elliottng's Comments

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79 New SJTU Minhang Campus - Part II

Thanks for the pictures Jianshuo. I had been wanting to visit the Minhang campus and now you saved me the 1+ hour drive and the 13+ hour flight! I will visit it the next time I am in Shanghai and have some extra time!
Posted by elliottng at 2009-04-12 20:44:07. More

78 Back to Office with Full Energy

looked like a great trip. liked your comment about appreciating the luxuries of a 4/5 star hotel (especially with kids) but fondly remembering the days backpacking and living simply before kids. Karen and I feel the same way. We remember backpacking around in Guatemala, traveling on public buses with chickens on them!
Posted by elliottng at 2009-03-30 12:24:55. More

77 Yifan on the Road

He's growing so fast! Time never slows when it comes to children.
Posted by elliottng at 2009-03-28 12:48:03. More

76 A Glass Cup of Water on Left Hand

Jianshuo, I appreciated this point when we discussed it. 60% full is good because then you are not afraid of it getting spilled. Left hand side insures it doesn't get mixed up with papers, the computer mouse, etc. I am already drinking more water.

I also liked your point about convenience, and your brother's point: "If you put a book into your restroom, you may become an expert of the area after a year."

I have been thinking about this point in combination with your point about accumulation over time.

I am not sure how it will affect my decisions and actions but I am contemplating these thoughts right now.

Best, Elliott
Posted by elliottng at 2009-03-18 15:20:24. More

75 6 Years of Marriage

Blessings for many anniversaries to come. Congratulations!
Posted by elliottng at 2009-03-18 15:14:28. More

74 "We Thought..."

I need to write a post about our conversation because I got so many different things out of it that it would be an interesting "blind men and the elephant" experience. The origin of this theme of "be careful about your perception and your reality" is really from my recent experience of the financial crisis and the sense that not everything that we are told is true. I feel like I have become more cynical or skeptical and I think the American people are too. We Americans are facing our own naivete and "innocent trust" in institutions and in some ways this is converging with how Chinese people view their own government and media...with healthy skepticism.

Its a blessing to be able to share ideas and reconnect Jian Shuo. Thanks!
Posted by elliottng at 2009-03-07 17:42:39. More

73 Meeting Place: Starbucks at Jinyan Road, Pudong

I took some pictures from the station exit 7/8 to the Starbucks by walking around the museum because the museum and the marketplace was closed in the morning. But then going back, we went downstairs in the museum and entered exit 6 (D) and then went though the entire mall.

I think sharing 2 options with people will do the trick.
1. one option is to go through the museum through exit 6 of the station. And the make clear the *museum* exit you are looking for
2. the other option is to go around the museum on the left side (or right) above ground from exit 7/8. It is a foolproof way to get there if the museum is closed. But it is a little bit of a long walk.

I'll let you know when I upload all the photos and you can use them if you want! Thanks so much for meeting up Jian Shuo!
Posted by elliottng at 2009-03-07 17:33:47. More

72 Who is Chris Devonshire Ellis - Part II

This is an exceptional post, Jianshuo.

I've learned 2 things:
1. What to do and what NOT to do if you feel unfairly criticized on the Internet. If you are passionately pursuing a cause, you can and WILL create enemies. The #cde affair is a cautionary tale of what not to do.
2. What TO do if you are a blogger unfairly attacked by another company or person. Key learnings: (a) incoming emails are not confidential and privileged information unless mutually agreed upon between the parties, and (b) publish a clear commenting policy and enforce that policy on your site. Focus the community on the purpose of commenting which is to move forward the community's understanding about the issues brought up by the blogger.

Thanks for turning this whole unpleasant incident into a great learning opportunity for bloggers and PR people alike.
Posted by elliottng at 2009-02-21 07:23:10. More

71 Received Gift from Media Temple

A smart move from them to build a strong relationship with a prominent blogger like you! Poor Bluehost, they could have done a better job of keeping you!
Posted by elliottng at 2009-02-11 11:30:55. More

70 MediaTemple is Great!

I've had a good experience with Bluehost.com for my blog CN Reviews which I selected based on your recommendation Jian Shuo. I've been pretty happy with them in general. Have you tried to complain to Bluehost and see what they can do to help you?

