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Sunday, July 31, 2011

Hollywood Movies in Chinese

A customer just E-Mailed me they saw the movie Troy with Traditional Chinese sub-titles on a recent flight, and was wondering where to buy it in the US.

Many movies have great translations in Chinese, the headache/problem is getting them in the US. Movie studios make it a huge headache to get movies in a foreign language in the US (with the exception of Spanish and French).

Disney has excellent translations of all their animation in Mandarin Chinese, but with the exception of Mulan, none of the others ones are available in the US. For BlueRay, the Region in Taiwan is the same as the US. For regular DVD's Taiwan and China have a different regional coding than in the US, so a regionless DVD player is needed.

Unfortunately I don't know where to buy versions with Chinese in the US,  I have seen some movies at some Chinese bookstores, but its very un-even.  And I doubt the bookstores got the permission of the US studious to import them.
Some series I have that are  Bilingual Animated Chinese DVD's


Mytho fhte Extraordinary Teacher

A good article to read.  The part that caught my attention, was the ADD student with Anger issues.  With mainstreaming being required by courts, its hard.  Mainstreaming is where a special needs student is put in a regular class.  Yes, this is often more fair to the special ed student, but then its often not fair to the other students in the class.  And sometimes not even fair to the special ed student since they don't get as much attention as they need. The problem with the courts running education with many tiny narrow decisions, is it may make sense legally, but its often not what is best for students.

The myth of the extraordinary teacher - LA Times


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Norwegian Spirit - Designed for Asian Market

The cruise ship I was on for my 1 week vacation in the Carribean was built for the Asian market.  It was originally called the SuperStar Leo for Star Cruises (owned by a Maylasian tycoon, Lim Goh Tong, who is ethnic Chinese, and was a birthday present for his  son's wife).

Features for the Asian Market:
  1. Red Carpets
  2. Asian Antiques in the stairway (my understanding was they are real - from India, Cambodia, and Thailand).
  3. Roman theme for the pool area
  4. Chinese restaurant (Tai Pan with giant clay soldiers outside)
  5. Shogun (Japanese restaurant, similar to Benihana's)
  6. Gourmet restaurant called Maxim's (changed to a steak house after the transfer to Norwegian).
  7. Picture house (cinema) that was changed to a live stage.
  8. Mahjong Room is now gone.
  9. The Bund (Karoke) was changed to a regular bar.
  10. Children's computer center I assume was changed to a general computer center for Internet access
The ship was transferred to Norwegian Cruise Lines (which is partially owned by Star Cruises).  The central casino area was changed to a giant atrium.


Asian as White?

I guess this means I am no longer in a mixed marriage? It also simplifies the issue of my daughter picking which race she is - hmm, do I feel more Asian today, or White?

The comments are a great read.  One comment mentions a Spanish immigrant who could not put white, due to his last name.

Asians as “White” - The Volokh Conspiracy

And for reference, my listing of:

Racism Against Chinese in the US Timeline - Timeline by ChildBook.com


Sinhua Update - Improper handling of Train Crash

It seems the high speed train that crashed, the cars were buried immediately after the crash!

And in Xinhua, the train crash accident was not properly investigated.  Keep in mind that if its in Xinhua, its pretty much the official position of the central government.

An explanation I heard on the radio, was the railroad ministry is held in such low esteem by the general public, that its a useful distraction/scapegoat.  This is why criticism is being allowed in the official press of what happened.  An alternate explanation is that the Chinese twitter equivalent has forced the Chinese government to be more open about the issue due to the speed of the public response, which prevented a cover up of what happened.  My opinion is its a mixture of both.

Improper handling of train crash accident criticized - Xinhua

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Future of Chinese Labor?

Foxconn, that employees 1.2 Million people, with 1 Million in China, is going to buy 1 Million robots in the next 3 years.  Foxconn currently uses 10,000 robots.

The cost of a robot is more than just the cost of a robot.  There is a maintenance cost, as well as programming, and the people to support robots. Robots are very good for some tasks when properly used, the problem is in the past, they have often not been properly implemented to increase efficiency. What this signals to me is the cost of Chinese labor is increasing (no more super cheap labor), along with the cost of robots decreasing (price has not been released for the Robot to be used).

