Foreign Job Seekers Move to Shanghai

I live in Shanghai for 12 years. In the 12 years, many things changes. I am happy to witness one of the most dynamic city in the world in the last 10 years. Among all the changes, the biggest one is there are more and more people from other countries trying to seek jobs in Shanghai. If you ask me, I never thought about it 10 years ago.

20 Years Ago

China has closed its door to the international world for too long. For the whole generation, people know very few from outside. In 1980’s, I saw the propaganda posters in the dining room with my own eyes that says:

It is serious crime to listen to foreign radio stations

Yes. It was posted in the dining room. At that time, if someone was caught for listening to foreign radio stations, he/she will be big trouble, risking for losing live.

20 years ago, world outside China seems as far as the moon. It seems impossible to step out of the country for the whole life, I thought.

Going out is Easier

10 years ago, going out of China is easier. As the communist fever fade out, people realize they are also a human instead of a soldier (ready to scarify his life at any time for a belief). That is dramatic change.

The first generation of students to other countries were sent out in early 1980s. In late 1990s, going abroad is much easier, although it is still far from many people’s imagination.

5 Years Ago, Top Positions are for Foreigners

The next big move is getting into China. With the dramatic economic change, the situation in the job market changes.

At the very beginning, only CEOs, and managers position of foreigner companies were held by foreigners (including people from Hong Kong and Taiwan, since they have completely different social system, background, and skills than local Chinese). They are over-paid in a low living cost market – this is what the market tells us – the rare is the expensive. The impression of any foreigner who has a Shanghai job means he is really, really rich.

Recently, More Broad Job Market

Recently, more broad job market opens to foreigners. People from around the world, especially people from southeast Asia are moving to Shanghai. I personally know some friends who get their good job in Shanghai, and they are original from Philippines or Malaysia or Singapore.

This is a very good thing. With more open market, more talent can come and build the city, and it is more competitive in this global economy.

Changes Ahead

I believe there will be a long and sometimes painful process for the local to realize that Shanghai is more international, and competition in job market will be more than pure local. This is good, but I can predict someone will get frustrated about it. When I go to Seattle, I found many taxi drivers come from India and speak not so well English. At that time, I just couldn’t imagine that 10% of taxi drivers are from India. With all due respect to India, I just mean that current people in Shanghai are not even ready to accept people from outside Shanghai to be their taxi driver, not to mention people from another country. If the role is a CEO, maybe, many people accept that, but if it is a more junior role, who knows. Let’s wait and see…

If you ask me, I’d like to welcome talent from all around the world to China, to Shanghai, as long as he/she is a good person, and really work hard to make the world a better place.

Seat-Belt? Oh. No. Thanks!

There are many common practices that does not make common sense. People’s resistance of seat-belt is a typical one.

Many people HATE seat-belts, especially taxi drivers.

This morning, I get on board a Jinjiang taxi. The driver drove like crazy, and set the record time to get to Xujiahui from where I live in Pudong.

He don’t like seat-belt.

In Shanghai, if someone is caught driving without seat-belt, he will be fined 200 RMB. So, this is what happened.

Every time he passed a crossroad with policeman there, he put on the seat-belt, and he remove it as soon as the car rear passed the policeman. Along the road, he put the seat-belt on, and off, one and off, on and off, on and off… Even I, as a passenger got annoyed.

This also happens to me. When someone get on board my car, I always need to reminder them for the safe belt. Some did, but many (more than 50%) felt and confused. There are typically three types of answers.

  • “We are not going to expressway. What’s the use of seat-belt?”
  • “Policemen all went home already.”
  • “That is not comfortable. It is the time to relax”

OK. Well…

When I walk and wait at the red light, sometime I did quick survey of the usage rate of seat-belt. My personal data at Guangyuan Road (before the SJTU gate) is, as more as 70% of drivers in Shanghai don’t take seat-belt.

I am sure more people will take seat-belt in the future, when they understand seat-belt is not just a mouse-and-cat game to play with policemen.