If you end up moving to MediaTemple, please share how access from China is for MediaTemple vs. Bluehost.
Posted by elliottng at 2009-02-08 22:51:00. More

69 Happy New Year 2009

Happy New Year Jian Shuo! Blessings to you in 2009 and hope to see you IRL (in real life)!
Posted by elliottng at 2009-01-01 22:32:03. More

68 Wangjianshuo's Blog Supports Facebook Now

Very cool. Looks like I have to see if I want to do this on CN Reviews and UpTake.
Posted by elliottng at 2008-12-10 01:20:12. More

67 Baixing Awarded as Red Herring Asia 100

Congrats Jian Shuo. And after such a terribly disorganized conference. :)
Posted by elliottng at 2008-12-03 00:44:25. More

66 Happy Thanksgivings

No one expects you to celebrate Thanksgiving. It is primarily an American and Canadian holiday, as mentioned above.
Posted by elliottng at 2008-11-28 05:30:46. More

65 Yifan is Growing Up

This is a beautiful post. He is a blessing to you and Wendy, and I wish you every moment of happiness with him. Its hard when you are a successful business person in a demanding job...keep up the great work spending time with Yifan!
Posted by elliottng at 2008-11-22 14:45:12. More

64 CnBloggerCon in Guangzhou

I greatly enjoyed the conference but then again I wasn't there for its initial grassroots days. So I don't know what I was missing. Anyway, hope to see you again soon. I only had 2 days in Shanghai before the conference so didn't get to see you. :(
Posted by elliottng at 2008-11-22 14:41:13. More

63 Happy Birthday to Me

happy birthday to you! You are still so young with so many more experiences to come. Enjoy Yifan, he will grow fast!
Posted by elliottng at 2008-10-23 13:14:46. More

62 Dinner in Downtown Mount View

Jian Shuo,

sorry I would have wanted to see you but am flying out to New York this morning and won't be back until 9/24. any chance you'll be around then? I'll email you.
Posted by elliottng at 2008-09-16 00:22:48. More

61 Lang Ping's American Volleyball Team Beat China

I hope people see Lang Ping as a success story, of the opportunities of Chinese people in the external world as a result of the progress in sports, economics and society. Perhaps being the GM of Baixing.com, a division of an American company, is a little like being Lang Ping, helping out the American team! :)

A confident Chinese people will celebrate Lang Ping as a Chinese success story. China will win the medal count anyway, lets just celebrate individuals who are exceptional and hope more and more Chinese are successful in the world stage! (as they obviously will be!) Come on, Jia you!
Posted by elliottng at 2008-08-21 03:39:00. More

60 Wangjianshuo's Blog Meetup

I will be there in spirit. :) But I pinged my co-bloggers Min and Kai who are in Shanghai to see if they are interested. Have fun!
Posted by elliottng at 2008-08-21 03:25:51. More

59 The Chinese Elements in the Ceremony

Excellent Jian Shuo!

I have still been searching for the resource to explain all the Chinese elements of the ceremony and thanks for contributing to it. I was especially interested in understanding the concept of "Harmony" since that was a big focus of the Movable Type presentation. And of course the term is heavily used in terms of blogs being harmonized! :)
Posted by elliottng at 2008-08-11 00:41:02. More

58 Foreign Media's Response to the Opening

One more thing...I wonder what Chinese people feel about how the ceremony did not pull anything from more recent history, e.g. the last 100-200 years. Maybe there is nothing that is not too sensitive from this period.
Posted by elliottng at 2008-08-10 13:47:41. More

57 Brought Yifan to Gymboree

Its always good to adapt to the nature and interests of the child, so sounds like you made the right decision for Yifan.

Having said that, I wonder why it felt strange to go to an English immersion program for young children. I would love to have a Chinese immersion program for my 2 year old kid since our home language is not Chinese. Many people who are not fluent in Chinese (and many are Americans with no Chinese heritage) are seeking that for their children here in the Bay Area.
Posted by elliottng at 2008-07-31 14:27:53. More

56 In Beijing, Just Before Olympic Games

thanks for sharing. I have been wondering how the city feels during this special time. I'm hopeful that once the games start in earnest and people start arriving, it will be a festive celebration for the Chinese people and the athletes.
Posted by elliottng at 2008-07-31 14:17:46. More

55 How A Young Couple and a Kid Live in Shanghai

Sounds familiar to life in the US for two-income families. A few terminology differences: "breeding" should be "nursing" (when the baby is still drinking mother's milk). In the US, only 1 year is called "Kindergarten" - the year before 1st grade. Years before that are just called "pre-school."

In SF I experienced the same thing -- for "top" preschool programs, I needed to get on the waitlist *before* the baby was born. So I just filled out the forms with the child's name "Baby Ng" just like everyone else. And the child has to go in for an "observation period" kind of like an interview for kids. No entrance exam though. It helps to have good relationships with important people who already have kids in that school. This is one reason why we abandoned SF to move down to Silicon Valley where the preschool situation is much less crazy.
Posted by elliottng at 2008-07-19 23:50:39. More

54 Continue to be OOB

No worries Jian Shuo. Its fully understandable. Sometimes I am too busy with work and family to blog. Other times, I don't feel emotionally motivated to blog. But I remember our discussions about the need to be persistent and sometimes that helps!

