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Friday, July 31, 2009

Historical Chinese Pictures to See with your Child

Here's an interesting site that you and your family might like to browse over for everybody to see how China was in the olden years. It also has other photographs that show old Taiwan, Chinese in San Francisco and many more treasures.

The impressive collection is offered by Thomas H. Hahn. He is a lecturer at Cornell, author and undoubtedly very passionate about the Chinese culture.

Here is a sample photo I borrowed from his site :

1892 pic of Chinese in San Francisco
from Thomas H.Hahn Docu-Images

Thomas says he has more pictures that are not featured in the site, so you can just email him to ask if has any that you are interested to see. You can also share if you have old, treasured photos you want others to see.

Here is the url of his website: http://hahn.zenfolio.com/f240852810

Please also check out our Chinese history books for kids too.

Hope you have fun looking at the pictures. :-)

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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Twilight in Chinese. Yay!

A lot of young people (surprisingly, girls and boys alike) like the Twilight books by Stephanie Meyer. Something about Bella and Edward's endemic difference makes it seem romantically dreamy, for some.

ChildBook now has Twilight in Traditional Chinese. These Chinese Twilight books is most suited for advanced and intermediate-advanced readers of Chinese.

Hope our youngies will read and enjoy the Twilight books this summer vacation.


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Chinese Father's Day is coming

Chinese Father's Day is coming, it's on the 8th Day of the 8th Month. Lunar Calendar is a bit different, of course. In the Gregorian Calender it's next Wednesday. And I am doing ChildBook's weekly Learning Chinese Sale on this.


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

China Seeks Assurances That U.S. Will Cut Its Deficit

China Seeks Assurances That U.S. Will Cut Its Deficit NY Times.

I find the title just amazing Who would have thought just a few years ago. How times have changed...

And this is my #900 posts.


Sunday, July 26, 2009

Stealing their Future

I read so much about corruption in China that I am usually not surprised, but this is horrible.
Files Vanished, Young Chinese Lose the Future - NY Times.
The education files that are so important to future advancement have been stolen and sold by corrupt officials. Dooming the people without them, to low paying jobs. Even if they have graduated college. Very sad..


Saturday, July 25, 2009

China's One Child Policy Tweaked?

Shanghai Tweaks One-Child Policy - NY Times.

This is a major change, but it makes sense since Shanghai has a lot of money, and as incomes go up usually the number of kids goes down.

The root issue is China's population is rapidly aging, and there is no social security set up. The percentage of people over 65 being 25% of the population by 2050. So will China get rich enough to pay for them? Other countries are having similar issues, such as Japan and Italy with an aging population.


Baby Learns Chinese 2nd Wave

Forgot to tell you that we're excited over the arrival of the newly released Baby Learns Chinese 2nd set of DVDs and flashcards.


The set includes DVDs number 4-6 and Flash cards set II.

The learning principles used with this Learning Chinese for baby is also from the Doman school of thought that believes babies can learn another language and can read if you just spend some time everyday helping them read in big figures. The Doman learning principles are not confined to just language but other cognitive abilities. The Doman book I have is the one about teaching baby mathematics. Exciting book, that one.

What I'd really like to share is the story about the inspiration behind the production of the "Baby Learns Chinese" materials. This is written by the founder, Ms. Yama Chan:

"After reading the book "How to Teach your Baby to Read" by Dr. Glenn Doman, I started using the flash card method to teach my twin boys how to recognize Chinese characters and English words. They were almost 1 year old at that time. I found that even though my boys could not speak yet, they were able to recognize the Chinese characters after seeing them a few times. It actually took them longer to learn English words. I think my boys found Chinese characters easier to remember because Chinese words are inherently images. To them, each Chinese character is, as long as the character relates to things that are familiar with in everyday life, they had no problems recognizing and reading the characters. By age 2, my boys were able to recognize about 100 Chinese characters. They are 6 now and they love reading Chinese books."

Ms. Chan then proceeded to team up with other parents and educators to spread this method to other families that want their kids to learn Chinese well and early.

