Wrapping up YLF Xi’an Trip

I am wrapping up this year’s YLF trip on the flight from Xi’an to Shanghai. I said farewell to my dearest friends today, after singing the song of all kinds on friendship last night. From time to time, I assert the necessity of the trip most of the time when I wrap it up. Obviously, these three days are very worth the time.

Cross Industry Knowledges

Photo by Ron Xu

I am a strong believer of vision and inspiration. To be able to be visionary, you have to consistently look beyond what is already in your landscape by listening to people who are out of your knowledge. This cross-country, and cross-industry in-depth event helps me to understand more about something I completely have no idea.

My friends are so kind of guide me to their world, and help me to understand. The key of this mentorship is, they are not just someone who is from that field, they are actually one of the best in their field.

I just cannot miss the chance

  • to learn how to conduct an orchestra from the director of Lincoln Center in New York, or
  • to learn how space shuttle works from an astronaut who are back from the space, or
  • to learn architect from the famous architect of many landmark buildings in New York, or
  • how military works from someone who is controlling the air force of US army in Iraq (How Matt twists the plane to escape from missiles was so funny), or
  • what the north korea things are all about from the person who lead the negotiation from White House… or
  • Ballet – yes, Ballet, from the top ballet dancer Jeremy!

The list goes on and on and on. More interestingly, most of the talks happened not in the conference room. They were the side conversation when we were bored on a bus, or walked in the dark night under the splendid stars, or at the mountains in the middle of nowhere. That experience was so unique, and precious.

Share and Learn the Personal Experience

Photo by Ron Xu

Beside the cross industry learning, the more meaningful thing is sharing of personal experiences. People were selected into the program from 10 years ago when they were under 40. Now, they have been mature enough to experience the key moments in life – ups and downs, and how they handle the criss also gave me great power. (Obviously I will keep strictly confidential about that part, which is so private to each of us). Things like religions, Buddha stories, how to mediate, and to things of how to schedule trips, or just some piece in the history, are talked. Big or small, they were so helpful. I believe there must be a reason for this group of people to archive what they have archived. To learn from that is also a meaningful experience.


Photo by Ron Xu

Last but not least (actually it is the most), it is the personal connection – the friendship. I am committed to do whatever I can do to help my YLF friends I know because of the many things I received. Just like Paul repeatedly gave behind-the-scene tours to YLFers to White House, Mark helped the Chenggang to bring the wedding ring to the space and back (of cause), Kebo were kind enough to sponsor group activities including flight tickets, people have the natural tie, just like a family. This friendship fostered deep engagement after the conference ends. We have people marry each other (Mark and Gaby), investment in each other, work for each other. Just like Steven Jobs mentioned in the Stanford commencement, a forum of 24 people started 10 years ago is just one dot, and the dots got connected in the future. Looking forward, you cannot understand how the dots were connected. It is obvious only when looking backward.

At the end, I felt I made a wonderful choice to come here. There is no short term return on events like this, but it has so long time impact to my life. We really need to set apart time to work on some long term things, and we should be generous enough to invest in ourselves to be a more capable, more connected people.

End of my Travel Season

There are time in a year that we travels a lot. I visited Europe, and then US, and Xi’an. It is too much of travel, and I have a lot of things to do. So, after the YLF trip of today, I officially claim the end of my travel season this year. I will avoid future travel by the end of this years, unless it is absolutely necessary. You will be able to find me in Shanghai.

Songs are One of the Culture Gaps

This year’s YLF ended tonight, with a mad karaok until mid-night of both the Chinese and American participants. It was so fun to sing a Chinese song and an American song alternatively. This is the second time YLF went to sing together in my memory.

Music is Universal, Dance is, but Popular Songs are Not

This is my observation of this interesting event. The music is universal. When the music started, no matter it was Chinese or English song, people just started to get excited and swung, and danced with it. That is the mutual bounding between the people. We never feel we share the same humanity as much as when we are dancing with the same music.

However, there IS some major difference about the song itself. When the songs like 铁血丹心 of 射雕英雄传 was played, it suddenly became an express time traveling train to take me back to the 1980s when we were in middle school and all the memories of the middle school came out, with some details like the faces of my schoolmates. I believe the American must feel the same when the 1970’s or 1980’s American song were played.

