Monthly Archives: March 2005

Claire on the Exhibition

Claire wrote about the exhibition. UUZone agreed to sponsor part of the expense. Thanks Robert and Xie.

Taxi Driver’s Life

I glanced the newspaper and learnt the taxi companies in Shanghai agreed to give 200 RMB per taxi per month to help them to fight against the continous increase in gas price. There are 46,000 taxis in Shanghai, but it is not more more difficult to hire a taxi these days.

L’Invitation au Voyage

Claire, Edward and I put our pictures together and said: “How about we open a personal photography exhibition in Shanghai?” It was about two months ago. So, an exhibition named L’Invitation au Voyage came out. It will be held on the Suzhou Creek from April 1 to April 31.

Invitation to our Exhibition

Name of the Exhibition: L’Invitation au Voyage (Claire thought of the name)

Venue: 1 Floor, Building 8, Suzhou Creek Art Area, 50 Moganshan Road, Shanghai

Time: April 1 to April 31, 2005

We will also host some forums on blogging during the events. It is open for public, free of charge. We will put an donation box at the entrance.

The next exhibition will be in August 2006.

Why the Exhibition?

The exhibition is one of the three major personal projects in 2005. I told everyone that “Treat it as behavior art instead of photography art”. The core value of the exhibition is to inspire people and ourselves that anyone has the power to hold an exhibition.

Just like blogging gives any individual the power to express themselves, personal photography exhibition gives the power to any individual. The point is, I am not a photographer. My friends are not. But we want to find a way to express ourselves. The way is very rare in Shanghai – personal photography exhibition. I can expect more and more people do it in the years to come. With the emerging of professional personal exhibition service, the cost to do it will decrease dramatically and everyone can afford it. I feel what I am doing is just as I started blogging in 2002.

Be the First

I believe it is a remarkable event for our life and even for the art in Shanghai. I don’t know the result of the exhibition yet, but it is definitely something I’d like to try. I also believe it is something I can remember when I grow old.

The Logistic

Last Friday, I called my friends: “Hey. Do you guys still planning for the exhibition?” At that time, we have nothing but the idea. All our answers were positive. So we went to the Suzhou Creek the next day to rent an warehouse with 50 sq. meters. The monthly rent is less than 2000 RMB. It is nice. Then we put our photos together. We will have a wall with about 1000 photos of any kind, without thorough selection, just to express the experience of our travel. We also put on about 30 well selected photos and hang them in nice frame, under spot light. It is almost impossible for me to spend time on this these days. Thanks Edward and Claire to take care of details. Wendy and Hacky are also helping. We may spend about 6000 RMB for everything – the rent (2000 RMB), the printing (2500 RMB), the frame (1500 RMB), the administration and transportation. At the very beginning, we put in our money , but would like to find some ways to cover it. We accept donation. We also plan to sell some of the framed picture to raise fund. More details of the exhibition will come out soon in either Edward or Claire‘s blog. Wendy already wrote two entries [1], [2]) about it.

Help Needed

Yes. We need help. If you are a blogger, write about it. Our target is to recruite 50 bloggers writing about this event and record how they think about it. The inspiration is more important than the exhibition itself.

Peace in Discussion

I am sorry to see some discussion in some particular threads ended up to be unpleasant arguments in the recent weeks. I’d like to remind my commenter to value the rule we have set on comments. Here are some mentions on the rules:

Emails and Privacy Policies May, 2003

As you can see again, there is a comment system on this site. I value everyone’s post and it is part of the blog – actually, it is very large portion of this website.

As of today, 206 entries were posted on this site while we have 957 comments (4.6 times of blog entries). Some readers posted more than 20 comments per month.

The comment entries provide very informative and updated content to the readers. I have my principle on comments (check the My principle on comments section).

I insist not to delete any comments as long as it is readable. However, I cannot bear anyone writing flaming comment against my other readers.

Thanks for your Comments April, 2003

My principle on comments

I insist not to delete any comments as long as it is readable – I did saw testing posts before – about one or two. I will leave it for several days to give the poster some time to verify that it really works and delete it for sake of ease of reading.

I don’t change the content of any comment although the system provides the function. If I disagree, I will post my comment under it. I did receive such comments that I wanted to delete but I hold firm against it. Here is one example.

However, I cannot bear anyone writing flaming comment against my other readers. Unfortunately, Wayne, who has posted before, gave me a surprise by leaving this comment. I have to say, no matter what you think, just give out fact and your thoughts. Do not simply give us such comment, please.

