Comments: 317 • Responses: 73  • Date: 

shadowfagged50 karma

I am his jerking counterpart that has a shitty factory on the verge of collapse because of multiple issues but still happy and lucky. Jayoooo

zakbroman21 karma


xXJ0ck3lXx41 karma

So you just traveled to China, you got Married, had Sex, you have a child, you have a great Job, you have your own Sub on Reddit and all this while still beeing 25......... where do you see yourself in 30 years?

zakbroman55 karma

Heh, I've never really summarized my life until this point. I've come a long way. I almost dropped out of high school, slept in my car for a bit, overcame a drug addiction, almost unintentionally killed myself a few times, worked numerous corporate gigs, studied Chinese at a university, toured nationally as a DJ, spent a few times in jail, etc etc. I'm not proud of my past at some points, but it's something I can't avoid and has shaped me into the person I am today. The best advice I can give to anybody trying to pull off crazy shit like working in China is to just do it - don't try, just tell yourself you're going to do it and then go out and do it. You can't plan on a life in China - you need to just buy a fucking plane ticket and wing it. That's what I did.

startchangego17 karma

Tell us about jail.

zakbroman19 karma

Nothing serious, just underage intoxication and underage possession of alcohol when I studied in the Midwest. I skipped court both times, spent a few weeks in county, etc

qibajiu8 karma


zakbroman11 karma

Not at liberty to say.

Douchebag_Alphamale-5 karma

You, my gemer, are more or less an older me. Never tried to an hero tho, otherwise all seems the same. Edit, also just realized you are also named zak, tee yun na!

zakbroman8 karma

I didn't intentionally try to kill myself. It was more of overestimating my tolerance for substances.

ratsta31 karma

Where do you come from?

How old are you?

What job do you do?

What's your salary?

Do you own your own house? If not, how much rent do you pay?

Do you own a car? What kind of car?

(I don't know what the next question is, I usually block their QQ number before they get that far.)

zakbroman48 karma

I come from Boston, I'm 25 years old, I work in shoe development, I'm not at liberty to talk about salary because of my contract (but it's over $60k USD a year), I rent a house for about $600USD a month, I'm looking to buy a car this month, holy shit ratsta you motherfucker pulling a Rainy on me goddamn I hate you

shadowfagged10 karma

is that factoring the taxes? so you make 60k cash which would be about 30ish k rmb/month? so basically its like 90,000USD if you factor you paid taxes?

zakbroman4 karma

I ain't at liberty to say. I'll PM you if you really want to know.

ratsta4 karma

That's a respectable salary! um... is your company looking for another laowai?

zakbroman32 karma


movingon115 karma

What, you can't see all the guangshe pouring out of my every orifice? Here, let me slap some on your face while you go find me one of those cushy jobs.

zakbroman6 karma


fuckthisthread30 karma

China is harmonious, how factual is this statement on a scale of we all love chairman Mao to our China has over 5,000 years of history? Also,钓鱼岛是中国的

zakbroman64 karma

You are wrong about 5,000 years of history. It's actually 8,888 years of history and Chairman Mao is the best Chairman of all Chairmans.


Kowalski_Options25 karma

Uh-oh, four 8's. Better make it 88,888.

zakbroman15 karma

Damn, nice catch.

Charming_man28 karma

What does it takes to succeed as a DJ in a small Chinese city? I know how to use the SYNC button and spend time on /r/DJsCirclejerk.

zakbroman128 karma

Be white, jesus pose, Beatport top 100, yell "get the fuck up" repeatedly on the mic before some shitty EDM drop. You are now a successful DJ in Chinar.

Rusty-Schackleford22 karma


What are the most-asked questions you get when you visit your home country and tell people about your situation?

zakbroman36 karma

Good question. Since I'm American, it's always a mixture of wonder and/or fear when I tell them I live in China. It's always a question about communism, human rights, pollution, etc.