Songs are not just songs for us. They are memories, and they are the real time capsule that preserve the feelings of our early time. Playing a song of 20 years ago is just to open the time capsule and release the old memories. People of similar age will share that feeling.

Unfortunately, that feeling is not easily shared by Chinese and American. I have no idea about many songs American picked. Well. There are some common songs, like Michael Jackson’s, however, I don’t know even the same song brings the same cultural feeling for people cross the ocean.

Photo Taken by Ron Xu. Note: Please let me know if anyone feel I should remove this photo

Songs at Childhood Makes the Gap between First Generation Immigrant Parents and their Children

I discussed with Sam Wang several years ago about the challenges first generation immigrants face about their children. The key gap between the parents and the native born kids are, the kids grew up with completely different set of songs from the parents. That difference will break the culture binding between the parents and the kids. Typical examples are Chinese first generation immigrants to US, and their kids. There are other examples, as far as I know, are the Indian expats in Shanghai, with their kids. The kids sing all the songs their Chinese classmates are singing, and ops…. a gap between the two generations.

Mixing World

We don’t need to have a solution for this. It is not a problem. It is exactly the diversity of world. We should keep it. By having more events like people from different culture to dance and sing together, we are providing a very good exchange among the cultures.

P.S. Todd shared about his experience of meditation, and Paul shared the tool of staring at one thing quietly on the bus. That was very helpful.

P.S. 2. If you are in Shanghai, you can turn to CBN (Chinese Business Network) 第一财经 on Sunday night at 9:00 PM to watch this episode of BossTown. At the theme of “Solute to Steve Jobs”, I am one of the observers to talk about the topic with Kaifu.

Reflection of My 5 Years of YLF

This is the summary of what I talked during this year’s YLF about my personal experience of the program

The theme of this year’s YLF is YLF Time Capsule – what I am going to put into the time capsule to be opened in the future to help understand the present. I actually will put something that I took out of the time capsule I started about 5 years ago. It is a list of articles I wrote about YLF. You know, I am a blogger. I write daily, in the last 10 years. I have about 70 entries mentioning YLF out of the 3000 entries, which means YLF is at least 5% of my life. The actual impact is even higher than that. I am lucky to be able to read the articles and understand how it got started, and how the magic happened.

The Start

I know exactly that it was 11:30 am on June 29, 2006, that I met Jan the first time with the introduction of Haisong. It was the Public Intellectual Program of the NCUSCR. I love the program and enjoyed talking with people from the National Committee. I had already heard about great things about YLF and asked Jan if I can be a YLF. She asked “How old are you?”. She may thought I was too young for the Young Leader’s Forum. Then on August 30, 2007, I got the invitation to join the YLF.

A Bridge

That year, I wrote a blog about the need of a bridge. Since I was writing a blog in English, I got great amount of questions from my friends in the States about China. I was encouraged by how they are willing to know about China, but also surprised to know how little they know about the country. I realized that we need a bridge, seriously. The logo of the YLF program happens to be a bridge that connect US and China, cross an ocean. What we are doing here in the last 10 years is to build the bridge. We use the unique ways to build the bridge.

Personal Connections

The first way to build the bridge is personal connections. I am a strong believer of personal connections. It cannot be replaced, even by social media. We hear so many news, people, places, and events everyday. I don’t feel strongly for most of them since we don’t care. “Why I should care when a space shuttle launches in Florida?” I started to care so much when the friend I made here, Chris, is on that shuttle. That makes a huge difference so I wake up in late night to watch it. I had no personal connection with architect, until I have great friend Gregg, and I started to pay attention to any architect. That personal connection is so strong, and powerful, and it can help to make the relationship between US and China better.

I would say, John Holden’s initial vision about the program is archived to certain extend. The idea about the program is to build personal connection, so in the future, if things like the bombing of Chinese embassy, or plane collapse happens again, someone in US or China can pick up the phone and dial the counterpart to seek for a solution before the situation get escalated.

Different Perspectives

The second way we build the bridge is by sharing different perspectives from both side. The best story to describe the current US-China relationships I know is the story of the blind men and the elephant. The six blind men approached the elephant and everyone just grasped part of the elephant, and cannot agree with each other. The best way to help them is to get everyone sitting together around a table, and share what he saw in an open and honest way.