Come see the newest Baby Learns Chinese DVDs 4-6

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Friday, July 24, 2009

Learning Chinese Words

Neat article, The Great Wall and beyond about traveling to China and the key words they Learned in Chinese. We started learning Chinese phrases. Three words stuck: yuan (Chinese money; 6.85 equals $1); nihou (hello), and pijo (beer)

In my around 20 years of marriage to my wife (Taiwanese), I have picked up a bit of Chinese. I understand more than I speak.

My limited vocabulary:

hello, shao lan bao (steamed dumplings), good buy, thank you, counting 1-10 on a good day, wife, ice water (you speak in perfect pronunciation to a Chinese waiter and because your white they don't expect it), is so and so home, little boy, little girl, grandfather, father, mother, grandmother, dog, small, large, yes, no, no thank you, rice, and a few others.

And with my fluent, sarcastic teenage daughter around, I usually don't use it. Easier on my ego.

My dream is to take a full immersion class in Chinese with my family not around to, um, help me :-) The good side is I have a huge amount of great material for Learning Chinese and some that take care of that bug bear of learning Chinese, pronunciation. I like the idea of Learning Chinese with Bo Po Mo to avoid the Pinyin issues. Champion Chinese does this.


I liked the Harry Potter 6 movie

A week after its showing, my child and I finally saw Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Special thanks to my sister who won free movie tickets in some raffle at the office.

I wanted to bring a truckload of tissue because I remember when I read the Harry Potter 6 book, I was sad for 2 days because of the tragedies in the novel.

I guess that abnormal sadness covered enough to get me through the movie. I didn't feel sad at all, even though the story telling was superb.

The movie adaptation, IMHO, is seamless. Very good treatment of the book, and I'm the type who likes to read the book before a movie adaptation so I can have the pleasure of massacre-ing the movie version.

But this one, no comment. Excellent adaptation.

Go see the movie, but don't forget we have the Chinese Harry Potter books too. You can choose from Traditional or Simplified Chinese version. These translations are most suited for advanced/intermediate Chinese readers.

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Thursday, July 23, 2009

A Dragon Boat Festival that Celebrates Women's Lives

We love all the dragon boat festivals, and a dragon boat festival dedicated for celebrating wellness is also warmly welcomed!

Many thanks to Pam of Team Survivor Northwest for giving us the information of their organization's dragon boat festival this year. The event is entitled "Seattle Celebrating Life! Dragon Boat Festival" and will be held on August 22-23 (Saturday and Sunday) at the Magnuson Park in Seattle.

Team Survivor Northwest is an organization dedicated to providing physical fitness and sports-related adventures to women recuperating from cancer. So for those in the Seattle area and like participating and watching dragon boat races, head on over to Magnuson Park on the dates above and celebrate with Team Survivor Northwest :-)

For more information, please call their office at (206) 732-8350.

We've already updated the ChildBook Dragon Boat Calendar, Pam. Thanks again.


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

More Rio Tinto

Per the WSJ the price of raw ore has been increasing, hurting China's economics due to the Rio Tinto debacle.

It seems in 1996 China did something similar, where they arrested a Royal Dutch Shell manager. Shell refused any further business negotiations till the person was released. China's international reputation, as seen in this editorial, A Pawn in a Political Game, is not doing well.

If I was an ethnic Chinese thinking about working in China, what happened in Rio Tinto would be of concern. I joke with my wife that I am safe to go work in China since I am White, where since she's ethnic Chinese (Taiwanese), she has a higher chance of being arrested in a business dispute.


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

When a Daddy Becomes President...

Yeah, different segments of society have different opinions about the leadership of the current president. Some like him, some don't, some don't care.

But, when a dad becomes president, then there is a very keen interest in the education of kids across the country, even those too young to go to formal school.

Heard that there are proposals for a presidential fund that will boost enthusiasm for improving the country's Early Learning Program.

The funding will support programs that will encourage states to
  • work towards a higher standard of quality of early learning programs
  • let more kids participate in high-quality programs
  • deliver the training and support needed to prepare the kids with the cognitive, social, and emotional skills necessary for kindergarten success.