Share plenty about Yifan and Wendy and what its like to have a young family in Shanghai! That is certainly "on-topic" for this blog.
Posted by elliottng at 2008-07-17 14:48:52. More

53 Kijiji.cn Changed to Baixing.com

wow. look forward to hearing more about this on your blog, if you can share.

Posted by elliottng at 2008-06-25 22:18:49. More

52 I Hope We can Start to Talk about History

Totally agree with you on this. I shared about my reflections on my blog from being in Hong Kong that summer 19 years ago. I won't forget what it was like that summer. Grigo shared some interesting points on her Bootsnall blog: that most college students today don't know about this historical event and unless you are really curious and you know 1 other language, its pretty hard to find out.


Also, it seems that the term 19年 brings up some non-harmonized tributes and information.

It is my hope that as the country gets stronger, the government sees the benefit of an open discussion of historical events to the future progress of the country!
Posted by elliottng at 2008-06-05 00:35:44. More

51 I Felt Afraid of Public Opinions Now

I hate to see tyranny of the majority, or its softer cousin groupthink, stifle independent thinking and minority views. If the government allowed true "free speech" I fear there would still be tyranny of the majority. It seems that there needs to be first, the development of a culture that celebrates the idea of diversity of thought and speech, and only then will true free speech be achieved.

It seems that right now, there are allowable channels for expression within certain boundaries, and that those boundaries change from time to time. People who feel the need to speak out conform to those allowable boundaries and then amplify the ideas and thoughts within those boundaries.

The culture of blogging and self-expression can be one way in which a subset of bloggers interested in such matters to equip each others to practice free speech, respect for others opinions, and the responsibily and acceptabiliy of dissent.

Hope this comment is not too general as to lose the point. The point is that if someone with your blogging talents and professional standing, the elite of the next generation of China, can not feel safe, then there must be some changes made to insure that this outcome doesn't have a long-term bad effect on tjhe country.
Posted by elliottng at 2008-06-04 15:03:32. More

50 Happy Birthday to Yifan

Happy Birthday to Yifan! thanks for sharing your heartfelt feelings about Yifan on the blog!
Posted by elliottng at 2008-06-03 15:34:22. More

49 Introduce Yourself

you are one of my blogging mentors, and enjoyed the meetup last week.

Elliott Ng
serial entrepreneur based in Silicon Valley
family is originally from Hong Kong (and Guangdong province) but I was born in the US
cares about East meets West issues and blogs about it at www.cnreviews.com
my day job is at a semantic travel search engine, uptake.com
I have 2 kids, 6 and 2
I would be pleased to take to Vietnamese food next time you are here in Silicon Valley!

Posted by elliottng at 2008-06-02 18:02:46. More

48 I May Not Attend the CNBloggerCon 2008 in Guangzhou


I really appreciated your advice in our meetup, especially your analogy about the intricate patterns in the sand at the beach as compared to the Jinmao Tower. Although as I shared, my normal behavior is to build the Jinmao Tower, I want to think about how to allow the emergent things to come to pass in a way that is true to the nature of the blogosphere itself. Thanks for helping us with that insight!

I feel you are a bit quick to judge our efforts based on your previous concerns about the lack of focus, the Web 2.0 expansion of the conference, and the commercial pitches. First of all, we don't represent the core of what the CNBloggerCon committee is doing, we are just a small "add-on" for an international delegation. We want to have a very small "footprint" on the beach so as not to take away from the general feel of the conference for the China bloggers. At the same time, we have a mission to bridge the gap of understanding between the East and the West and you obviously share that mission with us.

I blogged about our motivations and ideas here:


Given that you already have decided to be a skeptic on CNBloggerCon and by extension our US/China blogger meetup, you can be a valuable sounding board to me by criticizing our plan so that we can improve it and have the most positive effect (and the least negative effect) on the CNBloggerCon conference and the China blogosphere itself. Your sensibilities around the Chinese blogosphere, and your experience with other East-West events like YLF make you an important source of wisdom even if you want to have no involvement in the event.

