CategoryYLF

Back from Jiangyin

Spent the Friday night in Jiangyin, Wuxi, China. Robert Cao from YLF hosted us in his Germany Beer Festival. Had wonderful time there. Just get back from the trip. I will be back to talk more about it after I make up some sleep.

P.S. Jiangyin is at the south of Yangtz river, 2 hours from Shanghai.

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.

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.

Float Over the River of Snoqualmie

Just get back from the river floating of Snoqualmie River. I am still waiting Ashish to send over the great photos he took when we were on the boat, let me tell you something about the wonderful experience.

The water fall of Snoqualmie river is just at where we stayed (Salish Lodge). I could not believe how close a resort can be with a big water fall like that.

We took the big raft for 6 persons down to the river. The water is cold – believe me. It is not as the water where Titanic sinks, but it is really cold.

If I would tell you that the experience was educational or I learned a lot, I just be lying, but it was really wonderful time to be on top of a calm river (at the later part when we were away from the rocks) in a boat, and to really spend time to discover how beautiful the natural can be.

First Two Sessions of YLF 2008

Just finished the first two sessions of YLF (The Young Leader’s Forum) this morning.

It is a wonderful presentation, and I am so happy that I have get rid of my jetlag, so I can concentrate to the presentations, and join the discussion.

There are so many things that I want to record, and then discuss about it, but let me just quickly move the following bulletins from my note to my blog, because I am very sure that this blog last longer than paper.

– about China’s law breakers

– Moral standard vs the system

– Lack of religious and its impact to China

– Development in economy vs the change in morality that changes people’s behavior in China

– The plastic bags (we didn’t talk about it, but I just thought about our experience during the Pike Market the other day)

– Diversity of personal identity

– Marriage in a producing economy vs a consuming economy

– Spider web theory and animal theory

– “How can you be so stupid” type of question when we look back about what the milk things in China, and the financial crisis in US (and the world)

– Sublime

– People are always trying to be greedy.

I know the sentences, and words does not make sense without a background. Sorry for that, but I hope I can take more time to do the reflection and explain more…

My Presentation

Since the theme of this year’s forum is discover, my topic was “Discovery: 6 Years of Blogging”. I updated the slides uploaded here: Discovery for YLF 2008 in Snoqualmie.ppt

Since there are so many things to talk about, and there are so limited time – 10 minutes, I just wrote 5 slides, and it worked well.

Juilliard Orchestra Coming to Shanghai

Good news. Juilliard Orchestra is coming to Shanghai Grand Theater from June 4, and June 5.

I would completely ignore the event since the embarrassingly lack of knowledge of dancing, drama, and music – the area Juilliard School enjoys international fame, but because of YLF, the situation changed a lot.

During the 2007 Nanjing trip of YLF, I had the honor to meet with the president of Juilliard School, and he spent about 2 hours explain why art (especially, dancing, drama and music) can help the society. It was exactly at that time people debate so heatedly about whether to spend money on poverty, art or space technology. Just FYI, the most extreme quote from the discussion was “every dollar spent on art is killing some one somewhere – people are referring lack of resources to fight against poverty. Anyway, that was a wonderful discussion.

They just had a phenomenal concert in Beijing days ago, and will come to Shanghai. Here is the press release

I feel that I need to do something to make sure it is a great event for students in Juilliad School. So here is the short advertisement:

If any of you might be interested in buying a block of tickets for clients, associates, please you can contact Wang Min of Shanghai Grand Theatre at wangmin AT shgtheatre.com.

YLF 2008 in Snoqualmie, WA

This year’s Young Leaders Forum (YLF) will be held in Snoqualmie, WA, USA, from September 18, to September 22, 2008, after it was held successfully in Nanjing last year.

The venue is Salish Lodge, 45 minutes outside of Seattle. From the picture on their website, it looks great – there is a big fall there (I hope it does not turn out to be smaller than the impression it gave me). I have been to Seattle many many times, but never went to the mountain area, and I was told it is great.

