Learn Shanghainese

I believe the first question jumping out when a foreigner decide to relocate to Shanghai is, should I learn some Chinese to survive there? The variation of the question for people who can speak Chinese is, should I learn some Shanghainese?

I talked about it in my Oct article: Mandarin or Shanghainese?. Today, I received an email from Bryan:

I recently stumbled upon your blog and really relished those informative bits that you care to share with us. In fact, they are rather useful in helping me gain some understanding of Shanghai since I will be working there in May.

Coming from Singapore and of Chinese descent, I have heard of the importance of learning to speak the native tongue in order to begin to establish good relations with the local business folks. How true is that? While I can speak Chinese decently, I am really baffled by my Shanghainese friend when he speaks in his native tongue.

Do you know if there are any radio stations in Shanghai that dish out programs in the native tongue? How can I prepare myself somewhat adequately in the language basics before leaving for Shanghai?

I’d like to talk more about Shanghainese.

I Don’t Speak Shanghainese

After living here for 9 years, I still cannot say simple words of Shanghainese. This is the case for most of friends who are not native. I am able to understand some Shanghainese. This happened after 3 or 4 years after I am here, since I didn’t intentionally try to learn the language.

People Here Speak Shanghainese All the Time, But Not to Me

People here prefer to speak Shanghainese, as long as there is a chance. You can hear Shanghainese everywhere on the street. However, the good thing is, if they know you cannot understand Shanghainese, they will switch to Mandarin rapidly. I appreciate it.

No Shanghainese Radio Station

There is no Shanghainese Radio Station (so far as I know). The city is encouraging using mandarin as first language. Students are required to use mandarin at school so there is not many chances to learn the language. Everyone in the city (with higher education background) can speak mandarin.

Shanghainese – Nice to Know

Although it is not required to survive in the city, it is a great plus if you know some, especially for those whose native language is not Chinese. You will definitely surprise your friends here.

First Week in Pudong

One week pasted after I moved to Pudong, with a car. Here are some observations.

Pudong is Big AND Small

Pudong is much bigger than Puxi. It has wider and higher-standard of road system. There are not many cars on the road and only red lights at some major cross roads will stop your car. I didn’t experienced traffic jam in Pudong so far. (This is based on my current observation, since I never drove around during business hours – at that time, I parked my car in the underground garage in Puxi)

Because of the good road system, Pudong becomes very small – you can easily get to any place on the map by car. In contrast, you will find driving in Puxi very depressive. You get jammed everywhere. :-( One night, I drove to the OBI Building Materials in Jinqiao (the north-most places in Pudong area), and get back – it all happened in 1 hour. So the life in Pudong is pretty similar with that in west coast of U.S.

Pudong is Quiet

There is not many people in Pudong yet. High buildings rise every day, but the population does not grow as fast as the buildings. From my observation, the newly built apartments are almost empty. There are only less than 10% of the windows are lighted.

Pudong Sleeps Early

At around 9 PM, Pudong goes go bed. Lights go off and the supermarket at the gate of my residential area closes. There are even less cars on the roads. At the same time, the life in Puxi just started. Many people should just step out of their office after OT (over time work) and head to theaters. That is the difference.

No Restaurants, no entertainment

This may not be true since I am not familiar with the area yet, so they may hide inside the small streets. But generally, there is not much place to go at night, and at dinner time. Fortunately, I still have the base in Xujiahui so delicious food is not too far away.

Fresh and Natural Life

After I moved to Pudong, I can see the sun set again. I can see the redish clouds on the west before the sunset. There is a long preriod of time from sunset to completely dark. This recalls the life in my home town in Luoyang. This is so common in most places in the world, but not in downtown in Puxi. It seemed to me that in Puxi, the Sun sets and it becomes dark very soon. There is no colorful clouds after the sunset. I suspect it may because of the high buildings that blocked the view and the reflection of the remaining sunlight after sunset.

At night, stars shine on the sky. I am so moved when I see the stars in the sky again. I clearly remember, when I studied in the Shanghai Jiao Tong University, which is located in the central part of the city, the sky is always light (redish light) even in deep night. Everbright is the best world to describe what I see from my window.

More Reports to Come

It is just the first week and I need some time to get familar with the new life, and see Pudong more clearly after the intial excitement goes off. I am still in the rented house – a very old and misarable place. All the belongs are packed into about 60 big paper boxes. I don’t want to unpackage them yet. The worst thing is, there is no telephone in the house, so after I get home, there is no way for me to update my site. I am researching two options: 1) To find a Internet bar nearby. This seems not working since you know – it is Pudong. :-) 2) To find out wireless Internet solution with my GPRS mobile. I hope it works soon.

