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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Bundle Pictures - It's being worked on

The second Little Pim Learning Chinese DVD Set.

First Little Pim Set

Yes, my Learning Chinese Bundles pictures need work.

Bundles are great where they offer customers great deals, but I do need to work on the photos a bit.

The first photo does not show it's a bundle!

The second photo is a bit dark and a bit of reflection.


Little Pim in Chinese

A person was asking which product was right for their kid and that got me thinking about Little Pim. Award Winning program that is so nicely done for babies, toddlers, and kids. And now Volume 4, 5, 6 is available!

Little Pim: Playtime, 3-Pack Bundle (Vol. 4,5,6), Learning Chinese for Babies, toddlers and preschoolers DVD


Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Taiwan and China sign Trade Agreement

Taiwan's Trade Harvest - President Ma is preparing the way for the island to become a regional business hub. Wall Street Journal

My first thought is:
This is a case of dammed if you do, and dammed if you don't.

I hope it turns out more positive.


Google in China Update

Now the Chinese government is threatening to take aways Google's license due to how it forwarded to servers in HK.

Now its just a link on the Google.cn page to google.hk

Interesting game of cat and mouse.


Facebook Privacy

Good article on privacy on Facebook and social mores from the San Jose Mercury News (the newspaper of Silicon Valley).


Monday, June 28, 2010

Chinese Children's Choir

My daughter's choir was in a joint concert last night. And yes, she had a solo!

The Crystal Children's Choir was amazing. They are based out of Cupertino. 1200 member organization. Wow!

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Friday, June 25, 2010

How not to run a business in China

How not to run a business in China - Business Week

Really good points:

The first rule for would-be entrepreneurs in China: Make sure the ownership structure of the business is clear.

Bottom line: corruption and illegal activities exist everywhere in China, but foreigners should make sure to establish corporations, pay tax, and do everything aboveboard.

It is virtually impossible for foreigners to break into these networks unless they have spent years in China.

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Thursday, June 24, 2010

School Turn Around

I wish the article has more information. The increase in cost works out to about 12%, which it sounds like with the increase in scores, reduction in suicides, and reduction in the dropout rate its a bargain. I wish there was more information on what improved.

School Is Turned Around, but Cost Gives Pause - NY Times.


Mixed Feelings - Biligual Education

Not a good situation.

Students Win Last Chance for Diploma By Jaisal Noor - The Independent

I like Bilingual Education when it's done right. The challenge is most bilingual education is not done right, which is why there was such a backlash in California with Bilingual Education. The focus needs to be on teaching English as well as the foreign language. The problem is often the English part got forgotten. There are some amazing bilingual schools that do an A+ job in teaching Chinese and English.


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Marx Awakens as China Rises

Good article about rising automation in China and the affect this will have on the economy.

Three points that were not included:

1. China's productivity is rising every year.
2. China has established an ecosystem in some areas. Suppliers, etc. that makes production more efficient their.
3. Decreased cost of automation makes it possible to move some manufacturing back to the US. As does the cost of transportation.

Marx Awakens as China Rises - The American Interest.


Monday, June 21, 2010

China's Real Estate Boom, Internet, and Labor Problems

My guess is the real estate boom in China (bubble to some) is also driving the labor problems in China. And add to this the ability of workers through the Internet to learn from other labor protests that succeed and also to find out the wages paid overseas for similar work. The rise in the Yuan is also probably related.


China's housing boom spells trouble for boyfriends - LA Times

As China Aids Labor, Unrest Is Still Rising - NY Times

U.S. Stocks Rise on China Currency News - NY Times

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Sunday, June 20, 2010

Books Future

I am a book lower and the rise of eBooks and readers is changing how reading is done. Its still developing and a very exciting time for consumers. For books stores it's a bit scary.

As technology advances, deep reading suffers - SF Gate

Yes, People Still Read, but Now It’s Social - NY Times


Saturday, June 19, 2010

Chinese US History

Every day I learn something new...

Lessons from failed Cold War spy mission in China - Associated Press


Friday, June 18, 2010

Walkout in Chinese?

It reminds me of the movie Walkout. One of the goals of the movie was to teach kids how to protest. It sounds like something similar is being done through the Internet and teaching Chinese laborers how to use technology in a labor movement. And I would guess somehow doing this with the goal of having no leaders (since they would get fired or worse). In some ways similar to how the Tea Party is using the Internet (and also has no centralized leadership). And this is being done in a Chinese way in real time with a huge censorship machine.

I would hazard a guess this is pretty scary for the Chinese Leadership.

