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A Letter From China
This is a brief links page to a series of letters we have written regarding life in China.

We are pleased to welcome Cynthia Muak to our growing team of contributors, who relates Mainland Chinese and Hong Kong times from the beginning of 'Openness':
Cynthia Muak
Dawn Edmonds
Denis Pavett
Jim Chenoweth
Jonno Morris
Mandarin House Present: - Chinese Corners

A Letter From China is an infrequent, irreverent, and irrelevant missive concerning whatever we care to write about. They usually highlight the differences in thinking and culture between East and West, as echoed by observation of the local streets we walk upon in everyday life. However, it is always the local people we meet, and the crazy things that happen - that make these letters so interesting

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A Letter From China:
By Jonno:

Jonno is a British expat who has lived in Guangdong since 2004. He is married to a Cantonese girl and they have one daughter. Many of Jonno's letters show the differences in thinking between western and oriental life, often summed up by the phrase 'Here is China!'

Jonno's Latest:
Foreigners Abroad (17 Pages)  

Jonno has not added new content for some time, due to publishing his books. He will return with several catch-up missives over summer 2016.

Cynthia Muak
Cynthia offers a foreigner's view of China in the decades before and following 'Openness'. Much has changed since, and much has not; her experiences are extremely interesting and lead one to deeper understanding, and especially how these affected her life in Hong Kong.

Cynthia's 'Wonders of China' is now complete, and reflects China as expats know the country. These stories are very readable, a must for those interested in Chinese history and culture. Read: The Wonders of China, Part OneImage saying 'new'

Letters Listing:

Foreigners Abroad - December 2015 (17 Pages)

Foreigners Abroad (17 Pages)

Jonno reveals the complexities of his visa applications for 2014 and 2015, with the added conundrum of renewing his passport in between.

This missive also has tones of the previous, as travelling and waiting for something to happen feature frequently.

This Letter also features heading links for ease of use.

Hanging Around - September 2015 (10 Pages)

Hanging Around - September 2015 (10 Pages)

Jonno describes a posh wedding he and the family attended in late January 2015. The day included two meals of one-hour duration, three hours travelling, and the rest was spent: Waiting.

Dave's Visit - January 2015 (10 Pages)

Dave's Visit (7 Pages)

Jonno catches up with his old friends Dave and Candy, when the former visits Foshan.

This longer missive will delight those who prefer a tale filled with anecdotes and local trivia, accompanied by great humour. Amongst other things, we discover what boys get up to when there are no girls around.

Christmas 2014 - December 2014 (4 Pages)

Christmas 2014 (4 Pages)

A light-hearted missive in which Jonno resolves his ongoing toilet problems; of hardware in nature, not personal. He also relates publishing his first two books, but only so far with Kindle, as he has been waiting over 5-weeks for his ISBN numbers. Subsequently, he has some words for the UK's only ISBN agency, Nielsen; a company that is definitely need competition.

The tale winds up with culinary delights regards Rhiannon's Fifth Birthday, the visit by Santa, and a Christmas dinner that was a tad unusual. Bound to bring a smile to even Ebenezer Scrooge.

Secrets - November 2014 (4 Pages)

Secrets (4 Pages)

This missive relates the secret life of a father and daughter, revealing facts of life that remain hidden from the matriarchs of the family; or so we think.

Part of this update on our small lives relates to Siu Ying's Birthday party, and the disappearance of a restaurant we loved to visit. Here is China!

The Human Condition - October 2014 (4 Pages)

The Human Condition (4 Pages)

This short letter tells of recent Chinese festivals; Moon Festival, and Golden Week marking Chinese National Day. I reflect upon how this affects our daily routines, and Rhiannon's education.

For readers interested in the normal, everyday life of Cantonese people, this reveals how we live it.

Rhiannon Goes To School - September 2014 (5 Pages)

Rhiannon Goes To School (5 Pages)

Regular readers of this column may recall we tried Rhiannon with kindergarten two years ago, but she was way too young. We looked seriously at it last year, but the Head said it was better to wait a year, and offered us a place for her in 12-months time. This has since come to pass.

On the 26th August I watched from above, as ‘Mummy-ah’, took our daughter to school for the first time...

Renovating Our New Home - August 2014 (7 Pages)

Renovating Our New Home in China (7 Pages)

This missive picks up from the last, and details the refurbishment of an older Chinese apartment, moving in, and also what we had done to it. One of the things highlighted are the unusual and quirky solutions to simple problems, as expounded regards the general plumbing and new hot water system.

The kitchen was completely remodelled, and the gap filled to separate bedrooms two and three once more. Siu Ying's solution was ingenious and highly practicable. Readers should find this missive highly entertaining, although Jonno cautions you not to try this at home in the West!

A Home of Our Own - July 2014 (7 Pages)

Buying an apartment in China (7 Pages)

Buying the new home was simple, if an exercise in Oriental bureaucracy. The only difficult bit was getting all the cash together to buy the gaff; then lugging it around unknown streets in plastic carrier bags; ludicrous!

