• At around 8:40 last night,we felt the sofa we sat on were shaking a bit.My sis asked me to stop it,which bewildered me.Apparently,she thought it was me who was shaking it.I didn't.

    The culprit,it turns out,is the Earth.

    Yeah,you may have known about the earthquake from the news. A medium one,6.7-magnitude.Epicenter is located to the southwestern tip of Taiwan island.

    What we felt here in shenzhen is just its aftershock wave,rippling all the way across the China southeastern landmass,which covers a wide expanse of areas- quite a few provinces actually.Guangdong,where shenzhen is located,lies squarely within the impact zone.Hence the scares,jitters and panics in Shenzhen.(people rush to the streets from their homes for fear of a major hit).

    According to modern Tectonics and Alfred Wegener's continental drift theory,some plates must have collided into one another.

    Taiwan is believed to bear the major brunt of this deep impact,with many houses collapsed and quite some people killed.The areas in mainland China which suffered aftershock waves are yet to report damage and casualties.

    On a side note,a mom is said to have sacrificed her life to save her twin sons.A truly marvelous and exemplary thing.There might be a hugh tear jerker behind this that would interest the likes of Readers' Digest,perhaps?

    And eerily enough,exactly two years ago(today two years before),Southeast Asia Tsunami occurred.Coincidence?Or anything more than that?

     

  • 2006-12-24

    Sister pregnant!

    Just to show my posts have a mundane side,if for nothing else,I'm posting about something even my Mom would be interested in: My sister,Lisa Cao,is officially pregnant.

      Lisa,my sister,who is a senior account executive with Alibaba.com(the biggest E-commerce company in China),has been trying to get pregnant for years.But what with one thing or another(mainly related to career considerations) she just didn't think she could commit so soon.Now the time has come.And she indicated this by taking pre-emptive actions and making the fact unchangeable- the positive on Home Pregnancy Test(later confirmed by doctors of course).

    Mom was wildly elated.She also has been waiting for this moment for a long while.

    I,the soon-to-be uncle,has been busy loading myself with pregnancy knowledge,well,just in case...

      The most prominent on my recent on-the-go book list,you guess it: What to expect when you are expecting. A huge bestseller focused on pregnancy.

    Oh,man,I'm excited...

  • In China,we have an old saying that goes: Jin Zhu Zhe Chi,Jin Mo Zhe Hei(近朱者赤,近墨者黑).Literally translated,it roughly means something like: Get close to The color red,you'd become red;Get close to the Color Black,there's pretty good chance you'd turn Dark.

     The environment could go a long way toward transforming your character traits,it seems to enlighten,or rather,warn.

    Like any other theory put forward,old or new,it encounters no shortage of disagreement,rebuttals and examples readily cited to the contrary.Some argue,the environment sure counts;but it's not everything.An intrinsically upright man would never be found doing things illegit even if he spends days and nights among thieves.Only those weak-willed,erro-prone and morally unreliable people would succumb to the evil temptations once induced to do so.

     I know one guy would definitely take exception to this integrity-in-your-DNA argument and make strong cases for environment-holding-huge-sway point of view.He should know,Cuz he spoke from experience.He is the veteran journalist with Atlantic Monthly,James Fallows.And not coincidentally,his experience transpired in China.

     In his article on this issue of AM,titled "how China is making me into a worse person",James talked and lamented about the "mistreatment" he encountered in China,the supposed "friendly,politely minded,tradition-conscious" nation,that proved notoriously unsavory and disillusioning,especially in terms of public manners."The one that makes me want to scream is when the first person onto an elevator starts rapidly pushing the Close button, to get moving before too many others pile on",wrote Fallows.

     He also mentioned, in a comic fashion though not without a ring of truth,how he all but turned into a Japnese custom stickler during his stint there."After a previous stint in Japan, I realized that I had started bowing while talking on the phone, like the locals, and beginning the typical utterance with sumimasen ga, or “Excuse me, but.”"Then by an abrupt twist of pen,he pointed out what his chinese experience has managed to blunt him and well,to borrow his title,"make him into a worse person"."You think you can shove past me in the line at the airport or at the bank? Think again, buster.",Fallows swears.He now re-use his elbows as a sort of weapon which he learned to drop back in High school,he said.

    Pathetic?Well,as a Chinese person myself,I feel shameful.We Chinese always despise the Japanese,mostly for the reason that they once invaded us,tormented us and now they denied everything.Despicably chicken.Japanese customs,as so highly lauded by Fallows,actually derives from China.Why the remnant of our traditions in a coward land could still serve to nourish,while the very source of that acclaimed customs is suffering from the lack of laudable virtues?What is it with China that has corrupted so imperceptibly our most valued traditions?What have made Chinese people worse people which so alarms the visiting foreigners?What should we do to revive it and incorporate it back into our everyday life,so that ten years from now foreingers like James Fallows would not refuse to be "exposed" to us for fear of the "Unprincipled Contagion"?

    For this,May I have your attention?

     

     

     

     

     

     

  • 2006-12-20

    Times on Shenzhen

    New York Times is doing a series of articles about Shenzhen these days.Up till now,two has been published(on its web portal at least).

    Why shenzhen and why now?

    The first article is about Shenzhen's emerging(again I shall say,Awakening) middle class that has learned to push back too aggressive a Big-Brother obtrusion.Maybe this is no big deal in the west where it's commonplace to spot human right activists chanting away about the unfair,but in China,a country that has long been in lack of a free-speech history,it is among the rarest that only the rarest breed would be doing in the rarest areas.Shenzhen,the frontier anointed by Deng Xiaoping himself for the economic(and supposedly other related) reforms that China conducted in the late 1970s,is the most glaring of the rarity.Another reason for the massive emergence of Middle class push-backers in shenzhen is that it boasts the youngest talent pool in the whole China.Young people,assumedly,are more emotion-prone and well,politically,"naive" if you will.Shenzhen is a fairly new city,terribly young.Only about 25 years old.So does its workforce,mainly populated by people from early 20s to late 30s.Booming shenzhen mainly relies on the high-tech manufacturing sector,which presumably need legions and legions of modern-minded,well-educated and energetic workers ,who,it turns out,tend to be young.In a sense,Shenzhen is not unlike that Indian IT fortress: Banglore.

