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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Chinese Made Easy Review/PowerPoint

Ever ask?

  • What level is right for me?
  • Should I be using Chinese Made Easy as a way to Learn or Teach Chinese
  • What does a sample page look like?
  • What is available for Chinese Made Easy- how many levels, textbooks, flash cards, workbooks, teachers guides?
Check out my 20 page Review/presentation on Chinese Made Easy.


Monday, March 30, 2009

Time in China

Clocks square off in China's far west - LA Times.

In Western China the local people set their clocks two hours different than the official Chinese time, which is the same for all of China. Theoretically China should have 5 time zones, but everything is set the same.

I did not know this:

"The reason goes back to a long Chinese imperial tradition in which the emperor is in control of time because it has a cosmological significance," said James Millward, a Xin- jiang scholar at Georgetown University.


Taiwan Straight's Unfreezing?

The current Taiwan President sees himself as elected on a platform to improve the relationship with China in order that he believes will help Taiwan's economy.


Sunday, March 29, 2009

103 Countries Hacked - Probably Chinese

Chinese hackers reach computers worldwide - LA Times

Amazing, 103 countries and 1300 computers. There was even a control panel so you could access any computer that had been infected/hacked and go through it.

And how it was found out is also a good read. Cyber security is fascinating and scary.


Saturday, March 28, 2009

From Taiwan with Love - Golden Retrievers

Project Taiwan - Bring Them Home from the Los Angeles Golden Retriever Rescue Association.

The pictures are heat breaking.

It seems Taiwan is currently in a dog fad, where many have adopted dogs including some larger dogs including Golden Retrievers, and now many are being abandoned.

The LA Rescue Association does accept donations for Project Taiwan - Bring Them Home.

My family is considering getting another Golden Retriever, we used to have one lived whom live to a very old age, 15 years old. We also had an Akita.

Recent article in the San Francisco Chronicle about the Golden Retriever breed.


Friday, March 27, 2009

New Political Force in China - Parents

Grieving Parents Gain Clout in China - Washington Post

I am surprised by how the party treating the parents, being very careful and treading lightly. My guess is since the Earth Quake and Milk Scandal have such high awareness, they don't want it to explode.

Good quote out of the article:

"In today's Chinese society, too much attention has shifted to material pursuits while social fairness and justice are scarce," he said. "If this situation continues, tragedies like the [milk powder scandal] will happen over and over again."


Learning Cantonese if you know Mandarin

I heard it again today, but if you already know Mandarin just rent a couple of HK Soap Operas with sub-titles and spend watch the series all the way through. After 20 or so hours of this supposedly you will be able to understand Cantonese. Originally I heard this from some Taiwanese who were working in a travel agency and needed to Learn some Cantonese. Cantonese is a dialect of Mandarin. I don't know if it helps that you also know Taiwanese.


iPhone in China finally?

China Unicom posts iPhone 3G images, spec - CNET

It's interesting that no official phone sold in China can do WiFi. My guess is for traceability and also who gets the revenue (with WiFi, no revenue to the carrier for web access and phone calls done via Skype or equivalent). Egypt's official iPhone has GPS and WiFi disabled. The reason to disable WiFi is it could be used to document military positions (I guess they have not heard of Google Maps, the one that showed the secret US airbase in Pakistan for example).


Dragon Boat Vocabulary!

I am working on more content for the Dragon Boat Festival Pages...

Dragon Boat Vocabulary

Festival - Day of celebration
paddle - Used to propell the boat
boat - Used for racing.
drum - Used to scare the fish away from Qu Yuan, now used in the Dragon Boat.
Qu Yuan - Chinese Poet
zhong kui - Demon Slayer, his image is put up on the Double Fifth to ward away bad spirits.
river dragon - Most powerful of Chinese Dragons
zongzi - Also known as Joong, glutinous/sticky rice in bamboo leaves.
rice dumpling - Another name for Zongzi.
double fifth - Fifth day of the fifth month, Dragon Festival Day. Unluckiest day of the year.
xiangbao - Fragrant pouches to protect the wearer against evil spirits.
races - a contest of speed
warring states - Period of time Qu Yuan lived in.
five poisons - Centipede, Lizard, Scorpion, Snake, and Toad are decorated on clothing, bags, cakes, etc. for protection against bites.
kui - Wandering Ghost
taoism - Chinese Religion
pacers - First three row of paddlers
engine - Middle row of paddlers
rockets - Paddlers at the back of the boat
team - Group of people
flag - Each lane has one
stroke - using a paddle to move a boat
charm - Worn on a person to ward off evil


Thursday, March 26, 2009

China in Africa Update

The fall in the price of raw materials has had a huge impact on Chinese investments in Africa. The investments were focused on profit, and with the drop in raw material prices. Where Western investment was not so focused on economic gains.