Just like the blind man and the elephant story, you see an overcommercialized, unfocused conference that has lost its way as evidenced by a couple Americans wandering into your office with half-baked ideas about how to get involved. :) However, I see an opportunity to build valuable bridges of understanding and relationships between a small number of Western bloggers and Chinese bloggers in order to be a positive force toward global peace and stability, all starting with a small number of people locked in at some rural restaurant. I look forward to our dialogue and your continued critique of what we are doing!
Posted by elliottng at 2008-06-02 17:58:09. More

47 China Earthquake Donation Guide


Thanks for getting the word out. Disasters like this make one feel powerless to help. I have been maintaining this guide, giving to a few select organizations, and pr4y1ng for the poor victims of this earthquake. How else can help the world come together to support all efforts to help the 20 mm people affected by this earthquake?
Posted by elliottng at 2008-05-19 04:32:49. More

46 Earthquake is Much More Terrible than I Thought

I've aggregated all the news I could find on earthquake relief and donations and put together this donation guide with now 30+ ways to give:


For Americans who want to give to provide immediate relief, I recommend the American Red Cross. I interviewed their US staff and confirmed that (a) you can make a directed donation that will get sent to the Red Cross Society of China, and (b) that the overhead cost associated with their efforts is less than 9%.

If you are in China, you may want to wire funds to the Red Cross of Sichuan directly or to the national level Red Cross Society of China.

Of course, this is just the beginning of what some have said will affect over 20 mm people so there are lots of ways to provide aid and support.

Pr4y1ng every day for the people in Sichuan who have been affected.
Posted by elliottng at 2008-05-16 06:15:48. More

45 More Discussion on Tibet

"Seek first to understand." I think that is the #1 message that you've sent in this blog, and I applaud you for it.

I feel despite the efforts of people who want to create a bridge like yourself, there are growing rifts between educated, knowledgeable people in China, US, Europe, and other parts of the world. We are "same bed, different dreams" today.

Is there anything more that we can do?
Posted by elliottng at 2008-04-11 22:58:20. More

44 More Discussion on Tibet

"Seek first to understand." I think that is the #1 message that you've sent in this blog, and I applaud you for it.

I feel despite the efforts of people who want to create a bridge like yourself, there are growing rifts between educated, knowledgeable people in China, US, Europe, and other parts of the world. We are "same bed, different dreams" today.

Is there anything more that we can do?
Posted by elliottng at 2008-04-11 22:58:20. More

43 1 USD = 6.9966 RMB


I posted on this topic at length after transferring money at 6.9835 yesterday! There is some debate over who are the winners and losers of a strong RMB. Frank Gong of JP Morgan has some great thoughts on this topic -- basically highlighting the miraculous 20% productivity growth which has allowed the export sector to survive in the face of higher input prices, higher wage prices, and RMB going up.


Posted by elliottng at 2008-04-11 22:53:38. More

42 Three Best Neighborhoods in Pudong

JS, I love your "Starbucks theory of real estate development." For those of us who want to quickly look for where there is a pleasant combination of restaurants, shops, and other amenities, all you have to do is look for the Starbucks it seems!
Posted by elliottng at 2008-04-07 11:10:39. More

41 Being on TV is Nothing

Jian Shuo, can you tell us where we can see the show online? We don't get International Channel Shanghai over here in Palo Alto. It would be nice to get it on YouTube or some other place online. Who can we bother to get the DVD or VCD and put it on the Web? Email me and I'd be happy to follow up with ICS directly!
Posted by elliottng at 2008-03-21 15:22:22. More

40 From Shanghai to Sydney Zoo

Very nice pictures Jianshuo! It looks like a very nice zoo.
Posted by elliottng at 2008-03-21 14:45:47. More

39 Advice Needed on Rental for Foreigners


Sorry for the delayed response to this post. I have been super busy at work. My perspective on this is as a short-term renter not fluent in written Chinese. Some questions that short-term renters or visitors might have:

1. Location - where is it? is the location safe? is it convenient to Metro or other transit? where is it relative to key landmarks?
2. Airport transit - how do I get there from the airport? how do I find the right location if I don't speak Chinese? what do I do if the taxi driver gets lost?
3. Checking in - how do I check in? especially if I am coming in late from the airport? What number do I call if I have a problem?
4. Payment - do I have to pay in advance? how do I know I can trust you (or the landlord)? What is the cancellation policy? What if I don't like it, can I leave early?
5. What nearby amenities are available? What apartment amenities are there?
- food? Western food? restaurants with English (or other foreign language) menus?
- laundry services?
- business services? printer? copier?
- is there wifi internet? what if I have technical problems getting on the internet?
- is there access to Western TV channels?
- is there maid service? how often? how clean is the apartment?
- is there nearby groceries and food shopping?
6. can you provide aiyi service for kids? or a cook?

Also, people may want to know the following things before booking a short-term stay:
1. How big is the apartment? Can I see a floor plan?
2. Can I see photos of each room?
3. Is it quiet? What floor is it on and where is it in the complex? (not near a big road?)
4. Is it non-smoking?
5. Is there good heating or cooling (A/C)?