If used correctly, I think that USD10 billion will be one of the best investments yet in the history of.

Hope one of the thrusts is to help kids become multi-linguals... Chinese, please? hehehe

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Monday, July 20, 2009

College Advice Consulting

Interesting article from the NY Times: Before College, Costly Advice Just on Getting In

Or you can buy these instead:

A Is For Admission by Michele A. Hernandez.  English. Paperback.
A Is For Admission by Michele A. Hernandez
Our Price: $14.99

A Is For Admission updated and revised by Michele A. Hernandez. The insider's guide to getting into the Ivy League and other top colleges. A former admissions officer at an Ivy League university reveals the secrets of being admitted to the nation's best schools, covering such topics as the importance of SAT scores and how applications are reviewed and interpreted. English. Paperback. 266 Pages.

Acing The College Application by Michele A. Hernandez.  English. Paperback.
Acing The College Application by Michele A. Hernandez
Our Price: $14.95

Acing The College Application by Michele A. Hernandez. Offers a step-by-step guide to the college application process with an analysis of the common application, a detailed study of application essays, and a look at common myths and misconceptions about the on-campus interview. English. Paperback. 262 Pages.


Getting China Books in Hong Kong

Just realized, looking at the dashboard that the last entry was the eight hundred eighty eighth! Lucky number for the Chinese. Me not so lucky, wasn't able to post before midnight. :-(

Anyhoo, on too post number 889 ---

I have a friend based in China who likes to frustrate over some of the tighter rules in the Mainland. She likes coming over to Hong Kong on week-ends and I affectionately forbid her to do so and not step in to the "Chinese Sodom and Gomorrha" (NB: also affectionately nicknamed). I tease my friend she likes going to HK to be able to view Multiply and Facebook.

I am reminded of our bantering as I saw in the July 17, 2009 Wall Street Journal Online - "Banned Political Books in China Thrive in Hong Kong." Like my friend, the article points out how people drop by Hong Kong to... yes, get books! Political books and books related to the personal lives of political figures are best sellers for people from the Mainland. One bookstore owner says, visitors from the Mainland account for 70% of his buyers.

My friend just laughs off my silliness at the bibilical analogy. Biblical + China = Definitely Disconnected. I laugh too, but behind my smiling banter, I wonder how it feels to travel elsewhere to access books and the net sites that I like.

Maybe I shouldn't think about it, I might turn into a pillar of salt...

Saturday, July 18, 2009

888 Blogging Post

8's are a lucky number in Mandarin Chinese, they sound like Wealth and Father. So of course August 8th is Chinese Father's Day.

888 Blog Posts is a lot of posts and soon there will be some nice improvements coming to make ChildBook's blog more interesting and helpful for what Childbook is about. Which is Learning Chinese materials for kids.

Not Ray's observations on China's politics (Rio Tinto's situation is scary...), Chinese in the US, and of course my latest headache district of choice - why my daughter?


Friday, July 17, 2009

District of Choice - Who's Against It

So who is against the District of choice?

In the appropriates committee these assembly members voted for it - Audra Strickland, Duvall, Harkey, Miller, Nielsen. All Republican.

And these voted against it:

Tom Ammiano - District 30, San Franscisco. State Office - (916) 319 2013. SF Office (415) 557 3013.

Charles Calderon, District 58, Montebello. (916) 319-2058. (562) 692-5858

Joe Coto, District 23, San Jose, (408) 277-1220, (916) 319-2023

Mike Davis, 48th District, Tel: (916) 319-2048, Tel: (213) 744-2111 South La

Kevin De Leon
- 45th District, Downtown LA Tel: (916) 319-2045 Tel: (323) 225-4545

Feilpe Fuentes, District 39, San Fernando Valley. Phone: (916) 319-2039 Phone: (818) 504-3911


John A. Perez




- All Democrats.


Thursday, July 16, 2009

New Chinatown Driving 10 Driving Observations

Some observations from my neighborhood, a New Chinatown.