In the forum, there are different opinions, and some times, conflict options. In fact, those conflicts are often the highlights of this program. By acknowledging that we are only blind men who are able to see only small part of this world, and just a small slice of time in history, we share and we understand better.

First Hand Experiences

I cannot express how much I appreciate the organizer to arrange the conference in both China and US alternatively, and the great places we visit. No to mention forums held in US, even for the forums held in China, I got completely new perspectives even for China. When I was desperate about how ugly and fast-pace the current China is, the trip to Suzhou during the Nanjing forum, and the trip to Folk Museum, and Shuiluan during this trip let me find the confidence that how beautiful and graceful ancient Chinese were. The trip to Suzhou Museum and this time, to the Jade Valley enforced the hope that there are people building grace and beauty today. With the accompany of my American friends, I actually see China better with their thought-provoking questions.

Time Capsule

I want to put the list of articles I wrote about YLF in the last 5 years into a time capsule and open it in 25 years. I hope at that time, the seed we are planting today via Personal Connections, Sharing Different Perspectives, and First Hand Experiences will have great fruit to help build a better US-China relationship.

Photo by Ron Xu

Jade Valley Winery in Lantian

YLF has unique connections. The second day conference were held in unique places. June connected us with Shui Lu An where she helped to preserve, and Haisong and Phil connected us with Jade Valley Winery, where we held the nice discussion in the afternoon and dinner.

Photo by Ron Xu

Image taken by Ron Xu

Jade Valley Winery

Jade Valley Winery is one of the most unexpected encounters during the last few years for me. In the middle of the mountains of Qin Range, and beside the villages that cannot be more common in the area stood a Stone House, a residence that is built with the modern architect. We also visited the Jade Valley Resort – a well designed and constructed site at the top of a hill, facing the G40 Shanghai – Xi’an Expressway, and a large grape land.

In fact, it was amazing aspiration to start to plant grape in Xi’an – a place traditionally not connected with wine, and some decent architects in the mountains, well, in the middle of no where before its existence. Mr. Sun’s talk about the dream they were pursuing were very moving. He and Professor Ma are not the only people we met with a big dream and do it in a persistent way, even to an extend of behavior art. I understand the idea behind everything they did was to turn a new face for the rural area of China, and allow the humble Chinese farmers to live in a more dignified life.

I’d like to do what I can to support the dream. The Jade Valley wine is good (well, at least to me), and it can be ordered in M on the Bund, the new Peninsula hotel on the Bund and other places. The name is Jade Valley.

I wrote Not be afraid of Grace and Beauty in my first YLF conference:

A Chinese, which is not afraid afraid of grace and beauty

I believe when people in China end the centuries of hunger, and war, we get back to the original track to pursue happiness, grace, beauty, and all kinds of great things, just as our ancestor did in the last few thousands years.

Mr. Ma, Mr. Sun, Ms. Wang and all the team are the hope.

P.S. I am very looking forward to the tomorrow’s session (I missed part of the sessions this morning due to a conference call, and I felt terribly bad about it), and I am looking forward to the next decade of the YLF.

P.S. 2: Topic of my presentation about YLF Time Capsule tomorrow? I am going to talk how YLF build a bridge between US and China via personal connection, sharing different perspectives, and first hand experiences.

YLF in Xi’an

I cannot believe it that it is the tenth anniversary of YLF (Young Leader’s Forum). It is the biggest personal commitment I made during the last five years to take three days out of the 365 days I have (about 1%), and it is also the best rewarding time I got. It is so amazing to spend time with the really talented people from both China and US, and from many sectors (business, architect, lawyer, dancer, education, journalism, military, space program, government officials, artist, publishers – you name it). Although I do hope I can be with the company in my daily work so much (exciting things going on there), I always told me that this is the best long term investment in myself, and even in the family, and the company around me. It is basically about making personal connections and make myself a better person.

YLF this Year

Many old friend came – many of them are 2002 fellow. We started with nice discussion, from which I noted two interesting expression:

Uncomfortable Dependance. It is to describe the relationship between the current US and China. It is one of the hardest, and the most important relationships in current world, and we are here to contribute a little bit to this world.

