It is very nice to attend the Shanghai Blogger Meetup organized by Fons. This meetup is held monthly on every third Wednesday @ 7:00 PM. This time, Trombly kindly hosted us in thier home. I am not sure about whether I should disclose the full name of other participants yet. I had a great time. K and M came from the film industry. They make real films. I am very interested in joining their next film effort and see how a film is created. Matthew and others shared very interesting topics regarding blogging. I would like to recommend other bloggers to join the meetup. It is a very nice place to discuss about interesting stuff.
This is the last day of the three-day training in Seattle. The jat lag seemed to disappear from me. Tonight, Robert Scoble invited me to attend the Media Center team geek dinner in the crossroad mall. I was certainly happy to meet the most famous Microsoft blogger there.
When the training finished at around 5:45 pm, it was raining heavily outside. Althought to rent a car at Avis or Hertz nearby was an option, I just didn’t want to bet on my skills of driving in U.S. and the sense of locations. If I did rent a car, by the time I arrive there, everyone may had gone already. I used the King County Metro/Bus Trip Planner, and it gave a good suggestion:
Walk 0.2 mile NW from 1400 6TH AVE to
Depart WESTLAKE STA & BAY D At 05:56 PM On Route MT 229 Overlake Transit Center
Arrive 156 AV NE & NE 8 ST At 06:32 PM
Walk N to 15600 NE 8TH ST
It was a great result. Bingo. But finally, I chose taxi.
The taxi driver didn’t know the address. This was to my surprise. With the help to Robert over mobile, we finally found our way to hiway 520 via I-5 and turn to 405 and took 8th Street exit.
The Ethiopia Taxi Driver
The taxi driver was interesting. He came from Ethiopia. He was obvious excited when he learnt I am from China. He told me there are many Chinese in his country – the plants, the factories – are all opened by people in China. They buy Chinese shoes and clothes everyday. They are building their own road infrustructure like I-5 in his country, and all the technologies, the machinaries and the engineers come from China. It is amazing. I never heard about it before. I doubt there is any people from China go to Ethiopia before… He continued to tell his story in this country. It is quite an eye opener. In my memory, there are always wars there. I asked him about the wars (no offense here), and he acknowledged: Yes. There will always be wars but it is at the border, not the country. Well. How about pay a visit to this mysterious country? He promoted his country and said it is very cheap there. They even have Hilton there. I admit I am still very ignorance for world. I am looking into the details of a trip to Ethiopia.
Road Naming System of Washington State
The address of the destination is:
When we took the 8th Street exit and heading westward, the driver started to look for the 156 Ave. He talked about one hundred and fifty six, while I always look for fifteen thousand and six hundred. Later, I realized that I can find out the Ave name of by removing the two zeros at the end. So it is very sure that 15600 NE 8th Street is at the intersection off 8TH Street NE and 156th Ave. NE. This idea is cool!
Later, I found it works in the downtown seattle too. The address for Sheraton Hotel is
1400 6th Ave.
It can be translated to the corner of 14th Street and the 6th Ave, where the 14th Street is actually the Pike Street. They have this kind of translation on tour map and the number 1400 is on every plate of the street. Cool! I claimed the root of America’s/Greek’s/western culture is systematic thinking and reasoning, or the quatitive thinking, while the root of Chinese/eastern culture is literature or qualitive thinking. This is one good example of the difference.
The geek dinner was not in a restraunat, as I expected. People gathered at the lobby of the mall and sat in the public area. Everyone ordered some fast food and started to talk. I heard some very good idea there and saw a big OEM product there. I got a nice Channel 9 robot todady.
The small Channel 9 Image in coutesy of Channel 9
The talk was simply great. It seems people are so interested in news in China. The contrast of the poor and the rich, the newly built skyscrapers and the nearby farm land is the hot topic there. It is interesting.
P.S. Bank Account
I created my first bank account in U.S. with Bank of America today. I asked for Versatel checking account and just before I sign my name for this account, the grace service lady found my employer is Microsoft and she offered to upgrade my account too FirstChoice Gold Checking, which is the top level account in Bank of America and 3 level higher than Versatel account. It was great. I also ordered my first check book in my life. Since the financial institude took a big jump in the last twenty years, it seems people directly jumped from saving account to credit card. There is almost no personal checking in the history.