0# Gas Shortage in Shanghai

Yesterday, when we got back from Donghai Bridge, I found I didn’t have enough gas to get back to the city, I decided to find the nearest gas station. I remember there is one from SINOPEC at the toll station. So I went there.

The bad news for me is, before the station, many big trucks lined up there. It seems it may take some time for me to get to the gas station.

It turned out that there are no 0# gas there, and 93# gas is still available. Then I managed to drive among all the big trucks and get to the head of the line.

I chatted with the service people in the gas station. They told me there was no 0# gas from the last night till 4:00 PM. The trunk at the head of the line has been waited there for 4 hours. The drivers told me these days, even if they go to the other gas station, there may not be any gas there either.

What happens? I only learn from newspaper that oil in mid-east has problems. I may be the reason of the recent gas shortage in Shanghai.

When I finished filling my gas, the gas cargo truck came. The people in the gas stations cheered. They have waited there for too long.

Below are some pictures I took when I was at the station.

Photograph by Jian Shuo Wang

Photograph by Jian Shuo Wang

Photograph by Jian Shuo Wang

Photos of Donghai Bridge

Wendy, her parents, Yifan and I went to the Donghai bridge today. It is the second time for me to get onto the bridge, and the first time for others. Maybe is the second bridge Yifan has ever been to (with the first one as Nanpu Bridge).

You can check my previous entry on Donghai Bridge to know the background of this bridge.

To be short, it is the longest sea bridge in the world with 32.5 km on the sea, and another about 10 km on the land or the Yangshan Deep Water Port.

This time, I took my camera with me so I can show you a little bit of the bridge, and the island.

Below: Entrance of the bridge.

Photograph by Wendy

Below: The road on the bridge – we continued on this road for 15 minutes.

Photograph by Wendy

Photograph by Wendy

Below: Rocks of the Yangshan Island

Photograph by Jian Shuo Wang

Below: Control tower on the top of the hill.

Photograph by Jian Shuo Wang

Below: At the entrance of the Yangshan Tourism Area. They offer walking path on the hill so people can see the whole port. Since Yifan was with us, we didn’t take the challenge (and pay 30 RMB) to go along the path.

Photograph by Jian Shuo Wang

Below: These kinds of rocks are very rarely seen in Shanghai.

Photograph by Jian Shuo Wang

Photograph by Jian Shuo Wang

Photograph by Jian Shuo Wang

Below: Parking lots at the tourism area.

Photograph by Jian Shuo Wang

Below: Rocks again. Next time I go there, I will make sure I climb to the top of the mountain. Yangshan is, anyway, the second hill in Shanghai.

Photograph by Jian Shuo Wang

Below: The entrance of the tourism area.

Photograph by Jian Shuo Wang

Below: This is the path to the hill.

Photograph by Jian Shuo Wang

Below: the tunnels on the Yangshan Island.

Photograph by Jian Shuo Wang

Below: The port area.

Photograph by Jian Shuo Wang

Photograph by Jian Shuo Wang

For more photos, please check my Donghai Bridge Photo Collection.

Fingerprint for U.S. Visa

Visa time again. I am sure that every year, I have to visit the US consulate to renew my visa. The first time I went there, I was excited, very excited to finally go abroad, which is kind of hard for many people in China. After going there for many times, I just don’t appreciate the experience so much. It is almost the same experience like going to a hospital. Let me try to narrate my experience so hopefully you experience the same thing through my eyes.

My Visa

My visa expires the day before yesterday. To make sure I can travel to the States at any time, I decided to extend it.

Extending Visas

Extending visa is not as bad as first time application. It just requires me to go there and have my finger-print. No need to talk.

I don’t want to talk about the ridiculous story that the interviewer just asked what the applicants had as breakfast before she rejected the application.

Many People there

Outside the Meilong Town Plaza, many people were waiting, much more than any time I had saw. It makes sense if you see the data of Sina-U.S. trading numbers.

Now they have four different lines with each line having 50+ people.

There is a dedicated line for first time applicants.

One for AmCham first time applicants.

There is one line for AmCham company applicants for fingerprint.

