Weird Policies, One by One

This is another day – a typical day in my life in Shanghai. It is raining hard, and I go to the other office and spent the day there.

Let me show me what happened.

Personal Income Declaration

The HR team sent out notice to everyone to claim their personal income. The local tax department has a list of people (with ID number) who should claim tax, and said everyone must claim it before the end of March, otherwise, the fine will be 2,000 RMB to 10,000 RMB.

It also stated that foreign citizens in China don’t need to claim if they can prove that they lived outside China for continuous one month or 90 days in total in the previous year. That may (or may not) be good news for many people. The good news is, someone don’t need to claim and the bad news is, expats may still need to pay the tax.

One Family, One House?

Besides personal tax claim, recently there are many policies coming out. Some sounds strange for me. For example, there is a proposal in the people’s congress to enforce “one family, one house” policy.

The proposed policy restrict that every family in China can only have one house. People will be punished for the second house. The idea is to lower the house price.

This sounds ridiculous for me. It seems people are trying to get back to the planned economy system.

Real Name for Bicycles?

There is another similar proposed policy. The National Public Security Bureau is said to plan to enforce real name registration for bicycles. That means, they want to set up a system for the 1.6 billion people that every people need to provide their real names (national ID) to buy bicycles. The idea behind this is, too many bicycles are stolen. The Public Security Bureau don’t have any good idea, so they think if every bike has a registered owner, and if they find anyone who ride a bike that is not registered under his/her name, it may be a stolen bicycle.

Well. I have no idea about how they can easily create a policy like this. Do they expect everyone to wear national ID with them, or forbid people to lend their bike to others? I suspect the cost to enforce it is higher than bicycle.

Anyway, the good thing is, the voice of different opinion started to be heard, no matter how weired it seems to me.

Fall Over

It was raining, and the floors and stairs are slippy. I fall over one step and hit the steps heavily. It was dangerous, and my back still hurt. Be careful in this big city, especially in rainy day. There are many shining floors that is as slippy as ice in the rain.

RSS Changed to Full Text

Maybe it is good news for many readers who rely on RSS to read this blog. I have changed all my RSS feed from excerpt only to full text. That means, no matter what reader you use, from Google Reader, to Bloglines, to Zhuaxia.com, you will read FULL TEXT of this blog in your reader software/sites.

This is not a hard decision for me. Everyone (100%) of the more than 10 reponses voted for full text. It is a typical example that everyone knows the alternative is better (except for me), but didn’t tell me. I am the one who can make the change, but I didn’t realize it – you know, maybe I am the single person who don’t have to use a reader to read my article – I read it in my ‘editor’ window and on my blog only.

OK. I suggest people to take the chance to think about what I can do to make the site more useful and more convinient. If I know that, and if I can do it (easily), I will do it. Thanks again (for the third time) for cube316 to point it out.

P.S. If you haven’t yet, use these two links to subscribe this blog via RSS:

RSS 1.0 Feed
RSS 2.0 Feed

Everyone is Talking about Stock

14:26

I am waiting for a friend in Starbucks to chat about business. He is about 5 minutes late, and I have some time to pull out my laptop to write something about what I observed in Starbucks.

On my rights, two guys are talking about stock. They are talking about some stock at 1.70 RMB/share, and discussing whether they should sell it or buy more. Then their topic shifted to foreign exchange. The guy looks like a professional stock broker.

On the left, several people are also seriously discussing about stock. They looks exciting.

Within just two years, the topics people talk about changed dramatically from house to stock. Shanghai is a center for business. People think about money, talk about money, and care about money. The majority follows the economical trends closely. That is just the nature of city. Good or bad? Well. Hard to say. I am not the money-driven type, and I need more space. I will move to another seat to avoid all kinds of stock terms running into my ears.

So, what is the next? What people will talk after 2010? Criss, or sad stories?

Full Text RSS Feed for This Blog?