My Stay in a Chinese Hospital - June 2014 (10 Pages)

How I survived Hospitalisation in China (10 Pages)

Most of us whine and bicker about the standard of healthcare offered in our home countries. Jonno discovers that Chinese healthcare is actually far superior to that currently provided in UK—find out why?.

One Night in Guangzhou - September 2012 (18 Pages)

One Night in Guangzhou (18 Pages)

This missive continues from the one above, but can be read as a stand-alone.

The first half is devoted to moving apartment, which is also picked up again at the end of the story. Between lies a colourful description of a visit to Guangzhou and meeting up with Jim for a boy's night out.

Visa Nightmares Revisited! - August 2012 (21 Pages)

Visa Nightmares Revisited! (21 Pages)

An unabridged version of the trials and tribulations of renewing a visa in China. The process takes about 2-weeks, and is littered with surprises and unexpected trivia. Jonno has done this twice before, but for the very first time he is doing it all on his own - will he manage to complete the process without his wife's assistance?

Computer Keyboards - July 2012 (7 Pages)

Tempus Fugit - Computer Keyboards (7 Pages)

Jonno on form with this lighthearted look at the functionality of the modern keyboard, a device that has remained the same since the pre-history of computers. He simply asks the question: WHY?

This missive is the first to include both Comments powered by Disqus, and a Lightbox that can be used as a slideshow gallery.

Jonno also apologises to his loyal readers for lack of recent missives. He has been busy: has completed the third book of his science fantasy/fiction double trilogy, Star Gazer. He has also just finished Frac / tured, a book of teenage dystopia, which is action-packed from the first word to the last. He has other missives to complete and upload here, before beginning his fifth book - destined to become notorious, infamous even; and all based in facts of life of modern UK = Today.

Whole - January 2012 (2 Pages)

Whole (2 Pages)

A very short story about a hole in the pavement, but one that carries a message for the discerning reader.

I have no idea where this came from, but I recorded it for posterity: and here it is.

3G or Not 3G: - December 2011 (1 Page)

3G or Not 3G: December 2011 (1 Page)

This is a modern take on The Bards first soliloquy from Hamlet.

Perhaps today these may have been the words he immortally penned? I wrote this as an initial parody from memory of the Great man's work, before bowing to the original; included.


A Visit with Uncle Sam - August 2011 (6 Pages)

A Visit with Uncle Sam - August 2011 (6 Pages)

Jonno on top form with this interesting missive about a day out to see an old friend, and visit to old haunts including the home he used to live in. Initially the the puncture delay puts them back on time, but the long and winding way home is far more than either of our two intrepid explorers can bother to stay awake for!

Chinese Health Examination - August 2011 (4 Pages)

Chinese Health Examination - August 2011 (4 Pages)

Jonno chooses one day between a stubborn cold leaving and a lung infection arriving to go for his first Chinese medical. Apart from coming out 2-inches shorter than when he went in, the results are fine and allow him to apply for his first ever Chinese Residency or 'D' visa.

This missive is more a factual account for other Expats, rather than a humorous synopsis in his usual style.

Invasion of 'The Dan Fong' - July 2011 (6 Pages)

Invasion of 'The Dan Fong' - July 2011 (6 Pages)

Jonno is very quick to realise that not all things that invade their Chinese home from time to time are without personal threat.

The Dan Fong claim many innocent lives each year, but Jonno and his family survive to tell the tale ... although one large and feisty crab remains at large somewhere within their apartment.

Timeline - June 2011 (12 Pages)

Timeline - June 2011 (12 Pages)

Jonno writes about the first 6-months of 2011 for those unfortunate souls who enjoy reading about his pleasures and misadventures. You may come to wonder whether life in China or life within their home is the more chaotic and amusing!

Vilma's Visit - April 2011 (5 Pages)

Vilma's Visit - April 2011 (5 Pages)

Vilma contacted me in 2010 simply because she was searching for her ancestral home town - Gao Gong, or the place where I used to live at that time. Her Grandparents married in the town, and then moved to the States and Costa Rica circa 1918.

This story relates to her recent visit and our first meeting.

Eason's Wedding- March 2011 (7 Pages)

Eason's Wedding- March 2011 (7 Pages)

I could not allow the event of my best friends wedding to pass by unmentioned - so if you ever wanted to know what a Chinese wedding is like, then this letter is for you.

Wasabi - January 2011 (1 Page)

Wasabi - January 2011 (1 Pages)

Total 'Nonsense' from a master storyteller - I never laughed so much in my life!

The Doctors Visit - January 2011 (4 Pages)

The Doctor Pays a Home Call - January 2011 (4 Pages)

Jonno survives New Year and then has a worsening foot problem that leaves him unable to walk, let alone make it to the local hospital 200 yards away (At Street level). He describes a Home Visit by a local Doctor which is excellent and takes 25 minutes:
From first phone call, through diagnosis and treatment, medicines administered, and prescriptions filled and left for use - to discharge = 25 minutes total!

