Monthly Archives: December 2003

Last Day of 2003

It is the last day of 2003. After 6:00 PM, I went out to dinner at Gino at the Grand Gateway. Nice soup and bread.

shanghai-dishes.soup-gino.jpg

© Jian Shuo Wang

shanghai-pot-gino.jpg

© Jian Shuo Wang

Then we took metro to Hua Hai Road, hoping to see some special activities at the new year’s eve. Many buildings are decorated with lights. Here is the Rui An Tower.

shanghai-rui.an.tower-2004.eve.jpg

© Jian Shuo Wang

shanghai-shining.tower-huaihai.jpg

© Jian Shuo Wang

shanghai-x.mas.balls-huaihai.jpg

© Jian Shuo Wang

Cool Stuffs at Amazon

I like companies like Amazon. They always have cool ideas to do traditional business with high-tech ways. Here are some examples.

Search Inside

Amazon is offering the “Search Inside” feature. It allows customers to search every word inside a book. To me, it means more like a feature of “READ inside”. I can quickly search a keyword in a book, and read the sample pages containing the word. I hope one day, when most books offer Search Inside feature, I can simply visit Amazon to search for a word that is in a book on my hand – just the F3 key of my hard copy book.

This service will add more values to both publisher and reader. It generates interest to buy the book. I wanted to buy after I read some sample chapters.

Update More on Search Inside December 31, 2003

Xu asked:

And you just tickled me, I became eager to know how you quickly search a keyword in a book, and read the sample pages containing the word.

Here are the steps.

  1. Choose a topic. Since not all books offer Search Inside feature, some topics, like weblogs, are more likely to offre books with Search Inside features than other topics like cooking. Let’s take weblog as the topic.
  2. Search for books with the keyword using the search box on the left of home page.
  3. In search result, look for Search Inside! mark on the book. Here are an example for We Blog.

    screen-we.blog-book.search.inside.jpg

    Image courtesy of Amazon.com

  4. Click on the book for the book details page. You need to continue to click on the book cover with Search Inside! mark for the second time to come to the Book Preview page.
  5. You will see a green box titled Search inside this book,

    screen-search.inside.book-amazon.PNG

    Screen shot courtesy of Amazon.com

  6. Enter a keyword into the box – you can find the keyword you are interested in the Index Page. Then you will see the sample pages – typically 5 pages are shown once.

You will be prompted to enter your credit card if you didn’t do so before. I dont’ know the limit of sample pages I can see – I didn’t reach the limit yet.

Purchase Circles

Amazon can list the best sellers according to many different groups. For example, this is a list of best sellers shipped to China and here is the top books Sun employees buy.

This is how it is made:

We group the items we send to particular zip and postal codes, and the items ordered from each domain name. We then aggregate this anonymous data and apply an algorithm that constructs bestseller lists of items that are more popular with each specific group than with the general population. No personally identifiable information is used to create Purchase Circle lists. The regularity with which a Purchase Circle is updated depends on its size and activity of a Purchase Circle group. Large Purchase Circles are updated weekly; smaller ones are updated monthly. [Source: Purchase Circle FAQ from Amazon.com

Any provider with data is the king…

P.S. Another Blog Award Begins

End of 2003 sees many votes and awards. Year-end is the time to review the year and find out something big to be memorized.

The Asia Weblog Award just ended. The result will come out soon. It is a pity that many good blogs are not nominated under the “anyone can vote but no one takes care of quality and coverage” mechanism. There should be a clear and verifiable way to ensure the quality of result.

Voting itself is not a good way to identify good blog. The review of a reputable committee based on voting results may be better.

Now the Best China English Blog voting started. It is organized by major blog service providers and players. I definitely support it since it is a very good initiative to bring awareness to blog world and identity those good blogs. However, I still didn’t see the logic behind why the blog with most votes is best. I’d like to thank those who worked very hard to make it happen. I know it is not easy.

WilliamW is very kind to vote for me. Thanks for your effort. I really appreciate it.

Wendy Became a Writer

Another interesting thing in life is that I just discovered that Wendy is a good writer. She posted an article named The Era of Post-Growth (Chinese). Very good article. I like it.

My Alexa Traffic Ranking Improved

My Alexa web traffic ranking improves. Today, wangjianshuo.com, including both home… and www… is ranked as the 92,392nd largest site in terms of traffic. It is the first time it jumps into top 100,000.

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Credit: Alexa.com

If the trend continues, the site will be top 30,000 largest site in three months. :-D

This is my current ranking (may be different than the one I stated above)

Alexa Toolbar

The positive change is not reflecting the real situation. The page view does not improve dramatically. The truth is, I installed the Alexa toolbar on my computer. As the most frequent visitor of the site, my visits greatly impacted the ranking. The lower a site’s rank is, the lower the accuracy the rank is. Don’t take it seriously.

Directory Improvement

Yesterday, when I am home alone, I dig into Perl scripts and finally managed to replace my old MTRelatedEntries plugin with MTLinksRelatedEntries I wrote.

I have more than 400 entries and there are about 70 entries for each category. The links listed under Related Entries section are no longer related to each other since the current category is too generic. So I implemented Links 2.0 and built a directory. In this hierarchy, entries can be put into smaller categories and there is only two to seven entries per category. Items in the same category are related to each other better.

After the category is built, I put other links under the same category to the Related Entries section. I hope people get better experience with this site after the change.

Summary of the Year of 2003

The year of 2003 is passing by.

Personal

In this year, I got married, held the big fat wedding ceremony. I didn’t have any long trip (like Daocheng of last year), but I paid short trips to nearby areas. It sounds crazy to cycle to Taihu, Chongming, Tongli, and Pudong Airport. I also visited some unuasual places like seashore, 30N 119E. There are still some Starbucks stores I didn’t visit this year yet. Maybe next year…

I learnt to drive and got my driver’s license this year. I had good time to drive in this large city.

