Monthly Archives: May 2006

New Rules to Push Down House Price

New rules was announced to push down the country-wide (so-called overheated) real estate price. There are many rules. Here are some I remember:

  • Down payment must be 30% or higher for apartment bigger than 90 square meters. 20% for 90 sqr. meters or smaller.
  • Selling apartment within 5 years of purchase are subject to about 5% operating tax of the total apartment price.

It seems the government start to be serious about the high price of apartments. Result? I cannot predict yet.

962288 Hotline for Foreigners

Good news for foreigners living in Shanghai. The government opened a 24 hour hotline dedicated to help foreigners to survive in Shanghai.

The telephone number is:

962288

If you are not in Shanghai, but in China, you need to dial

021-962288

If you are outside China, call

+86-21-962288

According to this piece of news,

The Shanghai Call Centre, which was officially launched on Friday, provides both English and Chinese information about tourist destinations, culture, sports, trade, medical care and other issues of daily life in Shanghai.

The hotline will run 24 hours a day and seven days a week and is backed by a group of 12 operators, all graduates with bachelor degrees.

It seems to be exactly the voice version of this blog. So record this number immediately and have a try. It just opened last Friday.

P.S. Please post comments on the hotline under this entry. I didn’t try because I feel too wired to use English to call, and the operators may find out I can actually speak Chinese. :-D

Hello, I am OK now

Hello! Hello! I am OK now.

I recovered from the most serious illness in my life, and now am perfectly OK now. The illness is nothing. To be short, the wisdom tooth grew up and caused problem on tonsil, and then caused hot fever.

Listen to the Body

Jack Z dropped me a SMS: “Take care and listen to your body”. It is good tip: Listen to the body.

The body is actually talking to you all the time, but most of the time, we don’t listen at all. This time, I spent 2 days, completely to listen to the body, and play game with the body. It was nightmare, but interesting (I mean only when I recovered, I would say so…)

The Circle

Because I had high body temperature, it was not possible to think too hard. Even turning on TV made me sick. So I just sit there, hours and hours.

I could feel the body started to become hot, and hotter. At the very beginning, only the chest, then the upper arm, the lower arm and finally hands. When my palm started to feel hot (that kind of hot without sweat. Only hot), I knew the body temperature must be 39 degree or higher. The thermometer showed my guess was correct.

Then I drunk hard (it hurt when I swallow the water), and within 5 minutes, sweat came out, and became pouring on my face, I can feel the body started to cool down. Within half an hour, the body temperature went down to below 38 C.

The problem is, before the tonsil recovers, the up and down cycle continued all the time.

Be Careful. Not be Sick Anytime

Being sick is so bad, that you’d rather gave up a lot of important stuff just to keep quite and not-so-painful life.

Barry listed seven things he matters most in his life.

  • Health
  • Social
  • Finance
  • Work
  • Leisure
  • Mental
  • Ethics

    I would agree. Sometimes, we devoted ourselves too much to work or fiance success and forget about health. That is not a balanced life.

    Thanks everyone. Two days formed some good habit for me. I didn’t rely on computer and Internet as before – anyway, stayed away from computer for about two or three days didn’t kill me. It made me realize I had so much time when you do nothing…

    May everyone be healthy and happy.

  • I am a Patient Patient

    Let me explain what is the “Last tooth in mouth”. :-) It is the inner most tooth, that just grew out last week. In China, people call it “The Tooth of Wisdom”. However, it is troublesome, really troublesome.

    I went to hospital three times these days, and my body temperature was as hight as 39.8 C.

    If it were stock price of a company, I believe many shakeholders will be happy, but for me, stakeholders, including me and Wendy, were not happy.

    These two days, I was a patient. A very patient patient. It is the most serious health problem in my last 10 years. Can you imagine that I sit at my living room (and sometimes sleep) for the whole day on Saturday without doing anything? I believe I havn’t do so at least in the last 10 years. :-D

    Anyway, water and medicine help, and now I am pretty good. The temperature has get down to less than 38 C. Hope I will be fine soon.

    Got Fever – 38.4 C

    I cannot imagine that. The last tooth in my mouth came out, and my mouth is painful. The worse is, I start to have fever. The current temperature is 38.4 Degrees C. Well. Let me think whether I should go to hospital to get a shot.

    With Google Coop, let me create a service that you can search in Google terms like “Wangjianshuo Temperature”, and it returns the current temperature of my body. Sounds cool? Let me get injection first.

    Zhang Jiang Hi-Tech Park

    I was in Zhangjiang yesterday. Here are some pictures of the Zhang Jiang Hi-Tech Park.

