Laowai Test Worthy

Somehow I made it onto someone’s Facebook “Laowai Test.” This is especially surprising because there were only 6 questions, and at least two of them were about Dashan. Anyway, I was highly amused by the question about me:

Laowai Test

The whole “John has lived in China for x years” line at the top right corner of my website started about 2.4 years ago (sorry, couldn’t resist) shortly after I redesigned this blog layout. I was switching over to WP for the blog and PHP for the whole site in order to do cool time-saving stuff with includes, and I realized this opened up some other possibilities. The first thing that came to mind was the “John has lived in China for x years” calculation. I threw it up there for the hell of it, and for no special reason it has never come down.

Since then, I have gotten some funny comments about it. Some people evidently think I am sitting around with a calculator, rushing to update my blog code every time the decimal changes. OK, so I may have a nerdy tendency or two, but I don’t do that, people. It’s a PHP script.

Even the people that realize it’s a script take note of it, though. I guess it’s the counting years in decimals. No one really does that, and it’s just odd enough that people take note.

I’m actually planning on updating my site layout soon. It’s been long enough. No major changes (wider layout, mostly), and I’m keeping the “John has lived in China for x years” line for sure. It’s just in the Sinosplice DNA now.

Thanks to Brad for pointing out the Facebook Laowai Test, and for being the one that coded the little “John has lived in China for x years” PHP script for me!


John Pasden

John is a Shanghai-based linguist and entrepreneur, founder of AllSet Learning.


  1. Christopher Says: February 9, 2008 at 11:09 am

    Lol. I visit this website religiously for the useful tips on learning Chinese (thank God for the tone pair drill software) and also to see John’s sometimes humorous comments about life in China. I have taken notice of the “years in china” block in the top corner for about a year and I’ve always wondered if you were actually updating it periodically. I don’t know about page making or what a “PhP script” is, but I’m glad that you added this post, because I thought you were actually keeping up the the decimal changes. Excellent website by the way, can’t wait to see what the new layout looks like, even if it is minor.

  2. I’ve been in China 2340 days, or 6.41 years if you prefer.

    That means 6 years, 4 months and 27 days. Or 202.176.000 seconds. Or 3.369.600 minutes. Or 56.160 hours, Or 334 weeks.

    You can also calculate this here:

  3. Today was my 4-year mark in China. But damn it, unless you leave for a few years, I can’t catch up to you, John!

  4. No by all means keep it! When the decimal switches from 9 to 0, it reminds me that another year has passed..

  5. Question 5 is very hard though…lol

  6. John,
    chinochano’s version is brilliant.

    When the time for next update comes you should fill that corner with your time in China in seconds. Use decimals.

  7. Where can I find this test? I would be pretty disappointed if I didn’t ace it…

  8. I scored 100% on the test. a month ago or so.

    This, for no particular reason, scares me.

  9. The King of Men Says: February 10, 2008 at 9:10 am

    Whatever happened to, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it?” Constantly tinkering with a site’s layout after it’s been perfected form an years and isn’t faulty is so Y2K. It’s the plastic surgery/”keeping up with the Hones'” of the online world. It’s something Da-Shan would do.

  10. The King of Men Says: February 10, 2008 at 9:11 am

    That should read “For many years,” not, “form an years.”

  11. Vinegar Joe Says: February 12, 2008 at 1:11 pm

    Do you have a link?

  12. I couldn’t find the quiz, but I’m sure that it was composed by one of the Sinosplice crowd, because one of them (FOARP) sent it to me a while ago.

    As for length of stay 98-2002, 2004-2007, and I’ve been reading John since he was in HZ.

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