Driver: A Life Worth 190 RMB

I was on a taxi, and there are pedestrian crossing the road without observing the red light. The driver was very angry, and claimed that if he wants, he just run over the guy, and that only cost him 190 RMB.

I was shocked and asked why? He explained that the insurance covered 80% of any accidents of the taxi driver, and they have a mutual fund of all taxi drivers to cover the rest 20%. So he is free of any payment. The only downside for him personally is, the insurance fee will increase 190 RMB the second year.

Heinz dilemma

Although it is not the reasoning process of every one, it is pretty consistent with the stage one, obedience, of the Heinz dilemma. It will be paraphrased as:

The driver should run over a man if he wants, because the cost is only 190 RMB.
– or –
The driver should NOT run over a man because it causes 190 RMB cost.

This is, according to a later Kohlberg’s stages of moral development model, like a 6 year old’s reasoning process.


When I browse the catalog of Stanford University, I found out many courses of humanity. There was a Humanity Center there. There are more courses on the topic from Harvard. The topic is still pretty new in China universities, and even more unfamiliar for the general public. It is not hard to understand why the driver will claim this (and demonstrated the stage one of the Heinz Dilemma).

Helping Others with Hosting Package

I hate ipowerweb, so I moved to bluehost, but I still didn’t terminate my previous ipowerweb hosting plan yet. Today, Jackie asked me if I can help to settle a hosting plan for him and his friends – to do a group blog. I said “sure”.

The 6 Years’ of Difference

I am happy to help. Just imagine what I have (so little) and what I dreamed of (so big) when I was in university in 1995 – 1999.

I wanted to have a place to host my page – I got it in 2001, two years after I graduated. (Finally I got one with pure HTML storage, with no cgi. That is the reason I tried hard to solve problems like this and this)

I wanted to have a place with CGI access – I got it in 2003, 4 years after I graduated.

6 years late, a hosting package (maybe two) is not a big deal for me, but I know it can incubate great technical ideas. I do believe it. So I am so happy to help people to host projects on my server, for free!

That is the difference of 6 years. If we have a way to spend one’s money of 6 years in the future, it makes such a big difference.

My Imagination and My Ideas

I opened a note book when I was in university.

The first page was written on May 5, 1998. It started like this

Today, I found that provide free cgi space. This made me so exciting, and thus generated many great ideas. I turned over and over on bed and so excited that I cannot sleep. So I took my cloths, and went to the toilet. Under the weak light, I am recording these ideas, in case I forget it in the future

After this was 17 full pages of ideas. At the end of these ideas, I wrote:

… I keep writing and writing, and feel the sky is brighter and brighter. Birds are singing happily. After a while, I heard those students who spent their nights watching football are calling each other to go back to sleep. The No. 1 Teaching Building is completely quiet. When the cleaning Ayi came to work, I check my watch: it is 6:04 AM, May 7, 1998.
OK. I relaxed, and moved my shoulder and head. I am so happy today

I wrote continuously for the night.

After May 7, I kept writing about ideas, and now I have 73 pages full of different ideas. Some ideas turned into Google Analytics; some are like Network Disk; some like Web based MSN; some like RSS. On June 7, 1998, the idea is exactly – Podcast.

I didn’t turn any of the idea into reality, but I know the important of innovation, inspiration, and even more important – opportunities. So if any one in university come to me and say: can you give me some free disk space? I won’t hesitate and say “sure”. Because, the idea is 100 times more important than money. Just because I didn’t have the chance to try the ideas out, I wanted to help.

Beggars in China and People’s Attitude

Ying Zhang commented:

Hi Jian Shuo,

I have been reading your blog for a few years now, I found your blog while planning a trip to China in 2004, and your post on the Shanghai Beijing train time table really helped me. Keep up the good work.

I have always wanted to seek your opinion on an issue that troubles me – about the attitude people have, towards beggars and the homeless in big cities like Shanghai.

If I can’t finish the food in a restaurant, I tend to pack them up and give them to homeless people I met. On rare occasions, if the person is particularly venerable, such as an elderly woman, I will also give out some money. I have done this while I traveled in China, but I have been told by Chinese friends to not do this as ‘all those beggars are faking it’.

One particularly memorable example was when I traveled in the Anhui province. I saw this elderly lady collecting plastic drink bottles, to exchange for a little cash at a recycle point I guess, was teased upon by some youth. She was literally begging the kids (in their teens) to give her the empty bottle they have just finished, but instead of doing the decent thing, they kicked the empty bottle into a lake so she can’t reach it. I had to pull her away from the side of the lake when she tried to get to that bottle to prevent her from falling in. I was furious about this incident for a long time.

