Many Events in Shanghai

Today, the Torch for Special Olympics arrives in Shanghai. I saw the real time broadcast on TV.

The Women’s World Cup is final today in Shanghai. German wins.

The National Holiday celebration started from tonight, and traffic control was put in place. Cars are not allowed in many major locations.

There are fireworks in Century Park. “People Mountain People Sea” there.

Rain Memories of New York

Today, I saw some random photos in my hard disk. These photos instantly brought those memories of three years ago. That was Dec 23, 2004, just before Christmas.

Look at the rain, the lights, the traffic, the streets, the buildings, the taxis… all these things are very typical to the city of New York.

Some Thoughts about War and History

I didn’t mention too much about this topic, but the recent discussion on Fight Between Foreigners and Local led to heated discussion, and I was touched by the depth of the thinking. Then in response to some of the comments, I talked a little bit about my thoughts about war (especially the WWII), and the recent anti-Japanese movement (which I think is a little bit out of track).

Again, I am open to your continuous input. As I always believe, the more facts and perspective we collect, the more likely we are closer to completeness (although I don’t think we can reach it.)

About Japan Text Book

@ling,

“However, I still cannot accept how the Japanese (most of them) can blatantly attempt to rewrite history and refuse to apologise.”

Where are your facts on how MOST Japanese blatantly attempt to rewrite history? If you’re talking about the revised textbooks, a vast majority of schools REFUSED to use them. Is that what you’re talking about? Also, no Japanese person who was not involved in the war of aggression (IE, basically all Japanese under the age of 65) owes ANYONE an apology. The disaster wrought upon Asia by the Japanese imperial army was a travesty, yes, but it was in the past. People shouldn’t have to apologize for crimes they didn’t commit.

Posted by: Steve on September 26, 2007 2:13 PM

@Steve, I agree with you on this part. I stood exactly the same side of the massive crowd in China before on the issue of text books in Japan, but recently, after really seeking for the truth, and I know more about the text book issue. Just as you said, it is one version out of many versions of textbook, and it is not government appointed text book (not like China). It is not widely accepted and it does not represent the majority. It is the local media itself twisted the fact and create something far from the fact.

Posted by: Jian Shuo Wang (external link) on September 26, 2007 3:40 PM

Who is Covering the History?

@Jian Shuo

So just what are the Japanese are teaching their kids about the war ??

Is it glazed over by two sentences ? or nothing at all ?

Why are the youths always surprised when they visit sites around memorial sites around Asia regarding the war ? Why are they when told always expressed shock at what their country did ?

All I know is that when their minister commented that the bomb had to be dropped to end the war, it caused a huge uproar in their country. Why ?

Why is it that until today, more events were organised for the victims of the bomb than the people they slauthered in Asia ??

Just my 2 cents

Posted by: wonton on September 26, 2007 7:11 PM

@wonton, this is useful observation. By stating that the text book issue is not completely as many media reports, I am not saying that Japan is doing a good job. The situation you mentioned is true, since people in Japan don’t know too much about history, especially those younger generations, and about the WWII part. I think it is the right thing for other Asian countries to keep speaking loudly about what the truth of history is and showing the evidences. History makes future, and we have to be respectful to history, and let it reminds us all the way to the future.

However, I do think that we are doing a even worse job than Japan about history in China. If there are just few places mentioning wrong facts (or just ignoring the facts) in Japanese textbook, there are pages and pages of wrong facts and stories in Chinese textbook. I was also shocked (maybe even more shocked than people in Japan to see their history) to face the history of my OWN country. Talking about the China’s role in Korean war, China’s role in Anti-Vietnam War, do we know what we did outside China?

For what happened inside China in the last few decades, we know even less. Many history in China has already been burned into dust for many younger people, even the history is just as recent as 20 years. We are still using very inappropriate names to refer to our own part of the history.

Also, for the aggression of Japan into China, I believe we should focus on what is the structure of government in Japan at that time that leads to the war, what mentality leads to war, and what we can do to keep peace. We should also (both China and Japan) should re-examine what is in the current society that seems like the seeds for another war. That is the more important thing to think about.

Unfortunately, the current education about history is all about hate. The education is something like: “they killed many of our people. Let’s remind this hate forever, and never, never forgive them…” I don’t like this kind of attitude, since if this kind of hate spread widely enough, this may just leads to another war. We did exactly the opposite from what we should learn from the bloody history.

I am not thinking Japan has done enough, but that is not the excuse for us (China) to do the same thing.

Posted by: Jian Shuo Wang (external link) on September 26, 2007 7:33 PM

Who is the Victim?

@Jian Shuo

Don’t believe everything you read.

The history of the opium war written in 1850s will be very different from the one written in 2007.

The view outside China may be different from within.

Perhaps, like you said, they are different parts of an elephant.

For example, Saddam Hussien is generally regarded as somekind of monster by many western countries. But he was able to provide peace to much of his country, and prevent sectarian bloodshed. Something the Americans were unable to do. Is the country better off now?? I’m sure from W. Bush’s point of view, I’s a great improvement. I am not saying that the killing of Kurds was an excusable crime. But whatever in Saddam’s reasons, we will never know. But it is interesting to note that even Iraq’s neighbour Turkey is afraid of them (Kurds). A hundred years from now the view might be quite different.

