Ask a paranoid foreigner working at a state-owned enterprise


Dear paranoid foreigner working at a state-owned enterprise,

My Chinese husband and I have a terminally ill eight-year-old daughter and are trying to make her last days in China as comfortable as possible. She’s been diagnosed with  leukemia and we’ve discovered that there is a Chinese version of the Make a Wish Foundation for deserving children for which she might qualify.

Her simple wish is to go to Hong Kong Disneyland or perhaps Ocean Park as she dearly loves sea animals. However, we’ve been told that these “wishes” are not “relevant.” She’s instead been offered the opportunity to make bricks for a Hope School in Sichuan Province or the honor of performing in an “ethnic minority” costume revue for visiting bureaucrats and officials wearing a pint-size qipao with cowboy boots.

My husband says he has heard of an adult “Make a Wish Foundation” for terminally ill bureaucrats, which offers far more exciting wish fulfillment. I was wondering whether you might be able to use your influence and expertise to contact one of these foundations and possibly see if this little child-in-need’s wishes could be met before she dies in six months?

Blessings for Better Wishes

Paranoid foreigner working at a state-owned enterprise says:

Call me on this number, and don't quote any Shakespeare OK?

Quiet! Did you hear that? Just then: listen! That clicking sound… you heard it too, right?

I used to work at my college newspaper, then spent another two years as assistant sports and arts editor at the prize-winning Perth, Nebraska Advertiser, so obviously they’re listening and watching everything I say and do now I work in China.

I even had a box of – oh, right, that’s still here. I guess I didn’t see it before. But other stuff’s being going missing too, I can tell you. Want some advice? Don’t joke about Tibet, Tiananmen Square or Taiwan unless you want to be sent to a black hotel, beaten mercilessly and deported pronto.

Not that it’s happened to me, but I’ve heard stories, brother. Believe me, I’ve heard stuff that would make your hair turn white. Can’t talk about them now, not while – oh Christ, that’s my wife calling on an unsecured line. How many times have I warned her about that?

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