In my view she is doing everyone a favor by collecting these bottles and takes them to recycle. It helps keep the environment clean and free from plastic thatmall never be bio-degraded. I have respect for people like these – who are down in their life but still struggles on, doing what little they can (and must) do to survive. Which is the total opposite of a bunch of rich and spoilt kids who probably haven’t worked a single day and only knows how to spend mom and dad’s money. The attitude of people who tease those who are less fortunate than themselves are sickening.

I wonder if you can tell me if this is a common problem / view (that the homeless deserves it) in China. Do you, or have you done anything personally to give them a little help?

All these thoughts came up when I read your comments in today’s post about how Starbucks is the ‘cheapest’ place to enjoy the view of the Bund, and that a cup of coffee cost merely 25RMB (which I’m sure can buy a homeless person a few meals). This reminded me the gap between the well off and the poor are getting increasingly wider in China. I wonder if it will one day become an incurable problem?

Anyway, it’s a long rant, I hope you can give me your thoughts on these issues. Cheers.

Posted by: Ying Zhang on October 16, 2006 08:30 PM

Beggar is Always not an easy topic to discuss. It is a universally controversial topic. Let me try to add more to this heated discussion.

Beggars and People’s Attitude are Mirrors of the Country

Unfortunately, the current society has a lot of problems. Every society has its own problem, but China’s is more obvious. The fast changing pace in economy but slower pace in social insurance system and medical care system makes the life of many people very tough, and without the right supporting system, and common wealth system, it is easy that someone suddenly lose all their income and become a beggar.

The gap between the rich and the poor are bigger day by day, instead of smaller. I don’t want to pretend to know China well, since every time when I put my own steps into the vast west land of China, or even my home town, and see it using my own eyes (not from media inside or outside China), I realize how little I know about my own country. The reality is just worse than I thought. For a big country like China, we are always a learner to know more about it, and cannot claim to know it all.

In the last few years, at least, I witnessed my home town became poorer and poorer. The old houses look so nice with decent decoration, which is never seen in new (can I call it new?) houses. In cities, many workers lost their jobs, but have a family to support, they really don’t have too much choices to make a living. I believe a big portion of them are very risky to be a beggar.

There must be more beggars than before (the true beggars), and we should try everything to help them.

People’s Attitude

It is said: “The Media is the king without a crown”. It is so at least when the media attackes the weak – the beggars. I don’t know when it started, the “fake beggar” became a hot topic. In media reports, some beggars were caught blood-handed to be fake beggar. They either have luxurious life after “working hours”, or pretend to be disabled, or pretend to be stolen.

This kind of report appeared on newspaper and TV, and successfully bulit an evil image for the beggars as a group.

That must be one of the important reasons that people are more and more hesitate to offer some help. For them, beggars equal to fake beggars. I myself also held the opinion in 2003 when I wrote my first article on beggar (my current view changed a lot).

Among all the cheating beggars, there are even a group called “Child beggars”. Their stories are really heart-breaking. I believe many people experienced being approached by little child (5 – 8 years old), and embrace your legs so you cannot move, and beg for money. Chances are, the little poor children are just a tool for their boss to make money. They were beaten to work, and if they don’t get enough money back, they don’t have meal. How hard a decision whether to give money to them or not. On one hand, to give the money enables their “boss” to gain money and finance them to caught, or steal more children to do their business, on the other hand, if you don’t help the little children by giving them one or two RMB, they face starving that night.

OK. Enough about fake beggars. There are many of them. HOWEVER, my point is, fake beggars are not the whole story. There are so many people who need help and cannot find any help beside people on the street. The number of the later must be bigger than the fake beggars.No data to support. I just guessed.

How to Treat the Beggars?

In this diversified world, everyone has their own rules. This is my rule.

There must be someone who take beggar as a profession. They are mainly disabled people who cannot make a living. Their life line is maintained by small money people gave them. Typically, I unconditionally support them.

For many other beggars that you have no idea about whether they are truly in need of help or just pretend to be a beggar and take your money, currently I just gave coins without judgement. This seems stupid. I know many times I was cheated, but just according to the story of the movie Eight Below, it is not about the beggars, it is about you.