Stephen wrote : “Japanese Imperialism is to seek better livelihood for her nationals in the era of great depression.” Perhaps so, but it certainly does not include developing germ warfare and testing it on the vanquished, neither does it include mass killings of the Chinese throughout Asia. It would be so easy to just say ‘lets move on”

What I am concerned about the Japanese is that without an admission of responsibility and the absence of education, Imperialism will rise it’s ugly head again. Not possible ? happened twice in Germany. I don’t think there will be a third because the people did the right thing. Nazism is widely reject because of education.

I have no problems with the Japanese born either before or after the war. Most were not involved. And many responsible are dead or will be soon. But I am concerned about the tales that are spun in their popular culture turning disgrace into heroism. Celebrating the soldier’s samurai spirit, while continuing to wrap themselves as “victims” just like everyone else.

Can anyone blame China for building up it’s army and freak out everytime Japan flex it’s military might ?

Just WHO are the victims of the war ??

The bully who got slapped in return ???

@wonton, exactly. No one should fully believe in what he/she reads, no matter it is in China or outside China. However, different point of views (as stated in the book Mao or other English books by Chinese) does help me (at least) to re-think about history. That is why we need free flow of information.

I agree with the part you said about Japan. Education should be strengthen to prevent the war again. Peace is so precious. Everyone knows it, but it is harder than people’s imagination to keep it. If anyone say it is easy, look at the war everywhere, and the potential war by the inclining attitude toward war around us.

For your last question, “WHO are the victims of the war?”, my answer is (let me put disclaimer here: it may be controversial), both the Chinese people and the Japanese people are the victim of the war.

I want to say, the normal people in Japan or German are also victim of the crazy thing done by those people who control government or military. They also suffer a lot during the war. In this meaning, the people in China and Japan should stand firmly together, hand in hand, to fight against those attempt to break peace, no matter under what cause those attempt is.

I have no problem when people in Japan memorize the civilians killed in the bomb. They have the right, just as people in China have the right to hold events to memorize the our victim in the war. But I am completely offended when someone there show respect to those guys who planned and committed the aggression war! They are not only guilty to people in Asia, they are also guilty for their own people. It is those War Criminals who brought the world into war, and killed so many people in China, Korea, etc, and in Japan as well. I do want to protest if it happens.

In a war, no one is a winner. This is the fact of war. No one – both the aggressor, and the victim country – lose. It is the mentality that “war can solve all problems” that we (people in both Japan and China) are fighting against, not the people of Japan.

Just my 2 cents, and as always, I am open with more thoughts about this matter.

Posted by: Jian Shuo Wang (external link) on September 27, 2007 1:35 PM

Any one has more facts to support or reject the thoughts?

Happy Moon Cake Festival

I am naughty. I do mean the Mid-August Festival. It is funny to hear more and more people refer it as Moon Cake Festival since we eat Moon Cake, and I found good taste food is always an enjoyable thing for people no matter young or old. (Heard about the introduction of Wii? “It is designed for children from 3 to 90 in age”).

Let me post a picture of moon cake. Sorry for the error in light schema, so it does not look very delicious.

© Jian Shuo Wang

This is a Starbucks Moon Cake.

Moom Cake is a huge business, and normal moon cakes now sells at 200-300 RMB, and I doubt the margin is at least 80% (even including the cost of luxurious packaging). That is the reason why Starbucks and Haggen Daze and all five star hotels all jumped into the Moon Cake business.

OK. Enough about business. Let me say some wishes.

I wish my readers and friends a happy Mid-Autumn Festival, if you celebrate it. For many readers who don’t celebrate this holiday, let me tell you a little bit more about this festival.

Mid-Autumn Festival is About Family

It is a holiday to celebrate togetherness of the family. You may be surprised if I tell you this festival has been celebrated for more than 3000 years in China.

By its name, it is in the middle of Autumn, and by date, it is exactly the 15th day of the 8th month in Lunar Calendar. I would say the Lunar Calendar is a miracle that in the last one thousand years after Lunar Calendar was established, it always preciously describe the movement of moon. 15th of the month is always full moon, and at Mid-Autumn Festival, if you look up into the sky, you can always see (if the sky is clear) a full and bright round moon.

To eat Moon Cake (which is always round), and to observe the round moon is the tradition in China. Round means togetherness in Chinese culture, which we will do together as a family – Yifan, Wendy, and my parents.

So, again, happy mid-autumn festival!

Apartment Sharing in Shanghai

Disclaimer: This post is about a commercial service provided by my close friend Fay. My point-of-view may be biased because we know each other very well.

Last Friday, in Starbucks, after I chatted with another group from Taiwan, Fay joined, and we had a nice conversation about what Fay is doing. Fay is from Taiwan, and then graduated from UC Berkeley. We worked with each other when she was in eBay. Then few months ago, she left eBay to start something completely new. I didn’t see for a while, and I was happy to catch up and understand what she is doing.

Fay’s Rooms

When we talk, Fay mentioned a project she is doing. After quitting, she found her good apartment in downtown Shanghai is somewhat a burden for her to carry on. So she thought of the idea to rent her living room out. She said many visitors to Shanghai has been tired of 5-star hotels, and want to try something local. For more experienced people than back-packers, the condition of hostel may be to harsh, and there must be something in the middle. She had a nice experience to share her room with more than 10 persons already. Later on, her friends joined the network and asked her to manage their living rooms, so she has the little inventory of 4 rooms to manage now. Pretty interesting, isn’t it?

This is what she said on her Fay’s Rooms Website.

