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Thursday, April 30, 2009

Why Chinese - to be Musical?

Learning Chinese languages makes you musical, claim scientists - Daily Telegraph

And I thought it was just because somebody wrote that studying music helps you with Math and do better in school?

My daughter does Piano, Cello, and Voice. And when there is a piano testing in the area, most of the attendees are either Chinese or Korean.

Related posts:
And some cool products to use Music in Learning Mandarin!

Songs for Learning Chinese - CD With Book Sets Songs in Mandarin Chinese - Compact Disks (CD's)
  • Songs in both English and Chinese
  • Great, fun way to Learn Chinese through the power of music!
  • Comparison chart so you get the right Learning Chinese Product!
  • Children CD Songs- Popular songs in Mandarin Chinese!
  • Very good and highly addicting for Children!
  • Songs are of Chinese and European Origin (but all in Mandarin!).


Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Chinese Made Easy vs. Practical Chinese

People seem to either love one or the other, but not both. I have found it's impossible to guess which a person will prefer. Some recent experiences based on customer feedback.

Practical Chinese - Main page.

Chinese Made Easy - Main Page


Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Knockoff Cell Phones

In China, Knockoff Cellphones Are a Hit - NY Times.
Some place I read that the knock offs sometimes arrive quicker to market than the real ones. Because of this, Samsung started releasing their newest models in China. A reason for not going legit is the knockoff manufacturers make more money.


Just think about what this says about China once ones gets past the copying aspect...

1. Very technical. Developing the software for a phone is not a small project.
2. Quick design.
3. Quick manufacturing.


Monday, April 27, 2009

Vegetarism in China

Great blog with an excellent title!

Good posting on Vegetarians in China.


I am lucky that where I live, Rowland Heights, has two excellent vegetarian restaurants.

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New UC Admission Requirements

New UC admissions policy angers Asian-Americans - SF Gate.

And it seems these start the year after my daughter will be applying for college (applies to freshman class of 2012). If I am counting right... She's currently a sophomore, so 2009, 2010, 2011 will be when she graduates.

Even if it did apply to her, I am not sure if this will help her or hurt her. Supposedly this will increase the number of white students, while decreasing the number of Asian students. Since my daughter is 50/50 is it overall better for her?

The actual changes are not requiring two SAT II tests, allowing anyone with a 3.0 or higher to apply, and reduce the amount of students guaranteed admission based on grades and test scores.


Sunday, April 26, 2009

Cool URL of the Day - organicbubs.com

When I get an order I glance at the E-Mail address, and today there was just a cool name - organicbubs.com The term bubs was one I had not heard before. I was guessing bulbs, so some type of plant site. BUB may mean bringing up bringing up baby in the US, but in Australia it's another word for Baby. organicbubs.com sells Organic baby food products.


Saturday, April 25, 2009

China: Government Blocks Access to YouTube

China: Government Blocks Access to YouTube - NY Times
My daughter was surprised when she heard this. Youtube is a huge part of her life.

Two theories:

1. Prevent Chinese from accessing questionable video's
2. Help local Chinese companies compete

Hmm.... 1 is the official reason, but my personal opinion is reason 2 is not to be overlooked.


Friday, April 24, 2009

Jackie Chan Comment

I am pro-democracy and I wish China had more of it. As Singapore and Taiwan have shown, even if Taiwan's democracy is ___________ (words fail me), it's still better than the alternative. Interesting debate in the NY times on the comment of Mr. Chan and the reaction to it. Supposedly the comment was taken out of context, or perhaps in this integrated world Mr. Chan forgot that a comment meant for one audience, may be heard by unintended audiences. I find it good that such a healthy debate is going on!
Jackie Chan on Controlling the Chinese - NY Times.


Thursday, April 23, 2009

Hope and Caution on Chinese Economy

Hope and Caution on Chinese Economy - NY Times.

It's great to know I am not the only person whom is not 100% sure is the Chinese economy improving or getting worse. Good article to read.


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

USPS Price Increases

Mail prices are going up again effective May 11th, where now a 1st class letter will be 44 cents, a 2 cent increase. I understood the price increases when the price of gas was increasing. Of course since last mail is being sent now due to the economy and the previous price increase, there is another price increase needed.