Some people have strong rules, like this is very funny:

If they ask for money,

I gave them food;

If they ask for food,

I gave them money

Everyone has their own rules. For the matter of treating beggars, there is no universally correct answer. How someone behave is just how they treat their own lives, instead of the beggars’ lives.

How to Help Them?

Everyone wants to help. The question is, how to help? Giving some coins help (which I usually do), however, is there better ways to help?

I once wrote an entry in February 2005, named Life in a Low Cost Labor World. That is maybe the most criticised article on this blog. I wrote another article to clarify: Helping by Hiring. The point I’d like to make in the second article is,

Simply giving money does not help Ayi who need a job, only by hiring them, and encourage more people to hire them makes lasting and positive impact.

The rule also applies for beggars. There must be better way to help them.

Lend Money to Beggars? Sounds Crazy?

It is announced that these days, the Nobel Peace Prize went to Muhammad Yunus, who did microfinance for the poor, and those who need help. I studied his microfinance bank thoroughly, and found how amazing Muhammad’s idea is.

Muhammad never gave a penny to beggar. This is from a report:

So he never responds when a blind or crippled beggar or a mother cradling her baby holds out a hand for money. “I feel bad – sometimes I feel terrible – that I’m denying the person. But I restrain myself. I never give them anything” Yunus told Reuters in a recent interview at Grameen head office. “I would rather try to solve the problem than just give them a hand and take care of them for the day.”

He thought of the idea to lend (please note: not to give, but just lend) a mobile phone to the beggar, such enable the beggar to ask “Do you need to use a mobile phone?” before he/she ask for money. People can use the mobile phone and pay minimum money. This way, he helped many beggar to stand on their own, make a living and even get to a much better life.

This is the way I really admire and think about.

Coverage of Beggar, and other Dark Side of the City, on this Blog

I talked about beggar in this entry: Crime and Beggars in Shanghai, in which I claimed the even tough problem in Shanghai are the false beggars, or fake beggars who pretend to be beggars.

I was strongly against “No beggars permitted in Metro station” in 2005, but changed my mind one year later.

Again, beggar is not an easy topic to discuss.

In this blog, as everyone may notice (and some complained) that it focuses on Shanghai, especially some good part of it (the beautiful scene of the Bund is one example). This is true, and it is just my life. I don’t shy away to write about it, because one of the three principle for this blog is, “Be Truthful”, which means I don’t write down anything I know is not truth. (If you are interested, the other two principles are: Be Personal, and Show Details.) The light part is just as true as the dark side of a city.

To Save a Young Life

I received an email from Haisong. He is very warmhearted and responsible. The message is about the life of a young man in Fudan University. I am going to donate and help him and want to spread the word to as many people as possible. Please help to spread the word!

Dear friends-

Sorry for the spam email. The student association from Fudan University (from where I obtained my undergraduate degree) contacted me to seek help raising rmb400,000 for Ma Dong’s bone marrow transplantation by the end of August 2006.

Ma Dong, a third year student from Fudan University, was diagnosed leukemia in January 2004. After fighting the disease for 2 years, he is fortunate to locate a bone marrow donor in 2006. However, coming from a poor farmer’s family in Auhui, he is short of around rmb400,000 for a bone marrow transplantation. I hope that some of us can chip in whatever amount to help save a young life.

Please help circulate this message to any of your friends or other organizations who might be able to help.

To find more information, you can go to or email me at xxxx removed xxx I will forward your message to Ma Dong.

Enclosed please find more background information from the students. (I did not correct the grammatical mistakes)


Haisong Tang

Here is the attached English introduction.

The letter presented here is from all the students of Physics Department of Fudan University. We are expecting your help with deeply grieved and extremely anxious feelings. Your kind hearted charity will possibly save a young life that is struggling its way through a fatal disease. Your generous love will possibly help his family to get over from the hopeless situation.

The young man’s name is Ma Dong, who became an undergraduate student of our university to get a bachelor degree in the August of 2002. Only about 5 months later, during the Chinese traditional new year of 2003, he was diagnosed with leukemia which is a kind of deadly disease usually referred to as “Blood Cancer”.

The sudden strike broke the hearts of his parents. However, Ma Dong himself was surprisingly confident of his future recovery and did not lose the courage to fight against his fate. With the financial support from Fudan University, some local charitable associations, and many benevolent individuals, Ma Dong finally got the chance to get the first step of medical treatment. During the past three years, he not only achieved to survive by chemotherapy, but also finished the major lessons of his specialties.