But the most exciting thing for me is to be able to get together with other YLFers, the talented people rarely see (so many) gathering together. As a YLF 2007 Fellow, this is the second year (and the last sponsored year) to attend, but I hope I will continue to be part of the family at my own expense in the future (if the program continue to allow alumni to return).

Since the even is from Thursday to Monday, I am thinking of getting to US several days earlier – I am a serious jet lag person, and I don’t want to fall asleep during the session, and I can also spend time in San Jose, California, and Redmond, Washington, to see some friends there.

So, if you live in the Seattle area, I will be happy to meet with my readers in person. I will organize a meetup session, maybe at the airport before or after the trip. If you’d like to be notified of the meetup event, please leave a comment below (I will be able to see the email in the email column and will send you the notification when it is set). I know I have many people to see, if you remember that I have worked for Microsoft for almost 7 years.

Is Guanxi Important?

YLF

Many books about China says: “Guanxi is important in China”. Many people do research based on the books. Many foreigners know Guanxi is important in China.

The problem is, it is a little bit out of date today.

Guanxi is important, but no longer the ONLY key

Guanxi or relationship was very important, and is still very important in today’s China society. However, the importance of this factor is degraded based on my observation. It is just like “Hukou is important, and is still important, but not as important as before”.

Before, when there are no market rules, many things are controlled in the hands of the key person. Since everything belongs to a “virtual” country, the factor of a person is the most important factor.

However, these days, especially in large cities in Shanghai, or Beijing, many decisions are now business decisions, and there are clear owners (just like most countries in the world), the role of Guanxi start to fade out.

I want to make it clear that I am not saying relationship is not important in China any more. It is still more important in decisions than many other countries. What I am saying is, it is not as important as many books described 10 or 20 years ago.

YLFer Gather in Shanghai

This entry is intended to notify YLFers (Young Leaders Forum) participants about the FYLer gather in Shanghai. Hopefully, many of you have subscribed to the Young Leaders Forum Fellow Blog Feed, so you should be able to get this news very soon.

We had a wonderful gather for YLFers. Thanks for the business trip of Rose from Beijing, and organization of Haisong (and paying the bill), we finally had:

  • Rose, 2007 Fellow
  • Haisong, 2004 Fellow
  • Li Hong, 2003 Fellow
  • Zhang Yong, 2005 Fellow
  • Nick, 2005 Fellow
  • Jian Shuo, 2007 Fellow

So nice to see each other again after the Nanjing trip. It should be the first known gather after this year’s forum.

Saw June with Michael Bloomberg

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is in Beijing today. Although I heard many great things about Mr. Bloomberg from my friends, I am not interested in him as much as I am interested in YLF participant June Mei. I saw her in one of the press photo:

beijing-bloomberg.june 
Image in courtesy of Xinhua News Agency

June was behind Bloomberg. Looking forward the Mayor’s (and June’s) visit to Shanghai in the following few days.

Young Leaders Forum Fellow Blog Feed

We need to leverage new technology, don’t we? I volunteered to create an aggregated Young Leaders Forum Fellow Blog

Feed. The URL of this feed is

http://tinyurl.com/2zc4vz

. There are some behind the scene works.

  • I get a list of all

    YLF fellow (the listing is still growing) and put all the blog entries together.

  • I sort the blog entries according to published time so the latest one is always on the top
  • I have limited my blog RSS output to only the articles with YLF or Young Leaders Forum in it, to avoid

    overwhelm people with not related comments. Remember, I write daily

  • I am still trying to add a “Translate this” button to the beginning of the description section of Chinese entries so

    our American Fellows can at least have some idea about what the entries are about. This is not completed yet

In case you want to trace the latest thoughts of YLF, please subscribe to this feed or simply check out this page.

Reading....

Atlantis Launch Delayed

Just as many of my friends (and readers) in U.S and Europe started to pay attention to Shanghai news in their local TV station when we meet each other, I started to watch closely to launches of NASA after I meet with YLF fellow Chris.