Priority Mail 1st Pound is going up to $4.95, currently $4.80. Seems so little time it was $3.25.

International and Express are also going up...

Frustrating on my end with higher mailing costs and I did not increase my shipping rates at the last increase.


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Facebook Update!

Let's get to know each other well and shout out updates at anytime! Add me up on Facebook!

Ray Ritchey's Profile
Ray Ritchey's Facebook profile
Create Your Badge

My twitter account is also up:) Follow ChildBook and I'll do the same!

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Name Not on Our List? Change It, China Says

Name Not on Our List? Change It, China Says - from the NY Times.
Fascinating article! China is changing to a computerized ID card, unfortunately the system only supports 32,252 of the 55,000 Chinese Characters... So for the 60 Million Chinese with names that are not supported, you can't get a new ID Card unless you change your name!

China's government is also going to push a standardized list of names with 8000 characters. A 100 surnames cover 85% of all Chinese. In the US, 70,000 surnames cover 90% of Americans.

I admit, it's refreshing that I have not met any other people outside of my family yet (my Father has the same name, which can be annoying at times, especially if your credit reports get mixed...). And going to School there were not many Raymond's either.


Nice Blog by ESL Teacher in China

A nice blog I found by an ESL Teacher in China, http://blog.scott.tylers.info/ and a discussion that I have contributed a bit on with my 2 cents about a hidden cost in China is corruption. It's amazing the amount of corruption there and think about how much money is drained off due to corruption there. This fixable world

No, I really don't want to expand the discussion to the US Campaign funding system, influence peddling, and earmarks that are a problem, but much smaller where corruption is everywhere in China. From getting into the right school, making sure you get adequate care in a hospital, and more...


Monday, April 20, 2009

Mulan at Newport Film Festival

The animated bilngual Mulan will be shown at the Newport Beach Festival.

The DVD I carry of the film:

The Ballad of Mulan & Lady White Snake Bilingual DVD Chinese/English
Our Price: $19.95

Two Stories of two Remarkable Chinese Women in 1 DVD...

Ballad of Mulan - Mulan disguises herself as a man and joins the army to take her father's place. For ten years she shows remarkable skill as a warrior and later becomes a famous general.

Lady White Snake - What fate awaits a thousand-year-old white snake that travels from its sacred mountain to the human world, only to fall in love with a mortal?


Bilingual Education Case - Supreme Court

Does Arizona's system serve? After 17 years, Flores English suit goes to high court - Arizona Star

It's now in the US Supreme Court's hands and the ruling may have a major impact on the so called bilingual education in the US. My 2 cents was what was called bilingual education really was not. True bilingual education is expensive, and that is where you learn both languages fluently. In California from a political viewpoint, depending on the Supreme Court Ruling, I don't see any changes in how students are taught English.


Sunday, April 19, 2009

Chinese Learn English the Disney Way

Chinese Learn English the Disney Way - WSJ

Disney is amazing in their marketing! There is a huge market for learning English in the world.


Teaching - Why being paranoid is good...

Sexting, where under age kids send graphic photos to each other is just the latest addition to a teacher's potential list of nightmares! The photo is considered child pornography and if a teacher or school administrator handles the situation wrongly, their career is gone.

Being a teacher to me is very scary, for it's so easy for a parent or student to ruin your career, especially if your male. A 60 year old High School Assistant Principal Mr. Ting Li Oei (Chinese American), who as part of an investigation had a student forward a picture to his cell phone so he could get it to his computer spent a year of being accused of child abuse and child pornography due to his lack of paranoia and technical savvy had the charges thrown out, but unfortunately his family savings have been depleted defending himself ($150,000), and not to mention the stress on him and his wife. My Students. My Cellphone. My Ordeal. - Washington Post. A site, Help Support Ting-Yi Oei where donations can be made.

Related Links:


Saturday, April 18, 2009

Things to do

May be these should be New Year Resolutions!