Unfortunately, at the time that everything was approaching to develop into the right lines, misfortune finally happened to him for the second time. In the nearest several routine physical tests, his illness turned out to be out of control again. It has been proved that his life will not be maintained only by frequent chemotherapy. In this way, the only hope for him will be BMT: Bone Marrow Transplantation. The expenses of the whole process of BMT will be more than 400,000 RMB (about $50,000), which is an extremely large number out of the imagination of his distressed family. Although we’ve found the matching bone marrow source, the operation cannot be executed until the bill is paid.

As his classmates and his close friends, we won’t see him pass away without doing anything. We are now soliciting contributions from charity associations, Fudan graduated magnates of business field, and all the other possible sources of donations. But what we’ve got now is still not enough to save his life. However, we will never give up. We’ll continue raising funds from the general public. Thousands of miles away, a group of young people are trying their best to rescue a fragile life from the death. They are working alone. They need your help.

For the basic humanity, for the respect to love and life, please help us…..

Anxiously expecting your reply. Thank you very much!!!

Chinese introduction:











A. 物理系办公室(物理楼223室)已设立募捐箱。

B. 邮局汇款:

汇款地址:复旦大学物理系 马栋收 邮编:200433


C. 银行转帐:




联系人:朱莹13818116640 王大顺 13764599799 沈湉13916499633

赵瓅 13655280393 李琳燕 13816991256 王璞 13933060328


1、 我们系在南区进行了大型毕业义卖及募捐活动,毕业班的同学拿出自己的书本、衣物、生活用品等进行义卖,为身患白血病的兄弟祈祷加油。同学们打出了”传递真情创造奇迹,让我们永远并肩前行共抗病魔”的口号,最后将所得全部捐赠给马栋同学作为手术费用。

2、 我们将捐款的倡议书发到了本系所有教授、教师和研究生的信箱,得到了热烈的反馈和回复前往物理系办公室捐款的老师和同学络绎不绝。我们还收到其他院系、班级、老师们的捐款,累计捐款达一万元以上。

3、 爱心扔在延续,我们期待您的加入!马栋刚刚做过一次骨穿测试,结果显示他最近身体恢复不错,适合做骨髓移植手术!

I just called Miss Zhu Yng, and found out to drop the donation directly into the donation box at 223 Physical Building is the most convinient way to do that – They don’t accept China Merchant Bank online bank – good for them to make the official account more trustworthy.

There is a Chinese saying:

If you wait until you have more money than you need to help others, then you never have the chance to help;

If you wait until you have spare time to read books, then you never have the chance to read.

The Chinese original statement is much shorter than its English translation:


Let me do the donation tomorrow. So join me to help.

P.S. The Chinese saying was quoted from <先正格言>:


Coffee Bean Club

I talked about the charity idea in Feb. Here is the result: Coffee Bean Club. It has attracted some funding and three of my friends have agreed to donate for the foundation. I believe it is the time for me to disclose more information about it.

I believe by connecting college students and the successful young professional/artist or enterprisers are great inspiring for both. So I have setup meetups between those who graduated from university for 5 – 10 years with the students. It is something similar with what JA (Junior Archivers) is doing with some very unique characteristics.

1. The meetup is limited to one host and about 5 students (8 is the maximum number). This is to encourage in-depth communication, instead of one-way presentation.

2. Host pays the bill for Coffee or tea. Typically, we put it in Starbucks.

3. Each students need to pay the host 50 RMB in cash and get a receipts from host.

4. Students come back to the university and find my casher to get the money reimbursed by my foundation.

For the host, their coffee, parking, transportation are all covered and with a little bit income, which is a very small sense of achievement.

For the students, they practically paid nothing. However, it is important to use this routine to keep a sense that nothing is free. I believe anyone would say the talk is much more worthy than the money they spent; it is part of the education of business.

For the donators, they clearly track how their money is spent and get clear understanding of the return from the donation – they will be very proud when they get a name list tell them that hey have sponsored these students to meet with these people. I am sure if we keep doing this, the talk will inspire lot students to choose a different path for life and archive a lot.

I have put my initial funding into the club and have hosted two talks. Literally, I got 300 incomes so far (while donated 1000 RMB). I am very comfortable with the rule of the play.

More Donations?

I’d like to invite more donations. The amount of the donation is not my goal. I just want to prove the way we run donation works. Part of the reason I started this is, I am thinking of some practices I can share with Smile Library or other non-profit organization.