     The other article that came out so far painted well,even worse a picture.If the first article touched upon the "unsavory" unintended consequence of a booming city,the second installment points sharply to the shady and deplorable source that drives the shenzhen's very prsoperity.It reported on the awful working conditions in shenzhen,the unfair treatment of blue-collar workers, the resultant outflow of skilled workers to other areas of China(especially Shanghai),the terrible law-and-order conditions in inner city areas,and the deformed city development caused by an economy-above-everything approach which is widely deemed ''unbalanced' and 'going overboard".Shenzhen may be establishing itself well in terms of economic performance,but its blatant maladministration as to unfair work conditions and the unreasonable tolerance of outrageous worker treatments are winning it no positive points.Workers are fleeing,and with them the overseas investors who are looking to emploit cheap labor.Shenzhen are gaining short-term profits at the expense of its long-term goal,in other words.

      New york times has long been casting its sights on Emerging China.Sometimes out of security concerns,at other times out of human right concerns.This series of articles about shenzhen,a city I know all too well,are truly timely,as far as I can judge.Shenzhen has been looking to reverse the course it's currently riding on dangerously.Fast lane all right,but a lane to nowhere.

    Let's keep eyes peeled for the other installments to see what else Times has to say about Shenzhen,and China.

     

     

  • I went to visit an int'l dating club here in shenzhen today.(for an interview,not seeking dating help,sorry).Web-based primarily,it offers a whole package of value-added dating services for singles(as well as the divorced  and widowed) from around the world.It's sorta like a bridge between people from different cultures and lands who are craving for love,the more exotic the better.You might expect to get one-stop shopping experience here,from the creating of a killer profile that would definitely reflect you in the best possible light,to final-stage visa application and procurement, and pretty much everything in between.

      As you probably know,internet dating  is exploding in popularity.Single people around the world are getting increasingly serious about the possibility of finding a true love overseas,in an exotic land,with a mysterious partner.There's truly a niche market here that a shrewd businessman shall not fail to tap into.And This niche market would be all the more promising if you focus on China,the most populous country in the world,which presumably would boast the largest population that are on the constant lookout for exotic love.That's exactly where int'l dating club like the one I visited today comes in.Based in China,they send radar waves all over the world(mainly english-speaking countries at this stage),looking to match people scattered across the globe who share that special something.And looking to charge fees where appropriate and applicable of course.

    I also got to talk with this gentleman with the dating club I visited.He's been very nice.It's not too often you could learn something every time you talk to someone.But today is my lucky day.This gentleman,Philip,who returned to China after living in the States for over two decades,was like a sage and a mentor rolled into one.He talked about the Chinese traditional values that discriminate against the freedom to love and to be loved,the superstitions that have all too long restricted women with unsavory prior love experience from ever emerging from broken relationships stronger.He pointed out the business viability of the dating club on account of the various factors and conditions mentioned above.and I couldn't agree with him more.He also did me a favor by reminding me that I might need to watch out every step of the way on my career path,to make sure I shall never go astray and always focus on life-long career goals.I thank him for it.This said,I would still very much savor the prospect of working for and with him.I hope this day would come sooner rather than later.So philip,if you are ever reading this post,please understand I'm still interested in us working together.

      and it would be thrilling to be a modern matchmaker!

     

     

     

     

     

  • Something the city of Shenzhen did  in the past few days  has really enraged the emerging(or shall we say,awakening) human rights community in China,not to mention around the world.

    It public-shamed a dozen prostitutes and pimps in front of crowds of people ,intended as the first step in a two-month campaign to crack down on the rampant prostitution that keeps plaguing the city over the years.

     Some people were quick to point out that it is highly inappropriate,even illegal to do so.A few lawyers have gone so far as to send open letters to National  people's Congress to voice their concerns about and oppositions to this practice.

    Some found this particularly evocative of the past horrible Culture Revolution days when people were summarily whisked away and publicly humiliated,abused and even mutilated.

    It is really hard to conceive that such a "barbaric" and "backward" thing could ever happen in today's China,much less in the frontline of China's new-era reform-- Shenzhen.

     I,for one,much as I  denounce the existence of prostitution,am all for humanitarian treatment of even the most depravedly downtrodden and misled.They erred seriously,yes,but they are still humans,and as such,still enjoy human rights,which shall be inalienable,indivisableand inviolable.

    William Pitt,during a debate over the excise tax in Britain in 1763,wrote,as quoted in part in the title of this entry, “Wind may come in, rain may come in, but the King may not, which is to say that even a poor person living in a slum has his own inviolable rights.”

    And he couldn't be more right,exactly 243 long years ago...

     

  • 2006-12-11

    sweatshops in China

    China is no stranger to the title of "the sweatshop of the world".

    The sequel to one of my favorite books,Oliver's story,employed this very "assumption" to jerk the story to its end.Kinda complicated,But here's my try: Oliver,the protagonist from the great Love story,decided to get on with life,move on and find himself another love.And find he did.He fell in love with this Marcie,who was the heiress to a department store empire.Everything went well until one day he discover the dirty secret of Marci,or rather,her business:She had been using sweatshops in Hongkong all along to supply her chains with cheap apparels.He found it hard to square this inhumane and unmoral practice with the woman  he held as the sacred goddess and thought he was deeply in love with.So he chose to bail out...  Truly great story,gotta read your guys.