Foxconn to Replace a Portion of its Workers with 1 Million Robots - Macrumors

Look Out Humans – This FRIDA Robot From ABB Will Take Your Factory Job - Singularity Hub

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Friday, July 29, 2011

China High Speed Rail Update

China's Wen visited the train crash scene.

Things I did not realize:

1. Japan's bullet train has had 1 fatality in its operating history (the automatic doors).
2. France's trains have had zero fatalities.
3. The two trains that crashed were operated by different railway bureus.
4. Lightning is a regular issue/occurance.
5. There were a half dozen power failures before the incident.
6. The 5 year old girl who was rescued after the search had eneded.
7. Per the people's daily, the training for the Engineer only took 10 days.

China's high-speed train crash, Interrogating the Party - The Economist
Death on the High Speed Rail - Chinageeks.

History of high speed propaganda tells all - China Media Project

The official popaganda guidelines is a great read.  The focus on articles are to be ones that are extremely moving, such as taxi drivers refusing fairs, etc.


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Thursday, July 28, 2011

Getting past Tarrifs

Blue Jeans have a 17% tarrif on them, but if you label them as woven jeans, there is only a 2% tarrif.  Or if you promise the goods will be shipped to another country, no tarrif.  So these entrepreneurs did everything possible to get around the tarrif charges.

Federal officials charge residents of Alhambra, Walnut, Rowland Heights and Arcadia in alleged Industry-based smuggling ring - SG Tribune


Fake Chinese DVD's

I have seen "Disney" VCD's in Monterey Park that have a @yahoo.cn contact address...  I am 99% sure those were fake.

The penalties for counterfeit products can be up to 10 years.  This case the people imported products with a fake dolby mark on them.

Monterey Park store owner, manager arrested in counterfeit Chinese video probe - SG Tribune


Asian Math Textbooks half the size of US ones?

An interview with Bill Gates on his efforts in the education area.

Was the $5 Billion Worth It?

A decade into his record-breaking education philanthropy, Bill Gates talks teachers, charters—and regrets.

I did not realize that Asian Math Textbooks on average are half the size of US ones.  I did know the US Math Textbooks cover a lot wider range of topics, but very shallow.  Where Asian Math Textbooks cover fewer topics, but in much greater depth. 

Which is why my Wife, educated in Taiwan through High School, is the Math genius of the family...


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

ABC for Calif. Supreme Court

Jerry Brown nominates Goodwin Liu to California Supreme Court - LA Times

Son of immigrants from Taiwan and a law professor at UC Berkeley.


Chinese Foot Massage

In many cities were visited (New Orleans and Cozumel Mexico), I noticed foot massage businesses run by Chinese.  Same signs even.  I have also seen a lot of these type businesses in the Rowland Heights area.  The businesses mentioned the health benefits.  I think they were using the word Reflexology, based on the idea that massaging the feet can influence other areas in the body.


Chinese in Belize

Per our tour guide while we were in Belize, the Chinese run the grocers in Belize.

And on our way to cave tubing (you ride an inner tube through a cave on a river - very cool), we stopped by a market.  And it was playing CCTV on the TV.  So my wife asked the cashier (in Chinese), where they she was from (China).  My wife then had a nice chat with the cashiers Mother-in-law.

We also passed by the Taiwan embassy on our way to the cave tubing.


$10 Million for 9 Streetlights?

Per our tour guide in Belize City, Taiwan gave $10 Million dollars for street lights.

And so far only 9 have been installed in a couple of years.

This could be part of the reason that Belize recognizes Taiwan :-)

Corruption unfortunately is a major problem, as in many other countries, in Belize.  Corruption is very destructive to a country.


Back From Vacation

Vacations are nice, except for the catch up :-)  So my apologies for those customers I have not returned your e-mails yet.  For general e-mails to sales@childbook.com my staff was returning them while I was out.

This year my family went on a cruise to the Western Carribean leaving New Orleans. It was a change from the surburban Chinatown I live in Rowland Heights. 


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

China High Speed Train Tragedy

Massive corruption + super fast construction = poor quality usually.

Especially sad for the 39 passengers who died, plus those injured.