Domestic

This year is a bad year for China. SARS, fire, the taiwan’s election and the blowout of natural gas… all claimed many people’s life.

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Image courtesy of Xinhua via Sina.com

International

The year of 2003 is also a bad year internationally. The Iraq war, mad cows, the Iran earthquake… bad news after bad news.

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Image courtesy of MSNBC.com

2003 is a year of change…. Isaac’s post confirmed that widely spread saying “2003 is a bad year”. I hope the new start of 2004 will bring more good news to us.

Wonderful MeetUp on Dec 26

I am excited about the successful meet-up yesterday in Starbucks Metro City Store. Eight persons including me attended the casual talk. We played a game of writing three statements about everyone him/her selves with two true and one false statement. It gave everyone the opportunity to tell others about his/her life, personality, and interests. It is a good ice breaking game.

Attendants

Tutu

Sophie

Vicky

Stonesee

Ghee Teh

Xiao Jing

Jian Shuo Wang

shanghai.meetup- vicky.stonesee.teh.etc-together.jpg

Final group photo. Used with permission.

Note: The order of the names are different from the order in the photo in case they don’t what others to recognize them. :-D

Topics

We had great fun to guess which one was the wrong statement. The exploration of the stories behind the true statements were equally interesting. Stonesee shared his fantastic travel experience to Southeast Asia countries. Tutu just returned from her trip to Lijiang and mentioned the kind host of a local guide Zhaxi. I explained more about my incomplete visit to 30N 119E. It seemed we were all interested in such kind of adventure.

We were happy to have Teh in the meet up during his short stay in Shanghai. He talked about his experience in financial industry. We all burst into laughter when Vicky described her statement “I have two dogs?

We found we know each other by friends. The six degree of separation (or the small world theory) is proved again. Xiao-Jing is a friend of Isaac. :-D Stonesee recorded the instinct of women in his blog. Xiao-Jing had the ability to always pick up the right answer with her sixth-sense while Stonesee and me were almost always wrong.

shanghai.meetup-tutu-alone.jpg    shanghai.meetup-vicky.stonesee.jpg

Why Meet up

One of my accomplishment of 2003 is to continue to add more content into my blog everyday no matter how busy I am. The response from my friends and readers is the reason I keep it up. I always wanted to meet my friends I already know from their comments.

The Internet is a great way to people to get connected, but face to face communication can never be replaced. We cherish the opportunity to be at the same city and the POSSIBLITY to meet and have a cup of coffee. I also gathered feedback about their most interested parts of Wangjianshuo’s blog. Teh and Vicky are interested in my how-to parts and others are more interested in funny projects like 30N 119E…

Thanks for coming! I am looking forward the next meet-up. I hope to see more people in person.

P.S. As the lucky draw, I will give one week of free promotion for attendants with a blog.

Holiday Schedule of 2004

The holiday schedule is released early for the whole year of 2004. According to the schedule, there are three 3-day holidays plus a new year’s day, making the national wide holiday 10 days. After shifting with nearby weekends, there will be three long holidays – 7 days for each plus a New Year’s Day.

New Year’s Day

Jan 1, 2004 is a Thursday. Take one day off.

Spring Festival

Holiday starts from Jan 22, 2004 to Jan 28, 2004. Jan 22 is the Spring Festival. The official holidays are Jan 22, Jan 23 and Jan 24. They are Thursday, Friday and Saturday. By moving the weekend Jan 17, Jan 18 to Jan 26, Jan 27, and Jan 24 to Jan 28, the whole week is holiday, but I need to go work at Jan 17 and 18.

May Day

The May Day is simpler. The official holiday is May 1 (Sat), May 2 (Sun) and May 3 (Mon). As compensation for the holiday on weekends, May 4 (Tues), May 5 (Wed) will continue to be holiday. At last, by shifting the following weekends two days earlier, May 6 (Thru) and May 7 (Fri) become holiday but May 8 and May 9 are working days.

National Day

The schedule for National Day is something like May Day. It starts at Oct 1 (Fri) and ends at Oct 7 (Thru). The following weekends (Oct 9, Oct 10) are shifted to the previous week.

My Holidays

I recorded my previous holidays in this category: Top -> Life -> Holidays:

I hope I will keep recording the holidays of 2004.

Where to Study Chinese, Beijing or Shanghai?

Scott, an American in Tokyo is planning to move to Shanghai to study Chinese. He sent me the following questions:

Around this time next year, I’m planning to move to China to take intensive Mandarin courses for at least a year. I’m definitely a city person, and from my current perspective, Shanghai appeals to me most. However, I’m having second thoughts. I’m having a difficult time deciding which city to focus on–Shanghai, Beijing, or somewhere else. I was hoping you could help me with two questions:

1. In your opinion, do you think Shanghai is still a viable option for studying (and learning) Mandarin considering the dialect spoken in Shanghai, plus the higher cost of living compared to other cities in China?

2. About how much money (in RBM or USD) would a student need to get through one year of studying at a university in Shanghai (including tuition, rent in an average part of town, food, drinking money, and some spending cash)?

Credit: Scott. Quoted with permission

Which City?

Regarding your question about which city to study, it is highly dependant on where do you plan to work and live after you learnt the language. If you choose to work in Shanghai (I recommend it), you’d better study there since it gives you plenty of time to get familiar with the city, settle down and for the job hunting.

The living cost is higher in Shanghai compared to that in Beijing. Shanghai is a modern city with good living facilities, so you will feel less culture shock. Check the 10 Things You Love/Hate About Shanghai.

