bigbro's Comments

There are 6 different readers (identified by email address) with the same nickname bigbro. They are represented by different colors.

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159 Name of the Baby - Part II

I would suggest considering something more upbeat. 建硕 and 文峰 are both good, upbeat names.
Posted by bigbro at 2007-06-13 13:36:43. More

158 My Baby Arrives

Congratulations! I am very happy for you. Take good care of Wendy and the little boy.
Posted by bigbro at 2007-06-05 11:23:57. More

157 Jian Shuo Visits San Jose (Again)

Ahh, the beautiful world of many human views. Some cannot tolerate critical/grey voices. You'd call that censorship. Some others cannot tolerate positive/rosy voices. I'd call that censorship 2.
Posted by bigbro at 2006-12-02 08:19:52. More

156 Rumors after Rumors

IMHO, this post of Jian Shuo's is well wriiten.

By definition a blog is like a diary, some entries are notes of actual events, some are sparks of thoughts, some are venting, some can just be markings or even cryptive markings. Entries on a popularly read blog can be meant for every reader but there's nothing wrong with putting notes there for himself --- after all it's HIS blog.

Furthermore, this is really a smart way to deal with things like rumors, attacks, etc. For in such a case, it is best to point out the nature of the offense WITHOUT repeating/advertising the feeding frenzy.
Posted by bigbro at 2006-11-23 11:49:37. More

155 Happy Birthday to Me

Seriesly, Jian Shuo, at 29, isn't it time to consider becoming a father, though?
Posted by bigbro at 2006-10-19 14:16:13. More

154 Happy Birthday to Me

Happy birthday. 29 is almost a grownup!
Posted by bigbro at 2006-10-19 12:03:58. More

153 The Banquet (Ye Yan) by Zhang Ziyi

I would like to know: how variable are the movie ticket prices in Shanghai, and in other parts of China these days?
Posted by bigbro at 2006-09-18 00:22:27. More

152 7 Tips to Travel to China This Quarter

Add to tip #15 and this is common to any travel: before going out, mark your hotel on the map and/or have the hotel's CHINESE name and its district in Chinese on a card or a piece of paper. Even though people could guide you in simple English, proper names do not translate and can cause real confusion.
Posted by bigbro at 2006-09-01 22:55:35. More

151 Too Many Entries in a Blog

-repost with corrections:

I would think that for you, an IT professional, it would be relatively easy (and fun) to devise an improved serach method or a compartmentalized hierarchy to enable extraction of information threads. For example, so long as you have the time, you can expand upon your existing tags/categories and devide the posts into such groups as "travel from SH", "get around in SH", "movies", "parties and places", "charitable outings", "Beijing", "Henan", "personal activities", "commentory with readers", "blog upkeeping", and so on. Each group can be on a separate sub-site with comprehensive charts of recent_posts and recent_comments on a main page or atop every sub-site to guide interested readers.
Posted by bigbro at 2006-07-31 23:27:46. More

150 Too Many Entries in a Blog

I would think that for you, an IP professional, it would be relatively easy (and fun) to devise an improved serach method or a compartmentalized hierarchy to enable extraction of information threads. For example, so long as you have the time, you can expand upon your existing tags/categories and devide the posts into such groups as "travel from SH", "get around in SH", "movies", "parties and places", "charitable outings", "Beijing", "Henan", "personal activities", "commentory with readers", "blog upkeeping", and so on. Each group can be on a separate sub-site with comprehensive charts of recent_posts and recent_comments on a main page or atop every sub-site to guide interested readers.
Posted by bigbro at 2006-07-31 23:24:30. More

149 Stanford Dream

Obviously Donald Trump isn't reading this blog or you will have had an earful of the Wharton School (of business at U Penn).
Posted by bigbro at 2006-07-25 22:01:26. More

148 Lion King Comes to Shanghai


By Pasted, do you mean Passed by....?

Is it true that the Lion King being played in Shanghai will be the English version?
Posted by bigbro at 2006-07-19 12:29:49. More

147 What to Write Today?

and how are the cats?
Posted by bigbro at 2006-04-06 04:08:11. More

146 New Year's Eve - the Year of Dog

Happy New Year. Enjoy.
Posted by bigbro at 2006-01-29 04:09:25. More

145 Getting Back Home Late

An advanced Happy New Year greating to you and Wendy.

Why is the time stamp for your post "Posted by Jian Shuo Wang at December 30, 2005 11:10 PM" when Beijing time now is only Dec. 30, 2005 08:10 AM?
Posted by bigbro at 2005-12-30 08:12:20. More

144 Pressure at Year End

I think there is a difference between bureaucratic regulations and censorship. They may coexist and may help each other but they are two different concepts.
Posted by bigbro at 2005-12-28 12:16:54. More

143 Seems the site is partly back...

testing.... Welcome back.
Posted by bigbro at 2005-12-22 12:43:43. More

142 Jet Lag Patterns

Sorry about the double click.
Posted by bigbro at 2005-12-09 10:23:37. More

141 Jet Lag Patterns

No, in the spirit of free speech, I would not recommend banning anyone (except perhaps explicitly profane and personally insulting ones). The fact that bellevue is able to publish so many SEEMINGLY anti-censorship comments in Chinese blogs exactly defeats the censorship arguments in those comments. Intelligent/civil readers need not be upset or distracted by criticisms even inappropriate criticisms, but go on with their discussion about the topics intended by Jian Shuo's original post.
Posted by bigbro at 2005-12-09 10:20:58. More

140 Jet Lag Patterns

No, in the spirit of free speech, I would not recommend banning anyone (except perhaps explicitly profane and personally insulting ones). The fact that bellevue is able to publish so many SEEMINGLY anti-censorship comments in Chinese blogs exactly defeats the censorship arguments in those comments. Intelligent/civil readers need not be upset or distracted by criticisms even inappropriate criticisms, but go on with their discussion about the topics intended by Jian Shuo's original post.
Posted by bigbro at 2005-12-09 10:20:58. More

139 In San Jose Already

Those of us who actually lived through the commie censorship days recognize that in today's bellevue immediately. Ironic how human dramas repeat. But I live in the States now, so when I showed thses pages to my American friends, they laughed. One suggested that liking this bellevue to Saddam is ok but calling a retard names is inhumane. The other recommanded bellevue to get laid, simply. Me, I will just enjoy reading.
Posted by bigbro at 2005-12-06 23:26:22. More

138 Flying to SFO

You mean the time will be offset by 16 hours, right?

Bellevue would say you had to write 8 instead of 16 due to censorship.
Posted by bigbro at 2005-12-06 01:07:18. More

137 International Events in Shanghai

Errr, you'd better fix the last sentence.

Also the last two sentences in your paragraph on Chinese-speaking American would read better this way: Chinese has now been used more and more ...... . It is a good trend, ...... (obvious it may not be for many others).
Posted by bigbro at 2005-11-15 23:40:33. More

136 BBC's Interview

Bingfeng has pointed out correctly, bellevue is a troll. The right way to deal with a troll is to ignore him, or her.
Posted by bigbro at 2005-11-11 12:09:07. More

135 Conflicting Ideas from SJTU EMBA Program

To me, blogging is a new way to publish/exchange information.

When there is information flow, there is opportunity. Maybe there is no direct commercial profit today but there will be in the future, with well maintained blogs.

Blogging differs from other ways of information flow in that blogging is personal. For a CEO, blogging could be a great tool for public relations, image building, and/or humanizing business relations.
Posted by bigbro at 2005-11-01 00:35:50. More

134 Happy Birthday To Me

Happy Birthday!
Posted by bigbro at 2005-10-19 22:50:04. More

133 MU2043 from Luoyang to Shanghai

Spending money on the airport itself may not be enough. And size of the population may not be key. In order to keep any airport alive and thriving, a city needs to develop the local economy. Luoyang first has to expand their existing industries, such as the flower industry I guess, attract/discover new industries, reduce crimes/mishaps, and improve/promote tourism, such as to Long-men or Guan-lin, etc. Then people will fly there and prices will come down.

In my opinion, Luoyang is at an excellent location and can develop into a busy transportation hub if the city has the vision and persistence. The problem is, probably, the central government is not giving them money, the provincial government is not giving them priority. So the city government has to think on thier own and devise innovative ways to grow the economy. That is not easy.
Posted by bigbro at 2005-10-07 00:22:13. More

132 Is this Water Safe to Drink?

When I travel to a different city in the U.S., I always ask the hotel staffer whether the local tap water is drinkable because the water quality does vary by geographical location (due to geological reasons). For example, gulf-coast states such as Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, or Mississippi (I don't personally know about Florida, the home state of the couple you met) are infamous for having undrinkable tap water. On the other end of the spectrum, northern cities around the Great Lakes enjoy rather sweet tap water.

Many Americans know never to drink water that's not from a commercial bottle in Mexico (due to poor water-treatment) and some would apply that same principle in any other 3rd-world countries.
Posted by bigbro at 2005-09-24 04:21:08. More

131 My 17 "OR" Articles

Shakespeare had a famous line (perhaps the most famous of his lines ever) in Hamlet: To be, or not to be: that is the question.
Posted by bigbro at 2005-09-13 00:33:32. More

130 My 17 "OR" Articles

Shakespeare had a famous line (perhaps the most famous of his line) in Hamlet: To be or not to be, that is the question.
Posted by bigbro at 2005-09-13 00:31:27. More

129 Different Views on Typhoon


You brought up an interesting point. The TV reports vs. grassroots accounts from people who actually live there.

TV and magazines and all other media are in the NEWS business. They strive for sensational events or the sensational aspects of an event. If there are killings, death, destruction, injustice, etc., the news reporters and editors get on them like a cat catches on to fish. Events that end up being normal, pleasant, uneventful, or satisfying will never get noticed by the media. The direct hit areas by this typhoon got covered by reporters, Shanghai might have gotten very little (probably a lot of reports before the typhoon on preparations but none after it). From Jian Shuo's post we get a sample of personal, truthful accounts from Shanghai.

Imagine two TV reporters. One writes, typhoon only brought Shanghai rainstorms and street water and many people actually feel kinda pleasant. The other reporter writes: typhoon hit Shanghai hard, many people - four - got killed, streets are flooded, nobody can be seen outside, Shanghai is virtually shut down (or is he talking about all Air Cons shut down?). The first reporter's piece will never make it to the TV screen. If I were a good, responsible editor, I would question which report described the truth. But if I were a mediocre or a greedy editor, guess what, I would of course choose the second guy's bleak report, thus starting a vicious circle of media frenzy, in another word, lies. I salute Jian Shuo for painting the typhoon picture from his personal experience and telling his true feelings.
Posted by bigbro at 2005-08-13 00:55:19. More

128 Different Views on Typhoon

A typhoon's path could be narrow or broad, linear or curved. Typhoon also has different levels of intensity, which change from hour to hour. Its effects would thus be vastly variable.

Posted by bigbro at 2005-08-12 05:39:32. More

127 Different Views on Typhoon

"The love and hate of the typhood depends very much where you live."

