Tag: Micah


08

Nov 2010

Those Census-Confounding Chinese Tones

Recently Micah retweeted a short Chinese comedy routine [original] that was clever enough to be shared a bit more. The setup is that a census-taker asks a resident how many are in his household. Confusion ensues:

> “请问您家里是几口人?” [May I ask how many are in your household?]

> “是一口人。” [It’s one person.]

> “十一口?” [Eleven?]

> “不是十一口,而是一口人。” [Not eleven, but 1 person.]

> “二十一口?” [21?]

> “不是二十一口,其实一口人。” [Not 21. Actually, one person.]

> “七十一口?不会吧?” [71? For real?]

> “不是七十一口,就是一口人!” [Not 71. It’s just one person!]

> “九十一口?” [91?]

> “对,就是一口人。” [Right, just one person.]

OK, maybe I should have warned those of you that don’t read Chinese: the translation makes no sense in English, because the confusion is all based on tone-related misunderstandings:

– 是一 (shì yī) misunderstood as 十一 (shíyī)
– 而是一 (ér shì yī) misunderstood as 二十一 (èrshíyī)
– 其实一 (qíshí yī) misunderstood as 七十一 (qīshíyī)
– 就是一 (jiù shì yī) misunderstood as 九十一 (jiǔshíyī)

Although most of the misunderstandings above shouldn’t happen if both speakers are using standard Mandarin, I’ve witnessed quite a few cases where dialect influences tones, which, in turn, can lead to miscommunications. Personally, I find it a little comforting to know that even native speakers experience tone-related confusion, even if it’s not all that common (or comical!).


04

Nov 2010

Google Suggest Venn Diagrams for Chinese, Japanese, and English

I was recently introduced to the awesome Google Suggest Venn Diagram Generator by Micah. Some interesting suggested searches by Google were crossed with a Venn diagram by some creative soul, and then the process was automated on the web by request. The result is a unique way to visualize and compare the data indexed by Google.

Here’s an example of what the diagram generator produces:

google-venn_people-girls-americans

So we can see from this graph that according to Google, lots of people are asking (or telling) why both people and girls are mean, why girls and Americans are dumb, and why people, girls, and Americans are all stupid.

I decided to try some queries of my own. I chose the terms “Chinese,” “Japanese,” and “English” as my recurring comparisons, and then added a little color to the results. Here are some of the more interesting ones:

how does _____ …

google-venn_how-does

Yikes, “how does Chinese water torture work“? Gotta love the intellectual curiosity. I like the “how does English sound to foreigners” question though.

learn _____ …

google-venn_learn

Apparently there’s a whole lot of learning going on in the DC area. It’s no surprise that people want to learn online for free, but it’s interesting that Chinese is the only language of the three that people expect to learn in 5 minutes. (Tip: it might take slightly longer than that.)

_____ grammar …

google-venn_grammar

Ah, good old . (I’m kind of surprised it trumped , though.)

awesome _____ …

google-venn_awesome

stupid _____ …

google-venn_stupid

Why is _____ so damn…

google-venn_so-damn-hard

Ah, yes. But we expected that.


13

Apr 2010

An American Master’s in Education, in Shanghai

Following a post entitled Why China for Grad School?, I interviewed Zachary Franklin about his half-English, half-Chinese economics master’s program. This time I interview Micah Sittig, who is earning a master’s in education through a quite different program in Shanghai.


John: Can you tell me what graduate degree you’re working on?

Micah: I’m working toward a Master’s in Education from the University of Oklahoma (OU). I’ve been teaching math and science in the English division of a private school on the outskirts of Shanghai for four years now, and this is the first time that the school has teamed up with a university to offer this kind of opportunity. Naturally I jumped at the chance because it means being able to stay in China and earn what I feel is a US-quality advanced degree.

John: What kind of program is it? Is it meant for foreigners?

Micah: It’s an intensive, two-year master’s offered by the University of Oklahoma. The College of Education sends professors to Shanghai during vacations for one week of class, 62 hours total, including a practicum that we’re just finishing now. It’s a general Master’s in Education that is meant for teachers from preschool up through high school, and includes courses like Intro to Teaching and Learning, Educational Psychology, Theory and Research in Education, and Instructional Technology. Enrollment was not limited to foreigners, but only 3 out of 15 students are native Chinese, probably because the entire program is being conducted in English. I suspect that some of the professors were mentally prepared to teach a majority Chinese class, but that doesn’t mean they lowered the pace or difficulty of the material.

John: In terms of course content and professors, how does your program compare to comparable programs in the States?

