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Thursday, December 31, 2009

People's Processor

People’s Processor: Embrace China’s Homegrown Computer Chips from Wired Magazine.

This makes more sense now...

China Blocks Tech Imports with New Rule

And the fact that PC's have become so powerful, that you don't need the latest and greatest processor to run them (Vista was an exception, but if your using Linux and/or Windows XP).

Basically China is trying to make it so it does not need to import foreign technology, such as Intel chips that are not mostly designed in China. I was going to say designed in the US, but then I remembered how Intel has design centers around the world


Chinatown Life - What Tourists don't see

Good story from the SF Chronicle.

Chinatown family life - what tourists don't see

Key Points:

  • Quote - "the Chinese believe if you just put up with it, you will win. Don't cause trouble, and you will persevere."
I have gotten this lecture a few times. Keep a low profile, don't cause waves... You don't want the teacher/school administrator to hate you...
  • The son is taking AP Chemistry.
  • Another quote - "It is our tradition to take care of our parents," Mo says. "Someday my son will take care of me."
A listing of Chinatowns in the US:


10 Tips for Keeping your Learning Chinese Resolutions

Resolutions are traditionally made in the New Year on what your going to do for the coming year. A great resolution, as the Frugal Traveler made at the NY Times is to Learn Chinese. Or if your already Learning Chinese, keep on improving!

It's easy to make resolutions, the challenge is how do you make it so you actually keep them. An old saying is talk is cheap. So what actions are you going to take in the coming year for Learning Chinese?

Per the NY Times article ,Findings - The Psychology Behind Putting Off What Can Be Enjoyed Now, it's important to have to have short term deadlines.

Some Suggestions:

1. Do a New Years Resolution for Learning Chinese. Yes, a New Years resolution only has a 19% chance of being still being followed in 2 years, but by making one you have a 10X chance of accomplishing it! Good article - A Cheat Sheet for Keeping Resolutions

2. Create a plan to avoid the issue of procrastination. Spread it over time. Excellent article in the WSJ on this - Blame It on the Brain The latest neuroscience research suggests spreading resolutions out over time is the best approach. Think of the tortoise and the hare, where the tortoise that went slow, but steady won the race. You want your Learning to be like this. So create a plan on what you are going to do for Learning Chinese. It may be buying some Chinese Textbooks, CD's, starting a class, or even traveling to China. Good intentions are just that, until they become work.

2. Track what your are doing. If your going to get serious in an area, track what your doing. If your going to set the goal of studying Chinese 5 hours a week, keep a notebook that you update every time you do.

3. Set short term goals (daily) for what you are going to do for Learning Chinese. It may be as simple as listening to a CD for Learning Chinese when you get in the car during your morning commute. The average commute is 24 minutes in the US, which give you 48 minutes a day you can use for Learning Chinese!

4. Reward your self when you meet your goals!

5. Make Learning Chinese a habit. It takes a while to create a habit, but once you do your learning will become so much easier. Study Chinese at the same time everyday, in the same place. This will make scheduling easier, especially if your teaching your kids Chinese. Creating the habit may take 30 days as you get used to your new routine.

6. Set up a support network! This is somebody, hopefully who made the same resolution, who you can talk to about how your doing and keep you honest on achieving your goal. It's much easier to lie to yourself (I"ll work on learning Chinese tomorrow, but tomorrow never comes as Annie sang).

7. Publish your intentions on your facebook, my space, etc site to your friends!

8. Identify potential barriers to Learning Chinese and find solutions!

9. Make a list of Why you want to Learn Chinese. When you get discourage, read it again. Perhaps read it out loud to yourself! It's OK to copy my list of Why Learn Chinese :-)

10. Set reasonable expectations! Life is often 2 steps forward and a step back. What matters is you are constantly working on going ahead! So don't give up!


Monday, December 28, 2009

Chinese Santa - Creepy?

A friend of mine just asked if a Chinese looking Santa would be creepy. In this post, I have a picture of a Chinese Santa.

