boran's Comments

There are 4 different readers (identified by email address) with the same nickname boran. They are represented by different colors.

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35 20 Years of Professional Managers in China

Wang Jianshuo, hi, I wanted to email you personally, but I've tried that (unsucessfully) in the past...I know your blog is read by many and I know that you are a charitable person, so I wanted to inform you about an article:
It describes the 3 blind university students in Shanghai, the first ever blind students to attend a regular university in China. They have done great work and are in every way the equal to a sighted colleague, but because of the stigma about blindness, these pioneers are struggling now that they face the job market.

Also, I will be in Shanghai in a week and I would really like to meet you, treat you to a cup of coffee, if possble, send me an email, thanks!
Posted by boran at 2006-02-17 14:40:42. More

34 Beijing 2008 Olympic Mascots

as mascots go, they aren't so bad (nothing is as worse as Atlanta's Whatzit!). The Olympics mascots the past few games have been extremely weird and not like an actual animal like in the old days, Korean Tiger (Seoul), American eagle (LA), and I think Barcelona had some kind of cat. Just look at Turin, Athens, Sydney, and Atlanta for examples of the goofy, computer generated/imaginary things that have served. China should have gone with some kind of REAL animal (ala the University Games using a Yangtze River Alligator).

Fake Olympic stuff could be found EVERYWHERE in Beijing in the past, now its a bit harder, but not too bad, if you look, you'll find it (more like the sellers will find you!). The problem is that it is IMPOSSIBLE to buy official things, with only one location in the entire city actually selling official goods (in a small space inside a department store on Wangfujing) and a small stand at the airport.
Posted by boran at 2005-11-15 15:03:06. More

33 KFC Dropped Potato Wedge in Shanghai

First?I don't think this move is in conflict with the US marketing scheme as most fast food restaurants are changing to try to be more "healthy." Many of the salads at fast food restaurants are almost as fattening (or more so) than what would be an order of french fries. I also think most of the young people who eat fast food WANT fries and cola over something more healthy.

Also, when I was recently in a KFC in China a thought occurred to me about the size of portions there. If you saw the interesting documentary of last year "Supersize Me," it was discussed how the size of portions at these restaurants have grown over the years. In comparison, the size of fries and cola that you get at KFC/McD's in China when you order a "value meal" would be the equivalent to what you would get in a happy meal in the US. Therefore, unless you're eating that stuff on a daily or near daily basis, it isn't really all that bad if eaten in moderation.
Posted by boran at 2005-10-28 12:18:32. More

32 Four Must-See Roads in Shanghai

I would definitely second HuaiHai Rd...The "buxing jie" roads like Nanjing Rd have become so common, it seems every "big" city or wannabe big city has their own version, but HuaiHai Road is pretty unique.
Posted by boran at 2005-10-15 13:57:11. More

31 Two Side of the World - Where Should I Stay?

I believe that a lot of the way you have been able to gain trust is that you provide interesting insight into the city while also having a personal touch. Another major thing, unlike most other (or perhaps even every other) english blog discussing China, yours stays away from directly touching political issues. I have a number of questions and ideas I'd like to discuss with you, I tried to email you before a recent trip to Shanghai, but was unsuccessful, if possible I'd like to get in touch with you, thanks!
Posted by boran at 2005-10-15 13:54:39. More

30 MU2043 from Luoyang to Shanghai

The problem is the tendency to waste money on things like airports for cities that don't need them. Zhengzhou, due to location and importance, is always going to be the main airport and because it is so close to both Luoyang and Kaifeng, will almost always be the hub for travelers. I understand bigbro's argument, but I think that there's a time when you just have to give up such ideas and accept the wounded pride that will go along with it for the sake of the people as the money could be better spent.
Posted by boran at 2005-10-11 13:44:56. More

29 Super Girl Concert in Shanghai

haha, I would think the performance is the least important part of it as it couldn't have been that good...the spectacle of it looks pretty big though, what a large crowd!
Posted by boran at 2005-10-11 13:37:07. More

