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Friday, February 25, 2011

Chinese in Libya?

There were 30,000 Chinese in Libya.

Only 20,000 Turks.

And 6000 Americans (many dual citizens).

China starts evacuation of 30,000 from Libya -- Shanghai Daily

The Chinese worked mostly in building infrastructure such as railrays, etc.


Quiz on China

I only got 16 out of 20. Fun quiz!

How much do you know about China? Take our quiz. - Christian Science Monitor

My weak area is Chinese Geography...  2 out of my 4 wrong answers. 

The other one was one I got wrong was which country does China import the most from, and the percentage of US Debt held by China (I was within 5%).


Thursday, February 24, 2011

Nice Grandparent - Paying for Grandchild to Learn Chinese

Minor change yesterday on an order where the customer accidently put their address, instead of their daughters for My First Chinese Words Set (36 Books + Audio CD), Simplified Chinese .

His daughter is fluent in Mandarin Chinese and is teaching her child Chinese.  And the Grandfather is willing to help pay for the materials.

I commented back that I like the My First Chinese Words Learning Chinese Curriculum

a lot.  Great quality and well done with lots of support material.  From CD's to exercise books to teachers guides.  The only negative I found was its a bit pricier than other material.

What I like aobut My First Chinese Words is it:

* Teaches basic Chinese sentences a child can immediately use.

* Lessons focus on how to communicate in Chinese, not just memorize individual words.

* Excellent supplementary materials, teaching support system

* Award-winning curriculum

But, my comment about cost bothered me.  $49.95 for 36 tiny books and a CD.  You can buy another textbook for $19.95.  But how much is your time worth?  If your serious about teaching Chinese paying a bit more for material that includes teaching guides in English (and just not a list of answers in Chinese) is huge. Plus all the support material.  With this in mind the premium that my My First Chinese Words demands can be justified.

What I like aboutMy First Chinese Words is its reading based with a bunch of short books.  This is great for younger ages because they have such a short attention span.  And later they can progress to My First Chinese Reader Curriculum by Better Chinese and Magical Tour of China Intermediate to Advanced by Better Chinese (all the way through High School) using the same material.


Chinese Made Easy vs. Chinese Made Easy for Kids

I got a call yesterday seeking to understand which is better, Chinese Made Easy (2 reviews, average 5 stars) or Chinese Made Easy for kids (12 reviews, average 5 starts).

Most of the 1st chapter of each book has been scanned, just click on the small image to see more of the book.  This way a customer can see which is best for them.

My take is Chinese Made Easy for kids  focuses more on the verbal, where Chinese Made Easy includes learning Chinese Characters. 

They are both good series by the same author.  I have seen some teachers use both Chinese Made Easy and Chinese Made Easy for kids in their class.  The goal is to make Chinese interesting to learn and just not writing a bunch of characters as some teachers have traditionally done.  Learning Chinese, especially when dealing with kids who do not speak Chinese at home, includes learning to speak Chinese! 

Both series are available in both Traditional and Simplified Chinese Characters.  Simplified Chinese Characters is outselling Traditional Chinese Characters.

Here are pages that list all of the materials in each series:

Chinese Made Easy for Kids

Chinese Made Easy


Chinese firms struggling to enter German market

My 2cents is a large part of the problem is cultural.

When I was marketing semiconductors, the German customers looked at the specifications, quality, and the technology.  The American customers were all about cost.  Many of the Chinese companies I have seen are all about cost.  Where you can get 80% of the quality of a top line item, for 50% of the cost.

I am surprised that language is an issue.  A super smart friend of mine from China worked in Germany for a while for Siemens.

Chinese firms struggling to enter German market - thelocal.de


Monday, February 21, 2011

A world tour of bookstore cafes

Yes, I am a sucker for bookstores.  Sometimes I feel like Dilbert in the comic strip where he is sucked into an Electronics store :-)

This strikes me as such a neat way to learn about a new city. The author believes that visiting an independent bookstore is a great way to learn about a city your visiting.

A world tour of bookstore cafes - LA Times

Visiting an online bookstore is just not the same as a physical bookstore.


Spoiled Kids - Tips

Bad title, but good article full of tips. The definition of a spoiled brat - selfish, entitled, rude, disrespectful, irresponsible, out of control, and lazy is great. 