The differences that I see are:
  1. His skin is a little bit darker
  2. Chinese beard style as seen in pictures of gods
  3. Sash around him with some Chinese Characters on him.
  4. Not as fat as the usual American Santa Claus
  5. Not as tall, but has a more powerful build.
My thought is he is cute.

A long time ago while I was in college I helped put together a booth for Monitors for Samsung, and they had an Asian Uncle Sam. The Koreans loved it. My coworkers thought it a bit strange :-) I kept a poster of it for many years, but I can no longer find it (to many moves).


Chinese Adoption Roots

Adoptive families' quests to trace Chinese roots often meet dead ends - From the LA Times.

Good article about how many families with children adopted from China are going back to China to find out where out more about their children's background. There are some heart warming tales in the story.

Related Resources:


Sunday, December 27, 2009

Chinese New Year Resources

A customer has this question on what I recommended for a presentation they were doing to a group of third graders on Chinese New Year

Here is a lesson plan that could help:

My section on the Chinese New Year:

Some craft projects for Chinese New Year:

Lots of coloring pages that would be fun for Chinese New Year


China & Copenhagen

The climate summit in Copenhagen reminds me of Rashomon.

Two articles:
I have read 3 versions so far what happened. One is basically it's China's fault the Copenhagen resulted in a meaningless agreement. The other is China was defending it's economic growth against attempted secret meetings and agreements by other governments. The third version is the third world scuttled the agreement due to not getting enough payment from the first world.

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Saturday, December 26, 2009

China's Rare Earth Update

Another article - Earth-Friendly Elements, Mined Destructively - NY Times.

Key Points from the Article:
  1. The mining of these rare elements is dominated by criminal gangs in China.
  2. China has the majority of mines for these rare elements.
  3. The rare elements are key for green technologies.
  4. China is attempting to restrict the exports of these rare minerals to increase their industrial exports (4 steep cuts in 4 years, this year was 12%).
  5. The mining destructive for the local environment.
  6. Up to half of the rare earth exports from China are smuggle out.
  7. It will take years for Western Suppliers of rare earths to get into production.

My previous posts


Real Chinese Vacation

I am spending to much time thinking about my next vacation :-)

A more Chinese vacation from the WSJ. Soaring Granite, Many Steps - Visiting three of China's holy mountains need not intimidate Westerners

I still want to go to HK Disneyland. My wife growing up in Taiwan learned so much about China. I"ll need to ask her what she would be interested in seeing in China. And then there is my daughter and what she likes. Me, I try to follow the flow and not cause waves and leave it to the experts!


China on $35 a Day

China on $35 a Day from the Wall Street Journal.

Sounds like China is more reasonable than I thought on the cost (my wife is from Taiwan). There is also a lot of cheap package deals to China with group tours. And I do have a few things that would be good for the traveler to help them with Learning Chinese for all ages.

I so want to go HK Disneyland! I had free tickets to go to HK, but unfortunately SARS happened so I was forbidden to go and the voucher expired.

The problem with going to China for vacation is my families schedule. Last summer was SAT and then we went on a quick vacation to the Southern US that was a lot of fun. Only negative was we missed Dollywood (it was closed when we were in the area, so we saw more of Chatanooga and Atlanta). Since my daughter is taking AP US History this year, it was also a bit educational.


Friday, December 25, 2009

Internet Connection Update - Finally Working!

My Internet connection issues finally got solved! No impact to my site, since this is hosted at another site, but my getting on the web has been challenging with my connection dropping all the time, and then reconnecting since Thanksgiving.

I spent about 15 hours on the phone with my Internet provider's tech support and went through 3 mode ms, and an onsite technician visit over almost a month's time. Yes, it was distracting!And I used to run an IT manager and know a bit about troubleshooting! I was very nice and explained to the tech why it was probably not the modem (3 of them would be pretty big coincidence), it was not the cable since I was using their brand new one that came with the modem and still had the same problem, and I was connected directly to the modem so it was not my router.

