Monthly Archives: September 2009

Parade Tomorrow

The 60 Anniversary Parade will be on show tomorrow morning.

But, I still don’t really understand the need for a military parade.

I understand that many people want a celebration, but what is the military function of the parade? Anyone wants to share some idea?

I am confused not only by the Parade tomorrow, but also the parade in France, and other countries. It seems there are just small number of countries still doing that.

Interestingly, there is no military blood in my body. I just don’t enjoy guns, and canons. That is maybe the reason I am not excited about the parade, but many of my friends are looking forward to it just as to the world cup. See? People naturally have different types. I am more of an IT guy, than a military guy by nature.

60 Anniversary of … Motherland?

Tomorrow is the so-called “60 anniversary of the motherland”. It was called 50 anniversary of the motherland 10 years ago, and people just let it go, but this year, with the popularity of blogs, and social media, more and more people are challenging the idea: Is the motherland of China just 60 years old?

I would support to change it to “60 anniversary of the regime”.

In 1 and half hour, the traffic control measures will be implemented in Shanghai. Several roads and buses are blocked. But we are much better than Beijing. Just had a phone call with my friend in Beijing, and they are busy moving out the building. The whole building near the east 4th ring will be shutdown shortly.

2009 National Holiday Schedule

In China, it has formed a tradition that every national holiday from now on will be from Oct 1 to Oct 7 – 7 days. This year, since there is a Middle Moon Festival during that period, the holiday is extended to 8 days.

So, the quick schedule is: Oct 1 to Oct 8 = holiday.

The complicated schedule is about the date before and after it. Since the holiday is just 3 days, and they tried to leverage the 4 weekends before and after the 3 holiday to make it up to 7 days, the national wide schedule is very wired:

Sept 25 Friday Weekday

Sept 26 Saturday Weekend

Sept 27 Sunday Weekday

Sept 28 Monday Weekday

Sept 29 Tuesday Weekday

Sept 30 Wednesday Weekday

Oct 1 Thursday Holiday

Oct 2 Friday Holiday

Oct 3 Saturday Holiday

Oct 4 Sunday Holiday

Oct 5 Monday Holiday

Oct 6 Tuesday Holiday

Oct 7 Wednesday Holiday

Oct 8 Thursday Holiday

Oct 9 Friday Weekday

Oct 10 Saturday Weekday

Oct 11 Sunday Weekend

Oct 12 Monday Weekday

Please note the two days marked as bold – people need to come to work on Saturday or Sunday.

THE Parade

The Parade will happen on 10:00 AM, October 1, 2009. I doubt any other media besides CCTV 4 will broadcast it outside China. Putting all the controversial discussion aside, the parade itself should be nice to watch.

Village Li – My Primary School

My school mate Nie Xiangfeng took some photos of the primary school we went to (we are both primary school, and middle school classmates). Very nice picture – obviously it means a lot to me since I have never been back since 15 years ago.

Below is the playground and the buildings of the primary school – how come after 20 years, it never changed a little bit?

Photograph by Nie Xiangfeng

The buildings of the primary school.

Photograph by Nie Xiangfeng

The main building. I think I was on the third story in my grade 5.

Photograph by Nie Xiangfeng

Photograph by Nie Xiangfeng

This is the junior middle school part.

Photograph by Nie Xiangfeng

More photos is on Nie Xiangfeng’s blog

Photo of Rush Hours

Wendy took a photo of rush hours on Huashan Road. Look at below:

552148_209680522.jpg

Photograph by Wendy Fan

552148_209682767.jpg

Photograph by Wendy Fan

That is the bonus of living in a big city.

The Founding of a Republic

Wendy and I went to theater to see the movie The Founding of a Republic – the politically important movie. It is about the beginning of the domestic war and the end between 1945-1949, a movie to celebrate 60 anniversary of the People’s Republic of China.

U3088P28T3D2713308F326DT20090925132541.jpg

My comment? Well, better than expected, since for the first time, it tells the story from two side – the KMT side and the CCP side. For most of the time and event, I take it suspiciously. I am not for sure which part is fake, but my tendency of thinking is, there are many facts altered from the history. Just need to spend more time to dig into the details of that 3 years. Actually, the movie raised my interest in recent history again.