Fay’s Rooms is a network of short-term apartments and room rentals catered to independent-minded travelers who are tired of the boring ol’ hotel rooms or have “graduated” from crowded hostel bunkbeds. The rooms and apartments offered by Fay’s network are located in prime locations and come with modern furnishing and internet connections, so you can have the comforts of home at a fraction of hotel costs. Additional traveler services such as itinerary planning, personal tour guide, translation assistance, ticket booking, and cell phone rental are available upon request. Fay’s Rooms is currently active in Shanghai, where Fay resides, and has future plans to expand to other cities in China and throughout the world.

It is a nice small startup, with an ambitious plan to go big.

The “Mix” Experience

I chatted more about who are her guests, and she was very excited about this part. She told me people who stayed in her living rooms are all highly educated, with good manner, and are all interesting. She promised me to share the good stories with us, and here it is:

29-yr old Swedish girl working a book about real people in China (she followed like 10 people through the last 7 years to see how their lives have changed). She lived with a Swedish family in Shanghai back in 2000 and speaks pretty good Chinese

Anthropology professor from California who’s planning to take her students to Shanghai next year for a Chinese language and home stay program. She came first to survey the city.

Fashion model casting agent from New York who’s checking out the China/Shanghai scene

College girl from Stanford doing a study on shopping malls in China

College guy from Chicago doing a study on Chinese manufacturers who make American flags; in Asia for the first time

Real estate developer guy from New York in Asia for the first time

Several college students from Europe who have already traveled to 100+ countries and are in China to learn some Chinese.

As you may guess, I am more interested in the opportunity that people from different parts of the world gather in a small living room (of cause one by one) and can find something interesting from their local host – Fay, who happen to love talking a lot. I bet their experience will be different from others.

In my vision, there will be more and more services like this targeting international travelers in Shanghai. As I said for many times, Shanghai is not a traveler friendly city yet. That may be is the reason why I started this blog, and why Fay shared her living room.

Final disclaimer: I didn’t PERSONALLY check any rooms posted on faysrooms.com. I only can tell you Fay is a great and honest person.

Don’t Leave, AussiePB

One of my reader AussiePB was very offended on this blog today. AssiePB has been here for a almost two months, if I count from his first comment on August 9, 2007. He left a comment and said good bye to this community.

Hi Jian Shuo – it is with great regret that after a very long time following your blogs and enjoying open and friendly discussion, I will no longer be visiting your site… unfortunately, it has attracted a person with very low intellect and even lesser moral fibre. Good luck to you and your family, I will keep in touch via email. Keep up the good work and positive attitude going – I hope that the racism desists here in the future!! Kindest regards, AussiePB…

Posted by: AussiePB on September 23, 2007 7:21 PM

Unfortunately, this is not surprising for me, since I have seen this happens before, when a passionate reader put their heart into discussion and only found out this is not the right place to discuss the issue. I feel bad about it.

So let me write something about it. For AussiePB, but not only him.

First, I don’t Want AussiePB to Leave

During the first interact with AussiePB, when he commented on the coins, I start to know him, and so do all my other readers. I share the happiness of AussiePB’s new arrival baby, as he enjoys my happiness of having Yifan. We even exchanged photos of his son. From his comments, we know he is from Australia, and he has a nice Chinese wife, and enjoy their lives in Shanghai.

This is a typical story of one of thousands of readers of this blog – a real person who is passionate about life, and happen to gather around this little blog.

I don’t want AussiePB leave us. If he feels he needs to leave, so does many other readers.

Secondly, Tolerance is the Survival Tool on this Blog

I have to say, there is no other suggestion than tolerance to my readers when there is a conflict.

For my readers who have been to this blog long enough, we have witness so many cases that people throw all kinds of negative things to this blog. I don’t want to name it, but remember that someone from California came to the site and write a comment on every new blog article, and claiming I am a government agent and try to fool this world? I remember I have about two months or so time to see this kind of comment as the first thing in the morning. Beside that, there are many controversial discussion on this blog, that discuss get heated up. So, I am not surprised.

In this situation, I believe ignore the comments you don’t like is the only way, or the right way.

Thirdly, I don’t Delete Any Comment

Even in these situations, my readers have guided me and helped me to ensure myself that no-delete-comment policy is the right way to go. I have a strict policy on this blog that I do NOT delete any comment as long as it is readable, and it is not a spam.

Sometimes to delete a comment is the most convenient thing for me to do, or even ban some IPs, or keyword. MovableType has that cool function. However, no matter how convenient this action is, it is against the spirit of free speech, and free flow of information. I am not 100% confident about my own judgment of what is right or what is wrong. That is the value I get from comment section.

Lastly, I do NOT Allow Personal Attack

I also have the guideline that you can say whatever you believe is right, but it is definitely not allowed to make personal attack to anyone. That leads the discussion to nowhere.

So My Wishes…

In short, this blog is a place for people from different countries, from different angles to gather and discuss the same topic that people happen to like to discuss: Events (in Shanghai or China) that affect our lives. I value this place so much since I could not find any place that people can discuss so openly and honestly.

It was amazing for me to see a comment system even without registration or email confirmation works so well in the last 5 years, that it is seldom (in percentage) abused. That is the beauty I love to put 30 minutes or 1 hour to this blog every day. It helps to change the world (for a little bit).

So, I’d like people (like AssiePB) to stay, and I will feel frustrated if people just get offended by any of the discussion. It happens, so as I suggested, ignore it, and go on. Do not repeatedly post on the same topic for more than twice if you feel there is some person who don’t understand you.