Well, the where-you-live should also include geography, and luck. Typhoon is highly discriminating, only spots in its central (and hard to predict) path during its most intense periods would be most severely demaged. Some cities are located such that they simply will be less prone to direct hits by typhoons. Then, more importantly, it also depends on your attitude towards things. Some people after (or even before) a ntual dissaster's hit would cry, 完了(wan2-le)! I'm over, the world has come to an end, even if the demage is not so big! Others would say, all well, so everything is destroy, so what, it will be a new beginning!
Posted by bigbro at 2005-08-12 05:29:21. More

126 Complicated Paying Process

Someone might have already commented that China is not the only country where people do not respect waiting in line.

I was reading a novel and saw a brief description of how it is in Italy. I thought the words funny and also thought of this post. So let me copy a few lines from this novel by John Grisham: "Waiting in line to order caused no problems, though the Italians seemed to struggle with the basic concept of one standing in front of the other. Back home (in the U.S.) there would've been sharp words from the customers and perhaps swearing from the cashier."
Posted by bigbro at 2005-06-29 13:55:25. More

125 Spotlight from Top of Jin Mao


I do not sense any "superiority" in this post or in Jian Shuo's blog --- what I see is love of life. Instead, I do detect some "redeye sickness" in your comment. Nobody even mentioned the price of such an activity and you just assumed it is a money game only. Please relax. I see nothing wrong with Jin Mao wanting to make some "market priced" money by their unique position and device from those who are willing to expense it and at the same time spice up the city's night scene a little, occassionally. I say occassionally because, if done too often, it becomes notaurity and generates light pollution.
Posted by bigbro at 2005-06-29 13:24:24. More

124 Pressure is About Expectation


You may get quite different takes from young folks in China than those same aged kids in the States. In China, at least in the case of the childhood of today's 20 somethings, their parents both worked as a norm and out of necessity, not as an option. Also, in China childhood is far more "communal" than in the States or many other western countries. Finally, in China grandparents, whether living in or living out, are considered family members rather than relative, therefore, they simply pick up where the parent leave off.
Posted by bigbro at 2005-06-29 13:04:12. More

123 Complicated Paying Process

"If they went to L.A. and tried just jumping in front of people in line, they would have the crap beat out of them. Maybe then they would learn."

That, Lady Leah, sounds like a civilized country!

Posted by bigbro at 2005-06-09 05:34:30. More

122 Do You Have a Calendar?

The explanation: it is the difference between an industrial environment and a farming way of life. Even in the US, calendars are not uniformly important. On the farms of the South or the Midwest, people plan their activities in more or less the same way as the Chinese do --- “I'll get to that one when I'm done here.” Even in the industrial offices in those regions, the habits (of the employees because many are hired locally) are carried over from the farms. There was once a study that found the work habits (atmosphere) in factories in northern or northeast US are much more serious, tightly clocked, and fast-paced than in factories in the south where workers tend to joke loudly, go on long breaks, and act less "seriously" or "industriously" in comparison. However, that study found, surprisingly, that the overall productivity or efficiency in the southern factories are NOT statistically lower. People work best when they do things in their own pace, in their own habit. It is a good observation that things in China are less planned, but it may not be prudent to link this, thus, to efficiency. As China becomes more industrialized, I am sure calendar use will catch on. However, WTO not withstanding, it is often not at all necessary to measure things in place A with standards from place B. What’s valuable is the awareness and prudence that Jian Shuo has demonstrated here in making a marketing assessment of the present potentials for a particular calendar utilization tool.
Posted by bigbro at 2005-05-30 01:15:16. More

121 Work Life Balance

Everyone has his or her own life. Everyone's life is different, as is everyone’s ability. Therefore, everyone has a different balance among the components of one's life. Problem is how does one know what is his/her right balance and if he/she is achieving it. Some may have a good grasp of this balance while others may have a very poor grasp. In addition, the balance point shifts (changes) considerably with time, that is, with age. Such shifts may even be sharp and/or sudden changes. Others could tell you whether you are close to having the right balance (because occasionally things are seen more clearly from outside) but nobody should be able to dictate your life or your balance. They may try but you should not let them. (You should not let them except maybe for sake of true love.) This is mostly a self-discovery and self-destination issue. The main thing to remember is not to forget that you should always try to look for and maintain that balance.

Not trying to be a philosopher, just being bigbro.
Posted by bigbro at 2005-05-17 10:29:00. More

120 Spring Comes to Shanghai

"...since this post is dedicated to whats happening in Shanghai, I just thought you would at least let your readers such me, know whats happening..."

Oh, really? Wow, such a thoughtful reader.

"It is better than to pretend nothing is happening."

Is it?!! Hmm.... such a thoughtful reader?

In any journalist publications, classical or modern, what will be published and editorialized are determined only by the editor and publisher. The owner of this blog states his charter very clearly: "Events (in Shanghai) that affects my life (and others')" and a reader ought not to test the stretch of the charter just for his/her own curiosity but, instead, should be very considerate of the blog writer's stand point, if the reader truly is fond of this blog. Let's enjoy reading.
Posted by bigbro at 2005-04-19 11:47:14. More

119 Jian Shuo Wang at Kijiji China

Congratulations, Jian Shuo. Sounds like a creative move and a creative new position. You will do great, by being creative.
Posted by bigbro at 2005-04-05 08:34:21. More

118 Luoyang Telephone Number Upgraded

"The strength of the US isn't its government but its businesses. I see nowhere that its businesses are declining."

Hah, where is US Steel today? Where is AT&T? Is Lucent still great? To whom did IBM sell a chunk of their core business?
Posted by bigbro at 2005-03-21 13:17:02. More

117 No Baggars Premitted on Metro?

The question here is why ban it on the Metro. The discussion over whether the beggars are legit is good but it does not explain the Metro's decision. Metro not only wants to keep their carts clean, but it also rightly forbits any selling in the carts and stations. Begging is a type of selling (extraction of money), selling pity. Any selling in an enclosed space where people are immobile (even though during transit), is not fair selling --- it is pressured selling. You are selling to customers who are "cornered," literally. That may cause stress in some customers and may even have unpleasant consequences. Meanwhile, this may be ok to other customers who, like Jian Shuo, do not mind buying in that situition, that is fine.
Posted by bigbro at 2005-03-19 08:45:33. More

116 Beijing is Cultural Center

Every person is different. In the US, there are people who love culture, there are others who love mney. The same is true in China. You could even find such different people in the same family, in any country.

You may argue that there are MORE Chinese who crave for money than there are Americans but that comparison is very difficult to justify or quantify. For beginners, there are MORE Chinese people, and on average Chinese are at a lower economical tier than Americans now.
Posted by bigbro at 2005-03-16 08:51:45. More

115 Dislike Doing or Starting to Do

Why they say 万事开头难 (Every thing is simply hard to begin).
Posted by bigbro at 2005-03-10 13:00:28. More

114 Enjoy Doing or Being Able to Do

Excellent post as many have praised. The same concept might apply to the bigger topic of LIFE. We live our life, and our life is all around us all the time, but we often fail to apprciate fully the precious pearls of our life, sometimes thinking "oh, that's nothing" or "I will have plenty of opportunities the next time" or "I will do that when ......" or "a little bit of lapse won't hurt in a long run." A city is measured by 3-D space but life is measured by the 1-D time. Before long, the opportunity passes you by, the age leaves you behind, the beloved person drifts away, or your enthusiasm/energy/love is no longer there. So while we are here at this time this place and this age, enjoy life, treasure love, appreciate everyone near you or related to you, and live every day to the fullest.
Posted by bigbro at 2005-03-09 09:12:41. More

113 New Year is Approaching

Happy New Year!
Posted by bigbro at 2005-02-09 00:18:43. More

112 Meningitis in Shanghai

If anyone has a fever, try turn and twist your neck to see if the neck is stiff, as a stiff neck is one of the symptoms of meningitis.
Posted by bigbro at 2005-02-04 22:02:49. More

111 Meningitis in Shanghai

Meningitis mostly occur in certain age groups, including children under 6, youngsters of 16-25, and senior citizens.

It is also necessary to find out whether the current infection is viral or bacterial type, as the risks for the different types are different.
Posted by bigbro at 2005-02-04 14:34:28. More

110 Seoul Changes Chinese Name

I have no comment on this issue. Let it be.
Posted by bigbro at 2005-01-25 09:44:21. More

109 On Ethic

Chinese society is experiencing tremendous changes in almost EVERY aspect. As is the case in any society in a renaissant time, it will take a while (a painful process) for its members to adjust to the new or changing ways of life.

For example, the problems on the roadways in China as described above are in part due to the recent, rapid expansion of the highway systems, the car market, the tourist industry, and the people's wealth. They also are related to the relatively early stage status of China's legal system and the law enforcement system. As China continues to develop, these systems will mature and function better. People, as a result of or along with these systems, will undoubtedly improve their own value and ethic system. Sure, individuals will always have different level of ethic awareness (meaning that there will always be individuals who behave badly), but on average such level of ethic awareness will advance towards the better.

It is the actions and discussions initiated by Wang Jian Shuo and his readers that will promote and speed up such advancement. I salute all of you for these. Keep up the good work, everyone.
Posted by bigbro at 2005-01-25 09:37:47. More

108 Spring Festival in 2005

Now compared to 2002, the flight tickets will be hard to get, too, I would expect. Travelling on an extremely crowded plane or train is not good for your health, either.
Posted by bigbro at 2005-01-21 11:08:04. More

107 Top Two Differences in China

The US is the one country very big in tipping.
Is it mandatory? People say it is not, but....
Is it a matter of courtesy? Some say not really (meaning: I tip because everyone does).
It is an American tradition, that's what it is.
And I suspect that it had started from bribing, maybe.
Posted by bigbro at 2005-01-13 21:49:39. More

106 Road Report between Home and Xujiahui

Did independent companies start their hours at 9 to avoid traffic peaks? And do the 7:30 companies close off for two hours at noon?
Posted by bigbro at 2004-11-24 12:53:38. More

105 Top 10 Places to See in New York City

I think someone has sorta mentioned this before. If you go to New York Chinatown, early in the morning, you can get on a privately run tour bus which would drive you around for a day of guided tour that would cover 5-6 of the top 10 points including Statue of Liberty, and the United Nations plaza which I think is the 12th must-see. Ask the bus operator first if the day tour includes letting you off at the ferry dock for Libety Island and resuming on the bus again after you have visited the Statue of Liberty.
Posted by bigbro at 2004-11-22 10:55:13. More

104 Top Three Innovation that Failed in Shanghai

Many international cities have both numbered names and word names for thier major highways. Chicago is a good example.
Posted by bigbro at 2004-11-20 11:02:05. More

103 I Got my U.S. Visa

Frank, "..., especially when they treat the foreigners who lack of English-speaking ability." Actually the English-speaking ability alone does not earn you much extra respect, because America "is a good place only for whites not any other races", to a degree anyway.

Rogi, "Beijing isn't timid, just smart." Well, I'd say Beijing isn't smart, just greedy.
Posted by bigbro at 2004-11-17 11:14:40. More

102 The Cats Story

"Hopefully there is no war between them in the future."

There might be love between them in the future.
Posted by bigbro at 2004-11-17 11:00:06. More

101 Jian Shuo Wang is Going to U.S.

It looks like you have had your mind set on a east coast tour, otherwise I would have suggested Disneyland in LA or Disnayworld in Florida. It shows the positive spirit of fun-loving Americans.