He later questions why this level of excellent service is not nowadays available in the West?

The Ghost's of Christmas Passed - December 2010 (7 Pages)

The Ghost's of Christmas Passed - December 2010 (7 Pages)

Jonno back on top form with this most interesting missive that grows evermore more funnier as it progresses. First he recounts the ghosts of Christmas Passed in China, before telling us what this Christmas Day was like - very different from your own no doubt!

Toisan Times - December 2010 (7 Pages)

Toisan Times - December 2010 (7 Pages)

Informative series of diary entries about living as a mixed family in a modern Chinese City. The tone is more an update and sees Jonno looking back over several months and explaining more about his unusual life where he is working to help Vilma in Costa Rica and Ezaz from Norway.

The Force of Gravity - September 2010 (3 Pages)

The Force of Gravity - September 2010 (3 Pages)

Jonno on superb form with this excellent and short missive about 'Wibbly-Wobbly Jelly'; sometimes also known as Quantum Theory, or a Babies view of the world.

Never laughed so much in ages!

A Visit to See the Doctor - September 2010 (4 Pages)

A Visit to See the Doctor - September 2010 (4 Pages)

The gallant family is beset by 'Chinese Eye Flu' which is nowhere near life threatening, but a pretty miserable experience. Our intrepid explorers head-out in search of local Chinese medical facilities, with excellent results. If you want to know how local Chinese medical facilities actually work, then this is a good one.

Meanwhile Siu Ying gathers up a load of vine-like leaves from some waste ground and cooks up a soup never destined for the tables of the rich and famous. However: It works!

Summer in the City - September 2010 (7 Pages)

Summer in the City - September 2010 (7 Pages)

One of Jonno's most popular recent missives where he returns to earlier themes and recounts more about his crazy life in China. In particular he first condemns his mobile phone, and spends much of the rest going on about computers. We would give this one a miss, except he somehow lets us know about life in China

The missive finishes with him back with his beloved pc, and he then discoveries his wife is a midnight-snacker for English bread with chilli sauce. Nothing else - just bread and chilli sauce - but it is a cultural breakthrough.

We also learn that Nonni is now talking, as we ponder the deeper meanings of her favourite phrase: “aurjah, da da da da da, eiyeio”. Jonno thinks this is very important...

Visa Nightmares - September 2010 (7 Pages)

Visa Nightmares - September 2010 (7 Pages)

Since early 2007, or 1-year before the Beijing Olympics, Chinese visa's have become a nightmare for long-term foreign residents in China. This missive details Jonno's visa nightmares, and also includes renewing a passport in Hong Kong + staying local with a Filipino family group; and focus's on a visa policy that changed every 15 days for several years, without prior warning.

Near the bottom of this missive Jonno describes how the new 'Family Visit Visa' has dramatically altered his life + he explains in detail how he got one.

This letter is primarily intended for other Expats suffering similar circumstances, although general readers may find it enlightening for different reasons.

Boys and Motorbikes - September 2010 (5 Pages with Pictures)

Boys and Motorbikes - September 2010 (5 Pages with Pictures)

This missive departs from the common theme and finds a young Jonno learning all about motorcycles with his teenage partners in crime: Ian Brown, Poly, Rex Rees, Roger Farmer, Jeoff Peck, Pete Harrop, Woody ... and many others.

Highlights include:

  • Seeing if a Messerschmitt 3-wheeler will actually go as fast backwards as it does forwards? (It does ... but becomes a tad unstable around 50mph).
  • A Matchless G9 500cc single that catches fire all the time; a Squariel with chair, a B24, and a Velocette MAC. Later Poly's BSA Rocket with 'ape hangers', a Bantum with Villiers 200cc engine welded in place, and a Lambretta scooter all join the fray.
  • Learning how to drive in a split-screen Morris Minor convertible.
  • A standing quarter mile contest for all contraptions - held in a field 460 yards long = sometimes 'boys' are very stupid! Fortunately the hedge survived after we put out the fire...
Toisan Gaff Video Walkthrough - August 2010 (Short Page + Video)

Toisan Gaff Video Walkthrough - August 2010 (Short Page + Video)

Very short page dedicated to making a video of their new apartment available online. Jonno takes us on a tour of their new home with commentary - taken with his stupid mobile device. Very interesting if you want to actually see real life in China today.

This 11 minute video has been nicely reduced in size so downloads easily, and can be watched in virtually any browser.

Moving Along - August 2010 (4 Pages)

Moving Along - August 2010 (4 Pages)

This missive relates to Jonno's life and his habit of changing homes very often - which we gather is mainly through circumstances and not from choice.This mini-biographical work centres on the last eight years, and the nine homes he has lived in during that time.

Perhaps more importantly, we learn about 'Chinese Contracts'; what they are really worth, and how they can be applied. Westerners often view 'A Contract' as being something definitive, whereas many Chinese appear to see these as simply an agreed place to begin (changing the rules).