28 Where to Buy Digital Cameras and Phones

if you're looking for good infor on a purchasing hand (cell) phones, I really like this website, but its in Chinese...It lists the prices for different phone models at a number of different stores and helps you find where the phone is the cheapest...
Posted by boran at 2005-10-11 13:33:28. More

27 100 Anniversary of Fudan

I'd also like to congratulate Fudan, I spent a great year there and its definitely among China's top schools.
Posted by boran at 2005-10-01 20:13:16. More

26 We Filled Our Lives But Lost Our Souls

the reality is that there are many different layers to China and that the lives of the foreigners and affluent Chinese are extremely different from that of many of the other people living in the same city and more so than anywhere else, the reality is striking in China. Today I decided to take the bus from ShiChaHai to Wangfujing (two areas packed with foreigners) instead of paying RMB 15 more for a taxi. On the bus I barely had any room to stand, squeezed in and yet still having the bus driver yell to move back so more people could get on. For many of those who are affluent or who are foreigners, the choice is simple, they can just ignore all this, they can cloister themselves in big fancy apartment buildings, work in brand new high rises and eat at expensive restaurants. But for those who want to understand the real situation, who can speak Chinese or who choose to move between the "two different cities," at times it can be extremely hard on the spirt and a feeling of having lost something on the rise up can take over. Its normal but its right, its good, because at least you recognize it and maybe try to strive to do better whereas so many simply ignore it...

Sorry for the babble and maybe it didn't come out right, I'm just sort of speaking from my own feelings from the past few days and also its very late here and I'm tired...hehe, goodnight! :)
Posted by boran at 2005-09-10 02:12:45. More

25 Do You Have a Calendar?

its surprising how many restaurants DO require reservations nowadays in China's big cities...Its truly only become commonplace during the past year or two...
Posted by boran at 2005-06-12 07:05:09. More

24 I Love Shanghai!

I'm not a big fan of Shanghai, but in general its a wonderful feeling in China (or really in any big city) to be driving (or riding in the car) through the downtown late at night with all the lights still on but very few cars on the road, I love it!
Posted by boran at 2005-06-12 07:03:18. More

23 Bought iPod Mini as Gift for Wendy

Wang Jianshuo, hi! I haven't been around in a long time but I'm back! It's really interesting how many products are made in China, then shipped to the US base of the company, and then shipped back to China. I know Apple does this and in the past when I bought a Palm in China, they did the same thing.

As to JH's point, I actually think the iPod prices have dropped considerably in China since Christmas, because as I remember it, they were unbelievably expensive.

In any case, I am sure Wendy will love her iPod. I can't imagine going anywhere without mine...
Posted by boran at 2005-06-12 07:01:03. More

22 Lugu Lake

Lugu Lake is a huge tourist destination, but typically only for short time stayers who then go off to some of the other great places to visit in Western China. Internet exists here for all of the tourists and because of the one person from the village who wrote a number of books about it, married a foreigner (ugh, can't remember her name?). Its the case there because of tourists, but having electricity, let alone internet, is rare in many villages in the Western part of the country. The picture of you in the wooden hut using computer is really cool, though.

Enjoy your holiday!!
Posted by boran at 2005-05-03 00:41:42. More

21 I Feel Like a Rabbit when I Eat Salad

jqian, why would you find it strange that American food in US tastes better than American food in Shanghai? Was that a typo? I had 2 very bad meals at Shanghai's finest western restaurant, Jean Georges (part of 3 on the Bund) and have almost never had a really good meal of western food in China (exceptions for the Courtyard in Beijing and Brazilian bbq places).
Posted by boran at 2005-04-23 08:15:57. More

20 When Jian Shuo Leaves his Car (in CA)

actually, almost all of the older cities in the US are places where cars are unnecessary. NYC, Boston, DC, Chicago are all examples of places where its better not to have a car...
Posted by boran at 2005-04-23 08:10:48. More

19 Actual Speed of Maglev is 64 km/h

Well, for you its a different story as you're located closer to the maglev than most of us. Typically when I'm in Shanghai, I stay somewhere around Nanjing Rd, which means a taxi to the airport is going to cost around RMB 120 or so. It also means I will have to deal with a taxi driver who may try to rip me off and may be smoking or babbling into a cell phone the entire ride. Depending on the time of day or weather, I may even have to struggle for an extended period of time to catch a cab. In this case, the choice is easy, maglev is simple, cheap, and get's me out of Shanghai FAST.
Posted by boran at 2005-04-21 01:25:46. More