Micah: In theory the content is offered at the same level as it was in the United States. Some professors have tried to get our input from a Chinese perspective, but the majority of the students are from the US or other nationalities, and the Chinese students either don’t participate much in discussions or have a hard time bridging the cultural gap with the professors. The Tech Ed class also had a heavily modified syllabus since many online tools aren’t available in China; thanks a lot, GFW! The professors are what you’d expect anywhere—some good, some bad—but overall I’ve been very happy with the caliber of the instructors and the level of instruction.

John: Education in China has long been the focus of various debates. Has Chinese-style education impacted the content of your program?

Micah: Due to the nature of the program, it hasn’t been impacted by Chinese-style education. However, my wife Jodi is concurrently studying for a second undergrad degree in early childhood education at ECNU and what has been interesting is comparing the teaching style and content in courses or topics that we’ve both studied. Jodi’s classes, of which I’ve been able to sit in on a couple, place a much greater emphasis on content than on practice. One particularly bad teacher would just spend the lecture talking through the text and pointing out facts or passages that test questions would be taken from; it was a textbook case of teaching to the test. Add to that the Chinese reverence for (their 5000 years of) history and you have a lot of content to cover. On the other hand, I felt like my program emphasizes practice over content, sometimes to a fault. In some classes the professors spend a lot of time talking about how we feel and what we do in our classrooms, and neglect to give us a framework on which to organize our ideas. As you might expect, the teacher with the most organized notes and Powerpoints was the one prof of Korean heritage.

John: Can you share any information with readers interested in the program?

Micah: The first OU cohort will be graduating this summer and a second cohort is being considered that would start classes early next year. Please contact me if you are interested in joining the next cohort or just want more details, and I will put you in touch with the program coordinator at my school. [SEE UPDATE BELOW]


Micah’s website has his contact information, as well as links to his blog and his Twitter account.


July 16, 2018 Update

Micah has written to let me know that this program through Oklahoma University is no longer being offered in Shanghai, but he recommends the following programs as alternatives for international educators looking to upgrade their skills or become certified in the US:


22

Nov 2009

Updates and Links

Updates:

– Since my GFW Android Market rant, it looks like the Android Market may no longer be blocked. I’ve been able to access it again for the past few days on my HTC Hero here in Shanghai. Not sure if this will last, but it’s certainly a welcome development!
Pleco for iPhone (beta) just went into Beta 4 testing. Michael Love says this will probably be the last round of testing (but wow, that team does an amazingly thorough job!), so that means it will likely be submitted to Apple for review very soon.

Links:

– Google recently released a pinyin conversion tool on Google Translate, but it’s super primitive. Mark at Pinyin.info details all the ways it sucks (via Dave), but they all boil down to this: the tool simply romanizes characters, without regard for proper spacing, proper punctuation, or multiple character readings that can only be determined with data-informed word segmentation. (Boo, Google! You can do waaayyy better!)
– Google also added a cool-looking new Google Translate Toolkit (via Micah), which looks like the beginnings of competition for translation software like TRADOS (the preferred tool of translator Pete).
– An over-the-top rant on the importance of reading Chinese (via Micah) serves as a good reminder to those of us who might be satisfied with our functional speaking ability and too lazy to improve our literacy (this is definitely me at times!).
– Speaking of reading material, ChinaSMACK recently reminded me that even when you’re too lazy to tackle 老子 or modern thinkers, there’s still less challenging but interesting material to read in Chinese, and reading something is certainly better than nothing.
– Finally, most of us have used character-by-character literal translation as a mnemonic for memorizing certain Chinese vocabulary, but now there’s a blog dedicated to just that, called “those crazy chinese.” “Sweet pee disease,” “hairy hairy balls,” “ear shit”… check it out.


22

Sep 2008

Micah and John on Touring Shanghai

Blogger Matthew Stinson recently asked Micah and me about what there is to do in Shanghai. I thought the conversation might be useful to some readers, so here it is, edited somewhat:

Matthew asked:

> I’m heading down to Shanghai for National Day [October 1st]. I have rather bizarrely never actually been to Shanghai before, so I was wondering what places you’d recommend I visit and what places you’d recommend I avoid during my time there. I have about 3.5 days to wander around the city.

> Also wondering what district you recommend getting a hotel or hostel in.

Micah replied:

> Three and a half days is enough to see all the major attractions and then some. However, a disclaimer: sometimes I get too gung ho about the city, so if John’s recommendations clash with mine then trust him over me.

