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Thursday, March 23, 2017

Gone up in smoke


After over 31 years, the trusty old NATIONAL NA860-AN washing machine has gone up in smoke. It was my first domestic purchase in late 1985 after I had returned from overseas and settled in deepest suburbia in Canberra.

Needing a replacement, we went to the Homemakers Centre in the Bay and stated our case, "A 5kg-top-loader is all we want, but it must have a footprint of no more than 550x550mm to fit into the existing space."

"What you want is a hire", the salesman said.

"No, we don't want to hire; we want to buy", I replied.

As it turned out, Haier is a Chinese brand and an abbreviation of the German brand Liebherr who in the 1980s sold their technology and manufacturing know-how to a small refrigeration factory in Qingdao who subsequently became the biggest appliance company in China.

As every China traveller knows, Qingdao - or Tsingtau, to give it its German name - was a German concession from 1898 to 1914 and is the only place in China where the Chinese still wear Lederhosen.

Just kidding! However, when I visited it in 1998, I was surprised by the large number of German-style buildings in Qingdao city centre and, of course, I visited the Tsingtao Brewery, founded by the Germans in 1903 and still producing Tsingtao beer, the best-known Chinese export beer.

With such impressive antecedents, I had no hesitation to buy our new Haier HWT60AW1. May it last another 31 years!