Thor's Hammer - July 2010 (6 Pages)

Thor's Hammer - July 2010 (6 Pages)

This missive finds Jonno in fine form regaling us first with the unseasonable thunderstorms, as he explains what the days of the week really mean. This is accompanied by a flooded apartment which has wooden faced MDF floors throughout. Ouch!

He then waxes lyrical about Ireland and goes on to explain what a third cousin thrice removed could mean - not something most of us can easily comprehend.

Later guests arrive to spend the night, and we take in 'Chinese Tea', which is basically a posh style of traditional Chinese restaurant. An entertaining missive, both instructional and funny in places.

The Elephant in the Corner - June 2010 (5 Pages)

The Elephant in the Corner - June 2010 (5 Pages)

This missive picks up from the last and details the move into the new apartment and settling into different surroundings. Everything is well except for 'The Elephant in The Corner', which eventually brings tears to their eyes and great suddenness to their family.

Exodus - June 2010 (17 Pages)

Exodus - June 2010 (17 Pages)

Jonno and Siu Ying find a lovely apartment in Toisan and plan their move, which is set for around Monday 24th June. Fate conspired to keep Jonno busy during the week before as he first attends 'Bad Boys' wedding in Foshan, and then has to go to Hong Kong for yet another visa. In between we learn what E=MC2 means regarding boys eating beans on toast with extra chilli sauce.

Jonno then enjoys a hilarious time in Hong Kong before returning to finish packing the island home. We leave this missive with them finally en route to their new home ... to be continued.

Family Life in The Village - May 2010 (7 Pages)

Family Life in The Village - May 2010 (7 Pages)

Returning to his wife's parental home to spend time with his daughter, Jonno describes the daily life of the family and neighbours - as observed over the course of several visits. We learn about the roles of men and women in rural China, that kindergartens teach 3-year olds' English, and that Yee Lo now has a fish business.

Whilst not one of his funniest missives, it offers an extraordinary look at the lives of one rural community. We leave with Siu Ying looking for an apartment for them in Toisan, as Jonno decides the time is right for them all to live as a family of three again.

Tree Frogs - April 2010 (2 Pages)

Tree Frogs - April 2010 (2 Pages)

A short ramble about combating an invasion of Tree Frogs.

Qing Ming - March 2010 (15 Pages)

Qing Ming - March 2010 (15 Pages)

This interesting letter relates the Chinese traditions associated with honouring their ancestors, which is a public holiday and special event for all Chinese peoples. This is often known as either 'Grave Cleaning Day' or 'Tomb Sweeping Day'.

Travelling at Chinese New Year - Feb 2010(9 Pages)

Travelling at Chinese New Year - Feb 2010 (9 Pages)

Jonno heads for Hong Kong to renew his Chinese visa. His outward journey is easy as he uses the local ferry to Hong Kong for the first time. The return journey is a lot more tiresome. In between he recounts his experiences as told through the people he meets along the way.

Reflections - Feb 2010 (12 Pages)

Reflections - Feb 2010 (12 Pages)

This missive begins with Jonno visiting his wife and daughter in Toisan, which is spiced with great insights into the small things of life. Returning to the island he and his dog Be Loi have a new resident join their home in the form of a frog.

This missive covers the period before and through Chinese New Year and includes his landlady dropping by to honour the ancestors and replace the red bunting. Meanwhile Jonno muses on his life as a father, and ponders the future for his daughter - What will the world be like in 20 years time? Should she be British or Chinese? Should she be educated in UK or locally?

2-Days in Guangxi Province - Jan 2010 (12 Pages)

2-Days in Guangxi Province - Jan 2010 (12 Pages)

Jonno is off again on his travels, this time to neighbouring Guangxi Province for two days, most of which is spent in a car comfortable for four people - with 5 people on board.

Fortunately for him, Guangxi people all speak Cantonese. For those of you wanting to understand just how 'China' works, then this is a great place to begin.

The Christmas Present - Christmas 2009

The Christmas Present - Christmas 2009 (9 Pages)

Having survived the week above, Jonno and Siu Ying return to their island home, and ordinary lives. However, nothing remains the same in China for long, and this missive recounts the week concerning the birth of their first child: Rhiannon.

This missive is a must-read for anyone giving birth for the first time in China - and it all went very smoothly. Paul Yuan was the most helpful friend seeing our half-witted heroes through this turning point in their lives. Thank you Paul.

7 Days Before Christmas - Christmas 2009 (8 Pages)

7 Days Before Christmas - Christmas 2009 (8 Pages)

A very busy week sees Jonno back in Foshan with old friends and new comedy's of errors. But first he subjects Jim to a 'Chinese Wedding', his first.

This is probably one of Jonno's funniest missives, if only because he tells it as it actually happened, and from an immature male perspective.