Beijing is more like a typical Chinese city – long history, traditional architectures, slower pace of live, beautiful landscape. You can understand the Chinese culture better there. Although, the side effect is, the culture shock will be great for you. As you said you are a city person, Shanghai is a safer choice for you and Beijing is an exciting adventure.

Purely Learning Chinese

If you don’t consider other aspects of moving, I would highly recommend you to go to Beijing to study Chinese. Beijing is the capital. It is the culture, art, architecture (traditional) central. There are very good universities there, like Beijing University and Tsinghua University. They offer very course – I heard some expat friends recommend them.

Regarding the dialect, Beijing also have a strong dialect, that is different than Putonghua (Mandarin). Personal, foreigners who can add some Beijing dialect appear to know the language better to me. Sometimes it is a hint to really know about the culture in China.

If you choose Beijing, Beijing University has better reputation on literature and language. So does the foreigner language education there.

In Shanghai, Fudan and Jiatong University are the options. Fudan has better Chinese language program while Jiaotong’s Xuhui Campus is in the downtown.

Cost

I don’t know the cost of Beijing. For Shanghai, here is the tuition and accommodation cost for Shanghai Jiaotong University (SJTU):

Tuition Fee:

    USD990/term or RMB8200/term

Accommodation:

    Single Room: 3300 RMB/month or 1200 USD/3 months

    double Room: 3600 RMB/month or 1300 USD/3 months

Course

    4 hours/day, Monday to Friday for 12 weeks

Schedule:

    April 7, 2003 – June 27, 2003

    July 7, 2003 – September 26, 2003

    September 8, 2003 – December 5, 2003

    October 8, 2003 – December 19, 2003

    January 5, 2004 – April 2, 2004

Source: Shanghai Jiaotong University Adult Education School Language Training Center For reference propose only.

The room on campus of 3300 RMB/month is very high. You can find apartment in nearby neighborhood with lower price – around 2000 RMB. For other cost, it is definitely cheaper than that in Tokyo or U.S. Food is cheap here but drinking (especially at bars) are expensive. The cost depends what you think is necessary for life.

Chinese Program Review

John:

Fudan University’s Chinese language program is TERRIBLE. All foreigners who have studied there agree on this. I know it’s a famous university, but evidently they don’t put much effort into developing a good Chinese language program.

Have you studied in any Chinese Lanaguage Program in China? Please let the others know your experience by posting a comment on this page. You will find the comment form at the end of this page. In your comment, answer the following questions:

1) Which university did you go for the program?

2) Which program did you attended?

3) What is the length of your program?

4) What is your Chinese language level before attending the program?

5) Overall comments on the program?

6) Top three reasons why you are satisifed or dissatisified with the program?

7) What you’d like to say to those who are considering enrolling the program?

Merry Christmas

screen-christmas.2003-logo.jpg Merry Christmas!!!!

I am not sure when I should post this entry, on December 24, the Christmas eve or December 25, the Christmas day. Anyway, I cannot hold to tomorrow so I’d like to post my greetings today. Merry Christmas everyone!

Photographer: Wendy Fan. Send this picture as your greeting card to your friends.

This is Christmas card that I am uisng for this year. Many people asked me about this picture. As some may know, the picture is taken by Wendy in Munich. I believe the shining toys in the shop perfectly reflect my mood at the holiday. Best wishes to my family, my friends, my workmates, my old classmates and of cause, my readers.

Merry Christmas!

At the Christmas of last year, I posted my seasonal greetings to my friends here. This year, the list is much longer. Here it goes.

I’d like to send my greetings to all my friends this year:

To my family memebers: to my parents and my brothers and sisters and sisters-in-laws and brothers-in-laws. Many of them in Luoyang, Fuzhou, Portland, Cleveland, Torronto, Tongchuan…

To the younger generations of the family: Ting, Yue, Hong, Yuan, Anna and Beibei.

To the people I know at work: Steven, Eric, Linda, Yayi, Kenny, Grace, Wendy, Eddy, Eddie, Run, XGAO, yq… (don’t let me list the whole address book)

To my classmates: Ruifeng, Xiaogong, Jia, Tao, Peng, Yu, Jie..

To my best friends growing up together: Xiangfeng, Lijie, Chen, Jinping…

To my friends online: cuanyu, christina,

To my knowledgable friends: Yizhong, Hao, Isaac,…..

To my friends met in Daocheng: caca, jingbo, laobing, yanlin, yehong…..

To my teachers and mentors: Tao, Mr. Kang, Prof. Ju,

To everyone I have every met but don’t know too much: Haoyuan, Qi….

To Flora, who really needs greetings and encouragement.

To all the readers of this blog: Carroll, Ginn, Xu, David, WilliamW, tutu…

To my Hong-Wei who is so important on my way to grow up.

To other great bloggers, Haily, leylop, dodo. I have a list of my favorite blog at my WWW/Blog directory

To those who helped a lot: Sebastian, Targ… There are so many.

Merry Chrismas to you all!

Unlike people in western countries, Christmas is not an official holiday in China. I still work full day today and tomorrow. However, Christmas has become an important holiday among young generations in Shanghai. The Christmas Trees and the gift exchange become the fashion.

I went to the Shanghai Film Art Center for the two new movie: Feng Xiao Gang’s Cell Phone and Taiwan’s Metro (or Sounds of Colors in English). Both are very good movies and I will recommend them to my friends.

10 Things You Love/Hate About Shanghai

I found a very interesting thread titled 10 things you love/hate about Shanghai? on Shanghaiexpat.com. It looks so interesting to me as a local resident. I have request permission from the authors so I can publish the list here. Here are my summary. I’d better not to quote the interesting explaination about why they like or dislike without their permission first. But do read the original text to get a good laugh.

