Do You Have a Calendar?

Last time when I chatted with my friends from U.S (I think it was on the top of the Jin Mao tower), he introduced a new tool that helps people to use calendar more effectively. He asked me whether it will be a good application for the Chinese market. My short answer was no. My longer answer was “I am not sure how many people in China really use calendar.”

People in China don’t use Calendars as Often

It is a major difference between people in China and in U.S. I don’t know why people in U.S. use calendar, either software or paper based, in daily life.

If I hadn’t worked in a foreign company, I would NOT have used calendar either.

Is it because of the educational system that uses the task based time management theory, or because the schedule of each person depends on the other so much? My friends in have schedules, and I have schedules, but the schedule is flexible enough and not so many and people don’t need something to help remember them.

Restaurants don’t require reservation (Shanghai is the exception). A waiting line is always a good solution.

This is an interesting difference.

Updated July 26, 2007

Recently, I think the question should be asked as “Why people in U.S. use calendars, instead of why people in China don’t use them”.

When I look at the time management theory symbolized by a clock, I found it is not a tradition in western countries either before 1800. The industrial revolution in England forced farmers to go to factories, and for the first time in history, people need precious clock, so the work can be synchronized, and people can depend on the work of each other.

In the recent 50 years, to-to-list as a time management tool get popular in U.S, and task based management, prioritizing, and the concept of goal based time management as a theory get so popular in U.S., that people all rely on calendars and task list to do their work. The current generation of American (and maybe their parent generation) grew up and learn the time management when they are young.

That MAY answer the question of why people (almost everyone) in U.S uses a calendar.

In China, on the contrary, didn’t go through the industrialization revolution yet, and people still keep the pace of the previous hundreds of generations, and time is not that important in the current society.

So, people in China don’t use calendar.

Waiting for More Metro Lines

The pace of the construction of Shanghai Metro seems to slow down after the recent opening of the Metro Line #1 North Extension. The construction site still occupies the most crowded street, and causing big problems for the surface traffic, but it seems there is no hope to use the stations soon.

For example, the station of the Zhao Jia Bang Road (肇嘉浜路)and Xi Zhang Nan Lu (西藏南路)has been under construction since I moved to Pudong with a car. Now my car has celebrated its one year two month ago, and the station construction site still looks the same. I feel a little bit losing patient. According to the Future Plan of Shanghai Metro, there are enough lines to cover all the urban area of Shanghai, but now, the question for normal people in this big city is WHEN. Jia You, Shanghai Metro!

Thinking in English or Chinese

After I graduated, and joined international company, I started to use English in my emails within the company. It has been a rule of thumb that all international companies uses English as internal communication tool. English skill has been an important factor during interview process.

However, no matter how good one’s English is, it is still hard to THINK in English. I believe I can think in English (with very hard practices, including writing this blog), but just as my friend put it: “There is at least 20% difference in myself between thinking in English or Chinese”. When I am thinking in English, I do feel the different. The logic is following the western logic, and the terms like professional, systematic, reasoning occupies my head much more than the time I use Chinese.

Recently, when I transit my focus to the pure Chinese market, I found my language changed a lot. I never (or try my best to avoid) thinking in English. When I am thinking in English again, I know I am farther away from the market I am in. I have to use the slang people use, and set my foot to the real land, that may have some affects in my English blog too.

It is an interesting topic – when people do the business in a different language than the target market, the minor difference may affects the reason slightly, and slight difference can be huge impact in the market… Just my two cents.

Attended FT Charity Dinner

I had the honor to be invited to the FT Charity Gala Dinner named the Art of Living at Shanghai Science and Technology Museum. It gives me the feeling that Shanghai is definitely under the spot light of the world these days. The CEOs of the top luxury brand like Broini, Gucci, Richmon,、Bulgari,Valentino, Prada gathered in Shanghai to hold the meeting. It was something like the Oscar in U.S, and issued some awards to the talented new comer.

It was quite an amazing event for me. I was in IT industry for too long time and had almost no idea about fashion. The event I attended are the gathering of young people. The dress code was always T-Shirt. :-) Although people call the attendants “white collar”, I believe the better title should be “round collar”. :-)

The dress code for this event was, to my surprise, “black tie”. I was familiar with dress code like casual, business casual, business formal… It is the first event I have ever attended with dress code “black tie”. It was rare for me. I dressed up with black suites with a tie – it was the most fomal suite I had, but still found I am among the minority. Most gentleman wear “black bow tie”, and ladies wear evening dress. I was a little bit embarrased, but I comfort myself that “I have wear formal enough for an IT guy. At least I didn’t apear with T-Shirt.”

I know most of them are super famous in the luxury world, but the only person I know were Jin Yuxi 靳羽西, the “most famous woman in China” by People magazine. Her sharp red dress was wonderful. I also enjoyed the performance of the 12 Girl Band (女子十二乐坊). The interesting detail was, there are 13 girls in red on the T-Stage. It was interesting.

