M.I.T and Harvard


© Jian Shuo Wang. Big electronic motors in M.I.T. Museum

This is exactly the M.I.T spirit in my imagination. M.I.T is so different from Harvard and very similiar with SJTU (Shanghai Jiaotong University). I also like the magazine of MIT – The Tech. This campus magazine has 20 pages per issue and shares point-of-view from politics to campus happenings. Impressive!


© Jian Shuo Wang. Harry Elkins Widener Memorial Library. View from the Harvard Book Store.

Harvard is a place full of stories. The most interesting story I heard in America was about the Harry Elkins Widener Memorial Library. A senior of Harvard majoring history told me about the story during the Harvard Guide Tour.

Harry Elkins Widener graduated from Harvard graduated from Harvard. He went to Europe for four years. When he went back to New York with all the books he collected in Europe, his ship, the Tantanic sunk in Altantic. Harry’s mother was so sad that she donated all she had to Harvard and wanted to build a Harry memorial library. Besides naming the library after his son, she asked three rules to be written into the contract:

  • There should be a reading room at the west wing of the building that is strictly replica of Harry’s reading room at home. Harvard needs to provide daily cleaning service for the room. This rule was kept till now (from 1914).
  • No bricks of this library shall be removed or replaced to keep the integrity of the memorial. To keep this rule, Harvard needs to use the window as entrance when an extension to the building was constructed
  • Believing unable to swim was one of the reason for his son’s death, the month requires all Harvard university graduate to proof he/she can swim at least 100 meters to get his/her diploma. This rule was abonderned about enforcing 10 years.

It was said that the month also donated to make Harvard serve icecream at all dining room from morning since 1914 because his son complained a lot that there was no icecream in Harvard.

This story helped me to understand the rational behind so many public donated libraries, parks, statues, schools, art works, and charities. The respect to the donator’s will is an important factor to encourage the donation. I am thinking of Smiling Library project, where I acted as part time consultant. If small portion of money was spent to honor those who donate the books, it will encourage more people to donate – to name the a library in a remote province after the biggest donator, or at least at the donator understand where his/her books go, and get some feedback from those who benefit from the donation, they are all very good way to keep the wheel running.

Boston for Dummies and More.

Boston for Dummies is a nice book. I brought it with me these days and really enjoyed reading it. It helped me a lot to plan the Boston trip and also helped Boston to keep two visitors stay in their city one day longer. I only planned to visit Harvard and MIT before. Now, I know much more than that, such as the Freedom Trail and the Big Dig. It inspired me of being a For Dummies series writer. How about I write one book named Shanghai for Dummies? They didn’t have it yet. Emmn. Good idea.

Canadian in Shanghai

Canada China Business Council Shanghai Chapter is preparing its Christmas party and I helped to look for sponsorships. I realized more and more Canadian people came to Shanghai, while the immigration tide to Canadian from China seems to slow down with the high un-employ rate of the new Chinese immigrants in Toronto.

Nice China Shop

Recently, I found some very nice shops in Shanghai. I dropped by a china shop at Panyu road today and went out with a bag full of dishes and cups. It is located 135(A) Panyu Road, Shanghai. (phone: 021-6283 8766) – For Dummies books taught me to always include a phone number and an address with a shop name. If you are interested, the shop didn’t pay me for that. :-D I don’t accept payment of any kind and ask me to write about something or mention some business on this blog.


Image in courtesy of Dining Room, Shanghai


Image in courtesy of Dining Room, Shanghai

Foreign Shops in Shanghai

The owner of this shop is a foreigner. The store keeper mentioned that.

Many foreigners rent a shop space and open their shops or coffee & bars in Shanghai. There are something in common that you can distinguish them from local shops easily:

1. They tend to choose some street with many phoenix trees. Such roads are Changle Road, Panyu road, Madang Road (near Xintiandi)… These street are quite but not many customers coming in.

2. Many of the owners don’t really care about the revenue. They just wanted to open a shop and have fun.

3. The shops use vivid colors and have good signs.

4. They have their shop’s business card ready for customers to pickup.

5. They print website or email address on business cards.

6. They spend much money on the packaging bags.

When some of the above statements are true, I am pretty sure that the owner is a foreigner. It is the case when I entered this shop – Dining Room. Their goods are nice and I suggest people to pay a visit and bring something back. Tonight, Wendy boiled coffee for me and we enjoyed it very much with the newly bought cups.