There is one line for CITIC applicants for fingerprint.

Before, there are only two lines.

Security

As always, it is not allowed to bring mobile phones, bags, or anything electronic, or not transparent into the room. Nowadays, it is very unusual for someone to leave his/her mobile phone at home.

So there are deposit services – 10 RMB for keeping the bag or mobile phone for you. It is across the street, and is privately held store. Every time I had to pay 10 RMB to that store – who didn’t?

I am not Feeling Good

Although it is normal for many places in U.S. to set strict rules of entering a building, to enter U.S. consulate visa office is still not a comfortable experience. You have to have put your belt, your shoes into the scanner.

Well. This is reasonable, but, the problem is, there are some kinds of complicated feeling there. It is inside a building in China – as many people complained when are required to do so.

Due to the large amount of applicants, the security guards tried to be efficient with the process, and most of the time, efficient means not to take care of people’s feeling that much.

A Fingerprint = 1 hour

After waiting downstairs for half an hour and waiting in the visa room for one hour, I finally had my two fingers pressing on the red shining fingerprint reader, and hopeful, I can get my passport back four days from today. I should have a new visa on it.

Ironically, although I am not happy about the U.S. visa process, it is still faster than the 7 days of wait for Hong Kong “visa”. I would have made a political mistake if I call the Hong Kong Entrance Permit a visa. It is not a visa, but much slower than a visa application. Now it seems entering Hong Kong for a Chinese citizen is harder than go to U.S. (if you simply see the time needed).

Another interesting thing is, some people compared the scoring system of migrating from China to Canada, and the scoring system of migrating from other places into Shanghai. The later is even harder. The simply conclusion (although not really true) is, it is easier for a Chinese citizen to migration to Canada than migrating within the country.

Hope something changes in the future.

Technical Details of Wangjianshuo.com

Let me preserve this data.

It does not mean anything today, but who knows after another 5 years, it may be very interesting data. “Look at this! We still uses PHP at that time!”

Basic Data from Bluehost

Main Domain wangjianshuo.com

Home Directory /home/wangjian

Disk Space Usage 4434.65/204800.00 MB

Monthly Bandwidth Transfer 79308.20/2048000.00 MB

Email Accounts 0/2500

Subdomains 4/20

Parked Domains 0/20

Addon Domains 0/5

Ftp Accounts 0/1000

SQL Databases 6/50

Mailing Lists 0/100

Account Expires In 521 days

Hosting package Platinum Pak

Server Name box102

cPanel Version 11.11.0-RELEASE

cPanel Build 17033

Theme bluehost

Apache version 1.3.37 (Unix)

PHP version 4.4.7

MySQL version 4.1.22-standard-log

Architecture x86_64

Operating system Linux

Shared Ip Address 69.89.22.102

Path to sendmail /usr/sbin/sendmail

Path to PERL /usr/bin/perl

Kernel version 2.6.22-9_1.BHsmp

cPanel Pro 1.0 (RC1)

China’s Moon Probe Chang’e I Launched

Just watched the real time broadcast in our office.

China’s first Moon Probe was launched. It should arrive Moon very soon.

The time was 18:05.

Now it is on the way – good luck and have a good trip to the Moon!

About Chang’e

Chang’e is not word “change”. Let me explain how you should pronounce it.

Chang should be pronounced like ch-ong, with Ch pronounced as “ch” in “children”. “ang” should be pronounced as “ong” in “long”.

The letter “e” should be pronounced as the “ear” part of “earth”.

Chang-e is also called the Moon Lady. In the old story, Chang-e lived on earth and then she flied to the moon and lived there with her small rabbit.

The Illustration

Here is the illustration of the probe course on Sohu.com.

Shangri-La Likes Twin Towers

Shangri-La is a great luxurious hotel. There are something in common in its hotel in Beijing and Shanghai: they both has two towers.

Shanghai Shangri-la

Check this photo (not taken by me).

Photograph by Dwaine. Album: China 7 – en route and Shanghai

The new tower is at the background, and it is taller than the old tower.