Thanks for Judi to invite me to the event. It was eye opening for me. Meanwhile, I feel Shanghai, as a city, is more close to the spot light of the world, and is much closer to the world. At least, it has become a choice for desitination of many world-class event, just like London, New York and Paris. Although there may be many years for Shanghait to catch up in many areas, especially in art, and people area, it is becoming better and better.

Language Exchange Partners Wanted

I came to the Shanghai University of Science and Technology yesterday and talked to hundreds of students. I confirmed that English is very important, although the English examination is not. I encourage every students to find some foreign friends in Shanghai – to learn more about the world, to improve oral English and to help foreigners in this city feel at home. I am more than happy to do it. I asked the students to post their request on my classified site Kijiji and I will help them to post their information here. Here are two


Felix majored in Chinese literature and now is a graduate student. He wishes to make friends with foreign friends for language exchange. He can teach chinese, and provide other help for friends and want to improve oral English. His contact is:

Mobile: 13524591277

His Chinese last name is Ding. So you can call him Felix.

This information was originally posted on Language Exchange area of Kijiji

More will Come

Just as I said, a classified platform is not that useful if there is no service helping people to really get connected. I am willing to provide this service. No matter how big the business becomes, I am personally committed to do that.

For English speaking persons, you can post here. By posting, you grant me the permission to translate it into Chinese and post on Kijiji for you.

If you speak Chinese, you can post to Language Exchange Category on Kijiji. Please add four characters 口语醒目 at the end of your ads, so I know you grant me the permission to move it to this page.

Work Life Balance

Thanks for everyone’s discussion on my work and life balance. ILH asked:

Is it worth it if you are starting to neglect your personal heath and sacrifice your family life in order to have a full time job, maintain a couple of Weblog, and have a lots of social activities? Posted by: ILH on May 14, 2005 02:19 AM

Well. It is NOT worth to have a full time job to sacrifice my family life and health. In Stephen R. Covey’s First Things First put this sentence as the headline of the first chapter:“How many people on their deathbed wish they’d spendt more time at the office.”

I totally agree. What I am doing is really integrate my dream, my life and my job together. I have my commitment to every friend around me, my family, my company and my life. I believe I can balance for most time. This Beijing trip is an exception, that I believe what I sacrified well paid for what I got. Thanks for everyone’s care.

Share a picture of Jin Mao Tower in Pudong with everyone:


Photography by Jian Shuo Wang

Hire a Taxi? Avoid Rainy Friday

DSC03693 DSC03692 DSC03691

I waited one hour to get a taxi after I arrived in Hong Qiao Airport around 6:00 PM today. Wendy was waiting for me at Metro tower and waited for me to “help” her out because it was almost impossible to hire a taxi there. Whenever the rain meets Friday in Shanghai, quit the idea of hiring a taxi at rush hour. It is almost impossible. Check the long line of people waiting for taxi at an airport. Some first time visitor coming to Shanghai to say: “Hey, people in Shanghai are so patient. How can they bear waiting for taxi for hours eveyrday?”

Seeking for Shanghai Questions

I am back from Beijing. Recently, I feel not as good as I was in fullfilling the mission of this website – to help foreigners, expats, and people outside China to learn more about Shanghai, plan their trip better and to survive in this city better.

As everyone knows, my focus shifted in the recent months, especially after I join eBay. Last three days was wonderful, except that I skipped sleep for the first day (actually I slept two hours), and skipped breakfast and lunch for the second day. But it worth it.

I need your help to send me more questions about Shanghai. Let me help to answer so to help more people.

I Paid for Flickr Pro

At the first try of Flickr, I know I will pay for this service. It is only a matter of time. Today, when I wanted to upload, the bandwidth I have used reached 99% and I cannot upload. I am not frustrated at all, since my credit card is ready within my reach. I paid 24.95 USD for the Flickr Pro immediately. It works great. Now I have 2G disk space (or bandwidth) and permement archive (for one year).

Before I paid, I noticed there are 2 new mails. I was quick enough to complete the payment and thought I can check the mail later. It prooved I was completely wrong.

In one mail, my reader snack offered a free flickr account for me: “I have a Pro account, and they gave me 2 additional Pro accounts to give away for free. I have one left – would you like it?”. I would definitely say “I like it”, if I didn’t pay. :-) I would like to thank Snack for the kindness so much. Flickr account is a perfect gift to share, I agree.

Traveling in Beijing

I stay in Shangri-la Hotel in Beijing this time at the west of Beijing. To stay in a hotel is of cause not to comparable with staying near the real Shangri-la in Lijiang during the trip, but the worst thing is, I only had 2 hours in the hotel last night.

Beijing is the heart of IT industry, and the media industry in China. People ask me about Where to Start an IT Company? in 2004, my suggestion is Beijing. If the confidential level is 6 out of 9 last time, my confidential level is almost 8 out of 9 after sometime. It is the easiest place to get noticed from media, get support. There is great circles here. I have decided to spend about once every month in Beijing recently.