  1. Move E-Mail to another server to avoid E-Mail issues
  2. Post before 11:54PM.
  3. Plan special graphics a while before to avoid last minute problems (like my cute Easter Graphic that did not happen).
  4. Figure out video on my daughter's Apple. I just got the new iLife, hopefully that will work with my camcorder. The previous version did not, but the one before that did (go figure).
  5. Finally get out a survey for customers I have been thinking about for a while.
  6. Improve my Chinese Made Easy presentation and move it to avoid any mixups. Which means I need to go figure out on a server I think a 301 redirect. I have some files on another server due to BW costs on my main server. Hint, hint Volusion, I hope you redo your BW pricing soon. Yes, I know, more BW means more customers... And other customers are also frustrated on the BW issue.
  7. Make my CB blogging more Learning Chinese related. OK, I admit it, I am just a political junkie and China politics is very intriguing. But I am not selling political analysis, I am selling Learning Chinese products for children.
  8. I really need to update the EliteDresses banner on my front page. There are still a couple of items at the smaller size in clearance.
  9. I should help my wife on figuring out Baby and Toddler sizes and update EliteDresses. It just came up yesterday twice. Is there any way to make the day longer? Some days it feels there is just not enough hours in a day.
  10. I need to read more fun, education, and family related books. Most of my reading right now is online and not books.


China's Environmental Back Pedaling

Sad - Slump Tilts Priorities of Industry in China - NY Times

A pre-Olympics push on the environment has slipped as Chinese officials concentrate on growth.

I was getting hopeful I would need to update my lesson plan on China's Environment.

Pollution in China - Lesson Plan

Discussing the current state of pollution in China, it's effect on the local population, what the Chinese Government is doing about it, and comparing it to pollution in the United States and what the current trends are.


Disabled in China

Beautiful lady that her picture takes my breath away, but sad article. Liu Yan was paralyzed in practice before the performance of a life time at the Chinese Olympics opening ceremony. And recently married, and it seems now no longer married.

Still Dancing in Her Dreams - NY Times.

The life of the disabled is improving in China, as shown by China hosting a para olympics games and passing some laws to improve on paper the life of the disabled. It helps that the former leader of China's son is disabled (during the cultural revolution), Deng Pufang has been a huge help. To show the power of the younger Deng, he was Executive President for the Chinese Olympics. The former term in China for disabled was can fei (deficient or useless).

When my Father due to his health was temporary forced to use a wheel chair, I appreciated how far the US has come in the area of access for the disabled. It is so nice the amount of ramps that are great for wheel chair access, as well as baby strollers. Going to foreign countries with a baby stroller can be a real adventure.


Friday, April 17, 2009

China's Boy Surplus Analysis

Pomret has a good analysis on the latest report on an increase in China's Boy Population.

34 Million Men with no ability to get wives in 20 years in China...

Older Posts of mine on this:


Thursday, April 16, 2009

China and Latin America

Interesting on how China is focused on expanding their ability to get the needed raw materials for their industry in Africa and Latin America.

Deals Help China Expand Sway in Latin America- NY Times.

An interesting article that shows some of the connections between private industry in China and the government.

China Inc.'s Top Deal Maker Provokes a Backlash Abroad Wall Street Journal - ‎Apr 15, 2009‎


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

China's Economy - Slowing or Growing?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Chinese Poetry Sale

ChildBook's Weekly Sale! this week is Chinese Poetry.

Favorite book of mine:

A Thousand Peaks: Poems from China
A Thousand Peaks: Poems from China
Our Price: $19.95

Chinese Poetry Anthology

Spans 2,000 years--from the Han Dynasty to the 20th century--

  • Rhythmic translations capture astonishing beauty of original Chinese
  • Stories that describe the culture and history that inspired the poet
  • Pinyin and Chinese translations
  • With illustrations


Sunday, April 12, 2009

Taking an American Name

The decision to take an American name when you come to the US is a big decision. Some people just go with nicknames, such as a Shellane will become a Dave. The only headache is on pay day, where the poor payroll department has the check made out to Shellane Chang for example, where everybody knows them by Shellang Chang. My Mother who did payroll has many similar stories. Another one was at a Christmas party they had a drawing based on the names from payroll, so when the CEO called the name, nobody, not even the person knew who that was. His supervisor finally pointed it out (the person was not expecting his real name to be called).

