Hard to Buy a House in Shanghai

The temperature of Shanghai finally goes down to below 30 degree C. This is the ending of the two week exteremly high temperature – the Autumn Tiger. The number of empty taxi on the road dramatically increased today.

I went to see the newly opened house of Vanke City Garden. It is outside the outer ring road of Shanghai, which is very far from the city. To my surprise, the price has raised to 5800 RMB per sq. meter. The 127 sq. meters apartment will be about 740K RMB.

Nearby is the new houses which is about 1 to 2 million RMB. See the pictures below:


I am really shocked to see the rapid price raise in real estate. When I bought my aparment in 2001, it is only 530K in total. Now, it is raised to about 900K. It is not among the highest raise. Some house in Xinzhuang was 4000 RMB/sq.meter laster year and are not 7000 RMB/sq.meter this year. It is keep increasing every DAY.

It is so strange that the sales representitives and the customers seems to be in the swapped position. Customers are begging for help from the sales representives to do them a favor to get a house. It is also a common practice to offer several thousand fee to hire the representives to get an apartment. Houses will be booked immediately after they are offered to market. I found the new real estate project from Vanke – the Four Seasons City at Bao Shan (which is very very far from the downtown Shanghai) opened for sale yesterday (Aug 30, 2003). When I call them this morning, the sales lady on the other side of the line told me that all the apartments had already been sold on yesterday. It is unbelievable, but it is true…

PVG: From Pudong Airport to Hangzhou

Dear Jian shuo

My husband and I will be visiting China next month together with a group tour. We are planning to stay back in China for another 10 days visiting Hangzhou and Shanghai. Our first stop is from Shanghai to Hangzhou, besides taking the train and plane, are there other transportation like tour buses?.

We want to go to Wuangshan (Yellow mountain), if we want to go on our own, how should we go?

In Hangzhou, we both love food. Where should we go for seafood?

I hope you can help us. Thank you


Credit: Veronica. Note: I will publish your email on information inquiry like this with my answers to help more people. Tell me if you don’t want to publish your email if you write to me at jianshuo AT hotmail DOT com

Currently, the most convinient transportation from PVG to Hangzhou is, I believe, by bus.


New routes from Shanghai Pudong Airport to nearby cities just put into operation. This is the schedule:

Updated September 22, 2004

    From: Pudong Airport

    To: Hangzhou

    Departs at







    Price: 100 RMB

    Time: About 2 and half hours

    Bus stop location: The Bus Center at the opposite side of Gate 19 of Arrival Hall

The above information is verfied to be accurate as of September 22, 2004. End of Update.

If you are interested in buses from PVG directly to Nanjing or Suzhou, see the appendix at the end of this article.


I don’t suggest you to go by train since it is quite confusing for first time visitors to go from PVG to the South Shanghai Railway Station. There is no direct bus route and the South Shanghai Railway Station is under construction now and therefore is confusing even for local people.

Appendix: Direct Bus from PVG to Nanjing and Suzhou

    From: Pudong Airport

    To: Suzhou

    Departs at









    Price: 82 RMB

    Time: About 3 hours

    Bus stop location: The Bus Center at the opposite side of Gate 19 of Arrival Hall

    Note: It will stop at the Hong Qiao Airport to pick up more passengers before they continue the journey to Suzhou

    From: Pudong Airport

    To: Nanjing

    Departs at





    Price: 122 RMB

    Time: About 5 hours

    Bus stop location: The Bus Center at the opposite side of Gate 19 of Arrival Hall

    Note: It will stop at the Hong Qiao Airport to pick up more passengers before they continue the journey to Nanjing

Thanks for Mr. Zhao at Pudong Airport Nearby Area Bus Services at Tel +86-21-68346671 to provide the information.

Updated Latest Bus Information September 22, 2004

Here is the updated information of the bus to nearby cities.

Hangzhou 100 RMB 1030 1200 1330 1530 1730 1930

Qing Tian 青田 192 RMB 1310

Kun Shan 76RMB 1130 1230 1330 1430 1530 1630 1730 1830 1930

Suzhou 82RMB 1050 1150 1250 1350 1440 1520 1610 1650 1750 1850

Wuxi 100 RMB 1120 1220 1320 1420 1520 1620 1720 1820

Zhangjiagang 110 RMB 1140 1250 1440 1540 1740

Nanjing 122 RMB 1120 1320 1510 1640 1840

If there is any conflict between this table to other time table, this one should be more accurate since I recorded the time table from the poster of the ticket office at Pudong Airport for my visitors.

Updated Latest Bus Information Feburary 12, 2008

This is the latest update about the Pudong Airport to Hangzhou Bus.

Q: Where to find this bus?

A: It is just inside the Shanghai Pudong Airport. It is outside the gate 18 at the International arrival hall. Go directly forward after you exit the gate, and you will see directions. The station itself is pretty hard to find, since you cannot direct see it. It is on the top of the garage. Ask if you need help.

Q: What is the price?

Price: 100 RMB per person.

Q: Where does the bus go?

A: It stops at the Huanglong Stadium in Hangzhou.

Q: What is the departure time?

A: Departure time: 10:30, 12:00, 13:30, 15:30, 17:30, 19:30

Q: What is the traval time?

A: 3 hours.

PVG: Ramada Hotel Opens at Pudong Airport

RAMADA – The four star standard international hotel at Pudong International Airport opens today. It offers 370 rooms and is the first international brand hotel near Pudong Airport.

I have many inquiries from my Pudong Airport webpage that is there any hotel near Pudong Airport? My answer was always, there is one, the Jin Jiang Inn. It is cheap but not good. I suggest you to stay in downtown Shanghai if you not only transit from the airport.

They posted a half-page ugly advertisement on the Shanghai Morning Post.


Application to Driver’s License

When I come to the stage to get the application form for the driver’s license, I find it is almost as difficult as application for the passport. I don’t see any reason why they require the approval letter from my employer again and the photocopy of the business license of my employer. Why? “If my company doesn’t agree, I cannot get my driver’s license?” I asked. “Sure.” The officer on the other end of the phone line answered.

