Monthly Archives: August 2010

Typhoon Hits Shanghai

Typhoon is coming to Shanghai tomorrow. It will be the first day Yifan go to kindergarten. His teacher in kindergarten sent us SMS that the kindergarten will be closed tomorrow due to typhoon. So, Yifan has one more day at home before he can play his favorite cars in his classroom.

Take care, my friends, if you are in Shanghai or southeast coast of China.

Cost Structure of the Kindergarten

Yesterday, I posted about the new kindergarten near my home. In the comment section, people are very interested in the low tuition – 180 RMB per month per person. That is just the tuition. The meal per day is 6 RMB, which is about 120 RMB, plus some minor fees. In total, it is not expensive at all. Why?

The Public School Sponsored by Developer

It is a public school. Most private school charges much higher than that. Before, Yifan attended a pre-kindergarten care. That charges about 1600 RMB per month – a pretty normal one. The better private day care charges about 300 RMB per day, which is basically 6000 RMB per month, which I didn’t choose.

Public schools are typically cheaper.

The Developer – Dahua

This particular kindergarten is not 100% government school. The land was sponsored by the developer, and the developer built the building – a very nice one.

By developer, I mean the Dahua Real Estate Development Company (their actual translation may vary). They built the building for free and gave it to the government. Why?

The whole Dahua residential area was developed by a single developer. They got huge piece of land in the middle of Pudong. They are going to build 3 million square meter of commercial building in more than 10 years. Yes. I didn’t made a mistake here. It is 3 million square meter! Altogether, 100 – 200 thousand people will be living in the building they developed. That means, it is bigger than most cities in the States by its own.

The tricky part of the story is, when Dahua got the huge piece of land about 10 years ago, the house price per square meter was 3000 RMB. I moved here in 2004. The house price was about 6000 RMB. Now, the newly built house is priced at 20-30K per square meter. The land price didn’t change. Think about it. If they can make a profit at 3000 RMB, what the profit it will be at 10x of the original price.

To support the high house price of the area, the developer also need some basic infrastructure. So they want the best kindergarten, and school to move it. Compared to the huge profit they are making, the building of kindergarten is even smaller than a rounding error.

The Government

According to the president of the kindergarten, besides the developer Dahua, the local district government also put 2 million RMB per year into the school. Since it is in the public school system, it is the routine.

The Kindergarten

Finally, when the building is ready, and the money is ready, then there comes the kindergarten. With the urbanization process, it is easier to build the building, to have the land, and the money ready, it is harder to get the right process. So they invited the Oriental Kindergarten staff to run this newly built kindergarten.

Finally, the three parts were put together to make this one possible.

Yifan’s Kindergarten

I cannot believe it. In three days, Yifan will officially start his kindergarten life. This will be a great milestone for him. The kindergarten starts from Sept 1, 2010 – the official school date for almost all schools, and kindergartens in China. I attended the first parents’ meeting yesterday.

Don’t get confused with Yifan’s current kindergarten. Yifan was in another kindergarten for two months:

Yifan Started His Kindergarten Life

Yifan’s Second Day in Kindergarten

That was pre-kindergarten child care. From Sept 1, he will be officially enrolled.

Yifan’s Kindergarten – Shanghai Oriental Jinxiu Kindergarten

With the rapid urbanization in Shanghai, there are new kindergartens being built every few years. Yifan’s kindergarten was just finished – barely finished with the workers still busy moving the building materials out of the campus. Yifan will be the first batch of kids attending the school. Interestingly, with 23 classes, it will be the largest kindergarten in Pudong area.

The Building

When I started the blog, I wanted to share events around me with my readers, so people can “virtually” experience the life of Shanghai. I am happy to share the new kindergarten.

I am very satisfied with this one. It is within walking distance from where we live – just one block away. Yifan can walk there easily.

The building was designed by an American architect – that is the typical way for an organization to show off the “quality” of their building.

This is a corner of the building. The building is a three-story closed building formed the shape of a square with courtyard in the middle.

This is the entrance:

The big hall full of toys. With the recent kindergarten accidents in China, they obviously strengthened the security. Parents cannot enter the kindergarten after 8:30, and the local police sent policeman every day.

They have a nice playing field – the toys, and equipments are still under installation.

I heard they have swimming for the kids. It is not finished yet.

Yifan visited the kindergarten after the parents’ meeting. He obviously enjoyed the cars, and toys here.

They have cute chairs, and tables. I checked our their class room – there are four rooms in it.