Ortus21 karma

Not about finding a "submissive chinese waifu"?

zakbroman36 karma

My wife is fairly "submissive" in a housewife sense but that's not why I married her. I find it more of a bonus than anything else. I'm stoked I met my wife because she's the perfect example of delicate Chinese femininity but with Western morals and interests.

pagoder22 karma


zakbroman33 karma

Our door is automatic :(

bradleykerr21 karma


zakbroman82 karma

Laduzi (read: diarrhea from spicy/oily Chinese food) is a motherfucker. Funny you mention it, it recently happened to me at work. My wife had made some spicy Sichuan hot pot the night before, so at around 10AM, I feel the explosive urge to shit. Initially I tried going to my factory dormitory to laduzi in private, but when I get there I discover the ayi (read: housekeeper) apparently likes to take a shower every morning in my room, so I'm locked out of my own fucking bathroom. There isn't an elevator in my dormitory and I reside on the fifth floor, so with each step I can feel my asshole puckering to contain all of the laduzi as I run around trying to find a bathroom in my factory. What do you know - all of the Western toilet stalls in my department are occupied. I resign to using the factory workers' bathrooms, which consist of a bunch of squat stalls that stop at eye-level, don't have doors (just those small swinging doors you see in saloons, the name escapes me) so I'm assaulted by the sight of a bunch of Chinese dudes squatting, shitting, and smoking while playing on their iPhone 88s as I try to find an empty stall. I finally find an empty one at the end of the bathroom. I discover that this style of Chinese toilet is merely just one long trench running underneath all of the stalls before it, meaning there is actually a river of shit flowing towards the hole in the ground in my stall. I am struggling to squat as I expel the demonic Sichuan hot pot as it mixes in with all of the other shit from the stalls next to me. It was a horrible experience.

But no, I never call out of work when laduzi calls. It is also pretty much impossible to work entirely from home in this type of career. I did call out once for food poisoning, though.

bradleykerr24 karma


zakbroman22 karma

Unfortunately, yeah. Terrible bathrooms don't even phase me anymore. I just hold my breath if it's that bad and take the plunge.

wildevidence17 karma

I'm really glad "uzi" is part of the word to describe explosive diarrhea.

zakbroman9 karma

Heh, never thought about that.

FissurePrice4 karma

You have a bed and your own bathroom at work?

zakbroman5 karma


dadoffive19 karma

What happens if this post gets two thousand upvotes. Will you be arrested?

zakbroman27 karma

I doubt it will blow up that much. If it does, I'm fucked.

FissurePrice3 karma

Did you go to cobbler school?

zakbroman4 karma

No, but I sincerely wish I did.

shuodebuhao16 karma

Will you send me a pair of size 47 men's dress shoes?

My harmony-tiered city lacks a quality apparel outlet for the discerning taller gentleman, and I trust a discerning beautiful countried gentleman to help me make the right choice.

zakbroman24 karma

Get away from me you freak

BeatingHeart1215 karma

What would be a typical day for you?

zakbroman23 karma

I typically wake up at about 6:30AM and get ready. I carpool with my department manager (who lives nearby) at 7:00AM and we arrive to the factory at about 7:45AM. I drink some coffee and start mulling through emails sent overnight (since there's a 12-hour time difference from China and New York) from our brand's office. Afterwards I'll stroll around the factory and check up on the sample assembly lines they have running. I'll usually finish up at around 11:30AM, take a two hour break, return to work at 1:30PM and attend different sorts of meetings - shoe fittings, manufacturing issues, quality assurance with component suppliers. More emails, more translations. If all is well and there's no more work to be done, I take a company shuttle at 5:00PM. Since this is a busy season, we actually pull overtime until about 9:00PM.

Charming_man13 karma

Do your guys take a midday siesta? Everyday, our's lay out cardboard boxes on the concrete and pass out from 12-1. They also drink hot water from metal bowls with spoons.

Also, any tips on getting these guys to wear PPE? It's like pulling teeth getting them to wear any sort of safety equipment. They will literally put their safety glasses up while grinding, and that's if they even have them with them.

zakbroman15 karma

Yeah, we have a two hour break in the middle of the day. It's a ghost town between 11:30AM and 1:00PM. They usually go back to their dorms or sleep out in the football field.

PPE? Forget it... just give them a hairband, some gloves, and hope for the best.

iwazaruu12 karma

You ever see yourself moving back to America for good? How does your wife feel on moving to Hamburguo? What language do you speak to your wife? How about your kid, do you have any plans on his bilingualism or is it just you speak English and your wife speaks Chinese to him?