32-Hours in Hong Kong - December 2009 (12 Pages)

32-Hours in Hong Kong - December 2009 (12 Pages)

A comic description of a trip to Hong Kong for a new visa. Jonno at his best with this funny missive about what life throws at the unwary. First he must travel to Guangzhou to collect his passport, before travelling to Hong Kong via Chinese Railways - a most excellent experience!

In Hong Kong he has nothing to do, so spends time at Cafe Fountaine where he meets Jim Chenoweth for the first time, an Expat who will feature in future tales.

Bandit Country - November 2009 (5 Pages)

Bandit Country - November 2009 (5 Pages)

A shorter missive describing the local town, its improvements in progress, and Siu Ying's Birthday meal. Later Jonno recounts the local restaurant and its strange toilets, whilst around life continues with gay abandon.

One interesting aspect is that because of this missive, Jonno has been contacted by Vilma who's family (nowadays living in California and Costa Rica) used to own the main Police station. He is now helping them reconnect with their ancestral roots.

The title relates to this being on the ancient Chinese border between areas controlled by the Emperor, and those of the barbarian people across the river.

Carry On Up the Restaurant - November 2009 (14 Pages)

Carry On Up the Restaurant - November 2009 (14 Pages)

Jonno continues his unique glimpses of rural Chinese island life in this hilarious missive that could not have been imagined. We begin with a windswept meal at an island restaurant so reminiscent of the classic scene from 'Carry on Up the Khyber'.

The missive becomes snapshots of island life as a series of mostly unrelated events unfold. In one, after a great evening out with friends in a nearby town, we find Jonno bewildered by a hangover whilst having the house re-wired. Later a puppy comes to share their home, whilst other events happen to them as they interact with and observe island society.

Island Life - October 2009 (16 Pages)

Island Life - October 2009 (16 Pages)

Jonno and Siu Ying settle in to life on the island and cope with an inadequate power supply. Telephone, internet broadband, and cable TV services are made available, and the house is re-wired.

Outside they both make friends within the small and enclosed local community, enjoy the pleasures of a rural peasant lifestyle which concludes with National Holidays and a troop of Cantonese Opera visiting the island for three days.

Island Ahoy! - October 2009 (20 Pages A4)

Island Ahoy! - October 2009 (20 Pages A4)

We continue this tragic tale of stunning stupidity as Jonno and Siu Ying leave Foshan and head off towards their new home on an island in the Pearl River.

Jonno's suspicions are confirmed when parking on the ferry ramp, he is assailed by driver and boss wanting to know if they are seriously expected to use the ferry. Meanwhile; Siu Ying is not speaking for some reason.

Friends then arrive to assist, and before long calamity has been replaced by total confusion. Here is China!

Island Bound - October 2009 (9 Pages)

Island Bound - October 2009 (9 Pages)

Most readers will have moved house at one time or another. Those of you who have completed these trials with planning and forethought will be confounded by just how stupid Jonno and Siu Ying were about this particular move.

The sad tale detours to reflect on issues such as teaching in China, and his good friend 'Serendipity'; before the chaos of packing home descends upon our unlikely heroes.

We leave this missive with Jonno concluding that he may be the only person who is aware they are going to live on an island in the middle of a 3-mile wide river.

Village Life in Guangdong - February 2008 (14 Pages)

Village Life in Guangdong - February 2008 (14 Pages)

This missive details the lives of ordinary rural farmers celebrating Chinese New Year in Tai Shan City, Guangdong. The village is like a time-warp compared to modern city life, but the local traditions and warm welcome make for a fascinating read.

A Christmas Letter - December 2007 (7 Pages)

A Christmas Letter - December 2007 (7 Pages)

An eventful week begins by looking back over the preceding year, giving the first time reader a good background to the present.

Jonno then describes the current week leading up to Christmas Day; which has a heavy business schedule of factory visits and a container to fill for export. Jonno's good friend and client Dave is over from UK, so the sourcing team, export team, and socialising team are all hard at work.

In between times, Jonno signs, opens and staffs a new office. He also moves home with the aid of his wife Siu Ying and family friend Tong Len. Most of this occurs during the hours of darkness. Then Jonno also spends two evening playing Santa Clause for the local restaurant, and meets up with his friend and acoustic guitarist Ng.

A Day Trip to Shenzhen, Day 1 - April 2006 (5 Pages)

A Day Trip to Shenzhen, Day 1 - April 2006 (5 Pages)

Jonno's first visit to Shenzhen was supposed to be for a business lunch meeting with directors of our jewellery company (Debonaire Gems). The plan was to sign for a shop lease in the afternoon, after which he would return to Foshan.

A Day Trip to Shenzhen, Day 2 - April 2006 (4 Pages)

A Day Trip to Shenzhen, Day 2 - April 2006 (4 Pages)

Having stayed overnight in Huizhou, Jonno experiences the calamity of Chinese planning in what turns out to be a great waste of time.

My Day in China - April 2006 (3 Pages)

My Day in China - April 2006 (3 Pages)

One crazy day that exemplifies the common expression "Here is China"!