Cube316 asked whether I want to turn on full text feed for the RSS of my blog. Both excerpt or full text is OK for me. My decision depends on which one my readers’ love better.

So the question is yours, and decision is yours:

Do you like
A) Full Text of each entry in my RSS feed, or
B) Excerpt in the RSS for conciseness.

Please give me suggestions in the next week, and I will change to full text if everyone likes it, or keep the current setting.

In case you didn’t know I provide RSS yet, try this URL:

http://home.wangjianshuo.com/index.xml

You can subscribe to this blog via RSS reader like Google Reader, Bloglines, or client side readers.

Grocery Cost in Shanghai, 2007

What is the grocery cost in Shanghai? This is the FAQ people have before moving to Shanghai. Let me show you some details, and I know some of you may love it.

I went to supermarket today – the Hymall (The one on Jinxiu Road, and Chengshan Road, 锦绣路成山路乐购) to purchase some grocery for the next week – it is sunny. The wind is mild and cool, and the sunshine is hot. Prefect weather to visit Shanghai, or go out for a walk. I get everything I need, then I took picture of each of them, and list the price along with it. Hope you get some idea about the living cost in Shanghai.

Please note: supermarket is fine tuned for convinience, not neccessary for price, or quality. If you want more fresh vegetables, and fruits, many some local market is better, such as the Beicai Market nearby. (Some one asked me how to visit this market via email. I laughed. It is nothing similiar with Xiangyang Market. It is just one of thousands of local markets in Shanghai.)

Cucumber: 12.00 RMB/kg

In this picture: 0.500 kg => 6.00 RMB

Tomato: 12.00 RMB/kg

In this picture: 0.435 kg => 5.22 RMB

White Gourd: 2.00 RMB/kg

In this picture: 0.650 kg => 1.56 RMB

Chicken Wings: 24.50 RMB/kg

In this picture: 0.390 kg => 9.56 RMB

Pork: 19.80 RMB/kg

In this picture: 0.165 kg => 3.27 RMB

Vegetable: 2.80 RMB

I don’t know the name of this vegetable. They don’t list the unit price or weight. In this picture, it is 2.80 RMB.

Pork: 29.00 RMB/kg

In this picture: 0.204 kg => 5.92 RMB

Green Pepper: 3.00 RMB/kg

In this picture: 0.210 kg => 1.89 RMB

Pumpkin: 12.00 RMB/kg

In this picture: 0.480 kg => 5.76 RMB

Mushroom: 15.80 RMB/kg

In this picture: 0.210 kg => 3.32 RMB

Stawberry: 3.98 RMB/box

In this picture: 3.98 RMB

Red Pepper: 10.00 RMB/kg

In this picture: 0.130 kg => 1.30 RMB

Daily Life in Shanghai

To go to a grocery store in sunny Sunday brought me much happiness. And to post it on the blog to help people to have some ideas (maybe not precise concept, just ideas) of how expensive it is to live in Shanghai makes me even happier.

Please note: this is just my personal experience of one single shopping, and in one supermarket at this specific time. The price may change (sometimes dramatically) over time, or from location to location. Quality of the grocery is also a factor to consider.

Happy living!

How to Advertise on this Blog?

A friend’s friend asked him to ask me (ha ha, weired) how can he put advertisement on my this. He is running an apartment broker service for expats at http://rentome.com/ (disclaimer: I didn’t experienced it, and don’t know the quality. Try it out at your judgement, and share your feedback with others). Pretty fit the audience of this blog, right?

Here is my answer:

I don’t accept individual advertisement on this blog.

That means, I don’t want to accept any paid content on this site, except Google AdSense. On the Google AdSense part, I hesitated for some time, and finally I wrote this: Why I Added Google Adsense to My Blog on Oct 23, 2003, when I added it to my blog. I wrote:

Actually, I hate to bring the advertisement into this site, since I am passionate to provide more information about Shanghai and life here just because I love to do it.