Strategic Ambiguity – a phrase to describe the current US policy on Taiwan issues.

When everyone is looking back and see how big the impact of this highly influential group impacted their lives, I am also thinking about the topic, and about what is the topic of the presentation i am going to talk about this Saturday.


I missed the most of the part when Mrs. Zhang described the Xi’an Wall protection, but we finally end up riding the whole circle of 13 km atop of the city wall. It was completely recovered. Isn’t interesting to see the circle of building the wall, tearing it down and re-build it again. Maybe after few decades, people have no idea about how stupid we were at the mid of the last century. The wall is just beautiful.

It is the city I took a train alone when I was 13 years old alone, and transit via bus to Tongchuan. That was a wonderful journey. I directly walk from the train station to the bus station. Now, the section of the city wall was rebuilt, and there is no more walking – that is the reason I have a vivid picture of the city without a wall was like.

Arrived at Xi’an

Wow. What a busy day. With two meetings in two places, and many meetings in the office. I even left my laptop in the Peace Hotel (and finally found it), and still have no idea where I left my jacket. When I am at the flight to Xi’an, I was completely tired. I met Haisong, who introduced me to Jan and later to YLF on the plane. We talked a lot, and when we get to the Kempinski in Xi’an, it is already the mid-night. I happily escaped from starving to death by eating a bowl of noodle. When I finally sit down and think about the day – hmmm… It is the first time I travel without watching taking off and landing from the plane window, and the first time I basically didn’t see any scene or observe the architect of the hotel, and the first time not interested in looking out of the window of the hotel. It is the time to sleep.

Great YLF Dinner in Shanghai

Finally, we had 10 persons for the YLF gather. Todd, and Gregg flew from US, and others from Xia’men and Beijing…

Jian Shuo










It was always inspiring to talk with the YLFers. We chatted about a great variety of topics, You can imagine to put a group of people mixed of American and Chinese, and career from great architect, to lawyer, to government official, to military, to TV anchor, to investor… what people will share, and especially when many people have spent quality time together for almost ten years.

This is the tenth year of the wonderful program (YLF), and we are going to have a huge gather in China at the end of Oct. Where will the 10 year party be? Tibet? Inner Mongolia? Taiwan?

YLFers Gathered to Pray for Gabrielle Giffords

I didn’t expect a normal Sunday morning started with beeping of many email alerts on my phone. It was from the email threads from YLFer friends that I heard the sad news about the shooting of Gabby and other innocent people in Arizona. I was completely shocked.  It turned out to be the headline of all major news sites, even the headlines of Sina.com.cn later this morning.

Gabby was a YLF 2003 Fellow, and so was her husband Mark Kelly. They met each other via the Young Leader’s Forum in Huanshan in 2003. Thier marriage was among the few other unexpected, wonderful side effects of the US-China relationship program. It is also rare that both persons of a couple are friends of the same group of people.

With the strong personal connection within the small YLF community, we felt so sad for Gabby and Mark. Besides the emails, the 8 Shanghai based (and visiting) YLF just gathered in Lujiazui to send our sympathy, support and prayers. The same gather happens in NYC.

It will take me more time to understand the whole situation, how it happened, and why, but it does not require too much thoughts to immediately feel the pain, shock, and sadness, when the person involved is someone you know, and greatly admire of.

I was angry to see the typical comments on some Shanghai forums who expressed some kind of “joy”when something bad happens in America. It is a shame for the persons who wrote it. It is a global community and everyone on both side of the ocean should make the personal commitment to fight against the senseless violence like this. China is also not unfamiliar with tragedy with completely innocent people involved. We should stop this violence no matter at what reason, at what country.

I just hope Gabby could be fine very soon.

Timber Cove, Sonoma

This year’s YLF (Young Leaders Forum, National Committee on US-China Relationships) took place in Timber Cove, Sonoma county, California. I have decided to make time for this great event no matter what. I am back from the three day trip, and have time to post some of the photos I took during the days. Well, the content is obviously 100 times better than the content, and I got great inspiration from the other fellows. Since that is a strictly confidential and off-record conference, I won’t disclose anything about the conference itself.