Agency Work in Nepal - January 2006 (1 Page)

Agency Work in Nepal - January 2006 (1 Page)

A short article with focus on the obstacles faced by ordinary tour guides in Kathmandu, who go on to form their own company.

What a Week that Was!- July 2005 (10 Pages)

What a Week that Was!- July 2005 (10 Pages)

Describes a hectic and amusing week of mixed business and social situations as Jonno tries to make sense of operating a small business in China.

Destination China! - July 2004 (4 Pages)

Click to Read: Destination China! - July 2004 (4 Pages)

Details Jonno's first flight and arrival in China. Includes highlights of a jet-lagged first day and later exploring of a small town in Guangdong.

Short Story:
* Six Days in Siam (58 Pages Total)
Day 1: A Most Stupid Day - November 2010 (7 Pages)

Day 1: A Most Stupid Day - November 2010 (7 Pages)

Jonno and Siu Ying leave home at 6.45am headed off on holiday in Thailand, not realising their day will see them visit three international airports and include rides in a Transit mini bus, coach, Sea Cat Ferry and underground railway ... and that's before they finally got on the airplane!

Day 2, Bangkok & Culture - November 2010 (6 Pages)

Day 2, Bangkok & Culture - November 2010 (6 Pages)

A day spent sightseeing in Bangkok turns out to be very interesting as the default language is decided as being Cantonese. They visit some lovely places before reaching their hotel late at night, as we in the meantime discover Chinese group tours are pretty intensive things.

Day 3, The Road to Pattaya - November 2010 (8 Pages)

Day 3, The Road to Pattaya - November 2010 (8 Pages)

A frustrating day as our intrepid tourists head from one sales opportunity to the next. This is broken by some gems, such as the Tiger Sanctuary. Reaching Pattaya main street in the early evening they wave to the pretty girls (or boys?) decorating the bars, before taking a Royal Thai Massage.

After reaching their hotel around 11pm, Jonno with Siu Ying escape captivity in company with the 4 Likely Lads, and hit the local street bar on the shore.

Day 4, Pattaya Playground - November 2010 (12 Pages)

Day 4, Pattaya Playground - November 2010 (12 Pages)

The day begins with a short ride out to a floating pontoon used as a paragliding station. A Kamikaze boat ride follows before they reach the shore of a nearby island. Jonno describes the glass bottomed boat and island taxis in great style, whilst they spend a good time at the beach.

Later they visit another temple before confusion reigns at the floating market. This evening they visit a floating showboat where Siu Ying becomes a star! They finish with an excellent massage before Siu Ying buys a case full of lao lin or smelly fruit.

Day 5, Bound for Bangkok - November 2010 (11 Pages)

Day 5, Bound for Bangkok - November 2010 (11 Pages)

Jonno and wife enjoy an elephant ride before taking a wooden boat into a crocodile swamp where they can feed the wildlife chunks of meat. The crew want them to wear life jackets to which Jonno looks around and says "You cannot be serious!"

After many detours they reach Bangkok and eventually the hotel. Later a large group revolt and head out for the evening to enjoy the local nightlife.

Day 6, Revellers Return - November 2010 (8 Pages)

Day 6, Revellers Return - November 2010 (8 Pages)

The journey back to China sees a late start as everybody enjoys a lie-in. Everything goes well until they reach Hong Kong and discover this is their final destination. They rush to try and catch the last coach home from Shenzhen, which leaves at 9pm sharp - will they make it?

Day *, Siamese Soliloquy - November 2010 (6 Pages)

Day *, Siamese Soliloquy - November 2010 (6 Pages)

A great summary of their adventures as seen from both Jonno's and Siu Ying's perspectives

Telegraph Blog

Jonno also writes occasionally in the Expat section of the Daily Telegraph community.
You can read his short letters here

By Cynthia Muak:

Cynthia comes from Malaysia, the daughter of Chinese parents. She has lived and worked in Hong Kong  under British rule, and later, travelled extensively throughout the Chinese Mainland. Her revealing letters reflect the changing times, and slowly changing attitudes surrounding the period just after Chinese Openness began. Chinese readers will also find her insight fascinating.

The 'Wonders' series is written in China Expats style, much tongue in cheek, and telling it how it is/was. The relevance is depicted through various trips to China Mainland, which all China expat's will finds hilarious; Wonders 4: Compass is a knock-out must read!

The Wonders of China - Part Seven May 2016 (3 Pages)

The Wonders of China - Part Seven - May 2016 (3 Pages)

The Grand Canal
Tells of a friends and children's holiday, and cruising on the Grand Canal, the longest and longevetist canal in the world. Crabs occasionally are a treat, Cynthia comes to think otherwise.

The Wonders of China - Part Six: April 2016 (3 Pages)

The Wonders of China - Part Six - April 2016 (3 Pages)

Recounts a tour of southern Guangdong, and is full of anecdotes and interesting things to do. Not a travelogue as such,  but interesting; a passage to find out much more about South-Central Guangdong.