This does not change after 4 years (OMG, 4 Years! since my first Google AdSense ad)

I received many queries about putting commercial advertisement on my site with pretty high quote (OK, at least higher than Google AdSense). I still don’t want to do that, at least in the next one or two years.

The reason is, if I accept payment for anything I wrote, I don’t feel I can be objective, and tell the truth. I know when I am accepting any benefit, “truth” may be different than I original thought, even without my own awareness. So the bottom line is, I don’t accept anything. If you ever sent me email, thanks for your inquire and your interest, but I don’t have plan for that.

I am still comfortable for putting Google AdSense, since it does definitely zero impact on what I write, or should I write positive or negative about something. I like that kind of feeling. I love to write to help people. If I feel I am writing for money, I may lose the passion to write, and may not enjoy what I write, and finally gave up.

I do give advertisement space free of charge, for example, last time to Dan Washburn, who is my good friends. I also mention some services, like rentome.com because they are my friends (or friends’ friends). It is all for free. and I will let you know that. I value friendship and want to help my friends also. But I want to make it clear whether I mention it because I personally experienced it and recommend it, or it is just for a friend.

P.S. If you do want to do advertisement…

If you do want to post an advertisement on this site, you can still do it on Google AdWords network. You don’t need to talk to me, or even let me know – I don’t want to know that either. You will find a link named: “Advertise on this site” at the bottom of every Google AdSense ad block. Click on it, and click “Sign Up Now” to sign up Google AdWords program. Then you can choose to target your ads to wangjianshuo.com domain. You can choose to have text ad or Image ad, and they choose your payment. Then your ads MAY appear on the site, depending on how Google thinks about it.

Do it by yourself. I appreciate your support, but don’t need to notify me about it. :-)

Hope this helps to answer the FAQ: How can I advertise on this blog?

P.S. 2. Never, never ask me to write a review about your site, your service or anything. If I find it interesting, I will. If I find I want to personally do a favor of my friend, I will. If I find it valuable for visitors to Shanghai, I will. If you ask me to do it, or pay me to do it, I won’t.

Jack, Run, Linda, and Wendy

We had dinner together at a restaurant near SJTU (Shanghai Jiaotong Unversity) tonight, and then visited the Kijiji office. They were talking about some money related stuff – in this huge “everyone in stock market” environment. Haha.

Spam Mail – Not eMail, it is Mail!

As usual, I opened my mail box at the entrance of my home. There are many mails in it. Besides several bill, and some not-so-important mail, and DM, the rest are all spam satellite TV mails.

Look at these! They are the fruit we have in my mail box in several days. They offer satellite installation service. On one hand, it is not legal according to the current censorship mechanism: the Party does not allow anyone to install satellite TV to watch “enemy’s propaganda” outside China. On the other hand, it is against the international copyright laws, since they use pirated cards to “steal” program from satellite. They claim to be able to view ANY TV program, including CNN, HBO, Cinemax, BBC, NHK, DW, ABC, Fox News, MTV, and all kinds of adult program. They also commit SPAM!

I don’t like them.

10 RMB for Genuine DVD

I wrote about cheap genuine DVD and Movie before. Today, I got even cheaper genuine DVD.

Look at this DVD first:

I bought it at the DVD store near my home – the small shop in my residential area. They charge for 10 RMB, and explained why it is more expensive than most their DVDs (which are 5 RMB). They said it is genuine DVD. I didn’t believe it, but I opened the package and it SEEMS it is not pirated.

I get back home and searched for the film and DVD. To my surprise, it really seems to genuine.

The DVD for the film was released to market 7 days after the film was released. On Joyo (An Amazon company), it sells at 8.90 RMB. There was also news release about DVD distributors lower down their cost and effectively compete with pirated DVD.

WoW. The world changes faster than I thought.

