End of Long Spring Festival Holiday

22:17

This is the end of the long 7-day Spring Festival Holiday, the longest one in the entire year. Relaxed time always flies fast enough. When you take the time to look back, it already pasted away.

To avoid the situation that after many years, I will completely forget what I did during the Spring Festival of 2009, let me create a small memo to summarize the holiday.

Note: I surely know that each paragraph of this article deservers a separate article to provide more information. Let me just summarize at the highest level, and then find a chance to write more. Leave me a comment to tell me which part you love me to write first.

Visiting Museums

The most meaningful thing I did was to bring the whole family (Wendy, Yifan, and the extended family) to the Shanghai Science and Technology Museum. As Wendy put it after the day long visit: "I found out it makes sense for a city to have a science and technology museum." I do agree. It redirect our attention from our daily life to much more broader scope, from mathematics, to space technology, from IT, to human, from animals, to rain forest. It is a  space that will bring happiness to people. From the daily life point of view, everything inside seems meaningless ("I know how electricity works, so what? Salary increase?"), but from the insider point of view, e=mc2 is much more meaningful than daily routines. :-)

Yifan obviously enjoyed walking on the winding paths in the rain forest, and chasing the pattern the spotlights projected on the floor than anything else. I have decided to get an annual card (it is said to be 240 RMB per year) for me, so I can bring Yifan more often to this museum – it seems it is a more interesting and educational place than the Hymall shopping center. :-)

Today, while others visited the Carrefour in Zhendai Thumb Plaza in Pudong, we brought Yifan to the Zhendai Museum of Modern Art. Wendy commented again: "It is useful to have an art museum." I agreed too. It was about "Intrude: Art & Life 366". I love the art exhibition a lot. If you have a chance, visit there. It is free whole day on Wednesday, and cost 20 RMB per adult.

Short Trip

The 3rd, and 4th day of the holiday (according to Lunar Calendar) were spent in the Silver Pearl Garden in Qingpu. It is a resort built by the ICBC (Industry and Commercial Bank of China). It is a common practice for state-owned companies to build their own resorts for internal use. Several of our friends stayed there for one night in a pretty big villa – Again, Yifan enjoys the trip a lot, which is what I care most. He obviously gets used to outing like this. One year ago, he just cannot stop crying at nights in hotels.

The hotel is located near the Daguanyuan of Shanghai, along the G318 – almost at the boundary of Shanghai and Suzhou, and not far from water town Zhouzhuang. The Diansha Lake surround the area, and makes it a perfect place for short trips – much nearer than Suzhou and Hangzhou but provides similar feeling of escaping from the city and daily life.

My Car – Goudaner – Broke Down on the Road

At about 5 years in age (I cannot believe it that we have already had Goudaner for almost 5 years), my cute car finally broke down on the road for the first time. It is because of the problem with the electricity generator. It just stops providing electricity to the battery, and without battery, the ABS system, and the Air Bag system stopped working. To maximize the safety for the passenger, the central computer shutdown the whole car – pretty reasonable design, since as long as the car moves, people will ignore whatever happened with the car. I tend to do it, at least.

I spent one day calling many different towing companies, to finally tow my car to the 4S service center of FIAT (the only one left in Shanghai after FIAT pulled out from China), and had the electricity generator replaces. Pretty expensive (1100 RMB). It is also a signal that Goudaner is no longer young. Many parts need to be replaced one by one in the next few years.

Other Time?

For the rest of the time, I did some programming. Let me quote Wendy for the third time, she said "Are you feel relaxed when you code?" I said yes.

I spent some time to replace the old http://user.wangjianshuo.com code, so all the pages are static pages, instead of PHP powered pages. This greatly improved performance of the site, so you won’t see whose (hopefully) CPU Exceeded Errors. However, give me some time to rebuild the individual blog entry pages. Currently, if you click your name under each comment, chances are, you will see 404 Page Not Found error. I promise it will only last for one week.

The other great thing I found was "Rsync over SSH". I will stop here to avoid annoy my reader with too many technical details.

I also had great conversation with Alexandra Harney, YLF fellow, and author of book "China Price". We talked a lot about the recent situation of Chinese economy, and tried to predict the future in some way. I also attended a 5G Gathering among the core team just now – a very different organization than it was started 3 years ago.