If you want to study metro/subway systems, be warned that many systems in these US cities may not be that new and clean, in comparison to HK or Tokyo, say. The beauty with these system is not in the trains themselves, which they cannot aford to replace/update untill absolutely necessary, the beauty is often in the management, the efficiency. Some systems are infected with graffitis.

In Chicago what you don't want to miss is how famously busy O'Hare Airport's air and passenger trafic is, on the runways and between the terminals. The Chicago skyline, looking from the lakeshore, is quite spectacular during day and night.

Some have suggested that you visit Harvard and MIT in Boston, when on MIT campus do walk INTO the main building and have a feeling. I would also recommend the Science museum in Boston esp. the section about transportation. Ask about the "big dig."

When travelling in the US, do not be attempted to "historical" places that much, they are usually only 50-200 years old. Many of these major cities are quite similar, you see one and the next one has many aspects more or less the same.

There are three Americas: the downtown, the suburbs, and the country. I gues you will be seeing the first two.
Posted by bigbro at 2004-11-16 11:27:59. More

100 Two Cats in my Garden

If the baby is Huahua, the mother can be Daodao, or if you like Lotus's words, call her Lucky.

I went to the supermarket to read the labels for the dry catfoods and cans, basically they use leftover products or byproducts of the grain and meat processing industry, a mixture of many things which then makes the foods multinutritional. I was disappointed for not being able to extract more concrete information.
Posted by bigbro at 2004-11-12 08:33:28. More

99 Really Living in Shanghai

Haha, Ha, Mark, Haha, it was a, hahaha, a joke. Hahahaha, I couldn't help it, haha, hahaha. I knew that would through you off hahahaha and it did. Read your own second paragraph. Sorry to be pranky. Please don't take it to mean anything, my friend. Hahahahahaha......
Posted by bigbro at 2004-11-12 08:19:11. More

98 Basic Geographic Knowledge about China - Part II

There are several "pairs" of province names: Guang-xi, Guang-dong; Hu-nan, Hu-bei; He-nan, He-bei; Shan-dong, Shan-xi. There are also provinces that do not have a counterpart to pair with: Jiang-xi, Shaan-xi, Yun-Nan, and Xi-zang.

Notice, Shaanxi is the only province name that does not strictly follow the Pin-Yin convention. There two provinces by the name of Shan3 Xi1 and Shan1 Xi1. To distinguish them for the foreigners, the former is called Shaanxi by adding an extra "a" in the first word.

There are the north capital Beijing and the south capital Nanjing, so there must also be a west and an east capital. Well Xian was the Xijing whereas both Luoyang and Kaifeng were at one time or another considered the east capital---Luoyang was called the Dongdu and Kaifeng was called Bianjing or the Dongjing Bianliang. Hongzhou once served as an east capital though it may not have been call that. Because it was a capital, the people there spoke the official Mandarin instead of Shanghaines which is spoken in all areas surrounding Hongzhou.
Posted by bigbro at 2004-11-12 02:13:00. More

97 Basic Geographic Knowledge about China

Why, of course. I grew up there.
Posted by bigbro at 2004-11-12 01:47:58. More

96 Really Living in Shanghai

Mark, my man, that is so flunt. This from a Chinese, of course.

William's joke is a good one, though.
Posted by bigbro at 2004-11-11 09:37:47. More

95 Basic Geographic Knowledge about China

And some mistakes I made:

Guilin and Kunming belong in the Southwest region not the Southeast, I believe.
Posted by bigbro at 2004-11-11 01:26:31. More

94 Basic Geographic Knowledge about China

Uhhh, I talked about the US because I reside there, no intention whatsoever to glorify the Americans or anything. I wish I was qulified to share knowledge of or impression on other countries. Once I mentioned something about Canada, for I went there and heard the story there.

I am sure it will be much welcome if others also share thoughts from other countries. I can only speak for myself: I would like to learn from you.

Sorry about the several typos in my last comments. Americans are cowboys, right?
Posted by bigbro at 2004-11-11 01:20:06. More

93 Homepage Version 3

Thanks, speedyop.
Posted by bigbro at 2004-11-10 12:35:07. More

92 Basic Geographic Knowledge about China

Jian Shuo, this is a very interesting and practical subject!

Kaili's point about north-east and south-east reminds us that it is probably much useful to introduce the "big-regions" that Chinese conventionally refer to. Furthermore, it is informative, to the Americans anyway (not to Kaili), to relate locations of Chinese cities to locations of American ones, as China and US are geographically somewhat similar. For example, China has a Northeast (Dong Bei) region, referring to Heilongjiang, Jilin, and Liaoning provinces, including cities of Shenyang and Dalian. It's location relative to the rest of China is that of New England relative to the rest of US. China's Southeast (Dong Nan) region is similar to US's south. Guangzhou (Canton), Shengshen, Hong Kong, Fushou, Xiamen, Quilin, Kunming are in this region. China has a Northwest (Xi Bei) that covers a larger area than does the US northwest. It has five provinces: Shaanxi, Gansu, Ningxia, Qinghai, and Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. Xian, Dunhuang, Lanzhou are in this region. China has a vast Southwest where Sichuan and Tibet are, so does the US but Texas is part of the South. China has Central (Hua Zhong) and North (Hua Bei), the US has a Midwest. And then there is the east coast (Hua Dong).

Comparing the north latitudes (NL) can be a refreshing study between, for instance, some east coast cities of both countries. Boston is NL 42° which is about how north Shenyang is (Harbin, NL 45°, is more north than Augusta, ME). Beijing is NL 40°, so is Philadelphia (see how important is Philly); New York is about 41°. Washington, DC is NL 39°, about Tianjin and Dalian's location. Shanghai is NL 31°, between the inland Atlanta's 34° and Jacksonville, FL (30.4°). Miami, the southern tip of Florida, is NL 25.8° or so, about how south Fuzhou (26.1°) and the inland Qulin (25.3°) are. Xiamen (24.5°), Guangzhou+HongKong+Shenzheng (22~23°), Haikou (20°), and Sanya (18.5°) are further south.

As a reference to American friends, Hanoi of Viet Nam is NL 21° and Havana of Cuba is near 23°.
Posted by bigbro at 2004-11-10 11:16:42. More

91 Homepage Version 3

Some other blog readers are more interested in reading the latest comments. Maybe you can use a three-column design.

What is FireFox?
Posted by bigbro at 2004-11-08 20:24:23. More

90 Two Cats in my Garden

Don't feed them milk, it would cause diarrhea.
Posted by bigbro at 2004-11-05 12:55:34. More

89 PVG: One Million Passengers for MagLev


I take the name calling back. I apologize. I see your academic motivation.

Indeed, this feeling among Chinese people is more in people's heart than in the government's propaganda. If anything people like myself feel that the government is too soft and quiet. I for one hope China takes a firmer stand against Japan's efforts to be a permanent member of the United Nations' Security Council but that's just me.

However, I do not see a significant "Sino-Japanese conflict" at the present day. We have unfortunate memories, true and deep, but not great animosity. I know Chinese people do not want war, not in the past, not in the present, and not in the future; not over a football game, or over textbooks.

I appreciate your frankness and your views. Let us be friends. Let's continue discussing many and any great issues on this website.
Posted by bigbro at 2004-11-02 09:03:07. More

88 PVG: One Million Passengers for MagLev


I wanted to describe your act of taking others out of context to advance the war craze with a kinder word but I couldn’t find it.

Yes, I see your last message now. What a wonderful idea: compare the textbooks and argue over the numerical differences. If I quote my textbook you might say it’s subjective and brainwashing. If you quote from your textbook I could say it’s subjective and revisionized. The argument can go on forever. Maybe that is exactly the diversion that the Japanese want to create.

However, textbooks are not the only source of historical information on that war. We hear history in first person from our parents and grandparents. All we had to do is ask grandpa what happened to his siblings and his first wife and his first child with whom she was pregnant, and we get our lesson in history. We look at our genealogical tree and saw that family branches were chopped off suddenly in certain years, and we get an idea of when the war took place. We go back to look for grandpa’s original Shandong-province village that no longer exists barring a few broken walls and shell craters, and we get a sense of why our ancestors fled their home of centuries and migrated here half a China away, on foot. We found out from dozens of neighborhood playmates or classmates with thick Northeastern accent that their family all migrated from Liaoning, Jilin, or Heilongjiang a few years before our grandpa, and we get an unexpected dose of harsh confirmation of when and where it all started. In Northeastern China, they are still unearthing Japanese chemical ammunition dumps. This is on China's land not on Japan’s soil. Many Japanese young men died too during that war but they died invaders, looters, rapists, murderers, and on China's land not on Japan's soil. The abandoned “war orphans,” their own children mind you, were left on China's land by Japanese soldiers bidding a hasty retreat and they were brought up by Chinese peasants, with bitter love and swallowed tears. When those kids grew up they were returned to Japan. A bigger half of the land of China is a huge page on which history was written permanently in Chinese people’s blood, decorated by Japanese bullets. That, is the textbook from which I read my history. We are a peace-loving race and are willing to shake hands with Japan for the sake of future peace and progress. Has the civil Japan nodded and extended her hand?
Posted by bigbro at 2004-11-01 10:39:21. More

87 PVG: One Million Passengers for MagLev

Jian Shuo, I am reasonably sure you missed a word or a "?" as everyone can see from the context.

Stephen, don't be an ass. Having fun with this? Japan just cannot be honest about the war history and you can't seem to recognize that it cannot. Absent of this recognition, all of your arguments become weak, unless of course when you run on someone's typo.
Posted by bigbro at 2004-10-30 04:49:06. More

86 A Car Towed Away for Temp Parking

Jian Shuo, a glance at your title before reading the text got me scared: "Oh, no, Jian Shuo's car got towed?" Next time try use a de-sensitized title, will you? For example, "A Car Towed Away for ..." or "Watching a Towtruck in Action."
Posted by bigbro at 2004-10-29 12:23:31. More

85 So Many Typos in Shanghai Metro - Part III

And why should the contracted firm and/or the bureaucrats be allowed to get away with such crap of a job on people's money?!

P.S.: BTW, for those seeking verbatim originality the aphorism should be 勿以善小而不为, 勿以恶小而为之.
Posted by bigbro at 2004-10-29 11:43:52. More

84 So Many Typos in Shanghai Metro - Part III


The above saying translates literally into “Do not choose not to do good deeds because they are too small, and do not choose to do bad ones because they are too small.” It approximates “No good is too small to do but no sin is too minute to boot.” This applies to the English sign issue or any other issues in all aspects of life.

On the other hand, no good deed goes unpunished. Wang Jian Shuo and his friends’ good-Samaritan actions may be met with ridicules or such difficulties as the government’s inaction due to cost or bureaucracy. That does not, however, devalue these responsible citizens’ efforts in wanting to beautify Shanghai’s and China’s image.