Below: Some times, this type of post card scene (I mean the scene, not my photo using iPhone 4) appears in dreams, and I completely enjoyed watching sunset, and talk with maybe the smarted young group I know. The fire was hot, and the ocean was cold, and the wine from Sonoma county was great.


The scene outside the hotel room is splendid. The sound of wave washing the coast rocks is just like music.


The ocean waves.


This is the small inn, original owned, and designed by Mr. Richard Clement, the father of one of YLFer attending this event, and friend of Ansel Adams.


This is, not surprisingly, me.


The scene along the CA-1 is compariable with the Great Ocean Road of Australia.


The room and platform I spent the days and nights.


The road leading to the sea at Fort Ross.


The mouth of Russia River, where I kayaked with Stacy.


The cost line near the glass house in the middle the sea.


Here is the location.

Map picture

Concluding my YLF Trip in Xiamen

I am currently in a small hotel called Yoyou Inn (photos) on Gulangyu. We have finished the 3 day of YLF 2009 Forum in Xiamen, and the three day extension trip, and got back from Zhangzhou, Quanzhou to Xiamen.

In the later 3 days, I was always on the road roaming from one city to another. Not just our American counterpart, I, myself, hasn’t been to other part of Fujian other than Xiamen an Fuzhou. Although I tried my best to avoid saying “China is blah-blah-blah” on this blog, I still make the mistake to pretend I know what China is on this blog. Obviously, the part I saw with our American YLFers is not exactly the China in my mind.

I will fly back to Shanghai tomorrow, and when I settle down in Shanghai, I will try to write more about this wonderful trip.

I’d like to take the time to thank Jan, Jon, June, the National Committee on US China Relationship and all participants of the conference of this year. I am so happy to spend 1/52 of my year of 2009 with the great people here this year.

Day 2 of YLF 2009

During the discussion at night, we started to talk about voice mail – why there is no voice mail in China. I happened to write a Chinese blog about it more than one month ago: The Network Effect of Technology Application. In that blog, I argued that Chinese don’t use voice mail because of lack of network effect. Voice mail is only useful when more people (at least more than half) will actually check their voice mail if you do leave one, or people will often check their voice mail only when you get at least one voice mail once every year! (I setup an answer machine with Wendy’s and my greeting at home, only to receive one valid voice mail during the first half year before I gave it up). The reason there is no network effect (no other people using that technology) is because voice mail emerges far ahead of mobile phone, and people in China just frog leap from no phone to mobile phone. The same situation happened to Video Recorder in VHS format – the tapes of video. Chinese directly entered VCD era – the first home video system in most Chinese families are VCD. The same for fax machine, and newspaper classified. Oh. I remember I also wrote about it in an English blog: Why People don’t Use Voice Mail in China and later, Whole Society is the Biggest Network Effect.

Another thing that people don’t mention was, calendar. Do you have a Calendar briefly discussed about it, but again, it is something with some sort of network effect – calendar is only useful when everyone has one if you want to keep the exact time for meetings. Otherwise, your life will be miserable with delay of meetings, and no shows if you are the only person who are not flexible enough to move meetings randomly on that day.


One of the sharpest question about Buddhism during our visit to South Putuo Temple was about the high ticket price to enter most temple in China. In my personal view, with the systematic destruction and a little bit construction of religion in China, the Buddhism temple has gone to a path to tourism location. The original meaning of quiet meditation and peace in soul have been forced to count the revenue of donations, so they build bigger houses to attract more people. The improvement of buildings in a temple certainly cannot meet the stronger religious needs from the confused people.

A Generation of Confusion

I know our American friends were confused by the Confucius ideology and the materialism and needs for a higher moral standard in China. When asked how I feel, my quick answer is, I am confused.

China has entered into a stage of conflicts. Within a short period of 30 years, the rich and the poor, the money-centric culture, and the traditional virtue, the new laws, and old conflicting laws, the materialism and the remaining internal pride not to talk about it — all these things mixed together, in a chaotic way that many people including me are quite confused, and one way out (as many people take), is don’t think about it, if you don’t to be more and more confused. I talked a lot about that confusion in my daily life on this blog in the last 7-8 years.