For my readers outside China, there is something so funny for the movie. The 135 minutes long movie accommodated 170+ celebrities in China, with most of them only have several seconds to show. Famous star like Zhang Ziyi only also have about one or two sentence in that movie. That added some humerus factor to this movie.

Overestimation of Bad Things

In my favorite book “Stumble Upon Happiness”, Gilbert described an experiment seeking for the answer of this question: “Whether people are happier to lose one leg, or winning 1 million prize in lottery”. The result seems to be obvious, but objective survey of people who lose a leg in car accidents, and people who won lottery after one year show the difference is not that obvious (with people losing a leg just slightly unhappier than the lucky winners). Why is that?

We often over estimate the impact of bad things, because when we think about it, it seems to be the whole of our world, but actually it is just a small part of it.

Breaking Angle?

Taking my recent experience as an example. I have my ankle broken, and the foot cannot touch ground for 3 months. I have to use crutch everywhere I go. Isn’t it bad? It is bad but not that bad. When I sit down at my desk, my foot, both feet, actually, is out of my conscious world. I can reply emails, I can write blog and reply comments, and you know what, I even can watch a video clip! At night, I enjoy good sleep without worrying about my foot, when I started my sweet dream. There is nothing to do with my foot 23 hours out of the 24 hours of my day. When I do have to pay attention to the foot (like at noon time when I worry about my lunch), I was taken very good care of by people around me. To me, it is not that bad.

Blind?

Imagine what if someone got blind. Isn’t it bad? Yes. But we can hardly understand that the world is not just about seeing things. You have radios to listen to, and you still have thoughts going on in the brain. The kids are still talking with you all the time (so you want to shut them down with a button). All these happiness are actually has nothing to do with eyes!

Inspiring Disabled People

It is so inspiring to see people who don’t have legs and arms – I saw one, but he is still so happy! With a little bit help, he can still enjoy great DVDs, and delicious food, and become a thinker! I was so inspired to see sisters connected with each other – they share everything except two heads. They are still very happy people, because the great things normal people can do, at the end of the day, are just very small part of the life. The majority of the time was spent on something body actually does not matter too much, like talking or reading, or watching video, or just close eyes, and hmmm… sleep.

Loosing part of function does impact the other parts too much.

A Country with Bad Sides

As a country, it is the same. Just as the great discussion we had in the last few days. We see areas to improve on political systems, and we see the dark side of the country (along with great side), but what I believe is, never let the bad things destroy our hope and our happiness, and even further, do not stop improving where we live because of losing hope of the political system.

A democratic and real republic political system, or justice, and freedom are just one aspect of this country. Even with it, it does not help on many things:

There are still car accidents (no matter in capitalism, or socialism, democratic, or dictatorship, or whatever -ism countries). Improving the safety of transportation need people’s hard work, no matter what happens in Beijing.

There are still be unhappy people. Leaving along adults, kids are always unhappy if the parents put them into bed at night! Can democratic process solve this problem?

There are still economy problems, even art problems around. In a more fair society, people still need to compete. There will always be poorer people and richer, in whatever society. That does not solve that difference problem, too. Oops. We did try to make wealth evenly distributed across the country in China in the 50s and 60s. What a great success!

My Hope

If you read my recent discussion and comments, you may feel that I am not as hopeful to this country as before, and I am not happy. No. No. No… The impression is wrong. We need to understand the importance of improvement on political system, but meanwhile, there are many other ways to help. Running a successful classified site also means a lot. Multi-party system does not solve the problem that people cannot trade second-hands, does it?

In short, I am full of hope for China, and knows there are many things to do including but not limited to political improvement.

Nice Discussion on Politics

I’d like to draw people’s attention to the follow three thread where there is great discussion happening. I admire people’s thoughts in the comments section. Please join us if you are interested.

Does Policital System in Taiwan Work? 24 comments so far.