Thanks for Your Defense for Me, but…

What changed from the days in mid 2003 is, recently, I saw some reader posted negative comments on the board toward me, and some reader rose up and defended me (or my opinion). Some nice readers may see some comments as offensive to me and fight back for me hardly.

Thank you for your defense for me, but I just want to make it clear that I value any disagreement as much as those supporting comments. Recently, I may not be active to join the discussion as before (due to time constraint), but if I have a chance, I would rather either clarify my points or list facts. Sometimes, I also post to admit that I ignored some facts and I was educated by some comments and changed my mind. In any means, I don’t think it hurts me as much as people’s attempt to discourage others from express their opinion.

In conclusion, thanks for everyone’s participation in the discussion. As you can see, in May 2003, my page view per day was only 4,000 and it increased to 1 million per month. There are 957 comments on 206 entries in May 2003, while now, the total comments increased to 8968 on 950 entries. Comments per entry increased from 4.6 from 9.4. I hope the healthy discussion continues in the years to come. Thank you.

Internship is Best Way for Good Job

I had wonderful meetup with my friends whom I had the opportunity to work with: Xiao Wen, Xiang, Zhen Hua, Ming Jie, and Liu Hua… The afternoon in Xian Zhi Xuan was among the most happy hours I had in the week.

One of the biggest achievements I had in Microsoft was to be able to hire some talented interns and worked with them to make sure they learn something from the great company, and helped on their career.

I counted all the interns I hired in my previous work and was positively surprised by the final results.

8 of them finally entered Microsoft

Many others entered Intel, Unilever, Boston Consulting Group, National Instrument, ASUS.

4 continued to work on their doctor degrees in famous university in U.S. or in Shanghai

It prooves that to get an internship in famous companies is the best shortcut to secure a position in the company. The ratio is too high. I am sure 80% of my previous interns got the best they can imagine. If a university student start to think about the future job only in Grade 4, it is just too risky – when their peers already secured the position.

I Didn’t Escape from Puxi

ddjiii commented on the section about me in the article China’s Next Cultural Revolution:

You know, I can’t help thinking that your life as described in the article doesn’t really sound the same as you write about it in the blog. Do you really feel like you’ve escaped shabby housing, nosy neighbors and haggling with the fishmonger? That’s a very negative view of central Shanghai, I think, and one that I’ve never gotten reading the blog (or visiting Shanghai.) It was fun to see your name, and the most of the article is really interesting, but I thought this was an unjustified slam. What do you think?

Posted by: ddjiii on March 25, 2005 12:14 PM

I posted my answer (with small modification)

I didn’t read about the WIRED article before I wrote this blog. I would say, the majority of the content is accurate. WIRED magazine editor was very professional. They sent me a fact sheet and asked me to verify all the detail facts before they went to publish it. I had actually corrected some key facts. For example, my Goudaner is a FIAT instead of a VW.

However, as any article about me but not written by me, it is the view of the writers, instead of me. “Shabby housing, nosy neighbors and haggling with the fishmonger?” is not my previous life – I wrote about the previous life in Waltz Garden in Xujiahui on this blog. It is actually not an escape. If possible, I may move back to the central part of Shanghai, at the sake of losing the car. However, the car did change my life. If you read back and you will see how painful the decision I had made to move from Puxi to Pudong:

Continue to Seek for an Apartment

Pudong or Puxi

Bye bye Pudong

Moving to the New Apartment

First Week in Pudong

There are many articles reflecting the move from Puxi to Pudong. Of cause, I thank Lisa for putting out the article, and they have done a great job to make sure the facts are correct. I almost never saw one article on me that reflects 100% of what I am thinking. Above all, it is not my article.

Now I have learnt to value any place I have ever lived, worked. There is no bad place in the world. There is only bad mood.

Posted by: Jian Shuo Wang on March 25, 2005 01:47 PM

I can rest assure you, the spirit of Shanghai is in Puxi, although the nice life is in Pudong. It is all about choice.

Sasa Enters Shangahi

Wendy is obviously more excited when she heard Sasa is coming to Shanghai on March 26. I saw a Sara store near Istem on the Huai Hai Road. I didn’t know this store before I went to Hong Kong with Wendy last August. Actually, the major part of shopping experience in Hong Kong was going from one SASA to another – Wendy had a long list of skin-care products to buy for her friends in Shanghai. For many of them, Hong Kong = SASA. :-)

I welcome SASA’s arrive, although I personally have no interest in it at all. :-)

Coffee Bean Club

I talked about the charity idea in Feb. Here is the result: Coffee Bean Club. It has attracted some funding and three of my friends have agreed to donate for the foundation. I believe it is the time for me to disclose more information about it.