The unique characteristics of donation to this club are, the donator has 100% control on where to spend the money. Upon receiving the donation, the donator should be given a registration form and state the propose. Here is what my propose for my part of the donation looks like:

1. Sponsor Coffee Bean meetup of any topic (50 RMB fee)

2. All hosting fee, domain name for any technical experiments.

3. Tickets for Shanghai Museum and Shanghai Museum of Art.

Anyone who is a member of the club can request reimbursement from the foundation.

Linda are also willing to donation and her propose may look like:

1. Only to grade 4 college students.

2. Sponsor them to pay for dress up for interview or tickets for interview.

No matter what the propose is, the committee will follow the will of the donator and look for a match. We also charge about 5% for the administration fee to pay the students working for this project. Now, Miss Cai from SJTU is acting as casher, Mr. Huang, and Yan also help on people/IT infrastructure.

That is what I have been planning from Jan this year. I just want to try doing something meaningful and impact. If there are 10 students enrolled in the program and get help, I will be very happy already. For more information about this project, please contact Cai at cai_jy1105 at hotmail dot com.

No Baggars Premitted on Metro?

If you take Shanghai Metro these days, besides the station announcement on the in-cart broadcasting system, you can also hear:

No newspaper selling, performance for money, or beggar allowed in metro carts. All passengers should boycott together.

It is repeated once every minute.

I didn’t realize if there is anything wrong with it, not before this afternoon.

Boy Boycotted

Today, when I was on the Metro, a little boy begged in the cart. He had all this face burned that I could hardly recognize a human face. it was really astonishing to see him. He moved from the previous carts toward me slowly, begging from the passengers one by one. He stayed before someone who sit there, tried to make some voice (but he can hardly say), and waited. What he got was expressionless face. I believe he saw more than 200 or more already before he moved to me.

Typically, one out of 10 people may grant a coin or two to them. However, when the announcement on boycotting beggars is added, no one even tried to help. The boy seemed to be even more annoying than before. I guess people were thinking: “Hey! Didn’t you hear the broadcast? Why not get out of the cart immediately?”

I gave him 2 yuan. In his cup, there is another 0.5 yuan. It seemed it was all he could get. The broadcast repeated when I gave the money:

No newspaper selling, performance for money, or beggar allowed in metro carts. All passengers should boycott together.

I was infuriated immediately – why it is not permitted to beg on Metro?

Why? They need their life

I know it is obvious that the appearance of beggars in Metro is a not pleasant experience for metro riders. People want the place to be clean, safe and quiet. However, for the sake of the “rich” people to feel comfortable, we can scarify those poor children’s living! BTW, does anyone take care of them?

It is not allowed to beg in Metro. OK.

It is not allowed to beg at the waiting room of any transportation system. OK.

My question is, is it allowed to beg in Shanghai, or in China?

Shanghai wants an international city. They need a clean face – a modern city without beggars. However, it is also a crucial city. It is very likely that someone suddenly lose all the financial income. As a migration city, it is very likely the person has no family or friend in this city. Without a good insurance mechanism in place, I believe begging is the easiest and natural way they can think of. If we enforce the “No beggar” policy, the only result is to send them to the road of crime. I can imagine what people can do if they are really hungry.

OK. I understand the pressure Metro is facing and I believe 90% of riders support the rule, but just pay some sympathy to the weak. If you close a door for them, do open another. Do not close all the doors. I directly called the Metro Service hotline and asked them to remove the rule. I don’t think they will really do it. I just want my voice heard. If you also think so, call them. Their telephone number is 63189000.

Personally, I would rather see a city with beggars on Metro, instead of a city with criminals all around – if I have to choose one.

Related articles: Crime and Beggars in Shanghai, Helping by Hiring

Donation in China

During my trip of U.S., I discovered behind the prosperity of art, culture and science is the donation system. The schools are donated – Harvard is among the most well known donated schools. There are enough charity organizations to support the homeless, and the artists are well sponsored to contribute on music, painting, theatre, dancing… (Well. I don’t think movie industry is donation based.) If someone has a great idea to do research, it is easy for him/her to find some foundation and get the money they need.

In China, there is a long way to go. As consultant for Smiling Library, I posted two articles on how donation works in China (Night with Smiling Library, Any Advice for Smiling Library). No matter it was in 2004 or 2005, the path for charity organization like Smiling Library is not easy. There are legal constraints (they still don’t know if they can do it legally) and management constraints (how to operate it?)