I would submit that possibly the city can force the contractor (i.e., the advertising company or the subcontracting sign makers) to eradicate the errors at the contractor’s cost. For this reason, the quicker the actions, the better, as WJS has intended. More significantly, the “ShanghaiWiki” and indeed this whole blog allow grassroots participation (from travelers/commuters, Chinese and foreigner alike) continually to monitor and expose future problems. Go Jian Shuo, Go!
Posted by bigbro at 2004-10-29 10:46:50. More

83 So Many Typos in Shanghai Metro - Part III

The subway system in Boston, USA has an interesting way to communicate to passengers. Instead of calling them lines 1, 2, 3, 4 or North, South, East, West, they name the lins the Red Line, Green Line, Blue Line, and Silver Line, etc. Then they color coded everything accordingly. All maps, station and directional signs, gates, station benches, tickets, the trains's exterior and interior color markings, the seat leather, and even the conductor's uniforms are red for the Red Line, green for the Green Line, and so on. It is a very effective and user-friendly system. Travellers have a clear idea of which line they are on and don't have to remember much. Foreigners don't have to read much either. The stations' entrance colors are brightly visible from a distance and above the crowds. Transfer between lines becomes effortless, almost.
Posted by bigbro at 2004-10-28 10:51:29. More

82 Why We Use English Signs?

Thumbs up to Geno. Well said.

The principle in Geno's last paragraph can be used to answer criticisms raised under some other posts where someone objected to using "Lu" in the street signs. Shanghai and other Chinese cities should provide travellers with the convenience of English signs but should keep the names of everything as close to the orginal Chinese Pinyin as possible. Do not translate Lu, Dajie, Dadao, Hutong, Nong, Xiang, etc. This is a more integral way and facilitates communications better.
Posted by bigbro at 2004-10-28 10:22:42. More

81 PVG: Location of Maglev Station

Don't think it's fear, but people know it would not be likely to get a real answer.
Posted by bigbro at 2004-10-27 21:21:45. More

80 Shanghai is Cooling Down

Don't be fooled by temperature alone. Shanghai feels colder because of the humidity and because the buildings are not heated. Jian Shuo, are those star hotels heated?
Posted by bigbro at 2004-10-25 10:39:29. More

79 Luoyang Peony

Zhiwuyuan = Botanic Garden.
Posted by bigbro at 2004-10-25 10:32:34. More

78 Why We Use English Signs?

Airport signs, and street and metro signs, should be multilanguaged for the simple reason that the customers (travellers) are from all over the world. This has nothing to do with patriotism or unpatriotism. All major airports in the world provide this convenience service---some US airports have signs and broadcast their trem/train schedules in as many as seven languages, both Mandarin and Cantonese Chinese included. This is part of being competitive and doing good business. English signs are not only necessary, they are an integral part being a modern international airport and international city which Shanghai is. These small signs bring more friends to Shanghai. They bring retail money and international investment into Shanghai and China.

Speaking of buyer's language. Do you know who learned and spoke simple English long before the Chinese college students found "English Corners" in the early 1980's? The peasant gift vendors (many of whom were probably illiterate) at tourist hotpoints such as Huangshan, Ba Da Ling and Qinshihuang's Bing Ma Yong!

Since Jian Shuo mentioned Canada, here is a somewhat semi-related story I once heard. In the ninteen fifties or so, the Canaidian government got information that US was finally going to discard the old English measurement system (miles, pounds/ounces, feet/inches) and use the metric system. So the Canadians decided, instead of falling behind the Americaqns in everything again, to make the changeover quicklly. They invested and changed all highway speed signs and distance markers to km/h and km, which meant huge amount of money since all Canadian signs are English/French bilanguaged. After that though, the Americans abandoned the plan and stayed with the English system and all the US roads, to this day, are still marked with the Miles and MPH system.

Another semi-related item. John of wrote in their new group blog a Chinese essay about the ways Chinese people say "Hello" to foreigners: If you don't read Chinese, someone has actually translated it into English:
Posted by bigbro at 2004-10-25 10:22:26. More

77 So Many Typos in Shanghai Metro

It is a matter of lack of attention to details, but also a matter of incompetence and irresponsibility among the bureaucrats. Shanghai's Mayor should be shamed by these. Misspelling English words might be excuseable but messing up Pinyin, even the name of your city?
Posted by bigbro at 2004-10-20 23:40:14. More

76 Happy Birthday to Me

Happy birthday to you, Jian Shuo, from bigbro.
Posted by bigbro at 2004-10-18 10:26:37. More

75 Inside Pudong Airport Maglev Train

I am much interested in the noise issue. There should not be much mechanical noise, but what about the noise from the drive and the air friction? Even if the noise is loud it should be extremely short. So it would be interesting to know what people walking or living underneath hear. It would be extremely interesting to hear it under the passing point of two opposite Maglev trains but that would be too rare to catch. One difference from the a railtrain is that there would not be the vibrations assocated with a regular train.

Has anyone reported dead birds being shot off of Maglev like bullets?
Posted by bigbro at 2004-10-14 11:32:17. More

74 Bigger Font is a Failure

Correction: I should have said "If technically possible and affordable, ...."
Posted by bigbro at 2004-10-11 09:25:50. More

73 Bigger Font is a Failure

I am no expert in fonts or appearance but I do feel that giving the reader some control over the font/size and maybe some other features of your home page might be a very welcome move. Some folks, like me approaching a certain age, may have difficulty in reading small fonts. Others may prefer a fast/direct layout. I would really like to see searchability added to phrases in comments and commenter’ names. A list of your favorite Shanghai links could be helpful, too.

If technically possible, it would be innovative to let the reader set and save a few preferences, as suggested by jack above.
Posted by bigbro at 2004-10-11 08:50:11. More

72 Wayback Wangjianshuo's Blog

I have the same feeling as nirmalya, at least about some features of that layout.

If you ever consider redesign the homepage, perhaps listing recently commented entries instead of (or in addition to) recent commentors would help by indexing more posts. As it stands now, you have more than 40 comments in a busy day, and many might be about the same post.
Posted by bigbro at 2004-10-04 11:51:22. More

71 Is English Skill That Important

The language for international communications evolves around commercial activities. In trade dealings, usually there is a buyer (customer) and a seller (supplier) and over time the buyer's language provails. This stems from the natural law of "customer is king." In today's world, the US is still the largest buyer in terms of dollar value of its market, so English is the leading-brand tool of communication. That could change over time after (if) other markets surpass the US in buying power.

This CNN article talked about the English vs. Mandarin issue: The following paragraphs were taken the article.

Nonetheless, English is strong as a second language, and teaching it has become a growth industry, said Montgomery, a Seattle-based geologist and energy consultant.

Graddol noted, though that employers in parts of Asia are already looking beyond English. "In the next decade the new 'must learn' language is likely to be Mandarin."


"The expectation that someone should always aspire to native speaker competence when learning a foreign language is under challenge," he comments.

Posted by bigbro at 2004-09-30 13:23:22. More

70 Travel by Train in China - Part I

Stephen, you may have to use squat style toilet stalls, detached. Prepare change for tipping there, even your own toilet tissues maybe.
Posted by bigbro at 2004-09-29 08:53:40. More

69 Today in History - My Wedding

Are you two planning to take a photo together on every anniversary?
Posted by bigbro at 2004-09-23 09:42:45. More

68 Today in History - My Wedding

Happiness forever!
Posted by bigbro at 2004-09-22 23:38:31. More

67 How China Mobile Fee are Charged

No long distance charge is involved because Jian Shuo's cell is, for the time, located in Beijing and dialing a Beijing number, that is a local connection, which is then roamed to Eric.
Posted by bigbro at 2004-09-20 21:09:40. More

66 Last Post in Year II

Jian Shuo, remember this (and it demonstrates how serious this American cultural phenomenon is). When that day comes and you are interviewed again, you should say that Lady Carroll of California is 80 years young, not 80 years old.

The astute further wishes to be anal. Here is an expansion to one of my previous examples: In the U.S., calling oneself old is going to be regarded as either being joking or being overly modest, or being mentally imbalanced (depressed or suicidal). So there is a small chance that, if you go: "Gosh, I am ooold," your concerned friend might reply: "Are you OK? Perhaps you ought to go and see someone," meaning to visit a psychiatric doctor or counselor and he's not joking.

Posted by bigbro at 2004-09-16 12:35:31. More

65 PVG: Closer Look at MagLev

Good engineering thinking, E. A. C., about enclosing and vacuuming the tracks. However, any imperfections in the enclosure would let in a leak and suck in dust/birds/insects (by the reduced air pressure and the train's motion); that's a practical problem hard to solve economically. The alternative: perfecting the train's shape and surfaces.
Posted by bigbro at 2004-09-16 11:20:23. More

64 Negative Comments for this Blog

There exist many other sites in Chinese that share information about Shanghai, but foreigners and overseas folks do not visit them as often because, one, some of them may not have good informative quality and, two, they are not written in English. I trust a Spanish or German or French site would also have a readership if they provide quality information, and meanwhile those who wish to read and/or learn Chinese can go to the hundreds of other Shanghai sites but you have to pick the good ones.

Keeping a diary in a second language is challenging, and the challenges make it fun. I myself never was able to keep a Chinese diary for more than a few days but wrote many English diaries daily just to practise English writing. It was extremely helpful; especially rewarding was the process of going back to review and self-correct the previous entries again and again. If you are jealous of Jian Shuo's English skills, then try to work an English blog yourself and, one day, you will be as good as he.

Is there an issue of patriotism here? No, absolutely not! On the contrary, Wang Jian Shuo is doing an excellent service to China and to Shanghai by promoting information sharing and cross-cultural understanding, and his site deals (honestly) with real issues such as SARS, traffic, the environment, and shopping. The country and the city should give him a huge award for starting and running this blog. I am sure the tourism bureau knows exactly what I mean. Even if someone is anti-English, he/she should be pleased to see that has contributed to attracting English speakers to visit, to sample, and to learn Chinese traditions, names, culture, or language.
Posted by bigbro at 2004-09-16 10:48:42. More

63 Last Post in Year II

Random thoughts:

In China, addressing someone (of any age) an old lady or old mister is a courteous way, which shows the speaker's respect. This might be due to the cultural customs that elders and seniors are (were) the revered ones in a family and in any social circle.

I the U.S., the customs are quite the opposite. Calling any lady old would seriously offend her. Saying an older lady might be acceptable, but never an old lady.

In China, if you boast being old in front of anyone slightly older or even about the same age as you, their reaction might be; “How dare you claim the senior status in front of us, who the heck d'you think you are?”

In the U.S., calling oneself old is going to be regarded as either being joking or being overly modest, or crazily modest.

In China, if you see someone not feeling well, you’d say, “oh, you look tired and sick to death” and that shows that you are concerned. He or she would say “Thanks so much for caring about me but I’m ok really. I just need to sit for a minute.”