Millionaire Country Singapore. China? 12 comments so far.

Life in Beijing Must be Interesting 33 comments so far.

Be patient to read the long thread. There are some very nice thoughts in it.

Recovered Old Files on Wangjianshuo.com

My frequent readers won’t be able to notice the difference between two domains: wangjianshuo.com and home.wangjianshuo.com. They are different in many ways:

History: wangjianshuo.com started in 2000, and it is far before I started the blog.

Authoring tools: Between 2000 and 2002, I never heard about blog, and I was a FrontPage support engineer in Microsoft in early days, so I used FrontPage – not very good in today’s web 2.0 terms, since after you authorized the pages, it is static. I didn’t change the content for a long time.

Location: as implied by the name, home.wangjianshuo.com started from a home computer in my reading room, and then moved to more than 5 different hosting services, before it now settled down at MediaTemple (very good so far).

There are some nice content on the old site, but I just found out it is not accessible for many months today. So I recovered (a simple “CHMOD -R 775 html” did the trick).

Here are a list of the old files.

Look at how naive I was 9 years ago. As historical record, I just don’t want to touch it and keep them their as long as I can.

http://wangjianshuo.com/about/faq.htm

http://wangjianshuo.com/about/links.htm

http://wangjianshuo.com/about/buildwebsite.htm

http://home.wangjianshuo.com/photo/

http://wangjianshuo.com/cn/

http://wangjianshuo.com/cn/926/index.htm

http://wangjianshuo.com/personal/places/pudongairport/index.htm

http://wangjianshuo.com/news/

http://wangjianshuo.com/personal/

I have hosted blog for some of my friends. They do not update today, but the old files are still there.

http://wangjianshuo.com/fanfan

http://wangjianshuo.com/claire

http://wangjianshuo.com/elfe

Does Policital System in Taiwan Work?

This is a discussion in the previous article: Millionaire Country Singapore. China?. There are many comments on Taiwan and I liked it. Take the Wonton’s comment as an example:

@JS:

Be very careful of what you wish for. I don’t want to go into details but in Taiwan, politics has degenerated into a bad soap opera. While it is true there is democracy, the system has open it’s doors to many fools and crooks. The voters have no idea who to trust. And the media is forever ready to pounce on gossip leaving the leaders no time to do what they were supposed to do. I don’t know what kind of “great hope” you saw in Taiwan’s “experiment”. Was it the wrestling kung fu brawl in their parliament ? There is no such thing as being “ahead” or “behind” in political processes. The only thing that matters is weather it works or not. Yes, while you rejoice in knowing that the crook president is behind bars, what about the 8 wasted years of screwing up the country ?

Politics is not entertainment. If we wait for the system to mature, the people would have starved to death.

Singapore has a one party show, Japan had a one party show for 54 years. As for the often repeated “one man” of Singapore, do note that the prime minister had changed twice. It just happened that the son happened to be in charge today. Please do not equate this situation with your North Korean neighbours. George Bush Sr and Jr. were seperated by Clinton, and nobody made a stink. The independant history of Singapore is only 44 years. While it is true that it should not, and cannot be compared with China, What the “infamous” man and party acheived is truely impressive and astounding.

When you have the lives of one billion people at stake, the last thing you want to do is “experiment”.

Posted by: wonton on September 22, 2009 3:20 PM

Here was my reply, and I would like to involve more people to discuss on the political system in Taiwan.

Regarding Taiwan, as my disclaimer goes, I don’t know too much details, but I want to share my thoughts based on the limited information I got from news (NOT CCTV news).

Re: fight in parliament. Fight is not a problem. If people don’t fight in parliament, they either fight on the street (violence!) or the rights of certain people are suppressed. I don’t believe it will be physical fighting for too long – it is just starting point.

Re: selection of CHEN Shui-Bian as president. The fake bulletin worked, and many fake promise worked to get him the way to power, but can we have a better way to educate the mass people about how vote works? People need education to excise the power in their hands. The education is not a easy to do – it takes centuries, and many generations. When history story like “President Chen” appear in the text book, people will learn how to vote. I don’t believe that people including myself will know how to do it without excises it many times, and make some mistakes.