Other people will in their legal name use an American name as their middle name to avoid issues. I understand some of my wife's cousins have done this. Others choose an American name as a nickname, the problem is some names with unfortunate assocations can be chosen. I could go with examples here, but anything I write will get me in trouble. Bottom line is it's important to check with a couple of Americans before choosing an American name. Same idea as picking a child's name, my wife and I made picking our daughter's name into a big project (our requirements were one that is not that popular, but not to unique, good meaning, and can be easily pronounced by Chinese speakers). If you are thinking of getting a tattoo of a Chinese Character, have a native or two Chinese speaker double check to make sure you are not getting one you will regret, or is in the opposite of Chinglish. Would that be EngChin?

My opinion is immigrants if possible should keep their native name, since it has a lot of meaning. With Chinese, if they change their last name to an American one, that is pretty strange. I know of only one person who did that, and their reason was it helps in traveling to China. My wife's comments on this were sure... Her guess was a bankruptcy or something.

This was just in the news, where a Texas Representative said foreigners should get an American name for easier pronunciation. That person is now apologizing... Texas rep apologies for remarks on Asian names - Asssociated Press.


Asian Population in California Demographics

The State of Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific
Islander Health in California Report
has some fascinating statistics.

By County:
Los Angeles is 13.8% or 1.37 Million are Asian and Pacific Islander
Santa Clara is 35.1%
San Francisco is 35.3%
Alameda is 26%
Orange County 17.1%

  • 67% of Foreign Born Chinese becoming US Citizens
  • 43% of the Chinese have limited English proficiency.
  • Education - 51% of Chinese have a BS or higher. For Whites, it's 37% and Latinos 9%.
  • Very high rate of cervical Cancer, 29% for Chinese, vs. 14% for Whites.
  • Only 2% of Chinese women smoke - um, I believe is higher than 2%. I have seen many Chinese women hide the fact they smoke. 13% of Japanese women smoke, and the overall state average is 12%.
  • 19% of Chinese are overweight, vs. 35% of Whites (no comment except I plan on starting a 30 minute walk everyday very soon).


Saturday, April 11, 2009

China's Boy Surplus

Chinese Bias for Baby Boys Creates a Gap of 32 Million - NY Times.

This has been written about before, and the worry that a surplus of males will make China more belligerent and socially unstable. What I find interesting is it's a Chinese source that published the report. The ratio is 120 boys to 100 girls in 2005, which has been caused by the 1 child policy and cheap sonagrams. Korea has a similar problem due to a culture preference for boys.


Location - Vietnam Vs. China

Multinationals take a longer view of Vietnam - LA Times.

A key phrase from the article is "China plus one", when describing Vietnam. Many Taiwanese companies were leaving China due to higher cost, and setting shop in Vietnam.

Negatives in the article about locating in Vietnam:
  • Highly theoretical Education and lack of technical work force
  • High Inflation (28% last year)
  • Labor Strikes at Garment and Footwear companies
  • Poor infrastructure
  • Government does not get things done quickly (as China does).
  • China's improving business climate and low cost producer
I am surprised at the negatives of locating in Vietnam, from the article is seems the government is less authoritarian than China. Permitting labor strikes I did not expect. Nor, not quickly evicting people for infrastructure projects (major problem in China, especially with corruption issues). Labor strikes are big issues for companies that are very low cost producers, such as Tennis Shoes. The reason many companies have left Indonesia is because of labor stability, where China does not have this issue.


China Turns a Corner as Spending Takes Hold - WSJ.com

China Turns a Corner as Spending Takes Hold - WSJ.com

China's internal market is improving as China's stimulus package helps the economy. Good news in so many ways.


Friday, April 10, 2009

China Exports Decline, but slower

Chinese Exports Decline, but More Slowly - NY Times.

Actually positive news! And China's stimulus package seems to be having a positive affect.


Thursday, April 9, 2009

Learning Chinese on a Nintendo?

Reviews look pretty good: Nintendo DS Review: My Chinese Coach

$29.95 for 10,000 words and 1500 phrases.

A weakness seems to be limited Pinyin and the stroke order is not 100% correct, on Amazon it's rated a 4 out of 5. Sounds like version 1.1 with the bug fixes is the one to buy, once that comes out.


Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Learn Chinese on iPhone

MyWords - Chinese for iPhone from PC World. Cost is $9.99 and the company has a lot of neat products for Learning Chinese, including a Dictionary ($1.99).