In the U.S., I once saw a friend (an older lady) who appeared to have some health symptoms so I flattered her: “Pat, you look so pale, are you ok?” Immediately she became visibly mad with my “rude” comment, because she thought that I was implying a criticism over her makeup or appearance. She almost slapped me in the face. I think she might have done just that if she had not been actually weak from her conditions.
Posted by bigbro at 2004-09-13 13:35:53. More

62 PVG: From Pudong Airport to Hangzhou


Except for a few well-known cities, you should always try to identify the province where the cities are in in order not to be mistaken. Since you are asking both about Xiaman and Huzhou, you could be referring to cities in Fujian province. Someone with an accent could pronounce the capital of that province Huzhou when in fact it is Fuzhou. Find out if that's where your friend will be competing in and get the province in which it belong. If it is Fuzhou and Xiamen, then both cities each has an international airport.
Posted by bigbro at 2004-09-07 10:17:54. More

61 The Sea Ranch , Hong Kong

Daily commuter rides could be boring but a nice book or a CD player will cure that problem---beats driving in traffic jam.
Posted by bigbro at 2004-09-07 09:34:34. More

60 Why Shanghai's Taxi is Good

And I have commented that it used to be translated as Yin Du Hong, correctly reflecting the scientific origin of the pigment name.
Posted by bigbro at 2004-08-31 22:30:24. More

59 Salary in Shanghai - Part II

Get the offer. Let whoever offering the internship worry about the status stuff, or the unnecessity thereof.
Posted by bigbro at 2004-08-28 01:39:56. More

58 Salary in Shanghai - Part II

It seems to me that your would-be employer will be taking care of your work permit, etc.
Posted by bigbro at 2004-08-27 01:32:43. More

57 Why Shanghai's Taxi is Good

To help those who don't know, in reading that article you'd find the words "Crayola" and "crayon" where Crayola is a brand/manufacturer of crayons (wax pens, la-bi).

I have no problem with political correctiveness, but attacking a name based on a misperception of it (inccorectly assuming that Indian Red refers to Native Americans' skin color) is silly (OK if from kids who need to be explaned to, as the article mentioned). Were I to go out of my way to protest against something, I would first go out of my way to study that thing, its origin, its meaning, and its relevence.

It seems a short while ago on this blog that someone from India or from near it actually found it interesting/refreshing to learn of the existence of a color named Indian Red.
Posted by bigbro at 2004-08-25 04:02:42. More

56 Why Shanghai's Taxi is Good
I believe that it used to be correctly translated as Yin Du Hong in Chinese science textbooks.

Many pigments are named for the place where they were originally mined or produced. Should French people be offended by the name French Red on a notion that it MIGHT link France to its being the country of the first communist revolution?
Posted by bigbro at 2004-08-25 02:21:30. More

55 Dan Washburn Arrived in Beijing

A restaurant called Lao Hanzi, what are the characters, I wonder. You see, this is yet another example where Pinyin does not convey Chinese words adquately, not even the complete pronunciation. (See Would anyone be able to find this place with only the Pinyin name? It being Hakka would be a useful clue but I doubt it can lead you far, unless this is famous or one of the only few Hakka restaurants.
Posted by bigbro at 2004-08-23 23:20:06. More

54 Discrimination Against Foreigners in Shanghai?

The ad that cheeky mentioned (if verbatim) is racially discriminating every way you slice it. And it is WRONG. I don't think there can be any excuse for it.

As Jian Shuo correctly pointed out, it likely meant non-Chinese from America, Canada, etc. If so, it is an unjust discrimination against ABC or other American born Asians.

There is also a small chance that the ad purposely meant to exclude black faces or black accents. There is no excuse for doing such an evil thing.

There is also a larger chance that the Chinese person who worded the ad is so ignorant that he/she thinks Americans other than ABCs are all white. Ignorance should not be an excuse for discrimination, though.

Chinese should learn to respect recial coexistence. If any Chinese reader of this blog one day meets a task of writing an ad or any other publication like this, I hope you have learnt from this thread so as to choose your words (and acts) carefully. You may say why should I worry. Well, 害人必害己, those who discriminate will be discriminated against some day.
Posted by bigbro at 2004-08-23 15:10:27. More

53 Discrimination Against Foreigners in Shanghai?

Discrimination is a topic difficult to analyze and often emotional to talk about. One has to distinguish racial discrimination from political (or historical, such as Japan) incompatability, from cultural (including language) misunderstanding, and from lack of exposure (mere curiosity as someone has pointed out). I suspect that some (not all) of cheeky's observations in China could fall into the last category, their having seen so few blacks and thus showing little understanding. In the U.S. many (not all) Chinese have told me that they feel a "bond" with blacks and tend to be friendly to them because Chinese feel that they themselves have likewise been discriminated against, in China in history and overseas in the recent/present.

As travel and communication become easier, cultural and regional barriers are gradually disappearing. So tomorrow will be a brighter day. This website should be commanded for doing such a wonderful job in promoting travel and communication.
Posted by bigbro at 2004-08-20 00:06:38. More

52 My New Mobile - Alcatel OT715

I shouldn't have publicized anything I have not tested. As I said I only remember seeing this in a store. Now by googling "internal cell phone antenna" I found a picture of the product I saw but also found many alerts claiming it being a hoax merchandise:
Posted by bigbro at 2004-08-19 23:08:01. More

51 My New Mobile - Alcatel OT715

I have seen a product called an Internal Cell Phone Antenna which is a thin board (film) that you lay under the battery to amplify signal. I have not used it and don't remember where it was sold.
Posted by bigbro at 2004-08-19 02:45:05. More

50 About Starbucks Tour in Beijing

It was a Starbucks leftover from the movie set for The Last Emperor. Oops, I take it back, that was Stardust.
Posted by bigbro at 2004-08-18 04:07:07. More

49 Why I Don't Have an English Name

Related to Robin’s point of making it easy to remember, it also makes it easier for non-Chinese speakers to SPELL your name. Everyone considers it a serious matter of respect to be able to write a friend’s name correctly.

We have been debating the to change or not to change question, but don’t forget the important point that Wang Jian Shuo raised in his original post, the legal issue. If you are applying to a school, for a visa, passport, driver’s license, loan, etc., please do use your legal name. Use your legal name in formal/official matters until you actually change the name legally in a court. When you buy an airplane ticket, you must book it under a name that is consistent with your identification card or passport because nowadays they will check your ID on the airport, strictly.

I believe the previous discussion has come to a consensus that there are practical advantages for having an English alias if your name is difficult (to pronounce, spell, or remember) or confusing and that Chinese culture does permit having an arbitrary alias. Please notice that there really isn’t a disrespect of mother culture or unpatriotic issue here, purely a language issue 99% of times. On the other hand, if your name is problem-free, then I recommend keeping your original cultural name, to save trouble. What trouble? For example, you work in academia and your achievement is tracked by publications, then a consistent name would help ensure a linear tracking. This falls under Wang Jian Shuo’s subsection of Branding.

When and if you want to pick an English name, make sure you select one that you can pronounce (and spell) precisely. Believe it or not, many Chinese students cannot correctly pronounce names like David, James, Joan (Joan Chen couldn’t pronounce hers at the beginning), Jane, or Shawn. A lot of Chinese have trouble making the V sound in Victor, Harvey, and Dave. Also, because Chinese characters are all single-syllable, if you choose a single syllable English name, your listener might still think you are introducing yourself with a Chinese word as a name, especially if your pronunciation is less than perfect (this happens to me). So names such as Joe, Sue, Jay or Pooh really may not be good choices. One trick is to find a longer English name, say Christopher, Michael, Elisabeth, or Christina, which tells others with certainty it is an English name and reduces the chances of wrong pronunciation since long names have intonation and the “textured” sound hides imperfection in your pronunciation. These are not rules, just some minor details for you to consider.

The other side of the long name trick is that if you choose to keep using your Chinese pinyin name and it is a two-character given name, writing the two words as one (Jianshuo instead of Jian Shuo) actually might make it smoother for a foreigner to pronounce, in my opinion. Single syllable words feel choppy when spoken, the multi-syllable ones are of “textured” sound that allows for imperfection.

Why are there so much to talk about under this one entry? Because biographic and geographic names are the only area where Pinyin and English clash. Again, note I am not calling it a clash of cultural values or political ideals. I can think of only one other area of vastly unparallel language phenomena: biological (animal) names, where the Chinese nouns for any one type of animals are all rooted together (猪, 公猪, 母猪, 猪崽, 肉猪, 猪肉, 猪油) but in English each is a totally unrelated noun (pig, boar, sow, piglet, hog, pork, and lard).

Posted by bigbro at 2004-08-12 14:25:31. More

48 Jain Suho Wnag @ Bieijng

Good work. This trick is being used widely by spammers to avoid blocking. Also by propaganda departments to devise ways to deliver information into forbidden territories. WJS, perhaps you should study its use in encryption and in antihacking.

Similarly, Chinese is a written (symbol) language and the cao-shu style totally changes the characters and people have no problem reading them because they are reading the characters as a whole (picture) without minding the individual strokes.
Posted by bigbro at 2004-08-10 23:17:24. More

47 Why I Don't Have an English Name

I feel funny commenting so many times under this one, but Wang Jian Shuo's mention of Tong-Yin Zi (homonyms, characters sharing the same pronunciation) brings up one of my long-ago fascinations. Many of these homophonetic characters create confusion in translation, a problem further multicomplicated by losing the intonation, and it may become hilarious and even impossible when one attempts to retranslate these transliterated nouns back into Chinese. Thus 王建硕 is translated into Wang Jian Shuo, which could be retranslated by someone not knowing his original name into a name like 汪简说. (WJS, do you see that this little loop has returned your name in the pronunciation of your native province of Henan?) Once an American who joined in the Chinese Revolution worte an autobiography in which he mentioned meeting General 李先念 before the hard faught battle of Xianhua Dian (宣化店战役). Someone translated the book back into Chinese where the place was translated as 鲜花店, wasn't bad because at least it did not manifest into a battle of 献花点. Not only different words can result from retranslation, words can regroup, too. 延安 is translated into Yanan, which could be retranlated into 亚南. An innocent small township by the name of 庆恩县 would translate into Qingen Xian, but could risk coming back as 秦亘西安.

Reposted, sorry it was a wrong click.

Posted by bigbro at 2004-08-10 13:55:13. More

46 Why I Don't Have an English Name

I feel funny commenting so many times under this one, but Wang Jian Shuo's mention of Tong-Yin Zi (homonyms, characters sharing the same pronunciation) brings up one of my long-ago fascinations. Many of these homophonetic characters create confusion in translation, a problem further multicomplicated by losing the intonation, and it may become hilarious and even impossible when one attempts to retranslate these transliterated nouns back into Chinese. Thus 王建硕 is translated into Wang Jian Shuo, which could be retranslated by someone not knowing his original name into a name like 汪简说. (WJS, do you see that this little loop has returned your name in the pronunciation of your native province of Henan, right?) Once an American who joined in the Chinese Revolution worte an autobiography in which he mentioned meeting General 李先念 before the hard faught battle of Xianhua Dian (鲜化店战役). Someone translated the book back into Chinese where the place was translated as 鲜花店, wasn't bad because at least it did not manifest into a battle of Not only different words can result fro
Posted by bigbro at 2004-08-10 13:43:24. More

45 Why I Don't Have an English Name

Could it be that the katakana is there to help pronunciation not just for younger Japanese but also to help everyone correctly pronouncing the kanji in the original Chinese pronunciation? I am making this guess by analogy to the way in which Japanese names are translated into Chinese whereby the knaji is used directly and pronounced as Chinese characters the Chinese way, which often is different from how they are pronounced in Japanese.
Posted by bigbro at 2004-08-10 12:49:19. More

44 Nice Meetup with Hailey and Roddy

Too bad Stephen has signed off, for the Japanese team's victory certainly gives credit to his theory. History records that Japan won this one, by hook or by crook, by hand or by foot.
Posted by bigbro at 2004-08-10 02:13:15. More

43 Why I Don't Have an English Name

Do the Japanese not use katakana for geographic names? I see kanji for China, Beijing, Taipei, etc. America is also in kanji. How do they call New York and Chicago?
Posted by bigbro at 2004-08-09 23:00:30. More

42 Why I Don't Have an English Name

I understand that the Chinese way to translate a Japanese person's name is by taking the kanji characters of the original Japanese name and pronounce them the Chinses way, disregarding its Japanese pronounciation. Can anyone tell me how the Japanese would translate a Chinese person's name?
Posted by bigbro at 2004-08-09 14:46:37. More

41 Why I Don't Have an English Name

This New York Times article (courtesy may help explain why a Japanese would try not to lose their Japanese name.