Anyway, we are adults, and it is not possible to change anyone, especially using comments. It is not only waste of efforts, and also dangers (we see enough time in all kinds of BBS that any effort to change another poster often lead to flaming threads).

This blog is prepared for people who like to express, and more importantly, people who like to listen. Let me use my favorite story The Blind Men and The Elephant again. We are just blind men in this world. No matter how ridiculous or naive, or no-brainer, or making-no-sense the other person is saying, it may be one angle for the same thing. I said MAYBE, but who knows…

Let me add my final comment. If I look back to my entries in 2002, 2003, and 2004, I cannot believe I wrote that, since my point of view was changed so much by intensive traveling, by reading comments on this blog, and by talking with people from different countries. Who knows how my thoughts or your comment-fighting-partner’s thoughts may change in the future.

So, if you enjoy it, keep on commenting, and if you don’t enjoy a comment or two, ignore it and go on the another topic. That is just my 2 cents on this issue.

P.S. By asking AssiePB to stay, I didn’t imply wonton is wrong. Wonton, I read your comments, and got many of your points. People in China, like me, share the same frustration as you have. We are trying to building a better country while someone is holding us back, or ban it. This is reality. As a 3rd party in this case, I feel that you and AssiePB are holding different part of the same elephant – China.

Different Views of the Same Thing

When I write every entry of my blog, especially on controversial topics, I am perfectly aware of angle really matters, and different people see exactly the same thing can tell completely different story, as in the story of Blind Men and the Elephant.

I just saw a small piece of video at the beginning of Sasa’s talk at Ted Conference. That 29 seconds black and white movie tells a very good story about why angle matters. So let me share with you.

I am a big fan of TED, and I have an ambitious plan to view all the TED conference content in the next few months.

Thoughts about Traffic Jam

Today is a No Car Day in Shanghai, and other 107 cities in China. On the No Car Day, let me write about some thoughts around huge traffic jam last week.

Last Monday, I decided to use public transportation – Metro – to go to work. My plan was drive to Century Park metro station which is 4 km away, then park-and-go. It turned out to the biggest mistake I made last week.

Traffic Jam

At the Jin Xiu Road and West Gao Ke Road, there was a traffic jam, and I waited in my car for almost one hour. I left home before 8:00 AM, and when I get to the Metro Station, it is already 9:00 AM. The 4 km (still within 30 minute walking distance) cost me 1 hour. The whole road of Jin Xiu Road was 100% empty after the crossroad, since all cars were caught in the jam.

The Mysterious Road Block

The root cause of the jam is a road block that occupied 2 lanes at the interaction. I assume there should be some construction work going on. The block turned the 4 lane road into a one lane road (the other lane was occupied by Metro Station construction site already).

What a mass! I waited in the long line for 40 minutes, and when I managed to get to the interaction of the two roads, I found I am in the middle of a huge maze. I am heading north, and the car left and right of me are heading south. The car before me is heading east, making it a perfect T-shape, and so does the car before this car.

If you look from above, there are tens of T-shapes, or 45 degree intersections. The result is, none of the cars can possibly move.

I waited there, and watch the traffic light. It turns red, yellow, green …. red, yellow, green… after many circles, any car didn’t move. I can tell you, it is boring to observe the traffic light changing when your car is in the middle of a cross road.

The Solution?

First of all, I don’t know if there is anyway for me, as an individual in this city, or this district of the city, or a citizen of the neighborhood, to sue the construction company for blocking the road. If they do that, they should have obtained a permit to do so. Can I check the permit or ask a city attorney (there is no such a role in China) to check it? If they just put the block there without any permit, is there a law that I can use to sue them?

In China, people will laugh at me if I ask this kind of western questions, since no one thinks that way. But why not? If we (all citizens in this neighborhood collectively) own this land, and this city, we should be able to find out a way to restrict some power (like those of the construction company) and find a balance between their interest and my interest (I don’t want to use the public interest, which term has been abused to describe some privileged group). The power without check and balance causes chaos.

If it is the road block causing the problem, is there ANY way to prevent it from happing again? If there is no law against it, can we approve a law?

When I try to seek the possibility, I feel desperate. The answer is simple: there is no way to influence any public policy (I am even not talking about the country level. I am talking about the street and neighborhood level), there is no way to sue government (since a legal system is not working when we talk about public affairs, not conflict between two companies. Well, to be fair, there ARE such mechanism, but as many other mechanism, it does not work), and there is no way to even raise the awareness of people about this importance of check and balance, and people’s right (that is the reason why blog or website trying to discuss these issues were shutdown). All these thoughts lead to a black hole, an endless black hole, which no result. Obviously, seeking for the change in this situation is strictly forbidden, but I believe it is good for the future of China.

Shanghai Looks Like a Modern City

I haven’t take Shanghai Metro for a long, long time.

The other day, I took Metro home. Wow. I found some really good improvement in Metro. Let me share what I saw with you.

People Start to Line Up!

I would say people lining up to get onto to off Metro is very rare for me. Normally, taking Metro is a physically fighting game that you have to either join handful of people to rush into the door or you wait until the second train and get pushed by people behind you.

During my metro ride, I found more people line up on the left and right side of the gate to allow people to leave the train before they enter.

This is still not the common practice, but I am happy to see at least some people are starting to do so, which is very positive sign.