Tuesday, April 7, 2009

China to Revamp Health Care Wall Street Journal

China to Revamp Health Care Wall Street Journal

One of the great changes in China, truthfully in a negative way, has been the deterioration of the health system as China has changed to a semi-capitalistic system. This has left much of the population without any health care. And if you go to the hospitals, you need to pay under the table to make sure you get adequate care. Because of the need for high quality health care, some Taiwanese Hospitals have been expanding into China.

This latest move by the Chinese government is not a surprise. China's government is attempting to restore some of the safety web that has gone away during the economic changes. Another one I expect is some type of unemployment and social security system. China is already doing a massive public works project.


Monday, April 6, 2009

Ships and Web Sites

I just took a mini vacation on a cruise ship (Long Beach to Ensenada, 3 night cruise) and I got a bit frustrated trying to get around and figure out where everything is. 


1. Navigation should be clear. 

  • It would have been nice if each deck had a number on it, instead of the
    letter.  Instead they used Deck Names, which was confusing...

2. Give people a clear map that lists out major places to go.

  • The map of the ship gave decks, but not much of what was on each deck. Not even in the room reference book. Frustrating, so we went exploring. I never did figure out how to get to the very front of the ship.

On ChildBook I created sections by Age to help navigation.

3. If there is something special, let people know.
  • Unfortunately, getting off the boat in Ensenada was confusing... One couple had gone up the elevator a few times. I had guessed the same way we came in, but it was different and there were no signs till you got really close. We got closer after we asked a crew person.
  • Weekly Sales on CB Front page and weekly E-Mail newsletter.


Saturday, April 4, 2009

China Vies to Be World’s Leader in Electric Cars

China Vies to Be World’s Leader in Electric Cars - NY Times.

Wonders of a command economy, in some industries it does have advantage.

The real challenge for electric cars is battery technology.


Friday, April 3, 2009

Why Help your Kids be Bi-lingual?

I've been reading "The Bilingual Edge" (by Kendall King and Alison Mackey )and I must say I find the book very helpful. The text is easy to read, as though the authors are having a conversation with you.

Interesting to me are the reasons they cited about the advantages your child will get by being bi-lingual (English-Chinese, for example.)

It has been found that bi-lingual kids are:
  • Smarter. More creative, intellectually flexible
  • Socially open.
It turns out bi-lingual children are subjected to more brain activity as they learn two different sets of language. And since their brains are more active, it is but natural for bilingual kids to be more creative and flexible. It was found that bilingual kids can come up with more different answers to problem-solving questions. Not surprisingly, even in test scores and academic performance, it has been seen that bilinguals tend to outperform monolinguals. Note that this is more true for children who have an advanced knowledge of another language, rather than those who know how only how to greet and count in a second language. (However, the latter still tend to be "smarter" than monolinguals. )

As for the social benefits, bilinguals are more understanding of people of the secondary language, and people of other cultures as well. Knowing another language opens their eyes and their hearts that people are different and people should take time to listen to each other. For kids, it is easier to learn about one's heritage if songs, rhymes and stories are understood in the native language. Later on, these children will be the same ones who will reach out to people of different groups. They will also be the link to the next generation's appreciation of one's culture.

Either way, the intellectual and social boost being bilingual brings are characteristics we aspire for our children. Teaching your kids to be bilingual is a win-win experience for the child, for your family, community and even the global community.

Bilingual Edge shares more about why, when and how to teach your child a second language.

Or see more parenting-bilinguals books.

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Chinese Made Easy Video

Chinese Made Easy now has a video!

It's my 20 Page PowerPoint Review of Chinese Made Easy with a voice over.


Thursday, April 2, 2009

Chinese video game lead

Online Chinese video game story on Marketplace about how the Chinese have figured out how to monitize videos and are ahead of everybody on this. Links soon to follow if I don't get too frustrated... Cheated and did a search using Google to find the link...

Asian game companies run up scores

Chinese online game company Changyou has gone public, with a strong response from investors. The Asian gaming industry is thriving despite the global recession. It's a business model that has some Western rivals envious. Scott Tong reports. (04/02/2009)



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