I will Get My Passport Soon

As I wrote weeks ago, I will be able to replace my passport from today. I am going to go to Entry & Exit Administration next Monday to get my passport reissued. Thank God. The three months are just too long for me to wait…

Map from Satellite

You can zoom out (clicking the “-” sign) to find out how close it is to the Pudong Airport.

What Can I Do With My Own Mountain

I heard that I can buy a mountain in my home town of Luoyang at very cheap price. It is located in Luoyang, Hen Nan provide. It is 15 km away for the city. When I was young, I used to play on the mountains. I never thought of the possibility to own the mountai myself.

The only question, or the major question I face is, what can I do with my own mountain.


According to the agreement, I cannot build permenant house on the mountain. It is far from Shanghai – 12 hours train plus 1 hour bus. It also not suitable for planting trees. The scene of the mountain is good, but not that kind of scene that can attract tourist.

My Idea

The only thing I can think of is to take a lot of digital pictures for the mountain and put it online. Then I announce I am the owner of a mountain, maybe put it under my signiture. Is it cool? That is all I can think of to do with the mountain…

TOEIC Score = 915

I got my TOEIC score today, after two weeks after I took the exam. The score is 915 out of 990. Well. It is a good score since I took the first place of all the 50+ participants for this exam – actually the only one with 900+ score. I feel good since I didn’t prepare for it, actually, I learnt there were grammer and corretion types of questions the morning before the exam. Meanwhile, I also feel very bad since if I prepare well for it, maybe I can get a higher score. Anyway, it will pass almost all the requirements for a TOEIC score – the five star hotels ask TOEIC of 890 for outlet managers.

My Listening Score was 480

and my Reading Score was 435

Certificate Fun

I found I became a Certificate and Exam fun recently. I just passed MSF Practitioner Exam yesterday, passed TOEIC just now and will get a driver’s license in the next half month after I pass the final real road exam. The feeling of accomplishment is good, although I am not sure when and how I can use the certificate, especially for the MSF Practitioner Exam. Maybe the benefit is the permission to teach the three-day MSF course 1846A: MSF Essentials. It can be of useful in the future, I think.

SARS, Autumn Tiger, and MSF…

I was frightened that there become rumors that SARS cases emerge again in west part of China. Is it true? I hope not.

Shanghai is still hot, exteremely hot. I started to be completely wet even when at 7:30 AM in the morning – we call it “Autumn Tiger” for this kind of hot weather after the begining of fall season. I heard that it is called “Indian Summer” in English. True?

Thank God that I passed MSF Practitioner Exam today. I didn’t prepared well for it, just like previous TOEIC test, but thank God, I passed it. About 2000 people in the world passed this exam now and about 5 of them is in China. Thanks for my friend Fang for take the initiative to pass it first and inspired me to give it a try.

Late Payment for My Gas Bill

I have to show the expression of :-( Sadly Smiley when I became aware that I have to pay 196 RMB as late payment fine for the 280 RMB gas fee for December 2002. That is the bill of half year ago. I was amazed by myself that I can delay paying a bill for over half a year. How bad memory do I have.

I am a very careless person in my pesonal life. I often forget to pay the bills. To be honest, I don’t care most of the bills like water, electricity, gas since the amounts are small. The only bill I care very much is the telephone bill, which was always higher than I expected. Especially the ADSL monthly fee of 150 RMB (combined with Tian Yi Tong – the wireless service) drove me crazy. It is one of the most expensive household fee I have to pay.

I have never paid bill or heard of bill before I come to Shanghai. Yes. It is true. In a lot of cities in China before, the household fee was deducted from the salary directly, as my parents’ company did. It sounds strange but it was true before. People live in the house assigned by the company (or unit, in Chinglish). Serveral family share the same electricity meter and people don’t have bill, since the company will pay the electricity department of the city and deduce the distributed amont the families from their salary….

On Late Payment will Doom You

The headline of MSN.com frightened me.


Image coutersy of MSN.com

It claimed that

One late payment can doom you

Credit-card companies and insurers are combing your records for any reason to justify a rate increase. Just a single late payment or over-limit charge could ripple through all your unrelated accounts.

Reading the article made me get aware of the importance of paying bill in time. Will a late payment doom me? If so, how about a 8-month late payment? Will it doom me twice?

Actually, it is the fact of the credit system. Just as I never heard of bill before, I seldom hear about credit in last year. However, from the begining of this year, the city of Shanghai are working on the credit system. They begin to gather bank account information, late payment into the central credit system, just as that in other countries. This is a very big step forward for the city. Poor me. How about my credit now? Will it be of value zero? :-( again.

A Car Plate = 38500 RMB in Shanghai

The result of the last car plate bidding excercise revealed on the Morning Post. The latest record for a plate is 38500 RMB (4,600 USD). There is a special report on this on the Morning Post. Shanghai is famous for bad traffic condition. It is such a large city on so small area. The price of July is 36900. The raising of price for a car license (or number plate) is reasonable.

The Bid

From about one year ago (not sure though), Shanghai issue the plate using the open bidding system. It is said the first bidding result price was only 1000 RMB. It was a miracle. Now the price has been too high already.

The bid excercise on every third Saturday of every week. That means, the date for the bidding will be:

July 19

Augest 23

September 20

October 18


To enter the bid, the bidder need to

1) Buy a bidding form at 100 RMB before the Friday morning of bid.

2) Deposit 2000 RMB – to make sure you attend the bidding. It is returned if you don’t get the plate.

3) Call into the system or go to the bidding hall to enter the bidding.

Interesting Game

Since this auction is the bidding without base price. That means, by theory, if everyone only offer 100 RMB for the plate, then the final price for the plate should be only 100 RMB. The success bidders are determined by price (from higher to lower) and by time (from ealier to later).

This time, 4500 plates were issued, which is obviously much less than the number of participants. The city can control the number of cars by limiting the number of plate sent to market. The less the plate they send to the market, the higher the price will be.