Empty Seats on Train

This also seems strange to me. On the train, at around 7:00 PM, there are empty seats while there are still many people standing!

I don’t think there is anything significant behind this, but this is a scene I rarely saw before. Typically, even if there is only one empty seat left, people will get across the train cart and take it.

This reminds me my first trip to Singapore about 5 years ago. I was so puzzled to see empty seats while there are many more people standing nearby. I even asked people around me why not take seats! (FYI, they didn’t have an answer). At that time, I thought I wrote something about it and claimed that this could never happen in Shanghai.

It happened after 5 years. I would guess that it is because of the higher quality people’s life and the more abundance of public facility that a seat is not that a big deal. The most likely answer to the question why people don’t take something is “abundance”. I would say if you take everything out of the garbage bin these days and show it to people of 10 years ago in China, I bet most of the items will be taken away, like all newspapers (they can sell it for 1 or 2 cents), bottles (they can also sell it), and boxes (they can bring home for daily use).

I guess the seat is the same thing for people. When I have a seat everywhere, why bother take the seat in a Metro? It seems the same in U.S. Subways, and especially the AirTrain in SFO (almost all people stand and keeps all the seats open).

What’s Wrong with China?

Every time I travel, I keep talking with a lot of people in the States to find out an answer of a simple question: What is the future of China? And that leads to another question, which is “what is wrong with current China?”.

I am reading the book Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed. The angle from environment and population, education, etc does not answer the question. Why there is so bad environment problem? The book China Road: A Journey into the Future of a Rising Power‘s point of view about power, about society partly answers the question, but there is still a lot of puzzles for me.

What’s wrong with current China or China in the last 300 years that turned the once-most powerful country in the world with 40% of world production into a country with 1.6 billion people but only less than 4% of world wealth?

I have some answers, but not so sure, and I am keeping seeking for more and think more about it.

Fight Between Foreigners and Local

Last Sunday, I went to buy some Sushi in the Biyun International District. Near Carrefour, I witnessed the fight between a foreigner (actually his Chinese driver) and a local safeguard. When police (110) came to bring everyone involved away, I am still in deep thinking about what is going on in this society.

The Story

I didn’t see the first part of the story. When I see it, I just found the safeguard used the plastic sign board to hit the rear of a black Passat, and the driver and a tall foreigner (should be American from what he said later) immediately rushed out and the driver start to beat the safeguard, and very quickly they formed a position that no one could move. Many people came and wanted to break them apart.

The Foreigner

The foreigner was very upset, and used the top of his voice to shout to the safeguard. Obviously he didn’t know Chinese and this is something he said:

“Keep your F*** hands out of my driver.”

“You hit my car. I will call police. You need to go to jail!”

“You are over. Bye bye”

“I took your photo. You cannot run away. You are done!”.

Something like that, and I could not hear it clearly.

The Crowd

Very quickly, the crowd gathered and this was their comments:

“Get out of China, foreigners!”

“This is not 1930s. You go away.”

To the driver: “Why you a Chinese work for Americans like a dog? You betrayed your country”.

To the driver: “There are enough people like you before liberation. You are not a Chinese.”

“Now China cannot beat American. That is the reason they dare to beat our people here.”

Most of the people are nearby flower sellers, and other people who sell goods on their cart.

My Thought

I am confused. In this case, for the crowd (which I would say is a very good example of the current majority in this society), it does not matter who is right or wrong, the only thing matters is who stands on the Chinese side, and who is not. I admit I completely have no information to judge who is right and who is wrong, since I didn’t see the beginning of the story, but the strange thing (very common in current society) is, no one really care about the reasoning process. There is a power (anti-foreigner) hidden in the society that can be easily triggered at any time there is a conflict between Chinese and foreigners, or between China and other country.

I’d like to make it fair for everyone. For people who are foreigners and reading this blog, I want to explain the reason why there are such a strong power hidden there. The current education about history is, foreigners invaded China and pull the country into half a century of poverty and humility disaster. People feel very proud of the current strong country that history may not repeat itself.

If you ask me, as an independent thinking (I hope so), I think the current nationalism education is dangerous. If someone can fight for something just because of hate of another country, or they were told this is a conflict between his/her country and another country, that can be very dangerous. That is the case in Japan and Germany in WWII.

I was very surprised to realize how deep this kind of hate is and how deep the scare in people’s heart. That is the reason I feel very puzzled. I am not sure what is the right way to handle it, and the right way to think about it.

My readers, what is your comments? Do you want to share with us the similar stories you experienced and the results?

P.S. The result of story is, they were all brought away by police (someone called police), and I don’t know what happened next.

Blogging and Early Wake-up

I didn’t realize my practice of early wake-up has a significant impact to my blog.

About four weeks ago, I decided to wake up earlier. I used to stay awake late at night (around 12:00) and wake up late in the morning (about 8:00 AM). I managed to fine-tune the wake-up time little by little and finally reached a point to wake up at around 5:30 AM everyday. Yesterday should be the first week I wake up really early in the morning.

I have to give credit to Zen Habits article 10 Benefits of Rising Early, and How to Do It. It helped me archive something I wanted to since junior high. The key for the change was: just wake up earlier half an hour and stick to it for long enough time so that you get used to it before move on to the next level.

So is wake-up early has anything to do with blogging? Absolutely.

After I wake up early, I feel very sleepy at night, say 9:00 PM is already very late according to my new internal clock, and I have to rush to my bed and fall asleep. Otherwise, I may fall asleep before my computer. Seriously.