Thanks and fuck you for making me feel inadequate about my salary

zakbroman13 karma

I'm currently riding out the streak of steady jobs I've been blessed with since I got married. I'm sure we will return to America eventually for the sake of my son, but I'm not sure when I'm going to pull the trigger and do it. My wife speaks mostly English to me while my mother-in-law speaks zero English to me. I will speak only in English to my son, and my wife speaks a mixture of English and Chinese to him. I want him to be bilingual but I will ensure his schooling is done entirely in English.

Don't be jealous of my salary just yet... with it comes a ton of overtime (I'm working 13 hours every single day until Chinese New Year).

EzraK11 karma

Looking at the verification picture you have provided, you look exactly like the bad guy in countless Hong Kong movies.

Quick question: Have you played the role of evil laowai in any HK movie ?

zakbroman9 karma

Haha! Nope, but I know a guy who has. He's a ginger with alopecia though.

thegreatwallofyall10 karma

i heard, because i read a lot of cnn and fox news and reddit, that a lot of foreign men go over there to have sex with chinese womenz. i have read so many statistics about it and i have seen so many documentaries on NPR about it. you know it's true. why do you guys go over their and do this? why are you taking away the right's of humans there?

zakbroman39 karma

Thailand has China beat by 8,888,8888 miles when it comes to shitty sexpats, but being in Dongguan I've encountered my fair share. I just avoid those dudes. It's fucked that the same guys who relish every detail about the brothels they frequent wake up to teach kids the next day. Luckily China has been doing criminal background checks lately for foreigners applying for visa. PROTIP: 9 times out of 10, the sex tourists are British.

qon_qon8 karma

I'm interested in becoming an ESL teacher after I graduate from my current degree. However, I know that there are several qualifications to choose from. What, in your experience, is the most recognised ESL or equivalent qualification? Not necessarily just within China but elsewhere too. Thanks :)

zakbroman9 karma

Any sort of TESOL/TEFL certifications that aren't attained online are generally accepted. You can actually get an ESL job just by having a four-year degree in something. In fact, most schools don't even give a shit if you have a degree - it all depends on your personality, experience, and (unfortunately) skin color. Most Chinese have this assumption that BEST ENGLISH IS FOREIGN WHITE MAN TEACHER so you'll have a tough time if you don't fit that description. It's especially rough for my friends who are Asian-American.

Check out /r/TEFL , they have an abundance of information about this sort of thing. You can check out the classifieds on for jobs. Always make sure your working visa is legitimate and carefully peruse your contract. That contract is your sole survival in the ESL world.

nrb19857 karma

How many DongGuan jokes do you hear on the daily?

zakbroman3 karma

Not many until I mention it to another foreigner who doesn't live there. Dongguan gets a shitty reputation because of the terrible weidi towns that surround it.

leec806 karma

So would you say there is not a difference between prada and Nine West shoes as far as quality goes?

zakbroman19 karma


Combat_Koala16 karma

I'm sorry, did you say Indian kid skins?

WaveGazer8 karma


zakbroman5 karma


zakbroman4 karma

Sorry, I meant to say kid (baby goat) skins from India.

OmnipotentBeing8 karma

Dude...aren't you worried about your NDA?

zakbroman17 karma

I have not identified my company and I do not personally work for any of the aforementioned brands. All of the companies I have listed have their shoes made at different factories in China. You can get a quotation for their shoes at virtually any of these places.

OmnipotentBeing6 karma

All good. Figured you know what you're doing. Just a bit surprised to see pricing details. Rock on.

zakbroman7 karma

Thanks for looking out. As I mentioned, it's pretty easy to guess how much a shoe is produced for when you're in the business long enough.

veiron6 karma

How much does a prada-worker make? And the shoes doesn't say "made in china" how do they get around that?

zakbroman14 karma

I'm not sure how much the average worker makes, but I'm guessing it's somewhere around 2000 - 3000 RMB per month (including meals, housing) which is about $330 - $500 USD.