Ideally people can get access to user reviews and other unbiased information prior to making a decision.

I'll try to think about other questions that come up.
Posted by elliottng at 2008-03-11 15:06:52. More

38 Lantern (Yuanxiao) Festival

Nice photos Jian Shuo. How do you take those amazing night photos? Do you have to put your camera on a special setting? Is it the Sony P8 that is giving you those great photos?

What is the meaning of Yuanxiao? Any readers want to share?
Posted by elliottng at 2008-02-21 22:46:25. More

37 Chinese Middle Name for Erik's Baby

@wonton and @AussiePB,
I found this article about some controversy over some sarcastic humor about adopting babies from China in an upcoming movie called "Juno". I thought of this post and your discussion here!

Posted by elliottng at 2008-02-21 22:37:20. More

36 TV Guide in Shanghai

In today's global world, CCTV and CCTV9 are available on Cable in the Bay Area. I don't watch much TV in general but have on occasion flipped through the channels and watched some English language CCTV shows about China on CCTV9. There are also several HK channels and Taiwan channels as well, and also local Cantonese and Mandarin channels.

The explosion of media in China is pretty incredible. Back in 1989, the first time I visited China, I think there was only 2 or 3 channels on the hotel TV!
Posted by elliottng at 2008-02-19 23:16:51. More

35 Happy Valentine's Day

I like the rose in the garden better than the "professional" roses. I like to get something different, like tulips, to celebrate Valentines Day.

Much love to your whole family on this day!
Posted by elliottng at 2008-02-15 09:36:53. More

34 I Fixed My Sony P8 Battery

er...did you put it in the freezer or the refrigerator? This sounds dangerous to me. Maybe this post should include the disclaimer "Professional at work. Do not try this at home" ;)
Posted by elliottng at 2008-02-13 13:12:45. More

33 Yifan's New Year Photo

Very cute! I can see he is a blessing to you and Wendy!
Posted by elliottng at 2008-02-10 21:04:20. More

32 Current University Students are Different

@ a SJTU student,
Happy new year to you. I am a co-worker of Guo Min. We are not interested in hurting anyone's education by having them take on too much internship work. We will try to make sure that we ask students to consider their course load when making commitments to working during school. BTW, Ms. Guo is also a former SJTU student, and we have already had some great opportunities to work with SJTU students. Enjoy your holiday!
Posted by elliottng at 2008-02-08 14:17:39. More

31 5 Billion SMS Sent Yesterday

Jian Shuo,

Happy Chinese New Year to you! Its wonderful to see pictures of your family together on Chinese New Year.

I wish Yifan, Wendy and you have many blessings in this new year!
Posted by elliottng at 2008-02-08 13:19:53. More

30 The Journey Starts

I'd be happy to help connect you to some knowledgeable friends who know a lot about Shanghai international schools. If you come to my blog (see external link with this comment), just leave a comment with your email address and we can discuss over email.

safe travels during CNY!
Posted by elliottng at 2008-02-01 12:06:47. More

29 Traveler Tide in Spring Festival

Jianshuo, where is your hometown and are you traveling home with Wendy and Yifan? If so, best of luck with your travels and take a well deserved break!
Posted by elliottng at 2008-01-27 22:13:18. More

28 Skyscrapers in Lujiazui

one other thing, US commercial real estate is expressed in USD psf (per sq. foot) per month (or per year). So a 3.3 USD/day/sq mt. is about USD11 psf per month! In Palo Alto, our rent is about USD3.75 psf per month and that is with Facebook coveting our space and everything without walking distance to Facebook. But this is not really comparable to Shanghai Pudong financial district. Manhattan NY mid-town is a better comparable. I think rents can be around USD125 psf per year for nice buildings, which is pretty comparable to the 3.3 USD/day/sq mt. Another example of globalization...at the top end, everything (rent, salaries, etc) are the same...but at the bottom end, big disparities.
Posted by elliottng at 2008-01-22 01:18:45. More

27 Skyscrapers in Lujiazui

Interesting. I'd love to hear people's thoughts (esp. Jian Shuo) on residential real estate. I hear that prime locations in Shanghai like Jing'an are now at RMB 40,000 per sq. meter. That is about $617 per sq feet at current exchange rate (7.2 RMB: 1 USD). Near Palo Alto near Stanford University, homes might cost $800 per sq feet. or so, including a nice piece of land, maybe 6000 sq feet. So Shanghai prices are pretty close to Bay Area prices, one of the most expensive places to live in the US.