Support Experience of iPowerWeb

This is a series of article on the customer support I got from iPowerWeb during my migration of data from my old host provider to iPowerWeb. I am somewhat satisified with the online support service I got from the support team. Due to the fact that I was also in the PSS (product support services) or response center (something like call center) business, it provided very good chance for me to analysis the support I got. It brings a much clearer way for me since it provides me a view purely from the customer’s perspective. Note: the message is ordered so the latest comment goes first.

Since I have to disclose the email communication between me (as a customer) and the support professional, I sent a query to support@ipowerweb.com to get confirmation that I CAN disclose the content. The result was negative. Their legal department didn’t allow me to disclose the communication between the support professional and I on my site. I respect their decision and won’t publish the emails I received. I have already prepared an article before I check with their legal department. So I removed anything I got from iPowerWeb and only leave the rest.

Response (Content removed) 04/09/2004 04:38 PM

Content removed

Response (Content removed) 04/08/2004 07:15 PM

Content removed

Another 24 hours passed. The result is, they finally find out a system administrator is not suitable to answer this simple question. A tier 2 support professional is better. :-D

But, Hey, now, 72 hours have passed and what will the customer think of the service? They cannot expect a Very Satisfied customer after the simple question pending there for 72 hours.

Customer (Jian Shuo Wang) 04/07/2004 06:11 PM

Any update on this?

This is uncool for me. There is no response in the next 48 hours. What is the result? What are the support professionals doing? The case was left alone there for 48 hours without any touch. Although I can understand – after working in a support center – that the huge number of cases may delay the response, but from the customer’s perspective, I started to wonder whether all the engineers are sleeping at work.

Response (Content removed) 04/05/2004 06:58 PM

Dear Client

Thank you for contacting iPowerweb technical support.

Content removed

This is very good for me that I got the initial response 38 minutes after I sent the support incident. This is a very important factor in customer satisfaction. The sooner, the better. Although they didn’t provide an answer, at least the customer know the incident is received and taken care of.

Customer (Jian Shuo Wang) 04/05/2004 06:20 PM

Is there any policy that preventing me from publishing the email

conversation between me and iPowerWeb support team? I am interested to share

the support email I got.


Jian Shuo Wang

Actually, there is no result in the next 48 hours….

PVG: Buses to Hangzhou, Suzhou…

There is a bus stop at Shanghai Pudong Airport (where all international flights to Shanghai land) serving shuttles to nearby cities. Here is the schedule:

To Price Schedule
Hangzhou 100 RMB 10:30 12:00 13:30 15:30 17:30 19:00
Suzhou 76 RMB 10:50 11:0 12:50 13:50 14:50 15:20 16:10 16:50 17:50 18:50
Nanjing 122 RMB 11:20 13:20 15:10 16:40 18:40
Wuxi 110 RMB 11:20 12:20 13:20 14:20 15:20 16:20 17:20 18:20
Kunshan 76 RMB 11:30 12:30 13:30 14:30 15:30 16:30 17:30 18:30 19:30

Update May 11, 2006

Sean shared direction to the site also. Thanks Sean.

Little more direction for those of you that want to take the inter-city buses.

International arrival level is on the ground floor. After picking up your luggage and gone thru the custom check, take the exit, then go all the way to the right. Take the escalator or elevator to level 2 around there, take the over pass #5 or #6 towards the parking lot. (They are side by side) 1/3 way there you will see elevator that will take you to the parking lot below, one level down (top level of the parking structure) you will see a room next to the gated exit (next to the bathroom), that is where they sell the bus tickets.

Digitally and Physically Move

The update of my blog is not as regular as before. Sorry for that – it is because of the move – the move in both the digital worlds and the real world.

Digital World

Due to the continous server outage of my old hosting, I switched my server to iPowerWeb. It was a painful experience for the migration but now, it seems everything back to normal. I checked the disclosure policy so I can share the email communication with iPowerWeb support, but this case was not responsed after they esclated three days ago. Anyway, the website goes back to normal and it may take some longer time (one week at least) for me to migrate the old applications to the new server.

Real World

I am physically moved my home from Puxi to Pudong. The following three month will be very tough period for me since the newly bought house is still in the decoration stage. The workers are busy installing the basic infrastructure into the house – the washroom, the kitchen… This sounds strange to my friends from outside China. Actually, most of the apartments in Shanghai are sold as bare (raw) houses. There are only walls (not well painted) in the house when the owners get the key. One has to hire decoration (or remodeling/re-construction) vender to paint the wall, install the water pipes, even the electronic power lines into the house. This typically cost two to three months. My journey of the remodeling just started.

Now I rented a house near the new house so I can easily take care of the new house in Pudong. There is no telephone line (OMG!) yet so I cannot update my blog easily at night as before. So you may found the new entries come in early morning (local time) other than late night as before.

I will post some pictures later, when the garden of the new house is not in a mass. :-D

Life in Pudong Started

I have moved to Pudong last weekend and now drive to work at Xujiahui every day. The 16 KM distance costs about 40 minutes in the busy traffic in the morning. It is still not bad since I didn’t experience traffic jam so far.