> For a hotel or hostel I’d recommend staying close to People’s Square, which is a good launching pad for visits to just about anywhere in the city because it’s the location of the subway Lines 1/2/8 interchange. I have two places in mind, depending on your budget. If you’re going cheap, stay at the Shanghai Mingtown Etour Youth Hostel. It’s just west of People’s Square, next to the quaint little pet market where I buy chinchilla food and the Shanghai Art Museum. It’s also a short hike away from Suzhou Creek, a good place for photography. If you’re willing to pay RMB 200-300 for a standard 标准间 hotel room, the 上海市工人文化宫东方宾馆 (Shanghai Worker’s Cultural Palace Far East Hotel?) is right on People’s Square, 2 minutes from the subway, in a historic building that’s now being used as a civic center but has a hotel on the upper floors. I tried to book it for my parents when they came for our wedding two years ago, but they were renovating at the time so now it must be even nicer now. Either place, call in advance and confirm rates/availability, of course.

> Whoa, that was way too long. I’ll keep the “tourist attractions” in list form:

> DO

> – Yu Gardens area (for the food and the antiques)
> – Taikang Road (trendy fixed-up old neighborhood)
> – People’s Square + Nanjing East Road + Bund (don’t mind the scammers, just chat them up and then brush them off)
> – Shanghai Museum (on People’s Square)
> – Lujiazui area (Aquarium, World Financial Center, Super Brand Mall)
> – Jing’an Temple
> – Yuyintang (this is a good live music venue, if you’re into that)
> – Science & Technology Museum
> – Wander around the French Concession area
> – Wander around the Old City (north from Dongjiadu)

> SKIP

> – Yu Gardens themselves
> – Shanghai City Planning Museum
> – Longhua Temple
> – Anything else in Pudong besides Lujiazui and Sci-Tech Museum

John replied:

> Heh, I always panic a little when people ask me about things to do in Shanghai. While I do like the city, I don’t feel like there’s really that much for visitors to DO when compared with a city like Beijing. This city is about business, shopping, dining, and nightlife!

> Still, it’s not fair to say Shanghai has nothing to offer, and I think Micah did a pretty good job of listing the attractions. I’ll just add a few comments to Micah’s list.

> HOTELS

> I’m sure Micah’s suggestions are great, but don’t forget the traveler’s favorite: The Captain’s Hostel. It’s probably been booked solid for weeks, but you might still want to check it out.

> DO

> – I’ve never been a fan of Yu Gardens; feels like it’s just for tourists from abroad. So while I would expect my parents to enjoy it, I wouldn’t expect you to.
> – Jing’an Temple is cool-looking, being right in the middle of the city, but don’t bother going in. The park across the street is quite nice, though, and both New York Pizza and Burger King are right there if you’re interested.
> – I went to the Science and Technology Museum with my wife last year, and we were both disappointed. We found it too child-oriented, run-down, and outdated.
> – You might consider the Xujiahui Computer Market (there are actually two separate markets right in 美罗城, plus a BestBuy nearby), and I hear there’s a photography market near the Shanghai Train Station that has lots of cool stuff for photo buffs [Editor’s note: Brad tells us that photography market is now closed].
> – Micah left off Xintiandi, a major tourist highlight. Yeah, it’s all fake and expensive, but I think it’s an important side of Shanghai. To me, Taikang Lu doesn’t feel much less fake… at least Xintiandi is honest about what it is. (Sorry, Micah!)
> – Check out the Liuli Glass Art museum on Madang Lu (right next to Xintiandi). Really amazing stuff by a Taiwanese artist, with a Buddhist theme. Make sure to go in early afternoon; it turns into a bar at night, and the exhibits go away.

> EAT

> To me, you’re missing one of Shanghai’s major highlights if you’re not here to EAT. Shanghai cuisine might be a bit sweet, but there are plenty of excellent restaurants, and tons of variety (both domestic and international). With a little planning, you could be eating one mind-blowing meal after another, if that’s something you’re interested in.

Micah replied:

> In re: to John, I totally agree that there’s just not that much to *do*. Go out to eat a lot, have a massage, get some clothes tailored, climb the Pearl Tower… that’s the extent of what 90% of Shanghai tourists do because Shanghai is about quality of modern life, not so much about history or cultural production.

> No comment on Xintiandi. I’m “against it” in theory, but I haven’t been there in ages and I’m not really familiar with the area. I believe John used to work near there, so he would know better than me.

> Finally, John, I was trying to think of a Shanghainese place to recommend because it’d be a shame not to eat the local cuisine no matter how people from outside of Shanghai bad-mouth it. But I was coming up a blank — the best places I’ve eaten are hole-in-the-wall, out of the way, or too expensive to recommend with a clean conscience. Can you name a place off hand?