Re: sentence of CHEN. The court only proved guilty for one former president, and people point fingers to them (especially CCTV and all media agencies in China by the order of central propaganda department): Hey! Look at what type of president democracy brought to Taiwan. The recent MA got very embarrassed because of the late response to earth quake. Shall we complain that Taiwan don’t have a “God” like Chairman Mao, or Chiang Kai-shek or Chiang Ching-kuo. Well. That is because they have put everyone who think they are bad into jail, and then they naturally became God. To have a graceful president means the president is above the Republic, and to have an embarrassed president like CHEN and MA, or Nixon, Clinton in US is no embarrassing, it is the hard fact that the Republic is above the individual, which is the goal of the founding fathers of the Republic of China.

Re: politics has degenerated into a bad soap opera, yes. It appears so in the last 8 years. But it is just like seeing a new born baby – you see it is on the track to be better – I am sure a second guy shoot is counter-productive for the next president candidate. There will always be new ways to fool the public beside what CHEN did, but people will be educated. I cannot imagine a way for people to progress without real practices like this. Between a dead-end road system that appears to be strong, and a promising system just like a new-born baby, I would like to generally classified Taiwan to the later. Did I see progress from LI, to CHEN, to MA? I think so.

Re: When you have the lives of one billion people at stake, the last thing you want to do is “experiment”. Yes and No. The hope of China lies in many people at least think about it and understand what the arrow of history is pointing to. Unfortunately, no one can possibly know the result of any change (or as you call it, experiment), including His Majority Chairman MAO, but I believe in natural evolve of human society.

A little bit long, but I’d be happy if someone educate me about a real Taiwan if what I am having is just an illusion. I never been to Taiwan or lived there, anyway.

Millionaire Country Singapore. China?

My reader Soon sent me an email about this topic:

Singapore is a country rises from rags to riches and become the 3rd richest country in the world. A fervent autocratic and capitalist country. Can China repeats the same feat? Can you put this in your blog and let your readers debate? (more)

What is your thought? Here is mine.

Don’t Compare China and Singapore

With all the due respect to Singapore, I just don’t want to compare China and Singapore. You can compare Singapore and Shanghai, or Hong Kong, or we can compare a system, but on the macro level, Singapore and China may not be the good subject to compare.

Why?

Simply because of the scale of the two countries.

Singapore is a country (or a city) with 4 million population. Hong Kong is much bigger, 7 million, and Shanghai has 16 million local residents, and 19 million population in total. Besides there, there are many difference.

Free Trade Zone

Hong Kong and Singapore are very like each other, since they are free trade zones. Correct me if I am wrong since I know little about macro economy here. A free trade cannot be too large since it must has a relative small domestic economy. I have never seen a free trade zone as big as China. There are some free trade zones in China, like the one in Dalian, and Shanghai, but to include any city in China except Hong Kong, and Macau may not be feasible. Not only China, all other trade partners may not want it. A WTO is an attempt to archive some type of free trade, but it is still very far from free trade zones.

Politics

To rule a city of several million is of cause very different than ruling a bigger country. Having said that, I never want to use the population as an excuse to debate against democracy, or other political system. On the contrary, a big country actually needs more wisdom in political system, like the democracy system can be a good option (please note: I am not 100% sure, because it has never been tested in China in the last few thousands years). If we are still OK to have a centralized government to rule a city (which is fine, and maybe the only cost-effective way to do it), it is too hard for a bigger country, if you want to run it well. For example, I don’t want someone in Beijing to make decisions for me about what my children should believe. So, there is huge difference here between Singapore and China.

Millionaire?

I don’t think China can be a millionaire country. I just want China to be a country without poverty or injustice. If money represents ownership of resources, it is not a big deal to the earth when everyone in Singapore is millionaire, but in China, that is impossible. I don’t know what it means for 1/4 of the worlds population to be millionaires. At that time, USD, or RM, or RMB, or EURO must have been hugely deflated. What I am saying is, I don’t envision everyone to be super rich in near future. To have everyone have a reasonable life (no starving), and receive education, and have clean water to drink are the most important mission for the people on this land.