Beijing Shangri-la

Photograph by henryw88. Album: henryChinaTripMay2007

Look at this Beijing tower. It is side by side.

The Strategy of Shangri-La

Shangri-la wants to be one of the first 5 star hotels in many places, and they reserved enough land for expansion. When the time is ready, they build the second tower. The two towers are at different price – the newer one is more expensive, much more expensive.

China’s Role in Movie Transformer

Watched the movie Transformer.

It seems China, North Korea, and Cuba are the enemy by imagination in the movie.

When the attack is not identified, they just guess it comes from one of these three countries.

If it is a longer version of a TOEFL listen comprehension, I’d like to ask the typical question at the end of each dialog:

What did the director imply?

A…

B…

C…

D…

Why Maps in Shanghai are Upside Down?

Received an interesting email. I could not help laughing. This is another typical daily stuff that I didn’t pay attention but my readers did.

The question for Shanghai today is, why maps in Shanghai are upside down?

Hi Jianshuo,

Always read your blog, keep it up.

Here’s an interesting thing you might like to comment on. It concerns

Chinese map reading.

When in Shanghai recently (third time!) I went to the Century Park to check

out the metro station and the park entrance before

the big firework show on September 30 (spectacular!) the exits to use and

to also check out a concert at the Oriental Concert Hall across the road

from the Metro station.

The Metro station has a very convenient map on the wall showing the exits

etc and NORTH is clearly shown. However, I already had some idea about the

correct direction from Google Earth and was puzzled by the map. It soon

became clear that it was UPSIDE down! OK, a mistake, just reorientate and

get on with it.

However on the way back I stopped off at another Metro stop and noted also

on a map the road I wanted. North was marked also and I noted the way East

which is where I wanted to go. But uh uh, part was “east” i noted the road

numbers were going the wrong way. This map was also UPSIDE DOWN! with

North actually pointing south so I had to waste time retracing my steps.

What is going on??

Now, while in China I learned Mahjong (a little) and when returning home

checked out an old Hong Kong Mahjong rules book.

This notes that the seating position in order of the 4 winds is actually

opposite to reality. EAST is the main wind with North to its LEFT etc.

The reality is that NORTH is actually to the RIGHT of east on any map (in

reality). On internet checking I note that this is not a mistake but a real

part of Mahjong rules.

So here is a though about the upside down maps in the Metro stations? Are

they related to Chinese peoples’ thoughts about direction related to

Mahjong? :-) Why the strange Mahjong winds? Hmmmm….

There are different reasons to the different scenarios. Let me explain it one by one.

Maps in Metro

You are right. Many metro stations don’t use the “North” as the top in their maps. They position the maps just for the convinience of reader. Which ever direction the reader is facing, they use that direction as top. So it gives the reader clear idea about how they can use an exit.

For example, if you are facing east, and north should be on left, and south on right. Just check the map and see it from where you stand, then you understand whether you should turn left (to north) or south (to right) without understanding which direction you are facing.

This is very typical diagram you see in China. The map that works!

I remember there must be similar maps in other places. This should be the easiest way for readers to find their way.

Maps in China

Currently China uses the “North on top” map system, as most places in the world. But do you know that in history, Chinese map is always south on top?

I believe that is because of the same reason of the maps in Metro. People in China like to stand facing the South (where the Sun is), and with his/her back to north. This is how the architect of China was designed.

If people live this way, it makes sense to draw the maps with South on top – exactly the way people see their world.

Most people don’t know about this. I checked some ancient maps, and it WAS upside down from current point of view.

Look at the Forbidden City.

Although currently it is upside down (with north on the top), the names of the gates still give you some hint about how they were designed.

The gates on the left side of the palace was called “RIGHT gate”, and the gates on the right was called “LEFT gate”. The maps changes, but the names were not.

For the Mahjong, Hmm… I don’t play Mahjong, so have no comment on it. Anyone want to help?

Hey, What’s This on Shangzilla?