The Wonders of China - Part Five: March 2016 (4 Pages)

The Wonders of China - Part Five - March 2016 (4 Pages)

Express Delivery Service
This missive features a group of Hong Kong girls, who go in search of the perfect lychee, in southern Guangdong. They hit the centre of all things Lychee in Zengcheng City, close to Maoming. The lychee centre of the world being Gaozhou town.

The express delivery in question, was the maximum of thirty-six hours from picked fruit, to held in the hand by Empress: "Yang Guifei of the Tang dynasty, loved to eat lychees. When Lady Yang showed a preference for Gaozhou lychees, Emperor Xuanzong ordered that Gaozhou lychees be delivered fresh every day to Lady Yang, without fail during the lychee season. Gaozhou lychee growers thereafter named this variety Genzi Guifei lychee."

The Wonders of China - Part Four: February 2016 (4 Pages)

The Wonders of China - Part Four - February 2016 (4 Pages)

This is a tale of the road, and so encapsulates the 'Why' of things in China, when for one reason or another, they do not work out. Expats will love the reason for this, when revealed, but this is one unmissible missive ... so go on, read it; you will learn a lot + it is very funny.

The Wonders of China - Part Three: January 2016 (3 Pages)

The Wonders of China - Part Three - January 2016 (3 Pages)

A most interesting history lesson, for those who were taught at school, that Thomas Caxton invented 'printing'; he was one millennia behind the Chinese. But of course, Cynthia weaves these facts of history, into a tale of intrigue; one for the more learned.

The Wonders of China - Part Two: January 2016 (3 Pages)

The Wonders of China - Part Two - January 2016 (3 Pages)

Did you know the Chinese invented the precursor of modern paper over two millennia ago? Fact. Cynthia's story showcases the practical implementations, and the changes this brought to society as a whole. This should be read in conjunction with Missive Three: Printing.

The Wonders of China - Part One January 2015 (2 Pages)

The Wonders of China - Part One - January 2015 (2 Pages)

Cynthia begins a new series entitled The Wonders of China. The first episode tells of her first visit to China, and relates the unique Guangdong dyke-pond eco-agrological system that with 'Openness', brought local farmers to produce as much as they could. This helped propel the Province to the forefront of the national and international marketplace.

The Great Divide Part Three - December 2014 (3 Pages)

The Great Divide Part Three - December 2014 (3 Pages)

Cynthia's final missive regarding The Great Divide, deals with the dire Hong Kong housing situation, as Mainland and other migrants flocked to the city; and how authorities in the Territory responded, quite magnificently it appears.

In 2015, Cynthia will turn her pen to other aspects of life in Hong Kong and neighbouring Mainland China, the Cantonese world if you prefer. Her next series entitled Wonders of China is very entertaining, and a must read for all those interested in life in the Orient.

The Great Divide Part Two - November 2014 (2 Pages)

The Great Divide Part Two - November 2014 (2 Pages)

This second insight into the life and times of Hong Kong residents features the Hong Kong Necktie, and the impact of the Cultural Revolution. We heavily censored this missive, so as not to cause any offence the the current incumbents of power, way up north. There is enough left for the interested to read between the lines.

The Great Divide - October 2014 (2 Pages)

The Great Divide - October 2014 (2 Pages)

Cynthia's posts her third insight into life in Hong Kong, telling us of her view of life in the city during the Cultural Revolution, The Great Divide. This letter concerns the early 1960's, and how the effects of Mainland policies impacted the local population.

This is the first of three related missives.

Early Memories and Shunde Amah's - September 2014 (3 Pages)

Early Memories and Shunde Amah's - September 2014 (3 Pages)

Cynthia's second letter, Early Memories, tells of life in China in the aftermath of WWII (1937 - 1945), which interrupted the Chinese civil war (circa 1929 - 1949). She also tells us of amah's or housemaids of that period, revealing a touching tale of dedication and devotion.

My Son's First Visit to China (1990) - September 2014 (2 Pages)

My Son's First Visit to China (1990) - September 2014 (2 Pages)

Cynthia tells us about her son's first experiences of China, interacting with local Chinese people, and officialdom. Much has changed since.

By Jim Chenoweth:

Jim is an American Expat from Seattle, and he met Jonno in a bar in Hong Kong several years ago. Jim is an artist deeply into ceramics and glass, but is currently teaching to provide a living for his Chinese girlfriend, dog and cat.
The Praying Mantis - December 2009 (1 Page)

The Praying Mantis - December 2009 (1 Page)

Jim describes living with a praying mantis in Jinglejien.

By Dawn Edmonds:

Dave and Dawn Edmonds are very old friends of ours. 5 years ago Dawn kindly wrote a very interesting article for a sister website, which was published under their Nepal section. We have added this letter for general interest, and Dawn will write more in the future.
Water for Salle Village - January 2006 (1 Page)

Water for Salle Village - January 2006 (1 Page)

Dave and Dawn Edmonds describe visiting a rural village in Nepal and finding the locals have to fetch their daily water from a source many miles away over rocky hillsides.