Finally I was working with a level 3 support group and they figured out the problem was a cable I believe. Which helped, but then it seems my modem set up had to be redone after the cable was fixed, so that got done this week.

I have no idea why I was so lucky, but I am glad it is over!

Tech Support organizations have levels of support. Level 1 is to solve simple problems and refer you to a level 2 for harder problems. Level 3 is for even harder problems. My first job after I got my MBA was working for a division of a mainframe manufacturer that provided basically 100% uptime. It was a good learning experience.


Chinese Christmas at Disney HK

I was curious about how Disneyland is marketing Christmas at their HK location andI found this article. Disney and more: Snowflakes Fall Early This Year at Hong Kong Disneyland !

Disney is seems to be going for the American version of Christmas, and not going for a more Dickinson feel (English). In the picture on the blog they have the helpers dressed in white, which is a bit strange, since white in Chinese culture is usually worn at funerals since it symbolizes ending. But, since Christmas is a winter holiday, I guess that makes sense. I would have expected red with may be more of an elf look, but instead Disney seems to be trying for more of a pop star look.


Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas in Chinese

Interesting site I was poking around on has a great link for saying Merry Christmas in Chinese which I just added to my Chinese Christmas Page.

The site, Good Characters seems to be selling several things, but one of them is providing advice on Chinese Names for businesses.


Chinese Christmas!

Chinese Christmas is a much bigger holiday in China than I anticipated. The Christian Science Monitor, where this wonderful picture came from, has a great article - China decks the malls for Christmas shopping

Notice that the Santa in front of a Chinese Mall has a Chinese style beard seen in portraits of gods, and also has a darker skin, producing a Chinese Santa Claus!


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Unemployed College Graduates in China

China's Ant Tribe: millions of unemployed college grads - CS Monitor.

Many recent college graduates in China have been unable to find jobs. Six million graduated last summer, and 2 million of them are still looking for jobs. 33%. And there is worries this may cause political stability issues.

Last year 66.7% of college graduates in the US had jobs within 6 months of graduation (which is about the same as for China) from a LA Times article.


Sunday, December 20, 2009

Learning Chinese Curriculums

Chinese Curriculums

For those just starting to teach their kids Chinese say ages 4-6, I recommend My First Chinese Words for parents that don't have a native Chinese speaker at home since they have an English Teacher's Guide. The Quality is A+ and there are so many associated products. You can get a CD Rom, Teacher's Guide, Flash Cards, Songs, more books, etc. And if you continue with the Better Chinese System it goes all the way through High School. Better Chinese has the most complete curriculum and a huge assortment of products to go with it. M

If you have a native Chinese speaker at home, I recommend Chinese Made Easy for Kids since it covers the curriculum of My First Chinese Words as well as My First Chinese Reader. The positive is the price is lower, but then it does not have as much support material. Many schools are also using Chinese Made Easy for Kids and Chinese Made Easy.

For Middle School that is a challenging Age, I recommend Kuaile Hanyu for those Learning Simplified. Their CD Roms (I recommend buy those no matter which curriculum you choose, great price at only $19.95 and very well done. Cheap for Learning Chinese Software).

If you have a Native Chinese Speaker for Traditional Chinese, I recommend Practical Chinese for Ages 3 - adult; Grades K-12.

The hard part on making recommendations is every person is a bit different and it's a good idea to look at the sample pages I have scanned in (click on the small pictures under the large one) to enlarge. I have been surprised where some people love a particular curriculum, where other people dislike it. For some the pictures are perfect, and for others they are too childish. Learning Chinese Curriculum is a very individual decision.


China's Labor Exports

China’s Export of Labor Faces Growing Scorn - NY Times.

To summarize, China's state run companies when they set up operations overseas use a lot of Chinese for contruction and running operations they set up, instead of locals. This is building up a backlash in countries that have high unemployment rates.

I did not know about Vietnam, but I have read of problems in Africa with Chinese operations not hiring local people.