My kind reader notified me about this strange post on Shangzilla:

City to build enormous statue of Wang Jian Shuo

And there is a strange photo:

Image from Shangzilla.com

This is strange, isn’t it? My friends in Shangzilla (or Shanghaiist) are so creative to bring out fake news like this. Haha. I am amazed, although feel strange to see my “head”, not the whole body hanging on the top of a pole. Hmm… Not so good.

Yifan has His Hair Cut

I didn’t wonderful job (maybe you don’t think so) to do a hair-cut for Yifan.

Yifan is 4 months and a half old, and he did his first hair cut when he was one month older by professional infant hair-dressers, and this time, it is my show time.

Before:

I am doing my first hair-cut for Yifan.

This is the result:

Not very bad, isn’t it?

I told Yifan that he’d better pray for his father’s hair-cutting skill improve soon, since in the future, all his hair-cut job is mine.

Special Birthday Gift from MovableType Team

Anil from MovableType team wrote an entry about my 5 years of blogging and put my blog as featured bloged on MovableType.com

Screenshot in courtesy of MovableType

What a surprise, and they have been so considerate to hold the post until my birthday!

Ginger also put her entry here.

How nice it is to have some friends in this great team. Thank you for the anniversary cake, the wonderflu party, and the blog post!

Happy Birthday to Me

Today is my birthday. Happy birthday to me. Here are some of my photos in 1998, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2006, and 2007.

Jian Shuo Wang in 2003, Xiamen

Jian Shuo Wang in 2004, Shanghai

Jian Shuo Wang in 2005, Shanghai

Jian Shuo Wang in 2006, Australia

Jian Shuo Wang in 2007, Cambodia

Jian Shuo Wang in 1998, Beijing

Jian Shuo Wang in 2001, Shanghai

Jian Shuo Wang in 2002, Seatle

Beijing Metro Ticket is As Low As 2 RMB

Beijing’s Metro network expands these days. The Metro Line #5 just opened. Along with Metro Line #1, Line #2, and Line #13, there are four lines in Beijing.

The difference between Beijing and Shanghai is, Beijing Metro charges 2 RMB per ride in the whole system. 2 RMB = 0.27 USD.

This way, the government is trying to get people to ride Metro, and other public transportation. This seems to be a wise decision. Although it cost tax payer’s another several billion RMB every year to fund the Metro, the benefit from it should be much more than that number.

Why You Like to Write Blog?

In an email interview from Publico in Spain, a Spain newspaper, I found this FAQ for me in the questions.

Why do You Like to Write Blog?

Frequently asked enough, right? My simple answer

Writing daily forced me to think daily

This is really what I thought.

Beijing Impression – Part II

Link: Beijing Impression

I happen to pass by the Main Stadium of Beijing Olympics.

Photograph by Jian Shuo Wang

You may see the top and main part is hiding behind the billboard:

Photograph by Jian Shuo Wang

There are many better photos than mine. Like these:

Photography by John

New Impressions

Beijing changed a lot, I would say.

One year ago, I asked: Is Beijing Ready?

Today, with less than one year to the Game, my answer is, maybe.

The infrastructure is much better. Also, there are huge amount of office buildings, and everyone of then is huge. Like the Tsinghua Tech-Park – there are 9 – 12 buildings of the same size (any of them can be an independent tall building in Shanghai) in the same area! The complexity of the buildings is much more than Shanghai. I didn’t take a good camera with me (the previous two was taken by my mobile phone), so I didn’t capture it, but when you see all the glass-walled building in Beijing, I just feel that it is like what Wendy told me about Munich – everything destroyed and rebuilt.

I do regret why I came to Beijing when the VIPs are holding the important congress – the Chang An street was locked up for VIPs, and it turned into a big parking lot. Drivers start to gather out of the road to chat and leaving their cars on the street, and sometimes people protest by horning together – huge noise. I was seated in the taxi for 20 minutes without moving an inch, then I gave up taxi and took subway. This is like that last time when Nanpu Bridge was Closed Shortly. But people in Beijing see it much more frequently, and take it for granted that there is a concept of “Right of Road”.