One is living room – where they play and have classes. The other equally big one are their bed room with about 20 small beds in it. They will sleep between 12 to 14:30 in the noon.

The third room is the entrance where they place a lot of equipment there.

The forth is their restroom.

This is the courtyard in the middle of the building.

Cost

This is a public kindergarten, so the cost is very low. Because it is a newly built one, and they haven’t evaluated and given it a grade yet, it is charging by a lower standard.

The cost will be 180 RMB / month (that is about 25 USD). Cheap, isn’t it? For this particular case, I am satisfied with the public service of Shanghai, although in most cases, I feel desperate because of the lack of resources – med care, for example.

This is the scene of the parents meeting. They have about 20 students for the 3-year old class – junior class. For each class, there are two teachers, and an Ayi.

Hopefully, Yifan will love his new kindergarten and start his new life smoothly.

Yifan’s Kindergarten v.s. Mine and my middle school

Yifan’s kindergarten is very nice. The facility is much better than my middle school, not to mention primary school in Luoyang.

This reflected the change in both cities, and time. It is a new kindergarten built 20 years from my age, and it is in Shanghai, one of the most advanced cities in education, and Luoyang is one of the underdeveloped city.

Another change is, 30 years ago, I was not able to attend a kindergarten because of I didn’t have a Luoyang city Hukou (residential permit). The result is, I never attended a kindergarten. But fortunately, I spent extremely happy time along the rivers, and neighborhood, with a home key hung on my neck.

Now, kids at the age of Yifan can attend the kindergarten even without Shanghai residence, as long as they are in the school district. (Well, the Shanghai local residence are given priority in enrollment though). That is the change in the last 30 years.

Journalist Should Not Be Director

Last week, I received an interview from ICS (International Channel Shanghai). The program is ICS news.

I regretted that I didn’t insist not to take the interview. I have decided not to take interview from the local media, especially TV media, but finally, I said yes.

Then it comes the filming. I thoroughly enjoyed my experience inn talk show programs from ICS. My favorite is “Culture Matters”, which I have been with their program for 5 times. I enjoyed the style of Sammy who is the host, and also the CEO of Sunny TV. He brought a lot of modern journalism style to the program. For example, they only record 30 minutes in total for the 20 something minutes program. That means, they basically broadcast all the content without too much editing. For other talk show like “Crossing Over” with Hong Huang, it went on well, although not as good as Culture Matter.

This is the first time I appear on News type program. To my surprised, I found I became an actor, and the journalist became the director. They have a script to record me in a restaurant, explaining the menu in English, to a foreigner. I don’t like that idea. I think it is stupid and not relevant to what I do. Finally, I firmly said no to the request on that section.

The few minutes shooting was on air at 9:00 PM the same night. I didn’t bother watch it. The key point is, I want journalism to be an observer, not the director. I want to be the person I am, not to act in a script. That is the key conflict in belief.

I know that is the way news is produced in China, even the English language news with expat as audience. What I can do is to stay away from it.

Urbanization of Luoyang

My hometown Luoyang is a typical sample of recent years of urbanization process in China.

Situated in the middle of China, Luoyang is a middle sized city. Although the total population is 6 million (too big a number in US to be a middle sized city), the urban population is only about 1 million, with the rest to be rural population.

In the last 10 years, Luoyang changes a lot. When I check satellite image on Google Maps, I found due to some reason, some tiles of the map was not updated to the current image. That provided an interesting view of the past and the current picture of Luoyang on the same page.

Image in courtesy of Google Maps

As you can see from the picture above, the lower part is the original state of the land – farm land with some villages. The upper part is the current Luoyang.

Let’s take a closer look.

Image in courtesy of Google Maps

Pay attention to the strange banks of the river, and the modern cities.

Below is a bigger picture of the whole Luoyang new district.

Image in courtesy of Google Maps

Let’s spotlight some of the areas on this map:

The new stadiums:

Image in courtesy of Google Maps

The new park:

Image in courtesy of Google Maps

The astonishing big pool before the new building of the government:

Image in courtesy of Google Maps

Finally is the government building, that assemblies the forbidden city.

Image in courtesy of Google Maps

Where is the farm land, and the villages? The following interesting photo illustrated that a big road went straightly into the village, and the commercial residential areas were built at the same place. There is no way for the old village to survive. They moved away – or to be more exact, they were moved away.

My Worries

When I was younger, to have a bigger and more beautiful city was my dream. Now, after I visited many places, and thought deeper about the future of China, the change made me worry. I have few questions.

Where are the farm land?