18 T.I.C Moments

ubiquitous cries of "hello" EVERYWHERE!
Posted by boran at 2005-04-13 02:42:33. More

17 T.I.C Moments

-lao taitais spitting on the floor/blowing their nose in starbucks
-men walking around with shirts off (or up over their large belly)
-children beggers that just won't give up
-people attempting to rip you off at almost every turn
-those who go on an absolute power trip with their minimal power (ie cashier or store employee, at bank, on bus, etc etc)
-pushing is a necessity when boarding anything
-lines are meaningless
-the automatic assumption that every Westerner owns a gun
Posted by boran at 2005-04-13 02:00:19. More

16 Is 10,000RMB/Month a Ridiculous Offer?

My original comments were meant to discuss the situation of a recent graduate and not somebody with anything more than 3-5 years of experience, obviously the situation is very different for those at the top. Further, while my experience and information relates only to the legal industry, it is also applicable to many other professional jobs (a la marketing, investment banking, etc).

As far as I know, very few of the top foreign law firms in Beijing and Shanghai offer the same salaries they offer in NYC, London, Paris, etc to new associates. As I said, in the legal industry (and again, this is applicable in most other professional industries), the young expat, for better or worse, is going to be more or less extinct in 5 years. These are the words I heard from top partners at 3 out of the 5 largest firms in the world...Here's why:
1. More and more Chinese are going abroad after completing their university studies in China, some go to the US already having studied Chinese law for 4 years.
2. In the US, more and more are passing on LLMs for a full JD or an sJD and not going back to China in the summer but getting summer clerkships in US law firms.
3. After graduation, when these Chinese go back to China, they expect high salaries for Chinese big cities, but they don't expect the $130,000 salaries they'd be getting if they were working at those top firms in the US.
Therefore, to these firms, they are the total package. They have strong Chinese and English skills, they have work experience in the US (or London, or Australia), they have a good knowledge of both Chinese and foreign law, plus they probably have good connections within China. MOST OF ALL, their salary demands are typically half of what most young, expat associates (less than 3-5 years experience) are asking for.

Executives (or in the legal world, partners/managing partners) are mostly going to be foreigners and they won't be paid a "local" salary, but instead be receiving something comparable to what they'd get in their home country. However, the trend I talked about before means that even for executives, while they have more time than young associates, will be more or less extinct in 25 years or so.

Just look at the law firms to see how this is playing out. When these firms opened their offices, they were dominated by foreigners, many who had no understanding of China, the Chinese language, and Chinese law. Today, the picture is very different, even at the top firms, most of the lawyers are 70% or more Chinese, a figure that will only rise in the years to come.

Again, I know this gets us off subject a bit, but even from looking at the large number of Chinese MBAs and talking with some friends, I know that the legal profession doesn't exist in a vacuum and that the picture I drew above is true of other professional jobs.
Posted by boran at 2005-04-09 08:00:55. More

15 Is 10,000RMB/Month a Ridiculous Offer?

I'm not sure about the field of marketing, but I can speak from experience as to the field of law. It is insane for an offer of $10,000 RMB a month for a foreigner, but then, you must understand the field. In the legal field, more and more foreigners who want to work in China are forced to accept "local" salaries. This is because more and more Chinese are going abroad to study law and returning to China. These Chinese graduates of foreign law schools obviously have excellent Chinese skills, probably know and understand Chinese law, understand foreign law, probably have experience working overseas, and speak English well (or another foreign language) PLUS, and this is the HUGE difference, they are willing to accept a "local" salary, because they choose to spend their life in China. An American law student graduate sees his classmates getting 6 figure offers from big American firms, but if he wants to go to China (at some of those same firms that are offering 6 figures in the US), he'll probably have to expect a mid 5 figure salary. To them, it may not seem high, but to a Chinese, they will more than jump at that offer.
Posted by boran at 2005-04-08 02:10:49. More