     Anyway,today's topic is not about the best love-themed stories I've read.Rather,it'd be about something pretty heavy and well,romancidal(ok,ok,I coined it).It's about Sweatshops in China.

     I started to think about doing a post on this topic when I first read about the Apple investigation into Foxconn,who was accused of sweatshops abuses of its ipod assembly line workers.Foxconn,a Fortune 500 company,is notorious(at least in China) for its harsh and inhumane treatment of its employees,especially blue collar ones.Working overtime with pay is routine;Minimum as in minimum wages takes on the truest sense in Foxconn's Lexicon:less than $50 per worker on the ipod assembly line,all for working more than 15 hours a day.Overcrowding of dorm rooms is very severe.Working conditions are hellish:workers have to stand for up to 12 hours per day.(No lounge area or seats to ensure high efficiency,according to one Foxconn rule).The list goes on and on.Apple has clarified its stance on this issue,reiterating its zero tolerance policy toward any manufacturing practices that could be described as "Harsh".

      Foxconn is said to have taken some corrective measures.but as always,some point out,Foxconn would prove very Resilient on this.

     The saddest fact is Foxconn is just one such evildoer that happened to get targeted,there're thousands upon thousands of smaller-version Foxconns  out there inflicting pains on workers in the manufacturing sector in China.The situations in some of those other factories have been only worse,according to some people familiar with this problem.

    Chinese government at every level is basically turning a blind eye to this.What little efforts it makes to reverse the trend proves to be more swagger than substance.Things are getting worse and China is taking no heed,basking in the reflected glow of booming manufacturing industry.

    China is emerging,it's for sure.But it should be wise not to gain one thing at the expense of another.Or things could easily average out.Nobody would respect a country that build its wealth and power on the unmoral exploition and inhumane manupilation of 'little guys" and underdogs.A world power is one that impresses the world not just with the result of its efforts,but more importantly the means to achieve it.For that's why world power is worth our attention: it serves to inspire,inspire us to emulate,to transcend,to rise above....and we all want to replicate great and decent things,don't we?

     

     

  • I never know delisting from a US stock exchange could be such a headache.

    Chinese companies are flocking to get listed overseas,thinking they'd find a capital bonanza once listed in a foreign land,ideally The US.

    Promising tech start-ups here are rendered even more so when they announced they have sucessfully gone public on,say,the Nasdaq.They touted the fact as if it has the power to turn sand to gold.And guess what?It does.Investors and consumers in China are perfectly publicity-prone and easily won over by such "glorious" feat as getting listed in the United States Of America.Even if you can't scoop any real money from US people,the Fact that you are able to scrape money from the US could easily assurethat you will have a field day here in China capital market.

     If only they knew how easily this all could turn into a nightmare.

    According to relevent rules of the draconian Sarbanes-Oxley act,companies listed on US stock exchanges would have to register and continue to report to SEC even after they delisted from said US stock exchange,if they boasted more than 300 US-based shareholders.Translation:You would never possibly get rid of the prying eyes of SEC once you get listed on US soil.It's like a hotel where you could check in but never could really check out.

    Ultimate Exit Strategy?Force your US shareholders to sell the shares they hold of your company and try to reach down the threshold.

     Word is getting out that Help is on the way.Congress is toying with the idea of revising the threshold above which Sarbox will remain Draconian.A fixed number criterion seems outmoded and arbitrary,if anything.A percentage-based threshold solution is said to be in the works.But STILL TOO HASSLE TO GET LISTED IN THE STATES.

     Is US getting increasingly business-unfriendly or is the rest of the world are getting woefully lax in capital market regulation?

     

  • 2006-12-07

    Slimy Hillary?

    Some argue Hillary Rodham Clinton,through a few years in the senate and a few trials and errors,has shed her political idealism that initially characterized her political approaches,matured and turned into a shrewd,seasoned and even a bit "slimy" politician.

    She trades her frank,bottom-of-the-heart political ideals ,goes the accusation,for long-term political ambitions.She makes compromises on her true convictions.She chooses the politically expedient approach over what she truly believes would really work. "The story of Clinton's Senate career,mirrors that of her political life generally: a pattern of ambition, failure, study, and advancement."

     In commenting on Senator Clinton's political moves,Atlantic writer Joshua Green came up with another classic line about Politics:...Her real accomplishment in the Senate has been to rehabilitate the image and political career of Hillary Rodham Clinton...Senator Clinton has plenty to talk about, but she doesn’t have much to say.

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  • 2006-12-05

    Google Vs Yahoo

    Believe it or not,Yahoo and Google,the world's two search powerhouses,stake separate claims in today's search markets.

    what's the nuance? If you are still under the impression that Yahoo and Google are interchangeable when it comes to search,probably you've lost touch with search or by extension,the whole info-era cuture for a fair while..

    Actually,Speculation and debate as to what differentiate one from the other have long raged in the search cycle(foremost among them John Battelle,the bestselling author of the bestseller dissecting how search Revolutions spearheaded by powerhouses like google and Yahoo change business and cultural landscape in this era,titled"the search"),but the answer is far from certain.But still,There're indeed a few quite amusing(and solid as well) takes on this issue.To quote the most classic,here below is the John Battelle's Tangential Ramblings on the Roles of Google and Yahoo in Search, Media and Beyond,trying to articulate, in a succinct fashion, what separates Yahoo and Google in terms of their approach to search, media, and ultimately culture.Truly inspiring and well,fun.Here goes:

     So let's consider a search for the one-word term "usher," and further, let's presume the person typing that search in really does want to know about the (currently) popular singer Usher.

    Now on Google, usher brings you a pretty predictable set of results. Because Usher, the singer, is quite popular at the moment and therefore much in the news, Google incorporates some of its Google News results into its SERPs, you can see from the link or picture that there are two in this particular example. On the right are tons of AdWords related to Usher - clearly there are plenty of vendors who stand to make a buck or two off the man, and they've found Google a good way to monetize the term. The majority of the page, however, is given over to listing the top ten Google results for "usher."