I believe by connecting college students and the successful young professional/artist or enterprisers are great inspiring for both. So I have setup meetups between those who graduated from university for 5 – 10 years with the students. It is something similar with what JA (Junior Archivers) is doing with some very unique characteristics.

1. The meetup is limited to one host and about 5 students (8 is the maximum number). This is to encourage in-depth communication, instead of one-way presentation.

2. Host pays the bill for Coffee or tea. Typically, we put it in Starbucks.

3. Each students need to pay the host 50 RMB in cash and get a receipts from host.

4. Students come back to the university and find my casher to get the money reimbursed by my foundation.

For the host, their coffee, parking, transportation are all covered and with a little bit income, which is a very small sense of achievement.

For the students, they practically paid nothing. However, it is important to use this routine to keep a sense that nothing is free. I believe anyone would say the talk is much more worthy than the money they spent; it is part of the education of business.

For the donators, they clearly track how their money is spent and get clear understanding of the return from the donation – they will be very proud when they get a name list tell them that hey have sponsored these students to meet with these people. I am sure if we keep doing this, the talk will inspire lot students to choose a different path for life and archive a lot.

I have put my initial funding into the club and have hosted two talks. Literally, I got 300 incomes so far (while donated 1000 RMB). I am very comfortable with the rule of the play.

More Donations?

I’d like to invite more donations. The amount of the donation is not my goal. I just want to prove the way we run donation works. Part of the reason I started this is, I am thinking of some practices I can share with Smile Library or other non-profit organization.

The unique characteristics of donation to this club are, the donator has 100% control on where to spend the money. Upon receiving the donation, the donator should be given a registration form and state the propose. Here is what my propose for my part of the donation looks like:

1. Sponsor Coffee Bean meetup of any topic (50 RMB fee)

2. All hosting fee, domain name for any technical experiments.

3. Tickets for Shanghai Museum and Shanghai Museum of Art.

Anyone who is a member of the club can request reimbursement from the foundation.

Linda are also willing to donation and her propose may look like:

1. Only to grade 4 college students.

2. Sponsor them to pay for dress up for interview or tickets for interview.

No matter what the propose is, the committee will follow the will of the donator and look for a match. We also charge about 5% for the administration fee to pay the students working for this project. Now, Miss Cai from SJTU is acting as casher, Mr. Huang, and Yan also help on people/IT infrastructure.

That is what I have been planning from Jan this year. I just want to try doing something meaningful and impact. If there are 10 students enrolled in the program and get help, I will be very happy already. For more information about this project, please contact Cai at cai_jy1105 at hotmail dot com.

Jian Shuo on Wired Magazine?

Joel told me that he saw my article on April issue of Wired Magazine. I didn’t see this issue yet. I checked on their website and there is only March 2005 issue. Search for Yahoo! News does not return anything. Baidu does not search foreign media and Google News is not accessible. Anything saw it? The magazine may be on newsstands already. I assume it is the longest report on me so far on foreign media. :-) I believe my Goudaner was also mentioned.

Does Shanghai have Beach

“Shanghai is at the sea! I have planned one afternoon on the beach and see the Sunset…” my friend told me on the phone.

Unfortunately, there is no beach in Shanghai. Although Shanghai is near the East Sea, the downtown is very far from the nearest bean (more than 50 km away). Also, there are only yellow mud. The sea looks yellow and dirty. There is no sand beach in Shanghai, and since Shanghai is facing east, it is impossible to see sun set down to the sea.

I have visited three areas that can be called “beach”. One is the Chuan Sha. The other is Feng Xian (going directly down to the south). It is actually the Hangzhou Bay. The third is the Luchao Habor, which is the most southeast point of Shanghai. Although they are not like the beach in Sanya, they are still a good place to relax.

Luoyang Telephone Number Upgraded

Dad SMSed me that the telephone number for Luoyang upgraded to 8 digits. All the original 7-digit telephone numbers will add a “6” to the front. The upgrade will happen on March 21.

I remember the telephone was first installed to my home around 1995. That is about 10 years ago. Before that, it is very rare to have telephone at home in Luoyang. If I want to make a telephone call, I need to go to room at the entrance of my residential area. It is the only one for the whole area. Actually, I seldom need to make a phone call. The only reason is to call my dad. He has a telephone in his office. None of my classmates have telephone at that time. For long distance call, I need to go to post office. Actually I never made a long distance call before telephone comes to my home. At that time, Internet has already generated some usage in U.S; In China, telephone installment is still small. The Spring Festival Eve of 1996 is a great night for me. For the first time, I found out enough numbers that I can call to say “Happy New Year”.