John replied:

> You mention the Pearl Tower, but you didn’t put it in your “DO” list. I’ve actually never done it myself. Is that another one that should be on the “DO” list?

> Not really sure about a good Shanghainese place… There’s so much fusion going on that I don’t really worry about where the food is supposed to be from too much.

> Matthew, you might browse the restaurant listings on smartshanghai.com for the expat view, and on dianping.com for the Chinese view.

Micah replied:

> The Pearl Tower is the no-brainer, average-Joe view of Pudong. The Jinmao Tower’s 88th floor observation deck is the more sophisticated option. That one lounge on top of the Jinmao Tower where you pay the bar’s cover charge to enjoy the view *and* a classy drink is the savvy-traveler’s choice. But the only view that made it onto my DO list is the new World Financial Tower, because it’s NEW and higher than all the others (though I hear it’s a bit pricey).

> If I was playing tourist, maybe I’d go to Din Tai Fung. Even though it’s Taiwanese it wins all the contests for Shanghai 小笼包, and I betcha they have more Shanghai dishes than just that. Dianping has them at RMB 100 per. Jodi and I got invited to a birthday party at 1039 on Yuyuan Rd by a Shanghainese friend, very 本帮 [local Shanghai] and set in a semi-fixed-up colonial era home, but a little out of the way and RMB 200 per on Dianping.

> And yeah, seconding smartshanghai and dianping.

Readers: Any other recommendations for good, reasonably priced Shanghainese food, or must-see parts of Shanghai?


07

May 2008

China According to the Chinese

Micah posts two hilarious maps of China (Chinese required):

China according to the Beijingers
China according to the Shanghainese

Sorry, I’m a bit too busy lately to translate this, but it’s quite revealing culturally, so if you’re a student of Chinese, it’s worth it to get out your China map and a dictionary.

Unkind as it may sound, I got a huge kick out of the labels placed by both groups on the Wenzhounese. (I need to blog someday about Wenzhou…)


05

Feb 2008

Extremely Harmonious Video

This video via Micah, via Shanghai Eye.

Urge to make cynical smartass remarks… nearly overpowering… URRGGgg…

All right, I’m OK now. But seriously, that video is just begging to be made fun of.

On a positive note, it’s a nice collection of everyday Chinese scenes (set though they may be in a parallel harmonious universe).


31

Jan 2008

Micahbook

I’ve been reading my friends’ blogs through Google Reader for a while now, so I don’t often actually go to their sites. I just visited Micah’s site today for the first time in a long time, and I was impressed. This site design is genius! And it really perfectly suits Micah’s eclectic-aggregated blogging style.

Well done, Micah. Well done.


24

Jan 2007

Roujiamo Delivers!

Some of the best news I got all last week was that my favorite food in the Zhongshan Park area now delivers. It’s just this tiny stand, but they now bring this deliciousness right to your doorstep. I think it’s something like a 10 RMB minimum order. Sounds like a good excuse for a 肉夹馍 party to me.

肉夹馍

If you don’t have the fortune of knowing what roujiamo is, check out these photos. If you detest the vile weed as much as I do, you’ll also want to make sure you know how to tell them to hold the cilantro.

OK, I have to admit: the main reason I took this photo was for the phone number. Now John B and Micah have it too. Anyone else in the Zhongshan Park area? You’re welcome.


05

Jan 2007

Micah on Chinese Movie Titles

Micah has an interesting post on some of the factors that come into play when translating a foreign movie title into Chinese for mainland viewers. In the entry he talks about the titles of the following movies:

– The Host (Korean)
– Pirates of the Caribbean
– Night at the Museum
– The Devil Wears Prada
– Casino Royale
– Tsotsi
– Transformers

Micah tells us that the Chinese name of the creature in The Host is . Hoping to see what a 魊 supposedly looks like, I searched for an image of it on Baidu. Although page 2 of those search results seems to suggest that the creature looks like Maggie Cheung, I didn’t really get my answer. However, I did end up discovering a site I didn’t know about: CnMDB.com. Yet another Chinese site shamelessly ripping off a successful foreign website. (Yawn.)

2 MDBs

Note that the IMDb page has no ads (in this selection), way more movie pictures, and uses a romanized version of the Korean name.


09

Aug 2006

Chinese Hip Hop Riddle

Micah sent me a link to this great riddle:

> 猜一个中文字:
(Guess the Chinese character:)

> “一个人在树上唱hip-hop”
(“a person in (on) a tree singing hip hop”)

> 什么字?
(What’s the character?)