My Choice

I am considering buying a car – not very seriously, just begin to get interested to checkthe model and price. Meanwhile, I am learning to drive. Hopefully, I can get the license in two weeks. So I have to take the plate issue into consideration.

Shanghai Plate or Hangzhou/Suzhou Plate

Considering the high price of Shanghai car plate, the plate outside Shanghai is an attrative option. For example, a plate in Zhangzhou is only 200 RMB (others said it is 2000 RMB, not confirmed yet). The limitation is

  • Cars without Shanghai local plate canont use the elvated highway, bridges like Lupu Bridge, and some tunnels in rush hours.
  • The annual car checking is held in the place where the plate is issued

For the second limitation, it is not a big problem. Hangzhou is only 2 hours’ ride from Shanghai. I heard the rumor that this can be done in Shanghai too now – Not confirmed too.

For the first limitation, I am not sure. On one hand, I believe I will not likely to use the car to go to work – the traffic on the elevated highway is terrible (the normal roads are even worse). On the other hand, if there is something urgent, it will be very troublesome if the time falls to the rush hours.

Well. My personal oppion is that a Shanghai plate is still the best choice. Although it is so expensive now, but you can always see the trends for raising in the long run…. Is it a method of investment?

I just checked the price for a plate in Singapore – or COE (Certificate of Entitlement). The latest price is about 30,000 Singapore Dollars, according to the One.Motoring

Adding Rank Bar to MovableType Entry

Recently, I added Rank Bars to all the recent entries, as you may have noticed.


The Rank Bars are the green bars attached to each of the entry titles. It reveals the popularity of the entry by the number of comments under that entry. The longer, the more comments it has. When you move your mouse on to the bar, the number of comments is shown as tool tip. Actually, every 10 pixel in width of the comment system means 1 comment.

The problem I met when I was designing this feature is, that the number of comments are not balanced among the entries. Although most entries have 2 to 5 comments, some entries have more than 100 comments. For example, this one in spam category has 234 comments already. If I use the 10 pixel per 1 comment algrithm, it will be 2340 pixel in width and will turn the pages into big mass.

Finally, I put another <span> tag with width of 100 pixel and set the overflow style to hidden, which means that all the extra part outside the span is hide, so the longest possible width is 100 pixel. (I may change this width limitation without update this article in the future).

Here is the code to implement this feature.

<div class=”comments-head”>Related Entries:</div>


<MTEntries lastn=”6″>

<li><a href=”<MTEntryLink>”><MTEntryTitle></a> – <i><$MTEntryDate format=”%b %d, %Y”$></i> <span style=”width:100;overflow:hidden;”><img height=”4″ alt=”<$MTEntryCommentCount$> comment(s)” width=”<$MTEntryCommentCount$>0″ align=”absMiddle” border=”0″ src=”http://home.wangjianshuo.com/archives/2003/08/20/screen-rank.bar.gif”></span>



What do you think of this feature? Like it? You can try it on your own blog (if you own a blog and it is powered by MovableType). Paste your link in the comment system to let us know.

Shutdown DefeatMessenger And FightPopups Spam

Before you complain and leave any bad words with my comment system, read this disclaim first:

This page provides simple steps to stop the EndAds.com, DefeatMessenger.com and FightPopups.com spam. It also call for action to shutdown the servers of these spammers together. Read before post…

I hope with the disclaimer at the very beginning, I will not sufer that much as on my entry of EndAds and BlockMessenger where people thought it was this site sending out the net send spam and just throw out all the dirty words they can think of. I hope…

Let me repeat the steps again in case people didn’t see my previous entry:

Simple steps to turn it off

The easist way to stop receiving this kind of message is to turn off Windows Messenger service. If you are running Windows XP or Windows 2000, following these steps:

  • Click Start button on your Windows taskbar.
  • Click Run…
  • Enter “Services.msc” (without quotation marks) and click OK.
  • Browse the list till you find “Messenger” in Name column.
  • Double click it. The Messenger Properties (Local Computer) dialog box comes out.
  • Choose “Disable” in “Startup type” drop down box.
  • Click OK.

It will definitely work. If you don’t believe that so simple steps can stop the annoying pop-ups, see the comments of about 100 people on this page.

Note: These steps will NOT affect your usage of MSN Messenger, AIM, Yahoo! Messenger or ICQ.

Huge Success to Shutdown EndAds.com

On July 30, 2003, Chris Mikeson suggested to not only shutdown the Messenger Services on our own computer, but to send out complain to the ISP hosting the service.

Later, many people including Joseph, AP, Cory, Jennifer, aaron, Don, Tom, Scott Hawkins, KS, Krozar and machinetodd (not a complete list) send complain email either to abuse@level3.net or FCC.

Yesterday, Aug 21, 2003, Chris, who initialized the Complain Campaign, noticed us that EndAds.com is no longer accessable. It was also confirmed by Jeremy.

So, let’s keep this going people. Let us know the new domain name they come up with and we will get that thing shut down quicker than a skittish jackrabbit can lick a carrot stick.

Bravo people! Well done! Power to the Internet community fighting these SCUM! Let’s keep this going…

– chris m.

If it is really because the ISP shutdown the service (not the technical difficulties of this spammer), it is really good news. People felt the power to fight back, instead of just pay for the so called Anti-spam software from these spammers.

Call For Actions: Shutdown other Spammer Website TOGETHER

DefeatMessenger.com and FightPopups.com are owned by the same person as EndAds.com. Here is the detailed information that may be useful to file a complain. IMPORTANT: The information comes from the WHOIS database on the Internet and may NOT be accurate.