For those how can not access it, here is the article:

Japan and China: National Character Writ Large

Published: March 17, 2004

TOKYO — Of all languages in the world, Japanese is the only one that has an entirely different set of written characters to express foreign words and names. Just seeing these characters automatically tells the Japanese that they are dealing with something or someone non-Japanese.

So foreign names, from George Bush to Saddam Hussein, are depicted in these characters, called katakana. What's more, the names of foreign citizens of Japanese ancestry are also written in this set of characters, indicating that while they may have Japanese names, they are not, well, really Japanese.

By contrast, in Chinese, no such distinction is made. There, non-Chinese names are depicted, sometimes with great difficulty, entirely in Chinese characters. Foreigners are, in effect, made Chinese.

At bottom, the differences reflect each country's diverging worldview. In contrast to the inner-looking island nation of Japan, China has traditionally viewed itself as the Middle Kingdom of its name, the center of the world. If it is natural for Japan to identify things or people as foreign, viewing them with some degree of caution, it may be equally natural for China to take "Coca-Cola" or "George Bush," and find the most suitable Chinese characters to express them.

In Japan, the rigid division between the inside and outside in the language underscores this country's enduring ambivalence toward the non-Japanese. The contrast with China is stark, and speaks also to the future prospects of Asia's two economic giants as they compete for influence in a world of increasingly fluid borders.

While today's Japanese travel overseas with an ease and confidence that would have been unimaginable only two generations ago, they remain uneasy about foreign things and people coming here. Safer to label them clearly as foreign.

Not so China.

"China is a big continent and has an inclination to think that it is No. 1 and that others are uncivilized," said Minoru Shibata, a researcher at NHK, Japan's public broadcast network. "Therefore, they feel that giving Chinese names to foreigners is doing them a favor."

China and Japan represent the two nations that still widely use Chinese characters in their writing. The Chinese, as the creators of this system, still use them exclusively.

Come to Japan, and things get extremely complicated. In their everyday lives, the Japanese use three different sets of characters in writing — four if the widely used Roman alphabet is also included.

First are the Chinese characters, called kanji here. Japanese names are written in kanji. Currently, the number of kanji permitted for names stands at 2,230, and selecting a character outside this list is illegal. Parents have been pressing for an expanded list, though, and so the justice ministry said recently that it is considering adding between 500 and 1,000 characters.

Second is a set of phonetic characters used for Japanese words. Third are the katakana, the set of phonetic characters for foreign words.

"There is no other language that has three sets of characters — only Japanese," said Muturo Kai, president of the National Institute for Japanese Language.

In the United States, parents' freedom to name their children may be absolute. Here the government and the media set the boundaries of names and the way they are written, thereby also setting the boundaries of Japanese identity.

In the media, the names of George Bush and Saddam Hussein are written in the characters reserved for foreign names. But so are the names of people of Japanese ancestry, like Alberto Fujimori, Peru's deposed president, or Kazuo Ishiguro, the author of "Remains of the Day," who left Japan at the age of 5 and is a British citizen. Their names could be written in kanji, but are instead written in katakana, in an established custom indicating that they are not truly Japanese.

The distinctions are sometimes difficult to draw, as they touch upon the difficult question of who is Japanese, or, rather, when does someone stop being Japanese. If Mr. Ishiguro had kept his Japanese citizenship all these years, would his name be written differently here? Why is the name of Mr. Fujimori, who holds Japanese citizenship and now lives in exile here, not written in kanji like the names of other Japanese? The media have no set criteria.

Are the criteria citizenship, blood, mastery of the Japanese language or customs? Or, in this island nation where leaving Japan has always meant leaving the village, does one start becoming non-Japanese the minute one steps off Japanese soil?

There is a strong argument to be made for that. Children of Japanese business families stationed overseas for a few years invariably encounter problems returning here. Schoolmates often pick on them and call them gaijin, meaning foreigner or outsider. That problem has decreased in recent years, as more and more Japanese have spent time abroad. But those children are still considered to have suffered from their years overseas, in contrast to, say, an American child whose experience living abroad would usually be considered a plus.

Chinese identity is a different matter. Whether you are a fourth-generation Chinese-American student at Berkeley, or the children of Chinese operating a restaurant in Lagos, Nigeria, you are considered Chinese, or an insider, upon returning to China. Your name will be written in the same way as everybody else's. Unlike Japan's, Chinese identity transcends borders.

"Chinese people have a strong feeling of comradeship toward overseas Chinese," said Naokazu Hiruma, who is in charge of language use at the daily Asahi Shimbun and studied in China. "Overseas Chinese have a long tradition, and they remain Chinese even after generations have passed. Japanese regard second- or third-generation overseas Japanese, even though they are of Japanese origin, as `people from that country over there.' "

Posted by bigbro at 2004-08-09 14:34:10. More

40 Why I Don't Have an English Name

Let me offer two points on why more Chinese than others use an English name. (Though not all Chinese immigrants take up this practice, it recently being somewhat trendy among some in the States to emphasize the original cultural name; and immigrants from other cultures also modify their long or odd names including Indians who shorten their names and also Mr. Goldwater as an invented last name, his ancestor's original European name having meant urine.)

First, Chinese language uses characters, and this may come as a shock to some foreigners, NOT pinyin. Characters in a name have meaning and certain calligraphic value associated with them. When a Chinese person's name is transliterated into roman letters (by Pinyin or any other system) only the sound is preserved whereas the meaning (including a faint hint of sex) is completely lost. This may give us a disappointing feeling and some may say why bother keeping it and let's go all the way. For example, Wang Jian Shuo's name is not Wang Jian Shuo. It is 王建硕. That character Shuo has a beautiful, literary spirit in it and the character Jian probably is a kin linker. All these aspects are lost when romanized. I cheer him for keeping using Wang Jian Shuo, which is not difficult to pronounce, but if he says OK this is already far from my Chinese characters so I might as well pick an English name, I would also understand. This latter case may become more motivated if the Chinese name is pronounced incorrectly all the time or causes confusion.

Secondly and more importantly, Chinese traditionally do not warship the singularity of their names. Let me explain. A name is an identifier. It serves as a distinguisher and also an entitlement. Christian westerners value the entitlement part more, whereas Chinese seem to value only the distinguisher part. Therefore, to a Chinese one does not necessarily have to stay with a fixed name as long as he/she has a distinguisher. Many behavior stems from this. For example, Chinese do not have a standard set of characters/words set aside for use in a person's name, unlike Chistians and the Japanese. And do you know that educated Chinese in the old times always had two or three or more names (名, 字, 号, 谥号....) that are used according to situation/context? Finally, Chinese often insist on giving their foreign friends a Chinese name and in doing so there is absolutely no rule, all invented and anything goes. Thus, Bill Gates is BiEr Gaici but Bill Clinton is Mr. KeLingDun; David Smith is Shi DaWei but Claire Chennault and Theodore White were General Chen NaDe and Journalist Bai XiuDe, respectively. So to sum it up, Chinese are not rigid at all about having a unique name with a naming rule.

Related to Christians valuing the entitlement part, westerners select names from a selected pool and relate the name to certain other person (the Chrstian Sainte, the parents or grandparents, etc.). Unlike them. the Chinese, trying to find a distinguisher, rarely pick the name to overlap (to be identical is a No-No) with the parents or grandparents or a famous person. The distinguisher tends to be unique therefore any different word can be considered and a meaning association but more often a uniqueness invention is attempted. It will be hard to imagine an American picking random, meaningful, or invented words for names. Hi, my name is Quarterback, what's yours? Oh my, mine is Yella Peony Carrington. On a second thought, I'd better not speak too soon. Maybe some super human, say Bill Gates, will name a son, in the hope that he grows up gripping yet another monopoly, something like Macrobill or Microhard.
Posted by bigbro at 2004-08-09 11:58:40. More

39 Nice Meetup with Hailey and Roddy

Distinguishing right from wrong, will help China progess into a strong and advanced nation who will face future challenges with decisive actions and materially supported bravery.

In fact, I do propose forgiveness, but it should be based on the right historical perspective. If Japan is incapable of admitting her past as being wrong and apologizing for it, then she simply does not deserve forgiveness.

If you meant that winners are always right and losers are always wrong, it is an unfortunate view that evil beings often use to justify themselves. The winner do write the history but history will eventually discard evil.
Posted by bigbro at 2004-08-07 05:14:42. More

38 Nice Meetup with Hailey and Roddy

Dear stephen, elements were missing from your equations: right vs. wrong, and humanity vs. crime. The Japanese did not make "mistakes" they committed war crime. They did not suffer from the war, they suffered consequences of the war they themselves imposed enormously on pacific countries.
Posted by bigbro at 2004-08-06 05:44:07. More

37 Nice Meetup with Hailey and Roddy

Blaming only the Japanese Emperor or Government does not cover the entirety of this issue. The Japanese society was reasonably democratic already before the world wars and the government and emperor acted in favor of aggression partly because they knew they had the support of their mass. I have met a number of Japanese who are arrogant and have the "mine is mine and yours is also mine" mentality. So I submit that Japanese people or many Japanese people in that generation had their (small) share of responsibility. This is a forgiveness issue, not a "should not hate" issue. The common Japanese people are much more forgivable than are the government and the emperor.

Having said that, I firmly believe in non-hatred and non-violence. History should not be forgotten but can be left as history and we should look to the future. A person, a group, or a nation must not answer hatred/violance with hatred or violence, if the acts were committed by past generations.

Similarly in the issues Taiwan and Xizang, the parties should put away past differences and TALK, about the present and future.
Posted by bigbro at 2004-08-06 02:18:52. More

36 Nice Meetup with Hailey and Roddy

Good article.

"to beat Japanese on the street without any strong reason...." Beating with a strong reason would have been OK? No.

Anger towards the agressive history of Japan should not be turned into hatred towards the people. Dislike of Japanese economical invasion might be justifiable though, especially where unfair commercial practices are evident. Just don't allow thoughtless jealoucy to prevail.

Also, I think you mean that you hope Indonesia does NOT repeat itself.
Posted by bigbro at 2004-08-05 03:47:33. More

35 Train from Beijing to Shanghai

Travelling with strangers is just par for the game with Planes Trains and Automobiles. Sleeping in that seat/bed can hardly conscientiously be considered sleeping per se, much less sleeping with strangers, plus remeber that red emerrgency thingy, thoughtful aren't they? The fact that there are four total strangers in a small space actually might make everyone sane (or insane depanding on which way you look at it). If you worry about an insomnia attack, don't, the melodic vibes of the train cures mine every time.