1. Always cut corners if your driving. There is no chance somebody will be making a right turn, when you make your left in a residential area.

2. In the residential area, always drive in the middle of the street. Same in parking lots.

3. Yellow Lights are good for at least 2-3 cars. Especially on left turns.

4. The Red Light Camera can be ignored. The one at Batson and Colima.

5. If you hear a siren, wait until the last minute possible to pull over to the right.

6. If you are on the other side of the street and hear a siren, keep on going.

7. Flashing Red Lights = just drive through it.

8. Parental driving gets crazy around schools. Avoid if possible. Stopped in the middle of the street waiting is just one example. Police love to give tickets for this. Also don't drop off your kids on the South side of Diamond Bar high school where there is a red curb, another favorite ticket zone.

9. Parking spaces in Asian Strip Malls are super small. Not sure on the reason for this.

10. If it's labeled compact, that means any size car can park there. Feel free to take 2 spaces if necessary.


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

American Dream - Judy Chu US Congress Woman

Great role model!

Judy Chu becomes first Chinese American woman elected to Congress

And of course in Southern California there is now the first Chinese American elected to Congress.


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Harry Potter Mania

And it's officially on! Potter and the gang once again dominates theaters around the globe. Eager fanatics are excited to watch the series ender. I know they are because I am too. Tomorrow my partner and I will watch it and maybe do a movie review afterwards.

Since it's the Potter mania, ChildBook holds a special sale~ Harry Potter SALE (which of course ends on Monday). All Chinese Harry Potter books are now on sale and other fantasy and magical stories too.

We've combined books for advance Chinese readers and beginners. So everyone can have their fill. Take a look and enjoy the good reads.

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Monday, July 13, 2009

Blogging and Sponsorships

The NY Times has an article titled Blogger Approval May Please Sponsors and I have mixed feelings on it. It does bring up some relevant issues that are not clear to me what is 100% right, and what is 100% wrong. It's similar to the product placement in movies that can become so annoying (Ford in the last James Bond movie and GM in transformers). I see it from the marketing side, as well as the end user.

ChildBook has not accepted a corporate sponsor. I do blog about the products I carry along with Chinese related topics and try my best to give my honest opinion. Sometimes it may be too honest :-) I try to stay away from politics and just be factual.


Sunday, July 12, 2009

District of Choice - Why my daughter?

A few years ago, California legislators passed the District of Choice legislation which allowed children to choose which school district they attended. My daughter went straight from the Christian School she attended to Walnut School District, avoiding the district we live in. Now, because the SB 680 was not passed, my daughter may be forced to leave her high school attend another one.

Why? Because of a greedy district that just wants more money, which they can get by wrenching students back from from districts they have gone many years to. As if they were a form of cattle to be traded.

For educators that profess to put students first, their attitudes puzzle me.

It looked like a partisan vote killed it (Republicans for, Democrats against in committee). The school district is suggesting write letters to the Governor, but do you have any other suggestions? I am afraid afraid doing the same old thing is just going to have the same results.

My gut feeling is since the district that is affected is in a Republican District and mostly Asian students, there is not much that will be done.

The LA Times even had an editorial in praise of renewing the program.

Smart choice for California schools - Los Angeles Times


Students must stay within local local district - Glendale News Press
Senator Gloria Romero, author of the bill
Comments on District of Choice at the Pasadena Star News.


China's Ethnic Fault Lines - Briliant Article

Excellent article - China’s Ethnic Fault Lines - Rising tensions and resistance to Beijing’s control challenge China’s ‘harmonious’ society.

The article was very educational for me about how language groups, such as Cantonese, are also forming groups within China and having more pride in their group. Traditionally China has been broken up into a couple states and the current huge configuration of China is relatively new. Thought provoking article showing more of the nightmares of the ruling party that has a primary goal of keeping China in one piece through economic progress and aggressive levels of nationalism.


Saturday, July 11, 2009

Cheap China Tour

I wished I had booked this instead of the vacation we are going on...

Cheap China Vacation from SF.