10 years later, the installment of fixed line telephone reached 316 million (by Jan 2005). The mobile phone users are 340 million already, even more than fixed-line users. The last 10 years are amazing for me. 10 years ago, almost none of my friends have fixed-line telephone at home; 10 years later, almost all my friends have mobile phones.

You may understand the difference of doing business in China and in developed countries. When I worked with people in U.S., I got the impression that people in U.S. are relatively slower than in China. They prefer a comprehensive plan, very solid reasoning and data support for every decision. The pace is slow. They are very professional and have great experience, which helped to make right decisions, but the decision making and implementation speed is slow.

In a fast changing society, it may not always work. Something that happened in U.S. in 100 years happens in China in 10 years. The same process may take up to 5 years in U.S, but it only used 1 year in China. Internet is an example – connected user soared from 0.62 million in 1997 to almost 0.1 billion in 2004. In China, risk is more tolerated than in U.S. Speed is the key for many new industries.

10 years ago, the telephone number for my home is 6-digit. Now, it is 8-digit. By no means could I imagine the upgrade when the black, big, shining telephone set was put on to the table of our home.

My Blog Won’t Go Commercial

I am not surprised if people ask me about the question: “Why did you turn your blog into a commercial site? I am sure you can make a lot if you sell it”. Well. I believe that. But the problem is, I won’t sell it. :-) With 10,000 unique visitors everyday and 1 million page views, I am happy that this blog covers most of the expats to Shanghai (correct me if I am too confident here). Lots of my foreign friends tell me that they know my blog before they come to Shanghai. Typically, people get started with a search on Shanghai in Google. Andrea told me that all her girl friends know the site, which really flattered me. Of cause, I am very happy to know that.

It is natural that someone proposed to me to turn the site into commercial websites or even sell it. It is some option that I won’t consider. Why? It is part of my life. I enjoy helping and sharing. I enjoy the emails I got everyday with “thank you” as the first sentence, and I enjoy to have my tea house and invite wise people to come and discuss about many topics from different perspectives. It is my baby and I won’t share it with others. I have give up the option to get rich via this blog. Above all, the Google Adsense on this site treated me well already. The worst thing I can do is to get money from someone, anyone I can imagine, and I lose the passion to stay late and write. I may mention something in a dishonest way just because I get money from it. 1% presence of such dishonest content ruins my confident to write in the days to come and may ruin my readership. Now, I also recommendate business on my site – just like where to go and where to get hosting. It is based on my experience. All the information is not always correct – sometime I got fooled and cheated, but I won’t cheat. I thanked my reader who offered to donate for my work. I appreciate it. But I want to respectfully reject it. Now the small money I collect from Adsense program pays my hosting fee and I don’t think donation can me a millionaire. If it does, well, let me think again. :-) If you want to donate, I accept gifts – a post card with international stamp is a good choice, and a link to this site is another good one. I accept that. Isn’t it fun to have a famous blog than having a lot of money? Money won’t make people happy. Achievements do.

The backlog of my emails is still not cleared out. If you wrote to me in the last week, chances are, you will NOT get a response. Send again if you do care a response. Sorry for that, but my bandwidth is limited

No Baggars Premitted on Metro?

If you take Shanghai Metro these days, besides the station announcement on the in-cart broadcasting system, you can also hear:

No newspaper selling, performance for money, or beggar allowed in metro carts. All passengers should boycott together.

It is repeated once every minute.

I didn’t realize if there is anything wrong with it, not before this afternoon.

Boy Boycotted

Today, when I was on the Metro, a little boy begged in the cart. He had all this face burned that I could hardly recognize a human face. it was really astonishing to see him. He moved from the previous carts toward me slowly, begging from the passengers one by one. He stayed before someone who sit there, tried to make some voice (but he can hardly say), and waited. What he got was expressionless face. I believe he saw more than 200 or more already before he moved to me.

Typically, one out of 10 people may grant a coin or two to them. However, when the announcement on boycotting beggars is added, no one even tried to help. The boy seemed to be even more annoying than before. I guess people were thinking: “Hey! Didn’t you hear the broadcast? Why not get out of the cart immediately?”

I gave him 2 yuan. In his cup, there is another 0.5 yuan. It seemed it was all he could get. The broadcast repeated when I gave the money:

No newspaper selling, performance for money, or beggar allowed in metro carts. All passengers should boycott together.

I was infuriated immediately – why it is not permitted to beg on Metro?