14 First Day of the Exhibition

I'm very envious, this is the sort of thing I've always wanted to do, but never thought possible, but you've went ahead and done it, congrats!!! It looks great and I hope it turns out wonderfully!!!
Posted by boran at 2005-04-03 10:26:15. More

13 Blogging about the Exhibition

hehe, i included a mention on my blog, though it rarely gets much traffic...
Posted by boran at 2005-04-01 03:10:12. More

12 Coffee Bean Club

this is a very interesting program and I'm sure it is very beneficial to the students. In the US, there is much pressure on students to get internships in the summer and there are often different chances to talk with people in the business world, but that opportunity doesn't really exist in China as much, this program goes a long way in starting that communication.
Posted by boran at 2005-03-23 23:32:22. More

11 My Blog Won't Go Commercial

haha, Jianshuo, I'm sure your quality writing and helpfulness will gain you some opportunities in the future. Well, I really enjoy reading your blogs and offer you a meal the next time I'm in Shanghai.
Posted by boran at 2005-03-21 11:19:27. More

10 No Baggars Premitted on Metro?

another good discussion, great topic Jianshuo!!! Okay, first, xge, I disagree that this has anything to do with Communism. Many cities all over the world will try to get beggers off the street and hide them away for the sake of the city, especially around the time of a major event. I remember a big deal being made of the actions taken by Beijing before the Olympic Committee toured the city in the run-up to BJ's successful bid for the 2008 Olympics, but this sort of action has been taken in many US cities before important times too.

A similar situation to what Jens was talking about in Stockholm exists in Chicago where homeless people sell a newspaper so that they can feel some pride that they aren't begging or being parasitic, instead they are being constructive.

I will very rarely give money to beggers, especially the child beggers in China because I long ago have come to the realization that many others on here have come to, 1. those beggers are controlled by gangs, 2. those beggers make a ton of money for doing absolutely nothing...Perhaps its just because the cause is close to my heart, but every now and then I will give money to a few different blind musicians around different metro stations in BJ. Because I know that these people really don't have much other choice due to lack of social services and that these people are earning the money fro themselves I feel that they are truly deserving of help. Plus, they are not just begging, but attempting to do something, by providing those who passby with nice music.
Posted by boran at 2005-03-21 11:16:51. More

9 Donation in China

The big schools in China (Beida, Qinghua, and Fudan) get huge donations each year probably comparable to Harvard (when you adjust it for what that money can do in China)...

As for charity groups, there are very few such groups that exist. In many hotels or big shopping malls/department stores, you will find donation boxes for the handicapped or the Chinese red cross or for orphans and thats about it. Very few people feel the need to make donations in China like they do in other countries around the world, its just not a part of the culture, yet...
Posted by boran at 2005-03-21 11:04:02. More

8 Beijing is Cultural Center

I totally agree with Luka!!! I also agree with others who think for foreigners, Shanghai is probably the better city, because when you're in Shanghai, its very simple to forget that you are in China, however anywhere else, including BJ, that would be very difficult...
Posted by boran at 2005-03-21 10:58:06. More

7 Suggestion to Friends' Shanghai Trip

zheng, those cards in Shanghai are so cool, they can pay for almost everything, so convenient!! Such a drastic difference from BJ subway with its ticket sellers and collectors...
Posted by boran at 2005-03-12 00:51:37. More

6 Suggestion to Friends' Shanghai Trip

I have enjoyed the "discussions" so much and constantly see you reference "The Art of Travel" that I've purchased the book, though I haven't had an opportunity to read it. My friends and I had a discussion about "Must See" places after my girlfriend and I went on a whirlwind trip through London and Paris for only 5 days. Again, this is a topic I've treated on my own blog in the past, but I think everyone has a different way of traveling. For example, in Paris you MUST go to the Louvre. I enjoy art, but I'm not extremely knowledgable on it and my tastes are specific. It seems kind of strange and loses the fun after awhile to run through the museum and only see the "highlights" like a lot of people do, just so that they can complete all the "must see" things on their list. In Shanghai, and honestly in most cities in the world, the "must see" stuff is minimal, so people just need to slow down and enjoy.
Posted by boran at 2005-03-10 23:18:57. More

5 Dislike Doing or Starting to Do

I think Chinese dialects in general are far less important than they used to be and having good Mandarin skills is critical. As more and more Chinese leave their hometowns or do business outside of where they live, they realize how important Mandarin skills are. If you are in Shanghai, the ability to speak Shanghainese will be of some assistance if you are trying to collect stories from the older generations or getting a better bargain when buying daily items. Outside of that, there isn't much good that it will do for you.