That’s it. Hope you also have a great Spring Festival holiday (if you have one), and again, let’s share the energy of the new year of Ox (or Bull in stock market terms).

22:42

How Cold is Shanghai Today

Do you want to know how cold Shanghai is, in a visual way? Let me show you some pictures I took 2 hours ago.

Photograph by Jian Shuo Wang

Photograph by Jian Shuo Wang

Photograph by Jian Shuo Wang

Photograph by Jian Shuo Wang

Photograph by Jian Shuo Wang

Photograph by Jian Shuo Wang

It seems the coldness has caused the water pipe on the top floor to break, and the water formed the long ice line. Although it is an accident (not so icey everywhere), it is a visual representation of how cold Shanghai is – it is not common for Shanghai to form so thick ice.

The whole surface of the lake is freezen to ice.

Photograph by Jian Shuo Wang

Photograph by Jian Shuo Wang

Chinese Zodiac

Here is the list of the Chinese Zodiac:

  1. Rat
  2. Ox
  3. Tiger
  4. Rabbit
  5. Dragon
  6. Snake
  7. Horse
  8. Ram
  9. Monkey
  10. Rooster
  11. Dog
  12. Pig

When people first know each other, they typically ask for which Zodiac Animal they belong to.

Examples

For example, I am a Snake, Wendy is a Horse, and Yifan is a Pig. :-)

Since there are 12 years in between of two same animal, it is pretty easy to calculate how old is someone. The age is not as a secret as in western world, anyway.

We just said goodbye to the year of Rat, and stepping into the year of Ox.

Happy Niu Year

You read it right, I mean Happy "Niu" Year, not "New" Year.

About 12 hours later, the Chinese Lunar New Year is coming. The year of Ox is coming to us.

Ox is written in Chinese characters as ?, or Niu. Since the pronunciation of Niu is exactly New, and there is a trend to use Niu and New interchangeably among my friends.

So, Happy Niu Year and Happy New Year to all my readers, my friends and family!

For more information about the Chinese Zodiac, check here.

My Wishes

This blog is trying to be a bridge between the western world, and the eastern world, the two distinctly different worlds, and I am trying so hard to help people outside China to understand what is happening here, and what is in people’s mind. I hope the greeting brings the happiness and hope of the Chinese New Year to people who do not celebrate this holiday.

From today, the whole China is in a 7 day holiday – the longest holiday in China (of cause accompanied by the largest human migration in the world every year for returning to hometown). I hope my friends who are in holiday enjoy their holiday and relax, and prepare for the new year, and for my friends who don’t know the Chinese New Year to also celebrate one more holiday – that is the meaning of holiday: to have people collectively celebrate for the past accomplishment and looking forward to the better future.

I’d like the take the chance for my loyal readers who have been with me for many years (some for as long as 7 years). There are not too many 7 years in life, and daily accompany is a huge accomplishment. I would love to thank everyone who have commented on my blog. You made the blog much more meaningful than just my post, and contributed the majority of the content on this blog. Your continuous feedback, compliment, supplementary, and even challenge helped me so much to understand this world better. It is much more than what I have expected when I started this daily blog 7 years go.

Last, but not least, I would love to say thank you to my close friends and family who we live in the same physical daily world (v.s. the online world). I may devote more time online than offline sometimes these years, and spent the time I may have otherwise spent on coffee or tea time with others. Thanks especially for Yifan and Wendy’s support. They have a much less devoted father or husband than others. Thanks.

Wish everyone has a great year of Ox.

Child Care in Shanghai

I tend to use the title of Child Care in China, but at second thoughts, the varity of how people handle their childcare differs so greatly from city to city, from city to villages, and from north to south. I would rather only talk about Shanghai.

Family Structure in China

With the implementation of One Child Policy, most of the families in China is three person family: wife, husband, and child. If you include the extended family, there are parents for both of the couple, which is 7 in total.

The other fact is, women in China works. Although cited as a key indicator of equal opportunity employment and equality between male and female, that is also the economy choice since very few household can hand it with only one person working.

The public holiday for mom is 4 months after the child is born. That means, when the child is 4 month old, the month has to go back to work. It is still a stage the child needs breeding. It is possible to extend the vacation to 12 months, but the mother risks her job – the first 4 months are popular, but not many people extend their vacation.