Likes

  • Safety
  • Food
  • Low Cost of Living
  • Public Transportation
  • Simple Lifestyle and Family Values

Dislikes

  • Being pushed and shoved around, queue jumpers
  • Poor hygiene
  • Night life is too expensive
  • No foreign language bookstore
  • Not being able to communicate

My Comment

They posted very good summery on their views to Shanghai as a foreigner. There is almost no surprise for me when I see the list. The only exception is “Public Transportation” in “likes” side and “lack of foreign language bookstore” in “dislikes” field.

So if you happen to be in Shanghai, what is your 10 Things You Love/Hate About Shanghai? Or 10 Things You Love/Hate About the City you Live?

Update January 15, 2003

After got kellian’s permission, I happily quote her wonderful article here. It is very interesting.

ok- Love:

1; FOOOOOD- Man they have the best food there- a vegetarian’s paradise, and so healthy compared to American stuff

2: Family values: yeah yeah cheesy I know, but I feel like it improves my quality of life just to see happy families of couples that like each-other taking care of their kids and parents and actually seeming to enjoy it.

3: Less in-your-face sex and violence marketing. No reality tv shows, you can go to the movies or open a magazine and not be embarrassed- I really feel like art and movies are better cause they’re small scale and can’t use sex or violence as back-ups. WHAT??! we need a script?!

4: Kids are kids- they play, they laugh, they don’t wear makeup till they’re in high school, they don’t dress like britney, they don’t ask for land rovers at 16, no serious drug or violence troubles- definitely a more innocent life

5: Opportunity: I can do stuff in China I could never do at home, I’m comfortable, I’ve been in a rock band and on TV and can teach what I want to teach and when, there’s a lot of freedom.

Don’t love:

1: Being so far from my family: I really like my family and it sucks being a 24 hour flight away from home.

2: Being a foreigner: sometimes it just really sucks always being the outsider

3: The expat community: sorry guys- I know there are lots of nice expats in the city, most of them probably on this forum- but I’ve met a lot of nasty, snobby, sleazy, weird-o expats in this town (and I’ve lived abroad before, why Shanghai gets ’em all, I don’t know). The Chinese have by far been friendlier and more accepting than “my own kind”, and boy is that a slap in the face sometimes.

4: Hygene: you get used to it, but it still gets me the way that people treat their houses and streets and selves…whooo..

5: Lack of straightforwardness in Chinese culture: This is just the culture, it’s just the way it is and I’ve learned to accept it, but the Chinese will lie through their teeth, they’ll cheat you and never think twice, nothing’s ever certain and you will never ever ever get a straight answer. That’s just how they do it and I’ll be damned if I ever make sense of it- or understand how anyone ever owns any sort of business in this country, but they seem to make it work somehow.

You’ll seldom hear anyone say “I Love it here!” or “I hate it here!” cause I’d probably say most people can’t even figure it out for themselves. Some days its amazing. Some days you hate everything Chinese. That’s what makes it fascinating I guess. I’ll never figure these people out, no matter how long I’m here I can never predict what they’ll do- sometimes someone will commit some amazing act of selflessness and nobility for no reason- and then a half hour later so something so small and slimy you just wanna smack them. But I’m still here, so I guess that means the good outweighs the bad for me!

Dongzhi – Winter Solstice

Today is Dongzhi – the Winter Solstice. My friend ACai mentioned the day on the BBS of my old classmates. I wasn’t aware of that till then.

It is a tradition in my hometown (Henan of Central China) to eat Chinese dumplings (Jiaozi) on this day. Children are told that if you don’t eat dumplings on that day, their ears will be frozen and drop down. Yes. All child believe in it. :-D I laughed when the folklore was mentioned on the BBS again.

Day time today is the shortest in the whole year and Sun is farthest south. I found very interesting explanation about relationship between this holiday and the belief of yin and yang:

This celebration can be traced to the Chinese belief in yin and yang, which represent balance and harmony in life. It is believed that the yin qualities of darkness and cold are at their most powerful at this time, but it is also the turning point, giving way to the light and warmth of yang. For this reason, the Dong Zhi Festival is a time for optimism.

Quoted from Hong Kong Tourism Board

According to this website, even the Yin Yang (or Tai-Chi) symbol comes are related to this special day.

Credit: Chinese Fortune Calendar

Read on in that article. I have to admire those who discovered this thousands of years ago. They are clever people.

Wendy is Back from Europe

Wendy is back from her Europe trip. It seemed a nice trip except she was really starving there. We rushed to her favorite restaurant as soon as she got out of the plane. The black bread there seemed not good for her. :-D

Her Europe travelogue has been published on this site. It is in Chinese but the pictures will tell more than characters.

Nice Pictures

Among all the pictures she took, I like these three most.

Neuschwanstein.

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Photographer: Wendy

X’mas gift shop. I have decided to use this photo as my Christmas card to my friends.

munich-x.mas.gifts-shop.jpg

Photographer: Wendy Fan

Wow. I never saw Wendy with such a big cup of beer – black beer!

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Photographer: Wendy Fan

See more pictures at her own Blog.

Friend is Sick. Please Show Your Support

I heard one of my friends Flora is very ill and needs a kidney transplant. Actually, I met with her only once at a dinner party before. She gave me very good impression. We talked about joining the exam for a Tour Guide’s License at that time. It seemed the promising life was long long ahead…

Now she is in hospital and waiting for a compatible kidney to be transplanted. The chance is not high. The risk of the operation is still high, not to mention the cost – it is much higher than any normal Chinese family can afford.

I am not a doctor and don’t know if ther is anything I can be of help. Is there any kidney information database on the Internet?

Christmas is coming. During this happy time, I don’t want her to stay in hospital and face the terrible disease alone. Her mood is not very good. I saw that from her SMS to Danny: “Actually it can’t recover, best situation is keep living”.