    Location: It is east of Maglev Longyang Road Station. It means it is closer to the Pudong airport (a little bit) than the Maglev terminal station.

    Why it is different?

    It is the Shanghai’s high-tech zone, with a lot of chip design, manufacturing, bio-tech, and software companies. It is the terminal station of Metro No.2.

    What is one the picture?

    It is taken from Zhang Jiang Mansion, the tallest building in the park to south, and to north.

    What is the lower building in the last picture?

    It is villa.

    PVG: From Pudong Airport to Changshu

    Here is the letter:

    Dear Mr Wang,

    Hi, I am name removed from Singapore. I am deeply impressed how resourceful and helpful your blog/website are.

    Kindly allow me to consult you regarding one matter. I will be visiting Changshu next month & will carry with me a big luggage bag. I understand there are 3 ways to travel from PVG to Changshu:

    (1) From PVG, take direct bus to Suzhou. From Suzhou, take a taxi to hotel in Changshu. Total travel time: ab. 160 min. Total cost: ab. RMB 175.

    (2) From PVG, take taxi to Shanghai shuttle bus station, then take a bus to Changshu shuttle bus station, then take taxi to hotel. Total travel time: ab. 190 min. Total cost: ab. RMB142.

    (3) From PVG, take bus to SHG (Hong Qiao Int’l Airport). At SHG, take bus to Changshu, then take taxi to hotel. Total travel time: ab. 190 min? Cost: ab. RMB 97?

    Pls advise which is the best route (1), (2) or (3) for me to take considering the fact that I am carrying a big luggage with me.

    Ease and convenience are more important than costs factors.

    Kindly advise the details (where to buy bus ticket, where to take the bus/taxi etc) of the recommended route.

    Thanking you in anticipation.

    I will answer the question after dinner. :-D

    2 hours passed

    I am back from dinner and have the energy to help on this question.

    Disclaimer: I didn’t personally try this route, the information I provided is based on the information I got from Internet or from my observation. It may contain mistakes.

    I would recommend option 1), if cost is not a priority. Reasons:

    To reduce the burden of carrying big luggage with you, I suggest you to get to a Suzhou as soon as possible, instead of hanging around in the city of Shanghai. The long-distance bus is just outside the international arrival hall. You can use the small cart to move your luggage to the station (I am not sure if you need to lift it for some stairs, or you can get there from the level 2 of the airport.

    At Suzhou, many taxis should line up and I believe the person who pick you is lucky, since the 38 km distance is a good business for them. He can help you to get the luggage to taxi and out at the hotel in Changshu.

    Option 2 is a little bit troublesome, since the PVG to the nearest shuttle station may be as far as Changshu to Suzhou, no to mention the burdern to get off taxi, onto bus, and off bus and on to taxi again… Also, it may not easy for you to find out bus station – bus station is not as easy to find in Shanghai as airport or train stations (as in any city)

    Option 3 is the worst. Considering the time you spend in Shanghai – from one airport to the other airport, that takes about one hour. This distance is far longer than the Changshu-Suzhou distance. It won’t save you money or time.

    Hope this helps. Good luck!

    City Life v.s. Village Life

    I should put a disclaimer at the top of every entry I post:

    Although I made all effort to make sure I honestly record what I see, I hear, and I think, this blog does not represent Shanghai. People with different history and status have competely different view about the city. It of cause does not represent China.

    I read a peom about life in city v.s. life in village. I think it is very true. It reveals how different the two lives are. Let me translate some sentences of the peom and explain why it is true.

    I live in city – I was born in hospital

    I live in village – I was born in my home.

    Don’t take it for granded that there are hospital in all villages. I viisted places where people deliver their babies in home.

    I live in city – from today, I become happy citizen of the country.

    I live in village – from today, I become a honorable tax payer for the country.

    Actually everyone pays tax, but the burnden for people in countryside are much higher compared to the low income they have. They pay not only tax. There are many other fees they need to pay for the village.

    I live in city – I am ill. Dad bring me to hospital. I am courious whether insurance cover it.

    I live in village – I am ill. Dad sold the pig, and bring me to doctor.

    Medical insurance only covers people in city. People in villages, and people who move from one city (home city) to the other city typically are not covered by any medical insurance. If they get ill, they need to pay for themselves.

    I live in city – My family bought motor cycle, and prepare to buy car several years later.

    I live in village – My family bought a new baby pig. Perhaps the year after next year, it will have more baby pigs.