In China, a Labor Movement Aided by Modern Technology


Make Learning Chinese Easy!

There's no question about it... Chinese is one of the most difficult languages to learn. But did you also know that it is the most widely used language in the entire world? That's why so many businessmen nowadays take it upon themselves to learn Chinese, especially since China's industry has been booming during these recent years. Learning how to speak, read, and write Chinese well can prove to be lucrative, as it opens more job opportunities for a person.

But the truth is, it's harder to learn the language as an adult than if you were to learn it as a young child. Pronunciation can prove to be cumbersome, and there are thousands of words to learn and memorize. However, it can still be done, for many adults have managed to pick up Chinese and even speak it fluently. (For example, famous Taiwanese singer Wang Lee Hom started learning Chinese at the age of eighteen and look at him now-he's even writing his own songs!) All it takes is practice. :)

And why not practice with your child? Learn alongside your little girl or boy using the Chinese Made Easy workbooks, which also come with CDs. Thus, you and your child can easily learn how to read and write Chinese characters and listen to Mandarin being spoken so that you may develop a proper accent.


Chinese really is a beautiful and useful language, and I encourage everyone to learn it. You won't regret doing so.


At Last, Harry Potter Theme Park Opens!

Finally, the moment we've all been waiting for...the Harry Potter theme park has opened in Orlando, Florida! I myself am a crazy Harry Potter fan and am extremely excited about his event. The Harry Potter theme park opened early this morning, and a couple thousand lucky fans, many donned in Hogwarts robes, entered Orlando's Island of Adventure and experienced the reality of J.K. Rowling's imagination.
The theme park not only has a Hogwarts castle one may explore, but it also has a Hogsmeade village as well as several rides, including Dragon Challenge and The Flight of the Hippogriff. You can help yourself to a butterbeer at The Three Broomsticks and purchase a wand at Ollivander's shop. Hop aboard the Hogwarts Express with your family and gush in awe of the sublime view of the theme park.
I for one cannot wait to visit this theme park; I hope the same can be said for you. But since tickets are rather difficult to get at the moment, I think most of us are just going to have to wait patiently for our turn. But don't waste your entire summer doing nothing! You've read the entire series in English, why not in Chinese? Here at Childbook, you can buy an entire set of Harry Potter books either in Simplified or Traditional Chinese.

Harry Potter in Traditional Chinese

Simplified Chinese

You can also buy the books individually, but buying an entire set saves you money. And this summer's going to be a long one...why not keep yourself entertained for the time being?


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

How to score an 800 on the Chinese SAT II Exam

For those of you who aren't sure what study material to use in order to prepare for the Chinese SAT II exam, here are my words of advice for you. I myself am an American-born Chinese student, and last November, I took the exam. My score? An 800.
And believe me, my Chinese isn't the best. I'm pretty good with listening, but as for reading, it's quite a challenge. The main reason why I believe I did well on the exam was because I purchased and studied the right material. What I bought were two volumes of Chinese SAT II practice tests; each came with a CD for the listening portions. You can buy the books separately or as one bundle (I'd recommend the latter). They were incredibly useful, and they more than prepared me for the exam.

Here is the link to where you can purchase the book(s):

In total, the two volumes contain 10 Chinese SAT II practice exams, and they are very similar to the actual exam. The book designates how much time is allotted for each section. The reading sections presents the text in both traditional and simplified Chinese, so you are able to choose which system you'd prefer. The grammar sections not only have traditional and simplified Chinese, but they also have pinyin and the phonetic alphabet! This is exactly how the actual exam is set up.
What I was especially impressed with was the CDs for the listening sections. After taking a few practice exams, I became comfortable with the conversations and questions. When I took the real exam, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the listening section was almost the same as the ones in those two volumes.
I encourage anyone who is planning on taking the Chinese SAT II exams to buy these two volumes. If you do these ten practice tests, you will undoubtedly be ready to ace the exam. In truth, the actual exam will probably be a lot easier than these practice exams, which is why I'd stated earlier that these books made me more than ready to take the test. I wish you all the best of luck.


Monday, June 14, 2010

Sun Yat-sen Statue in SF

I can't remember if I have been to the park in San Francisco's Chinatown.

Local Intelligence Sun Yat-sen Statue - NY Times.


Organic Food from China

Key Points:

  • Inspectors were from a government agency and some of the farms were government owned, creating a conflict of interest.
  • The US Imports $3 Billion of Food products from China per year.
  • China is one of the largest food exporters to the US.

    U.S. Drops Inspector of Food in China - NY Times.