I am sure Hailey (old blog), Roddy and Hailey’s friends in CRI (China Radio International) will not be unhappy because I mentioned their names and out meetup tonight. Hailey is a successful blogger and an editor in CRI. Tennessee Ruck has a good review of Hailey’s blog. I just found it when I returned. Roddy runs Chinese Forums, a great place for ex-pats in China with more than 1400 registered users. I managed to get some time to walk out of the office at night for the first time in my 9 working days in Beijing and enjoy the night life in this amazing city.
We talked about many in our meetup, from real estate in Shanghai (Hailey is a real estate editorial) to the culture shock of a new comer to Shanghai; from the city infrastructure of Shanghai, to the difference between Shanghai and Beijing (the ultimate topic) and finally to blogging stuff. It is quite an interesting night. Roddy was so kind to listen to us talking in Chinese. He came from England and claimed to be able to understand 90% of our conversation. It is amazing. Roddy speaks very good Chinese, much better than my English.
It is nice to talk with people from different perspective, although this time I seemed to dominate the talk because it started with an interview request from CRI :-D
The young generation like Hailey and her kind collogues impressed me a lot – they just graduated from school but has smart ideas and open minds. I observe a deep gap between the two groups of people – those who were born before 1979 and those after. 1979 is the year the one child policy was enforced in China (Birth control is forbidden word here though). It is the only generation that is not directly affected by the Culture Revolution. I attribute the gap to these two major reasons.
Other young generation representatives are XGAO and Claire (mentioning with courtesy)….. Well. I am not saying I am too old, what I mean is, I am happy to see the younger generation become much better in communication, presentation, independence in mind and the change in lifestyles. It is quite promising for China.
During the talk, we touched the topic of Shanghai v.s. Beijing. “Which city you like better, Shanghai or Beijing?” Oh. It is an inevitable topic between any two persons from these two cities.
I love Beijing. Beijing is a fabulous city and becomes better and better everyday. I hope I can move to Beijing and settle down here for two years or longer.
I also love Shanghai. I miss Shanghai three days after I left it.
This was my answer.
If there is something the current Chinese society lack of, I guess it is mercy, or tolerance.
The argument of Shanghai is better or Beijing is better reflects the problem. If you check some websites with such topic, you will see how hot the topic is – no matter where you see it, and when it is raised. It seems the answer to this question divides people into two groups – pro-Beijing group and pro-Shanghai group. The size of the later is much smaller, though.
People in Shanghai believe, Shanghai is the best city in China. They believe any place outside Shanghai is bad, unbearable, without orders, uncomfortable, inconvenient…. (I didn’t say all, but I saw many people in Shanghai think so)
People in Beijing are more open-minded. They may not insist Beijing is the best city in China as people in Shanghai do, but they argue that Shanghai is a bad place. Wendy and I all have experiences to listen to Beijing people returning from Shanghai by train complaining everything about Shanghai – the air, the traffic, the roads, the food, the people…..
Why there is no answer in the middle?
I don’t know when this started but it became a trend already. I am worried to see some people in my country started to judge a person by their origin instead of the content of their characters. Discrimination started to spread on this old land.
We have discriminated people from Henan (for so-called un-honesty and lazy). We have hold against people in Shanghai (in many places outside Shanghai) because they cannot fit into the traditional culture. We even hated people from Beijing at the time of SARS (I mean to the extent beyond necessary medical precautions). Who are the next to be discriminated?
I become even more worried about the nationalism (featured with anti-Japanese movement and anti-Japanese good movement) that spreads more quickly than the growth of Chinese economy.
As the poster (scroll to the end of the page) I posted in 2003, the idea that all Japanese are bad set root in people’s mind. Oh. No. Hate started to overtake people’s consciousness.
In Nanjing, it was reported (not confirmed though) that students just like to beat Japanese on the street without any strong reason (well, they have strong reasons in their mind), and policemen just let it be. In Xi’an, taxi drivers tend to refuse to take Japanese passengers. In Chongqing, at the last football match between Japan and another Asian country, football fans almost conflicted with the Japanese fans (even without China team’s presence)
What will Happen on August 7, 2004?
Yesterday night, China beat Iran in the semi-quarter of Asia Cup at 5:4. I am very excited and proud of the breakthrough. I am looking forward to watch the final between China and Japan at the Worker’s Stadium in Beijing.
However, I started to worry that if China lose the game, the tension of anti-Japanese ideological trend may break the bottom line of restraint…. I hope it is my only my own imagination. I hope the history like the Anti-Chinese revolt in Indonesia does repeat itself. The August 7 may be a trigger if not controlled well.
Now the forums are dominated with anti-Japanese articles. This brings a big threat to peace. More voices should be heard. A great nation is a nation with open mind, great tolerance, and wise, not with discrimination or nationalism. Calm down, my people!
