The ancient art of name-dropping is widely practised throughout China. It is considered a highly valued skill to know just when to use one's affiliation, however remote, to elevate one's own status with important people. Name-dropping is especially important today, because the better your connections, the more likely you are to succeed in business. The proper subjects for name-dropping include anyone in a position of political power, rich people, celebrities and, in fact, any person related to such people. Finding a proper name to drop is actually easy. Deploying the successful name-drop, however, is quite another thing. Niuniu has met a name-dropper at a party organised by her friend, Beibei. Qing is a public relations executive from northeast China. He has a thing for Niuniu and, at least for now, she thinks he is cute. Handing Niuniu a glass of red wine, Qing looks down at his shoes and asks her: 'How do you like my new Armanis? I bought them when I was travelling with our governor in Milan. It cost me US$500, three days' salary. Can you believe that?' Niuniu is turned off right away by Qing's little demonstration of self worth. She smiles at him without saying anything. Seeing that Armani doesn't impress Niuniu, Qing starts sharing anecdotes of playing mahjong with his city's mayor and police chief. Again, Niuniu is not amused. Disappointed with his progress, Qing changes his strategy. 'Niuniu, what is the name of that newspaper you work for?' Niuniu tells Qing the English newspaper's name. Qing says instantly: 'I know someone who works there. His name is Eric - a Harvard grad.' 'Yes, he's my boss,' Niuniu says. Qing nods with satisfaction. He has established his superiority to Niuniu. 'I'll find an appropriate time to mention you in front of him,' says Qing. 'No, please don't,' Niuniu stresses. 'Why not? Eric is a good friend of mine.' 'He's my boss' boss. I'm just a small potato. I don't really think Eric knows of my existence.' Qing asks Niuniu: 'Would you be interested in going to another party? The son of a vice-premier is going and I'm invited. You can come as my guest.' Before Niuniu can reply, Beibei comes running up and interrupts: 'Oh, the son of a vice-premier is not nearly important enough for our Niuniu. Do you know that she went to school with Hu Haifeng?' 'Who's Hu Haifeng?' Qing asks. 'Do you know who Hu Jintao is?' Beibei asks. 'Of course. He's the number one man,' says Qing. 'Hu Haifeng; Hu Jintao. Do you see the relationship here?' Niuniu pulls Beibei away from Qing and whispers: 'Beibei, are you crazy? Hu was my classmate in middle school. We haven't talked to each other for 13 years. I am sure he doesn't remember me.' 'Oh, come on, do you think Qing is really friends with Eric?' Beibei asks Niuniu. 'Were you listening to our conversation?' 'Of course,' Beibei says. 'Armani, mayor, police chief, governor, blah, blah, blah. This guy's a serial name-dropper. What a snob.' As they talk, Qing walks up to them. Before he has time to speak to them, his cell phone rings. Beibei and Niuniu listen in. 'I'm at a party with my buddy Niuniu. Yes, she is an old friend of Hu Haifeng. Hu Haifeng? You don't know him? Does the name Hu Jintao mean anything to you? Yeah, that's right.' 'Well look whose name is being dropped now,' Beibei says, winking at Niuniu. 'The next party you organise,' Niuniu says, 'don't forget to set a name-free zone.'