Ninja Edit: Their lower-end shoes and bags are made in China at our factory. I am 100% sure of it. I have no idea what kind of loophole they use to avoid saying so.

dnml1 karma

Some Prada shoes are labeled Made in China but a lot are labeled Made in Italy, usually the most expensive ones. Do you label the country of origin at your factory? Basically I'm curious if Prada is lying about some shoes being made in Italy.

zakbroman2 karma

We do label the country of origin. I am sure Prada's higher-end shoes are Italian-made. I'm guessing they might get away with it because a good chunk of their material is imported from Italy and assembled here.

mutually_awkward6 karma

/r/chinacirclejerk looks hilarious. Since I live in Hong Kong, would HK-based posts be welcomed there?

zakbroman10 karma

Since HK是中国的, of course lar~

DragonFetus6 karma

What's your oddest sexual experience?

Oh. And can I get a "Hell Yeah!"?

zakbroman10 karma

My wife reads my Reddits, so I'm not at liberty to say... sounds like a good thread to post in /r/chinacirclejerk though. I bet you'll get some interesting stories.

DragonFetus9 karma

Can I at least get a "Hell Yeah!"?

zakbroman11 karma


hittintheairplane4 karma

Describe your process of learning Chinese. Have all your girlfriends been english speakers?

zakbroman10 karma

My first Chinese girlfriend spoke no English whatsoever, which was great and helped motivate me to study more. The ensuing ones might have spoken English, but only a few could do so fluently. My wife spoke minimal English when I met her, but now she's fairly fluent.

EDIT: I forgot to mention that I studied Mandarin at Jinan University in Guangzhou. That helped... a lot.

w00t4me4 karma

I'm going to be in Shenzhen next week. I currently live in SHanghai, Lets meet up!

zakbroman5 karma

Sorry, I'll be working overtime every single day until Chinese New Year. Have fun in Shenzhen, though - great city!

w00t4me3 karma

Thanks man, any recommendations of places to go? Bars and restaurants This is my first time there, although I've been to GZ and HK plenty of times.

zakbroman3 karma

Check out the Coastal City Mall. Not sure what kind of nightlife you're into, but my friend runs a legit underground bar called Public.

Go there, ask for the owner, and say Zak from SUNS in Guangzhou sent you.

w00t4me5 karma

Sweet, That looks like a badass place.

zakbroman3 karma

Their lunch menu is cheap as hell, too!

TakeOffYourMask3 karma

Are you limited to one kid?

zakbroman13 karma

Hahaha, nope. AFAIK that One Child policy has recently been lifted. Since I'm American, the rule doesn't apply to my wife.

shitfucks3 karma

Hi! I might be a little late to the party... I'd like to start off by saying thanks for doing this AMA. Also, thanks for /r/chinacirclejerk. I'm currently teaching ESL up north in Dalian. Ive been in China two years and I'm very ready and eager to move on. For anyone who cares to know, teaching blows after one year. Anyways, i was wondering what your educational background is. I know these new visa laws are getting more restrictive when you lack a BA.

zakbroman3 karma

You're welcome! I have a degree in Business Administration.

Kite_sunday3 karma

What do you do if workers commit suicide?

zakbroman5 karma

That kind of shit doesn't happen at my factory. We don't have any "suicide nets" or any of that crazy stuff like they do at Foxconn. Completely different industry and a different line of work.

slamjeez3 karma

what kind of qualifications do you need to be able to earn a decent salary in China? are there any good websites to check for jobs. currently studying mechanical profession, i speak great english, could say fluent after 7 months of being a Londoner, but i'm from Hungary. Is it really worth a shot? Aren't you feel displaced as a white in China? cheers

zakbroman5 karma

I've heard engineers get paid pretty well. You would do well as a foreign technician for some sort of manufacturer. I'd say it's worth a shot. The only resource I know of for foreign jobs in China is ... mostly ESL stuff though. Good luck!

DigitalBeaner3 karma


zakbroman7 karma

Hey, thanks! Shoe development is an insanely hard career. I chose it mostly because of encouragement from my family (who are also in the shoe business). This type of work takes years of experience. I still spend the majority of my days watching other people doing their jobs and trying to gain as much insight as I can.

babamcrib3 karma

Bro, do you even Chinese?

zakbroman17 karma

m8 u wot

babamcrib6 karma


zakbroman12 karma


phdpeabody3 karma


zakbroman3 karma

We make all types of their shoes. I don't work for the Prada development team; in fact, they're in a separate building from mine. My role in the construction of the shoes is to ensure they fit right, look good, and are made according to our brand's standards.