The good side is, in the morning, I have much more time and more important, focus and quiet environment for me to be more productive. I have changed my blogging writing time from night to morning. Sometimes, morning does not allow any mistake in time planning. If I don’t have enough time in the morning, unlike I can go to bed later at night, the result is, I may have to skip a blog since as always, there is no possibility for me to write blog at day time.

It is a new challenge for me, and let me try to find a solution in the following few weeks.

P.S. I have decided to change my wake up time from 5:30 AM back to 6:30 AM, to give me some time at night (energetic and not sleepy)

Typhoon Not Hits Shanghai (Yet)

According to forecast, the worst Typhoon in recent history will hit Shanghai last night to this morning. I did prepared well in advance – closing all windows, check every object that is movable in garden, and plan for alternative of transportation.

This morning, I wake up early (as everyday in the recent weeks) at 5:45 AM. To my great surprise, nothing happened. There is even no rain. Looking east, I can even manage to see the location of the Sun. It is not windy – everything is exactly as normal days.

Where is the typhoon?

Visit in Six Apart

Last Tuesday, I visited Six Apart, the maker of MovableType, my favorite blogging software. I have a lot of friends there. Let me show you pictures first.

Thanks Ginger for taking the great photos for us.

Chris and Me

Photograph by Ginger

Story behind the picture.

I know Chris with introduction of Andreas, who worked for BV Capital at that time. Chris was the CEO of Rojo at that time. I admired him a lot because his early company Red Herring (Red Herring started from his parents’ home in Woodside, CA, according to Wikipedia). We talked a lot last time and when we almost finished, he introduced companies nearby, and he mentioned Six Apart. Then he gave Ginger a call and shortly we appeared before the entrance of Six Apart. That is how I turned out knowing my friends there. With the later acquisition of Rojo by Six Apart, Chris came along and joined Six Apart.

So, Chris is a long time friend of mine, and I own big thank you to him.

Below. On the left front is Barak, CEO of Six Apart.

Photograph by Ginger

Below. This is the 5 year anniversary cake Ginger and MovableType team prepared for me. They are so sweet, and I enjoyed the nice chocolate cake very much. It is both beautiful and delicious.

Photograph by Ginger

Below. Look at this picture. On the left is me (I am gaining weight. I know!), and in the middle is Anil Dash, VP and Envanglist for Six Apart. He is now in New York. I red a lot of entries of Anil on MovableType blog. He is an amazing person with exact the kind of character a community influencer need: engaged, helpful, sharp. I regret I didn’t have enough time to spend with him during the trip. On the right is Ben Trott, the founder of Six Apart. I didn’t see Mena this time, since Ben and Mena’s baby is expected to arrive very soon.

Photograph by Ginger

Below: Brad Choate. I know him first from the great plug-in he developed, before he even joined Six Apart.

Photograph by Ginger

Below: Me chatting with Ben, Chris, and Andrew (who was so kind to share the expensive best-seat baseball tickets with me and Ginger).

Photograph by Ginger

OK. That is all for the photos.

It was to my biggest surprise that the MovableType team had a celebration party for me when I arrived. I didn’t expect that. Ginger showed me a post on Six Apart’s intranet that says: “Cake at 4:45 PM”. Maybe that is a surprise for the team members. I am very happy to meet them again after my last visit in 2004. 3 years flies and the team is doing very well.

On behalf of the MovableType user community, I’d like to thank the team for the great product they developed. I am a happy user of MT.

Looking forward to seeing everyone soon.

Wrapping up My Trip in San Jose

Hi, I am back! I am back to Shanghai on the delayed flight (3 hours) UA857. Jet lag is much better this time, although I still feel it a little bit. This is the email I sent to my friends I met the first day.

It is wonderful to know you, a group of nice, interesting and smart guys, in the bay area. Let me share briefly about what I did for the rest of my trip after meeting you guys – you were the first group of people I meet during my short stay.

Besides all business meetings which occupied the day time of all workdays, I managed to put many activities on nights or weekends. Every time I am here, I hang out with local people to understand what they are thinking and their takes on recent China issues, like “Made in China”. As always, I meet my American family (I am very proud of), alsoI met with the girl in San Jose city planning committee to know about their work to change the city plan for San Jose – it is once per ten year task.

Yi Jin and Tina drove me around the Saturday morning (the cornfield), met with other people (Alex, and Wenjin), and had great time in Computer Museum in Mount View. I enjoy the museum a lot. I also took the wonderful Sunday morning in Berkeley to meet the couple friends – wife is city attorney of Berkeley and husband is Executive Director of California City League. It is so interesting to know how government here works – the city level, state level and federal level, and the frequently used term – check and balance. A lot of insights there. We had a blog Meetup which Yang Meng also joined. I even visited Six Apart, which they host a big celebration party for my 5 blog anniversary. My last night was in AT&T Park in San Francisco to watch San Francisco Giant vs Arizona Diamond Rocks baseball game. As Ginger warned me, it is the kind of slow pace sports, but I do enjoy that.

What a long week for me. Like every trip, I got a lot of insights about how the society of America works. Silicon Valley is a great place to get inspirations and to get new ideas. I am looking forward to seeing you again soon during my next trip.

That basically summarizes what I experienced in this trip.

Acknowledges

I’d like to thank every one I meet and people who hosted me, showed me around and spent time with me.