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Saturday, December 19, 2009

Let's Go Guang, Chinese for Children Learing Chinese Bund

Let's Go Guang, Chinese for Children, Level 1 Learning Kit looks very good. It has a DVD, Book, and CD and everything about it looks great.

Just the packaging takes my breath away. And that is before you get to the contents which are very well done. I look forward to more products from the publisher in the near future. The authors are Chinese parents who were looking for a better approach for teaching their kids. Located in Silicon Valley, so they decided to created something better than anything else out there for learning Chinese.


Friday, December 18, 2009

SAT Walk in Registration Advice

My daughter did a walk in for her last SAT test. The previous scores were OK, but she thought she could do better.

Some tips with my experience with College Board on this.

1. Pay and sign up for the next SAT Test online that is possible. Even if this is the test after the one you are going to do a walk in. Then print out the registration ticket and bring that with you to the walk in. Now you are in the system as paid and it makes tracking so much easier!

2. Find out which test centers are more likely to accept walk ins. If you are getting tutoring, your tutoring center should know.

Some more resources on the SAT

The same advice is useful for the Chinese SAT II


Teacher Christmas Gifts

Cute article in the San Jose Mercury News - Teachers remember favorite — and offbeat — holiday gifts

This year my daughter made this home made candy (cookies?) for her teachers. She got some cute boxes to put them in. Per this article, handmade has a lot more meaning than a store bought gift. For some reason giving gifts to teachers seems to be pretty popular in my daughter's school district. My guess is cultural (lots of Chinese and Korean in the district) and showing respect to the teacher. In her middle school, I remember seeing some teachers with huge bags of presents they had received.

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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Chinese Nationalism - The Great Treasure Hunt

Chinese Team Searches Museums for Art Treasures - NY Times.

When my wife was in England during college 20 or so years ago, she was invited to a person's house to see some artifacts from China. She refused since she did not know the person, but may be they really did have some artifacts. The old summer palace in Beijing was looted by British and French troops in 1860.

From a political view point getting back artifacts that were taken while China is weak shows how China is now strong enough to get the respect it deserves. The challenge for China is the lack of investment on keeping the artifacts and historical sites they do have safe. There is such a focus on new and modern.

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Race in China - Good Read

From the NY Times - China’s Changing Views on Race. The article has the views of four authors. The comments are worth a read, I found they added a lot of value to the article. With China's increased investment in Africa and as the Chinese economy grows, more and more Chinese will come into contact with non Chinese. As well as the spread of mixed marriages in the US, and mixed children like my daughter. Not to mention the many adopted children from China with non ethnic Chinese parents.

We truly live in an interesting time! One quote from a rant by an author I read after 9-11 on what it meant to be an American, was it was not about race, but it was about ideas. I like that thought/idea a huge amount. China's government has the idea that being Chinese is based on blood. So if your ethnic Chinese, you are still considered Chinese.


Leading Economic Power in the World

Per this article, 40% of Americans over 18 thought it was China. Actually the leading Economic Power currently in the world by GDP is the US. China currently has about 25% of the GDP of the US.

But, with articles like this - World's Top Polluter Emerges as Green-Technology Leader - WSJ.com I can understand why so many would view China as the leading Economic Power. So many goods are made in China, but the key point that is often forgotten is in many of them, the value add comes from the US, where China is contributing low margin manufacturing. China is working hard to move up the food chain to higher value added goods. China is still growing, while the US is still in a nasty recession. One site did some analysis and estimated that China's GDP would overtake the US in 2026, but acknowledges their is a lot of uncertainty.

I could not find the actual Gallop Poll, but these are some other ones that are interesting:


iPhone in China - Why no WiFi

China is requiring all phones to either have their own wireless standard installed called WAPI, or not have offer WiFi. So to comply with this Apple disabled WiFi in the iPhones sold there. It seems WAPI can be run with WiFi equipment and I am guessing a firmware update will fix this, but per this article it actually needs hardware modification. China's government is trying very hard to help push China as a technology leader.