Singapore’s Inspiration

Although I don’t think we can compare these two countries, Singapore’s success did give people inspiration. It is one of the few Asian countries to reach a very high level of economy success and social improvement. I visited Singapore in 2000, and many things I saw became real in Shanghai. For example, I took the subway to take the ring ride in Singapore, and reached the far north (near the Malaysia entrance), and impressed by people living far away from downtown but can still conveniently go to work. Now the same place appeared in Shanghai. It is called Xinzhuang.

A Car Plate = 27200 RMB in Sept 2009

The car plate bidding this morning resulted in the lowest bidding price to be 27200 RMB for one car plate in Shanghai (news source)

I kept tracking the car plate since 2003. I wanted to buy a car plate at the very beginning, and then choose a Hangzhou plate. Now, Wendy and I started to think about a Shanghai plate. We planned to participate in the bidding this month, but just didn’t take action to pay the required 2000 RMB bidding deposit. Maybe the next month.

Group Rental Appeared in my Neighborhood

My neighbor knocked at our door this afternoon, and asked me to look at an apartment upstairs. They are transforming the apartment into a group rental suite.

What is Group Rental

It is like shared rooms – many people share the same apartment to lower the cost. But it is not exactly shared room. It is a very professional business. It transfers some good apartment into a new type of suite – separate the rooms into several independent rooms and rent it out separately. The biggest difference between group rental and shared room is, either the number of people living in the room (low end group rental), or the change of the house structure (high end group rental).

Low End Group Rental

The low end group rental is pretty obvious: they put 20 beds into one apartment, and there are 4-8 people living in the double deck room which was originally designed for one person. That is very annoying and cause security and fire risks to the building and other residents.

High End Group Rental

I have visited one pretty high end group rental. It is located in a top residential area, and it is a normal suite from outside. But when you enters, there is a long hall way, and there are 3 secure doors on the right, and two on the left. It is that type of door used for external doors – robbery proof and noisy proof. Each tenant has two keys: one for the external public door, and one for the private door.

On the left, if you open a box, there are five separate water meter, and electricity meter.

For the rooms, every room is equipped with bed, TV set (with satellite!), network cable, micro-wave, and a shower room. Due to the constrain of the original house, they share the same rest room.

The cost for such a room is about 1000 RMB.

I was very impressed when I saw this. Think about the value of 1000 RMB! It is like a residential suite with everything you need as a single, and it enjoys the same view and service as other residents in the top residential area (look at the big grassland downstairs).

The Problem

The benefits for the tenant, and owner of such property are obvious. Cheap but good place to stay, and higher return than renting the whole out to one tenant. It just needs some professional work.

The problem is for the neighbors. What if there are a lot of people living in the same area designed for households? They change all the time, and they are more like party guys, and they by pass all the security checks – tend to leave all the doors open since they don’t have enough door passes.

It brings additional burden to the building, and cause all kinds of risks that a residential area shouldn’t face.

My Naughty Neighbor

So, back to my story. When we found it out, the room was under construction. Workers are shipping many security doors, many hot water machines into the room. It is obvious that all the stuff were used. I guess they were just kicked from another residential area.

Many neighbors gathered, and wanted to do something. Then, the problem is, what can we do?

I described this dilemma in another article . Without a working legal system, everything is within the same government/party system, and you have to keep your finger crossed to have a “good person” handling the case.

The property management company obviously don’t know what they should do. They said they will report to “the above”. That’s it, and I don’t have any hope about what they do.

Then I called 962121, the hot-line by the government to solve this type of complain. They promised 15 days to call back. I have kept the tracking number.

What will happen? I don’t know. The first thing I thought about was to sue them. But, Hmm… “Suing? Are you joking?”