    Still, big contrast about what people are thinking about and expectation about future.

    I live in city – Dad want to have a business of his own.

    I live in village – Dad want to go into city, to be a farmer worker

    Go to city is the dream of many people in villages. Now, farmer worker is a way, but very hard way. They work on construction site and work all days and night.

    I live in city – country gave Dad all kinds of benefits, and waived all tax.

    I live in village – Dad has to pay all the tax and fees back in home, and need to pay to get all kinds of licenses.

    In the previous years, startups and small businesses in city was encouraged, but the situation for farmer workers got worse. From last year, things are getting better.

    I live in city – Dad to go bank everyday, and servant smiles to him.

    I live in village – Dad ask for delayed salary at the year end, but was beaten and insulted by business owners.

    The previous years, farmer workers’ salary is not ensured. Many work for the whole year, and want to get their salary for the year. Many cannot get their salary, and don’t have money to go back home… The situation is better this Spring Festival.

    I live in city – Government said Dad work on startups, and benefit the economy

    I live in village – government said Dad’s rushing into city made big problems, and maliciously asking for salary.

    I live in city – I can move freely in my country.

    I live in village – I can live freely in my village.

    This is interesting part. For people living in cities, they have city Hukou (or residential certificate) and they typically enjoy going to other cities. However, for people in villages (farmer resident), their move in the country, especially to move into city is restricted. Without Hukou, they don’t have benefit, don’t have medical insurance, and their child cannot go to local schools. (This is changing)

    I live in city – Tomorrow is promising.

    I live in village – Tomorrow is hopeless.

    This is totally two different expectation about the future.

    Totally Different

    That is the current situation of the country. There are many good things everyday, and there are many bad things. One thing to point out is, many situation listed above are true about two years ago. Now, although it is still true in majority population, a lot of things are improving in the last two years. There is still a long way to go.

    Getting U.S. Visa in China

    This is part of a series article: From Shanghai to US – A Handbook. These articles are to help my friends (obviously in Shanghai) to plan their first time visit to U.S. To be concise, I only outline information that I think helpful for this group of people. So don’t be surprised if it left some important information outside the scope.

    The most critical, and troublesome step to go to the States is the Visa application and interview process. Let me break it into short sentences.

    Disclaimer: I don’t want to appear as object. It is just my personal thinking about my personal experience…

    • The U.S. Visa office is at the 8th floor of the Shanghai Westgate Mall at 1038 West Nanjing Road.
    • The first time visitor must leave fingerprint there. (I hate it)
    • People have to line up very early in the morning outside the shopping more in the morning for the appointment – the application letter states that you must be at the gate before 8:30 (I remember). I mean wait in the rain, in the sun, in the wind, or whatever weather outside the mall.
    • No bag can be brought about. No mobile is allowed. There are many people there charging 10 RMB for deposite bags for you. That means, it seems everyone need to pay 10 RMB additionally to get interviewed.
    • All first-time visa applicants are required to call the China-wide Visa Information Call Center at 4008-872-333 (for dialers within China) to make an interview appointment.
    • The Visa Information Call Center operates Monday through Friday, 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., and on Saturdays from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
    • You will need to purchase a pre-paid PIN card in order to use this service. Users can pay 54 RMB for a 12 minute PIN card or 36 RMB for an 8 minute PIN card. PIN cards can be purchased at China CITIC bank locations or online at: https://www.usavisainformation.com.cn/eng/index.aspx. Please note, this additional fee is charged out of the visa fee they change.
    • You need a completed DS-156 application form in English. (I filled it before)
    • You need to wait at the visa office to get a visa (my experience in 2004)
    • Sometimes, they pause their visa services completely no matter how important meetings you have.
    • Yesterday, the American Chamber of Commerce issued a white paper. The report said about half of American Chamber of Commerce companies in China complained the high rejection rate of U.S. Visa program, and the average waiting time to get interviewed for visa for the year 2005 is 34 days. That means you typically need 2 months in advance to prepare an U.S. trip.
    • For normal people to attend meetings in U.S. is almost impossible. For the last Microsoft MVP Summit in Seattle, many MVPs in China was invited, but almost none of the more than 10 people get rejected for interview. This time, the eBay community members attending eBay Live, as far as I know, were all rejected to get a visa.
    • You can typically apply a multi-entry visa, which makes it much easier.
    • The most ridiculous interview I heard with my own ears: Interviewer: “What did you have this morning as breakfast?” Applicant: “Bread.” I: “Nothing else?” A: “No.” I: “According to American law, we cannot grant you a visa.” A: “….”. I was sitting beside the person when he was rejected. You know, it is funny to reject someone according American law just because he only had bread in the morning.
    • Feeling of insulting. I know a friend who is a high-rank official. He told me he refuse to go to U.S. for any reason just because he felt insulted during the visa application process.
    • I feel very bad to be inspected and get shoes off, and even belt off and inspected as a terrism when entering the room.