    Now the first three results, starting with "UsherWorld" - are clearly relevant to the keyword entered, again assuming that we are looking for information about the singer. The rest of the first page of results mixes in the Fall of The House of Usher and the Usher syndrome, which clearly shows some kind of diversification algorithm at work behind Google's curtains - if the engine picked purely on popularity and links, the first few hundred, if not thousand, results would most likely be about the singer.

    But in terms of exploiting our intention behind the search term "usher", that's as far as Google goes. All in all, very little overt editorial guidance. You're directed to Usher's website, and that's that.

     In contrast, let's take a look at how Yahoo handles the same search. usher on Yahoo Search also gives UsherWorld as the first organic result, but the similarities end there. The first thing you see below the search box is Yahoo's "also try:" feature - asking if you, the searcher, might be looking for a more refined version of the usher search - perhaps you're looking for lyrics to a particular song ("usher lyrics" or "usher my boo lyrics"), or for pictures of usher ("usher pictures"), or for more information on the star's relationship to Alicia Keys ("usher alicia keys"). This feature is driven by Yahoo's editorial decision to watch what its users are searching for and connect the patterns it sees. Behind the curtain, Yahoo makes lists of related searches, then surfaces the most relevant ones. According to conversations I've had with members of Yahoo's search team, the "also try" feature is a huge hit with Yahoo users.

    Below "also try" are two blue-backgrounded sponsor results, right at the top (there are also plenty of paid links to the right, as there are with Google). This reflects Yahoo's more aggressive approach to commercialization throughout its site. In all my discussions with Yahoo executives, I've noticed a distinct lack of shame when it comes to commerce: integrating commerce directly into the search process is seen more as a benefit than a detriment (this may have gone too far with the practice of paid inclusion, but a sophisticated discussion of that topic can be left to another day). The premise held is that search advertising is in fact relevant and even helpful to a searcher (a premise that, to be fair, is also echoed at Google, but in an almost apologetic fashion.) ......

    Read the whole article HERE.

  • Yeah,perfectly self-made and horribly young too.Only 26 years old.

    And please note that I mean Self-made.If she is Paris Hilton,the heiress-in-line for Hilton Empire,then that's nothing eyebrow-raising.The factors in this case that sorta differentiate our protaganist here from her born-with-silverspoon-in-mouth counterparts(usually residing in western world) include: she is young;she is Chinese ;she actually builds her fortune from scratch and she made her fortune real quick.

      Here is the story,or rather,legend:Named Wu Ying and aged 26,she is originally from Dongyang county,a small town near Yiwu city,that world famous Chinese small commodity city in Zhejiang province.She once managed a few chains of pubs,foot massage salons and beauty parlors in Dongyang and that,everybody knows,would not suffice to be called a captial foundation for a "Billionairess".Legend broke after she made a sequence of surprising moves which "squandered" well over 100 million RMB in a few months.She set up a string of new companies and invested in a varied range of fields that span numerous industries.In her company,the rumor goes,even the security guard gets paid over 2000 RMB per month.Division managers ,based on merits and performance,pocket 500,000 to 1 million RMB.On the personal side,she bought a fleet of luxury cars ranging from Passat to Porche as well as two villas in the neigbouring tourist city(also capital city of Zhejiang province) Hangzhou.

      So it seems very much clear that this girl strikes it rich overnight.Perhaps even self-important tycoon like Donald Trump would be drooling over the secret key to the gold mine(his get-rich-quick bible rendered hopelessly pale).How,people keep asking,did she put it off?

     Where legendary events occur,there's always no shortage of speculations.Here,undoubtedly,rumours abound.Some say she actually got to marry some real rich guy and his real big fortune explains her suddenly extravagent lifestyle.Others claims she is actually a representative for some real big corporate empire which is behind all this.Still others go so far as to suggest that she is laundering money for some overseas gang.Thus far,the most credible is one that traces her turning billionaress all of sudden to her occassional futures-trading.

      Some businessmen,the explanation goes,lent her 60 million RMB to trade Copper futures.and over the past year,the price of copper in the world futures market has more than quadrupled,from 20,000 to approximately 85,000 RMB per ton.That's a monstrous margin.Her originally seed investment of 60 million,through various price leverages,has turned to over 1 billion RMB.This explain her sudden leap to the ranks of billionairess and disproportionally high life without resorting to somewhat ridiculous conspiracy theories.Sudden rich,yeah,but absolutely commercial and definitely legit.

      I consulted one of my friend,David Feng,who is a professional futures trader here in Shenzhen for confirmation.He said he never heard of her and her legends,but there's indeed a very real possibility that she could make that much money on the futures market.Profit on futures market not only come from Price difference between buy and sell price,as every layman assume,but also derives from "double profits" which is pretty complex to explain.Which is to say,the real gain from futures are far more than we assume.so Wu Ying's big fortune is perfectly explicable.

    Either way,I'm still very much impressed with her commercial savvy and great people skills.Just think,if she is not commercially astute,where did she get the balls to invest all her seed money into a place as risky as futures market ;and if she doesn't network well,where did she find the boss who can lend her the 60 million seed money to invest in the first place?

    And she is still so young.Already a billionairess.Fluke,yes;But great luck always befalls the one that is ready to jump,like they say.

  • Well,well,Businessmen are businessmen.Cunning alright.

    This man I know,who is the boss of a generator manufacturing factory,came to visit me today with a 'Brilliant" idea to boost the brand of his products and I think it stinks.

    To characterize his would-be publicity campaign,it's morally crooked,technically ineffective and commercially unsophisticated.