Grand-parents

In China, the tradition is big family, and the child care responsibility easily and naturally fall to the grandparents when the parents need to go to work, while most grandparents already retire. It is both emotional needs that the child is brought up by the grandparents; it is also the most economical method. I would argue that the society needs to take more responsibility on this so the grandparents can have more freedom in doing things they really like (taking care of child is interesting, and rewarding, but there are still pretty hard work involved).

For parents who live far away from their parents, or the health condition of grandparents do not permit them to take care of the child, there are not many choices left.

Nanny Services

Most family with just husband and wife, the little child needs someone to take care of.

The standard rate for Nanny (or Ayi) in Shanghai in normal times is 10 RMB (or 1.5 USD) per hour (it was 7 RMB before when I wrote this blog entry: Life in a Low Cost Labor World). That means, if you hire a nanny to help to take care of our child, you pay 80 RMB or 1600 RMB for the month. Typically, the rate is lower if you hire someone full time on monthly basis, instead of by hour.

If you hire a full time nanny to take of the child, it cost a little bit more – around 2000 RMB (250 USD) per month. We used this option. The nanny stay at your home and take care of the child 24 hours day. You can choose to ask the child to sleep with the nanny, or with us (Now Yifan sleeps with us).

Although the rate is not significant higher than by hour or day-time child care, the nannies can save a lot on housing and meal which may be paid by themselves otherwise. Typically the 2000 RMB or something can 100% go into their saving account, that they can bring or mail back home at Spring Festival…

Other Options

For mothers to stay at home is another option, but very few of my friends take this option (actually none for native, and two for people who return from US). It is an economic decision since raising a child is pretty expensive, and most people don’t have enough cash to support it when there is only one person working.

The other option is to send the child to child care center. But most of the centers accept 2 years old or above.

I even heard of complain of some of my friends who arrive in Shanghai just like Wendy and I did, and have a child without any help, and they don’t have the money to hire a nanny, and of cause, cannot support one person staying at home. Their choice was to leave Shanghai and getting back to where they originally from.

Another friend of mine sent their child back to their hometown, and their parents take care of the child. This is also popular.

Conclusion?

Anyway, having a baby is a big responsibility for the parents, and there is no easy way to handle it. Thanks to the relatively lower cost of child care in China, we can still hire a very good nanny to take care of Yifan.

P.S. The topic is inspired by Carroll’s suggestion about it. Thanks Carroll for bring the good topic.

Yifan Attacks Me :-)

Yesterday, Yifan happily throw his toy car onto my head – it hurts, and Yifan is so happy and laugh like crazy – it really hurts.

Then he tried to get my nose with his small hand, and scratched my face – there are three points on my face was hurt, with blood coming out a little bit.

Yifan is still cheerful and didn’t know what happened. Hmmm…. It hurts, again.

Although it is not the best experience I am with Yifan so far, but looking at innocent and always-happy Yifan, I cannot be angry, and I just feel this naughty boy is still so lovely. Looking around, there is the same little scar on his grandma and Ayi’s face. :-(

Let me just record it and when Yifan grows older, I will tell him when exactly he attacked and hurt his handsome and loving daddy.

Why Chinese Prefer Mobile to Access Internet

There was a thread on Webmasterworld about the Internet population in China. There are questinos around:

But why do the Chinese / Japanese so prefer a mobile over a small laptop?

. Here is my attempt to answer the question.

This is just my guess about why Chinese use mobile much more than Japanese or American.

1. More Hand-Free. With relatively very low penetration of cars in China, most of people either walk, or take bus to move. Their hands are not occupied. There is much more waiting time than average American (this is very similar in Japan).

2. Chinese characters. With the same area of screen, Chinese characters can deliver much more information than English. Maybe it is a better user experience.

3. It is not “prefer”, it is the only choice. For most of the users who access Internet via mobile, they have no option to access computer at all. Think about these two numbers: there are 298 million Internet users, and the number of Mobile users was already 547 million (twice as Internet users). Among the Internet users, 1/4 or more of them don’t have a computer – they access via public Internet cafe. If I am presented a choice of using computer or mobile, I may prefer to use computer, but what if computer is not an option?

Just my two cents.