My Recent Thoughts

I am aware that I started to complain more than few years ago. I acknowledge the change, since the more I interact with this society, the harder I feel to get things done. Not just me – I think many people face the same problem. For small stuff like this, I tried to use my own way to solve it, although I know a better solution is call my friend in the government – Hmmm. I don’t like to do it that way. But for really big things like getting my son into a kindergarten, who knows what I will do?

In a twisted and weird society, you just cannot say, “I will do anything for my son”, or “I will do anything for my principle”, because you find yourself in a strange position when the two conflicts.

Stay at Home During Oct Holiday

It seems the travel plan is just a plan. The doctor told me to keep the foot out of the ground for another two months. That means, I cannot use this foot to walk for three months. There is a Chinese saying that “any injure to the bone needs 100 days to cure”. That seems, unfortunately, true.

So, I am thinking about other things to do. The most possible thing to do during the holiday is to stay on bed, and really take care of the foot. The doctor also criticized me harshly about stilling going to work during the past month. He said what I need to do most is to stay on bed, and keep the foot higher. The X-Ray of the injured place does not look good either – the leak on the bone is still clearly seen.

:-)

That is life, isn’t it?

Tomorrow is Saturday again. Another day to stay on bed?

Flickr Travel

The other day to travel is to use Flickr or Google Earth, and Street View to travel to other part of the world. Look at the beautiful scene of Dubai!

The following images comes from Flickr. Credit is printed on the photos.

Life in Beijing Must be Interesting

There are always surprises for people in Beijing. The residence just survived from a troubled Olympic Games the last year, and they welcomed the 60th anniversary of this country.

I hosted a friend today, who just get here from Beijing. She was happy that she choose flight of last night, since the Beijing airport will be closed for two days, and she can only fly back on Saturday night. That was of short notice, because they didn’t really disclose when the biggest rehearsal will happen.

Along with the close down of airport, it is side most of shops and office buildings along the Chang’an Street have been closed. I have another friend who worked in the SOHU area of Jiang Guo Road. He wrote to me yesterday and told me that they were suddenly notified that they will be required to leave their office building before noon tomorrow and for the rest of Friday…

My friend who lives in US and just visit Beijing and Shanghai also told me that she really saw the power of a communist government.

Hmmm….

This reminded me of my conversation with Robert Mao about the topic of people’s choice of immigration to Europe and US the other day. He said: “The best solution is to have a better motherland”. He is very right, and that is exactly the pain hidden in many Chinese people’s heart.

CMB, HSBC, CITI Swift Code

I love to study all kinds of “code”, since it is a perfect combination of society and computer technology. I don’t like to use addresses that is readable by human, since it is not accurate, and a computer code of whatever kind is attractive to me. I have studied the code on Shanghai taxi, Chinese car plate and PNR on all airline tickets.

SWIFT Code

SWIFT standards for Society of Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (source). It is just like an international post code for banks to identify another bank.

Just as there are 6 digits for Chinese post code, the SWIFT is a 8 digit code (with option 3 more code attached).

The first four characters are bank code.

The following four are city name – two for country, and two for city. The country part follows ISO 3166-1 alpha-2, or to be easier, the top level domain name for the country.

Then the additional 3 can be branch offices, with default value to XXX – the primary office.

Bank Codes

Here is my collection of codes of banks.

DEUT = Deutsche Bank

HSBC = HSBC (Hong Kong-Shanghai Banking Cooperation) – nice name

CITI = CITI (Citi Bank) – nice name

CMBC = CMB (China Merchant Bank)

PCBC = China Construction Bank

BKCH= Bank of China – bad code

Bank of Agriculture

COMM = Bank of Communications – good name

ICBK = Bank of Industry and Commerce – really bad code since ICBC was taken

This is a handy tool to look up all the names and codes.

Country and City

In China, it is always CN. So CN… CN… CN… for the foreign and local banks in China.

The city code is weird, since there is no standard code for each city in each country, so it is very confusing. It seems there are different code for the same city.

There are at least two ways to say Shanghai: SH or SX.

There are two ways to say Beijing: BJ or BX.

I saw BS as in CMBCCNBS050 for CMBC

Final Examples

For international wire transfer, the following are the best bet with sources from their websites. Disclaimer: Never trust a non-office website like this one when you want to wire money.