In the last 10 years, the city of Luoyang grew crazily. They moved the government from the old city center to this land – a piece of land in the middle of no where (well, in the old standard). Then the farm land was taken, and Luoyang developed using a pattern to leverage the land typically reserved for the next century. Look at the huge projects on the land – that is exactly the project you want to build when you have too many land to spare.

Where is the money?

Why the government has so much money to build it? The secret is the land. Since in the current Chinese system, the government is the only legal middle man to transfer a piece of land from the farmer to a developer, and then to house buyers. They often offer ridiculously low price (at the time I was there, it was 20 – 50 K RMB per Chinese ace) to the farmers (and they have to move because their land buildings were announced as illegal followed by police), and then they sell the land at 10x or higher price to developer. The more land they sell, the more profit the government (to be exact, the people involved) they get. The new government buildings, and the huge projects are maybe just some change.

Unfortunately, this is the general pattern in most cities in China. IMHO, I think the only way out is to allow end house buyers to buy land directly from farmers.

Luoyang is a typical example of urbanization in China, and you see the change in a “broken” Google map.

Want to see it by yourself in Google Maps? Here is the link.

Back to SJTU BBS

When you lost an ID that you enjoy a lot, you don’t want to use that site any more. It is the case for me on SJTU BBS (Shanghai Jiaotong University Bulletin Board System). I started to use it when I was a junior there. I used a nick name stonebook for few years, before it was terminated on Oct 26, 2003.

I just registered a new nickname on http://bbs.sjtu.edu.cn: jianshuo. I will return to the Automation department board, SOEIEE board (what a strange name), and others.

Besides Facekbook.com/jianshuo, you can private message me @jianshuo on SJTU BBS now, if you have a nickname there.

Written Chinese Keeps China United

One of my guesses (without any support) is, the written language of Chinese played a very important role in keeping China united as a country in the last 1000 years, although it separates, and then united. Why?

Unlike languages that records pronunciation, like English, Chinese characters is basically a “picture” represents the meaning. Look at the illustration in this blog: Chinese Characters.

No matter how you want to read it, the written language is always the same across China. A simple (over simplified) example are the number one, two, three in Chinese: 一. 二. 三. If you have Chinese system in your computer and can read Chinese, you will find one stroke means 1, two strokes means 2, and three vertical strokes means 3. (Of cause, 1000 strokes does not mean 1000). It is just like the Rome representation: I, II, III, IV, V, or the numerical representation: 1, 2, 3, 4… In different countries, they are read differently, but the meaning are the same.

Just like Arabic numbers keeps most of the human on the same page (unfortunately, there are just few signs in common), Chinese languages acted as a glue to keep the vast area together, and they can communicate with each other.

One example is, if Chinese people start to use Pinyin, or whatever representation of the pronunciation of the Chinese characters, within 50 years, there will be at least 100 different languages in China.

In Beijing, 谢谢你 “Thank you”, will be written as Xie Xie Ni. In Taiwan, it will be written as: ㄒㄝ ㄒㄝ ㄋㄧ, and in Shanghai, it may be written as Xia Xia Nong. I can imagine in most of the provinces, or even cities, they can be written differently, if according to pronunciation…

If that does happen, when a group of people cannot communicate with another group of people for too long, China will become an Europe of today.

That is just my guess. Any support to this idea?

Minimum Fee 120 RMB for Top of SWFC

The top secret I have about this city is how to Get to Top of SWFC Within 100 RMB. Now, I found out that trick does not work.

The 91th floor of Shanghai World Financial Center is no longer the best value bar in Shanghai. Now, they require 120 RMB per person minimum pay for all afternoon tea guests.

Now, the only alternatives left for me are:

Quora is Growing Crazily

I first learn Quora from Matt, and now, email about someone following me came in like crazy. I got about 120 email like this in the last few days.

The website by few ex-former employees of Facebook, and invested by Benchmark is very interesting. It showed the early characters of a promising website – the feeling of WOW when you first read it.

On my first page, I saw some interesting question answered by interesting people. For example, the best answer voted to “What does Matt do when he was in China” was answered by Matt himself, and the question “What does Craig of Craigslist think about money” also received a lot of answers, out of which, Craig’s own answer was chosen to be the best.

You can have a try there.

Questions About Trespassing

I have few questions for my friends in US who are familiar with the legal system there. It is about definition of trespassing, and property owner’s right when it happens.