I hope my readers join me to pray for her and leave a short message greeting her and encouraging her. You can post either at the original website or on my site under this entry. I will help Danny collect all your post and send to her hospital so she know many people are supporting her.

The Original Message

Here is what Danny’s posted on the website of CultureXChina.org. I am quoting it under the author’s permission.

One of my close friend FLORA is very ill and needs a kidney transplant. So far, a replacement kidney has not been found. Even if a compatible kidney is found and operation is successful, she faces a big challenge ahead in ongoing treatment. Not to mention the high cost of such an operation.

She is only in her twenties and she is such a friendly and beautiful person. Always full of life, smiles and a charming personality.

Please show your support for her.

I would like to collect your warm wishes for her here. Just a prayer for her would be such a nice gesture. Or you can reply a short message here to FLORA and I’ll collect them for her and make sure she gets your warm greetings at the hospital.

Tks,

Danny

Quoted from CultureXChina.org

Best wishes to Flora and Have a Merry Christmas!

Discrimination Against Foreigners in Shanghai?

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are solely based on my personal observation. Always keep in mind that I am a young man with university education and living in Shanghai. Before you draw any general conclusion, be sure you understand that like in any large country, opinions vary greatly with ages, education background, economic status and regions.

One of my reader asked about the discrimination against foreigners she heard from a website:

I chanced upon a website (while looking for job opportunities) about how Asians, blacks, etc. are discriminated in China. Could you read the article in this website and give me your comments:

http://www.teachinasia.com/ethnic_background.html

If you think it is worthwhile and helpful for those who are new in China like me, may I suggest that you open this topic for discussion among your readers in order for us to know the experiences of other foreigners in China, and thereby guide us in our job search.

Well. I don’t observe ANY discrimination for foreigners in Shanghai. I believe what I see through my eyes are perfectly real. However, still don’t draw a general conclusion just because of what I see.

What is the True Feelings for Foreigners

The majority of people in China are very friendly with foreigners, no matter of the colors of their skin. It is true that white people (with golden hairs and blue eyes) are more closer to the typical image of a foreigner in Chinese people’s minds than people from other countries in Asia, but there is definitely no discrimination against black people or other Asian people. I bet you can feel at home in Shanghai.

In Most Areas of China, Foreigners are Rare

Foreigners gathers in large cities like Beijing, Shanghai or Guanghzou. In other areas, such as middle and west part of China, people seldom see foreign people in their cities. They are just very curious about foreign people when they appear in their lives. As I described in my article Back From CultureXChina Party, expenses, passport and visa are main barriers for normal people in China to go out of the country to see the rest of the world. Foreigners coming to this land bring very good chances for people to learn the outside. So don’t feel strange if you are surrounded by a group of people to talk with you excitedly using their not-so-good English – they mean welcome to you instead of make fun of you. It is also a chance to talk with native speakers to practice oral English since English skills are important to succeed in China.

Here is a joke. When asked about his experience in Xi’an, Bill Gates said people there recognized him and talked with him just to practice their oral English. :-)

In Large Cities like Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou

Of cause if you come to China, chances are you will visit one of these cities as the first stop (or the only stop). The situation in these cities is more important to you.

I am not sure you are aware of the fact that only 0.4% of the populations in Shanghai are foreigners [source (Chinese)]. That means, unlike in U.S, my neighbors, my friends are mostly local people. So foreigners are also relatively rare and be ready to response to people kindly if they say hey to you just want to improve their English.

As I perceive, most foreign people are very polite and with very good manner, and they get on very well with local people. After closing the door of the country for more than one centaury, people are very excited about opening up to the world and seeing more and more people from other countries coming the city, why will they discrimination any foreigners?

For non-English speaking people, don’t worry. You will feel that you are welcome equally. Generally speaking, my friends, especially those who are not finally wealthy, admire people who stepped out of the door of his/her country and enter a new country like China ?this implies independent and financial success.

Culture Shock

Certainly you will definitely feel culture shock of various degrees after you move to China. It is natural that you need sometime to get used to it.

“Background to Racism in Asia” is not the truth

The story described in the Background to Racism in Asia section of the article is not true, at least from my personal point of view.

‘White’ northern Chinese have for centuries looked down upon ‘black’ darker skinned Chinese as lesser, undesirable people.

This is the first time in my whole life to hear about this.

Welcome to the City

I personally welcome anyone to this opening city and experience the great lives here. I am also very interested in what foreigners feel in the city? Their experience is valueable and trustworthy to you since I can only see the matter from a local resident’s point of view. Please make comments about your experience that you think there is no discrimination or experiences that may be considered as discrimination. Thanks!

Discriminations Do Exist in China

Certain kinds of discrimination do exist in China. Japanese is discriminated to some extend. The Anti-Japanese Movement is a vivid reflection. It is largely because the Japanese government refused to admit what they did for neighboring Asian countries in the World War II, including Nanjing Massacre. People from Japan may have hard time in China. Japanese students going back to Japan told the Japanese media that taxi drivers in China often tell them “If I had known you are a Japanese, I won’t have let you get into my car!” Well. I didn’t want to talk about this special case, and think it totally wrong to discriminate for any reason. I finally decided to leave this comment here using smaller fonts just try to tell you the truth in the city.

SARS Alert in Pudong Airport

With the new case of SARS in Taiwan, the alert level of Pudong Airport rised a little bit. I happen to go to the airport to pickup Wendy today. Passengers are asked to fillin the yellow health claim form before check-in and the broadcast repeatly (at a low frequency) to remind people to do so. Masks returned to some of the passengers’ face of flights coming from Japan and Europe. It seems after the SARS period of this May, people are more experienced with the situation like this.