American Songs

Heard an interesting song when going to Karaoke with American fellows: Love Shack. It is an interesting song – very funny for me to listen and with a nice MTV attached to it. The closest song I can find to match that style of 1980’s American song is the Mice Loves Rice about few years ago in China. It is nothing serious – just that type of song completely for fun with repeated sentence: “I love you, just like the mice loves rice”. It is an expression of simple, stupid, but true happiness, and people love that popular folk song. I am happy that people in China started to appreciate those songs without high morale standard in it (as opposite to those propaganda songs)


Another note about Xiamen. It is, as I always say, an amazing city. This is maybe the third time I am in Xiamen this year. Xiamen is just 299 RMB or 1.5 hour away from Shanghai, and the airport is pretty close to the hotel area (not the downtown – the hotels with beach), and you can safely treat Xiamen as the back garden for Shanghai (although most people say Hangzhou is the back garden). I love Xiamen and I love to put my meetings in this amazing city.

Day 1 of YLF 2009

Day 1 of YLF 2009. Just finished the morning sessions, and the afternoon will happen in Gulang Yu (the tomorrow’s afternoon session will be in Nan Putuo Temple). The morning session was wonderful – the success and failures. My notes about the topic is, it is all about dimension, and the diversity of the standard, and acceptance for the failure. Will write about it later when we are back from the afternoon and night session.

Let me post some photo of the noon view of the nice hotel room.

Flying to Xiamen for YLF 2009

I am flying to Xiamen tomorrow to attend the YLF 2009 (Young Leader’s Forum). Very excited and cannot wait to see the great people there.

I will be in Xiamen from November 4 to November 11 with the main session from November 5 to November 7, and the extension trip from November 8 to November 10.

Chris is Going to Space Again

This is on NASA’s website:

T-20 Minutes and Holding

Tue, 14 Jul 2009 05:38:11 AM GMT+0800

The countdown clock at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida has paused as scheduled at the T-20-minute mark. This is a planned hold lasting 10 minutes. At Launch Pad 39A, space shuttle Endeavour’s crew access hatch has been closed, sealed and locked for flight. All seven STS-127 astronauts are safely strapped into their seats and are awaiting liftoff at 6:51 p.m. EDT.

Launch managers and weather personnel continue keeping a wary eye on the weather.

I am waiting at my desktop to see the live NASA TV of the launch of Endeavour Space Shuttle to the International Space Station. The flight has been delayed for four times, and hope this time good luck to the team and to http://home.wangjianshuo.com/archives/20090612_good_luck_endeavour_and_chris.htm.

The flight schedule seems to be very flexible according to the weather condition. The count down was paused at 9 minutes, and waited for the final launch time. Isn’t it interesting that in this world, many things happens, but your attention is only drew those you feel connected with. Like this case, if Chris is not on board, maybe I won’t want to wake up at 5:30 AM to watch the launch of a space shuttle.

Difference between Reading News and Watch Live

When I watch the launch when it approaches to the schedule time, I continue to read the Launch Blog where Steven updates the latest news. It seems the weather currently still remains “red”, which means “no-go”, and hopefully it clears up very quickly. This kind of nervousness, expectation, and uncertainty is a key factor why people prefer to watch something live, instead of checking the recorded video.

Jon sent out the email to the whole YLF community, and I believe many YLFers are watching now.

Update 6:49 AM, July 14, 2009

This time, the launch was delayed for the 5th time due to weather condition. The storm is going to the wrong direction, and getting worse. The launch has to be canceled.

Compared to this flight cancellation, my flight cancellation due to mechanism problems of United Airlines plane seems to be the smallest problem to have. I don’t know whether Chris will write a blog article complaining the inaccurate launch time of NASA Airlines(mine), and maybe bad (actually no) service on flight at all (mine). :-)

No problem. Let’s try it the sixth time. Good luck!

Update 7:00 AM, July 14, 2009

Update from NASA: the new launch time will be 6:03 PM Wed, US Eastern Time.