This is not unlike airplane travel where you constantly sit with strangers. If you feel like talking great, otherwise you can just shut off to the neighbor(s), be it a Mr. Gates or any other SOB. Just don't let you sit next to Wang Jian Shuo, though. So on a second thought, have some prozac handy, or asprin.
Posted by bigbro at 2004-08-02 22:56:30. More

34 Shanghai is the Second Unhappiest City

It is going to be wherever the negotiation stops, purely a chess game between you and the employer.
Posted by bigbro at 2004-07-29 23:30:06. More

33 Blogcn is Down for the Third Time

That site is easy to navigate but only limited information is provided, lacking real, practical information that WJS has given on this site.

In their Chinese page on Maglev train they had this rule. Is it really applied and since it is not published in the English page does it not apply to foreigners? 车票为当日当班次有效,过期作废。每张车票票面均印有发车时间,在发车前20分钟开始进站检票,发车前5分钟停止检票,为了确保您的乘车,请至少在发车前20分钟到达乘车地点的检票口。
Posted by bigbro at 2004-07-28 05:27:52. More

32 Salary in Shanghai

Corrections: fluid ounces (as in shots); and how little is expended.
Posted by bigbro at 2004-07-28 03:39:13. More

31 Salary in Shanghai

Living NICELY. It is such a splendidly subjective term. Are you talking about quality of life? Each of us measure this thing differently, unbelievably vastly different. Some measure it by square footage, some by fluid onces, some by laughters, or tears, some by frequency of divorces, or the lack thereof, some by number of cones, others by the lack thereof, some by earnings, some by how much is spent, some, get this, by how little is spended. You get the drift, Alon? By the way, some measure it by how "cultural" he/she can speak, others, like you, couldn't care less.
Posted by bigbro at 2004-07-28 00:15:05. More

30 Professional English

Heli, please note that mine was only a "light hearted" remark.

However, it is only academically responsible to clarify some more minor grammar or acceptance issues here.

People use "people" too often. People please drop your "peoples." In the context of Heli's first comment, saying "most Chinese" (equivalent to "most Americans" or "most Britsh") would have been sufficient and best. "Most of Chinese people" is semiincorrect. "Most of the Chinese people" is not good grammar and does not fit in this context.

"How to say" might be understood, but it should not be accepted, and it is not at all good English. On a reexamination of this phrase, I should not have said it was semicorrect. It is not even semiincorrect. In formal English, it is completely unacceptable to start a question with this phrase.

Looking back at Li Jingyi's comment, I would like to say that it is unnecessary to link less than perfect grammar (note I did not say style) to a lower degree of professionalism and darned scary (perhaps arrogant) to link it to intelligence. Jingyi, since you incorrectly wrote "If I found....I will...." twice and had a word misspelt, should I doubt your intelligence or even intellect? No, I don't---I don't even doubt your professionalism.

Language is only a TOOL to communicate ideas. A speaker's intelligence lies more in the ideas (the substance of the communication) than in his/her language.

Today's society tends still to treat e-mail as informal writing, in which case minor spelling errors, capitalization oversights, and sloppy grammar are tolerated and may even be fashionable, in some twisted way. However, if one were to perfect one's English language skills, one should not be satisfied merely at a tolerable level and must not overlook the importance of writing correct and even good English. This also applies to any language, including Chinese.

I have talked too much, people. Oops, let me drop that people. I've talked too much, and I should stop.
Posted by bigbro at 2004-07-27 23:47:27. More

29 To Focus or Not?

Don't worry about focusing. You have done a fine job keeping focuses---you focus on many subjects instead of just one and that is an appeal of your site.

Don't worry about being personal. Your site is among the most personal, as many have testified.

What’s more important than both above? It is: “Be yourself. Be true.” There was a Chinese expression: follow the feeling (gen zhe ganjue zou). I'd encourage you to follow your own feeling. Or as westerners say, follow your heart.

I am an advocate of individualism. You are a unique individual on the net and have your own audience (BTW, if you have an audience and a commenting population, that is whom you write to, you are NOT writing to yourself). Your style works for this audience, don’t struggle to change it. What works, don’t fix it, right? Your audience is different from the audience of any other website (they may be the same people but their interest in your site is different from that towards other sites) so you don’t have to do what others fashion. In other word, do not lose your uniqueness by following what the rest of the net may be doing. As time goes on, it is only natural that your focus (and your English, writing style, etc.) may change and expand. Change will be good as long as it keeps your audience and grows it. It would be helpful to find out what your core audience’s interests are from time to time and address them accordingly. However, I see you are already doing it by responding to comments.

The art (individualism) of advertising (selling) has evolved and matured in the following sequence. Decades ago the motto was to sell the product, then it changed to selling the best product, later redefined to selling the product I like the best, then smarter it became selling the product I think you like the best, now it is selling the product you think (and tell me) you like the best. The future, I predict, will be to sell the product that suits the individual taste of each one of you, then to the product that changes with you, and by you.
Posted by bigbro at 2004-07-24 00:06:56. More

28 Drive-Ins in China

Not to mention air conditioning in the theaters.
Posted by bigbro at 2004-07-23 13:02:32. More

27 Drive-Ins in China

I believe the invention of multi-showroom movie theaters with reclining chairs, sloped floor, wide screens, superb surround sound, lower ticket price, continueous showing (theater hopping), and the sheer number of choices revived the indoor movie business and pushed the drive-ins out of the competition.
Posted by bigbro at 2004-07-23 12:47:57. More

26 Hot Hot Hot Shanghai

Being hit by a big ship and by skin cancer is not the main risk if David takes a swim in the Huangpu. Big ships move slow and are visible from afar plus David does not have to swim to the deep of the river. The risk of getting skin cancer from sun exposure is less in the water than walking on the beach. The biggest risk, David, is actually from dirtiness of the water especially microbial infection (so be my guest), plus the traffic jam you may cause by collecting spectators on the shore, and also death of some stupid strangers jumping in to save the life of the stupid you.
Posted by bigbro at 2004-07-23 11:39:49. More

25 HP Pavilion a610cl - My New Home PC

I feel the same way about typing on a laptop. What is the current technology status with voice recognition to replace typing, Chines or English?
Posted by bigbro at 2004-07-20 21:06:27. More

24 Memorable Pictures

One more suggestion. It might be interesting - or disastrous, who knows - to open a comment area for each (or some) of the individual photos. If afraid this might be too massive to manage, you could consider the option of a comment area called the guest comment page for each album.
Posted by bigbro at 2004-07-20 05:30:51. More

23 To Continue or Not? Confusing in China Blogsphere

One other fascination about this blog is that some (many) of your postings or comments turn into a healthy discussion and even into a study. And you post so much useful information which others may have otherwise considered too trivial. To me facts serve you better than emotions in blogging.
Posted by bigbro at 2004-07-18 00:48:51. More

22 Heavy Rain Yesterday

Carroll, I am glad your curiosity is not about the whys so I take it back for you.

The others inquiry might even prove too interesting cuz others affect others and others of others (FOAF). The principle of responsible big D, you know.
Posted by bigbro at 2004-07-18 00:40:25. More

21 PVG: Has Maglev Started Operation?

Laugh out loud. This is an interesting example of clutural difference and generation gap. Very interesting. Note that I will not be criticizing anyone, merely making observations.

First the cultural difference. The way one handles such a request is ussually quite different in western vs. Asian cultures. Here is what I mean. In China, one looks at this request and says: the parents (both) want info of their son? Sure, no problem, the request should be honored, as the most natural thing. In many western cultures (with maybe the exception of Italy), one looks at this request and reacts: hmm, there is a privacy issue here. Let me ask the son first. Of course, if the son had given a bogus e-mail address, your e-mail bounces. Jian Shuo, I guess you handled it the right way --- the Chinese way. Ha ha.

Second, the generation gap. It is rather typical that the parents are anxious this way and that about the whereabouts of their child, but the child cares less (also he may not have access to his e-mail). Mr. and Mrs. Hopfe, don't worry. China is very safe. A foreigner would be extra safe in that country, a fact to which maybe many foreigner readers of this blog can attest. On the other hand, Anthony Hopfe, if you are still reading this board, call home, huh!
Posted by bigbro at 2004-07-16 13:18:28. More

20 Wangjianshuo's Photo Album

Yes, adding an ALBUM button after the HOME button would be nice.

From your photos of Beijing Metro, I see that the stations there are clean, the tracks are not, routes are well marked. How do Shanghai's metro facilities compare with Beijing's?
Posted by bigbro at 2004-07-16 11:26:19. More

19 Heavy Rain Yesterday

J ames and Carroll,

Must everything have a why and be politcal or sensitive? Jian Shuo is doing an excellent job in sharing information and thus improving understanding among many on many issues. Let him continue in his unique style. His views are smart, direct, and very positive. His stories are told clearly and pleasantly, even if the story itself might be an unpleasant experience. Some of his silly adventures bring me laughter, don't they you? What more do you want? When in Rome, don't speak Shanghainese. Be an understanding reader would be a contribution to a good blog such as this. Just remember his work on sars and save your whys, please.
Posted by bigbro at 2004-07-16 10:10:06. More

18 Cannot Post Comment on this Site?

i actually LOL when reading some of the spams like the driver requests.
Posted by bigbro at 2004-07-15 22:47:45. More

17 PVG: One Million Passengers for MagLev

Carrying 7,000 passengers per day is hardly impressive, since it averages to 95 passengers per trip on a train with 440 seats.

On the other hand, if it has moved 1,000,000 passengers in 188 days from Jan 1 to yesterday (was it really yesterday?), the daily everage over six months would figure to 5,319 a day. (This happens to translate to 72 passengers per trip, so damn near the old "mistaken" number of 73 it makes me wonder if the original 73 figure had any credibility at all.) Did the Maglev ever stop operation during the six months? If it did stop for 45 days, then a million people in 143 days would give an average of 7,000 a day.

The average of passenger heads is less interesting than how the passenger volume has curved up and what's the daily volume nowadays. If the number per trip was low in the early month but has come close to 200 now, that would indicate quite a successful system, keeping in mind that a daily 200 passenger per trip average would mean some trips being close to full capacity . Another meaningful evaluation would be the percentage of PVG visitors taking the Maglev. It is so difficult to obtain statistics in China.
Posted by bigbro at 2004-07-07 23:42:18. More

16 Transferred to Microsoft Consulting Service

Congratulations! Wish you lots of success in the new position.
Posted by bigbro at 2004-07-07 15:20:53. More

15 Polution in Shanghai

Do they really make money? That is a good question, one that only they themselves can answer. One firm pulling out does not necessarily mean all others did not make money.

Environmental business is a peculiar field. Usually they exist not because the owner or CEO loves the environment but because there is money to be made. This is an industry that makes money on other people's (industries') sin, not unlike the addiction correction business. The size and profitbility of the environmental industry is highly dependent on how and how seriously the government enforces each specific environmental regulation. The government requires certain things done by a factory. The factory hires, directly or through the goverment, an environmental firm to do it, in order to comply. The environ firm (as it stands now the government) pockets the money after the job (or before).

The environmental business comprises three segments: one, the equipment makers who research and make specialized equipments; two, the services providers who devise plans, perform monitoring, recommend, install, and maintain equipments, and consults in legal cases; and three, the strategic investors who make long term efforts in issues such as ecology and new energy sources.