Not sure where the bubble effect is stronger!
Posted by elliottng at 2008-01-22 00:53:56. More

26 Shanghai Car Plate is NOT Investment

This seems like a microcosm of all investing in China, no? Markets go up and down, triggered by some (usually) well-meaning regulatory change. So on the one hand it looks like there are huge opportunities in China and growing markets everywhere. On the other hand, the rules change and one needs to stay flexible, and there are plenty of ways to lose money even in the face of these huge opportunities.
Posted by elliottng at 2008-01-21 11:35:44. More

25 I am in Ninghai in Ningbo

I love the Chaminade comparison. I've been to Chaminade many times. Did you do the "ropes" course there where there was a giant ladder suspended in the trees? That was a great team building experience. Anything like that in China?
Posted by elliottng at 2008-01-18 15:18:58. More

24 Snowing Huangshan

These are great photos. It looks magical in the wintertime. I went to Huangshan in November and thought it was beautiful then. Many of the trails seemed dangerous when icy because there seemed to be plenty of room to slip between the chains of the railings...I felt there were some precarious places where either the steps or the stone trail were pretty slippery. But maybe when it is snowy and not icy it is fine. Anyway, glad Wendy made it home safely!
Posted by elliottng at 2008-01-15 16:20:21. More

23 Near to Both Metro Stations

Looks like Yishan is further than measured by direct line because of the configuration of the streets. Maybe you can walk from one station in the morning and return to another station in the evening! Does it seem to you that the Google Earth and Google Maps aerials of China are outdated? By how many years? Even 2 years can be a long time in Shanghai it seems.
Posted by elliottng at 2008-01-11 18:48:05. More

22 Jian Shuo Wang is on Facebook

Jianshuo, nice to link up in Facebook. Pretty cool to have your own Facebook App too. I added it and the friend wheel to my profile. I too am feeling good about 2008!
Posted by elliottng at 2008-01-10 09:44:22. More

21 Summary of My 2007


Great meeting you in Shanghai today! Really enjoyed the dialogue both on-blog and out-of-blog. 2008 will be a great year of milestones for you just simply because of Yifan growing from 6 mos to 18 mos. This post inspires me to do the same...review the previous year...and think about what next year is meant to bring. And being thankful at the same time. This will take me much more than 32 minutes though. :) Thanks for the encouragement and sharing.
Posted by elliottng at 2008-01-03 22:32:08. More

20 Shanghai Metro Line #4, #6, #8, #9 Opens

I'm excited to try out the Metro system myself. My favorite 2 metro systems in the world are the Paris Metro and the Hong Kong MTR. My wife and I went to Paris for our honeymoon when we were young and poor, just out of college. The Paris Metro was incredibly convenient, with stations everywhere, and frequent trains. Everything was old but had a lot of charm. The Hong Kong MTR, on the other hand, is a model of efficiency, with incredibly well thought out interchange stations that can handle massive volume between lines (transfer between Island Line and Kowloon (Tseun Wan) Line at Admiralty at rush hour is an awesome experience). I hope that interchanges will be far improved with these new lines!
Posted by elliottng at 2007-12-31 12:43:25. More

19 Successful Kijiji Meetup

Jian Shuo, thanks for the mention and your encouragement. It means a lot to me as a novice blogger! Happy New Year to you too.
Posted by elliottng at 2007-12-27 06:00:29. More

18 Why Things in China is Cheap?

The concept of the "population dividend" sounds very much like the concept of "reserve army of labor" which was advocated by a famous economist whose name begins with "M". :) In his view, the dynamics of capitalist production would produce more and more output, with less and less labor, thus guaranteeing that this "reserve army of labor" would always remain. In the very short-term, this might be right. But in the long-term, innovation and technology will create consumer demand for new things (e.g. "green jobs" and "green technology") that will soak up this "reserve" and raise living standards. The issue is if education, mobility, and other public goods will be provided so this reserve army can take advantage of these new opportunities.

My bigger concern is that this "reserve army" is coming into competition with people globally. Globalization is making this labor much more fungible. This suggests that workers in the US with jobs that can be offshored, will face lower and lower wages as the global market becomes much more fluid. So a consumer electronics manufacturing worker in the US will increasingly get paid what his Guangdong counterpart is getting paid. On the other hand, the specialized software or ASIC designer in Shanghai will also get paid a comparable salary to her Silicon Valley counterpart. Globalization will result in massive rich-poor disparities, much like what you see in China today. This will be hard for people in the West to accept.