Old Friends Gets Together

Nice night. The best classmates I have are my high school classmates. We were in a class numbered 926 between 1992 to 1995. We keep close contact to most of people in the class till now – 10 years after graduation. But it is not easy to get together.

Today, four of us (plus Wendy) get together, and had a dinner together at the San Xiang Tower (三湘大厦). There are really good Hunan Dishes there.

On the photos are Jian Shuo (in Internet industry now), and Xiaogong (who is in Microsoft, and before was in Visa office of U.S. embassy). On the right is Chu Xiang Feng, who is an architect, and then on the right most is Shen Jie, a producer and reporter from CBN (第一财经).

Since we are from completely different industry, and we didn’t see each other for some time, it was pretty difficult to understand what everyone is doing.

Questions For Jian Shuo: Are you still in Microsoft?

A: I just celebrated the start of my third year in Kijiji last week.

Question for Xiang Feng: What do you do as an architect?

A: I design public architect.

Q: Oh. Then you design gardens? (I asked this question).

A: Not really. I design museums, railway stations, and libraries.

Question for Wendy: What major were you?

A: CS.

Q: What is CS then? (Xiangfeng Asked)

A: Computer Science.

Question for Shen Jie: You must know the stock market very well. Did you make money?

A: I work on macro economy observation.

Q: Oh. Then you know foreign currency exchange very well. (Wendy asked).

A: Well… Not really. It is not macro economy….

Questions for Xiaogong: What do you do?

A: I am with the customer service organization, and I blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, …..

Q: So can you tell me what do you do then? (Shenjie asked)

A: :-(

It was so interesting for some good friends of 10 to 15 years ago (I am in the same class with Chuxiangfeng since Grade 3 in primary school to end of high school. That is 10 years!) to gather and to explore what others are doing… Well. It is not easy, but it is so interesting.

I always admire Carroll who has life-time friends. They come to her Chrismas tree trimming party continous for half centuary. I value my old friends so much. They are the best gift I got when I grow old…

From the Hottest to the Coldest

I am in Beijing today. It snows in Beijing – heavy snow yesterday, and by the night time, snow went away. I was sitting at the lunch table before the nice Chinese garden in the Shangri-la hotel. I see the snow melt down by my own eyes – every 30 minutes, you can observe more grass (yellow grass of cause) came out, while snow fade off. It is 4 degree C. Not too bad for Beijing. It is not as cold as a snow-melting day should fee like. Yesterday, I was still in Shanghai, at around 16 °C, and the day before yesterday, I was at a hot place of 33 °C. This is maybe the most interesting experience for me in terms of temperature change. I am lucky that I don’t feel uncomfortable.

When it is approaching the 2008 Olympics Games in Beijing, the date seems not so far away. Imagine how it feels when it was announced almost 7 years ago! Now it is only 1 year left. Is Beijing ready? Well. I am so sure.

From the airport, the train to the city is under construction – so it let people smell the change. However, when the taxi turns from the Airport Highway to the 3rd Ring Road, there was a big pool of water – due to the lack of equipment to get rid of the water from the snow. The taxi driver risked to run into the water, and keeps the engine running. The driver said: if you just keep spraying gas into the engine and don’t stop, you are fine although the water is almost higher than the tire.

The city is still the same city. Beijing does not look good in winter (OK. It is beginning of Spring. But the same), as any of northern China cities. There are not so many green trees there. Well, I don’t complain because Shanghai does not give me any sense of “Winter”, when yellow plants are rare. Snow is good, but melting snow is not. You see the dirt mixed with snow and turn yellow, then black – everywhere.

I took all the trouble to open my laptop and find out my Air China mileage number. I have like 20,000 points in the account. I don’t travel with Air China often. It is not so much, but it seems I can get a free single trip flight to some place like San Ya.

I never claimed any free ticket so far, just keep accumulating… Hope one day I have the “TIME” (this is the really important thing for me) to claim some free tickets and travel around.