Donation is a great way to distribute the common wealth of the society. It is better than government budget, which can reach to the smallest area in the society and there are less chances of corruption. More importantly, the joy of donating, seeing the change and get respect are the real meaning of being rich.

Helping by Hiring

Note: This is the response to people’s comment on my last article: Life in a Low Cost Labor World to clarify the reason I wrote it.

Well. It seems I need to clarify the reason I posted the article so Jimmy and Kevin won’t have the impression that I am making fun of the Ayi or something.

There are very serious problems in the way we treat people without a city Hukou here. As everyone here mentioned, they don’t have medical insurance; they don’t have much protection by the society; not many people care about their lives; and they are leading the miserable life. That is the dark side under the sunlight of the city.

However, if donation can solve the problem, we all donate. But it does not, Kevin. Let me tell you why.

If you go out and see the long line outside any Ayi service broker these days, and look at the faces of them, you’ll know personal donation cannot help them all. Even if there is enough donation, you can help them today but not tomorrow, not to mention their lives in the long run.

I talked with an Ayi with surname Zhang when I went to hospital the other day. She wait at the gate of a service broker at Hua Shan Road (near Huai Hai Road). She has been there waiting for someone to hire her since the 4th day of the Spring Festival. More than two weeks past and she still didn’t get a job. She worried a lot about her future. She may not survive in the city. She has child with her and they were feeling hungry. She refused to go back to the village she came from because she don’t have much money to pay the train ticket.

Well. At that time, I thought of some ways to help. To give money to her is one choice, but not the best choice. If I did help by giving money, well, look at the other 30 people in line – how can you help. Even you can help them all that day, but how about their lives tomorrow, and the next year?

So I thought of promoting the service of Ayi. I have made up the mind that if I have any chance to tell people, I will convince people to hire some one who badly needs help so they can make a living. The world is harsh for them, and what we can do it to help them to survive in Shanghai. I know there are some readers of my blog, and I want to say: If you have anything you do traditionally, like my scanning job, instead of paying more for equipments, give the business to those poor people so they can find the job. Post Spring Festival is a hard period of time for most of them because most of them are returning to the city and to find job is not easy.

OK. There may be better solution to this, like remove the Hukou system, or increase the basic salary of Ayi. But I don’t like to just talk about something without action. You may find it out in my previous blog entries. I know what we are proposing is more complicated than what I think. What I CAN do is, give more business to either Ayi or Kuai Di or those who need help. Remember, they are not beggar. They don’t want your easy money. They just want a chance to work so they can raise their child. The solution I am proposing is, visit a Ayi Service broker, call them – I have some phone numbers – and hire an Ayi. Giving them more business and mean time, you also save time and money – that is a win-win situation. It helps them today, and help them to build a future.

I talked about the great contribution of Ayi, Expressman and other people who come to Shanghai to help build the city in this article: when they leave the city to go back home. You don’t need to worry that I have the feeling to be the RICH and look down upon them. I am more concerned with the status of this unique group of people that the lives of so-called white collar (which I am part of). That is the reason I talk with them, and I write about them. The first step to help is get people’s attention to them, I believe.

I am sorry I have to say I feel bad when people think I am happy about hire some one for a very cheap price. I enjoy the fact that I can create a job opportunity for someone better. If we go to gym, the 100 RMB per entrance is not so critical for the business owner of the Gym. But if you call an Ayi and say, help me on this and I pay 7 RMB for you. That 7 RMB means a lot. Is there anyone here proposing me to call an Ayi everyday and say, “Come here and I give you 7 RMB for free”, I believe it is insulting them and I refuse to do it. You may feel comfortable to do it, I don’t.

When I helped those five cats in my garden, and people criticized me “Hey! Why help those cats! I’d rather help more human being”. When I am working on the personal funding proposal to personally donate money to the fund every month from my salary, someone argued: “Why help those people who are rich enough to go to college? Many people in China villages are starving now.” Well. It seems whatever I do, someone will guide me to do some more meaningful things. So I learnt that no matter how small the good deed is, just do it. One personal cannot make an impact to the world, but at least can help one or two other people. Help people one by one.

Of cause the reason I didn’t put the reason behind this in the article directly is, we cannot ask people to do something only to HELP others. It is not the way the world works. We need to explain it in a way that people find it beneficial for themselves. So I used the relaxing tone and samples to tell people – Hire an Ayi, hire an express man – it costs little but help YOU a lot. Does it make sense?