This may be an oversimplified view, just as the most strict interpreters of economist "M" has found over the last century. But we will face some turmoil as this "reserve army" comes into play. Manufacturing jobs will keep moving to Dongguan. But I will continue to pay over 10X what Shanghai families pay for an Ayi because immigration policies prevent that "reserve army" from competing to local service jobs. This will, for better and for worse, be interesting times for China and US in the coming decades.
Posted by elliottng at 2007-12-26 14:34:16. More

17 Merry Christmas 2007

Merry Christmas to all! I wish everyone a spirit of hope, friendship, and love during this holiday season.
Posted by elliottng at 2007-12-26 13:55:42. More

16 Went to Children's Hospital - Refugee Camp

Seems like there is opportunity for premium services. Can you pay people to stand in line for you with a mobile phone to SMS status to you while you sit somewhere nearby comforting Yifan? Hope his butt is feeling better ("butt" is slightly more polite than "ass" :)
Posted by elliottng at 2007-12-22 23:48:44. More

15 Current University Students are Different

Wow, I found this post incredibly interesting. I've had some great experience working with Shanghai Jiaotong grads and sounds like this change is for the worse. Is there any way that companies can "adopt" an undergraduate and provide some more exposure to ideas, people, and work that can get them excited about the future? Maybe a small, not too intensive internship or co-op program would help broaden these kids horizons...they are among the best and the brightest and deserve to be passionate about what they are doing!
Posted by elliottng at 2007-12-20 08:54:45. More

14 Comments on Robert's Social Aggregator Ideas

I read Robert's ideas. Thanks for introducing them to your blog community. I share your healthy scepticism about introducing new categories of products for people to figure out. Then again, I thought PayPal was a pretty crazy idea (well 1 of the first 9 interactions of the business model to be more accurate) at the beginning, so what do I know? :)

It might be wise to start by serving bloggers and avid blog readers, since they are the early adopters, and then figure out how that can be repackaged for the broader Internet community. For example, not all social applications have RSS feeds in exactly the way that I would like to get and manage them. Maybe there can be some kind of RSS feed processing where I can get a specific stream of useful information (e.g. Facebook status, or forum postings on my favorite forum without RSS feeds) and have it go into my Google feedreader. Another service that still seems broken is comment tracking. I want to comment on stuff but because co.mments and cocomment don't work as well as I would like, I have no way of remembering where I commented. I really like the WJS comment page but wish I could scale this across blogs AND forum posts so I can track all my comments and forum posts in one place.

Totally agree that non bloggers are generally not interested in adopting more applications unless there is a critical need for it. Also sounds like there are some ideas around OpenSocial and Marc Canter's Digital Lifestyle Aggregator that are somewhat similar to Robert Mao's idea.

Interesting stuff...but whatever it is, I'll use it only if it works with Google Reader! :) Jian Shuo, I'll go vote for you on Rapleaf! :)

Posted by elliottng at 2007-12-13 06:28:14. More

13 Pinyin is Not Chinese

Yes...as a beginner to learning the Chinese language, I can't emphasize how useful pinyin as a tool for verbal language acquisition in advance of becoming literate (memorizing characters)...my only request is that when people use pinyin they clarify the tone. Pin1yin1? Helpful post with a great explanation why Chinese requires the characters and can never be only a phonetic language.
Posted by elliottng at 2007-12-11 13:47:22. More

12 Not Be Afraid of Grace and Beauty

Interesting comments about charity. I think there is "bad" charity and there is "good" charity. "Bad" charity creates dependence and does not prepare people to feed themselves. "Good" charity helps people to help themselves in the future. "Good" charity also alleviates present period suffering without creating future period dependence. For example, an orphanage seems like a great example of alleviating suffering of orphans while preparing orphans to become self sufficient in the future. A scholarship to go to school helps smart kids that couldn't otherwise afford to go to a great school to get an education that helps them be a more positive force in society. Don't you think this is "good" charity? "Good" charity also has the added value of transforming the heart of the giver. Even if there is no huge benefit to society (e.g. just helping out 1 person) it can provide benefit to one's one character development, which is ultimately I believe more important as accumulating wealth and power. Anyway, I think you probably agree with these ideas, I just think the statement "I don't believe in charity" is too much of a blanket statement because there are lots of types o charity.
Posted by elliottng at 2007-12-08 22:37:39. More

11 Whole Day in Nanjing

I wonder if there are any general comments you can make about how your outlook on the world has changed as a result of this event. Don't have to share anything about the other participants. But how have *you* changed? :)

Did you take any pictures of the State Guest House? How does it compare to Hongqiao State Guest House in Shanghai? I stayed there once and I was impressed. I strolled slowly and contemplatively around the grounds with my arms behind my back, pretending to be an important government official.
Posted by elliottng at 2007-11-30 12:52:43. More

10 Train from Shanghai to Nanjing - CRH (D)

JS, (sorry if this is a duplicate comment)

What camera do you use? What lens do you use for wide angle and close in shots?
Posted by elliottng at 2007-11-30 11:23:50. More

