Adidas in Sanlitun Beijing

From the first day I am in Beijing, I planned to visit the new Adidas flagship store in Sanlitun, Beijing.

I am not a sports fan, and I am not an Adidas fan yet. I went there just for the building. When we were at a bar at floor 4 of the Salish Lodge in Snoqualmie, Greg told me that he has a new architect completed in Beijing. This is one of the only three works he did for Asia. I went there and check out his building.

P.S. This page was actually created on October 1, 2008

Prepaid Gas and Electricity in Beijing

In Beijing, almost everything related to household utility is prepaid. This is the biggest difference in life in Beijing and Shanghai.

I have taken it for granted that the following things should be billed after use:

  • Natural gas

  • Water
  • Electricity
  • Hot-water (if it is provided)
  • Fixed Line Telephone

In Beijing, things are very different.

Card….

For most of the households in Beijing, they have many different cards:

- Electricity card. You have to go to bank or self-serve machine to buy electricity credit, and then insert it into the electricity meter to get electricity.

- Gas card. The same thing. Buy it at bank first, and insert the card into the gas meter, so you get gas.

- Hot water card. You have to got to the property management company to prepay the hot water you need, insert it into your hot water meter, so you can get hot water.

If you do not insert the card, the meter just stops anything from passing it – no matter it is electricity, gas, hot water, or anything else.

Big Difference

Mvm has complained for this when he was in Beijing. There are all types of people – people like to plan and people hate plan in advance. Not everyone can plan exactly how much electricity, how much water, and how much gas the family will use in that month. I assume in Beijing, people may often run into the situation of no gas, no electricity or no water. Imagine at night, you don’t have electricity, like what Eric experienced during the middle festival. You have to wait until the second day to take short leave from work to buy some electricity…

Nothing Right, or Wrong. It is Just Different

I just feel the pain in Beijing, but there is no right or wrong. It is just different from Shanghai, just like many foreigners felt the difference and suffer from the difference from their own country in China.

What do you feel about the prepaid model in Beijing?

P.S. This page was actually created on October 1, 2008

Plastic Bags in Seattle

In the Pike Market in Seattle, I bought a small apron skirt for Yifan. That was a very small thing that I can put into my pocket. The lady who sold it to me gave me a large plastic bag, and I immediately said: “Oh. No. Thanks…”.

Plastic Bags?

When people travel, and maybe only when people travel, they can be more sensitive to the world, and found out something that they didn’t think before.

Free plastic bags for retailer besides food have been banned in China for quiet some time. (beforeand after the ban). I, and most of people in China, has gotten used to a world without plastic bag. People start to bring cloth reusable bags to shopping already. The free plastic bag in Seattle, and in most of other places in US was very different.

Uncomfortable to Use One

I just feel very uncomfortable to use plastic bags, especially for small things, where a bag is completely not necessary. China has a strong government. Sometimes it makes wrong decisions, and sometimes right decisions, but they can enforce a decision in a manner that no one match. Plastic bag is an example about how easy (if enforced) to remove people’s addict to plastic…

I even wonder, besides the “banned book”, guns, and modern life style, there will be one more item added to the sighseeing list for tourists from China to the US or other countres in the future – the free plastic bags…

P.S. This page was actually created on October 1, 2008

Back from 22 Hours Trip

I am back from Seattle. The trip was very long – left hotel at 7:00 AM Sept 22 Seattle time, and arrives at home at 8:00 PM Sept 23 Shanghai time. That is 22 hours on the road – to be more exactly, on the road, at airport and in air.

I agree that Seattle is too far away. I have get used to my trip to the Bay Area. That is more convenient compared to Seattle. I have not been to Seattle since 2005, when I left Microsoft.

I hope my next trip to US just stops at San Francisco…

Random Note During Meeting

YLF

Title 9 – what is this?

Women in sports as background of what she did – much better cause to do things.

30 years of reform since 1979.

You are going to spend all your time as a tourist.

“Challenge what you believe”

“You should really be ready to embrace uncomfortable positions”

“It is not what you say that matters. It is what you are seen that matters”

“It is the same group of people who fight for jobs who fight for getting back to home”

“YOu can have it all, but not at the same time. We all make choices”.

“Just follow the laughter”

“Whether we survive or not depend on how e meet the challenges”

- lack of accurate information about China

- Look at China through US’ paradigm not via Chinese eyes

Kennedy: “our bank system is at its edge.” Thank God. They didn’t listen.

The key is to have a “clear, rational, and not self-centered propose”.

“Lift above the up and down in daily life – the north star.”

“To enhance the freedom and happiness of others”

“because me is very weak, small and short lived”

“Be a communicator or the telephone wire between US and China”

“Stupid enough ot think that would work” – for culture revolution in China.

“If you don’t give it up, no body else can take it away – the north star”

“Something upset us is not the real world, it is our thought about the real world”.

“The rational judgment is based on your viewpoint. ”

- “The first year will be very depressed” – “I will try but I cannot promise”

“Consistently check with reality to verify your north star”

“The brutal and lairs believe they are for doing a good cause. So keep in mind and consistently do reality check”

“The sign of liberal thoughts is no absolute thing”

“The world is my home. Doing good is my religion”

“Only when a water goes back to a river, it lives for ever.”

- They are the only game in town. Who are you for if you are against them.

- This is the most successful regime in human history.

- Respect.

- Lay your card on the table

- Desire for solution not regime change

Other chocking things – bad meat, or milk

Growth and development of economic system – painful process.

Different Ways to Waste Energy

Travel is interesting since it gives you the chance to understand the silly things we do everyday.