As Chinese Investment in Africa Drops, Hope Sinks - NY Times.


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

China's Reserve Currency Proposal

Very major...

China’s Currency Proposal Gets Respect, and Questions - WSJ Blog.

Basically China proposed there should be another reserve currency than the US Dollar. The advantage to the US of being a reserve currency are huge. For one it allows us to borrow much more than anyone else. The challenge is the people we are borrowing from, such as China, seem to be getting a bit nervous.


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Lord of the Rings in Chinese Characters

Monday, March 23, 2009

Better Chinese

I just redid the entire Better Chinese Section. Huge improvement for making it clearer.


Sunday, March 22, 2009

How China sees the World

The cover of this week's Economist is a brilliant graphic!

The article about China below is excellently written that is good, not a pro or anti-China, but here are the challenges and opportunities.


Saturday, March 21, 2009

China Fires 8 Top Regulators Over Milk Scandal

China Fires 8 Top Regulators Over Milk Scandal - NY Times.
It's great that that China is still pursuing the milk scandal and working to clean up their system.

The real issue that needs to be addressed is corruption and government set prices for agriculture products.


Friday, March 20, 2009

Another useful iPhone Application - Currency Converter

I just downloaded another iPhone application - it was just so useful!

It's a currency converter, so when I am at a supplier, I can check what the original price is in US dollars and compare that to the wholesale price. I am using a free application called Currency (rated 3 of 5 with 3200+ reviews), but there are others that are rated higher, but cost. Some of them even allow currency conversion off line, and to put in your own conversion amounts.

As a traveling companion unless you jail break your phone, international rates get pretty expensive. AT&T has some special plan available if you are traveling internationally, but still not cheap. It's easy to get BW charges on your iPhone overseas, unless you change some of the settings or put it in air plane mode. This is true any US cell phone, if you for example turn on your triband US phone overseas, and a friend calls you and you pick up, you get charged at the international rate. If your phone is turned on and it goes to voicemail while the phone is overseas, I believe you also get charged. And some phone plans do not need specific authorization to be used overseas.


Thursday, March 19, 2009

No Juice for Coca Cola

Coke tried to buy a large Chinese juice producer, but was told no by the Chinese goverment on anti-trust grounds.

Different analysis of this:
My opinion is the Wall Street Journal version is closer to the truth. I see the decision as more of a political nature, than one based on anti-trust issues. China at this time still has a weak rule of law.


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Practical Chinese Learning Textbooks

Practical Chinese, also known as the effective way to Learn Chinese has a revised home page that has a better way of showing all the products, from the textbooks, workbooks, games, and CD's that are available for this learning Chinese Series by Wendy Lin.


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

ChildBook's Guarantee

I am pretty liberal with my guarantee, 100% money back within 30 days. Today, somebody pushed the point, actually several points, and I accepted the goods verbally, but I am not happy about it.

One point was item was shipped beginning of December, and it's now March. My warranty is 30 days.

Another point is one of the books being returned in has already been colored, items are supposed to be returned unwritten in...

My goal with my guarantee is to be fair, and I don't feel the customer was being fair in this.


Philiphino Teachers in LAUSD

Filipino teachers fill in the gaps at LAUSD - LA Times.

Good read. What is sad is so many of the schools in the inner cities have such poor graduation rates. The one I did my student teaching at was 40%.

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Monday, March 16, 2009

Baby's First Words in Chinese, CD and book

Baby's First Words in Chinese, CD was designed by a group of language experts for newborn to two year old babies. I just added an audio sample as well as a widget that shows 16 pages of the 94 page booklet that comes with the CD.

It's nice Baby's First Words in Chinese includes a guide for the parents on how to bring up their child bilingually. Really nice touch that it would be nice if other products also included this!

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In Downturn, China Exploits Path to Growth

In Downturn, China Exploits Path to Growth - NY Times.

Interesting article that has the view that China is using the economic crises and their stimulus to improve their economy, and there are some positive things coming out of the slow down.

The question is how much of the stimulus is going to be spent effectively? Japan spent a lot of money on infrastructure after their property bubble collapsed, unfortunately much of it was unproductive spending that had little long term impact.

The challenge that is understated is the increase in unemployment, firms going out of business, lack of a safety net, corruption, and how export orientated the economy is.