Mr_FreNezY3 karma


zakbroman9 karma

john go duh

moar_distractions3 karma

Do people there know how bad they have it? Do they even believe when they hear how much more people have in western countries?

zakbroman3 karma

Migrant workers definitely know how bad they have it, but they all have big aspirations regardless. Some of the factory girls I meet dream of opening up businesses, starting families in a bigger city. I gotta hand it to them.

Beastofbees3 karma

Shoe factories usually have a pretty bad reputation for poor work conditions and pay for the low level employees. What is the work environment and pay for those employees? Is it comparable to working a minimum wage job here, in the sense of what that employee can afford? Also, how frequent are serious injuries? And are they a big deal or just part of the job and the employee is replaced?


zakbroman5 karma

The work conditions here are pretty ideal compared to some of the southeast asian countries where they're producing footwear for super cheap. I'd say it's definitely comparable to a minimum wage job in the US. Serious injuries are not frequent at my factory whatsoever because we use expensive machinery and have a strict hiring policy.

WMDistraction3 karma

How's the pollution? How many masks do you wear in a day?

EDIT: And what kind?

zakbroman7 karma

The pollution in my city used to be pretty bad, but it's become regulated now. This past summer was full of blue skies and rarely smoggy. I don't wear a mask unless I'm sick or if there's an outbreak of some illness. However, major cities like Guangzhou, Shanghai, and Beijing have become increasingly worse with their smog. I went to GZ last week and I couldn't believe how bad it's gotten since I went there. I avoid traveling north because of the smog. The winds carry that shit down here and it sucks; it will probably factor into me leaving China if it isn't fixed within five years.

threeironteeshot3 karma

Yo. Not a question. Just want to tell you to keep some of your Yuen liquid in the short term. Once China is forced to unpeg their currency that will soar in value for a very short time and then fall off a cliff after. Take this friendly advice from a stranger and make some money.

zakbroman2 karma

Thanks for the advice. When do you expect this sort of thing to happen?

threeironteeshot5 karma

Can't be certain, but it will happen. China is under enormous pressure to float their currency. When they do the cost of manufacturing will no longer be worthwhile for foreign companies and Africa will become the new China.

zakbroman5 karma

I'm aware of the currency manipulation for sure. Thought you might've had some insider info. Wishful thinking I suppose. Funny you mention Africa - a lot of the cheaper manufacturing has moved there already. I foresee China having their own global shoe brands and being considered as a strong contender for upper-tier shoe production within the next couple of decades.

threeironteeshot2 karma

I like your optimism. I fear that with a floated currency, the jobs will leave China. I think this will be the infancy of what will become a full fledged Chinese revolution. You can only impoverish for so long.

zakbroman4 karma

You could be right. Everything just reinforces my opinion about and my living situation in China - "only time will tell"

Clovis693 karma

Totally non-China living anecdote here

I watch Charlie Rose on PBS religiously and in the last 18 months or so all the American academics who had been on the "China number one rising star/super power of the future" bandwagon have done a 180 and are completely pessimistic about China's economic future and talk about how all the Chinese elite are moving assets offshore and sending their kids to the US and EU so they have a better chance of getting out of China when it all goes south.

zakbroman3 karma

That's something the Chinese elites have always done, regardless of China's prosperity.

moxie_plus2 karma

How many times per week, on average, would you say you try to sleep with 17 year old girls?

Edit: On a serious note, how did you end up with your current job? Any background other than ESL or just good networking?

zakbroman5 karma

88 times per week.

I got my current job through family / connections. I have a background in corporate sales and did some documentation work for Medicare while I was in the states. Standard stuff.

moxie_plus1 karma

Word, well done.

zakbroman3 karma


bradleykerr2 karma


zakbroman4 karma

Not as bad as it used to be. This month has been pretty overcast and smoggy, but this summer was great. I even saw a blue sky sometimes.

BlinginLike3p02 karma

I'm currently visiting china (Jinan), and I was wondering how you deal with the resentment that some men hold against Americans, especially american men. I have been getting the feeling that I am unwelcome based especially on how americans are paid better, and have a better chance with women. Earlier tonight a group of guys was walking past us and yelled FUCK YOU very hatefully at me and my sister (well probably mostly at me).

zakbroman18 karma

Jinan is a shithole anyway. Northern China is definitely more xenophobic than here down south. Surprisingly, the most hostility I've gotten for being American was from some shithead Jordanian guy. It almost got physical. Being overseas has somewhat made me more patriotic and sensitive when people talk shit about the US.