    Details: He would ask his employees to bulk-send a Wanted ad (which offers 1 million US dollars to the right candidate) to all the email addresses he could find.He doesn't need such a big shot,nor could he afford one,but he just thought the Offer of big money could always grab people's attention which serves his real purpose just fine:that is to get more people to know about his brand.His thinking goes,if people are impressed with the fat offer,they would definitely try to find out more about the offerer.Serious applicants will do their homework and do diligent pre-interview research about the company and thus get to know the brand well;as for other outside guys,their curiosity would drive them to know more.

    Now you know his help wanted ad is just a tool,a deceptive instrument which he uses to serve his ulterior motive.Stinky ,isn't it?

    And high morality aside,I seriously doubt it will ever work.I don't claim to know much about people's mind,but I do know one thing:if this is a workable publicity plan which seems to have the best of both worlds,effective and cost-effective,why do Big corps like Microsoft or Walmart still spend millions of dollars conventionally advertising?They could easily take this route.But staffed with hordes of marketing and branding experts,they don't.There must be something seriously wrong or downright foolish about this approach.

     Why won't these businessmen buckle down and seriously think about how to sharp their own competitiveness and really shine in the marketplace?Why search out those devious little tricks out there and stake the future on them?

    Genuine Advice:Build your brand on solid ground of true competitiveness,avoid the shortcut of achieving quick fame while building your future on quick sand.

  • Something used to be brushed off as hilarious now has came true.In recent years,an increasing number of schools in the US are offering Chinese instruction courses.

    I said it used to be a hilarious proposition because we all understand US citizens are well known for their laziness and reluctance to learn foreign lanuages.They thought they'd be OK if they stick with their mother tongue-American English,which all but become the world language.In those times,it is the opposite that seems more true.People all over the world are studying english.It brings to mind something like"if Mountain will not approach Mohamad,Mohamad would approach the mountain".And in this case,The mountain is the seemingly unmovable Uncle Sam.

    It seems nothing is irreversible or changeable in this world,Uncle Sam or Uncle Jimmy.International trend has abruptly turned and now everybody is looking to China for cues.

    To quote a famous Hedge fund manager who used to be George Soros's partner in the early years,'The 19th century is the century of Britain,The 20th century is the century of the United States,the 21st Century is the century of China'.and he didn't just pay lip service,he lets actions speak louder than the words.He hired private tutors to teach his kids Chinese.As a shrewd businessman who earns his living by drawing on visions,he sure knows what he is doing.So you'd better take the cue, American Folks!

    On a fun note,this reminds me of a college joke.Sick of studying english,some of my college mates made fun of the english study and envision fondly the day when Americans would be forced to learn Chinese and pass the Chinese 'TOFEL'.Chinese Tofel would include questions that would most assuredly stump foreigners,like chinese colloquial expressions and regional dialect terms etc.

    That would be a bit too much,but the Chinese Tofel thing is pretty much a reality.

    So it's very much true that China,finally,has become a force to be reckoned with,if this is any indication?

  • I never thought blog could be such a powerful leveling force.

    By leveling I mean it topples down the walls that used to erect between regular folks and well,"big wigs","big shots" and the like.

    Before the advent of internet and blog,ever dare to think you might be able to read a CEO's personal journal?Well,you must be his secretary and a very intimate one at that,to be possibly able to lay your hands on it,mustn't you?Very reasonable.

    But now?Well,depending on the personality and whims of  that particular CEO,you may read it wherever and whenever you wish,on the internet,on his blog!

    Now you understand,the leveling force I mentioned.I think Thomas L Friedman has also touched upon the role  blog played in the ever-evolving interpersonal bonds in this info era,so it's rarely anything novel.But now I'm holding a reinforced belief in what he said now,because one of Chris Anderson's latest posts has driven it home so deep.You may read it HERE.

    My interest was induced by Anderson's mention of "CEOs venting".And I clicked through(it was a link) and arrived at this wonderful blog of Patrick Byrne.A big shot alright.Patrick is the CEO of Overstock.com.You can access his blog HERE,if you so wish.

    Start reading his blogs and think about adding the link to his blog to my blog list.

    See?I'm not his personal assitant,nor did I make the slightest effort to acquire,I'm now reading a CEO's jouranl on the daily basis.

    If it's not amazingly leveling,what's your word?

  • 2006-11-25

    perfect humbler

    http://danecao.blogbus.com/files/1164420715.jpg

    See the black hole in the center?Well,according to sun-watching astronomers,the hole is officially called SunSpots.Sunspots appear dark because the strong magnetic field in the them suppresses the transport of energy through gas flow. In the central dark area of the sunspot (umbra) the magnetic field is perpendicular to the surface, whereas in the lighter coloured periphery (penumbra) the magnetic field is largely horizontal to the surface.

    and here comes the shocking part:Our earth could easily fit in SEVERAL TIMES OVER!!!

    When you start to get too full of yourself,try looking at this picture and think- Am I that important after all?

  • I watched a documentary about Hillary Rodham Clinton and her political aspirations the other day and I was truly impressed with her dedication and political savvy.

     speaking of aspirations,2008 election is approaching,any idea who is going to win the BIG bid?

    Al Gore is coming back.We also get new entrant:Rudolph Giuliani.

    John Edwards seems to be gearing up to make the official bid for presidency also,although he was being extremely cautious about this the other day when asked about his plan on Late Show With David Letterman.His answer? You guess it!That slimy and elusive MAYBE!

    While you think Hillary is most likely to make history and win the bid,who do you think will be the next in order?Just list your candidates in descending order of certainty.

  • When I gaze in wonder at a starry sky, or the waves crashing on the granite shores of Maine, I am not just thrilled to be alive on this wonderful planet; I am grateful. But to whom?

    There is no person who created the universe, or the planet, or the biosphere, so there is really nobody to thank for that.