Why? They need their life

I know it is obvious that the appearance of beggars in Metro is a not pleasant experience for metro riders. People want the place to be clean, safe and quiet. However, for the sake of the “rich” people to feel comfortable, we can scarify those poor children’s living! BTW, does anyone take care of them?

It is not allowed to beg in Metro. OK.

It is not allowed to beg at the waiting room of any transportation system. OK.

My question is, is it allowed to beg in Shanghai, or in China?

Shanghai wants an international city. They need a clean face – a modern city without beggars. However, it is also a crucial city. It is very likely that someone suddenly lose all the financial income. As a migration city, it is very likely the person has no family or friend in this city. Without a good insurance mechanism in place, I believe begging is the easiest and natural way they can think of. If we enforce the “No beggar” policy, the only result is to send them to the road of crime. I can imagine what people can do if they are really hungry.

OK. I understand the pressure Metro is facing and I believe 90% of riders support the rule, but just pay some sympathy to the weak. If you close a door for them, do open another. Do not close all the doors. I directly called the Metro Service hotline and asked them to remove the rule. I don’t think they will really do it. I just want my voice heard. If you also think so, call them. Their telephone number is 63189000.

Personally, I would rather see a city with beggars on Metro, instead of a city with criminals all around – if I have to choose one.

Related articles: Crime and Beggars in Shanghai, Helping by Hiring

Many People Got Cold

Many people got cold there days and I also show some symptom. This time, the infected ratio is much higher than any time before – I have the impression about 20% of people around me are sick there days. Take care. I suggest people coming to Shanghai these days to take precautions since it is more easier to get sick during travel. Maybe the change of weather contributed to the problem. The highest temperature of last Sunday was 20 while the lowest temperature dropped to 0 sharply the next day.

This site may be paused tomorrow for one day.

Happy Birthday to Goudaner

March 15 is the day I brought my car Goudaner home one year ago. The blog entry of that day reminded me that I put 40.2L of gas (not oil, as pointed by readers) into my car. How excited I was! didn’t get used to the feeling that my own car is downstairs waiting for me that night. It was a strange feeling.

In the past 365 days, Goudaner changed my life a lot. This sweet partner also experienced a lot. It was scratched by drunk driver. Fortunately, it is the most serious accident we had. The car price dropped by 5000 RMB the second day I bought, and continued to drop to around 80K RMB after that – a 20% decrease. Meanwhile the gas price went up. The model FIAT Siena 1.5 HL is a nice one, and I enjoy the mannual shift very well, but Wendy obviously don’t like to too much. She changed her display name to “I Hate Nanpu Bridge” recently, because during rush hours, she was packed on the 3 kms of continous upslope. That is not easy for new drivers.

We have named the day Goudaner coming to our home as its birthday. Nina suggested me to give a name to the new car:

I don’t know whether there is enough of a car-owning culture yet in China to have developed the custom of pet names for cars. I think I’ve read that about 25% of Americans have named their cars and supposedly, cars that have names last longer and are more reliable, although presumably this is because the sort of people who name their cars usually take good care of them, rather than by magic.

It is a very nice advice. A name for the car gives me the feeling that it has life and feelings. It may feel the pain if we switch the shift unproperly or someone hurt it. It is no longer steel and rubber for me. It is just like a pet and part of my life :-)

Goudaner, one year ago. src

Happy birthday, Goudaner. You are one year old now and you brings a lot to Wendy and me.

Donation in China

During my trip of U.S., I discovered behind the prosperity of art, culture and science is the donation system. The schools are donated – Harvard is among the most well known donated schools. There are enough charity organizations to support the homeless, and the artists are well sponsored to contribute on music, painting, theatre, dancing… (Well. I don’t think movie industry is donation based.) If someone has a great idea to do research, it is easy for him/her to find some foundation and get the money they need.

In China, there is a long way to go. As consultant for Smiling Library, I posted two articles on how donation works in China (Night with Smiling Library, Any Advice for Smiling Library). No matter it was in 2004 or 2005, the path for charity organization like Smiling Library is not easy. There are legal constraints (they still don’t know if they can do it legally) and management constraints (how to operate it?)

Donation is a great way to distribute the common wealth of the society. It is better than government budget, which can reach to the smallest area in the society and there are less chances of corruption. More importantly, the joy of donating, seeing the change and get respect are the real meaning of being rich.

Beijing is Cultural Center

In Beijing, it is more often to meet some celebrity by chance. Last time, we had dinner and saw Cao Ying 曹颖. At the Starbucks of Air China Building, the person sitting at the same table of me looks very familiar. After he left, I asked the waiter: “Who is this guy?” She answered: Wu Qi Long 吴奇隆. No surprise – I am not the age to scream when those celebrity appears, but the peaceful even expressionless face around me is a sign that it is more easier for many people to meet celebrities in that city.