As for foreigners learning Chinese, many don't choose to be sent to China and are "stuck" there. Even if they are there for a number of years, perhaps their work hours are so great that it gives them almost no free time or they just consider China a brief stop before going back home or going off to another country. I think these are major reasons why this is the case a lot of foreigners working in China don't learn Chinese.
Posted by boran at 2005-03-10 05:57:22. More

4 Enjoy Doing or Being Able to Do

Like many others have said, locals don't do the same things as tourists. I've found over the past few years I have really gained a new appreciation for my 2 home cities (hehe, I claim both Beijing and Chicago as my home) by taking friends to many of the tourist places as well as those places only locals know. It helps one see the city through someone elses eyes and realize how great a place it is. I don't think anyone chooses Shanghai for these things but because of the business opportunities, however they enjoy bragging about these things to others.

Of course many things we desire so that we can have the ability to do something, whether or not we actually do it. But I don't think its so much "being able to do" and more so the realities of life. Your friend who just bought expensive running shoes might desire to exercise and actually do it on a few occassions before getting busy or sidetracked and not be able to do it. I go to the bookstore (or online) and keep buying books, some I read and some I may not read for years, but I bought them because I thought I will surely read them sometime soon...hehe, its normal for people, because we have desires and things we want to achieve, but only so many hours in a day...

Posted by boran at 2005-03-08 10:39:29. More

3 Helping by Hiring

Bluekite: Maybe as kids there is racial mixing, but just wait until those people grow up! I went to high school in the US in a fairly middle class suburb of Chicago that was extremely diverse. The majority of students were white, but there were aslo blacks, asians (including south asians), and latino students. A trip to the lunch room each day clearly showed this because black students sat with the other black students, asian students sat with other asians, and whites sat with other whites. This wasn't a hard and fast rule, obviously there was some mixing and there was no discrimination at my school, it was just a choice the students made (and one that has been studied by some sociologists and books have been written on this). I could not disagree with you more, races and countries are more relevant today than ever before due to globalization. I disagree with those that feel globalization makes these things meaningless...

Further your problem with the "Chinese Century" seems to be a problem with the government, because they, just as much as anyone else, is encouraging this process of modernization, which will lead to (and has led to) capitalism and a definite rise in individualism.

Shelly: my attitude on China is this, if you want to view it optimistically, there is plenty of things to make you optimistic, but if you want to look at it pessimistically, there is more than enough to scare you. I would not say that the "confidence level is high" among many of my friends who are working in China. While the standard of living in the cities is improving, in the countryside the standard of living hasn't improved in probably 50, 100 years. Maybe today they have some modern convienences, but their jobs aren't changing and the hard labor they do hasn't changed. Your statements ring true for the Shanghai/Beijing/Guangzhou/Shenzhen world, but not for many of the cities (and towns and countryside) that exist below that first tier.
Posted by boran at 2005-03-05 02:29:19. More

2 Helping by Hiring

Jianshuo, I really enjoy your blog more and more the past few days. I posted on my own blog about how the art of conversation has been diminished and its too bad...I love to come here, read your insightful words and see all of the comments, like on this post, where your original post will lead to comments and will spark discussion, that is what a blog should be, keep up the interesting posts and hope that everyone will continue with the discussions!
Posted by boran at 2005-03-04 06:13:58. More

1 Jia You, Shanghai Metro!

this is big city life...Its the situation everywhere I've been, Paris, London (try getting on the tube at Arsenal after a game!!!), Beijing, and Chicago...Rush hour traffic will never change and not much can be done to make it better...
Posted by boran at 2005-03-04 06:10:16. More