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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Shanghai Expo

Shanghai Expo - UK Telegraph

Sounds like a great visit. I have also heard there are some very good deals on package tours.


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

What is a commercial secret in China?

The WSJ Journal has an excellent article on this that I finally found a link to:

China Defines Commercial Secrets, Tells Firms to Protect Them - Wall Street Journal

My take - Anything that is not a secret is a secret, if your dealing with a state owned company.

Good quote out of it from another article - China defines commercial secrets after Rio Tinto trial - Reuters.

According to a text of the Rio Tinto verdict, published by The Australian newspaper, the commercial secrets obtained by the four included discussions at meetings of the China Iron and Steel Association attended by numerous steel mill executives, and production cuts by Shougang Corp in Beijing which the defence countered had been published in Chinese newspapers.


Shanghai & Secret Rooms

Many stores have moved items to openly secret rooms due to the World Expo. This way it's supposedly less embarrassing for the China.

What does this say about China today?

In Shanghai, Bootleg Goods Move to Secret Rooms - NY Times.

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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Chinese Drywall


Five hundred million pounds of drywall from China were imported in 2004 to 2006.

And it looks like a German conglomerate, Knauf, with $7.49 Billion of annual sales has the deep pockets.


Chicago Chinatown

I have not been here yet...

Learn about Chicago Chinatown's rich history - Chicago Daily Herald

That mentions a tour of Chicago's Chinatown.

I like walking tours when I visit someplace. When in London we took a lot of tours with London Walks.

My listing of Chinatowns of the US and Canada


Paris's Chinatown

We found the Chinatown in London, but we missed the one in Paris on our family vacation to England and France. Chinatowns are usually a great place to get good food at a reasonable price.

For meals that are merveilleux, head to Chinatown in Paris


Moms quit jobs for their child's college dreams

Moms quit jobs for their child's college dreams - CNN

I can totally understand where the Moms in the article are coming from. Next week my daughter's AP tests start. She is a Junior and it a super important time for her that will have a huge impact on what college she goes to.

Some articles on College Admissions


Cyber Crime Talk - I wish I could have gone

Cello lesson or Cyber crime talk in downtown LA.

Yep, the Cello lesson won (my daughter had hers tonight).

Cyber crime: be afraid, be very afraid - LA Times. Speech tonight by the author of "Fatal System Error: The Hunt for the New Crime Lords Who Are Bringing Down the Internet"

As an owner of an Internet business security is a huge concern of mine. Not to mention the privacy angle. And the political angle is another interest of mine (as I have blogged probably too much about, China and Google).


Monday, April 26, 2010

Chinese bargain hunting in Silicon Valley

Great quote:

"We ask them, what is your objective? Are you here to acquire people, technology or assets?" said Lilly Chung, a partner in Deloitte who advises Chinese companies. "They say, 'Oh, we really don't know. The assets look cheap. It's an opportunity. We'll get it and figure out what to do.' "

Chinese companies are bargain hunting in Silicon Valley - Mercury News.

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China's Softpower Initiative

A good read.

I like this quote: "Their philosophy is build it and people will tune in,"

From China's mouth to Texans' ears: Outreach includes small station in Galveston - Washington Post


Sunday, April 25, 2010

Festival of Books by LA Times

I went today to the LA Times Festival of Books Today. No Chinese related book resellers there. A couple of Japanese ones and one general Asian. It was interesting to go. My 2nd time.

A very nice book I saw there was Knott's Preserves. Beautifully done and I had a nice chat with the authors. The Book is about Knotts Berry Farm, a local attraction in Southern California.


Saturday, April 24, 2010

FaceBook & Privacy

I just visited my FaceBook page after reading an article about their privacy changes, and I found out a site I had visited had posted on my update, I had visited them and given them a thumbs up.

Immediately I deleted that and went through my FaceBook settings to stop access by third party web sites to my FaceBook data. I feel my privacy was violated. It was nobody's business that I was looking at another eCommerce site. I had actually taken that one off my list of possible shopping carts before I noticed that.


Friday, April 23, 2010

Salinas Chinatown

Interesting how the location of historical Chinatowns tells you so much about the history of the US. The Chinese were an integral part of the history of the Western US. From the gold mines to the rail roads. Salinas Asian Festival set for Saturday in Chinatown

My listing of Chinatowns of the US.

Hmm, should I add Salinas? My list is more of the present days ones.


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Another Clean Up Day

Lots of link fixing today. Some files on CB got moved and they needed to get relinked. Some where missed, so finishing that today. And outside web pages also move, so the links need to get updated or deleted. Part of running a good web site.

The good news is as I work on this I am also making the pages more logical. Rearranging content and such.


Monday, April 19, 2010

More Details on Google Attack

The attack per the NY Times came through a link sent through a Windows messenger message that went to a poisoned site. Wow! So a combination of social engineering and cutting edge hacking.

Scary. For my next computer I am definitely considering a Mac.

Cyberattack on Google Said to Hit Password System - NY Times.