Which Train Station to Use in Shanghai?

I received an email today regarding the two confusing train stations in Shanghai. He/she is definitely not the first one to ask the question.

by the way, i would like to ask you because i checked online and wanted to buy a train ticket from shanghai to beijing. my question is i want to ride the T104 train and where is that located? i mean there are three (3) railway stations in shanghai so im a little confused. and maybe you could also give me a chinese address of the station so we can show it to the taxi when we go there. thank you. I’ll wait for your reply pls.

Let me try to help.

How Many Train Stations in Shanghai?

There are two major stations in Shanghai, with some much smaller additional stations: Shanghai Railway Station, and Shanghai South Railway Station are the two biggest.

Shanghai Railway Station

Shanghai Railway Station 上海火车站, is the biggest railway station so far. It has other name called Xin Ke Zhan 新客站, or directly translation: New Passenger Station. It is “new” relative to the old North Station, which has almost been abondorned. However, it is now the “old” station, compared to the new Shanghai South Railway Station.

It is accessible via Metro Line #1, Metro Line #4, and Metro Line #3. Many buses also go there, but it is highly suggested for visitors to the city to use Metro or taxi to get there.

If you only see Shanghai, or 上海 on the train ticket without any other additional character on your train ticket, it is Shanghai Railway Station.

Shanghai South Railway Station

Shanghai South Railway Station, or 上海南站, is at the south side of the city. It is also accessible by Metro Line #1, but about 10 stops southward of Shanghai Railway Station.

On the train ticket, it is shown as Shanghai South 上海南.

In my train schedule page, for example, if you see Shanghai, it refers to Shanghai Railway Station. If you see Shanghai South, it refers to Shanghai South Railway Station.

Other Stations?

There are Shanghai West Train Station (or Zhenru Station as some people call it 真如站), and Meilong Station (I am not sure whether it still operates after the South Station started to use).

Recently, the Shanghai Pudong Railway Station just opened, but with only very limited cargo and passenger train. I hope it can grow big soon.

How to Get to the Stations?

I would highly recommend you to take metro if you don’t have large luggage. If you do, take taxi. Tell the driver exactly which stations to go. I agree it is confusing for visitors, but do let your driver clearly understand which station you going – south, or the main station. Better, show your ticket, and most taxi drivers are experienced with this – and many of them may have experience to take passenger to the wrong station before. :-)

Hope it helps.

P.S. Definitely avoid train stations during rush days (today, tomorrow,and the day after tomorrow) – three days before the Spring Festival. There are “people mountain and people sea” there.

P.S.2

j commented about the question itself. I didn’t tell him/her the answer yet. Let me complete the article here, although I have emailed back with exact answer.

Train T104 starts from Shanghai Railway Station. Here is the schedule.

Train # Seq Station Name Arrive Depart Distance

T104 1 Shanghai - 2002 0

T104 2 Wuxi 2109 2112 126

T104 3 Zhenjiang 2214 2217 238

T104 4 Xuzhou 0208 0216 649

T104 5 Beijing 0934 - 1463

Who is Chris Devonshire Ellis

In short, I don’t know.

In longer answers, I don’t know, I don’t care, as long as I don’t receive annoying legal statements or phone calls.

In the 7 years of blogging, I experienced many conflicts of opinions on this blog. Most of them are around meaningful topics, and I enjoyed the conversations a lot (like this, and this).

However, I was disturbed by a conversation in this entry: Second-Generation Identity Card, related to a person named Chris Devonshire Ellis. If you want to see all the off-topic discussion, scroll down to the comment made by Pesci, and all the discussion after it.

With all due respect to Chris, I don’t know who this person is, and I am not very interested in finding it out – the article the comment belongs to is a blog entry about “Second Generation Identity Card in Hong Kong”. I hoped that there had not been off topic discussion below it.

Then someone posted something about this person – pretty negative, but I just wasn’t able to distingurish it from many other normal, off topic comments.

Then there are request to remove the comment by Roger. Without the following thread, I didn’t realize what happened, and posted my policy of removing comment as below:

Hi Roger,

I did see your comment. However, it is my policy not to remove any comment on this blog, as long as it is legal, not spam and not meaningless. If there is any evidence about illegal, spaming, or comments that is not appropriate on this blog, please report to me by writing to me at jianshuo at hotmali dot com. No evidence, no removal.