Administrative Contact:



PO BOX 927142

San Diego, CA 92129-7142




IP address: Here is the information for the hosting company:

OrgName: InternetNamesForBusiness.com


Address: 500 East Broward Boulevard

Address: Suite 1700

City: Fort Lauderdale

StateProv: FL

PostalCode: 33394

Country: US

NetRange: –


NetName: MEGA-1

NetHandle: NET-216-251-32-0-1

Parent: NET-216-0-0-0-0

NetType: Direct Allocation






Updated: 2001-04-09

TechHandle: ZI51-ARIN

TechName: InternetNamesForBusiness.com

TechPhone: +1-954-463-3080

TechEmail: admin@internetnamesforbusiness.com

OrgTechHandle: ZI51-ARIN

OrgTechName: InternetNamesForBusiness.com

OrgTechPhone: +1-954-463-3080

OrgTechEmail: admin@internetnamesforbusiness.com

Update Augest 23, 2003

Chris suggested to send complain to abuse@peer1.net and abuse@sbcglobal.net. Please read his comment blow to for the method to find out this email alias from any domain name.

It is appreciated if you can point out a better way to shutdown these sites or correct me if I was wrong at any point. I believe when the voice of people surfering from these spam heard, the Internet will become peace again. Good luck!

Updated EndAds.com Spammers Caught Nov 06, 2003

Good news! The EndAds.com, actually D Square LLC was caught by FTC and was sued. I believe it is the final ending of this nightmare. Read more: EndAds.com Caught by FTC

Passed the Field and Road Driving Exam

As I forecast before, I went to the Driver’s Education Base. I finally passed both the field and the road exam. After two weeks, I will attend the real situation road test. Hopefully, I will get a driver’s license after I pass the exam.

The field test is a virtual parking log made up of 8 poles. Five steps were required:

  • Step 1: Move the car out of the parking lot
  • Step 2: Reverse it to the other one.
  • Step 3: Move the car to the right side
  • Step 4: Drive the car out of the right parking lot
  • Step 5: Reserve it back to the original place

See this simple diagram:


I drove the car very slow and successfully performed all the five steps without touching the poles.

Road Test

The road test is much shorter than I expected. The supervisor only asked me to start, turn left, turn right and stop. That is all.

I did make a mistake during the shot exam. I didn’t stop at the stop sign!


That is a huge mistake. Thank God that the supervisor finally let me pass.

dalian-yellow.sunflower-on.hill.jpgThis is a special day for me.

I’d like to put a small yellow flower here,

in memory of the good times

Find a Job in Shanghai

Jane asked about how to find a job in Shanghai. My friend mvm gave the following suggestions:

To Jane:

most white collars in shanghai are finding jobs in the following websites:

1) http://www.51job.com

2) http://www.zhaopin.com/ (AMAIK, Microsoft’s business unites in the mainland, including GTEC and MS PRC, posts job descriptions in this website)

3) http://www.chinahr.com

i’m afraid headhunters focus more on executives and managers.

if you have friends working in shanghai for big companies, such as ibm, general motor, unilever, blah blah, they will bring you information on open positions from time to time. this is an important channel.

Posted by: mvm on August 20, 2003 03:24 PM

He is definitely right. The most famous job posting websites in Shanghai are

1) http://www.51job.com screen-51job-logo.gif

2) http://www.zhaopin.com/ screen-zhaopin-logo.gif

3) http://www.chinahr.com screen-chinahr-logo.gif

They are designed mainly for local people. The posting and the interface is in Chinese. Even if you search on an English website, the majority of the results are in Chinese.

You will also find the forums on ShanghaiExpat.com helpful. The users of this forum are all expats and there are some good job offers there. Meanwhile, I also opened an job posting forum on my site.

Jobs board on my BBS

Update: New Source – classified September 13, 2009

The best place for common jobs in Shanghai now has become Baixing’s Job board.

Disclaimer: I am the CEO of Baixing.com.

Driving for Exams

I was told that the first driving exam (the road test) will be held this Thursday. This is surprising to me since I am not ready yet. I will practice reserve the car, move the car and turn left and right the whole day today, and hopefully to pass the exam so I can continue to practice on real road for about two weeks, then if I pass the final exam, I can get the license.

The place for the practice is just besides Hong Qiao Airport. I can see planes getting off and landing every five minutes, just about 300 meters away from the runway…

This month seems to be the Month of Exam for me.

Secret Wealth Spam

X-Apparently-To: myemail@yahoo.com via; Fri, 15 Aug 2003 21:23:16 -0700


Received: from (HELO web10005.mail.yahoo.com) ( by mta235.mail.scd.yahoo.com with SMTP; Fri, 15 Aug 2003 21:23:16 -0700

Message-ID: <20030816042316.60576.qmail@web10005.mail.yahoo.com>

Received: from [] by web10005.mail.yahoo.com via HTTP; Fri, 15 Aug 2003 21:23:16 PDT

Date: Fri, 15 Aug 2003 21:23:16 -0700 (PDT)


Subject: from kone to you

To: myemail@yahoo.com

MIME-Version: 1.0

Content-Type: text/plain; charset=iso-8859-1

Content-Transfer-Encoding: 8bit

Content-Length: 1517

FROM : Master Kone Ibrahim



Dearest one,

With regard to your reputation and co-worshipper of

God who will not disappoint me nor deny me in faith, I

am directing this letter of assistance to you. I am

Master Kone Ibrahim the son of Mr Bamba Ibrahim from

Republic of Zimbabwe really in dear need to get

somebody who will safe guard the interest of me and my

treasure. Briefly, my father Mr Bamba Ibrahim was a

Gold and Cocoa merchant who based in Abidjan Côte

d’Ivoire and had a branch office in Accra Ghana.

My father was a wealthy Gold/Cocoa merchant who has

business in many countries in Europe, America and

Asian countries. According to my father, my own mother

died when I was about six years of age which means

that I did not even know my mother very well.