OK. Then I will take my working suite (not as fancy as astronauts’ – just T-shirt with Baixing logo), and get ready to my launch scheduled at 7:15 AM. The launch vehicle (my FIAT Siena) will be ignited at 7:14:55, and it will be launched through a 1 hour time window before the storm of huge traffic hits the Nanpu Bridge, and send me safely to my International Working Station at 18F of my office building. My mission in the remote planet Xujiahui during this trip will be three meetups, several meetings, and (re-)install Windows 7 system on the computer system of my International Work Station, and then I will return to my base in Pudong for dinner and sleep via car shuttle scheduled at around 7:00 PM. I will be the pilot, and mission specialist. The only thing goes wrong will be, there is no NASA TV broadcasting my journey.

Now, I am entering my 9-minute count down… 9….8….7….6….

Good Luck Endeavour and Chris

I just dropped a short email to Christopher, who will be on board of Endeavour Space Shuttle, to say good luck. His journey to the International Space Station on NASA mission STS-127.

The launch will happen at 7:17, June 13 US Eastern time, or 19:17 on the same day in Shanghai – it is good that I can watch the launch at home. I just hope the NASA TV connection on my computer works tomorrow.

Below, Chris is on the right with Canada astronaut Julie on the left:


Image credit: NASA

Chris is the only person I know personally in this photo – the second from the left.


Image credit: NASA

I knew Chris at YLF (Young Leader’s Forum). We first met in the Nanjing meeting in 2007. Actually, he is the first YLFer I saw besides Haisong, who introduced me to the organization. It was one day before we leave for Nanjing. Jan arrived with Chris late to Shanghai, and we went to the small Shanghaiese restaurant at the other side of the Jinjiang Hotel – Lugang Town… The dinner was nice – a curious extroverted me and introverted Chris – I said “My guess is, most astronauts are introverted in personality”. Chris thought (obviously scanning all the peers he had), and agreed. It is not easy to stay in the space shuttle for several months with just few persons, is it? BTW, if the boss of the small restaurant knows who they have hosted that night, she might regret not to bring a camera…

The STS-127 was scheduled to be early this year, but was delayed. I am happy that it seems everything is fine and they are going to have a wonderful launch tomorrow. Many YLFers attended the launch of another astronaut YLFer: Mark Kelly. He has been to the space station many times. I haven’t met him in person, but I heard a lot about the launch among YLFers. The last time, our architect in the team described the launch as sublime. Well. It was the first time I know the meaning of sublime.

Well. Well. Please join me to give Chris and the astronaut team pray for a successful launch tomorrow, and a safe trip to the International Space Station.

P.S. Chris asked me to give him a Chinese name when we were in Tongli at a store with the small coins with a Chinese characters on each of them. I picked the coins very hard, and finally gave the name: 可历星 to him, meaning: Able to experience the stars. Although it is not a strict translation, the wishes are conveyed, that I wish Chris can experience traveling among the stars. Tomorrow is the day for him to realize his dream of getting to the space, and experience the stars!

Update 15:15 June 13, 2009

The launch was postponed due to hydrogen leak. No worries, Chris, and team. You can do it again soon.

Congratulations to Andrew McLaughlin

Another piece of YLF (Young Leader’s Forum) news: Andrew is going to be the Deputy Chief Technology Officer of Obama Administration. (Source: Google’s Top Policy Executive to Join Obama Administration).

Congratulations to Andrew McLaughlin to play a big role! Interestingly, I saw Andrew one week before the YLF 2007 in Nanjing in Google’s office, by introduction of Isaac Mao. Then I get back and go to Nanjing, and at the forum, I saw someone with familiar face. It turned out that he is Andrew.

Great. Another YLF Fellow hit a new height of challenge.

Eighth YLF Meeting in November

YLF 2009 Time

Just got email from Jon that the eighth YLF (Young Leader’s Forum) meeting will happen in November 4-8, 2009, in China. The location is not confirmed yet. I am very expecting to join the meeting and see my old deep friends there.

WWW Conference Developer Track

Yesterday, just one day before the deadline, I managed to review the 11 papers assigned to me. I am pretty flattered that some of the paper sent to me are actually pretty important persons, like Matt, the architect of YUI… Hope the conference go on well in Spain – I don’t have plan to attend in person though.

Shanghai is Rainy

Many people complained on twitter about the rainy Shanghai, and look forward to the arrival of Spring. I am the same – it keeps raining, and raining. Shanghai is not in rainy seasons yet. How come?