And the Chinese government has censored covering of the tragedy.  Reporters are not being allowed at the crash site.  The censorship is not working, it seems.  And the top 3 people in the railroad company are being investigated (sacrificial lambs).  I am surprised, on the Chinese twitter, for the 3rd straight day, its the most discussed item.  Wow!  And showing the power of the Internet and how China is connected to the rest of the world, the way wreckage of Air Francde 447 was handled is being contrasted with the train wreckage, and has been reposted 42,000 times.

The high speed rail was supposed to be a positive symbol of China, so the sensitivity is understandable. 

Fears China rail crash result of project cutting corners - The Australian
Chinese Outrage Grows Over Train Crash - WSJ

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Fake Apple Store in China!

Just when you think you have seen everything...

A city in South West China, Kunming  has 5 fake Apple stores.  One store had a typical Apple Layout.

In one store, the employees did not even realize it was a fake store.  The pictures are amazing!

From the WSJ



And the original Expat Blogger, birdabroad, who noticed the store:

And supposedly two of the stores were closed down:


Finding Adventure on Teaching Chinese

It's definitely an adventure to teach little kids (or not-so-little-ones) the Chinese language. Your first challenge is to keep each students interested, interested enough that they actually practice what you teach. Speak what they've learned and use words little by little until they are able to create or form simple sentences in Chinese. 

Music has always been an effective method of incorporating fun in learning. Chinese Children CDs are a great tool to learn the Chinese Language.  When you get into your car, pop in a CD for your child.
  •  Kids learn quickly when they repeatedly hear Chinese songs, or when they read a book along with a recording.
  • These Chinese songs are pleasant for kids and have good-quality audio.
  • The read-along stories make it easier for kids to learn sentences.  They can also practice reading Chinese as they follow the story being read in the CD.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Kids' Summer Are More Productive Than Before

What is summer like in your family? In mine it's practically chaos because since the kid is here, you will never get any work done unless she's glued in the TV (which by the way is a runner for bad parent awardee). Then I read an article that really opened my mind and realize how valuable summer vacation is. It should be spent honing whatever skills your kids have. Like sports, language, academics, etc. 

Props to this town for organizing very productive summer programs/camps for the kids.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Chinese Immersion Classes Now Offered Online

Wow, this is great news. It will save a lot of time and gas (and energy for driver Moms and Dads). 

The Chinese Language School of Connecticut has taught Mandarin as a second language to non-native students ranging from toddlers to adults since its creation in 2002, but, as it enters its 10th year of operation, the Riverside-based school is launching a new online learning system called iVuChinese.

Read more: http://www.stamfordadvocate.com/news/article/A-Far-East-movement-Chinese-school-launches-1470070.php#ixzz1SkFdw8nr

I wonder what Chinese learning materials the teachers and students are using. This is very interesting. I hope I could learn more on how they operate the online courses for kids. 


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Even Sweden Wants Chinese Lessons

If it pushes through, Sweden is the first European country to embrace the importance of Chinese language to children. I say that's a very brave step for them and it is a good one too. It would take them time to train teachers or hire Chinese natives but it is doable and definitely possible. 

Interestingly, I have lots of customers from Europe too. I bet they will be happy to know that finally one country is starting to embrace that Chinese language for kids is worth it.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Chinese Breakfasts now at some US Hotels!

Its nice that some US hospitals are now offering Chinese style breakfasts.

And some hospitals in Southern California are also offering Chinese Breakfasts.

Hilton, Starwood hotels give Chinese travelers the comforts of home - LA Times

My guess:

The picture in the article is hot soy bean milk in a bowl and a Chinese Donut (fried dough)


Thursday, July 14, 2011

U.S. expatriates pursue American dream in China

I am surprised that American's are the second largest community of foreigners in China, behind the Koreans (Taiwanese are not counted).  100,000 in 2005.  And there is a push to exchange 100,000 college students in the next 4 years.

U.S. expatriates pursue American dream in China - USA Today


China Train Update - Glitches

The question is this just teething problems that will go away with time and experience, or caused by the massive amount of corruption.