The story is that my father Mr Bamba was poisoned to

death by his business associates about some months

ago, and he died in a private hospital here in

Abidjan. But when he was about to die, he called me

beside his sick bed and told me that he deposited the

sum of Ten Million seven hundred thousand United State

Dollars (USD10.7M) in a confidence account as bond in

a bank here in Abidjan Côte d’Ivoire, this money was

kept for me his only son. Right now I am here in

Abidjan, the commercial city of Cote d’Ivoire in West


My problem now is that since my father has been

poisoned to death by his business associates, I don’t

even trust any other person here again and to this

effect, I do contact you. Right now, I want you to

help me in the following ways:

1) I want you to help me extract this money from the

bank here and then provide a bank account where this

amount here (USD10.7M) can be transferred.

2) You are going to be the manager of this fund and

also my personal guardian until I finished my studies

as I’m just 24 years old.

3) You are going to procure admission for me to

continue my studies in one of the known university in

your country.

4) That you must prepare immediately to make a working

visit to Abidjan here so that me and you can see each

other and we can then do the transfer of the fund to

your account at the same time and I will go back with

you to your country for the fund investment.

5) You are going to receive 20% of the total sum for

your assitance to me.

I appreciate if you consider my condition and help me,

and I am willing to proceed with you as soon as I have

your response. Please try to contact me through my

email address




Waiting for your immediate response.

Thanks for your understanding

Master Kone Ibrahim

Anyone received email like this? I got this kind of email from different persons every week. I am not sure what they are going to do?

My Experience of TOEIC Exam

This should be a normal Saturday morning if there was no TOEIC exam. I should have waked up late in the morning to see the highly raised sun if there was no TOEIC exam. Unfortunately, this is the date for me to take it.

I still remember the time when I was preparing for TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language). TOEFL has been popular in students in China for ten years. There are also hundreds of training centers helping people to prepare for the TOEFL test. I remember I attended TOEFL classes for half year before I took the exam.

TOEIC, which also comes from ETS (English Testing Services (R)), seems less famous. I heard about this term about three months ago. I thought it is some company internal test and later, I found out it comes from ETS, but much more informal. It is not only because it can be held in the examinee’s company, but because of other factors I will explain later.

Before the Exam

The exam started at 9:30 AM today and ended at 12:06. It was told to bring a 2B pencil and rubber. I thought it maybe some casual exam like others held within the company, but I was wrong.

The door of the training room was locked tightly and all the examinees waited outside the door – I have never waited like this in the company. :-) And at 9:30 sharp, the door opened and a good looking girl I don’t know appeared at the entrance and checked ID card and the exam permit carefully one by one. She was really careful with the numbers and the faces (the real person and the picture on the ID), as if she has never seen a China National ID card before. This took about 10 minutes along. People were also asked to take out the mobile phone and turn it off before her. This is stricter than that on a airplane. :-)

Later I found this is the only staff from the testing center. The others all come from the company. On the board hang large poster about TOEIC, however, the poster is obviously localized with the URL of TOEIC test center in China: http://www.toeictest.com.cn I just checked this site and it is quite simple, slow and unprofessional.

The Exam

To me, TOEIC is still somewhat simple – although I cannot guarantee a high score, but the listening conversation and the reading sections are relatively easier than TOEFL. I am not sure if everyone thinks so – is it because I took TOEFL 5 years ago while my English improved during the half decade?

This is the most unprepared exam in my life. Before this morning, I even didn’t know how many sections in the exam. I roughly read the reading section of a sample exam for the first time between the 9:00 AM to 9:30 AM time window before the exam. I took some preparation sessions for the listening comprehension at work before. In the short 30 minutes, I learnt that there are three sections in the reading part – choosing the right answer to complete a sentence, correcting mistakes in a sentence and understand short business paragraphs.

The 100 listening comprehension questions were hard work for me. I kept concentrated on the tape for 30 minutes, or longer, who knows…. I just felt very hard to find out the right oval on the answer sheet because the answer sheet was so compact that everything clustered together.

After I finished the exam, I feel not bad. The result will come out in two weeks.

TOEIC is Not Good Organized and Not Professional

Personally, I think TOEIC is not a professional test. There is a gap between the standards TOELF and TOELF/GRE.

  • Registration. I almost lost my chance to take the exam since my national ID card number was wrongly printed on the Entrance Permit. It turned out to be the mistake of the test center.
  • Answer sheet. I always believe the TOEFL/GRE test is very good at usability design. The [STOP] and the [Go to the next page] instructions are very considerate. But in TOEIC answer sheet, question number 101 to 199 were simply marked as number 1 to 99 on the test exam. The only difference is, one is on the upper side and other is on the lower part. I felt very strange and uncertain to put my answer for question No. 139 into the question 39 on the answer sheet. It does not look like an answer sheet from ETS.
  • The print. The small logo (about 200*60 pixel) on the answer sheet was not clear, and was obviously enlarged from a much smaller one, so the resolution was not good.
  • The website. Either TOEIC or TOEICTEST.COM.CN were not satisfactory.

Well. I believe there is still some way for TOEIC to go in China – to be more professional. BTW, China is not updated on the list of TOEIC’s Taking Test web page yet.

More about TOEIC in Shanghai

In case you are curious, the expense to attend a TOEIC exam is about 70 USD or 600 RMB. The full score is 990 and lowest is 10.

Shanghai Hotel Guide

Most visitors come to this site for information about Shanghai. Some of them, like lily asked about hotel suggestions in Shanghai. “Which hotel is good?”, “Which area do you suggest to stay?”, and How can I reserve a hotel in Shanghai?”…..

Well. I believe I am knowledgable on most part of Shanghai after living here so many years – the restranants, the buses, the spot scenes, but there is only one area that I as unfamiliar as anyone else. The area is about hotels. I frequently travel to many cities, but because of my home is here, I have never ever stayed in a hotel in this city.

Let me try to use the message I got from the building of the hotels, the events we held in some hotels and the feedback about my friends to describe the hotels I suggest.