The launch was scheduled to launch several days ago, and it is scheduled to launch today (Sunday), but it turned out to be postponed again because of the false reading from the engine cutoff sensor system. I watched NASA TV for some time at the due time, and found out nothing happened when it is approaching the launching time. NASA TV even didn’t provide any background sound, that I even thought I didn’t get any video from NASA TV, before I saw a helicopter flying in the background.

Image credit: NASA

Good luck to the Altantis and looking forward to its successful launch in early 2008. Good luck to Chris. It seems he has to wait for another one month or so to be really work in the Mission Control Center.

Back from Wonderful YLF Trip in Nanjing

I am back from the wonderful trip in Nanjing. Allow me sometime to catchup with the blog. The intensive 3 days in Nanjing and the following extension trip were full of fun and party (at night). I did spend two days after that to catch up with my family – Yifan and Wendy, and yesterday, I went to the SJTU to give a lecture. In short, this is maybe the longest period of time I paused my little blog, and I will catch up also, and I will tell you the wonderful stories of my trip in Nanjing, and the wonderful people I met.

So, stay tuned.

The Topic of This Year’s YLF

The topic of this year’s Young Leader Forum is: Challenge.

After I got the exciting invitation for Young Leaders Forum of National Committee on United States-China Relationship. Haisong was a member; Bo Shao is a member; so was Robin Li. I am looking forward to the great meeting in Nanjing at the end of November this year.

So far, to prepare to the little presentation with the theme Challenge, I am thinking of this topic:

Choices in a World of Different Rules

I am still thinking about how to structure this presentation.

At the same time, I want to ask, if you are going to do a presentation of 15 minutes about the topic: challenge, what would you say?

P.S. The YLF will start from Nov 28, 2007 to Dec 2, 2007, with an extended trip in Shanghai. I don’t know where the next year’s U.S trip will be, but it should also be great..

Got Invitation of Young Leaders Forum

On Aug 24, 2007, I got invitation for the Yong Leaders Forum of National Committee of US-China Relations. I will become 2007 Fellow of the Forum and participant in the YLF activities in 2007 in China and 2008 in U.S. I am very excited about it.

I have been longing to be able to join this forum for a long time. I heard about the Young Leaders Forum from Haisong, during my first lunch with NCUCR delegation. I wrote immediately after I know the program:

NCUCR Programs

I heard about the Young Leaders Forum from Bo Shao and today from Haisong again. Both of them are members of the committee. Every year, the program choose 14 young (under 40) professionals from China and 14 from American and hold seminars in U.S. and China alternatively. Today’s group comes from the other program, Public Intellectuals Program. It offers opportunities of new generations of China specialist to talk with key persons in China.

One question I often asked was, “Does it really make any impact for spending money and effort on just several people?” I tend to think any program need to cover at least 1,000 people to be significant. In Shanghai, for example, a program reaching out to 10,000 people even didn’t make too much impact… It seems I was using the point of view of a marketing manager.

Recently, I found I was wrong. If a program can impact even one person, it makes difference. It is not quantitatively significant, but qualitatively significant. It made positive impact to participants, and they can make impact for people around them. I feel the personal connection with the bigger scope of Sino-American relationship, so does my readers.

This idea made me even more confident about my Coffee Bean program. 7 persons are a small group, but when we do it right, it is helping the country to get stronger. They are the future leaders of China.

The Schedule

This year, the Young Leaders Forum will choose about more than 10 participants in U.S. and another 10 or more from China, and the alumni may also join this year’s forum. It happens from Nov 28, to Dec 2, 2007 (I think this is public information, isn’t it?), in Nanjing, China. The theme for this year is Meeting the Challenge. I don’t know the location of the U.S. trip yet of the next year yet (because I guess some readers may ask).

What I am Looking Forward to

I am excited to participant and cannot wait to Nov. The past participants are saying highly about the program. This is what I expect personally.