    (A God who is not a person is not an appropriate recipient of thanks. Or should we thank the Law of Gravity and the Second Law of Thermodynamics for all they make possible? I don’t think they care, do you?)

    But there is a suitably responsible cause of my health, my security, my freedom from want and from fear, and it is composed of, and the achievement of, persons. I can thank goodness–the wonderful fabric of excellence created by individuals working together in human civilization to make this planet a better place.

    I can thank the creators–literally, not figuratively or symbolically--of a bounty of goods and services, arts and sciences, government and justice.

    And instead of trying to repay this debt with burnt offerings, or prayers, or expensive ceremonies, I can repay it in kind, by dedicating myself to trying to add to the stock of goodness in the future, for the benefit of others. We nonbelievers have no difficulty with Thanksgiving; we just Eliminate the Middleman and give thanks directly to the real, ongoing, human project of making the world safer and better for everyone.

  • 2006-11-22

    keeping up

    It's me failing to keep pace with technological advances,or it's just technology evolving at truly a breakneck pace?

    Either way,It's first I heard of Voice Recognition  MP3 players.

    If you need further explanation for this gadget,you are in my league.

    Simply illustrated: if you are on a crowded subway(I MEAN really crowed,you could barely turn or even squirm,which is not an unfamiliar scene here in China),and you happen to want to better spend your boring commute by listening to some music you loaded in your MP3 players.The problem is,the best you could manage in the situation is to pry it out of your pocket.Trying to get that cute song by Katie Melua?where is it?the 15th track in the playlist maybe?You are not sure?Struggle to find out?too much people,too much hassle.

    Now it's the voice recognition technology that comes into rescue.Simply call out the name of your favorite song to your gadget,and it will find it and play it for you,all within a matter of 1 second.Quick,easy and higly convenient.The accurancy rate is said to shoot well into 97%-100% bracket,highly sufficient for our everyday needs.

    Switch to your favorite song simply by asking for it.

    Amazing thing.I wonder what else these techi guys would come up with in the near future.

    Keep your eyes peeled is the only advice I can offer if you don't want to be out of touch.

  • I, finally,became a landlord.For someone who has been renting his places for the past 4 years,this is nothing short of a milestone.

    Only it never ends my life of being a hardcore tenent.I Bought it as an investment.

     The real estate market in shenzhen these days is robust and sizzling. The price of an apartment(with 2 bedrooms,one sitting room,a few bathrooms,a balcony) in the urban area could easily runs into the 1 million RMB bracket.And the most beautiful thing is ,it never stops there,it keeps growing.Suppose you bought one apartment for the price of 1 million this year,the next year when you decide to cash it out,you are guaranteed to rake in 200,000 RMB(sold at 1,200,000 RMB,that is).That's a fat profit margin,which never ceases to attract speculative eyes.It help to explain why an awful lot of people start to invest their money in real estate market in shenzhen,instead of conventional stock portfolios(Shenzhen boasts one of the only two stock exchanges here in China,you'd assume people here tend to trade stocks as an investment).

     I'm glad I came on board just in time,Not so early that I'd be experimenting for others,nor so late that there's little or no margin left.I may not be the first,I'm sure not the last.

     My apartment is located in the eastern part of shenzhen,outside the special economic zone(right next to the checkpoint actually) and the surrouding conditions are excellent.The railway station and metro stop are right across the street.The ground floor houses a bustling supermarket.Public transit systems  are also sophisticated around there.you could easily catch a bus to pretty much anywhere in the city, from the western point of sea,SheKou,to the eastern point,DaPeng Bay.

    I thought It was a worthy investment and as the time goes by,sure will prove to be a highly lucrative one as well.So even if the finalization process took some time and a lot of autographing,it will be definitely worth the hassle.

    I'm going to rent out my apartment and the rent will go to pay the mortgage.Not exactly overlap,but I could easily make up the difference.You've got to have tunnel vision on your investment.

    It's a start.                

     -BP    Beyond Pay.

  • Last Thurday night I took a bus to get back to where I live from my workplace.All went well at the first half of the bus ride.Everybody was trying to while away the boring time they'd have to be spending constrained on the cramped bus,either by taking fitful naps or glancing at newspapers.This,it seemed,would be another uneventful and dull trip.

     Then something dramatic happened.When the bus halted at a bus stop and opened the rear door for some "passengers" to get on board,a guy in his mid-twenties dashed on ,headed swiftly like an arrow to a young woman sitting next to the rear door, snatched her cellphone(which she was actually using at that time),turned to get off in the same swift fashion and fled.

    It may sound like quite a long process.The amazing thing is,it took less than 5 seconds for the snatch-and-run robber to finish his job.

    Before I came to shenzhen,I heard the LAW AND ORDER conditions here are lousy.Gangsters could strike anytime on the street.You'd be wise not to stroll in the night,if you don't want to be mugged and robbed(even beaten up,if you happened to leave your wallet back at home).

    I thought that was all rumors,or at least some cautionary remarks blown way out of proportion.Every city suffered from its fair share of violent crimes.Shenzhen certainly is no exception.

    This incident last week,however,offered me a real-life,seen-with-my-own-eyes case which sadly spoke volumes about conditions here in shenzhen.Maybe it indeed needs to make extra efforts to ensure that the law and order here is upheld so as to attract more investments and talents.

  • 2006-11-16

    niche could be rich

    It seems there're indeed no shortage of business opportunites if you  look carefully enough.