Ritz-Carlton, Simply the Best

If you ask me about which hotel is the best hotel in Shanghai, I will definitely say, the Portman Ritz Carlton Hotel. screen-ritz.carlton-logo.PNG It was selected as the Best Business Hotel in Asia last year and the Best Employer in Asia for the last two years. I have attend training delivered by their service manager about their unique mission statement “We are Ladies and Gentlemen Serving Ladies and Gentlemen.” which is part of their Gold standards. I love this hotel more as a great company than just a hotel. My collegues ever hosted worldwide summit in the hotel and was so impressed by their service, especially the smiles on the face of everyone.

It is a pitty that I have never visited this hotel since they only operates in Shanghai, Hongkong, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Seoul, Bali, and Osaka in Asia. Their guest target is only the top 5% of business travelers. It is also the place where Presidents of U.S. stay when they visit Shanghai. The rate is really hight – at least 170 USD per night. Some rooms are as expensive as 380 USD, according to their reservation system. It is just far too expensive. :-(

The area of Ritz-Carlton is now the heart of Shanghai. In the same building is the Shanghai Centre 1376 NANJING ROAD WEST, SUITE 742, SHANGHAI 200040 CHINA TEL: (8621) 6279-8600 FAX: (8621) 6279-8610. Lots of Amerian companies gathers in that building, such as the United Airlines and American Chamber of Commerce.

Featured Hotel – Tallest

Grant Hyatt Shanghai is just the highest hotel in the world. screen-hyatt-logo.gif I don’t have any comment on the service or the facility of this hotel. What I am thinking is, is it cool to stay on the tallest hotel in the world? It is the 53rd to 87th floor in Jin Mao Tower. See the picture below? It was taken in the west part of Shanghai while Jin Mao Tower is on the east side, but I can still clearly see it since it is the tallest building in the city.


© Jian Shuo Wang

The scene of this hotel is among the best in Shanghai.

Other Five Star Hotels

Hilton Shanghai screen-hilton-logo.gif is at the Jing An Temple Area – very good. I have visited the room there when I picked up my friends – very decent decoration and the staff are very hospitable. BTW, Hilton is my favorite hotel. I was firstly impressed in my stay in Hilton Nanjing then Hilton Dalian. The area is very good with very convinient transportation – the Metro Line #2 is just 100 meters away, although I believe most visitors will prefer taxi if not for sight seeing propose.

Westin Shanghai is a completely new hotel that just opened maybe last year. It is in the Bund Center where I worked in for half an year. I am sure the facility will be the first class.

The problem is, the area is not good since it is in the old town. Although it is just 10 minutes’ walk to Nanjing Road, there is nothing interesting in that whole area. It is located in the heart of the old Shanghai while hotels like Hilton and Ritz-Carlton in the new center. Pudong area is the newest center but the facility like restrauants and bars are not ready in that area.

When we talk about hotels in a large city, we cannot forget the famous brand Marriot screen-marriot-logo.gif. Here is the 6 hotels of Marriot in Shanghai:

  • Renaissance Pudong
  • JW Marriott Hotel Tomorrow Square Shanghai
  • Renaissance Yangtze Shanghai Hotel
  • Tomorrow Square – Marriott Executive Apartments
  • Shanghai Marriott Hotel Hongqiao
  • Courtyard Shanghai Pudong

I have no idea about the two hotels in Pudong. From the location perspective, the JW Marriott Hotel Tomorrow Square Shanghai and the Tomorrow Square – Marriott Executive Apartments are the best, since it is near the People’s Park – the heart of Shanghai and the joint point between line #1 and #2. It is also the highest building in the Puxi area. Please note that they are not open yet, as far as I know.

The Renaissance Yangtze is a relatively old hotel, located in the Hongqiao Area. It is convienient for business in that area. The Shanghai Marriott Hotel Hongqiao is near the Hongqiao Airport, but relatively far from the downtown Shanghai. I attended party there and felt the service was good.

For Intercontinetal hotels, screen-holiday.inn-logo.gif and screen-holiday.inn-logo.gif, they offer cost-effective travel solutions (Is this the America way to express simple things with complicated terms?)

This is the list on their website. Among them, I can tell the Crown Plaza is located in a very silent and peace places and near it is the Shanghai Film Center, the top theater in Shanghai. The Xin Hua road besides it is very romatic with the trees. Don’t choose the Holiday Inn besides the Shanghai Railway Station. The area is too crowded and noise. The crime rate there is high.

Hotels I am Familiar with

Regal East International Asia Hotel – located on the street of Henshan Road, the street of bars. Henshan Hotel and Sports Hotel in Xujiahui area are good and cheap, but don’t expect facility and service like those hotels I mentioned above. They are just somewhere to stay.

Cheap Hotels Without Stars?

There are so many cheap but pretty good hotels. I cannot give a list of all of them. Still remember my Hand-Made Map of Shanghai?

It will give some idea of where to find a good hotel.

Update: Small, Cheap but Nice Hotels in Shanghai June 3, 2004

I have found some cheap, clean and nice hotels in Shanghai. Please read this article and pay attention to the Related Entries of the page since I will add more hotels like that in the future in this section.

Lost My Passport of P. R. China

The Story

I lost my Chinese Passport

– last year.

I will be able to apply for my new passport again

– after the magic date August 29, 2003

Hopefully, I can get my new passport

– in the middle of Sept

During the half year, I made at least 30 phone calls, visited about 4 police offices, paid for the advertisement on the Wen Hui Daily and waited for three months to be able to reapply a passport.

At last, I am very tired and frustrated.

The Rules

The following are the rules I learnt from my experience to replace a passport in China. I didn’t know about it before I lost my passport.

  1. After losing an passport, the passport holder need to go the nearest police station to claim the lose of passport
  2. The passport holder need to publish an advertisement on national wide news paper about the lose.
  3. The holder can only apply a new passport after three months of the publish of the advertisement.
  4. A new passport will be issued in two weeks after the holder reapply.

I Lost My Passport

At the beginning of November 2002, I attended a conference in Hong Qiao Guest Hotel. The event was wonderful except that I lost my black V-ONE jacket with my passport in the pocket. I didn’t realize it be the beginning of the big trouble.