    It is Pouring! Pouring!

    May 18, 2006 – it is pouring outside. There is no way to call a taxi on road, to be exact, there are almost no cars on the street. Typhoon will hit Shanghai tonight. Whenever typhoon comes, I keep my finger across and hope my trees in garden will be fine…

    Low Tech World

    Tonight, I chatted with Yatao. He said: “Before 1995, I don’t have telephone, don’t have email, and don’t have mobile. How hard it was to visit a friend in another city! I even cannot imagine how we meet at train station.”

    I have exactly the same feeling. If there were no email in my life, no website, no telephone, no mobile, and not anything that is powered by electronic, what our lives would look like?

    How hard it will be?

    The other question is, will we be happier at that time? Maybe.

    On Humanity

    Chat with Fay today. I found Humanity is an inspirational word. When I am thinking about the business we are doing, we dig very hard into the details about what value we provide to users. At the end of every thread, I found out humanity is the final answer.

    Fay put it very well. She reminds me in the year of 1900, when motor and cars were invented, it brought mobility and freedom to life. No matter how hard and detailed the manufactures’ work are, at the end of day, it satisfied the humanity need – people can get from location A to location B at any time they choose.

    Internet is great. It changed people’s life. The last time I read the word humanity was in John’s book The Search

    “… thousands of people very rich, improved the businesses of hundreds of thousands of merchants, and fundamentally changed the relationship between humanity and knowledge. In the process, Page and Brin have become fabulously wealthy and movie-star famous. And it did not take them …” on page 66.

    A lot of things are important, but at the end of the day, only smile on human face explains all the reason why people work so hard.

    Why I Have to Keep Thinking

    Recently, I was put into a position that force me to think really hard about the deep reason we do it, and find out reasons about what we do, and how it is meaningful even after several years, even there are many people standing up and say no…

    On Enemy

    Jack Man’s last interview on Future Life is definitely a successful one. I didn’t watch it, but I heard one quote:

    “When there is no enemy in your heart, there is no enemy in the world”.

    It echos my thinking about Passion for Contribution, and Confident about Return. When your goal is to contribute, and competitors only help you to grow, you see no enemies, you see no angry, and the only thing you feel is passion. That is the situation everyone should be in.

    Don’t Know What I am Talking About?

    Don’t worry. I don’t know either. There are too many thread in my mind now, and I didn’t put it into a logic order. I hope it will come out later, but now, let me put it down and help me thinker deeper.

    Wayback to Wangjianshuo’s Blog

    Vince’s email mentioning Way Back Machine reminds me to check out what Wangjianshuo’s Blog looks like three years ago. Here are some snapshots.

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    My HP Deskjet 3500 Series Printer

    Just got my HP Deskjet 3500 Series Printer out of my storage room.

    shanghai-hp.deskjet.3500.png

    HP Deskjet 3500 Series Printer

    It still works – after staying in the room for about two years.

    It printed out a testing page – with a nice butterfly on the top. What a surprise when you get some colorful picture out of a two year old printer that I almost forgot.

    The printer came with my home PC HP Pavilion a610cl that I bought almost two years ago. I never used it after I set it up and installed print cartridge. I have a lot of cool toys and never use them. After the new Kijiji product goes online with personal management feature, I will add all these toys to share them with my friends nearby… I don’t expect to get money out of the m, just want to share some of my cool stuff to hose who work in the same building, live in the same area or my friends…

    To be a Good Man

    Once upon a time, we asked ourselves – are you going to be a good man or a bad man? All movies, and all novels are telling the story again and again about how important it is to be basically good, and how to be good. It seems to be a question that have absolute right answer. However, it is not that easy to answer sometimes.

    I met with a Singaporean today, who is really bad. He didn’t follow the contract and didn’t show sorry about that. To be honest, I feel very good about people in Singapore, and still respect. So I felt so shamed that the guy with name Chen comes from Singapore… I didn’t get angry for years, but today, I am really angry. (What about the last time? When my car was scratched by a drunk driver)

    For get about the story. I start to think how important to follow the rule of being a good person. It seems not so easy.

    What is Good?