Richard,

Tina,

Isaac,

Chris

Manulae

John

Caroll

Jim

Shiloh

Hong Feng

Yang Meng

Randy

Yumi

Hongfei

Alex

Wenjin

Ginger

Andrew

Ben

Brad

Zhang Lei

Zhang Zhen

Sophie

Bob

….

This is not a complete list, and does not include people I meet for business proposes in the day time. Thank you for made my trip such a wonderful experience for me.

Five Years of Blogging

Today, I have completed the 5 years of blogging. In the last 5 years, I kept doing a very simple thing – writing one article everyday. I was amazed by how long a way I came along.

screen-wangjianshuo-5.years.PNG

Impact of 5 Year Blogging on Me

It has been exactly 1825 days since I started blog in Sept 2002. The blog is an honest reflection about myself, and hopefully, about the environment I am in. The blog is the tool to help me think, and to urge me observe more deeply, and express it in a logic way. That is basically the most important impact on me. In the 5 years, I grew up a lot, as I can feel when I check the old entries. There are some times more confusion for me over the time, but clearly some ideas get clearer and clearer. I saw the growth, and I know many of my readers feel it.

My Friend Readers

The best wealth I accumulated in the last five years is my readers. Without continuously feedback, encouragement and challenges, I cannot go so far. The 5 years are so unusually for me because of your joining in my journey of life. I value that a lot. When I do the reflection today, I feel I should do much better job that I have done in connecting with my readers, reaching out and knowing every single one of you personally, simply because you are the biggest wealth in my life. I cannot imagine anyone with so many candidate readers. I am not a celebrity, or someone with any fame. I am just an ordinary person with a little blog, and I write something. My readers gave me much more than I deserve, and I thank everyone who gave me the trust and spent the time to comment or write to me. Thank you. I will do a better job to know you.

Keep Doing and Doing

I am a person with a lot of new ideas (a typical Intuition type of person). Blogging is the first thing in my life that I intentionally continued to do (besides sleeping, and eating) for so long. It was amazing to me. I’d like to thank Wu Hao who gave me the suggestion to accumulate something along the way. For me, I accumulated much more than the entries I wrote, it is friendship and wisdom. Communication makes readers my friends, although we may not have meet face to face yet, and thinking made me (hopefully) wiser, and more considerate. 5 years of blogging gave me a lot, and that is something I will never regret to do.

The Bridge

As a Chinese blogger writing in English, I am happy to act as a little bridge between the west and the east. Actually when I write this blog, I am still physically sitting in San Jose in California. What I saw with my own eyes, and discussed with my friends in both China and U.S. or other countries show such an interesting picture – there are huge gap in the two of the most important countries in the world. I feel the responsibility to tell people more about China and help to envision a better China in the future (even long future). I believe understanding and knowledge really help on this matter. This is something I will continue to do.

My Family

At the 5 years of anniversary, I’d like to “officially” thank Wendy, my wife, for her support in the last 5 years for my blogging. You can imagine the life of a bloggger – someone who always has to open his laptop and type something, on everyday. Most of the time I write at night, and use 30 minutes or longer between 9:00 to 11:00 PM. That is the time most people watch TV, or soup opera with wife. I know this blogging stole much time from Wendy. But you know what, she really understood and supported me. I’d like to thank Wendy for her support. She is really sweet. Now I have my little boy, Yifan, joining the family. The one-man-show blogger became a father, and the family has three members. I am still trying to figure out how this impact my blogging world. So far, everything is wonderful. I cannot be a happier father with the lovely, cute, and sweet Yifan. I know we have great time to come and I’d like to blog his life too. Hope this is a great gift for him when he grows older.

Six Apart

At the 5 years of anniversary, I cannot ignore a great team that is behind the software I am using – the Six Apart team who created MovableType. My blog actually started with a trail run of MovableType (my first entry was about it. Then I love the software and I use it every day. It is the only software (besides operating system) that I use everyday. The great architecture, the powerful template system, and flexible archiving features really made this blog possible. More importantly, I am inspired by the team and have strong personal connection with them.

What a coincident that I decided to visit Six Apart as the last stop of my bay area trip today. Just several days before, I realized it is the 5 year anniversary (or blogiversary as someone put it). I was completely surprised to know that Ginger, Ben and Barak gathered the whole MovableType team and had a huge celebration event just for me in the Six Apart office. What is totally overwhelming for me. Thanks my dear Six Apart team for preparing the cake and celebration for me. It should be me who really celebrate the success of MovableType and other blogging software. I was so nice for me to see Ginger, Barak, Ben, Chris, Anil … (many names here) again. I am also very happy about Ben and Mena for their coming baby! (This should be a public information as Mena posted on her own blog). As a new father of 3-month boy, I certainly share the happiness Ben and Mena have. Best wishes!

More to Come

This is actually the first entry of my sixth year of blogging (first year, 1000 days,

That is Easy – Easy Solution to Complicated Problems

I know this is a new addition of the series of articles comments on the recent government policy in China, which is treated a sensitive topics in China. Anyway, I do have something to say, although it may worth only 2 cents.

In an environment without check and balance, it is very common that people will choose the easiest way to solve complicated problems. Since there is no objection anyway, why bother looking for a better solution. Here are some examples.

One Child Policy

Too many people in the country and the population is too big?

Easy! Very couple only can have one child.