Looking for the Right police to Claim

I called the yellow page 114 to get the telephone number of the police station. I asked the operator to transfer me to the right police station. I was told that I could claim the lose at ANY police station. Well. It sounded good. I went to the Yan An East Road Station (near He Nan Middle Road) which was just below the building I worked in.

They simply didn’t want to continue to hear about what I had to tell them after they got aware that I worked in the nearby building – they said it was the Nan Jing East Road police station that oversaw the area.

I rushed to the Nan Jing East Road Station and asked to claim. This time, I wasn’t rejected. They told me to wait there for the policeman in charge of this came back after lunch. I waited and waited in the dark room only to hear the man tell me that I didn’t lose the passport in his area and I needed to go to the police station where my Hukou resided in. Hukou is the documentation about me – the mysterious documents that only the employers can see while I can never see in my life….

I clearly know my Hukou was located at #900, Yan An West Road. However, the staff in the police stations obviously didn’t know their business. I called the operator to transferr me to one police station, which always told me that they were not the right one. Sometimes they provided a pointer to another one which claim not responsible for the magic place where my Hukou resides. Did I wrote a wired complicated sentense with many clauses? The real situation was more wired if you count the times when they gave the wrong telephone numbers.

With everyone’s kind help, I finally successfully went throught the following police station (with no particular order – if they request for credit for what they did). It may be a complete list of the stations in that area.

Xian Xia Road Police Station

Jing Ning Road Police Station

Pa Yu Road police Station

Xin Hua Road police Station

Hong Qiao Road police Station

Even the operator of Xuhui police could recognize my voice at last and was very angry with me. She didn’t want me to bother her any more. I was even more anger than she was.

Found the Right Police Station

Finally, I quitted asking the human being in the stations. I looked up the laws and regulations and found by regulations, I need to report to the nearest police station that was in charge of the area where I lost my passport. I couldn’t be wrong this time. So I called Xian Xiao Road Police Station, with the document in my hand. I thought I can defense and claim I didn’t want to be transferred any more with the regulation. By the regulation, they should help me to claim.

Things went smoother than I expected. The policeman accepted my claim request happily and said, “Yes. You are at the right place. Why didn’t you call us earlier?” Well. “Why didn’t I call earlier?” I have to say, my knowledge of the police system was not good enough and I believed what the operator had said at the very beginning. I shouldn’t trust anyone on telephone, especially those from police stations.. :-(

Finally, I found I was too early to relax. He asked me to bring the safeguard in the Hong Qiao Guest House to the police station to be the witness. I asked “How can it be possible? I didn’t remember the name of the safeguard.” I did inform the safeguard in the hotel immediately after I found my passport was lost, but did my statement not valid enough to proof my passport got lost? The policeman was very professional. The answer was the same no matter how I explained: “No witness, no claim”.

I called Hong Qiao Guest Hotel. They just newly upgraded to a five-star hotel. It was still the hotel operated by the government for the state guests. Not surprisingly, they asked the name of the safeguard who witnessed and then refused to provide any evidence. His answer sounded reasonable: “How can I know whether you lost your passport or not?”

Till then, it seemed to be the deadlock. One side asked for witness and the other side won’t provide it. I happened to travel frequently after that and didn’t have time to give them a daily call to discuss this issue. The policeman obviously didn’t want to talk with me too. I just gave up my attempt until I realized doing nothing would not solve the problem three months later.

I Lied, Therefore I Succeeded

Finally, suggested by my experienced friend, I rushed into the Pan Yu Road Police Station on one Wednesday noon. The police station was located on the quiet road near the back door of Jiao Tong University.

I saw a lady in behind the thick glasses. I told her that I want to claim the lose of passport. She asked me to wait until 1:30 PM. That was 1 hours later. The reason was, it is the noon break time and they don’t accept any application. I continuously asked her to do me a favor since everybody was in the room and why I need to wait so long… The 10 minutes noise I made worked and she accepted my request – actually, she had nothing to do at that time except chatting with others. The topic seemed not interesting enough for her to ignore me.

When she asked where I lost my passport and when, I answered as I have repaired: I just lost the passport near the police station, just at the gate of the Jiao Tong University yesterday. I found myself a gifted liar that even I believed that I lost it yesterday.

Before she tend to reject my claim request, I insisted that there is no witness and no proof – “I was….”, I thought hard, “alone and wandering on the road…”. It was not easy to make a story just-in-time. “…and suddenly found my passport went away…..”

It worked like a charm. The angel of mine quickly wrote on a piece of paper and stamps her powerful stamp. In 30 seconds, my Lose of Passport Claim was ready.

Why I Have to Lie to Keep the Ball Rolling?

I felt sad that the system in the society made thing to be so hard if people insist to be honest. There were so many stamps I needed to get and any one can stop you and say: “Hey, look. You need to get the stamp from this department before I can give you mine…”

I just read about a true story that happened in the middle east. The title of the article was Don’t Want To Be A Chinese From Now On. It was firstly posted on Zaobao.com and was widely quoted and discussed. The story was about a young Chinese mother who married an Indian. She insisted to register her son as Chinese citizen although her husband didn’t agree at the beginning. When they went to the China Embassy, they asked her to provide a lot of documents, including the proof that she didn’t owe money from her former employer, the non-criminal record certificate and the agreement from the Foreign Affair Administration of her home town….

After traveling between China and India for many times, she still could not get the document and stamps needed. Finally her India husband got so angery and shouted to everyone in the Embassy. Then he easily got the application form. This time, it was the mother who refused to sign the application. She was so heart broken and applied India passport for her son. The passport was ready in three days.

Soooo….. sad…… to know this.

Publishing the Advertisement

Let me get back to my story. After getting the Lose Claim, things became easier. According to the regulation of Shanghai Exit-Entry Administration, I need to publish an advertisement on the national wide news papers claiming the lose.

I was suggested to go to the People’s Daily since it was the largest one. I didn’t do it since it asked for 300 RMB. Xin Min Evening asked for 100 RMB. I finally choose Wen Hui Daily since it cost only 50 RMB to publish an advertisement – the smallest advertisement possible.