    Thanks to novelists and artists who hold mirror for the society and people can see themselves, and get a better sense. I’d like to thank Shakespeare to show us the story of Romeo and Juliet. When we read the story, everything thinks he/she will be on the side of Juliet, and Romeo. The fact is not.

    I seriously doubt with the limited information I get, I would be one of the people vote against their marriage if I were born in the age of the story. So whenever I saw a negative story on newspaper, and everyone reading the story will be angry, I start to think, well, there is possibility that we are the angry people in the Juliet and Romeo story. The worst thing is, you may never have a chance to know that you are wrong.

    The Romeo and Juliet of the Current Age

    A story gave me strong impression. It was a sad story, something like Juliet and Romeo story. Meanwhile, it is a true story.

    The story is about two persons falling into love. One of them is a super star in Hong Kong. They deeply love each other, but the public does not allow them to be together. The public, everyone, thinks it is not proper for them to love each other.

    They found every single chance to meet, and to stay together, despite all the media negative reports, and huge pressure from their families and friends.

    Finally, one of them just jumped from the top of the building at April 1, 2003, and died. The whole Chinese world was shocked about the death of the super star…

    If the story ends here, readers will say, why stop them, why not them follow their love? It seems we would not be part of “the public” in the story.

    Think twice… Are you so sure?

    The man is Leslie Cheung 张国荣. His partner is also a man….

    We are not that Sure

    In the story, when we hide the names, and more importantly, when we hide their gender, people would say one thing. After the how story is revealed, we are not that sure.

    Not every story is told in its logic order. Not everyone can get enough information from newspaper. We are in the same situation in my daily life. Our story is not told in a way that we see in movies. In movies, or novels, when person A talked with person B, and it will show you what happened after person A left B, and show you again what A and B talked when they met again. If we are the B in real life, because of the absence of the part between the two meet up, we never be able to act fairly. When this happens, B may be a bad guy in A’s eyes.

    That is how this world works.

    To be Fair, To be Good

    I have made up my mind to be a good man. It means you need to do your homework to understand others, and don’t take it granted for not understood.

    Knowing that we are only part of the story, and can only see part o f this world, I believe we can form a better idea about this world.

    How Xintiandi was Built

    Xintiandi is a wonderful place to go at night. But before the nice-look buildings, bars, and restaurants were built, it looked like this. It is not that fancy, but it is the history of the city, where many people lived there for generations.

    I found out these pictures I took at the end of 2004. Let me show you the pictures of locations near Xintiandi. I believe another area of Xintiandi will raise from this land.

    Before the modern buildings, were some old historical architectures.

    Most of them have been towed down. For this one, how knows its fate.

    Like this one. Look at the arch and the design – it is a nice building.

    The stairs, and the rooms – all desctructed

    The tractors is standing by to get rid of these houses.

    There are still some people living in the buildings, How can you imagine that!

    The nice decoration on the arch of the door.

    The poles are also created with efforts and sense of art.

    shanghai_how_xintiandi_was_built_20.jpg

    shanghai_how_xintiandi_was_built_26.jpg

    shanghai_how_xintiandi_was_built_27.jpg

    At the ground of the towed-down area, some cooks are kiling their time when there is no one in their restaurant

    shanghai_how_xintiandi_was_built_28.jpg

    At the newly built building, workers are drawing the “lines” between bricks

    More workers on other areas.

    Including the top

    Google Satellite Map

    From the Google map, you can still see the area with all the houses there.

    What? I Wake up at 2 PM?

    What? I wake up at 2 PM today?

    It is a normal Saturday (the only difference is, Wendy is out to some place in Zhejiang for team building). I opened my eyes for the first time, and thought I should wake up and have my breakfast – “It should be as late as 10 AM already.” I thought.

    However, the big yellowish round clock on the left side of my bed shows 2:00 PM. The clock must be wrong. I checked the battery. It seems to be working.

    Confused on the bed for one minutes or two, and looked out of the window, I finally figure out, it is myself instead of the clock that is wrong.

    So, I woke up at 2 PM today. I doubt without an alarm clock or Wendy, and if I didn’t start to feel starving, I may wake up when it went dark? Maybe.

    I am a sleeping cat. Back to university, my record to continous sleeping is more than 40 hours (finally I got up to feed myself to keep alive). My brother volenteered to participate a study by a Sleeping Institute in Toronto. The researcher just didn’t understand why he can sleep that long. I guess we share the same thing.

    Anyway, I am now awake, and going to the kichten to look for some food again. Thinking of last night, I start to wonder, why I am always in a situation to look for food? Hmmmm…