School Challenges

My daughter has perfect attendance and recently attended the Southern California Honor Choir that required a practice on Friday. She had to be recommended by her teacher for this and went through a try out for it. Per her school district this is an absence per the Education Code. My question to them is per what specific part of the education code?

My thought is since:
  1. She was recommended by her teacher
  2. The practice was at a public school (Santa Monica High School)
  3. There were certified teachers in charge who took attendance

This should count as a school activity. My wife is talking to the district person, but it's frustrating. I am not going into a lot of detail to avoid problems such as this blogger had.

History so far.
1. Referred to district.
2. District person said per education code and gave a general section and if you need to change that you need to go to the state board of education (ie brushoff).
3. I read the code and my wife then asks the district person which sub section and just reply to her E-Mail. For some reason the administration person is not very happy about putting this in writing :-)


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Internet Security and E-Commerce

I get quite a few phone orders for products and I totally understand the fear some people have of doing an order over the Internet, and just not for Learning Chinese Materials.

When I read articles like this about a computer virus - Viruses That Leave Victims Red in the Facebook from the NY Times, security becomes even more apparent. A friend of mine from my days at a PC Mall had his facebook account hijacked, and he is pretty hi tech. So it does happen.

What I like about the shopping cart system I use is I can't see a customer's credit card number. All I can see is the last four digits. This is so nice from a security prospective for me! And I can only decrease what a customer is charged, not increase it without their security code from their credit card. This is a bit of a headache when a customer wants to add one more item, but I appreciate it as added security. This way there is no argument about unauthorized charges!

Another issue that has come up is E-Mail addresses. One customer who order over the phone don't want to get them, which I understand. All the others want the receipt, which is delivered via E-Mail. The one customer worried about getting a lot of spam, which I can understand. Without filters on my E-Mail, I was getting over 500 a day and going crazy when I changed my ISP. Since then I routed it through Gmail that reduces it to a manageable level. I don't sell/share etc. the E-Mail addresses of my customers and I treat them as I would like mine to be treated, with respect.

With my E-Mail newsletters I use constant contact, so when you unsubscribe you are really unsubscribed. I don't think with how I set it up you can even re-subcribe.


Monday, December 14, 2009

Teenage Learning Chinese Materials

Quick reply I just did for a customer who wanted to know what I recommended for their 10 year old daughter for Learning Chinese.

My answer was assuming no native Chinese Speaker in the House and that she would be Learning Simplified Chinese.

I would go with Kuaile Hanyu - Happy Chinese or Chinese Made Easy

I like the teaching approach of Kuaile Hanyu and the fact they have CD's Roms (Software) for Learning Chinese. The CD Roms at $20 each are a great deal! What is great about Kualie Hanyu was it was written for teenagers so they actually enjoyed learning Chinese.

As a teenager parent, you may have noticed they can get a bit, umm, moody. Not that I have seen anything like that at home! Nope! Definitely not. My daughter does read my blog and is a Junior in High School...

The designers of Kauile Hanyu made it into format that has a story line, so their is an arc to it. Instead of learning a bunch of words, their is a purpose in how the book is written that progresses along with the story line.


Saturday, December 12, 2009

Moving Update

Just 2 1/2 years ago I was still in my garage shipping Learning Chinese Books, CD's, and DVD's.

Then moved an industrial park and rented a couple of rooms (subleasing).

Now we just moved to our own warehouse that has so much room!

I am still getting used to not being squeezed for room and how much ChildBook has grown!


Blogger Spam

A bit annoying. Somehow a person just did a link to Amazon using their affiliate, copied the reviews their for the comments, and then got high on Google News for blog updates.

I find that pretty annoying and not very fair.


Friday, December 11, 2009

China Blocks Tech Imports with New Rule

Interesting - China purchasing rule angers foreign tech companies and a International Business Groups Urge China to Cancel Procurement Policy.

A government agency (not sure if this includes government owned companies) under the new rules can only buy products that “have Chinese intellectual property and proprietary brands,” and intellectual property must be “totally independent of overseas organizations or individuals.”