ExplosiveFlame1 karma

What exactly do you do in the company right now? You mentioned that you were manufacturing the shoe during your internship, are you still doing that right now, or are you involved in management or something else? Thank you for your time.

zakbroman7 karma


ExplosiveFlame3 karma

Do you feel you face any discrimination as a result of being Western, either positive or negative? My experience with the Far East is somewhat limited, but from my experience the Chinese can either be hostile to foreigners, or hold them (and Western culture in general) in reverence. Thank you for your answer BTW.

zakbroman12 karma

China has historically been xenophobic. There is still a lot of tension with foreigners. I certainly get treated differently everywhere I go. For better or worse, foreigners in China can get away with a lot of shit. A common tactic I have is to play the "ting bu dong" (I don't understand) card to avoid sticky situations.

For the most part, the Chinese are pretty harmless to foreigners. Outside of major cities, they'll gawk, stare, snap pictures of/with you while you're out. It's almost like a celebrity treatment. This might sound fun - and it is initially - but holy shit has it become a burden on my life whenever I go out with my kid. Every fucking Chinese has an opinion on how I should raise my kid or what I look like. Luckily, I understand most of it and choose to ignore it or confront them if it's a really nasty remark.

One of the things I get the most shit for from other Chinese dudes is the fact I'm married to a beautiful girl from Sichuan. They'll call her a race traitor and try to fight me if they're drunk. This has happened probably twice, but I hear it's pretty common in some foreign-filled areas of Beijing.

I feel like China will probably ease up on the foreign hostility as they continue to globalize within these next couple of decades. When I travel to cities like Shanghai, Beijing, and Guangzhou, virtually nobody gives a shit.

Mr_FreNezY2 karma

Do you work mostly in Yellow or Englishhwa? What percentage of each?

And how did you get into that field?

zakbroman7 karma

It's half and half. My coworkers speak Chinese to me most of the time, which is great and makes me feel like I'm not getting the "precious laowai" treatment and I'm not subjected to dumbing my thought process down over broken English.

I got the job through my family and other connections, MAD GUANXI YOOOOO

trollinwithdagnomies1 karma

How did you meet your wife and what was the dating to wedding process like compared to America?

zakbroman3 karma

I met my wife while I was out shopping, weirdly enough. She was working at a cellphone kiosk while she was in college. She gave me her number, went on a couple dates, moved in together after a few months, got married four years later. The wedding process is pretty similar to the US; it's actually kind of nice that we get to take a photo together for our wedding license. She chose not to do a traditional Chinese wedding because of her bad relationship with her family, but we had a small celebration back home in Boston this past summer.

bongowongowongo1 karma

Fav childhood cartoon?

zakbroman5 karma

Ren & Stimpy

Tekkron1 karma

What can you tell me, if anything, about the Nike Red October Air Yeezy 2? Can you get me a legit pair? I heard they smuggled pairs out of the factory before shipment or around completion. Then I heard Nike ordered all pairs to be destroyed.. but some are floating around on eBay and some celebrities have legit pairs and as do some really big sneaker heads. In all seriousness, do you have anything to do with Nike or their shoes?

zakbroman2 karma

Sorry, don't work with Nike. I only do women's shoes in my factory.

KytaKamena1 karma


Tell me is Western workforce wanted in China. I am from europ and if I was interested in working in China. Would I have some preferential status as white guy?

ninja edit

In what areas is China looking for skilled workforce?

zakbroman5 karma

Like any other country, you need marketable skills that make you stand out from the average Chinese guy. Maybe you're bilingual, maybe you have business connections back home, maybe you cook well, I don't know. Yes, you'll get preferential status as a white guy, but that shouldn't be why you want to go.

Mister_Six1 karma


zakbroman7 karma

Shut up riben guizi.

chuckling_neckbeards-5 karma

Why do you have a kid at 25? Are you from the south?

zakbroman4 karma

I am fully prepared to have a kid. My parents had me around the same age and they're still together; I had a great upbringing, too. Having a younger father gave me a lot more perspective. Plus, my dad's retired and doesn't have to deal with raising any of his sons (besides his grandchildren).