Wangjianshuo’s Blog Meetup

I always feel excited when I am thinking that there are many frequent readers and friends around this website. I also got a lot of email asking about “how about we meet next week?” or “I will be in Shanghai around ****, how about we meet and talk?”

I also have been waiting to meet some of my friends face to face if possible. I know many are in Shanghai already, while others, like Carroll and Xu are in California and Japan…

Maybe we can hold a very small gathering to celebrate the opportunity of being in the same city and knowing each other. It must be fun and memorable.

What do you think of the idea? It may not be a bad choice if the meet-up happens next Friday, December 26, 2003, at the Starbucks Metro City Store? Meet-up starts at 7:30 PM. Only one participant will make me happy enough. If you want to come, please post a comment on this page.

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FAQ

Q: Why Meet-up?

A: Why not? But it is just a very casual gathering and having a cup of coffee. The world is small. Why not gather and know each other?

Q: How many people will be there?

A: Two persons are enough for the gather. But open to more people. However, less than 10 is preferred.

Q: Who should attend?

A: I will not say anyone should attend. It will be very good if you are a frequent reader of this blog.

Q: What is the time and location?

A: Time: 7:30 PM, Friday, December 26, 2003

Location: Starbucks Metro City Store (out of Exit 10 of Metro Xujiahui Station)

Q: I cannot catch it. Is it possible to choose another time?

A: Yes. It is possible. But unless there is a very good reason, I prefer to stick to the date.

Q: What do you mean by small world? You have mentioned it many times.

A: Yes. It is true. I have a “small world” sections at the end of this page.

Q: Will Wendy be there?

A: I am not sure. I didn’t check with her yet.

Q: What will be the topics?

A: There should be a lot of things to discuss – the city of Shanghai, the blog, the weather, the culture shock, where to go and play… anything that is fun.

Q: Should I have dinner first?

A: Yes. We will not have dinner together. You need to buy yourself coffee.

Q: Any lucky draw?

A: Yes. I am thinking of what the big prize will be. (Don’t have high expectation. I am not as rich as Bill Gates)

P.S. Small World

This world is full of miracles and chances. I have a good friend Cuanyu who left comment on my board to claim that guy on the background of my picture was him. Thus we have met with each other in Riwa and then connected via Internet. I have a nother friend Michael from Shanghaiexpat.com. He met my collegue at the air plane from San Fransisco to Seattle! Now, this is the third miracle: Run was telling a story that George read this blog and found out Run was in Munich, Germany and they finally met:

…Talking about George, it´s a miracle. I cannot believe this happened.

  1. Somebody recommend Jian Shuo Wang’s log (www.wangjianshuo.com) to him
  2. he visited Jian Shuo´s blog site
  3. he found my blog (www.run2me.com) and visited it
  4. he observed I was in Munich that days
  5. he contacted me via BBS board and email
  6. we got connected in MSN and made an appointment in the Central Station in Munich … the place we have been there before
  7. we met near the gate of the train to Swan Castle finally!

It’s a miracle! I cannot believe it happened without a phone call for two persons who never know each other meeting in a place they have never been there before! but it happened in the Interget age!

Quoted from Run2me.com

The world is small right? By of Six Degree of Separation theory, any one can know any one within 6 loops. True.

Update Wonderful MeetUp December 31, 2003

The meet up turned to be very successful. Read the story and see the pictures here: Wonderful Meetup on December 26.

Incomplete Visit to 30N 119E

15-Dec-2003 —

Before I start my narration, I would like to thank Sebastian for lending me his Germin GPS and Targ Parsons who helped me to find out the satellite map for that area. To my wife Wendy: I put a very small gift there for you to discover in the future.

It was an incomplete visit. I was about 2.73 km away from the points 30N 119E after traveling about 300 km to the area from Shanghai. The road ahead should not be tough since the mountains are not high and not to hard to climb. But I didn’t have time to go any further. The last bus from the place – a very small village called Yinjiang left 1:00 pm. I have to get back to work the next day. Even I left the village at 1:00 PM, I got home at around 11:30 PM.

Trip Summery

I am using some Chinese characters to represent the names of the area to make it easier to find out the places. You know, the first milestone during my trip was to find out what is the Chinese name for Qiuyuan, according to the information page for 30N 119E on DCP’s site. These places are so small that most maps don’t show them. You may see garbage letter or simply a small square if your system does not support Chinese. But don’t worry. When you see it, you know it is a place name in Chinese.

My itinerary looks like this:

  • Shanghai (Meilong 梅陇) to Hangzhou by train K823 09:50 – 12:10 at 25 RMB (3 USD)
  • Hangzhou to Qiandaohu 千岛湖 by quick bus 7555 13:20 – 16:30 at 43 RMB (5.1 USD)
  • Qiandaohu to Tantou 谭头 by mini bus 17:00 18:00 at 5 RMB
  • Stayed at Tantou for one night at 10 RMB (1.2 USD)
  • Tantou to Linqi 临岐 by mini bus 9:00 – 10:00 at 5 RMB (0.6 USD)
  • Linqi to Yinjiang 隐将 via Qiuyuan 秋源 by mini bus 10:00 – 11:00 at 5 RMB (0.6 USD)

This was not the best itinerary. If I go there again, I should be able to get the area before with in 6 hours.

Way Back

  • Yinjiang 隐将 to Linqi 临岐 by mini bus 13:30 – 14:30 at 6 RMB (0.7 USD)
  • Linqi to Tantou 谭头 by mini bus 15:30 – 16:15 at 5 RMB (0.6 USD)
  • Tantou to Hangzhou by bus at 16:16 – 19:10 23 RMB (2.7 USD)
  • Hangzhou to Shanghai by train K838 20:08 – 23:08 at 33 RMB (4 USD)

The trip back was obviously better than the trip to there in both terms of time-efficiency or cost-efficiency. The trip back was planned and experienced trip.