My guess is this specifically aimed at Cisco and US Software Manufacturers.

Basically give up your intellectual property rights if you want to sell to us. This could also apply down to a chip level on electronics...


Top 10 Home Efforts to Help your Kids Learn Chinese Faster

These Learning-Chinese home tips may be for your kids, or for you - if you're studying Chinese as well.

Mostly, try to incorporate these into your daily activities. These will all add up to mastering the language; whether your child is taking formal lessons in school or with a tutor, or informally at home.

Also, what is language without the social aspect? Do encourage your child to learn more about Chinese people, culture and customs as well.

We at ChildBook have combined our little methods in raising our kids to become bilingual and these came up. Write to us the little things you've been doing in your home to encourage your kids (and yourself) to learn Chinese faster.

Speaking Chinese

1) Let your child speak Chinese. Ask your child questions. If you speak Chinese, talk in straight Chinese. If you don't, you can ask what the Chinese equivalent for a certain word is.

2) If you speak Chinese, think out loud in Chinese. Some words will somehow be picked up, promise.

3) Put your cable channel on Chinese channels every so often. It could be on the news, movie features or sitcoms. Your child will somehow be able to pick up the tones even if s/he just passes by and does not watch. If you don't speak Chinese, if you find a show on the Chinese channel appropriate for your child's age, put it on every time. Maybe your child will want to watch the show.

4) Play Chinese songs CDs. Even if you don't speak Chinese, you may even be able to memorize the words as well. Play the CDs in the car as well. If you are letting your child borrow your portable mp3 player, upload some of the Chinese songs as well.

Reading Chinese

5) Have fun with read-along Books with CDs.

6) Bring out the sticky notes and marker. Write the Chinese characters or Pinyin equivalents of things about the house and post on that item. Yes, your house will be all dotted with yellows for a time, but it helps your child remember the words.

7) If you can read Chinese, have your Chinese magazines, newspapers and books lie about the house. (We've found the bathroom a very strategic place to "accidentally" leave books and magazines about. There is a high probability it will be picked up and browsed there.)

It Takes a Village

8) Teach your child how to play Chinese games. Play together. If your child has friends over, teach them the game and watch them have fun.

9) Participate with the community in Chinese festivals or events. Chinese New Year, Dragon Boat, Mid-Autumn festivals are fun and expose your child to listening and reading Chinese with other people. Once in a while there are Chinese shows, museum exhibitions, etc. that are fun to attend and "covertly educational".

10) Bring your child regularly to Chinatown when buying weekly supplies. You can also "endorse" to your favorite Chinese-speaking people in the community that your child is learning Chinese and if they can please speak to her or with you in Chinese. Plus if they can point out to your child interesting Chinese information when you do your weekly rounds would be great. Nice folks would be more than willing to accommodate your request. They will surely be excited in your endeavor to continue the tradition of speaking the language.

Plus: Let 'em have fun and dress up. Let them have their own Chinese dress or kung fu costume. It'd also be nice if they have one for regular events, and the higher-end formal Chinese clothes for formal events. So that early on, they associate their Chinese formal dress with important events, such as weddings, birthdays, funerals, etc. It gives a sense that their Chinese identity is just as important.

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Thursday, December 10, 2009

UC Berkeley Blog

The Daily Breeze has a column written by a Freshman about his first year at UC Berkeley, call The Freshman. My daughter is very interested in attending Berkeley, but the competition for admittance to a great college to get in is very intense. Some tips for college admission (hidden in my site).


Should Chinese Speaking Students get credit for AP Chinese?

The actual question was Should Spanish-speaking students get credit for doing well in AP Spanish in the Washington Post, but it's a good question for the Chinese AP.

Just as with the Chinese SAT II - do native Chinese speakers have an unfair advantage?