I have been informed I am going on vacation for a week in August after my daughter finishes her SAT class. My family is going to Florida and renting a minivan and tour the Southern US for a week. Should be fun with all the historically significant locations in the area (my daughter is taking US history AP next year). My current project is to map out where to go starting in Miami (tickets booked), and may be up to NY, or end up in Atlanta?


Friday, July 10, 2009

Is arresting standard business practice in China?

Rio Tinto just had 4 employees arrested in China. Rio Tinto is a huge iron ore producer that China was trying to buy, but got turned down. Currently China is negotiating the price of Iron ore and these arrests happened.

Arrests in China have happened before that are more business related and how has more power, than to any crime. Jude Shao is an example of this. This also happened to a friend of a friend of my wife.

No formal charges have been pressed, but supposedly the Rio Tinto people got confidential pricing information. Or is this just a way to change the subject on a misjudgement? It is hurting the relationship with Australia and China's reputation in the area of law with foreign firms (I hope you did not fall off your chair laughing at that last sentence).


Thursday, July 9, 2009

Western Classics in Chinese -- for Kids

I'm excited that ChildBook has some classic stories in Traditional Chinese.

The books come in big print and also have Pinyin

So for those who have bigger kids and are reading these in school, or just really interested in Western classic literature, they may like to see the following stories in Chinese:


Wednesday, July 8, 2009

New Chinatown & Stress

In some families, a 1759 on the SAT would be good. Not in our area... My daughter has a class mate who got 2400 in the 7th grade. As one person said, in Asia Town the standards are a bit higher for a good score. And of course this does put a bit of pressure on the students around here and explains all the SAT tutoring centers here.

And of course to do really well on the Chinese SAT II. What is an acceptable score on the Chinese SAT II here is much higher, and since the scores are based on a curve, and there is a very steep curve on the Chinese SAT II due to all of the native speakers taking it, it's challenging.

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Arts and Culture-wise, can Beijing be the Next New York?

I saw this article on the NBC News Blog, asking if Beijing can possibly be the new New York?

The writer says there are the usual social problems of unemployment, a slow down of economic activity and recently, even internet-censorship. However, looking at the arts and culture scene, it can be said that Beijing is in some kind of renaissance.

The article reviews several people's opinions of Beijing's openness to new ideas and opportunity, not only in the arts but in other industries as well, such as the food industry. One curator who lived in New York and London during the arts-inspired 70's and 80's, sees the similiarities in present Beijing and thinks for himself that "...Beijing is the new New York."

Readers of the blog post have invited an uproar of replies that vehemently disagree with comparing the 2 cities. The censorship and approval needed for art to move forward in China is the main barrier to let art express itself in the city.

How about you, what do you think? Arts-wise, can Beijing have a fair chance to be the New New York?


Monday, July 6, 2009

China's Energy Future

China's Nuclear Energy Target for 2020 is 86 Gigawatts and Wind Energy Target of 150 GW by Next Big Future.

My opinion is China will actually meet these huge goals. I am surprised by how much Wind Energy they are targeting, but it makes sense to reduce their oil imports and clean up their air.


Sunday, July 5, 2009

China's Great Leap Forward in Green Products

Can I Clean Your Clock? by Thomas Friedman. It seems that China is now putting a priority on production of green products such as Solar, Wind, and other areas... And this is supposed to be the future in many areas of jobs for the US, except it may be a Made in China future.


July 4th in New Chinatown - Smells like Taiwan

My daughter's comment last night... "smells like Taiwan". It sounded like a war zone. Oh, and fireworks are supposed to be banned in Rowland Heights where I live. The smell of black powder was so bad. My Akita used to get so scared of the noise. One night we went out to fireworks, and he almost clawed through a wooden door trying to get inside. After that I stayed home with him to comfort him. Brave in so many other ways, but loud noises he did not like.


Saturday, July 4, 2009

Sales Tax and E-Commerce

Currently companies are only required to collect sales tax within a state if they have a physical presence there. This is called Nexus. This is why non-California customers don't pay sales tax. California residences pay the sales tax for where I ship from (Rowland Heights), not for their actual location since ChildBook does not have operations within other states.