How to Raise a Spoiled Brat - SF Chronicle

The key is giving kids responsibility, and that is not easy. 


Thursday, February 17, 2011

Brea Borders Saved - For Now!

The Borders near my house (Brea) is not one of the ones being closed.  The one that was closer, in Puente Hills, was closed a couple of years ago.

Nice letter from the CEO of Borders.

That includes a link to a site with more info., including which stores are being closed.



Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Borders Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection - WSJ.com

I like visting our local Borders and I hope its not one of the 200 that are going to be closed.  I view the reason for the bankruptcy as a combination of bad management, bad business model, and changes in technology.

Borders missed web based book sales, and Amazon's trick of no sales tax through excellent lawyers has not helped them.  Very late to the game with e-Books.  And lots of management turn over.  And traditional book sellers are still working on a 1930's model that over prints books ,with 40% of books pulped.  The exception being for the rare best sellers that are blown out by Costco, Amazon, WalMart, etc...  And this is not even getting into what Print On Demand will do in the future (and Amazon is already heavy into this).

Borders Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection - WSJ.com


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Bilingual Tips

What my wife and I did was I spoke English, and my wife just spoke Mandarin Chinese to my daughter basically since birth.  The result is my daughter has excellent English (she correct me now - which can be annoying), and great spoken Mandarin Chinese.


Student Loan Horror Stories

For Disabled Borrowers of Student Loans, Big Barrier Is Education Department

Education Dept.'s red tape keeps disabled borrowers of student loans in debt
The Chronicle of Higher Education


Monday, February 14, 2011

China affect on Food Prices

The drought in China may also increase the prices of food world wide.  Rises in food prices are a touchy subject in China, since they lead to popular unrest.  Many countries around the world are hoarding and subsidizing food to prevent unrest. And 40% of corn in the US is used for Ethanol.  All these are combining to raise the price of food even more.

U.N. Food Agency Issues Warning on China Drought - NY Times


Forget Mandarin. Latin is the key to success?

The comments are a great read.

Forget Mandarin. Latin is the key to success - Spectator

and my thoughts on Why Learn Chinese


China now #2 Economy

China just surpassed Japan as the #2 world economy for 2010.  5.47 Trillion vs. 5.88 Trillion. 

I am sure :-)  The fact the Chinese number ends with -88 is a councidence.  8 has the same sound as weathy in Mandarin Chinese, -which is why ChildBook's Tel. # has lots of 8's in it. 626.810.2088 - area code used to be 818.

China Replaced Japan in 2010 as No. 2 Economy - NY Times


Happy Valentine's Day To Each Of You!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Winning Review For Childbook.com Products

Winning Review:

Sing 'N Learn Chinese CD & Book
Our Price: $17.95

22 songs in Chinese and English
  • Simple Chinese vocabulary in a fun way
  • Book - English, Simplified, Traditional, and Pinyin
  • With instruction guide


Musically Better than "Teach Me Chinese"

By Mom

from Toronto, Canada

About Me Mom to a preschooler

Verified Reviewer


  • Entertaining


  • Some Songs too fast

Best Uses

  • Education
  • Entertainment
  • Everyone

Comments about Sing 'N Learn Chinese CD & Book:

Even though each have their pros and cons, I liked this set better than the "Teach me Chinese" series.
-This set has a singer who is able to sing better in tune.
-The Chinese lyrics match the songs MUCH BETTER, which allows kids to follow the words easily.
-The book isolates certain vocabulary words and has an accompanying picture to reinforce the vocabulary.
-There is both simplified and traditional Chinese along with pinyin and English translations for ALL songs.
-The CD has all the songs repeated using just instrumental so that you can try singing the songs without prompting from the original singer.

-Some of the songs could have been recorded slower to accomodate Chinese learners
-Kids voices could have been used in the recording to appeal to younger ones

Not really cons, but something that would have made it better:
-The songs could have been sung in English too, so that kids get a sense of the songs in both languages on one CD. (Teach Me Chinese uses both languages).
-It would have been fun to make up a story to weave all the songs together (Teach Me Chinese does this).

Overall, a worthwhile set to get!


Thursday, February 10, 2011

Multi-Culturalism - Where Now?

I view multi-culturalism as understanding more than one culture.  It does not mean for any one group that moved to a new country to stay within only their culture, but to be part of the new country as well as their own within reason. 