It is about the recent case of Guo Degang, the famous Chinese talk show (well, I know it is a funny translation, but what is the right one) actor. That is maybe the hottest news in the recent days before the media was ordered to stop reporting it. Huge amount of people rushed into debating whether they support Guo, or not, and why, but few people really dig into the details of the fact part. Let me try to repeat what is happening. I want to understand how people in the US deal with it, since there is no exact way to define trespassing in China yet.

The event in concern started when two persons claimed to be affiliated with Beijing TV got into the residential area of Guo (an area owned collectively by all the villa owners), and went along the stairs of Guo’s house (the part at the side of his garden), and knocked the door and talked with Mr. Lee, who associated with Guo. After few minutes, Lee physically forced the reporters to leave the house. (People are arguing whether the activity is defined as beating, or pushing, etc).

Here are my questions. Please help me to understand what the rules in America are.

Although in China, most people define trespassing by the fact whether they entered the DOOR of the building, I suspect by the time the reporter entered the gate of the residential area is the time they conducted trespassing. So questions:

  1. Is it a trespassing when the reporters enter the gate of the residential area? Collectively, the property is owned (well, in China, at least it can be defined as leased from the State for 70 years) by the residents of the residential area. If the reporter don’t have business with any of the residents, is it a trespassing?
  2. Can the activity of interviewing be defined as legitimate business reason without making appointment with one of the residents behind that gate? I know in some States in US, postman who is going to deliver, policeman when conducting business, and people who can prove to get lost are not trespassing when they enter the property. They are generally defined as Invitee. Are journalists also invitee?
  3. If entering the residential area, is entering the stairs of the house trespassing?
  4. If entering the stairs of the house not trespassing, is it trespassing when they knock the door of the house?

If the reporters WAS trespassing, or when told to leave and given enough time to leave, but still does not leave, what is the action the house keeper can do?

  1. Obviously, he has the right to call police immediately.
  2. Does the host have the right to physically drive the person away? I heard the idea that although in most States, shooting the trespasser have been strictly forbidden, in States like Taxes, trespassing after dark, and can cause immediate threat to the safety of the owner entitled the owner to shoot the trespasser to death. I am not sure whether it is true or still the case. Does pushing or beating allowed?
  3. To what extend can the house owner drive the trespasser? Can he only drive him out of the stairs, the garden of his individual house, or drive the trespasser all the way out of the residential area? In US, the case will be people living in an condo. Can he drive the person out of the whole building or just his apartment? If he cannot, who are the legal entity to drive the person out of the condo, if no management company exists for that condo? Even when they have a management company, can one of the house owners do it by himself?

Another set of question relates to the right of journalist and the rights of privacy.

  1. Does the answer to any of the questions above change if the person accused as trespasser is a journalist?
  2. Can the journalist take video or photo of the interviewee without him knowing that?
  3. If the above is illegal, what remedy action can the interviewee take? For example, if I found someone took a naked picture of me in my private area, can I force the person to delete the photo, or have to wait for the person to publicly distribute the photos and sue him? If he refuses to delete, what violate action can I take to avoid future damage?

I hope the answers to the questions at least help to educate people, like me, about the right thing to do in events like this.

Does Shanghai have Beach, Nearby?

I answered the question Does Shanghai have Beach? before: No.

Wendy and I have been searching beach in Shanghai many times. We went to many claimed beach in Shanghai – the Jinshan Beach, or the Fengxian beach. So far, the nearest real beach is at Shengsi.

This time, we continued our search to the north side of the Yangtze River, and arrived at Changshazhen, at Rudong, Nantong.

To our disappointment, there is so no beach there. What we see is very like the scene at Dishui Lake in Shanghai.

My car, Bandenger, with wind mill as background.

We finally confirmed that in lands formed with sands from rivers, like Yangtze River, there is no way to form beach. Beach can only be found when waves of sea or ocean hit hard rock of mountains.

The next time, we may need to go to places as far as Shandong to find beach. Rizhao, or Qingdao is good candidate.

We will report when we finally find beach near Shanghai.