China’s Prize High-Speed Rail Line Plagued by Glitches - WSJ Blog


Chinese government photoshop disaster goes viral

Funny!  Lesson - don't fake photos...

Chinese government photoshop disaster goes viral - Boingboing

The comments are interesting.

Yes, most images in magazines in the US are photoshopped.


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Considering the mystery of DNA testing and adoption

Considering the mystery of DNA testing and adoption - Stateman.com

DNA testing can often provide a lot of surprising results. 

As a birthday present I got a DNA test done, and I was surprised at the results on my ancestory (more English than I expected, less Scottish, some German and Central Europe, and apparently no American Indian (family rumour proved false).  Its a great tool if your doing geneology.  I can understand for adopted children how it can have a huge impact.  As the cost of the tests goes lower and lower, I am sure you will see more and more testing. 


Pork Inflation in China

Lots of pork is eaten in China, and unfortunately there is a shortage of pork currently, which has lead to higher prices (57% in the last year).

The Meat of China's Inflation Problem - The Atlantic


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

IP Theft

An ABC (American Born Chinese) sold software from the CME Group (does futures, options, and derivatives) it appears to Logistics and Trade Bureau for the Zhangjiagang Free Trade Zone.


1. Protect your IP!

Feds cuff programmer in alleged trading-ware theft
Say Chinese-born Chicago coder had flight booked


1500 Starbucks in China!

By 2015 Starbucks wants 1500 stores in China (triple its presence).  In the WSJ I read Starbucks believes China will be its biggest market.  And Starbucks is also buying out its local partner.

My take:

1. China has a huge middle class that can afford Starbucks, and its growing.
2. Coffee prices have been increasing due to growing problems.
3. Chinese are big into status symbols, and drinking Starbucks is a huge status symbol.

Foreign companies ready to fly solo - China Daily

Lifestyle Coffee drinkers to keep demand growing in China - Reuters


Cisco in China

China is a huge market and opportunity for Cisco, but also a potential 1984 PR nightmare.

Cisco drives epic Chinese surveillance network, says report - The Register

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Facebook's China Problem

I"ll be surprised if Facebook is allowed into China in any meaningful way.  Why should the Chinese government allow it?  What is the benefit for the Chinese government, verses the potential down side.

Facebook's China problem - Mercury News


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

China's Wage Inflation

Wages for one company in China are up 50% over the past two years.  Another doubled in the last 5 years.  So many companies are either moving to cheaper areas of China, or to othe countries to do manufacturing.

Strong Yuan Throws Curve - WSJ

U.S. Firms In China Pay More As Wages Rise - NPR


WTO Rules against China on Rare Earths

This has been a huge issue with China for a while cutting off exports to Japan of rare earths.

WTO rules China unfairly protected domestic manufacturers by limiting export of raw materials - Washington Post


China's Local Government Debt Understated by Billions: Moody's

Adding fuel to the argument of a giant debt bubble in China, that is outside the control of the central government.

China's Local Government Debt Understated by Billions: Moody's - CNBC


China wants to buy Facebook?

Half is right, and half is hot air.  The problem is not sure which part is which (reminds me of the description of Economics - Half is correct, and half is wrong, but nobody knows which is which).

China wants to buy Facebook - Forbes


Friday, July 1, 2011

Auditor Problems in China

Classic.  A fake web site for a bank was set up for the auditors for reviewing cash levels!

Somehow the auditor caught on to this.

Another example seems to be where a bank employee was bribed, to tell the auditor what they wanted to hear.

Auditors Sharpen Queries In China - WSJ

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China Has Its Eye On Canada's Oil

The US pipe line for Canadian Oil from tar sands has been controversial and stalled, since the thought its dirty oil.  China is willing to build a pipe line to export the oil to China.  China's government is very worried about making sure there is enough energy supplied within China, often with little regard to the environmental impact.  Coal fired power stations is another example of this.

China Has Its Eye On Canada's Oil - Investors.com


Out of State Increase at UC's

Berkeley is now 30% non California Residents.  It was 23% last year.

UCLA and UC San Diego are at 18%.

And there were more applicants this year, and 41% of enrollees were Asian (who are 13% of the California Population).

University of California enrolls more out-of-state freshmen - LA Times


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