My thought is no, but it helps on the Chinese SAT II if you get the right study material so if you are a native Chinese speaker, you get a high score. I did appreciate the point made in the comments that just because you speak a language, does not mean you have a good understanding of the rules of grammar and such. That is especially true in English, which has all sorts of inconsistent grammar, pronunciation, and spelling rules (the challenge of a language that continually borrows from other languages).


Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Lang Lang Profile in the New Yorker

Good article from last year about Lang Lang from the New Yorker.

The Olympian - How China’s greatest musician will win the Beijing Games.


Attention Teachers: Learning Chinese + Yummy Food = Chinese New Year at Panda Express

Special Announcement for Teachers:

Chinese New Year is coming up and the Panda Express chain of Chinese restaurants is offering a FREE educational program to schools!

Panda Express is continuing with its Chinese New Year Learn With Me Program™. This provides educators with a FREE instructional resource kit to encourage 2nd to 4th graders to learn about traditional Chinese New Year celebrations.

The Chinese New Year Learn with Me Program kit contains:

* Panda Express’ Year of the Tiger DVD
* Year of the Tiger Fact Sheet
* Jade Emperor’s Interactive Game & Activity Sheet
* Chinese New Year Decoration Art Activity
* Lai See Activity Sheet
* Bookmarks (with a Free Kids Meal with purchase coupon attached)

A school is entitled to multiple orders for several classes, but each class can be given materials for 35 students each.

Please fill up the request form by Friday, December 18, 2009 by 11:59 pm Pacific Standard Time.

Sign up today and have a Happy Chinese New Year with your class!


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

1 in 6 US Workers are Foreign Born

Interesting article in the NY Times. Number of foreign-born workers increases to 16% in the U.S.

Monica Boyd, a sociology professor at the University of Toronto, said the second generation personified “the overachievement model, a tendency for very high achievement that seems to come as a result of immigrant parents’ instilling in these kids an enormous drive.” Professor Boyd added, “Many try to instill in their kids the phrase, ‘We did this all for you.’ ”

Russel Peters, an ethinic Indian, has a very funny impersonation that my somebody I know does a killer imitation of his Chinese merchant. Since she's half Chinese, it's not racist I guess...


Confucius Institute Article

USA Today has an article on the Confucius Institute. I would give the article a C+.

Headline is misleading. They seem to be a very good resource for Learning Chinese.

A culture clash over Confucius Institutes USA Today
The goal: to offer local communities opportunities to learn Chinese language and culture. And, some observers say, to soften China's image as an aggressor ...

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Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Lucky Chinese Phone Numbers

ChildBook just moved, so we have a new phone number!

626 810 2088 (8's are lucky in Chinese, they have the same sound as Wealthy and Father, so August 8th is Chinese Father's Day).

Our old number was 909 595 8882 (notice the 8'th and 2 are OK).

Historic Phone Numbers for ChildBook.com

(909) 595-8882
(626) 810-0833
(909) 598-0282
(408) 738-8686 when I was living in Silicon Valley.

6's are ok, but 8's are preferred. 2's are also good.


Moving Update

ChildBook moved from our old warehouse to a new one about 4 miles away.

It's an exciting move to a much larger space. Moving was done over the holiday weekend. Thursday was for family, Friday morning was Father daughter time (ie Black Friday at the mall, we drove an hour to a mall in Irvine Spectrum and got there around 7AM). Moving took more time than I thought it would, we just finished moving stuff Tuesday night.

The old warehouse was a big step forward. It was a move out of the garage to a commercial location where I rented the second floor. The only headache was it was on the second floor of an office. The good news was I got lots of exercise moving stuff up the stairs, but moving out was challenging. The new warehouse is all on one floor and is a mix of office and warehouse space. The previous one I was using office space as a warehouse which worked, but was not great.

Phone an fax numbers have changed, unfortunately.


Chinatown - Monterey Park's History

A good story about how Monterey Park became a new Chinatown. Frank Girardot: Monterey Park an icon of change from the SG Valley Tribune.