CMBC => CMBCCNBSXXX (source)

Bank of China = BKCHCNBJ

HSBC = HSBCCNSH – the best swift code I saw so far – clear and simple.

Citibank = CITICNSX – What is SX? Is it Shanghai?

Old Technology?

When I started to transfer money, I am using CMB Online Bank, and PayPal, and Alipay. It is all electronic, and the destination is accurately identified by an email address or an account number.

Using bank transfer, you not only need to provide the account name, account number, and also the ADDRESS of the bank, and many other information. It seems to be complicated. I just feel the bank system is slow moving – just because of the network effect of existing infrustructure, like SWIFT, it is very hard for other system and more advanced system to replace it. It just takes time and some opportunities.

No Taxi at Huaihai Road

It is so hard to get a taxi. Wendy and I were at the Huaihai Road and Xizang Road at around 9:00 PM tonight. We waited there for about half an hour but still don’t think there is any possibility to catch a taxi. There are people on both side of the streets waving their hands to every car – no matter it is a taxi, or non-taxi, but for a long time, there is no taxi stopping at all.

After about 1 hour standing on the street, we finally got on friends’ car to get back home. Thanks Echo…

The Demand Meets the Supply

It is not a secret that Shanghai is lack of taxi. It is very hard to get a taxi at rush hours (well, rush hours means 7:00 AM to 10:00 PM, including weekends).

Here are some records of terrible taxi waiting experience.

Hire a Taxi? Avoid Rainy Friday

40 Minutes for a Taxi at Hongqiao

Avoid Hong Qiao Airport on Friday Night

I chatted with a taxi driver few days ago. As almost everyone else, he complained about their tough life.

Shanghai Taxi Driver’s Life Tougher

Taxi Driver’s Life Tougher – Part II

But he is happy that the total number of taxi available in Shanghai has not changed for many years (is it true? I consistently get this message, but cannot find the official data). He said if the government increase the number of taxi, that will be disaster for their lives.

Who Got the Money?

Obviously, it is tougher at the current situation for taxi drivers if they increase the taxi number. But is it the right choice to keep it stable?

Look at this city. How many people rushed into this city in the last few years? What is the expectation for transportation? What is the passenger number for taxi? The nightmare to grasp a taxi tells the answer.

My personal guess is, the taxi company just got too much out of the taxi drivers.

Shanghai is famous for expense car plate (37K per plate in the bidding of last month), but a BX plate worth 800K RMB. BX car plate is a special plate for individual taxi drivers. They don’t belong to a taxi company and they get most of the money they earn. (Cautious: Avoid Taxi with BX in Plate Number).

The 800K RMB price tells the secret.

The big taxi companies monopolies the market, and charges very hight for the taxi drivers. The taxi driver’s life get tougher, so they cannot agree to put more taxi on the road. Then the problem is, the city is trading taxi availability for the profit of taxi companies.

An Open Market

What if it is an open market, and a free market?

Now, it is still unclear whether car pooling is legal or illegal. Although it is a general practice (and a very environment friendly approach), it is very risky.

Han Han talked about a trap on this blog the other day. It is about a story that the Shanghai government hired people to pretend to be in emergency (stomach pain, etc), and waving for help on the road. When victim driver stop by to help, the driver will be caught and charged for illegal operation, and fine 10K RMB.

There is no way to verify the story, but I am not surprised at all, since it matches my perception of how they behave. The society has been cold already, and they are trying very hard to pin-point those small percentage of people who still have conscious, and good heart and fine them for doing good deed, so they won’t do it again, and more importantly, tell others not to do it in the future.

Connecting the raid for illegal car operation, and lack of taxi, you see a scary picture.

Yifan, Dad and Mom

These are the photos Yifan and I took one week ago:

Below: Yifan loves to be with his dad – laughs all the time:

Photograph by: Wendy Fan

Below: Yifan loves to watch Qiaohu (Clever Tiger) – a DVD program produced in Shanghai. As always, he has his red car with him – all the time:

Yifan is genereally a happy boy and loves to laugh at many things, including dad waving at him, or simply see his dad jumps from one sofa to another.