Posted by: Jian Shuo Wang (external link) on October 4, 2006 11:46 PM

and this:

Laowai2, I am a strong supporter for freedom of speech, which is really not easy in China. There are just enough censorship going around everywhere, so I took relatively less moderation approach.

To be honest, I have no idea about what Pesci is talking about. I didn’t see anything in my post, or other’s post before him/her that is related to this comment. Please correct me if it is wrong.

If people just came to the site and randomly post something not related to the post itself, I will actively remove it. I call it spam.

If Pesci is talking something related to this entry (Second Generation ID card), and is saying something bad about another person, please give me some evidence so I can make decisions. Currently, I have no clue at all about what this is all about.

On Anti-Foreigner, or Pro-foreigner, I always use the rule set by Martin-Lurther King: people should be judged by their characters instead of anything else. I don’t delete any post because it is posted by foreigners, Chinese, black, yellow. The only guideline is, it is the right or wrong comment. I won’t delete any comments just because he/she is foreigner, or leave a comment there just because he/she is a foreigner.

For negative comments, I have many negative feedback on this blog (including myself). It think as long as he/she is telling the truth, it is OK. In most cases, I cannot tell who is telling the truth, so please debate on the thread instead of asking me to remove previous comment.

I hope it is clear now.

It triggered many comments after that. I then commented the previous comment with my note – that is what you see now. Then I continue to receive emails from this person to ask me to delete more similar comment. I just have no idea about who Chris Devonshire is, and again, I don’t really care. He complained about me in this article: The Downside Of China – Immaturity Online .

So, I am seeking for some legal advice here: If I receive complain about a comment, and there are pretty reasonble evidence or arguement about it, then what I need is to take down the comment temperily and wait for the other side to give evidence that it is true, right?

Please Stop Here

Anyway, I hope everything stops here, after I hide the original content of the comment. Please, leave me alone without further lengthy legal warning and similiar stuff.

If you want to say something bad about Mr. Chris Devonshire Ellis, please go somewhere else, and the best, start your own blog, instead of posting off-topic comment on this blog.

If you want to say something good about Mr. Chris Devonshire Ellis, please also go somewhere. He has a pretty nice blog at http://www.2point6billion.com/, and your comment will be welcomed.

My point is, please go somewhere else for a topic that neither me, nor my readers are interested. It is just as the case of Disturbed Lunch (the point was, no matter which side is right, just don’t disturbe the third party).

Also, if any one want me to delete any comment posted either by himself, or by others, please simply send me an email stating what happened, and most of the time, if reasonable, I will help, just as I stated in the How to Delete Your Comment. We are here to help, and not to fight. Please do not always use threatening word. I am not always the person with good tempter. If you push the line too hard, I will also react.

Update January 23, 2009

Received a phone call around 17:00 from Chris’ lawyer again on this. Hm…

Update January 23, 2009

Received a phone call for the second time today at 17:18 from Chris’ lawyer on this. Hm…, asking me to delete this article because I said something negative about Chris Devonshire Ellis. I asked her to list all the sentence she thing is bad about him, and I will delete it. I have changed my bottom line here: tell me exactly what you don’t feel comfortable, and I will delete, OK? I am just too annoyed by this stupid thing. Yes. I am pretty angry about this. People have the right to be angry and express their feeling if treated in a not-so-comfortable matter, right? I want to help, and I did help to remove some of the comment (with backup so it is possible for the original commenter to counter-argue). I have cooperated, and then, what the next thing you want?

Update February 15, 2009

Interesting enough, after Lost Laowai posted an article about this Chris Devonshire Ellis, he received Chris’ legal threat again, and he was forced to close the comment section with comment as below:

As much as I’d love to be a beacon of free speech, I don’t have the time or wherewithal to deal with Chris’ threats nor can I guess what is true and what isn’t – apparently an ability Chris believes I hold, as he refused on every occasion I asked for him to simply tell me which comments were libelous so I could remove them. He never did.

I don’t know about others, but I just feel Chris is pushing the line too hard. If I were still “neutral” about this person when I started this article, I became negative about him after all these happen. If anyone asks me for a reference, I would honest tell what I feel about him.