The fact that the government now has a monopoly in this field could be a good thing or bad thing, since it is a regulation-dependent industry. It may prove very efficient and remain unchanged, or it may become too costly or conflicting for the government which, in turn, would start to privatize it. The environ equipment makers sell to the government already and will always have a market. A service provider could mostly provide contract services to the government outfits, for now. They could also do scattered jobs to counter the governments case. As the country's economy expands and becomes more WTO compliant, the need to regulate would soon trend up exponentially and so would the environ service business. No matter which way the government monopoly changes in the future, this trade is here to stay, and to grow. As long as industries have sins, the sin-remedy business will not go away. Welcome to Shanghai.
Posted by bigbro at 2004-07-06 23:43:13. More

14 Polution in Shanghai

Media attention and policy (laws and enforcement) setting are powerful approaches to these and many other problems. Here Cindy may be a lead to the media. Others can push the goverment.

It is nice to hear Jian Shuo's story about calling the hotline and getting an action to stop the noice polution. People (the public) must make these calls and hopefully the agency not only responds but also keeps a record of how many complaints they receive to measure the seriousness of problems. Your idea of active efforts among your readers is an excellent one.

Shanghai is the best place to begin an awareness education. It would also be the best place to initiate local legislations that will influence and spread to the rest of the country, and set standards for the country. I can think of improving laws/rules governing public smoking (and spitting), sewage release, grass coverage, envrironmental impact assessment on factories, construction containment, parking, honking, seatbelt use, right turns, counterfeits, and many other. Shanghai could look to the example of California, which is always one step (or steps) ahead of other states in the US, esp. in environmental standards and vehicle related laws.

About the disposal of waste motor oil, many US cities impose an environmental fee (which is a disposal tax). The repair shop charges the consumer this $1 or $2 tax on each oil change to pay for proper disposal of the waste oil (and the used filters).
Posted by bigbro at 2004-07-02 00:15:41. More

13 Traffic Rules in Shanghai - Part II

You see, we agree on many a point. Thanks for the argument, very helpful.
Posted by bigbro at 2004-06-30 14:34:27. More

12 Professional English

One more lighthearted thing should be added. How does one say "zen yang shuo..." in English? Most Chinese folks may say "How do say..." which is incorrect, or "How to say..." which is semicorrect. Please say "How do you say...."
Posted by bigbro at 2004-06-30 03:48:00. More

11 Traffic Rules in Shanghai - Part II

Oh, it is very much a matter of education, even based upon Slim's analysis/argument. Nobody expects the education to be easy, but bitching 'n moaning will not solve the problem (neither will racial sling or counter sling, so be cool). True this problem may be related to value but it is also a generic traffic phenomenon in any populous and old metropolises, think Boston, New York, not to mention Rome.

I was advocating engineering plus discipline plus education. What else can you do? We do not want to be so uncivil as to attack or kill the pedestrains or drivers, right? You cannot hit people physically so you hit their wallet and brain. The educational process is extremely difficult, requires painful persistence, involves everyone and every party, but the effort will eventually pay off. For example, I can envision a campaign where every willing driver (starting from YOU) puts on a rear bumper sticker (Oops, are there any rules in Shanghai against slogans on cars?) saying in Chinese: "I brake if you tailgate me" or "Warning: I brake suddenly for pedestrains" or "Kiss my a** and ala WILL sue you" etc. Slowly over time these will catch up and raise the awareness level of the drivers. This is what I mean by education.

By the way, I used the phrase engineering to include laws, rules, fines, and also road (and crossing) design. As hinted above, though, corrective road reconstruction would be more difficult to implement in older/cramper areas of the cities.
Posted by bigbro at 2004-06-29 05:16:39. More

10 Traffic Rules in Shanghai - Part II

Categories of things to improve:
(1) Stricter laws and regulations (including heavier fines and jail terms);
(2) More forceful, effective and across-the-board enforcement (avoid corruption);
(3) Education of the drivers (beyond driver's tests);
(4) Education of the pedestrains (against 5000 years of on-foot culture).

I would suggest that (2) and (3) are the most urgently needed. (3) and (4) will take a long time and much effort but hopefully will be the fundamental things that would bring about change.

How does the situation in Shanghai compare with that in Beijing, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, and other major cities?
Posted by bigbro at 2004-06-29 00:33:12. More

9 English Instructions in Yantai

So this settles it. Good work, eki. Not a person is to be blamed, nor the hotel. But htis should be relayed to Kingsoft, and all other translation untility developers.

Jianshuo, have you or your friends thought of writing a book, something like Chinese-English and English-Chinese Glossary of PC & IT Terms? It would make you 2 tonnes of money, in Chinese and world markets. And your boss might even be willing to sponsor you with one ton advance.
Posted by bigbro at 2004-06-26 03:20:04. More

8 Daocheng Photos by Maphis Chen - Part II

Would you care to elaborate, Bill?
Posted by bigbro at 2004-06-26 03:00:33. More

7 Daocheng Photos by Maphis Chen - Part II

How tall is Yang Mai Yong? And its climbing history?
Posted by bigbro at 2004-06-25 23:09:46. More

6 Shanghai is the Second Unhappiest City

Well, it depends on which media you wish to pursue. To publish in the likes of QiuShi, you probably want to write in Chinese unless you can entrust the party's official editorial machine to translate your writing. If it is written in English, you can try to submit to China Daily. In either case, I am sure they check your credentials before accepting the piece for publication.
Posted by bigbro at 2004-06-24 11:36:57. More

5 Shanghai is the Second Unhappiest City

Religion may bring happiness to some, esp. the true believers. But it may not work for others.

Most religions including the influential ones in China teach inner peace.

In order for a religion to work, one has to be turned a believer. Chinese people (from the mainland) find it hard to convert. Why? Two reasons: .... Well, I won't get into them.

I want to talk, instead, about individualism. This is the very thing that will raise the happiness level, in China anyway. I like it my way thus I am happy. I don't have to follow the trend of others thus I enjoy it my way.

The word individualism refers to an idealogy that recognizes, allows, and promotes the realization that each person has his/her own values, likes, dislikes, and suitables, which may be entirely (or partially) different from those of others.

This idealogy was not supported by Confucianism, China's oldest and biggest non-religious religion. It was absolutely crushed by Marxism, China's contemporary anti-religious religion.

In my opinion, this "shameful" word was unjustly dismissed by latter-day Marxists due to a misunderstanding or a twisted redefinition. It was crushed in China by Chinese Marxists probably due to a mistranslation. Here is what I mean. Individualism is often taken as selfishism when it really means each individual has individual characteristics. When this was translated as GeRen ZhuYi it was given a selfishism flare. It really should be translated into GeXing ZhuYi (the poor guy in that Yantai hotel might retranslate this into single-sex-ism).

Promoting GeXing ZhuYi in China will lead to self-respect, confidence, creativity, and eventually to sustainable and even greater economical boom. Believe it or not.

The conservative communists may immediately want to kill me for promoting GeRen ZhuYi. However, I can easily point out that the fundamental principles of Marxist communism valued individualism (GeXing ZhuYi) from the very beginning. The idealogical model that Karl Marx worshiped was a society in which people would Ge Jin Suo Neng (each contributes that which he can) and Ge Qu Suo Xu (each takes that which he needs). When his children and grandchildren denounced individualism and revised these principles to mean aech contributes equally and takes equally, that's when things started to come crumble down.

It is my view that the west did not beat the east because of capitalism, rather, individualism did it for the west.

In order for China to take the next giant step, she must restore individualism as GeXing ZhuYi and promote GeXin completely unabashed. If done successfully, this will reverse the sliding trend originated from Confucianism and worsened in modern China. There is no doubt that this in a long run will be good for China, good for the Chinese people.

Individualism (GeXing) would be easier to accept by the younger generation, I mean Wang Jian Shuo's generation and younger ones. That is why this topic should be discussed here, and widely.

I was recently thinking of writing a longwinded article and sending it to QiuShi magazine. Surely a clear-headed editor (if there is one) there would see the tremendous value of such a debate, not unlike the "truth" debate after the cultural revolution. However, upon further evaluation, I say doing so does not fit my individualism.
Posted by bigbro at 2004-06-24 05:54:15. More

4 Shanghai is Experiencing Energy Crisis

The air conditioner unit condenses out the moisture as it cools the air. This is quite evident if you take a closer look at the A/C: it has either a tube that drains the condensed water and lets it drip outside or a bucket that collects the condensed water (distilled water). You will be amazed at the amount of water that it takes out of your air. The coolness an A/C creates is from both the lowering of the temperature and the decrease in humidity.

Similarly, in a car with air conditioning, have you ever noticed the dripping water underneaththe wheels if have the A/C turned on for a while?

A "moisture trap" would exist only in an insulated space WITHOUT air conditioning. Excellent seals plus an A/C would be very good for the health of the building.

Once again, opening the windows is a habit and its real purpose is just for the freshness of the indoor air, that is, it gets rid of the stale odour, etc. Carsten mentioned window screens for openable windows, that is important, as it keeps bugs, pollens and some other pollutants out.
Posted by bigbro at 2004-06-24 00:35:08. More

3 Shanghai is Experiencing Energy Crisis

I meant "except reflection methods."
Posted by bigbro at 2004-06-23 05:45:18. More

2 Shanghai is Experiencing Energy Crisis

Any insulation method (except relection methods) that prevents heat from escaping (out-flow) in the winter will also stop the heat from entering (in-flow) in the summer. If you seal the Apt well and completely, without missing any holes or cracks, the humidity will actually be kept out, too. Also the humid feeling comes with heat, so when you can lower the temperature in an isolated space it will feel less humid.

One should notice that most of these insulation methods may not necessarily require sealing the windos/doors completely shut. Therefore, you can still open the windows afterwards if you do the insulation cleverly (You can not open your front door to get in and out if you do the insulation stupidly). The habit of opening the windows, which is really for fresh air but is an inefficient way to cool an indoor space, would be an entirely different matter to reckon with. Chinese people love to have windows opened for circulation, as a habit. I would suggest that you open them briefly (a few minutes will do the job) and only during cooler periods of the day (or night).

Building codes are not unchallengeable. Rules are made by people and made to be broken. Consumers should not be modest but should demand higher standard of living through better planning, more sensible laws, and stricter enforcement in construction-related industries (or any other industries).

Having said the above, the main issue about the energy crisis is probably not residential conservation although conservation will definitely help. The main issue is the energy's supply and demand, and the largest increase in demand I suspect has come from industrial growth. The analogy to California's situation lies between Shanghai's rapid expansion in industry and Silicon Valley's rapid growth (not only in area but also in their newer machines' power requirement). So, better construction planning would not be enough, this problem has to be addressed as a policy matter on the country's entire economic scale. Development must begin with a strategic and balanced plan and the plan must be well executed. Nobody can be lazy and nobody can be greedy.
Posted by bigbro at 2004-06-23 05:42:20. More

1 Personal Social Network Management

By the same token (as sinbadblue's theorem), if you are a great socially sensitive person you will remember 14,000 names even from 55 years ago (like Zhou Enlai did) and you don't need a social coordinator. If on the other hand you can easily remember hundreds of code lines and 89 URLs but have trouble remembering even a dozen people's name/address/birthdays, then you are by definition a nerd and, in this case, a first class social coordinator (which would be 100 times better than any social software) may not be able to impart much improvement in you.
Posted by bigbro at 2004-06-18 22:43:56. More