During my travel in US, I realize something:

People in China always use energy to make water hot, while

People in US always use energy to make it cold.

I just cannot bear that everything I drink is cold. Not only “not warm”, half of the water in the cup is “ice”. I didn’t think about my love to hot water too much before I realized American’s love to cold water.

The even more serious energy waster is the drinking machine in Shanghai. Many drinking machine has hot water on the left, and cold water (cold, not normal temperature) on the right. Many people just mix the hot and cold water to get water that is directly drinkable. But why waste the energy to cool it and heat it, before they are mixed?

Salsa Dance Place in Seattle

After we have dinner with D-WA congressman Rick, many of YLFers head back to hotel. I went to a Salsa dancing place in Seattle with Ashish, Tong, Ming, Mark, Lisa, Raymond, Matt, Jen….(many people, and I just try to use first name – the typical way I quote people when I don’t have their explicit permission to show their name in my blog).

Century Ballroom

The place is called Century Ballroom and Cafe at 915 E Pine St., Seattle. Nice place. I was very impressed by how well everyone in the ballroom dances. I didn’t bring camera with me but you can check out some sample photos they posted on their own website. It was amazing.

I am familiar with places of disco dancing, but for ballroom dancing, this is my first experience. It seems people have a pretty high basic standard to join the dancing pool. I didn’t dance, but just looked quietly for one hour. The dance itself is a performance for me.

Art in Seattle

Seattle is a charming city. It was always my favorite US city, before I later started to love life in the bay area better (not that much rain, and the faster pace, more relaxed startup environments, and the great minds I can tough).

Besides the natural beauty, Seattle is particular outstanding in terms of art. I saw more art display in Seattle than any other city. I watched drama in Seattle, and it was wonderful. I reported the grassroot art in Seattle about the Live Girls Theater, and the draw exhibition, which directly inspired and led to our photo exhibition in Shanghai. To me, Seattle’s art is more grassroot than New York, and more appealing to me. Tonight is another example of those very well done “art” – the dancing of normal people in this city.

Learn to Dance?

I decided that I need to put “learn to dance” to my to-do-list. The other event that triggered my interest in dancing is a very quick introduction of ballet by Damian Woetzel, one of the greatest and brightest star in the modern ballet field, during the session this afternoon. Sometimes it really matters about who teach you something more than what he/she teaches. The inspiration, I think, will last for quiet some time.

Art and Sports in Life

Besides Damian, who devoted to the education of dancing after he left the New York City Ballet, Kim Ng, the Assistant General Manager of Los Angles Dodge baseball team also suggested the benefit of promoting sports in schools (although she put more focus on female sports education). I remember in the last year’s YLF, the great conductor, George Steel, talked about the importance of music, (and taught me a little bit on conducting)… All these added up together, I just feel that art (no matter that it is, say, dancing, painting, drawing, music) or sports (what ever it will be) should play a much bigger role than today in the Chinese society. This trip is very educational for me to re-think about these simple things that bring happiness to life, and take a pause in this money and consuming-centric world. We should do something in this direction…

Written at 1:36 AM, Seattle time.

Jian Shuo Wang Becomes Wang Jian Shuo

During this trip to YLF, and recent other trips in US, I just realized in more and more occasions, my name is printed as Wang Jian Shuo instead of Jian Shuo Wang. If you didn’t noticed the difference yet, let me tell you explicitly: it is all about first name first or the last name first for Chinese people.

I write about Why I don’t have an English Name 4 years ago. If you don’t have the time to read that long article, the quick reason is about how you can legally proof that you are the person identified by your English name. But in the last few years, more and more I feel a Chinese name is all about the Chinese identify that I feel very comfortable of.

Change of Orders

The order of the change is a small change, but it means something significant to me.

When we translate someone’s name from US to China, we keep the order. Bill Gates is translated to directly to Chinese using pronunciation, and the Gates part always comes after Bill. I cannot think of any scenario in China that people address Bill Gates as Gates Bill… The only transition from the last few decades was, there was to be a dot between the Chinese translation of first name and last name. Now, the dot is used and still regarded as the right way to do it, but fewer and fewer people will need to add the dot. Maybe because it is not directly in the keyword or easy to access via Chinese IME.

For the same reason, the translation of Chinese name to English seems easy. Pinyin is already a great way to do the word to word translation, but why Chinese name has to be put upside down to fit the English standard?

I didn’t think about this until recently I saw my name more and more often printed as Wang Jian Shuo. It at least reflected that the culture and people exchange in the two countries (or more countries) are more frequent. Just as people in China don’t really need the dot or even dash to help get the first name and last name apart (because the names are very family to many people already), people don’t need to change the order of Chinese names to fit the English tradition, since people will gradually know how that Chinese names always have surname first and given name last.

Photos from YLF Snoqualmie, WA

Let me first post this photo Robert Yung took during our stay in Salish Lodge. The point where the photo was taken is very close to where we stayed.

Photo by Robert Yung

And this is me.

Photo by Ashish Gadnis

We had great fire-side chat before dinner last time, and Ashish again, took the photo of us when we were there.

Photo by Ashish Gadnis

In the photo below, we have Yuan Ming, Zhu Tong, Alex Liu, Ambassador Chen Yonglong, Tang Haisong, Liu Tianyu and Zhang Pei.

Photo by Ashish Gadnis

This is the rafting scene. I finally jumped out of the raft to get the paddle (which is the goal of the rafting), and when I get back, the raft is already far from the bank. So I had to swim a little bit to reach the boat, and get pulled by my team mate out of water. I am completely wet.

There are a lot of fun, but the key part is not the boat thing. There are much more than that, and I am going to share quickly.