Note: by linking to these site does not I agree with contents of the sites. Just for your reference.
- Anti-Japanese Goods Movement
- Asia Cup in Chongqing (part II III IV V)
Update Hailey and Roddy are Nice People September 20, 2004
I just found I may mislead people to think it is Haily or Roddy’s point of view on Japanese and discrimination. Actually it is not. We share some common ideas on the world.
I am excited about the successful meet-up yesterday in Starbucks Metro City Store. Eight persons including me attended the casual talk. We played a game of writing three statements about everyone him/her selves with two true and one false statement. It gave everyone the opportunity to tell others about his/her life, personality, and interests. It is a good ice breaking game.
Jian Shuo Wang
Final group photo. Used with permission.
Note: The order of the names are different from the order in the photo in case they don’t what others to recognize them. :-D
We had great fun to guess which one was the wrong statement. The exploration of the stories behind the true statements were equally interesting. Stonesee shared his fantastic travel experience to Southeast Asia countries. Tutu just returned from her trip to Lijiang and mentioned the kind host of a local guide Zhaxi. I explained more about my incomplete visit to 30N 119E. It seemed we were all interested in such kind of adventure.
We were happy to have Teh in the meet up during his short stay in Shanghai. He talked about his experience in financial industry. We all burst into laughter when Vicky described her statement “I have two dogs?
We found we know each other by friends. The six degree of separation (or the small world theory) is proved again. Xiao-Jing is a friend of Isaac. :-D Stonesee recorded the instinct of women in his blog. Xiao-Jing had the ability to always pick up the right answer with her sixth-sense while Stonesee and me were almost always wrong.
Why Meet up
One of my accomplishment of 2003 is to continue to add more content into my blog everyday no matter how busy I am. The response from my friends and readers is the reason I keep it up. I always wanted to meet my friends I already know from their comments.
The Internet is a great way to people to get connected, but face to face communication can never be replaced. We cherish the opportunity to be at the same city and the POSSIBLITY to meet and have a cup of coffee. I also gathered feedback about their most interested parts of Wangjianshuo’s blog. Teh and Vicky are interested in my how-to parts and others are more interested in funny projects like 30N 119E…
Thanks for coming! I am looking forward the next meet-up. I hope to see more people in person.
P.S. As the lucky draw, I will give one week of free promotion for attendants with a blog.
I always feel excited when I am thinking that there are many frequent readers and friends around this website. I also got a lot of email asking about “how about we meet next week?” or “I will be in Shanghai around ****, how about we meet and talk?”
I also have been waiting to meet some of my friends face to face if possible. I know many are in Shanghai already, while others, like Carroll and Xu are in California and Japan…
Maybe we can hold a very small gathering to celebrate the opportunity of being in the same city and knowing each other. It must be fun and memorable.
What do you think of the idea? It may not be a bad choice if the meet-up happens next Friday, December 26, 2003, at the Starbucks Metro City Store? Meet-up starts at 7:30 PM. Only one participant will make me happy enough. If you want to come, please post a comment on this page.
Q: Why Meet-up?
A: Why not? But it is just a very casual gathering and having a cup of coffee. The world is small. Why not gather and know each other?
Q: How many people will be there?
A: Two persons are enough for the gather. But open to more people. However, less than 10 is preferred.
Q: Who should attend?
A: I will not say anyone should attend. It will be very good if you are a frequent reader of this blog.
Q: What is the time and location?
A: Time: 7:30 PM, Friday, December 26, 2003
Location: Starbucks Metro City Store (out of Exit 10 of Metro Xujiahui Station)
Q: I cannot catch it. Is it possible to choose another time?
A: Yes. It is possible. But unless there is a very good reason, I prefer to stick to the date.
Q: What do you mean by small world? You have mentioned it many times.
A: Yes. It is true. I have a “small world” sections at the end of this page.
Q: Will Wendy be there?
A: I am not sure. I didn’t check with her yet.
Q: What will be the topics?
A: There should be a lot of things to discuss – the city of Shanghai, the blog, the weather, the culture shock, where to go and play… anything that is fun.
Q: Should I have dinner first?
A: Yes. We will not have dinner together. You need to buy yourself coffee.
Q: Any lucky draw?
