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January 08, 2006


Paint is like drinking water in China - that is, something you can't take for granted.

I learned last year that all (or at least most) apartments are painted inside with oil-based paint. It takes six months for the walls to air out to the point that the apartment is livable. A dishonest landlord tricked one colleague into making a deposit on renting an apartment that wasn't ready for tenants yet. The weather was nice the day she showed the apartment, so the landlord opened the windows. Then, when my colleague Ding Binbin tried to move in, she discovered that there was a terrible smell from the paint that wouldn't go away for 4-5 months. She ended up negotiating a settlement that left the landlord with some of her deposit. This week, Ding Binbin ran up against the same problem in a different form. Our company has moved into a new factory and office complex. We bought several new desks for office workers. But I learned today that, because the paint on the new desks hasn't fully cured, we can't have very much heat in the offices where these desks are located.

I suppose the reason for all this is that oil-based paint is cheaper than water-based paint, but I'm not certain.

- Norty

Posted by now at January 8, 2006 03:00 PM