If it still does not work, maybe have none. The point is, I am not saying population is not a problem, but the current simple solution is at the cost of several generation’s freedom. Using education or social, economical, or other solutions to solve the problem takes time, and effort, and most important, wisdom (I don’t have a must-work solution), and the result maybe is not as good as current solution.

House Price Too Hight?

Easy! Just increase tax (doubled twice in the last year).

Still not working? Easy! No villa can be built (this policy was implemented last year).

Still not working? Easy! All developers cannot build large apartment. 90 sq. meters is the bar. Bigger house higher than this bar will be highly taxed, restricted, and 70% of the new house of any place must be 90 sq. meters or smallers. (I am not kidding here. These are the real policies issued this year).

Still not working? Still Easy! Ask the media to uniformly call those living in big houses as “bad guy”.

Still not working? Requires all the current developers to sell their house immediately after completion, and punish those who has completed house but don’t sell it. Now developers must sell the houses at the agenda set by the government but not market. (This policy came out last month).

Well. The basic logical problem here is, the government is controlling the high-price price of housing problem by reducing supply! Anyone knows little bit about marketing knows this is counter-effective. That is the reason the house price goes much faster after government reduces supply, wishing to cool it down.

Olympics is Coming but Too Many Cars!

Easy! Just ban half of the cars from going onto the road. Cars with odd plate numbers can only go out on odd days, and even numbers on even days. This really worked in Beijing since it is implemented from the last month. I suspect someone will say, “how about ban all private cars? That must be more effective to solve the traffic problem in Beijing”.

Dogs?

Someone likes dogs, and someone don’t. They argue and this is not harmony. This is very easy! Ban all dogs (some places kills all dogs), or charge ridiculously high price for a dog plate.

Death Toll in Guangdong’s Mine Factory?

Easy! Close all Mine Factories. Guangdong implemented last year, and it works great.

Group Renting

Group renting caused the environment of the residential area bad. Someone is complaining?

Easy! No-one without marriage can stay together, either same sex or opposite sex.

Air Security and Traffic Control is a Hard Problem to Solve

This is the most easiest one. No one in this country can fly their own private plane in the sky of his/her own country.

Is that Easy? Yes! Is it Efficient? Yes! But..

By listing all the problems and the easy answers government took to solve these problem, I am not complaining that we should not solve these problems. The problems like population, house price, transportation, victim of mines, dog issues, air security are all seriously problems that a government must solve. But the problem is whether the most effective way is the right way to do?

When I discuss these issues with my friends, they argue that “Are you saying that you keep the population going up, or you just do nothing when so many people dies in mines?” I don’t mean that, but be sure to consider some people’s interest although they are the minority in this society, and decision makers may think they “don’t represent the PEOPLE”. Think about the interest of those who want to have two children, who want to have a dog, who want to have a plane and fly, who want a cheap location to stay, who own a car and want to drive…

With the constrain of resources, there is always conflicts. To get rid of the other side of the conflict is so easy to implement, but I do doubt that will cause bigger and bigger problems in the future.

That’s easy? I don’t think it is easy.

Meetup in Palo Alto on Sept 9, 2007

Hi my readers in bay area, sorry for being late in posting this information about the meetup. Again, let me irritate that I am the typical Perception type of person in the MBTI test, and I enjoy doing things in the last minute. This is not good, but this is just my preference that I need to use counter-preference to balance the way I organize my life. Anyway, finally, one day before the meetup day, I am excited to post the Wangjianshuo’s Blog Meetup in Palo Alto. This is the second time I organize a small meetup in U.S. Some of you may remember or joined the first Meetup in San Francisco, two years ago on April 24, 2005.

OK. This is the second one. This time, I choose it put it in the more heart area of the Silicon Valley – just at the University Ave near the Stanford University.

Here is the Location

Starbucks Coffee: Palo Alto

278 University Ave, Palo Alto, CA

(650) 321-8600

Below is the map. It should be the white building at the corner of University Ave and Bryan St. Zoom out if you want to find the location. I know for most people in Bay Area, you don’t need direction to get there. Please note: there are two Starbucks on the street. Do remember to find the one with number 278.

Sorry for not being creative, but there is not so many places on the top of my mind that I have an expected and consistent experience worldwide. Parking lots are available nearby.

Time

The time of the meetup span from 3:30 PM to 5:30 PM, Sunday afternoon, Sept 9, 2007.

You can drop by at any time. It is just a casual event, and you are welcome to bring your friends. I should be there from 3:30 PM.

Topics?

I don’t have any topics to discuss. I just know I have many readers and friends I have never exchanged emails, or left comments before, or someone we have exchanged emails but didn’t have the opportunity to meet. This is just a set of the time and location. If you don’t have any arrangement, you are welcome to come.

Maybe, there is a topic about this little blog. I am running this blog for 5 years next Tuesday. There is a lot of stories to tell in the last 5 years, and if you want, we can start with this.

Logistics

I am not counting the numbers, or doing any registration kinds of logistic. Let’s keep it stupid, and simple. If you want to join the meetup, just drop by before 5:30 PM, Sunday. If you want to write a comment to introduce yourself before you come, you are also very welcome to do so.

Cannot find me? Send me a SMS on your mobile phone to +8613916146826 and I will get it. Yes. It is a plus sign that you enter into your mobile phone.

See you on Sunday!

Update Sept 10, 2007

Yes. It is a great meet-up in the Starbucks in University Ave. I think we should have a photo but I forgot.

Nina, Meng, Bob and Yuxiang came, and we just have some free chat. It is nice to everybody.