  • Getting New Perspectives. Just as I truly believe to put the six blind men in the Blind men and the Elephant story can help everyone to understand elephant better, to mix young people from U.S. and China together and share their different perspective help everyone to have a better understanding of the world.
  • Difference and Conflicts. I would expect there are different opinions or even conflicting ideas. I believe there must be many such cases. I don’t worry about it. Actually, I see it as the success indicator of the forum. It means it does provide the opportunity for people to access oppinions that they may not previously see.
  • Meeting new Friends. I understand the value of talented people. They contribute more insight and thoughts much more than average people. I would be happy to know the 40 new people in the current or alumni of the program

NCUCR Visit

Thanks to my good friend Haisong. He was so kind to invite me to the lunch with the distinguished guest from the Public Intellectuals Program of the The National Committee on United States-China Relations. It is wonderful time for me: interesting and inspirational.

I just said “we need a bridge” one week ago. Today, I saw one of the bridges. It is an important one, if not the most important one.

About NCUCR

To be honest, I have no idea about the National Committee on United States-China Relations (NCUCR) before the meeting. How embarrassed I am when I realized the role of the organization after I did some research tonight.

You have some idea about how limited my knowledge about history and politics. I should not be active in the field of sino-American relations at all. If I hadn’t created the little website on Pudong Airport in English in the year 2000, I wouldn’t have started my blog in 2002 in English, and then I wouldn’t have been interested in the United States-China Relations as much as I do today. When I reviewed the old articles, I saw the shift of my focus from daily life, to the city of Shanghai, and recently to the gap between the two important countries in the world. My effort is limited, but the NCUSCR is a much bigger effort.

It was my greatest honor to meet everyone at the table. I was impressed to see how well every one’s Chinese is – we can discuss in Chinese. How funny it was when the waiter came in and found everyone talked with him in English. Obviously the waiter didn’t know what was going on. It is the first time in my life with so many foreigners who can speak really good Chinese.

I am also very happy to see Ms. Jan Carol Berris in particular. She is the VP of NCUSCR. She was the co-organizer of the historical China Ping-Pong team visit to the States in 1972. The event was the starting point of the 20+ years of Sino-American relationship.

The Importance of Personal Connections

I am a strong believer of personal connections. Nothing can replace it. We hear many news, locations, persons and organizations every day. However, most of them do not mean anything. “What does it mean for me if one delegate visits this city?”

It makes a big difference if you have the opportunity to experience a place, or to meet something in person. For example, I was very worried when I heard the subway fire in New York about one year ago. It was meaningless news for me before, but after I stayed in New York for about one month and take the D, and E lines every day, the news matters a lot for me.

It is the same for visitors to Shanghai. After they visited Shanghai, what I reported here from Shanghai becomes interesting for them, just because they have the personal connection with the city.

It is the same for me during the lunch. I never feel I am as close to the Sino-American history as today.

NCUCR Programs

I heard about the Young Leaders Forum from Bo Shao and today from Haisong again. Both of them are members of the committee. Every year, the program choose 14 young (under 40) professionals from China and 14 from American and hold seminars in U.S. and China alternatively. Today’s group comes from the other program, Public Intellectuals Program. It offers opportunities of new generations of China specialist to talk with key persons in China.

One question I often asked was, “Does it really make any impact for spending money and effort on just several people?” I tend to think any program need to cover at least 1,000 people to be significant. In Shanghai, for example, a program reaching out to 10,000 people even didn’t make too much impact… It seems I was using the point of view of a marketing manager.

Recently, I found I was wrong. If a program can impact even one person, it makes difference. It is not quantitatively significant, but qualitatively significant. It made positive impact to participants, and they can make impact for people around them. I feel the personal connection with the bigger scope of Sino-American relationship, so does my readers.

This idea made me even more confident about my Coffee Bean program. 7 persons are a small group, but when we do it right, it is helping the country to get stronger. They are the future leaders of China.

Keep Connected

The event inspired me a lot because I realized there are many people in American trying to use some “systematic” ways to understand China. In China, I know there must be a lot of similar efforts, but it is never enough. We should spend more time to understand American and build “personal connections”, instead of just reading newspaper, surfing on flaming BBS, or just watching movies. Sometimes, it is not understand. It is misleading.