Shanghai is a city tuned for every individual – nice 24 convenient store, nice weather (well… hmmm… It depends), decent life. Beijing is tuned for public life. It is what a capital should look like.

Email Delay

P.S. If you send email to me in the last few days, please expect a delay or even no response. Please be patient. If you didn’t get a reply, I don’t mind if you send it again and say: “Hey, an answer is important to me”. Otherwise, I may have to ignore some due to processing time.

Route – Highlights of Shanghai

Zheng posted a very nice route about visiting Shanghai in one day. I’d like to quote it here so more people can enjoy the tips. I agree this is a nice arrangement.

I usually take my friends by a route I called “highlights of Shanghai”. The route is good according to their feedbacks. However, the route does need some stamina and local knowledge. Anyway, most of the places are not too far away.

Start from people’s square at early morning. Before 7:30AM you can see a lot of local people doing exercises on the square. Because the people’s square is a key traffic interchange, you can see a lot of people during rush hour. That’s a part of the life in Shanghai.

Than you can go to Shanghai museum, one of the best museums of ancient China in the world. You can spend at least half day in the museum.

Depart from people’s square; you can go to old Chinese town for lunch. It is about 1.5km to 2km to the old Chinese town. You can buy a lot of Chinese souvenirs there and do not forget to bargain. Nearly everything can be bargained. There are several good restaurants in the old Chinese town. The most famous one is “Lubolang”. U.S. president Clinton and a lot of other diplomats and celebrities had dinner there. In front of Lubolang, there is a famous ancient Chinese garden called “Yuyuan garden”. You can take a visit for 0.5 to 1 hour after enjoyed your lunch.

You can experience the noisy, happy and tranquil (inside the Yuyuan garden) China in the old Chinese town. Then we can go to Pudong.

Take a ferry at “Shiliupu” (Pier 16 in Chinese), the closest ferry station to the old Chinese town. It is about 1 km from the old Chinese town. The ferry is a wonderful place both for the scenery and for the local lifestyle. It is recommended to take ferry around 4:00PM, just a little bit before the rush hour. You can see a lot of people, bikes, scooters, motorcycles on the ferry. And you can see people selling hot food on the ferry, like five spices egg, dried tofu, corn, etc. It is really nice to have one spicy egg in cold weather. You can enjoy the scenery of the Huangpu river.

About 15 minutes, you can reach Pudong. Out of the ferry station, you can see the new Pudong in front of your eyes. You can either hire a cab or walk to the center of Lujiazui. It is about 1.5~2km from the ferry to the center of Lujiazui.

Now it is dinner time. There are a lot of restaurants in Lujiazui. You can go to Jinmao Tower (the highest building in Shanghai) for a buffet dinner or to the restaurant in the Oriental Pearl Tower. From these two restaurants, you can enjoy the Birdseye view of the city. And you can enjoy the views at the same time having your dinner. It is not necessary to go up of these places if it is not clear.

After dinner, all the lights are on. You can walk along the bund of Pudong for a while then go underground to take metro line 2 (in the direction of people’s square). Just one stop, you will reach Puxi. Go out of the station, you are on Nanjing road, the pedestrian shopping street. People, so many people, that might be your first impression after you come out of the station. It is highly recommended to go along Nanjing road in the direction of Pudong (Oriental Pearl Tower is your landmark), 10 minutes walk you are on the bund. The bund at night is a must for Shanghai trip.

Then you can take a taxi or use metro line again. It is better to use metro lines because you won’t be ripped off. Take metro line 2 and transfer to metro line 1 at people’s square. At stop South Huangpi Road of line 1, you can reach Xin Tiandi, there are a lot pubs, clubs there and you can enjoy your night life. Or you can stop at Hengshan Road station of line 1, come out of the station, you are in the old French concession and there are plenty of pubs and restaurants there. Enjoy the rest of day there.

I call this route “the highlights of Shanghai day trip”. If you don’t have much time, the route might be suitable for you. The route is rated high by my friends’ feedback.

BTW, it is highly recommended to have one “Shanghai Public Transportation Card”. You can get in the metro line stations. It is a prepaid contact-less smart card. You pay 30 yuan for the deposit of the card itself and you can recharge at most of the metro stations and convenient shops around the city. The card can be used on 99% of the public transportation vehicles, like the cab, metro, bus, ferry, etc. I am proud of the project. Actually, I was one of the team members who designed the chip of the contact-less smart card. Anyone want to recruit me?