A factor I would also guess is the school district is just outside of LA Unified. The ethnic Chinese immigration has gone East in the Los Angeles area. Monterey Park, Alhambra, San Gabriel, little to the North due to school districts San Marino and then Arcadia. Continuing out to Hacienda Heights, Rowland Heights (I live here), Walnut/Diamond Bar (school district my daughter is in), and Chino Hills.

My listing of Chinatowns of the United States


Teaching Chinese To Americans

An interesting article about Preparing American Students to Learn Chinese. The article I believe is meant for for those taking Chinese at a college level.

The article makes some good points and these are very good questions to ask:

  • How does an American effectively and efficiently learn Chinese?
  • What does the learner want and need to be able to do in Chinese?
  • What do I want the learner to be able to do in Chinese?
  • How do I structure things so that the learner develops the ability to do those things?
  • What is the learner doing inside and outside of the classroom?
What the article is not mentioning is how much of the material available in the US not written for the American Culture. That is why so much of the Learning Chinese Curriculum I sell is published in the US.


China has more English Speakers than India?

Interesting article. The article mentions that China has a better level of schooling in English overall than in India as the reason that China may have more English speakers than China. It would have been nice if there were a few more facts about the growth in Learning Chinese around the world and how this compares to other languages.

English is essential, but is no longer enough - Business Day.


Karl Who?

From Slate Magazine. Good article. It would have been interesting if the article had gone into more of the experiments in democracy, how the party has reacted to this over time, and their analysis of the fall of the Berlin wall.

Karl Who?China is a Communist country, but I have yet to meet an actual Communist.


Wow! Highest Paid Author in China Writes... Children's Stories!

The latest list of Top 25 highest paid authors was released recently and shows that the highest author is Zheng Yuanjie. This author writes mostly children's fairy tales!

Zheng Yuanjie reportedly earned 20million! Wow!

There are a lot of complaints about the methodology used to get the income, such as "it ignores eveything but royalties earned from highly popular books" so if you want to nitpick here is how the list was drawn up.

Anyhow, I am just glad that people and their kids appreciate reading as proven by the demand for stories.

Zheng Yuanjie started his own children's magazine in 1984, named "King of Fairy Tales". Back then, he was the only writer at the magazine. The magazine has been continually publishing stories, reaching 1 million copies circulation during its heyday.

As I looked around about this guy, it turns out he is also admirable as a parent. I have always admired homeschooling parents, and it turns out he home schooled his son as well. He even wrote his son's own textbook, focusing on history, philosophy, law, finance, among other subjects,
all of which he considers "essential" knowledge. He believed "College education tends to make simple things complicated and hard to understand. What we should do is to teach our children the most essential and simple principles of life and ways to handle problems." I am in awe.

This highly successful author's favorite book is.. guess? the Modern Chinese Dictionary. Yes, he makes spelling mistakes too. His tip for parents: "Parents shouldn't blame their child for misspelling or something. Mistakes like that won't stop them becoming good writers in the future." Wisely said.

Article source about Zheng Yuanjie


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Higher Ed students Unprepared for Future Global Markets?

Interesting read from Hamilton College's The Spectator - Foreign Language Students Unprepared for Global Economy.

The article points out that the current language education is weak, putting higher education sutdents at a disadvantage as they enter the global workplace.

Only 9% of American adults claim to know another language. This is quite a big difference to 50% European adults who are biligual.

The following are the estimated reasons why the US has a weak language education:
  • The US is quite isolated from non-English speaking countries.
  • The author also says there is the perception that America is culturally superior, thus the attitude "if you want to talk to us, learn English."
  • Difference in emphasis of importance of learning another language. In the US, language courses are optional while in other countries, secondary languages are taught and incorporated into the school curriculum.
  • Lack of well-prepared teachers.
We know big changes for better language education will take longer than for our kids to grow up. Might as well not wait for a nationwide change if one can start learning another language at home. If you really want to prepare your kids for the global market, Mandarin Chinese is a good language to start with.

With the vast assortment of language materials available online, we might as well let our kids have a head start in being bilingual.

Learning Chinese will bring them only benefits, so why wait?
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