The Trip

I got up late at around 8:00 AM. It was already late for the trip. I hesitated whether I should stay home with warm air-conditions, read some nice books and have hot tea or go out of the door to visit a place that is almost 300 km away at around 0 °C. I’m glad I chose the option of adventure.

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The train from Shanghai to Hangzhou is always comfortable with very nice view outside the window. The only problem is, when I get to Hangzhou, it is already 12:10 at noon.

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On the way to Qiandaohu, there are some training centers for paddle sports. The road from Hangzhou to Qiandaohu via Jiande 建德 was very nice and comfortable. I would highly recommend a tour to Qiandaohu (The Lake with Thousands of Islands).

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Stayed for one night

I was disappointed when I got to know the last bus to Linqi left 10 minutes before I arrived at the mini bus station. I took taxi there and it cost me 2 RMB (0.24 USD). The only bus going to that direction reaches Tantou, the interaction of the road to northwest direction and the mainstream road to Hangzhou.

I decided to go to Tantou first. I didn’t realize Tantou was such a small town that I could hardly find a place to have my dinner.

There was a so-called hotel. I ordered the most expensive guest room from them at 10 RMB (1.2 USD). They also had rooms at 5 RMB. :-D

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The Second Day

The second day, I got up early and waited for the mini bus to Linqi. The trip took about 1 hour. After arriving Linqi, I went on to seek for buses to Qiuyuan. Fortunately, I caught a bus to Qiuyuan right after I got off the bus to Linqi. According to Confluence Project website, the 30N 119E point is 7.4 KM north of Qiuyuan.

Qiuyuan

At Qiuyuan, I monitored the GPS excitedly. It seems Qiuyuan is almost exactly located at the 119E longitude line, but still 7.4 km away from the point. I decided to continue to go with the bus to somewhere north of Qiuyuan.

Bus started, heading northwest. With the increase of latitude, the longitude decreased. It meant I must make a decision to get off the bus at the right place for the optimized distance. Just before I wanted to get off, the bus stopped and the driver claimed the end of the bus line – Yinjiang.

Yinjiang is a place that is never marked on any map. It is almost the end of the winding mountain road. I would suggest changing the page on confluence project and marking the point as 3.2 km north of Yinjiang (with bearing of 15 ? instead of 7.4 km north of Qiuyuan. It makes the next visitor’s trip easier.

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Mountain climbing

From their, I began to look for my way to go into the mountains. The GPS Sebastian lent to me showed that the point was about 3.4 km away from the village, bearing about 15 degrees from north.

Quickly, I was surrounded by mountains.

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I begin to feel tired quickly after I climb to the elevation of 500 meters. It was because I have to run along the winding road, hoping to be able to reach the point and get back.

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It was not easy to climb mountains. Previously, I attempted to climb exactly as the compass showed. Later, I learnt following the path previous villages left was a better way to save energy and guarantee of no dead road ahead. With time passing by, I was still struggling on the road to climb higher but not northward. At around 12:10 at noon, I decided to stop and go back to catch the last bus leaving the mountain areas.

This is the rock I finally stopped at. I tried to stop earlier but couldn’t help to go further. Then I said to myself – “It is the deal. Reach the stone and get back”. Otherwise, I will miss the last bus back to the civilized world.

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Look at the GPS. The location is only 2.73 km away. I believe it will be either at the slop of the mountain or the other side of the mountain. It reads: N 29.97833 E118.98660. Pretty close, right?

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From the point, the 30N 119E is just 2.7 km. With the combination of a compass and a GPS, I can preciously point out the direction, as shown by the right arrow of my compass.

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Looking back is the village of Yinjiang.

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Going Back

Then I finally caught the last bus. The roads were so narrow that the bus could hardly pass. I have a picture of two cars meeting each other.

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The I took the bus from Yinjiang to Linqi, then transit to bus to Tantou. At last, I caught the bus to Hangzhou. After arriving Hangzhou, I took K838 and finally arrived in Shanghai.

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Key Learning

I made a good decision not to insist to visit the point although it was very near. The next time, I will successfully reach the 30N 119E with the knowledge and experience of this trip. Leaving it there gives me a good chance to visit the fantastic place again. I began to love mountain climbing. It didn’t teach how to insist, but also how to give up.

Taxi Fell into Trap

Have I ever show off the nice violin statue under my apartment?

It looks nice but a woman taxi driver didn’t think so, because she drove her taxi into the low land on the right side of the violin, exactly from the place where the guy in yellow passed by.

It sounds so stupid to drive a car off the road and into the grass land. It is especially stupid if I tell you that the grass is at least 50 cm deep. Getting out is not easy. She managed to completed the hard job.

LOL – a Taxi Over There

When I walked out of my house to have some exercises at night round 10:00 PM already, I suddenly found a taxi with both the front and rear lights turned on. It was parked on the grass!! It is so funny that I could barely see its tires. The frustrated woman taxi driver was moving her car hardly in the small area and some guard were busy setting up “bridges” for the car, hoping to get it out.

Always Follow the Traffic Signs

The driver was complaining about the darkness and the design of the entrance, full of anger. She did do something wrong. She should had turned right and driven around the whole xiaoqu (Waltz Garden) to get out – the circular road is single pass road. However, this lady drove for opposite direction, despite the white arrow on the road. Then the “right turn” sign in the area was interpreted to be go strait ahead and turn right, because she saw no road to turn right, because she was on the road. At a dark night like today, she easily drove her car into the “trap”.

I Offered Help

The victim told me that she has been a driver for 7 years. I didn’t believe that, since she really had a hard time to move her car half meter to the right to be able to get on to the “bridge”. After going forward, reverse, forward, reverse for about 10+ times, her car was still at where it was. So she asked for help and I happened to the only one who could drive.