Visit the City in a Unusual Way

I wrote a series of articles on curiousity for life, enjoying doing v.s. enjoy being able to do, dislike doing or dislike starting, and afternoon in Shanghai. Combined together, it reveals the rational behind the two craziest things in my 2004: Visiting all Starbucks in A Day by Walk and Visit 30N 119E. The reason is simple – just because we live in Shanghai, we have more excuses than visitors not to visit some places. By connecting all Starbucks stores, we get a route that covers some places we never been. The confluence of 30N 119E is the same. To reach the point itself is not that meaningful, but the experience is a great way to educate myself about the villages in Zhejiang.

We don’t do something not because it is out of reach, or it disappears soon. We don’t do it just because it is too easy to do and it is ALWAYS there. I did have trouble to explain the reasons to my readers in the year of 2003. People kept telling me I should visit someplaces other than Starbucks, not to mention a point without thing meaningful.

Suggestion to Friends’ Shanghai Trip

This is my answers to my friends questions on Shanghai.

Stay

Q: How much can a decent hotel cost for one night? We don’t have a standard in mind now, but we would prefer a hotel with convenient transport connections.

A: The most cost effective, clean and convinient hotels I would like to recommend is Rujia or Motel 168 (official website). This is the hotel I recommend my friends and family to stay in. It costs from 168 RMB to 298 RMB per night. Of cause there are enough famous 5 star hotels in Shanghai that you don’t need my suggestions. (I do have some suggestions)

Places to See

Q: Where do you think are the must-check-out places in Shanghai? (for tourists of course)

A: I hesitate to give you a list of “must-check-out” places in Shanghai after I read the Art of Travel. The meaning of “must-go” places is: since everyone else goes,you must also be there to claim that you are in Shanghai. According to the tone of travel guilde books, they seem to imply that everyone who does not go to the places they suggested must have something wrong in their brain :-) OK. This is the list:

1. The Bund – go there only after 6:30 PM when the lights are lit.

2. Nanjing Road – go there only at night when the lights are lit.

3. Huai Hai Road (the section east of Shaanxi Road Metro station and sourth of Huangpi Road metro station). You can go there at day time.

4. Lujiazui (Pudong), including Jin Mao Tower and the Oriental Pearl TV Tower. Go there only at day time. You will be frienghtened if you go there at night. Go to the top of the tower around 5:30 gives you the best view – it goes dark while lights go on.

5. People’s Square including Shanghai museum.

That should be enough for one day of stay. This is the routine that every visitors shoud follow, suggested those boring travel guides. If you ask about my guide, check out my website. I don’t have a centralized location of all the places I visited in this city, just like they are not located side by side in the city.

To Suzhou?

Q: How long does it take to drive to Suzhou and Hangzhou? Can we take a cab there from Shanghai?

A: 1 hour to Suzhou and 2 hours and a half to Hangzhou. It takes about 600 RMB to Suzhou (I remember so) and more to Hangzhou (but less than 1000 RMB I think). You can take a cab to Suzhou, but I don’t suggest you to take cab to Huangzhou, unless you are rich enough. If you do want to go to Hangzhou by taxi, call Da Zhong at 96822 and reserve a Benz (if you are lukcy enough) for your long distance trip – they charge the same.

Dislike Doing or Starting to Do

This is to continue the discussion about Enjoy Doing or Being Able to Do. It inspired me to think about the negative statement of the same sentence: when we don’t want to do something, do we actually dislike doing something or dislike starting doing something?

I hate to go to bed at night. I have hundreds of reasons to keep awake and doing a lot of things – most them are done online with a computer. But I hate getting up in the morning worse. Later, I understood it was the action of going to bed I dislike, instead of sleeping itself.

It is the same for bath and swim. I enjoy bathing and swimming, but I dislike the moment to go into a bath room or I enter the swimming pool – it is especially true in cold winter. So I tend to delay it as much as possible.

Similarly, I just find out after living in Shanghai to ten years, I still cannot speak Shanghainese. Do I really dislike learning Shanghainese? I don’t think so. To learn a language is interesting, especially when you are in the environment that people around you speak it everyday. My previous excuse was, I don’t need to learn it. I can live very well without being able to speak Shanghainese. I tried to make me believe it. The reason is, I don’t want to get started. Is it a sign of my initial resistant to the culture of Shanghai? Maybe.