Integrity is Hard in China

The integrity issue people pointed out in the comment section of this blog Integrity of Resume is deep rooted in the current system of China. The current system makes it so hard to keep integrity. Here are some examples:

  • Education. Although questioning authority is a virtue, it is so hard to do so in the current exam driven tests. There are fences everywhere to prevent students to think about. If a student really pursues the truth, and asks questions related to the culture revolution, China’s involvement in Korean war, he will be in big trouble, so is his/her teacher. The reason is political reason.
  • GN left an interesting comment about the question “What he did 20 years ago”. If his provide the real answer, he will be in jail.
  • Today, everyday there are fake news in the media. Comments related to the truth are always deleted.
  • For me, when I write blog, to keep honest to my heart, I have to avoid the most sensitive topics. I know there is a big area of topics I cannot touch. As foreign media reported, I tend to “shy away” from them. To tell the truth is easy, but to bear the tremendous cost (including safety of life, or future of yourself, or family) is hard.
  • Ridiculous rules are not changeable, then cheating can be the only choice. It is just the ridiculous situation when you see always-red traffic lights on all directions, or the speed limitation on an expressway is set to 5 km/hour. If there is nothing you can do, you break the law. If you are asked what you did, and tell you you will lose everything, and you are supposed to tell a lie as everyone else, you face a hard choice.

Human nature is the same. I received enough negative comments under the blog How I drive in Shanghai. Don’t be too quick to justify others behavior without being there yourself. When we look at the biggest tragedy like what Nazi did in WWII, we know it is the system that went wrong, not just the people involved. We are in the tough times in the Chinese history to face these systematic problems.

Having said that, as always, I am optimistic about the future of China. The dishonest behavior will be less when people can remove the fear they have in the bottom of their heart and build a system for the “good people”, and start to allow the universal principle to survive on this land.

Yangtze River is Now a Yellow River

It is a sunny Saturday in Shanghai, and I guess it is so for the Yangtze delta. Wendy and I wanted to bring Yifan to a new city. After the US trip (1600+ miles in 7 days), we reset our definition of living area. 500 km is the new boundary of what we define as “far”.

After checking out cities as far as Rizhao 日照, which may cost 6 hours, we finally decided to go to Nantong 南通. It is at the north side of the Yangtze River, opposite of Suzhou.

The Yangtze River under Sutong Bridge

Sutong Bridge is the new bridge built on Yangtze river. The north side is Nantong, and the south side is Suzhou. The bridge itself, along with the highway running through it is called G15, a 3400 km expressway connecting Shenyang in very north part of China to Haikou, in the south in Hainan. We passed Sutong Bridge today.

The Yangtze River I saw today is very very different from all the photos I saw, and more different than the river in my impression. It is completely dark yellow. Look at this photo:

Photo by Jian Shuo Wang. Yangtze River under Sutong Bridge

Yangtze River is a Yellow River

I remember a comic about the subject. On one end of a phone line, Yellow River is calling: “Yangtze River, Yangtze River, this is Yellow River speaking…”. On the other side, Yangtze River replied: “Yellow River, Yellow River, this is also Yellow River!”.

Few decades ago, the lose of forest at the upstream of the Yellow River caused the river to contain huge amount of soil so it is completely yellow. At that time, Yangtze River is still relatively clean. The Yangtze Crocodile (Alligator sinensis), a rarely seen crocodile from millions of years ago are still living in the water of the Yangtze River in this area.

Today, look at the Yangtze River – the pollution has already made it a more yellow river than the Yellow River. I was shocked by the scene of wide yellowness before me. There are many ships floating in the disgusting surface of the river. I believe it is very hard for fish to survive (even there are fishes, I doubt they can see anything with their eyes under the water). I don’t think anyone can still swim in the river.

Whose River it is?

If it is a river in my own garden, I will spend money and effort to make it right. If it is a river of a neighborhood, we will gather and make something happen. Now, the longest river in China is highly polluted, but there is no political system to support the course to purify it, and protect it. Media is not free to report, or discuss who are the people cutting trees or pour polluted water into it; the government is not held responsible to sue the factories before court (well, court and government are the same organization with the same supervisor); NGO are under legal challenges. What can we do to protect the mother river of China?

I was shocked, completely shocked to see another yellow river in China.

Integrity of Resume

Today, a candidate came to interview at our company. The experience, and the answers to questions looks very promising, but there is one problem: he intentionally changed the date of his employment history by few years. We immediately terminated the interview when we found out.

Integrity is the key to any person, and company. It is by trust that this society works together. No matter how good a person is, if there is integrity problem, that is a big problem. In Microsoft, for example, integrity issue is the biggest mistake someone can make, and will result in immediate termination of employment. The first value of the seven key values of Microsoft is Integrity and Honesty. At least in the few years I was in Microsoft, it was really enforced. I know it is a big deal.

So, don’t play trick with your resume, and don’t play tricks in most of the things.

I Love Tech Talk

Thanks Jianqiu to deliver a tech talk on Data Mining at Baixing office. I enjoyed the talk, and enjoyed the way people share knowledge in the format of tech talks.