There is one person I feel Yifan loves more – his mom. His mom spent so much time with him, and he now is like another mom – he speaks in a way like his mom – like “Yeee…..?” whenever he sees something strange – just like his mom Wendy.

Below: Yifan’s poor dad – the cast on the right hand. I would be happy if you pay attention to the “father” on the toy brick board. I asked Yifan: How is this guy? Yifan said: Baba.

This is another “dad” I created for Yifan. As expected, Yifan laughed out loudly, and almost rolled on the ground:

At last, is the poor Yifan getting back from hospital that night.

He is as calm, cheerful as any previous days, but his parents were all in tears that night.

Small Cartoon Policeman at Each Website

My reader ecodelta asked:

I have one question. What are those small cartoon police at the bottom of the website? To denounce violation of copyright by TV viewers? Strange…. I am confused ;-)

He was referring to the two small policemen icons at the bottom of http://ppstream.com/. It is not just for their website. If you browse Chinese Internet more often, you will find it everywhere. It is standard requirement by the police department for most Internet companies.

The Icons

The three icons are: a male policeman on the left – he is called Ping Ping; a female policeman on the right – she is called An An; a police office in the middle (no name given yet).

Ping An means Safe in Chinese. You can just think of it as calling two policemen “Sa” and “Fe”. The same type of meaning.

The Goal

Internet has been so important in people’s life that policeman cannot ignored. And the police department has so strong power that they can ask commercial websites to do anything they want them to do. So they asked them to put on this logos. Clicking the logo will land you to an online forum the local police department setup. There are dedicated resources to answer the questions, and to react to people’s claim. The idea is, it is just like a virtual policestation that people can turn to for help.

Is it an interesting idea that is only feasible in China?

Links at Footer

From time to time, there are government departments to add links at the homepage to different government websites. At the very beginning, all websites require an ICP license displayed at the bottom, and link to the page of Ministry of Information Industry, then Ping Ping and An An to police, and later, there are National Anti-Virus, and Anti-Attack Information Center. The idea behind it is simple: a link can solve the problem, so adding more links.

I Need Some Change

I am not happy these days. Something terrible happens in life, one after another.

I broke my ankle first, and one month later, Yifan’s head is hurt. (well, I am very cheerful when my ankle broke – a very good experience for me, but I was mad when Yifan got hurt)

My mood falls down to lowest point in the recent years.

When things that is completely out of your control happens, people are more likely to be religious. Should I turn to a temple or church to find out some cure? Hmm… Wendy has already suggested me not to think that way.

To change the mood a little bit, we bought a new TV today. I will buy a good video camera (Sony HDRCX500E) this week. Then we are planning a travel this holiday.

I Need to Travel

The 8 day long national holiday is coming (Oct 1 to Oct 8), and we are thinking of getting out of Shanghai during the holiday and relax – to change the mood. We didn’t have this plan before. It is too late for a trip to Japan, or Europe – the two dream destination. Then we are now looking at another dream destination: Cairo.

Budget was always a big concern for us to choose where to go, but when we are in bad mood, we are not that sensitive to cost. Wendy and I just need to go to somewhere (better if it is far away), and spend some days.

We will decide whether we go or not tomorrow.

(Yes. I am still very sad these days, when I see Yifan – He is as cheerful as always, and he clearly shows his love and happiness to be with me)

Friends

This afternoon, when Yifan fells asleep, Wendy and I called our friends for a gather at Little Garden (220 Taikang Road), and dinner at Casa 13 (1100 Huashan Road). That helps. Sometimes you just need to talk and explore what others are thinking about. At least, good friends can act as a sounding board to help yourself to see your own situation better. Lesson learnt: When needed, pick up the phone and call your friends. That is always a very good choice. Thanks Eddie, Helen, Charles, Eric and Apple for your accompany.

P.S. Going bed now. Yifan is going bed, and he is calling me to tell stories for him.