Sunday, April 18, 2010

Binding China Together

China is not as monolithic as you may think. Historically China has often devolved into smaller areas, such as during the warlord era. Where there is relatively weak central government.

So what is the Chinese government doing to create one China?
  1. Pushing that everyone speak Mandarin. The Chinese government has been pushing this since the revolution of 1911 when the last emperor was over thrown. The growth of Mandarin in China has been amazing.

  2. High speed trains to link the country together. China plans by 2012 to have the largest high speed train, or bullet train network in the world.

  3. Increasing nationalism. By focusing on external enemies it helps to unite the people.

  4. Eliminate when possible the perception of existence minorities (such as Manchus). This way everyone shares the same background.

  5. Inter-marriage of ethnic groups with the Han majority. This one I am not sure of, but I have read a report of it.

  6. Control of media channels.

  7. Making sure all areas do well economically. By giving investment opportunities outside of the coastal areas.

  8. Pushing Han migrants to areas that have high minority populations such as Eastern China and Tibet to increase the Han population in that area, which reduces the risk of that area leaving China.


Tibetan Quake

It's a challenging problem in an area that is even more isolated than Sichuan, where the last large earthquake was.

Not to mention the political issues...

After Quake, Ethnic Tibetans Distrust China’s Help - NY Times

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Friday, April 16, 2010

Top 10 Reasons not to Learn Chinese

New section to my Why Learn Chinese?

Top Ten Excuses for not Learning Chinese

  1. We are native speakers, but our kids refuse to speak Chinese! They refuse to speak to us in Chinese, and want McDonalds to eat!

    Some Children, unfortunately, who have native speaking Chinese parents, refuse to learn Chinese. This is often done in the teenager years as a method of defiance and establish their power as they become adults. With defiance issues at that age, consider sending them to a full immersion environment. Our daughter was starting to speak Chinese with English Grammar, which frustrated my wife. The more frustrated my wife became, the less my daughter spoke Chinese. My daughter got to spend a summer with cousins in Taiwan, and nobody would speak English to her. Within a day, she was even speaking some Taiwanese, not to mention the Mandarin Chinese.
  2. I am so worried about my kids Learning English and Learning Chinese will hurt their English.

    The truth is scientific studies have shown that children have an amazing ability to learn more than one language, such as Chinese.
    If you are a native born speaker, have one parent speak only English and the other Chinese. This way the kids are forced to learn and speak both. My wife speaks Mandarin Chinese to our daughter and I English, and it's worked out great. We have not had the issue of having her mix up the English and Chinese. Their is so much English in the US, especially when they start school, that not getting enough English is not an issue. I have seen students who only speak Chinese at home, start public school and become the best in their class at English and want to become a writer. They are also taking Chinese as their foreign language in High School. Kids have an amazing ability to Learn a foreign language, as long as they are given the opportunity.
  3. It's easier to just speak English to their kids. Why rock the boat and they are doing so well academically anyway!

    Kids have an ability to quickly learn a second language without an accent that adults don't. There are so many adults I have met who are learning Chinese in College. It would have been a great favor if their parents had them learn Chinese when they were younger.
  4. Learning Chinese is a waste of time and is too hard!

    Some US born Children and even their native parents believe this. There are many reasons on why to Learn to Speak Chinese.
    Studies have shown that being truly bilingual can help a child develop their brain in new ways and make it easier to learn other languages. As well as understanding the Chinese cultures better, such as why the number 8 is a lucky number in Mandarin, and 4 is not.
  5. It's not fun like other studies in the US!

    Usually kids have this belief.
    And it takes time away from their other studies and video games. Usually parents think their children have better things to do, and everybody knows English anyway around the world!
  6. Learning Chinese Characters is too hard.

    There is Learning Chinese Software and some great books that make learning Chinese characters easier.
  7. Neither my wife or I speak Chinese! There is no native speaker at home.

    Many parents are finding online tutors to help them. They are also hiring tutors to visit them. Some parents are even learning Chinese with their kids. Many curriculum and other Learning Chinese tools are specifically designed for non native language learners of Chinese.
  8. I am worried about my kids hating my guts when they grow older for forcing them to Learn Chinese.

    It's important to work with your kids so they are not being forced to Learn Chinese, but actually enjoy learning it. Picking the right curriculum that matches their learning style is very important.
  9. I don't have Time! We have Piano, Soccer, and more!

    Time management is always a challenge with young kids. Prioritization and asking your self, and I doing the right work. Creating a weekly schedule and a dedicated time for Learning Chinese helps. Doing a time sheet for a few weeks to see where you time goes can also help. By starting a foreign language early, you will actually be helping your child in high school to give them more time, instead of learning a foreign language from scratch.
  10. I have no idea where to buy Learning Chinese Materials from!

    I can help there. ChildBook.com has a full range of Learning Chinese materials. And lots of free advice and tips are available!

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Thursday, April 15, 2010

China's Internet Paradox

A very good article about the Internet in China.

Key Points:
  • China has the most Internet users of any country. 325 Million users.
  • The size of the Internet in China is making it hard for the government to manage.
  • Many forbidding topics are not clearly defined.
  • A unique Chinese Internet culture is arising.