    When it comes to apparel business in US,everybody thinks of the oursourcing and offshoring.In the past decade after all,the vast majority of apparel manufacturing mills in America have moved overseas(to China,among other low-labor-cost countries),or just die out(because they chose to buck the trend).Who has ever thought that an apparel-related business has been gaining momentum in the very industry which has lost ground to overseas sweatshops years before?

    well,a recent wall street journal article(read it here) featured this particular company that embodies the above-mentioned business Comeback(or rather,claw-back),Sata Fe Finishing,a service firm based in Los Angeles,USA.The name may be plain,but what it specializes in is truly something eye-opening and interesting- Correcting errors committed by Chinese exporters to help clear the goods temporarily seized by US customs.In other words,their speciality is offering emergeny-room service for overseas(mainly Chinese) exporters to salvage their otherwise hopeless cargos.And they are have a brisk business.

    More importantly,it represents a trend that has increasingly become an industry onto itself.Quite some similiar businesses spring up in America.Another such firm based in New York City (which I actually got to call the other day) even got introduced in passing by a New York Times article.

      Some bigger apparel firms are said to set out to stem the trend by establishing strong presence in China and strengthening QA process there.But some of the error-correction firm owners are still optimistic."Perfection is a fantastic goal," one says. "But, hey, it's never going to happen."

    I was thinking the kind of insight in finding this business opportunity might have something that could inspire me.Maybe We could also get this re-outsourced job outsourced back?

    Any ideas any one?

  • 2006-11-14

    what's happiness?

    It's a question thrown at Red Flag  by Gu at the very beginning of the movie"Gimme Kudos"(for details of the movie please read my last post).

    And Red Flag gave the most classic answer I have ever come to hear(coarse,distasteful,yes,but very true):

     If I'm hungry and you are enjoying a feast,You are happier than me.

    If I'm thinly clad while you're well bundled up ,you are happier than me.

    If I rush to answer nature's call and find you there first in the one-seat toilet,You're happier than me.....

    outrageous!

    Happiness,so it seems,stems from satisfaction and true enjoyment of every moment of every day life.

    Where is happiness? and what is it exactly? The answer couldn't be more obvious.

  • 2006-11-14

    Gimme Kudos

    I watched a locally made movie last weekend,entitled" Gimme Kudos",which is a pretty rare thing,given the deep-seated notion I hold that Chinese made movies,with a select few glaring exceptions,are all rubbish,if anything.

     And this one,I MUST ADMIT,seems to be another worthy exception.For it got me thinking,among other things..And it's a pretty rare thing too.

     The storyline of it goes something like this: One day A guy named "Yang Hongqi"(the chinese given name means "Red Flag",which has been all too often associated with Communist Patriotism here in China) paid  a surprise visit to this journalist with the local newspaper ,by the name of Gu Guoge(again,the given name is so much more than just a name;In chinese it means "national anthem",which is also a solid inspirer of national pride  in this country) and made a weird request: Gimme Kudos. He asserted that he had saved a girl's life from a rapist the night before and deserved a front-page citation.Reporter Gu refused outright,on the grounds that no eye witness stepped up to  attested to his "story".In default of any witness corroboration,argued Gu,the story would always be a story,a fiction,he being a real-life sufferer of Vanity Syndrome.

      The Red Flag guy simply wouldn't give up.He frequented,haunted the newspaper offices day in and day out,nagged  reporter Gu whenever he got the chance and made his claim to fame ever more steadfastly.Egged on by the editor-in-chief and his own curiosity,Gu decided to research into this yet-to-be-proved incident that is Red Flag's claim to fame.

     What is found was sufficient enough to motivate Gu to carry on with the research.At this point,the victim of the incident,a college girl came to our attention.Called Ouyang Hua,she really looked like a flower(Hua in chinese means Flower).According to Red Flag's story,she was being raped by a thug one stormy night at a street corner when he cycled past to go to work.He quickly came into rescue,scared the thug away,soothed the ravished girl and then sent her back to college.Gu came to Hua for confirmation and was told it was all made-up and nonsense.Gu was bewildered.

    Now everybody starts to question Red Flag's Motives.Why on earth is he so eager to get the news citation? What is he driving at? If there's something fishy about his motive,there must be something just as fishy about the story,they came to conclude.They couldn't be more wrong,as the unfolding story indicates.

    The reason,it turns out,becomes all too obvious after one scene in which Red Flag confided to Gu his deep-cherished dream- that is to earn one news citation to make his Dad happy.Why is making his dad happy so important?Because he is so obsessed with doing good deeds that he expects the same from his son,Red Flag and because he is dying.

    Gu made up his mind again to continue the research,only this time it's not for curiosity,it's for duty,the duty entailed by the holy calling of being a journalist.

    After a dramatic series of mini-events,we all get to know that Red Flag really did that good deed,and Hua,out of consideration for the proservation of her honor(in china the experience of being raped lives on a girl like a permanent stigma),selfishly went into denial.Her owning-up scene took place on the ancient wall that used to surround the old jinling city.I don't think they took it there casually.Perhaps it implies that the conflict between selfish preservation of self-honor and the conscience is an eternal one yet to be solved finally.And by the way,the shot is beautiful.

    I think you got to see the movie.Something in it really got you thinking.especially the part where the conflict is fully exposed.You got to think about what to do in such scenario if you were the protagonist,be it Hua,or Red Flag.

     I tended toward owning up and let nothing praise-worthy go unnoticed ,unsung.Otherwise,in my opinion,integrity will be questioned,good men will suffer,and the moral system of our society would soon be on the verge of collapse.That's the last thing we want in the world we inhabit now.

    What's your take?

     

  • Good news for NY times buff.Times has finally decided to offer TimeSelect for free for a dozen days.This means you could read columns written by the likes of Thomas L Friedman,the guy who wrote the bestselling Nonfiction book" the world is flat",free of charge!

      Actually TimeSelect has been open for a couple of days already,only I got to know it just now.Too bad the days for free browsing within the PAID zone are numbered.

     Anyway,let's seize the day and enjoy some true insight from some of the most visionary columnistes the states has to offer.

    you may access the FREE-FOR-NOW TimeSelect here,if so inclined.