Life in a Low Cost Labor World

Living in a world where labor cost is relatively low – especially those low end labor like Ayi cleaning or Express man, is very different from the developed country.

Some people suffer from the absence of effective and secure way to transfer goods. The EMS by China Post Service does not work as I expected. A package from Shanghai to Changsha cost me 3 days. It is not even a guaranteed delivery time, while UPS or Fedex can deliver the same package to any large cities in the world in 24 hours. The surface mail with 0.60 RMB postage is worse. It is something like UDP package in the TCP/IP protocol – you send it but there is no guarantee that the package will be received. :-D

However, other people are enjoying the low cost delivery already if the destination is at the same city. It is called Kuai Di or the Express man. The market price for a common service is 5 RMB per delivery. They ride motor-cycle or even electronic empowered bicycle. They are flexible enough to deliver the good to everywhere – even somewhere without an address – they can find it by calling the recipient. :-) Express man has been the standard department for many organizations, no matter foreign-owned or small private business. The typical scenario is: “Hey. I have the contract ready. I can ask my Kuai Di to deliver it to you or you ask yours to come to my office to pick it up?”

Ayi is another good service that is not comparable in any city in the world. Due to the high demand, the large supply (many woman come to Shanghai and pick Ayi to be their first job), it has been a very powerful business. The standard price for one hour of work is 5 RMB in Xuhui district, and it is 7 RMB in Pudong (Why? I guess more Ayi wants to work in Puxi)

You can ask them to help – from cleaning the house to taking care of the baby, from cooking dinner to doing the repeatable work. It is quite amazing how Ayi changed the life of people in Shanghai.

Ayi as an occupation can be classified as servant in modern terms. But they are more flexible. They are paid by hour and one Ayi can serve more than one family or company at the same time. It is highly commercialized industry. Many companies hire Ayi to keep the office clean, serve tea, and help employees on their personal stuff, like paying the electricity bills or fetch the laundry clothes. As everyone is so busy with their own business, to ask an Ayi to help do the simple work seems to be effective than doing it by themselves. Companies, whether small or large, has find it very effective to hire Ayi.

Many broker help to connect the Ayi and the host together and charge commission. Some professional Ayi or Express man management companies emerge, so it is no longer the personal business of the Ayi or the Express man. It is the same for Safe Guards.

Express man is a frequently used method for e-commerce in Shanghai. Ayi has been a more cost effective way to do many things than IT solution. For example, I once thought of inputting all the ISBN number of the books I have into a database. Besides the system, I need to buy a bar code scanner, which is at least 200 RMB. Later, I found with 200 RMB, I can hire an Ayi to help me do the work. If they are given a computer and 10 minute of training, they can pick up a book, check the ISBN from the book cover and enter the ISBN numbe into my Excel. It only costs several hours. It reminded me the experience of my friend. After he moved to his new apartment, he paid 200 RMB for after-renovation clean up. That morning, 20 Ayi showed up at his door and worked for the whole morning. It was quite amazing.

Donation Needed for Zhan Xiao Feng

The Bad News

Within 24 hours, I got the same message from three different channels, that a student in SJTU (Shanghai Jiao Tong University) was seriously ill. His name is Zhan Xiao Feng 詹晓峰. He majors in computer science. Now the only possible cure for him is liver transplant. The three different channels are – 1) Shuguang Ye forwarded the message to SJTU Alums alias in Microsoft and I read the news on my smart phone when I was on my taxi back from Shanghai Airport home. 2) Wendy told me Danny has forwarded the message to her. 3) Claire Song left comment on my blog about the message. I am very moved by the helping spirit and willing to help. The cost for the liver transplant is at least 300,000 RMB or around 36,000 USD.

Update: PayPal icon removed

For more information about the donation, please refer to the following resources:

Wangjianshuo’s Blog Donation Matching Program

I’d like to ask my readers to donate for Mr. Zhan Xiao Feng. To encourage more donations and show my own support, I created a donation matching program.


To help sponsor Mr. Zhan Xiao Feng to successful complete the liver transplant operation.


Since his situation is instable, I’d like to set the program to be only 3 days. The program starts immediately and ends at 18:00, Jan 18, 2005, Shanghai time. (or 2:00 AM, Jan 18 Seattle time). After the program ends, I will announce the total amount and my macthing amount. Then donate the money to Mr. Zhan Xiao Feng via donation committee.