A: Yes. I am thinking of what the big prize will be. (Don’t have high expectation. I am not as rich as Bill Gates)
P.S. Small World
This world is full of miracles and chances. I have a good friend Cuanyu who left comment on my board to claim that guy on the background of my picture was him. Thus we have met with each other in Riwa and then connected via Internet. I have a nother friend Michael from Shanghaiexpat.com. He met my collegue at the air plane from San Fransisco to Seattle! Now, this is the third miracle: Run was telling a story that George read this blog and found out Run was in Munich, Germany and they finally met:
…Talking about George, it´s a miracle. I cannot believe this happened.
- Somebody recommend Jian Shuo Wang’s log (www.wangjianshuo.com) to him
- he visited Jian Shuo´s blog site
- he found my blog (www.run2me.com) and visited it
- he observed I was in Munich that days
- he contacted me via BBS board and email
- we got connected in MSN and made an appointment in the Central Station in Munich … the place we have been there before
- we met near the gate of the train to Swan Castle finally!
It’s a miracle! I cannot believe it happened without a phone call for two persons who never know each other meeting in a place they have never been there before! but it happened in the Interget age!
Quoted from Run2me.com
The world is small right? By of Six Degree of Separation theory, any one can know any one within 6 loops. True.
Update Wonderful MeetUp December 31, 2003
The meet up turned to be very successful. Read the story and see the pictures here: Wonderful Meetup on December 26.
I just returned from a party hosted by CultureXChina at Club de Eagle near the Galaxy Hotel.
There I met nice guy like Jack, Jason, and Alex. They came from France and Hong Kong. Also I met a lot of local university students there.
Nice idea to bring the two poles together
It is a very nice idea to bring the local people and the foreigners together. The culture exchange, as implied by the name of the party organizer, is exactly the most exciting thing in the big city of Shanghai. It is fun and benifitial for both the local people and foreigners to talk.
Barriers to go out of the country
There are two barriers for people in China to travel to the rest of the world.
The first one is the passport. Unlike people in Europe and U.S., passport and visa are the main barrier for people to go out to see the world. It is become much easier now to get a passport. Can you imagine that for the first 40 years of the People’s Republic of China, seldom can anybody go out of the door of the country and see other places? Well. It is for the historical reasons. In the recent years (1980-2000), more and more people goes to U.S., but passport is not easy to get. Until recently (within one year) did the passport open for citizens. Any one can get a passport with a Citizen ID card within a week. This has been a big step.
The other barrier is the expense. A round trip from Shanghai to San Fransisco typically costs 1000 USD. That is not big money for U.S. people, but when you consider the average income of people in China, it becomes a problem. As one of the richest city in China (which is currently the 11th expensive city to live in the world), Shanghai’s average monthly income is around 1400 RMB – less than 200 USD. Although there are many people enjoy every high salary (200,000 – 5,000,000 RMB), the majority of the city are still not rich. For people in inner part of the mainland, the income are less. In my hometown of Luoyang, 500 RMB (est. 60 USD) per month is considered very good job already.
So you see the big gap between 1000 USD air ticket and the 60-200 USD monthly income, not to mention the hotels and other expenses.
Demand for English skills
Although most of collage students never been to any country outside China, they have huge demand for English. English skill is critical for them to find a good job after gradutation (Refer to my previous article on Is English Skill That Important?)
Beside that, the contact with foreigners gives them the chance to explorer the world outside the country. That is the reason why so many people joined the party organized by CultureXChina.com.
For foreigners to come to the mysterious country, China, besides business trip, what else can you expect to do? Besides the guided tour to the city, there is seldom a chance to make local friends, to learn some Chinese, and to under the culture of the city/country.
So joining a party with lots of local people is a good choice. In the party, there are so many local students. Most importantly, they are willing to talk with you and share their experience. Most of them can speak English and some of them are fluence in English. Isn’t it nice?
I talked with the organizer of the party and he said there will be this kind of party almost every week. Everytime, there are about 100 to 300 people every time. Pretty nice, isn’t it? They can be found CultureXChina.com.
I love to talk with people, so I joined the meeting organized by Katrina. It is in the Softel Hotel at 7:00 PM. I am not sure about the content of the meeting before I went there.
When I steped in to the guest room, surprisingly, I met Katrina, the organizer of the meeting and some other participants. They came here either from email, from ICQ or from That’s Shanghai advertisement. The goal is for some kind of business opportunties. Among 4 for them, I know three – two are the helper for the summit and one are my university classmate. We shorted out – what a small world.
The meeting itself is not interesting. It turned out to be multi-level marketing presentation. I have no interest in that, since it is illegal for multi-level marketing in China. It may succeed in other regions, but not here.
But the conversation with my old classmate and the two girls are very interesting.