    Enjoy!

  • Will the political election outcome really have a major effect on the economic performance,either in terms of knee-jerk economic reaction,as often witnessed in stock market,or in terms of long-term macroeconomic fallout?

     This seems to be too broad and intricate question to be ever granted a quick answer.But it is not as nearly a complicated question as it seems,not really.According to New Yorker Magazine staff writer James Surowiecki,the answer is a clear-cut No.

      Surowiecki's latest piece tackles the thorny issue of the interrelationship between Political election results and the long-term/short-term economic reactions.Economists are actually  torn on this,but James did seem to have a point here.His observations are solidly founded on released study results and widely accepted theories.And he drew conclusions carefully,logically and eloquently.The whole analytical process seems,at least to me,who you may argue is a perfect layman,to be flawless and sound.With all the data and proper conclusions duly drawn therefrom,suffice it for me to arrive at the same Emphatic No.

      Economics and politics,so it seems,are two very different things after all.Overlaps,but no firm interlink.

      For more information on this issue,or the pleasure of reading James' piece,please click here .

     

     

     

  • I have 93% chance of committing suicide,at least according to this Quiz here.Want to take your own one,Go here. The result may surprise you no less.I'm already depressed enough by the prediction to all but make it come true.So you proceed at your own peril,guys.
  • 2006-11-06

    word split problem

    I thought it was no big problem,since no one pointed it out to me.I myself am perfectly at ease with it.Not that I didn't notice,I just made light of it and chose to ignore.

    I'm talking about the graphic formatting/display of my blog posts,or rather,the malfunctioning formatting of it.Namely,Word Split.

     But a few days back one friend of mine,MF(http://mf.rox.com) ,an American english teacher based in Shanghai,did specify this display problem.Here are her words which quite sharply get the gist of the problem,quote:"Actually, I do read it. I’ve got a problem with the display, though. When it comes to the end of a line, a word is split without any hyphenation or attention to proper division. Do you know what I mean? That makes it a little hard to follow. "unquote.

    well,that's exactly what's wrong with my post display.Not that I care so very much about graphic aesthetics.The only criterion I hold when it comes to visual effects stuff is comfort and ease for the eyes,Which is why I recently gave my blog a long-awaited makeover- changed the background color to green and rid it of any clutter elements etc- so it'd be totally easy on the eyes.The problem now is,The totally random intra-word division hampers the smooth reading fo my posts.It's fine with me because I wrote them and I shall know where to look for the other half of the word when I encounter a split.Not so easy ,and not fair either,for my regular blog readers,however.

    I was thinking maybe it's because the blogging service provider I choose to power my blog,Blogbus.com, is inexperienced in english-friendly words formatting.

    Anyway,I'd love to receive any valuable suggestions from any blogger that might help in cracking this problem that plagues this very post!I hope you guys could bear and read to the last word.

     

  • "Hello,Moto!!"

    This slogan of Motorola has once been all the rage among the growing cellphone owners here in China.It's catchy,foreign-sounding and chic,if anything.

      And if any young kid has the ringtone of the mail-voice version of this slogan,he would literally become the center of attention on subways.

    Motorola,the powerhouse of sleek,modern and sophisticated mobile phones,has long since been associated with reliable quality and high taste.

    But not in China.

    High taste?Arguably so.High quality? Definitely no.

    As a consumer who has chosen to go with Moto for the past 5 years,I speak from experience.

    And the experience,Trust me,is not very pleasant.

    Take my current Moto Gadget:  E 398.

    This phone is awkwardly heavy,unconveniently thick and defectively fitted.

    The antenna,which is uncharacteristically internal(Nokia is thought to be the main manufacturer of Flat block phone with no external antenna),is extremely weak in receiving signals.

    Whenever you are in tunnels or crisscrossing the concrete jungles of urban cities,chances are pretty good you'd be disconnected.

    and the fringe functions  meant to attract younger consumers,such as the embedded digi-camera,the MP3 player and stuff, are at best serviceable.Exceptionally funtional as you would expect from a world-famous brand like Motorola? well,think again!

      It's not a call for a blanket boycott of motorola products.I never meant it to be anything like that.Rather,It would be great if someone from Motorola could get to read this.Then this post will not be seen as my pettily retaliatory stance,but a piece of responsible and constructive feedback,by acting upon which real quick,the Modern Moto will ensure itself a brigher and securer future in the most populous country(with arguably the most cellphone owners) in the world.

    By the way,the Latest Motorola RAZR is cool.Hope it functions just as coolly.

  • 2006-10-27

    David,great futures

    I'm now teaching a Futures Trader here in Shenzhen,named David,english.Not the basics like Alphabet or fundamental grammar or things of that sort.He can actually read some english and get the gist of things quite well.He is just very weak in idiomatic expressions and he needs a rigorous drill in his grammar,which is ,sometimes,truly terrible.To say he is not so awful in his reading comprehension doesn't mean he is perfect in this.Quite on the contrary.He can read OK,and get the general idea all right,but sometimes if you press him,you'd find he've actually construed some specific terms or phrases totally wrong.This speaks volume about his lack of a systematic strengthening of reading capability.

      I shall pledge to asist him in his mastery of this language.Since he once mentioned he now is charged with the task of providing professional training for CTA applicants,I have put a special emphasis on the futures-related english to help acquaint him with the language in this specific field.For instance,last night,we read some futures news together on the futures industry website- www.dailyfutures.com  and get some latest info as to what's going on for some of the core commodities traded on world futures market.And we are having a great time.

          David,if you are reading this post,I want you to have faith in yourself,in your language capability and in me.With my meticulous and rigorous tutoring ,you may see improvements quite soon.

         And please visit my blog more often.You'd be welcome.

        PS:I'm learning a lot about futures as well.Thanks,David.