all it’s rhetoric, Beijing wants a smooth Olympics at all costs.

There is a problem that I think the Chinese authorities have with the Olympics – for all the great economic and social achievement over the last 20 years, China is still miles behind when it comes to liberty, the rule of law, freedom of speech and ultimately, human rights. In a sense it has developed socially and economically but not politically – within China this poses no real problem but to some in the West this poses serious issues.

The huge irony in seeing so many pro-china protesters (mostly rich Chinese students) on the streets of London the other day, is that in this country (for now at least!) you are allowed to protest, to show your opinion peacefully – even if the government does not agree with it.  In China you cannot.

Contracts 合同 Part 2 – Bad Contract

Here are some of the more important parts of a particuarly bad contract that I once signed with Star Education – It’s bad but not the most unfair contract I’ve seen in China. Most teaching contracts are set out in a similar fashion to this and do I hope this can be of help to anyone who wishes to sign a contract to teach in China.

In the contracts there’s all sorts of waffle that really isn’t so important to you, most of it is there as it’s government policy to put these things into work contracts.

Below is taken from the annex or the part of a contract that is written by the host institution (i.e a company/language centre), not the government SAFEA booklet as that’s standard accross China and only used by mainly public universities and colleges.


This is a real trick that could get you into a lot of difficulty with a dishonest employer. Usually you should ALWAYS have the amount of hours you work PER WEEK – and state that what exactly a week is i.e. – Monday to Friday.

Having hours per month means that you will probably have different class times each week, no real fixed schedule. It will mean lots of travelling between schools and will kill your free time.

The employer will say that 20 hours a week = 80 Hours a month, If so then why not put 20 hours per week into the contract not 80 hours per month?

The worst thing is that if you only get paid if you work all of the hours in the contract (i.e handing in timesheets) , and if the company you work for can’t give you all the hours – for whatever reason – you will not get paid fully.   Also if the company says you must work 60 hours this week to make up all of the hours you are meant to work in a month, you have to do it – essentially it puts lots of strain on your time


It is in the employers interest to have contract that specify monthly hours, not yours. It is a practice used by farming companies and some private schools.


This is too general, try to get it narrowed down to exactly what you will be teaching. I.e oral English, English writing or whatever it may be.

Again far to broad. Changchun – although not a big city in China – still has about 7 million people living there.  Also the way the Chinese designate their cities through the various sprawling districts, you could end up working 40km away from the city centreitself as it’s still classed as Changchun.  I once worked an hours coach trip from the centre of Changchun in a place called shuangyang (双阳)which is still considered part of Changchun by the government.

This means that you may have one class in the east of the city in the morning and anoter in the west in the afternoon.  You’ll have no time for lunch because it will take you all the time to get there.  You may have to take a taxi because the buses take too much time and and the end of a days work you may have made very little and be totally exhausted.

Try to get the locations fixed, the names of campuses, buildings if possible.  If you have to work elsewhere – get transport (i.e taxi) paid for – good schools will have no problem doing this.   


Again get it as specific as possible unless you don’t mid teaching all ages.


This is a trick clause and should be removed from all contracts before signing.   Bsaically what it is telling you is that the company/school probably can’t get you enough classes  and so don’t want to pay you all of your salary.   It puts you in a very diffcult position if the employer has no work for you, as you are still employed by them but are not being paid!   A good employer will never have anything like this in it’s contract, if you see it in an initail contract it’s a big red flag.  Avoid.


So leading on from the previous point, when you dont work 80 hours a month you will only be paid pro-rata at 62 an hour.  This is very bad indeed.  Furthermore as most classes last 40 or 45 minutes you will only be paid 42 or 47 yuan per class.   If a class is cancelled (as they often are) you will  have to make up the hours in your free time. 

 To put this in perspective, I know Chinese English teachers who make more than this per hour and they work far fewer classes a week.

Good organisations do not do this.  A class, whether it be 30 mins, 40, 45, 50 or 1 hour is classed as a teaching hour.   Again, if you see this in a contract – run.

4.3, 4.4

 Repeats the above condition. Just remember, why would an employer put a clause like this into a contract?  What are his/her motives?   It certainly isn’t in the interest of his employees… 

You get paid  for the months classes, so if you start mid-month, will only get 2 weeks pay.  Basic meaning is that you will be paid in arrears.   Universities don’t pay in arrears, they pay on a fixed date (usually the 15th) and the pay is for the full month.

 Agreeing to this could cause you to lose half a months pay – as you may never see the pay for the arrears worked.   

Your overtime will be paid at 80 yuan an hour – but only if it exceeds 80 hours a month.  So if you have only worked 70 hours in the month, there is nothing stopping your employer making you work 10 hours in one day and you will not see any overtime.

This clause protects the employer from ever paying overtime to his employees, he/she will give the work to those people that have not made up 80 hours a month rather than pay over time.   Incidently, overtime is always paid at a miniumum of 100 Yuan an hour and personally I wouldn’t put this into the contract.  I would deal with any overtime as it comes, on case-by-case basis, and negotiate at the actual time.  I have been paid 200 yuan an hour for some jobs, It depends on the actual situation. 


 No holiday or vacation pay.  Very bad indeed, everyone should get paid for at least the October and May holidays.  And make up the classes missed.   No winter vacation pay, so will have at least 2 months where there is very little work available and no guaranteed income.  Unless you moonlight. 


Probably the most straight forward part of the contract, you get 800 Yuan for rent each month.  This is extra to your salary and you get it each month regardless of how many hours you work.  800 really isn’t enough to get a decent apartment in central Changchun, for that you need more like 1500 yuan a month.   

Actually I was told that this 800 would not be paid to me as the company had no classes for me – and so I wouldn’t be teaching for 2 months – As you can see that is basides the point, I get this regardless of how much I work.  This eventually led me to perform a runner from the company as it was my only prudent choice of action at the time. 


Note the wording ‘fulfill the contract’ this can be misconstrued and twisted by any employer.  Get dates i.e. 31st July 2007 will get paid …. for  Flight ticket – this leaves no ambiguities.  Also only from Beijing, you still have to get to Changchun.  Wihout discount that’s another 2000 Yuan to your ticket price.  To be honest to get to the UK from Changchun return, if you include all transport costs is 7000+.      

The final passage is next to meaningless as it says should not, which in legal documents means nothing whatsoever.


Again badly worded, can be misconstrued.  Get exact pay dates into the contract.


This is potentially disasterous for the teacher.  If a school re-schedules, you MUST obey any class shifting – even if you are only given 30 mins notice.  This should never be agreed to, it must be reasonable.


Standard government stuff, but is far to sweeping and needs to be tidied-up.  Not to enagage in any mass activities is far too excessive – you could argue that by signing this you cannot teach as that in itself is a mass activity!   😉  


Ignore, not important – almost all contracts have something like this in it.  Just don’t tell party A,  but make sure other work does not clash with one this work. 


Ignore.  Just dont tell them, it’s  none of their business what you choose to do in your free time.  They are trying to cover themselves if you get hurt or injured whilst not working as technically as an employer they are vicariously liable for you.

It's a secret!!It's a secret!!10.4

Designed to scare you more than anything else.   I highly doubt whether this is based on actual fact, but to be honest it’s not important.  You have to ask the rhetorical question – Why would somebody ‘ sudden disappearance/departure of party B from his or her post’ ?

Clearly they have had problems previously and are trying to scare people into not running from a contract that has been dishonoured by the employer.   In my experience people don’t just run for no reason.  Some are home sick and leave very soon after arriving in China, but most do it because their employer is screwing them/going to screw them.