On the day of May 29, 2003, for the first time in my life, I went to the newspaper dealer to buy a copy of Wen Hui Daily. I never personally pay for this newspaper although I can read it anywhere in Shanghai – on air plane and on the newspaper window on the street. That is the advantage to be an official newspaper of the Party. I personally prefer Xin Min Evening, Shenjiang Service Guide…

On the edge of the news paper, I saw the advertisement I paid for:

Wang Jian Shuo Lost Chinese Passport No. XXXXXX. Claim to be Invalid

Way Ahead

Hopefully, three months after that day, which is August 30, 2003, I can go to the Shanghai Exit-Entry Administration to apply for a new passport. My experience told me that it may not be as easy as I thought. They may ask for stamps that I can never imagine. I just hope the less stamps, the better.

My Hope

Perhaps it is the nature of an I.T. Professional. I always believe the process need to be simplified and the public service should continously improve. I have less tolerance for low efficiency. Don’t get me wrong. I hope the city becomes better and better with efficient public services instead of bureacracy.

P.S. Just the day before yesterday, my wife’s ID card was stolen. The police station asked her to get a stamped letter from her employer to proof that she really lost the ID card before she can claim it at the nearby police station. It is the beginning of another cycle…..

MSN Messenger Emotion Pictures

Update: August 12, 2006

I have collected 2000+ MSN emotion icons in 46 categories. For your convenience, I packaged them in ZIP files, so you can download many icons in one file. This site is not a commercial site, and there is only the pictures in the ZIP file. No readme files, no hidden links, no adware, no any executable. Just click on any of the icons to download more MSN emotion pictures, and enjoy your MSN Messenger.

Please note: all the icons below are clickable, and lead you to more icons of the same type.

Here is the table of content:

End of Update

The New MSN Messenger Emotion is interesting. There are many new emotions in the new version. I believe the emotion for smiley face, the confused smile, and open-mouthed smiley are all very nicely designed. Here is a list of all possible built-in emotions in MSN Messenger 6.0. The MSN Emotion Icons can also generate interesting pictures. Here is a big heart (via dotnettools.org). Just type it into MSN Messenger and the picture below will appear on the screen. Looks very nice.












will produce:







will produce:


Update November 28, 2003


Credit: Anoymous

You can also import the three icons (19×19 pixel in size) into your MSN Messenger (Click the emotion icon (the smiley face) and click “My custom emotions…” when you chat with some body. Then click Add to add these three icons to your MSN one by one. Be sure to assign a short cut to each of them. I am using //c1, //c2 and //c3. Thanks Alex for sharing.

The following icons are widely distributed on the Internet in China. I searched for some time but still didn’t get the source of the authors for these icons. I believe it must comes from different authors and some one helped to combine them. Otherwise, I’d first ask for permission and then give them credit and link for their great work. Alex shared it with me. It is the most comprehensive package I have ever seen.




Download all the pictures in a zip file.

Posted in MSN

Shanghai Scenery Around Xujiahui

This series of picture was taken on top of the Metro Tower. It shows the buildings and parks in the Xujiahui Area – one of the central business districts in Shanghai.

Below: The Xujiahui Residential Area. In my previous article of Hand-Made Map of Shanghai, I said “Xujiahui is the most romantic area of the city.” Someone asked why? You cna se the reason in this picture – it is the peace place hidden in the tree. Despite of unstoppable construction any where in the city, the heart of the Xujiahui are still occupied by some nice houses left from the early years of the last century.

© Jian Shuo Wang

In the picture above, you can see the Hilton Shanghai building and the Shanghai Library (the white building on the left), Regal Hotel (the tall building on the right with green glasses) and Hengshang Hotel (the lower building on the front)

© Jian Shuo Wang

This is the scene looking eastward from Xujiahui. You can see the Oriental Pearl TV Station on the left and the Jinmao Tower on the right. They are the new land marks for the city of Shanghai

© Jian Shuo Wang

Below: The arch in the scene is the newly constructed Lupu Bridge, crossing the Huangpu River.

© Jian Shuo Wang

© Jian Shuo Wang

© Jian Shuo Wang

© Jian Shuo Wang

© Jian Shuo Wang

© Jian Shuo Wang

© Jian Shuo Wang

Trip to Dalian, Liaoning

I just returned from my trip to Dalian, Liaoning. It is a busy travel week since I went to Xiamen last weekend.

What? Dalian is Nearer to Shanghai Than Beijing

The trip was the typical two day meeting trip. I got on board China Eastern MU5605 from Shanghai to Dalian (DLC) at 1550 hours. The trip took 1 hour and 20 minutes. It was surprising since the trip to Beijing from Shanghai was 1 hour and 40 minutes.

On the plane, I saw the position of Dalian is somewhere near 39°N 122°E from the TV. The knowledge from Degree Confluence Project helped me to remember that Shanghai is near 31°N 121°E and Beijing is near 40°N 116°E. So the simple calculate came out the conclusion that Dalian is nearer to Shanghai than Beijing, exactly the opposite result of my impression. :-D


I stayed in my favorite hotel – Hilton. I was even given a suite because the standard rooms were all occupied. It was a nice offer.


© Jian Shuo Wang

I got back with China Eastern MU5606. The storm in Pudong Airport forced the plane to land at Hongqiao Airport. This is the advantage to have two major airports in a city. I was very happy for the change since Pudong Airport is too far while Hongqiao is just 15 km away from my home. The flight really frigntened me to hear the large noise from the A400 engine in the landing phrase. I thought something must had gone wrong with the plane.


I took a lot of pictures of the amazing sea-shore city. The weather was pleasant and the sightseeing was fantastic, although this was my second trip to the same city.


© Jian Shuo Wang


© Jian Shuo Wang


© Jian Shuo Wang

I arrived Shanghai late and tired so I will add more pictures tomorrow night on this page.

Credit: Tom Cheung helped to correct typo on this page.