9 Train from Shanghai to Nanjing - CRH (D)

JS, what kind of camera do you use these days? It does not look like a Sony P8 (what I found searching for camera on your site). What lens is needed for close ups like this post and also indoor panorama shots?
Posted by elliottng at 2007-11-30 09:44:38. More

8 Chinese Middle Name for Erik's Baby


I think it helps to understand the motivation of those who adopt children. Many people have been trying for years without the ability to have children, and only go to adoption as a last step in a frustrating process. In the US (where I live) it is very difficult to find children to adopt from the US. I found these stats on about.com for 2005, gather from State Department visa records, for the top 10 countries:
7,906 - China (Mainland)
4,639 - Russia
3,783 - Guatemala
1,630 - S. Korea
821 - Ukraine
755 - Kazakhstan
441 - Ethiopia
323 - India
291 - Colombia
271 - Philippines

I know that the adoption process is lengthy and difficult from all countries and to all countries. I think good and loving parents can shoulder the heavy task of raising an adoption child, and I believe many of these parents are likely to be better parents than many parents that have children naturally.

According this article in the China Daily there are 45,000 orphans in orphanages in China, 10% of the total. So it seems to me that for 8,000 babies to be adopted from China to the US, of about 450,000 orphans, is a good thing for both orphaned babies in China and for childless couples in the US. What do you think?
Posted by elliottng at 2007-11-25 01:14:11. More

7 Gas Station Explosion Near my Home

JS, life is definitely not something to take for granted...and tomorrow is not promised. All the more reason to be very intentional about what we all do with the time we have on this earth.
Posted by elliottng at 2007-11-25 00:33:54. More

6 Trans-Bank System Finally Available

Pretty interesting. Everyone I know recommends CMB, and I have a CMB account. What is your #2 option for RMB accounts, and what bank has the best English customer service and Ebanking? (I'm not fluent so using CMB ebanking in Chinese is a way for me to learn humility). This would be useful for foreigners moving to China.
Posted by elliottng at 2007-11-19 22:07:47. More

5 Why Classified is NOT Popular in China, Yet

BTW, is there any way to merge an old username with a new one? I used to post under elliott5 (elliott wu3, but ng in Cantonese) and wanted to get the comments tied to my real name. If not that's ok. I like your comment history feature!
Posted by elliottng at 2007-11-17 17:43:06. More

4 Why Classified is NOT Popular in China, Yet

Interesting. In the US, newspaper classifieds (including online) seem to be increasingly on the decline, replaced by Craigslist.org, Ebay, Match.com, AutoTrader, and other vertical solutions that are online. Do you think that the future is about solutions that are highly verticalized? Or a generic classifieds listing model like Kijiji / Taobao / Craigslist?
Posted by elliottng at 2007-11-17 17:38:20. More

3 My Readers are Primarily Older, more Asian, and Male...

LOL. I guess I am "older" now that I'm 38. And I'm Asian and male (not slightly male :) So I guess I fit the stereotype. How unoriginal. Sometimes this psychographic segmenting goes a little too far! Thanks for sharing.
Posted by elliottng at 2007-11-16 03:18:46. More

2 The Topic of This Year's YLF

With respect to China and the US, I feel that we are at a key moment where the foundation of a very positive future can be laid, or alternatively, a darker scenario could play out, where each country, pursuing self-interest in a fearful way, can create a dynamic that will increase poverty, inequality, and competition for global natural resources. Its clear that you are very insightful into modern Chinese culture/perspectives and modern American culture/perspectives. This is your gift to share with this group (and us readers!). Use this gift in the following way: encourage us (and your summit colleagues) to invest 3-4 hours a week on a social,political,economic issue of their interest related to China-US relations, and to think about how to best address this issue starting with their own efforts. Follow the steps outlined by Bill Gates in his recent Harvard commencement address. You can help us identify some of these causes that can help increase understanding between US and China on an individual basis. Each of us have a small sphere of influence, but together we can make a big difference. I look forward to your guidance and advice on this as a reader, and wish you the best with the conference.
Posted by elliottng at 2007-11-14 09:27:00. More

1 Toughest Time for Me and Wendy


I identify with this post. These events are great reminders of what is most important. It is not necessary the things that seem most important at the time, such as a promotion or a raise, or fame or even fortune. These things have a short half-life. They are immediately satisfying but may not ultimately be the most important things. Being a good son, husband and father is more important in the long-run, but often takes the back seat to more urgent matters that demand time. I wish you the best in your efforts to handle the additional complexity of this season of your life, as I am doing the same myself (with a 5 yr old and 1 yr old and a wife that works).
Posted by elliottng at 2007-11-14 09:13:06. More