China's Internet Paradox - MIT Technology Review.

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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Liang Liang in OC

It sold out by the time I clicked through :-(


And this was before I had even started the negotiations for getting my daughter to skip her choir (time conflict).


Monday, April 12, 2010

Integrated Chinese System for Kids

A very nice series that uses a CD, DVD, and Booklet that reinforces each other. And only $49.99. I am surprised I have not sold more of them. Very well done.

Let's Go Guang, Chinese for Children, Level 1 Learning Kit


Curse of 15?

Cute article that does a play on the number 15. Numbers in Chinese culture are super important with 2, 6, and 8 all being good numbers in Mandarin.

Geithner Confronts Curse of 15 Plaguing China: William Pesek - Business Week

The article does a good job of covering the major issues that China has currently.


Saturday, April 10, 2010

Learning Chinese CD's Improve

I just revised the section, Chinese Children Songs and Stories - CDs for Kids

It's easier to use and a bit clearer. Think of it as spring cleaning :-)

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Friday, April 9, 2010

Learning Chinese DVD's Samples

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Bilingual Simplied Chinese English Books

Books in English and Simplified Chinese

And Bilingual DVD's, where with many of them you can play it in Mandarin with English sub-titles. Or at least pinyin.


Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Qing Ming or Tomb Sweeping Day

Qing Ming is Grave Sweeping Day.  It is a day to remember the ancestors because as the English name says, you go to your ancestors' grave and clean up.  Of course, you also mark Qing Ming as a time to pray to the ancestors, eat together, light burning paper or light up firecrackers as a sign of respect. 

Tang Emperor Xuan Zong declared Qingming in 732.  The rich folk were too extravagant in honoring their  ancestors that Xuan Zong declared Qingming as the only day to respect one's ancestors. This was celebrated until the holiday was repealed in 1949. It was only very recently celebrated again, just in 2008. 


Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Falling for Grace Update

My wife and I finally watched Falling for Grace and it is very well done.

No, I don't sell it.

I thought an especially nice part of the movie was the herione was named for Yeh-Shen. And that Yeh-Shen is the oldest Cinderella story.

I recommend both the movie (which I don't sell) as well as the book Yeh-Shen


Chinese Culture References

Have you ever wondered why Red is a lucky color?

And when you ask an ethnic Chinese, they just answer because...

Or why certain foods are eaten on Chinese New Year. And the answer you get is tradition. Or you ask why are there Oranges at a Chinese Wedding? And the answer you get is tradition!

May be it's my Engineering background, but I like to understand why things are. What has helped me is the book Good Luck Life. It's the best reference I have seen on Chinese Culture in English. I have a copy at my desk. It's great for both people who grew up in the Chinese culture as well as those new to it.


Toddlers Learning Chinese

Monday, April 5, 2010

Math Lessons in Mandarin? Seattle Schools Go Global

Math lessons in Mandarin? Local schools go global- Good article. I like true bilingual class rooms. One where a language is taught in a full immersion environment. By having the class in either English or Chinese, it's great for the students.

From another article that is full of good info - Language immersion in Seattle Public Schools


Race in America - Obama's Census Form Choice

President Obama on his census form checked says: "Black, African Am., or Negro," the Associated Press reported.

A good article from the LA Times that discusses this issue:
Obama's census-form choice: 'Black' - The president keeps it simple, but his decision stirs discussion about identity among mixed-race Americans.

Should President Obama have checked White as well to show his mixed race heritage?

What would have the reaction been then?

The issue of mixed race in the US is complicated.


Saturday, April 3, 2010

Learning Chinese distance Learning in Schools

Interesting article - Local schools offer classes in Mandarin Chinese - Beaver County Times.

The school is using distance learning for teaching Mandarin. Their is two way video with audio that is being used for the teaching of Mandarin. Confucius Institute is providing the staff.

But, the Confucius institute is not always so welcome...
Chinese government's funding of Southland school's language program fuels controversy


Friday, April 2, 2010

Another Confucius Institute - University of Buffalo

UB Confucius Institute to Mark Grand Opening with Traditional Chinese Music and Dance - UB News Center.

UB is University of Buffalo in NY. Amazing how many of these centers are being opened. It also shows the growth of interesting in Learning Chinese.

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GM sold more in China than the US!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Why do business in China?

A very good article from the Economist

Schumpeter -The panda has two faces.

Basically doing business in China is a pain. See Google and Rio Tinto, but the opportunity is huge. The Chinese car market is now greater than the US and China's economy is still growing at 10% a year. 75% of foreign companies surveyed in China are making money there, and half had higher margins in China than they did globally.

Two rules to remember:
  1. There is a negative history of foreign involvement in China for the last 150 or so years. Opium War, Boxer Rebellion, Rape of Nanjing, etc. ie the Chinese feel that foreigners have repeatedly mistreated them. And there is a lot of Chinese nationalism and pride in their history. Per the Economist senior executives need to spend 30-40% of their time in China smoothing things out with regulators and local officials.
  2. Never abandon your principles for short term gain.


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