Foreigners also fall into two category: Some of them learnt Chinese quickly within half a year. Some even master Shanghainese which surprises every local residents. We call them Zhong Guo Tong (China Master). The others completely have no idea about Chinese. Some even stayed for three or four years without learning Chinese. In my article on Is English Skills That Important, some reader asked why foreigners refuse to learn Chinese and all people (sometimes all of them are local residents) have to use English if only one person who can not understand Chinese is there? I didn’t see the commenter tend to offense anyone, just a discussion about “starting to learn Chinese.” I guess there is also a cultural resistant that prevent people from START learning a language, instead of learning the language itself.

Recently, I started to learn Shanghainese. I even learnt some Cantonese – I learnt to pronounce Hua (Flower) as Fa in Cantonese. It turned out that if we have started doing something we don’t like, it may become very interesting and rewarding afterward.

Enjoy Doing or Being Able to Do

I focus on philosophy for life more than real/practical information on Shanghai. Don’t worry. I will be back to the topic people rely on to survive in this city soon.

I found many circumstances that people, sometimes including me, cannot distinguish enjoying doing something or enjoying being able to do something. What is the difference?

We spent a lot to buy an apartment in Xujiahui that is near Ever Bright Exhibition Center. There was very good sports facility there. In the two years, we never played badminton or swing there. We paid for “being able to exercise at anytime”. After that, we thought we have reached our goal.

I have a good friend who decided to buy expensive and nice sport shoes, so he can jog. I asked “Do you enjoy jogging or enjoy being able to jog?”

We live in Shanghai. People are pride to announce: “We are in Shanghai. We have the best fashion show, the best ballet, the best film, the best museum, the best bar…” in Shanghai. Whatever people claim, we seldom enter a museum or theatre. It seems people enjoy being able to go to a museum better than really going there.

How many purchase started with the desire of being able to do something instead of doing something. It is not rare to find out visitors to a city know the city better than local. Ask native resident about the Oriental Pearl, or Shanghai Museum – the majority of them never tried that. “They are all for visitors”. It is the same that people in New York may not experience the sky deck of the Empire State Tower, and people in Seattle may not visit the Space Needle.

I am not saying enjoying doing something is always more important than being able to do something. I just started to distinguish these two feeling so I won’t buy something because I enjoy being able to do something. I used a sentence like a tough-twister.

Shanghai Tour for Shanghainese

I was thinking about the idea of Shanghai tour for Shanghainese. We are in this city and we enjoy being able to going to any place in this city without worrying about time limitation. The result is, we never go there. There are great places in Shanghai, just like the Best Afternoon in Shanghai that only people in Shanghai can enjoy with grace pace. Start to tour the city as a visitor, plan one day or two days off (a weekend is perfect) and wake up with the excitement of a traveler, even spend a night at a local hotel. The same city will be different that day.

I have to quote Alain de Botton’s paragraph in the Art of Travel. It make a lot sense:

What, then, is a traveling mind-set? Receptivity might be said to be its chief characteristic. Receptive, we approach new places with humility. We carry with us no rigid ideas about what is or is not interesting. We irritate locals because we stand in traffic islands and narrow streets and admire what they take to be unremarkable small details. We risk getting run over because we are intrigued by the roof of a government building or an inscription on a wall. We find a supermarket or a hairdresser’s shop unusually fascinating. We dwell at length on the layout of a menu or the clothes of the presenters on the evening news. We are alive to the layers of history beneath the present and take notes and photographs

Home, by contrast, finds us more settled in our expectations. We fell assured that we have discovered everything interesting about our neighborhood, primarily by virtue of our having lived there a long time. It seems inconceivable that there could be anything new to find in a place where we have been living for a decade or more. We have become habituated and therefore blind to it.

How smart is Alain de Botton.

P.S Bonus Pack: What about the Living Cost in Shanghai

What is the living cost in Shanghai? It still remains the top questions I got from email. Let me give you an example of living cost. de Botton’s article reminded me of hairdresser. If you want your hair cut, I have the following three places for you to pick:

A) Hairdresser downstairs. We have someone like this. They charge for 5 RMB per time for man’s hair. But the appearance of the room and the equipment is simple enough to drive away all picky customers. Their customers are mainly those local residents.

B) Hairdresser chain store like “Wen Feng” – a famous brand you can find around the city. They charge 20 RMB for man’s haircut. They are pretty professional and have the largest customer base.

C) Professional hairdresser (with foreign or Hong Kong investment background). They are in big department stores and they charge 150 RMB to 300 RMB per hair cut. My friend Kevin had his first haircut in Shanghai at 240 RMB (17 pounds) at Three on the Bund.

Before you ask me about living cost in Shanghai, tell me the answer to the question: Which kind of lifestyle do you lead, A, B, or C?