Theoretically, the person receiving items is supposed to voluntarily pay the sales tax within their state. For businesses, since they do get audited for sales tax compliance they prefer to work with firms that charge sales tax for commercial transactions. Examples of companies that do are PC Mall and CDW.

New York is trying to get sales taxes from Amazon by claiming that affiliates are acting as sales agents for Amazon, and therefore Amazon has a physical presence there. Amazon so far has lost this in court. What another company did was just eliminate affiliates in New York.

A sticky issue is how much activity represents nexus? Would a tradeshow in a state be potentially nexus? If they took orders at the trade show, yes, if they waited till they got back to their home office probably not. Court cases have varied on what constitutes nexus. Would mailing catalogs to a state be nexus? No, because it's not enough physical presence per the US Supreme Court. The reason behind the tax issue is the Commerce Clause in the Constitution, and with there being thousands of different sales tax rates in the US per the Supreme Court considered to be burdensome for retailers to collect sales tax for out of state purchases. Congress can legislate changes in the collection of sales tax, but so far has not.

In the future I believe sales taxes will be collected. With computers and databases, the issue of complexity is a non-issue. There is also a movement called the Streamlined Sales Tax Project to simplify the number of sales taxes across the US

Please note, I am not a CPA and the above is informational only and please consult with a professional before making any business decisions on charging and not charging sales tax.


China Myths & Stereotypes in Manufacturing

Bulb Maker TCP to Produce Its Own-Brand Lights - Wall Street Journal is an interesting article for some of the truths and stereotypes that are dispelled in the article.

One stereotype is China is successful just because it uses cheap labor. If this was true, countries with lower cost labor than China would be very successful. The article mentions the work force was cut from 15,000 to 8,000 in the last 3 years. 3 years ago 100% of bulbs were made by hand, now 60% are made with automation. This is showing how China also uses automation to increase their efficiency.

The manufacturer believes they can sell their bulbs direct and it won't endanger their relations with customers who they produce for. This is a common belief and with most of the Chinese companies I have dealt with they don't understand the channel conflict issue. IE they sell to distributors, and they also sell direct. And many US distributors do not like also competing with the manufacturer - since how can you on price?

The article also mentions the company is looking to set up a factory in the US. This is a big change from the usual way Chinese companies do business. I hope they are successful.


Protests growing in China

The number of protests in China is growing per some articles I read this morning. China no longer publishes how many protest there are. A protest against the death of a Shishou hotel worker in the province of Hubei. Seems to be the usual corruption issues as well as the killing of innocents is no longer as protected as it used to be due to Instant Messaging and the Internet. This is creating fast and widespread communication about problems that so far have not been able to be censored in enough time. The hotel is supposedly owned by the brother of the Mayor of the city, and since the riot is being reported in the Chinese press I would predict there will be a new May very soon. China's government hates publicity like this.

Per another article, Risky Business in the Streets, China is extremely concerned over rioting and has a special force of 100,000 trained for dealing with rioting, plus the army also has trained units. The fear is rioting may start going after more and more corrupt officials, and there is a huge challenge of corruption that reaches very far up in the Chinese government.


Thursday, July 2, 2009

New (800) Number

In our desire to serve customers better, ChildBook finally has a toll-free number.

Our new 800 number is :

(800) 689-1218

Customers can use this number to ask product details or if you post orders.

Hope this feature will be helpful for you.
We look forward to hearing from you.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Learning Chinese Game outside the classroom

Neat article with a lot of great ideas for Games you can play outside the class room for Learning Chinese.

Look and Find: Learning words in uncommon places makes learning interesting.

Dim Sum is full of fun Chinese words, the problem is the Cantonese servers vs. Mandarin that most people want to Learn :-)

Some games I carry:
Games for Learning Chinese, Traditional Characters, Practical Chinese
Our Price: $20.00
Sale Price: $17.99
You Save $2.01!

Games for Learning Chinese
Traditional Characters, Practical Chinese


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