To encourage more people to lending an helping hand, I am running a donation matching program. I will donate one dollar for every dollar my readers donate to Mr. Zhan Wei Feng within the program time frame up to 200 USD. It means, if all the readers donate 150 USD, I will also provide 150 USD matching donation. If the total amount within 3 days exceeds 200 USD, I will provide 200 USD. [3]


Besides showing your support to a life that needs your help, I would also like to present the following benefit to all donators associated with Wangjianshuo’s blog

  • For ALL donators: I will create a hall of fame that remains on the homepage of Wangjianshuo’s blog with a link (as long as it is non-commercial website) and an description of the donator at the donator’s choice. It is optional benefit. [1]
  • For the first, 10th, 20th, 30th donator, I will have all the articles on this website printed as a book and mail the book to you via international post service. (the destination can be anywhere in the world). [2]

Pleease allow one month of shipping and processing time for the benifits.

How to Donate?

There are several ways to donate.

1. PayPal

I am using my PayPal account as a channel to collect the donation, since currently there is no listed paypal account yet. Meanwhile, all the organizers are students who don’t have U.S. bank account or credit card. It is impossible to directly withdraw money from PayPal in China. I have setup the channel (that is the reason I opened Bank of America in Seattle). To ensure you feel safe about your good will money through this channel, I will ask the person who accepts the money to issue receipt about all your donation and will invite two students of the donation organizing committee to audit the transfer. [4] Click the button below:

Update: PayPal icon removed

2. Bank Account

If you read Chinese, please use any of the donation methods listed in the donation page created by the students. After your donation, please post under this entry with your donation and you are also entitled to this program.

If you cannot make a donation, please also pray for him and show your support to him and his faimly by posting comments.


Note 1: I keep the right of editing, rewriting or not accepting of the links or descriptions. If you don’t agree with the final result, you have the right to quit from the program and get full refund.

Note 2: The print and mailing cost will be part of the 200 USD matching funding, and act as part of my donation.

Note 3: Please understand there is no charity or NGO organization involved in this donation. It is because of the passion to help others that students and I joined the program. Because of the fact that it is the first donation program students run, it may not be professional, or even legally or financially correct. By participating this donation, you acknowledge that you are aware of the risk.

Note 4: Currency will be converted to RMB before delivering to them. Fees related to PayPal or bank charge will be deducted before sending the money.

Important Disclaimer:

This entire program is based on volunteer. As the initiator of this program, I didn’t verify the accuracy or truthfulness of the information. I am NOT liable of any damage, losing of money, or other expense related to this program. I am also NOT liable to any mistakes I or any donation organizing committee, or students make during the program. It is based on good will only.

Update: Zhan passed away

this morning before we can lend helping hands. How quickly the life disappeared is beyond our imagination. The donation has stopped, so does my program. Life is so weak…. Thanks for whatever you did for Zhan. Take care. Sign… January 17, 2005

Friend is Sick. Please Show Your Support

I heard one of my friends Flora is very ill and needs a kidney transplant. Actually, I met with her only once at a dinner party before. She gave me very good impression. We talked about joining the exam for a Tour Guide’s License at that time. It seemed the promising life was long long ahead…

Now she is in hospital and waiting for a compatible kidney to be transplanted. The chance is not high. The risk of the operation is still high, not to mention the cost – it is much higher than any normal Chinese family can afford.

I am not a doctor and don’t know if ther is anything I can be of help. Is there any kidney information database on the Internet?

Christmas is coming. During this happy time, I don’t want her to stay in hospital and face the terrible disease alone. Her mood is not very good. I saw that from her SMS to Danny: “Actually it can’t recover, best situation is keep living”.

I hope my readers join me to pray for her and leave a short message greeting her and encouraging her. You can post either at the original website or on my site under this entry. I will help Danny collect all your post and send to her hospital so she know many people are supporting her.

The Original Message

Here is what Danny’s posted on the website of I am quoting it under the author’s permission.

One of my close friend FLORA is very ill and needs a kidney transplant. So far, a replacement kidney has not been found. Even if a compatible kidney is found and operation is successful, she faces a big challenge ahead in ongoing treatment. Not to mention the high cost of such an operation.

She is only in her twenties and she is such a friendly and beautiful person. Always full of life, smiles and a charming personality.

Please show your support for her.

I would like to collect your warm wishes for her here. Just a prayer for her would be such a nice gesture. Or you can reply a short message here to FLORA and I’ll collect them for her and make sure she gets your warm greetings at the hospital.



Quoted from

Best wishes to Flora and Have a Merry Christmas!