Baixing is recruiting PM interns these days, and I hope to get your resume if you are in grade 3 in universities. The benefits of being an intern at Baixing is to access to all technical sessions like this one every week.

Phoenix Tree-Lined Streets in Shanghai

Besides the skyscrapers (not so interesting for the local, but serving as a good opportunity for visitors to take photo as background), the most charming characters of the city of Shanghai is its streets.

The streets in the old French Concession was lined by Phoenix trees, and villas. The villas are typically larger than those in the Silicon Valley, and walled by bricks, and high raised fences above it. There are many buildings along the edge of the streets, and you walk besides the window of the kitchen or leaving room of the residents of the building – a very unique experience only in Shanghai.

In strong contrast with the crowded, and over populated downtown Shanghai, the area at the heart of the downtown is very quiet, and lack of pedestrian. You will enjoy the lonely walk in the cave formed by the Phoenix trees for half an hour to two hours (depending how carefully you design your route) without getting back to the noisy Shanghai.

At night, if you walk along the roads near the West Fuxing Road, especially the Wu Yuan Road 五原路, you will be scared – it is just like walking in a old town with big houses that is completely dark, and there is no street lights in the lanes. That is quite a surprise . In some of the gardens, I often see people feed hens, or grow vegetables in their own place. That is maybe the most luxurious thing we can think of in this world: the house and the land can easily worth several billion RMB. That is also the funny part of this city: the residents in these most expensive, and well designed villa are often among the poorest in the city. They don’t own the house (the government owns it), but they have the rights to live there, and transfer their rights of continuing living there to their children.

The best way to explorer there streets are by walking. The area is very walkable, and surrounded by many metro atations. If it is raining, even better! The sounds on the leaves of the trees are more pleasant than orchestra. At night? It is also good time to visit, since some of the bars started to turn their lights, and open to customers. Unlike the highly restrictive building code in California, the bars, and teh residential areas, and other business facilities are mixed. So you may need to walk for few minutes to find another one.

Comparing to the street of San Francisco, I enjoy walking in Shanghai better, just because of the same reason I love San Francisco – the diversity of the buildings along the streets. They are of so many different styles from different countries. You must have a pen and a sketch book in hand to capture the moments when you encounter a Spanish window, or a French courtyard.

Back to Smallness – Fortress Besieged

Marriage is like a fortress besieged: those who are outside want to get in, and those who are inside want to get out

– French proverb and quoted in and inspired the title of the Chinese novel, Fortress Besieged.

After being passionate about bigness, and the magnificent, the splendid, and the modern, I started to learn to appreciate the beauty of smallness.

Growing up in the Smallness

Grew up in a mid-sized city, Luoyang, in the middle part of China (with 6 million population), most of the things around me are small.

The biggest building in the area of my school is a theater. In the current world-class standard, that theater is just a mini model of the real theater at 3:1 scale.

The tallest building in the area is 6 stories high. In the current Shanghai standard, the lowest residential building that is not classified as a villa.

The road is narrow – just one wide lane in each direction, making it difficult to pass.

That was the memory in the early of 1990s.

Beijing! The Big City

My first visit to Beijing in 1993 shocked me a lot. I loved the high-raised residential buildings that stands 18 floors high from where I stand. The contrast made me, and I believe many Chinese people, to admire the height of the buildings, and the width of the road.

Later, after I am transplanted to Shanghai, the high buildings, and complicated road system, including the traffic jam, are mixed together to form a scene of the modern, and the future.

“How I hope one day, Luoyang can be as big as Shanghai!” I dreamed when the tallest building of 14 floors in height was just under discussion.

Back to Smallness

After 15 years in Shanghai, and travel to many places in this world, I started to really understand the beauty of smallness. I started to enjoy travel to the old Hongqiao Airport T1 instead of much more modern, and big Pudong Airport, because the small airport provide easy access to the city, and don’t require me to walk too long. Just few years ago, the bad news of losing the chance to fly to/from PVG would ruin my entire day. The airport I like most started to be the Nanyang Airport, and Aspen airport, where you pick up your luggage at the side of the aircraft, and everyone walk from the plane through the small room (they call it terminal), feeling as the VIP of VIPs.

I started to love small town like Aspen, CO, or small city in Hainan. If I have a choice, I live in places like Aspen where there is just 5000 residents. Los Angeles? Oh. No. Thanks. New York? Oh. No. Thanks!

Smallness is the outside of my besieged fortress.