US Citizenship Test in Chinese!

Interesting the languages that the US citizenship tests are available in. If your over 65 you can take the test with the help of a translator or in your native language.

Other languages include Spanish, Chinese, Tagalog, and Vietnamese.

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China's Wage Increases

Some good points brought up:

1. Will increases in China wages lead to higher inflation in China?

2. What will happen to the price of good from China?

3. Is the wage increases just making up for the wage freezes caused by the global recession of the last few years?

4. The Chinese government has the deal where they guarantee a booming economy and they get to stay in power.

What Do China’s Workers Want? - NY Times

What was missing :-)

1. Why is the Chinese government allowing this?
2. What are the politics behind this in the Chinese government?
3. What impact did the 48.5% increase in China's exports have on this?
4. What impact of the European crises?
5. Could a Gdansk ala China happen?

Another good article: Chinese Workers Challenge Beijing's Authority‎ - Wall Street Journal. This captures some of my thoughts.


Friday, June 11, 2010

One tiny piece of wrong code and...

It's so important to test your website after you make any change. One little change in the right place, for example change an 80 to 400, and your web site no longer works!

Sometimes this happens when you are making a minor change. Change this color to that in the html in the hex code. But oops, you put the number in the wrong place.

And then there is the different ways to edit the web code, and not all of them produce nice clean code. And this can also cause challenges.

And then you need to figure out what you did if you were not testing right after the change.

This is what makes running a web site so great for keeping your mind active! As long as you are updating your web site, there is never a dull day!


Thursday, June 10, 2010

From China to Taiwan to Manufacture?

Foxconn considering moving some tech manufacturing to Taiwan - Mercury News

Foxconn doubled the wages of their workers in China to $293 per month.

And if China re-values the Yuan, it would make it even more expensive.

And other firms in China are increasing their wages.

China has a history of increasing efficiency per year, so even if it does not have the cheapest labor around, when the total cost is looked at (hour wages are only part. If one place take 1 hour to do a job compared to 10 hours, the one hour can afford to pay X10 for the same job).


Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Harvard Student Fraud

And then he got admitted to Stanford...

Harvard hoax: Adam Wheeler case points to rise of student fraud - CS Monitor.

Student Adam Wheeler is accused of masterminding a Harvard hoax, using fake documents to get into the university and secure financial aid. Student fraud is an growing problem, experts say.


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Chinese SAT II Tips

Its Summer!

And now there is time for your favorite Chinese student to study for the Chinese SAT II.

Some suggestions:
  1. Buy both of the Chinese SAT II books. Yes, the first book is has more pages, but there are even more tests in the second book and the more tests you do the better. The first book is also full of tips and techniques for taking the Chinese SAT, where the second book is just practice tests for the Listening, Grammar, and Reading. The book is just like the test, so its has the tests in Simplified,Traditional, Bo Po Mo, and Tradition (use only one, or all of them, they are all there). The actual text of the book is in Traditional. The book assumes you can read Chinese because it was created by the Association of Northern California Schools.
  2. Set aside a fixed amount of time every day to do some work in the book. If necessary use a timer. For many students it helps if they log your time to make sure your doing what your supposed to be doing. Alternate your studying, instead of spending 8 hours just focused on studying for the Chinese SAT II. After an hour take a break or change to another subject. Think of studying as a marathon, and not a sprint.
  3. Chart your progress and test scores. After you finish a test, figure out why you missed a question so you won't on the real test. See if there is some type of pattern or area that you are weak in.


Learning Chinese in Mexico

Learning Chinese in Mexico: Children prepare for the future - LA Times.

As China swiftly expands its reach across Latin America, a pilot program in Aguascalientes aims to introduce students to the Mandarin language and make them more competitive in the job market.

One of my suppliers has New Practical Chinese Reader in Spanish. I have not added it to my stock. May be I should?


John Stewart on Confucius Classroom

Monday, June 7, 2010

Guest Blogger!

My daughter has indicated in the near future she will be guest blogging.

My wife and I have been brining her up bilingually so she is fluent in both English and Mandarin.


Harvard - $300,000 for Prep Classes?

The ultimlate status symbol for a Chinese parent is having their kid going to Harvard.

For Chinese, getting into Harvard is a class act - LA Times.


Friday, June 4, 2010

Karate Kid, Why not Kung Fu Kid?

The original Karate Kid came out when I had just started Karate. Cute film that was fun to watch.

Now there is a new Karate Kid, but it should be renamed Kung Fu Kid. Why was it not?

Per this article, in Hollywood, brand trumps accuracy and authenticity every time.

