The Wong Wayby Roy Hall
Thank you for email. Our guy would like meet you 30 minutes before boat time. The meeting place in selling tickets place in CHINA Ferry Terminal 2f. The person pick you up in CHINA Ferry Terminal would be Samson. Mr. Wong will wait you on the Lien-Hua-Sun Port directly.”
I was excited. Mr. Wong was legendary in the hi-fi business. He made cabinets for some of the best speaker manufacturers in Europe and I was invited to meet him and tour his new factory somewhere in Guangdong province. I was interested in developing my own line of speakers and I was going to see the man.
Mr. Wong was larger than life, fairly tall, with a full head of dark hair, a large pot–belly, a booming voice and an infectious laugh. He ushered me into his Mercedes and off we went. He proudly told me that his new factory was state of the art and that he had just installed a negative pressure spraying facility.
The factory actually consisted of 3 separate buildings. The first was the sanding and spraying room. I walked in and started coughing. Inside were about twenty very thin young men hand sanding and belt sanding veneered side panels used to assemble the speaker cabinets. There was no vacuum extraction for the dust and no one was wearing a mask. The dust hung in the air like a San Francisco fog; it was hot, humid and still. In the back, men were mixing what smelled like polyurethane lacquer. The three things together melded into a toxic miasma. I was shocked.
Mr. Wong then took me over to his spraying booth and it indeed was state of the art. The negative pressure effectively blocked the dust from entering. Money had been spent there. The other two buildings were standard assembly lines and testing facilities. The third was packing and administration. The cabinets were of really high quality and the fit and finish was superb.
Mr. Wong had three apartments in town. The first was for guests. I stayed there for a night. It was very comfortable and spacious. The second apartment, nearby, was for Mr. Wong and his mistress. The third (I heard the most luxurious one) was for Mr. Wong and his wife when she made the occasional visit. Mr. Wong hailed from Taiwan and his wife and family lived there. His wife’s apartment was about ten kilometers away. Obviously he had thought this through.
That evening we went out for dinner. I met his mistress. She was dressed in expensive silks and was really beautiful, reminiscent of the breathtaking Chinese film actress Gong Li. She had a wonderful figure and was unusually curvaceous for a Chinese woman. Mr. Wong said that she was from the north of China and that the women there are “more shapely” than women in the south. She obviously adored him and constantly touched and playfully fed him. She didn’t speak English. I asked him how long they had been together and he said it was about three years but she would be leaving soon. I asked why and he told me she was getting too old and he was looking for a younger woman. She was twenty.
Later that evening we went for a massage. This is not uncommon in the Far East. I have been to quite few communal baths with vendors. I’m usually not impressed by men’s genitals but Mr. Wong was hung! Maybe that’s why he needed all these different apartments.
Before I left I asked how long he kept his workers. He answered, “Two years maximum. After that, their lungs are no use.”
I never did business with him.
In today’s China, believe it or not, many factories’ working conditions are quite good, the equivalent of any number of first world economies’. Manufacturing electronics in China needn’t involve ethical compromises such as those we saw in the factories mentioned above.
When you purchase your electronics from music hall, please know that we have personally visited the Chinese factories where our audio components are produced, to ensure that offering some of the greatest values in audiophile electronics does not come at the expense of our greater values.