They decide to do something about it - this is their story...

By Denis Pavett:

Denis Pavett is a British expat who moved to China in 2010 with the intention of settling down with his Chinese wife and their son. We all look forward to reading of Denis' exploits in Chongqing, Urumqi, and later Hangzhou next year - Welcome Denis!
The Move - June 2010 (2 Pages)

The Move - June 2010 (2 Pages)

Denis describes leaving UK and coming to live in China. He also offers us some advice about living in China.

The Application Process Begins - August 2010 (3 Pages)

The Application Process Begins - August 2010 (3 Pages)

Denis on form with this tale about obtaining visa's for the family. He also tells us about the Four Rules of doing Business in China.

Mandarin House language schools in Beijing and Shanghai - Click for Website   Present:

Chinese Corners

Mandarin House are one of the foremost language schools in China with offices in Beijing and Shanghai. They have a dedicated Facebook website supplementing their standard one, where they present Chinese Corners - short contributions from their patrons and friends. You may know Facebook is banned in China, so we will reproduce some of the contributions for those readers who do not use 'vpn'. Detail:
The Snake with Legs - July 2011 (1 Page)

The Snake with Legs - July 2011 (1 Page)

A short idiom that refers to ruining a venture by doing an unnecessary and extra thing.

Confucius Analects: - July 2011 (1 Page)

Understanding, Interest and Enjoyment - July 2011 (1 Page)

A short 'Confucius Say' that has very wide repercussions

Not sure where to begin?
Below we list our top stories for each month based upon the number of times each story was read by different people (or different computers at least).

Having been engrossed in writing my trilogy for the last six months, you will be very pleased to learn that I and other writers are now editing many new missives for your perusal and entertainment.
Top Letters (Summer 2014)
Always Popular:
This information is Copyright of Jonno Morris and may be reproduced for personal and private use under Collective Commons 3 Licence. This does not extend to other author's work whose permission you should seek via this portal, or personally.

You are not allowed to use this information to make money - regardless of how fancy or well paid your lawyers may be.

Some artistic licence has been used arbitrarily in some of these Letters, and, whilst most facts are in essence correct, some personal and literary interpretation may have been employed to greater or lesser degrees.
Listing: May 2016
Inner Sanctum

Young Adult Urban Fiction
Image: A dystopian story seen through the eyes of the young girls who lived through hell
ISBN [Print] 9781910711002.
ISBN [Epub] 9781910711026.

Conspiracy Theory

Mystery and espionage thriller
Image: April and Annaliese discover a plot to blow up the Presidency; can they prevent the destruction of America? ISBN [Print] 9781910711019.
ISBN [Epub] 9781910711033.

Star Gazer
Trilogy Book 1

Science Fantasy and Science Fiction
Image: Star Gazer Book 1 - The Gatekeeper and The Guardian
ISBN [Print] 9781910711040.
ISBN [Epub] 9781910711071.

Star Gazer
Trilogy Book 2

Science Fantasy and Science Fiction
Image: Star Gazer Book 2 - The Twelve Tribes
ISBN [Print] 9781910711057.
ISBN [Epub] 9781910711088.

Star Gazer
Trilogy Book 3

Science Fantasy and Science Fiction
Image: Star Gazer Book 3 - The Wrath of Gaia
ISBN [Print] 9781910711064.
ISBN [Epub] 9781910711095.

Islamic State: England

Due for publication
July 2016.
Image: Islamic State: England - click to enlarge
ISBN [Print]
ISBN [Epub]


Dystopian, Urban Fiction
Image: Domicile, One of the most deeply disturbing books ever written - Click to Enlarge
Cover by Carol Brown 

Charlotte Greene

Fiction Imprint of John Morris Publisher
Image: Charlotte Greene logo - Click to Enlarge

Our Friends
Link: A website dedicated to busy bees, be they physical, rhetorical, or given to the webs of knitting
The website of my good friend, and editor, and well worth a look.
Down The
How We Traded Our Ordinary Lives For a Global Bicycle Touring Adventure
Link to: - Tim and Cindie Travis: How We Traded Our Ordinary Lives For a Global Bicycle Touring Adventure
See Us in China
"The difference between a stumbling block and a stepping stone is the way you use it"
Link to: Holistic Wellbeing UK Feng Shui, Past Life Regression Therapy, Shamanic Practitioner, Earth Healing.
Talessman's Atlas of World History
Image: Thomas Lessman - click for

Great maps of world history
Recommended websites
All About Cuisines
Image link: All About Cuisines
"carry on the tradition …by sharing your culinary experiences in China, Paul"

Please visit the site which is packed with food information from around the world, perhaps recommend your favourite grocery shop or restaurant (in China?).
China Expats.

Send Gifts around the World
Music Highlights
Link to: Faye Wong featured on our Music Downloads main page
Music Downloads: Faye Wong now has her own page: more...
Image: Anon

Image: Tien Chau San

Image: Shin
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