Is the China of 'The Karate Kid' the real China? - LA Times

'Karate Kid' update breaks down some Chinese walls - LA Times.

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Universities are offering doctorates but few jobs

A longer term goal of mine is to get a Doctorate :-)

The headache is the cost and amount of time. The Economist mentioned getting a PhD in England takes less time for some areas. The opportunity cost is an issue, as with any degree.

Universities are offering doctorates but few jobs - LA Times

Graduates frustrated by the lack of tenure-track positions available amid budget cuts are looking off campus. Many find work that wouldn't have cost them years in school or put them deep in debt.

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Thursday, June 3, 2010

China vs. US Teens

The Trouble with Teens - China Digital Times

And its true in many ways of ethnic Chinese in the US with the culture challenges and pressure of study, study, and study. At a near by college, Cal State Fullerton, there were a couple of suicides when my wife was going there.

I like this quote:

Yes, in the process of formulating his identity, the teenager may be a selfish jerk, but the same process equips him with ‘empathy’ and the growing self-awareness that he is a selfish jerk.

May be the US is becoming more like China in some ways... Today's College Students More Likely to Lack Empathy - Business Week

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Self Publishing

I am following Electronic Publishing or e-books with a lot of interest and fear - I do not want to be in the selling buggy whip business :-)

Good article from the Wall Street Journal. 'Vanity" Press Goes Digital.

I have a huge library of books at home and I love books. That is one of the reasons I got into the business of selling Learning Chinese Books. But there are a lot of positives for e-books (yes, I have run out of book shelves at home).

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WalMart changes College Education?

Wal-Mart is huge, 1.5 Million Workers. And now they are going to offer their employees a College Degree program. The current cost does not make sense yet. $24,000 for a bachelors or $11,700 for an associates.

In California a Cal States and community colleges are still more affordable than what Wal-Mart is offering (no comment on getting the classes).


8 Mistakes to avoid when Learning Chinese

Great blog post :-)

8 Mistakes To Avoid When Learning Chinese - The China Expat

#1 is not mastering tones. Yes, calling your Chinese Mother in law a horse is not a good idea...

#2 - Not Learning Characters. I have mixed feelings on this one. A better answer is it depends. I have seen many teachers get so focused on characters and stroke orders that they forget about teaching to speak the language.

#3 Killing yourself learning characters. The author suggests a better way. The idea makes more sense, but may be it would work better with traditional characters :-)

#4 Focus on progress over process. I agree. Continual improvement is key and it takes time. Rome was not built in a day.

#5 - Not making Chinese friends. Its important to actually practice and with Skype and other VOIP applications its become very easy.

#6 - Get the best Chinese Learning Material. I agree 100% and I try very hard to do this on my site.

#7 - Choosing poor classes. A terrible teacher can be a huge problem. Just because a teacher can speak Chinese does not make them a good Chinese teacher. Or just because you are married to them. Oops... I need to stop here :-)

#8 - Not using great tools for Learning Chinese. I see this as really #8.


Learning Chinese languages makes you musical?

 I love the picture! Article is also good.

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

May be this explains why my daughter is so musical!

I do like using Songs & Music for Learning Chinese.

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Useful Chinese words for Travel

Nice list of useful words for Learning Chinese.


Learning Chinese Cartoon

Cute site that sells cartoons! And even have a category for Learning Chinese.

This cartoon is so cute... And I hope its a Learning Chinese program bought from Childbook :-)


Tuesday, June 1, 2010

New generation of Chinese workers may not put up with low pay, brutal hours

As the number of working-age laborers dwindles, dissatisfaction with low pay and brutal hours has grown. Big companies are beginning to offer pay increases to stem the anger.

New generation of Chinese workers may not put up with low pay, brutal hours - LA Times

Makes sense. And add to this the one child policy. Single children are supposedly more self centered.

I disagree, but I am a single child. My wife (not a single child) has a different opinion :-)

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Chinese hiding three million babies a year

As many as three million Chinese babies are hidden by their parents every year in order to get around the country’s one-child policy, a researcher has discovered.

Chinese hiding three million babies a year - NY Times.

Some analysis...

Per Unicef China has 18,134,000 births per year or 18 Million.

3 Million of 18 Million seems pretty high. Or is it 3 Million of 21 Million. 1 in 6 or 1 in 7. Or in percentage about 14 to 17% of all births are supposedly off the books.


Teaching Work Values to Children of Wealth

This is one of the great challenges of being a parent.

Teaching Work Values to Children of Wealth - NY Times.


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