Hangzhou Trip

I am leaving for Hangzhou in few minutes. I am expect to meet with Xiaowei from edushi.com, and other friends there – a traditional Shanghai-Hangzhou gather. When the Shanghai-Hangzhou train is built, the trip will be 38 minutes from Hong Qiao Airport to Hangzhou. I am sure that will impact the development of the two cities a lot.

Letter from NCUSCR

On Christmas, I received email from Steve Orlins, president of National Committee on US-China Relationships about a dinner we had with US mayors on Sept 12, 2008 – it was exactly the first day of my 7th year of blogging.


71 West 23rd Street, 19th Floor, New York, NY 10010-4102 (212) 645-9677 Fax: (212) 645-1695 e-mail: info@ncuscr.org

December 16, 2008

Mr. Wang Jian Shuo

18/F Haoran Hi-Tech Building

55 West Guangyuan Road

Shanghai 200030

People’s Republic of China

Dear Jian Shuo:

On behalf of the National Committee and the National League of Cities, I want to thank you for your terrific presentation to our delegation of mayors in October. My apologies for the delay in writing but the day after I returned we hosted a large luncheon for Premier Wen Jiabao and it has continued to be a very busy fall.

Your remarks on topics ranging from nationalism to education to air pollution were not only interesting, but very valuable for the delegation members. Though we had many presentations during the course of the week, yours was the only one that offered the perspective of average Chinese citizens. Everyone appreciated your candor and wonderful sense of humor on these important topics.

It was a pleasure seeing you and I look forward to working with you again on future National Committee programs. In the meantime, if I can be of any assistance, please feel free to contact me.


Steve Orlins


I am very happy and flattered to receive personal email from Steve, and such a formal acknowledge letter from the National Committee. With permission, I am publishing this letter here (I admit I am feeling to “show-off” something I appreciate).


On Christmas, I would like to thank Jan (the first person I meet of the NCUSRC via introduction of Haisong at a lunch), Jon who helped so much on the first YLF I attended in Nanjing, and of cause, Steve, who helped to put all the great US-China exchange programs from the National Committee. I also want to thank other staff of the Committee. I almost have met with everyone working there. I feel I do need to visit the office of the Committee in New York, since I already feel it is a home for me in US (besides Carroll’s home in California).

Being involved in various activities of National Committee programs (like YLF), and delegation visits (this, this, this, this, this, and this) are definitely highlights in my life. I feel I can help people in China and US to communicate beyond the reach of this little blog. I had the opportunity to meet many US mayors, many Congress staff, and people from all fields from US, like journalist, and publishers, and teachers… I learn a lot during our conversation (I remember I asked silly questions like “How Congress Works in US?”).

As Jan said, we are all indebted to Haising to brought us to meet.

NCUSCR, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year!

Thanks Matt Isler!

I got a small post card from my YLF friend Matt Isler.

Photograph by Jian Shuo Wang. Chinese character written by Matt.

What a great friend I have! Thanks Matt, and Mei Lan!

What is the last time I send a postcard to my friend? I tend to use electronic version, or the Internet more…

Written by Jian Shuo

So I drawed a sentence on a piece of paper, and take a photo of it, and post it on this web page:

Matt is maybe my only friend in US military. We chatted a lot about how military worked (especially how to balance “obey” and freedom of soldiers), and his first hand experience in Iraq. It is so true that nothing is more useful to foster communication between two countries than having a good friend in another country.

Erik Paulsen and Gabrielle Giffords

Got a special note from YLF:

Hearty congratulations to YLFers Erik Paulsen (2005 Fellow) and Gabrielle Giffords (2003 Fellow) for winning their respective U.S. House of Representatives races! In his first term in the House, Erik will represent the 3rd District of Minnesota, and, in her second term, Gabrielle will again represent the 8th District of Arizona.

It was a pity that I was not able to meet Paulsen, or Gabrielle in my Nanjing or Snoqualmie YLF session in the last two years, but I enjoy the news from YLFer – I know YLF people are basically very similiar – nice and warm people.

I don’t know US politics. It is just from a third angle – no matter who, someone from the same organization won something, and that is where my joy come from.

Congratulations, Erik Paulsen and Gabrielle Giffords!