Ha. I am a new driver with less than 3 months experience, but at least I was confident that I can move the car to the right place. It was exactly what the field exam tested when I was applying for a driver’s license.

It was just the Step 3 in the test.

After confirming with her that I should not be held responsible for any damage to her car, and getting some witness for the agreement, I jumped into her Qiangshen taxi. (I was still not silly enough take the risks). In 30 seconds, her car was parked just before the bridge. I got out of the car and told her, this was her show time since to drive a car up stairs like this is too dangerous for the car. She’d better take the risks herself.

The Bridge

Look at the bridge. It is almost nothing. The guards were so nice to get some bricks, four to be exactly, and put them on the stairs. That was all. Actually it didn’t help, only a little bit better than nothing. Running the car onto the stairs had no different with driving it on to wall. Oh, my God. She really tried only to break the head of her car. Oh. The heart-breaking knocking sounds between the car and stairs! Looking anxiously at her damaged protection pole, she gave up. She began to complain about the darkness and lack of signs.

Good People

People passed by and shouted, “What a Car!” or “Ha Jie Gun” in Shanghaiese (Don’t even try to guess what Jie Gun means if you don’t know Shanghainese. It means “strong“, “super“) But there were no construction site nearby and it was not easy to find long wood stick long and strong enough to setup a real bridge.

About 1 hour later, a guard dragged one piece of wood pole to the site. Another half hour later, an old lady brought some other woods here from her home. With all the materials, a “bridge” finally came into shape.

It was a Trap

It was interesting to know that this was not the first car falling from the stage – other two drivers had done so already. They were all dragged out by professional pulling equipments. This taxi driver just didn’t want to pay more money for the pulling car. It should be around 400 RMB. I believe more signs should be setup before the violin area to avoid further victims. It is very dangerous if children are playing on the grass land while the heavy car falls down.

Finally, She Got Out

I didn’t wait there to see how she got out. I just check the status from time to time from my window. Around 00:20 in the mid-night, the car disappeared from the grassland. It was so funny – I cannot help laughing again when I thought of the poor driver, who drove her car down into the “trap”. Good luck to her and don’t make the same mistake twice. :-)

Directory Added

My readers and I suffer greatly from the navigation structure of this website. The two to three years of continuous adding content to the site left hundreds of pages of content with no particular order. The current category feature of MovableType is not strong enough to hold the 400 articles – I cannot add more categories since the top navigation bar is almost full and the number of entries in a category keeps increasing.

Today, I claim the end of this nightmare. I included the hirechy directory into the website. I spent some time to put all the articles into the directory and sub directories. The directory makes it clearer to me and easier to find a particular article. What do you think?

I choose Gossamer Threads Inc.‘s Link 2.0. It is a great product! I love the authoring and publishing mechanism instead of rendering the pages on the fly. MovableType and Link 2.0 are both cute.

In the next few days, I will integrate the two sites (home… and www… together seamlessly with the directory service and deploy the new navigation bar (with only directory, forum links).

I believe this directory to my website is just like I.M. Pei’s glass pyramid to the LOUVRE.

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Credit: I.M. Pei’s Pyramid

Sleep on Airplane

Late sleeping last night took effect today. I fall asleep as soon as I sat down at a 10F seat of MU flight. This is the first time in my life that I didn’t enjoy a flight – I didn’t know when the flight took off and when it landed. All I know is, I sat down, slept, woke up and went home. Amazing! It seems I should stay late every time before a travel thus the boring time during the trip will be easily skipped, as if it hadn’t existed. Oh. There was even a book at Amazon to teach people to Sleep on Airplanes. LOL.

Munich’s Glass

Wendy sent back some pictures from Munich.

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Munich Airport. Photographer: Wendy

If Munich is made of glass, then Shanghai must be made of people.

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Stairs at People’s Square Station in Shanghai. © Jian Shuo Wang

Guangzhou Impression

Busy day! Didn’t get a chance to sit down or have a break the whole day, until now.

I didn’t have much impression about Guangzhou this time. Just two comments:

  • The service in restaurants are much better than that in Shanghai.
  • The taxis of Guangzhou becomes cleaner

Will get back to Shanghai tomorrow morning.

Night Gather with High School Classmates

Guangzhou is a city full of energy. I was surprised to get the invitation from my friends Peng and Yu at 9:30 PM to visit their home. I meant to call to say hello to them only. After confirming that it was not very late to visit their home, I took a taxi to their nice newly decorated apartment.

After very interesting talk – all about the old times and the current life, they suggested to have a “cup of tea” outside with our other friends Tao. It was almost 10:30 PM then. I was really surprised: “Is it too late?

In Shanghai, although we return home late, but we don’t go out of the door after 10:00 PM. Maybe for places like U.S, people tend to stay home after work….

Not surprisingly, Tao was still working on a project in the CITIC Tower. We made the appointment to gather at a “tea house” near the tower.

11:00 PM sharp, five of us met at the Bing Sheng tea house. Later I found out that it was not for tea. It is another dinner with five dishes. We talked and laughed, with all the funny stories back in 1995 to 1999 1992 to 1995 when we were studying in the same class at high school. I even took out my computer to review all the old pictures. Look at the young and cheerful faces!

luoyang.luoyigao-boys-sport.meeting.jpg

I promised to create a new classmate BBS in this week. The old board of 5460.net and netbig.com are just too bad.

Ever bright City – Guangzhou

After paying the bill and leaving the restaurant, it was already around 2:40 AM the next morning. The restaurant was still full with new customers coming in.

What a energetic city! I cannot imagine the life in Shanghai or any other city in China. I have to say, Guangzhou is a charming city with all kinds of social activities that never stops. Guangzhou is a city that never sleeps.