Limited by the foreign plate (non-Shanghai plate), I cannot use the elevated highway in the morning, but it is not a big matter. I am convinced that the time I am not allowed to use the elevated highway is the time the policy don’t recommend people to use it. I have tried to get to the elevated road soon after the ban for me is lifted (7:30 AM to 9:30 AM, 4:30 PM – 6:30 PM), the elevated highway is still in a mass. It is something like a large parking lot, while the ground roads are still working. Thanks to the wide Zhao Jia Bang road connecting Nanpu bridge and Xujiahui, there are only red lights but no traffic jam. I believe after the Fuxing Rd. Tunnel between the Nanpu Bridge and the Yan’An East Road. Tunnel is completed, the road will be more easier to get through.

DHL Airwaybill Number

Air Waybill Number Origin Service Area Destination Service Area Status


9146444086 Bellevue, WA – USA Shanghai – China, People’s Republic Signed for by: WANG Shipment delivered April 05, 2004 10:03

9146444086 – Detailed Report

Date Time Location Service Area Checkpoint Details


March 31, 2004 12:01 Bellevue, WA – USA Shipment picked up

March 31, 2004 19:12 Bellevue, WA – USA Departed from DHL facility in Bellevue – USA

March 31, 2004 19:33 Seattle, WA – USA Arrived at DHL facility in Seattle – USA

March 31, 2004 21:02 Seattle, WA – USA Departed from DHL facility in Seattle – USA

April 01, 2004 12:56 San Francisco Gateway, CA – USA Departed from DHL facility in San Francisco Gateway – USA

April 01, 2004 13:40 San Francisco Gateway, CA – USA Transferred through San Francisco Gateway – USA

April 02, 2004 20:39 Shanghai – Pu Dong – China, People’s Republic Arrived at DHL facility in Shanghai – Pu Dong – China, People’s Republic

April 02, 2004 20:39 Shanghai – Pu Dong – China, People’s Republic Clearance processing complete at Shanghai – Pu Dong – China, People’s Republic

April 03, 2004 02:51 Shanghai – Pu Dong – China, People’s Republic Departed from DHL facility in Shanghai – Pu Dong – China, People’s Republic

April 03, 2004 04:38 Shanghai – China, People’s Republic Arrived at DHL Facility

April 05, 2004 10:17 Shanghai – China, People’s Republic With delivery courier

April 05, 2004 10:03 Shanghai – China, People’s Republic Shipment delivered

Still Working with IPowerWeb

I am also in the support business as ipowerweb’s support team is. I have created 8 cases for IPowerWeb, called them at 1-888-511-HOST for support for three times (via non-toll free international distance call) and I even complained directly to their QA manager via telephone for about 15 minutes. Now the simplest thing to point wangjianshuo.com to the hsot they gave me is still pending. I have checked with the QA manager to see if I can publish the support cases to the website so you have an idea of how frustrated customer feels. It is a great experience for me to learn the support business from the customer’s perspective instead of from the support center.

Wangjianshuo.com has been down for one week and it is pending on IPowerWeb’s support people to find out the problem – the simplest problem. They asked me to wait for 24 hours for the domain name to be alive, while I am very sure that it will not work no matter how long I waited – they just didn’t put it into their DNS server yet. Now it is in their DNS but point to the wrong IP address. Well. It takes another 24 hour to get a response. I have already paid for more than 100 RMB international long distance phone call fee for contacting them and paid much more money to hear the waiting music – average of 8 minutes. It proves a dissatisified customer will tell more than 20 persons about the experience. I hope I can post the emails between me and IPowerWeb soon after I get their confirmation.

Service Pause Site Migrating

Please note that I am still working to migrate the site to my new host at IPowerWeb as my reader suggested. It was not easy and I have to focus on the technical stuff – at least the domain name wangjianshuo.com should work tomorrow.

The process was by no means smooth and I have complained to the QA manager of the company after I tried to send about 6 cases to them. Anyway, the QA manager was very helpful and I hope the site will get back to normal status very soon. Please also be prepared that the site may goes down for some hours tomorrow. Just keep patient during the unstable time. I am sorry that I didn’t have time on new blog entry due to the migration, although I have a lot of stories to share regarding the recent house move to Pudong.

Gasoline Price Goes Up

I never noticed the the change of gasoline price before I bought my car. The bad news for me is, the price of gasoline goes up by 8% from 3.23 RMB/L to 3.47 RMB.

The traffic is still bad recently if not worse. I start to drive my car to work and back. The life of having a car is fun but expensive. The parking lot at Metro City is 600 RMB/month. I have to say, it is a huge discount already since it charges 10 RMB per hour for others.

The site

The site is still not working very well recently. The domain resolution does not take effect until late tomorrow. So you still cannot access wangjianshuo.com, but home.wangjianshuo.com is up and running, which is the best news among the bad news.