My suggestions for improving China's economy:
  • Rule of law - This would help the economy tremendously. Corruption charges should be pursued no matter how high up they lead. Even to the family of high government officials. I would suggest a truth commission be put in place and starting from X date, corruption won't be tolerated.
  • Allow complaints to the central government. Close down secret prisons.
  • Declare a real war on corruption. Allow newspapers and other media to report on corruption. A huge percent of the Chinese GDP is swallowed in corruption.
  • Real bankruptcy law.
  • Put in place a real safety net for health care and the elderly.
Unfortunately, I see little chance of the above suggestions happening. The majority are to controversial and the corruption issue is one that could explode, but my opinion is for China to move forward, it has to be taken care of, either sooner or later, and the longer you wait the more painful it will be.


Sunday, March 15, 2009

Teaching English

Interesting article in the NY Times. Where Education and Assimilation Collide

Not sure I agree with the article based on my experience with ESL classes.


Saturday, March 14, 2009

Chinese Kidnapping

Chinese teenager kidnapped and murdered by classmates - Guardian UK.

Sometime reading about China it feels as if it's the wild west.

And another story: China Economics Blog: Kidnapping now part of doing business in China?

This has happened to somebody I know over a business dispute, where they are being held in jail and the US consulate refuses to help since it's a business matter. My opinion - extortion...


Friday, March 13, 2009

Middle School Chinese

A great series for Middle School Chinese is Kuaile Hanyu (Happy Chinese).

Kuaile Hanyu
(Happy Chinese)Learning Chinese Textbooks were developed by the British Council in collaboration with National Office for Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language (NOCFL) in China for students age 11-16. The textbooks are printed in color and follow a group of foreign students as they visit China. Kuaile Hanyu or Happy Chinese has that name because the goal was to have the series make learning Chinese fun and interesting for student.

The series includes Kuaile Hanyu Flashcards,
Kuaile Hanyu Textbooks, Kuaile Hanyu Software, Teacher's Guide, and CD Roms. I especially like the Kuaile Hanyu Software because it's very well done, great price, includes video, animation, and games.


Chinese Luxury Bribes

Chinese Grease the Wheels of Power With Luxury Gifts - NY Times.
Fascinating story about how luxury gifts are used as bribes in China for government officials.


Thursday, March 12, 2009

New Cold War at Sea?

U.S. vessel's standoff with Chinese sub 'dangerous,' analyst says - IHT

What the article did not mention was this was the same area where the Chinese pilot collided with a US spy plane that was forced to land in China.

The US Spy ship was gathering information on China's latest nuclear submarine. Sound emissions, etc. which can be useful in war time for tracking. The US vessel was outside the 18 mile area that is traditionally considered territorial waters.


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Chinese Bilingual DVD's

I was just talking to one of my suppliers yesterday and they mentioned how well their Bilingual DVD's are selling, and I was thinking, not on my site. So here are some forgotten gems that are:

  • $19.95.
  • Good stories.
  • Great Quality!
Full name - Bilingual Animated Chinese English Books on DVD - Home Use Only

A couple of them... Monkey King is really good...

The Mouse Bride & Story of the Chinese Zodiac Bilingual DVD Chinese/English
Our Price: $19.95

2 Classic Chinese stories in 1 DVD

The Mouse Bride - �Are you the strongest being in the world?� an old mouse leader asks the Sun, Cloud, Wind, and Wall in search of a strong husband for his daughter -- someone strong enough to protect her and the village from the cat.

The Story of the Chinese Zodiac - How were the twelve animals chosen for the Chinese Zodiac? Why did the rat come first?

The Making of Monkey King & Monkey King Wreaks Havoc in Heaven Bilingual DVD Chinese/English
Our Price: $19.95

Enjoy 2 Monkey King stories in 1 DVD!

Magically born from a rock, our Monkey becomes king and sets off on a journey to find the secret of immortality.

Later, Monkey wants to prove his prowess to all of the celestial warriors and ministers. Only Buddha is capable of taking down the rampaging simian - with the strangest of wagers.
Little Sam's Baseball Dream Bilingual DVD Chinese/English
Little Sam's Baseball Dream Bilingual DVD Chinese/English
Our Price: $19.95

Smarty hits a homerun, yet the ball is nowhere to be found. This time he applies the Law of Reflection to locate the missing ball. Observant Sam tries the same thing during the game, hoping to win the inning, but reaps an opposite result.
A Pot Made of Paper Bilingual DVD Chinese/English
Our Price: $19.95

A new restaurant opens in Happy Village, claiming to be the first in the country to serve food in a pot made of paper. This peaks the interest of Smarty and the gang. Finally, it takes a conversation with two out-of-town hikers and the understanding of centuries-old wisdoms for them to discover the origin of and the theory behind the paper pot.


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