Its a balance and truthfully, its hard.

Some personal minor examples.  I am glad that my daughter enjoys both the Chinese Culture (Red Envelopes on Chinese New Years for example) and her Birthday. As well as being fluent in both Mandarin and English.  This means when she goes over to a fellow students house with a Chinese and/or Taiwanese speaking parent she makes a very positive impression.  I am glad my daughter  knows whom the Monkey King is, as well as European fairy Tales such as Cinderella.  And that she can talk to her Taiwanese Grand Parents, who don't speak English, and to my parents who are English only.



College Graduation Rates

Last night I was updating the FAFSA and in it was the graduation rates for colleges. The College Navigator by the US Department of Education has all sorts of useful information on colleges.

I was surprised that Cal State Fullerton and Cal Poly both have graduation rates just above 50%.  And the majority of students take longer than 4 years to get a degree.   At Cal Poly, Pomona only 15% of students finish in 4 years, 16% at Cal State Fullerton..  At Scripps, in contrast, 87% graduate with 9% transferring, and 84% are within 4 years.

Yes, I am a Cal Poly Alumni and I did the 5 year plan (Engineering should be called a 5 year program there).


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

25% of Harper Collin Books Sold in January were e-Books

HarperCollins Reports 25% Of Young-Adult Book Sales In January

A year ago it was 6%.


I guess I must be old fashioned still preferring a physical book to read :-)


Build a wall - The Year of the Rabbit starts badly

Good article about the Golden Firewall in China from the Economist and what is being done about Egypt.



College Acceptance Stress

It can be very stressful  for your child as they are waiting to find out did they get accepted.  And every college does their acceptance differently and with different timing.  UCI seems to do it in waves with the most wanted first (Not 100% sure on this, may be by date or something else).  So some people may get acceptances, while other colleges are still pending.

It would be nice if the college acceptance process was clearer.


Learning Chinese & Seasonality

What I have noticed is right before Chinese New Year (January) and Moon Festival (September) there is a lot of purchases by customers Learning ChineseDragon Boat Festival (June) does not cause the increase in sales. 

Or may be its the beginnning of a school's semester :-)

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Cantonese: a Dialect in Peril?

A program I was listening to on my local NPR Station,

Cantonese: a Dialect in Peril? - PRI's The World.  From the BBC, PRI, and WGBH

My thought is Cantonese is becoming a household language, where Mandarin is becoming the language used for business.  As a reseller I see the market interest is in Mandarin Chinese.  I used to stock some Cantonese items, but they took a LONG time to finally sell them.


History of Asians in the San Gabriel Valley

History of Asians in the San Gabriel Valley by Susie Ling on IM Divisity.

Good article. 

I found the chart with percentage of Chinese in the Cities interesting.

Rowland Heights, is 32.4% Chinese. 

The article missed Walnut  (55.75% Asian).


Thursday, February 3, 2011

Return Policy Change

Due to a recent refund I am unhappy about, the new refund policy for CD's, DVD's, and Software is you can open 1 and return it per order and return it for a full 100% refund.

Any non book items that have been opened, after that are only 50% refunded.



Mandarin Immersion Parent's Council

Neat web site.  http://miparentscouncil.org/

Most active in the Bay Area (San Franscisco).   I know, when you say the Bay Area, you wonder which Bay Area?  There are a few of them in the US :-)


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Bunnies Multiply in China Ahead of Lunar New Year

Rabbits are being given as gifts in China for the Lunar New Year that is the year of the rabbit.  The problem is rabbits do chew.

Bunnies Multiply in China Ahead of Lunar New Year - Wall Street Journal

We almost got a pet rabbit one time before my daughter was born.  My dog at the time, a super smart Akita, decided the rabbit was a friend.  So he carried it around the house in his mouth as a big toy.  The rabbit hardly moved.  My wife decided to return the rabbit :-)


Great School Districts & Housing Prices

San Marino is a city with a great school district located in Southern California.  San Marino is now more than 50% Asian.  All the surrounding cities have lower housing prices, but San Marino is actually higher.  Its just North of Monterey Park.  San Marino also has the Huntingon Library that has a beautiful Chinese Garden.

Housing crisis hasn't touched San Marino - LA Times


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