I think the riddle is “great” because I doubt many Chinese people could get it, and this helps even the score just a tiny bit. (Not that I guessed it, though…)

Answer:

(more…)


17

Jun 2006

Shanghai Carrefour Showcase

I found this 8-page Carrefour ad in my mailbox the other day, and I thought I’d scan it and share it. For those of you not in the know, Carrefour is a French supermarket chain that is super popular here in the PRC. It just recently opened at its new Zhongshan Park location in Shanghai. Anyway, I would think that this these pages might be very interesting for anyone interested in China, Chinese, or Shanghai.

Carrefour 01    Carrefour 02    Carrefour 03    Carrefour 04

Carrefour 05    Carrefour 06    Carrefour 07    Carrefour 08

Highlights:

Page 3: find out once and for all what the price of eggs in China is.
Page 4: the chicken’s not fresh unless the head is still attached.
Page 5: the electric bug swatter is one of the coolest things you can buy in China, period.
Page 8: maps and bus schedules! (Micah is loving this page even if no one else is.)

I have added a few of my own comments on the individual pages on Flickr. Note that on the individual pages for each scan on Flickr you can click on the “all sizes” button to see a much larger version of each image. You may just want to go to the Flickr Shanghai Carrefour Ad set page.


16

Mar 2006

Learning East Asian Communicative Grunts

It took me a while to learn to grunt like an East Asian, but I feel much more comfortable here now that I can. Sure, I’ve been grunting like an American all my life. I may have learned the “annoyed grunt” from TV, but I’ve been saying “uh-huh” for yes and “unh-uh” (if that’s how you spell it) for no, as well as the special “nuh-uhhhh!” (reserved for childish arguments) ever since I was a kid. Oh, and don’t forget that “I dunno” noise we make that I’m not even going to try to spell out. I guess each culture has its own ways of communicative grunting, but outsiders have to learn these noises just like every other part of the language.

The year I studied in Japan I lived with a Japanese family. It took me a while to get to the point that I was actually communicating, but I remember very clearly the day my homestay brother Shingo said to me, “quit saying hai all the time. It’s way too formal. You need to learn how to say un (うん).”

It was like I was saying “yes” all the time and never “yeah.” It just wasn’t natural. By that time, hai was quite a habit, so it took a concerted effort to work un into my speech patterns. Once I did, however, it was so much more comfortable.

In China, the first communicative grunt I learned was . Interestingly, it sounds very similar to the Japanese affirmative grunt. I have to admit, though, that I find 嗯 the least articulate of any grunt-like communication, because unlike the Japanese un, it doesn’t even require you to open your mouth. But I guess that’s what makes it so comfortable too. It’s the linguistic equivalent of “lounging around all day at home in your pajamas.” (And we all know how many Chinese feel about staying in pajamas as much as possible.)

As much as I like the 嗯 of Chinese, I think I like even more. You may have to go to the trouble of actually opening your mouth, but I find it much more expressive. There are lots of tonal options, and plenty of room for creativity/personal interpretation. There’s also something about the utterance that just strikes me as so Chinese, too. I recently downloaded the song 吉祥三宝 on Micah‘s recommendation. Not only is the song really cute, but it contains an excellent example of the 欸 sound. In the song, the mother says it* to mean, “yes, dear?” and it’s not even Mandarin she’s speaking, and yet it struck me as just so Chinese.

My Chinese grunting makes me feel much more at ease in my environment. For the longest time, whenever I would bump into neighbors on the way out of the building and they’d greet me with a “going out?” (出去啦?) I never knew exactly how to reply. Sure, they were just making small talk, a casual friendly gesture, but I always found myself woodenly responding with the Chinese equivalent of, “It is, in fact, as you say, good sir. I am indeed going out.” It was the Chinese affirmative grunts which finally equipped me to respond naturally with the Chinese version of “yup.”

If you’re learning Mandarin, I heartily recommend you try to loosen up and get into the grunting if you haven’t already.

* Technically, I think the character closest in meaning would be , but the mother definitely makes a “ei” sound. The father, however, definitely makes a “ai” sound. Still, if it’s not even Mandarin, who cares about these distinctions, right?


10

Mar 2006

The Subs at Shuffle

Brad of Shanghai Streets has organized a concert for this Saturday night at Shuffle Music Bar (next to where Tanghui used to be). Despite Dan’s assertion that it’s an inconvenient location, I find it extremely convenient. Not everyone lives in that part of town.

The headlining band is The Subs, a punk band from Beijing. I’m glad that foreigner indie band Living Thin will also be playing (I’ve only seen them once before), and Slit is always interesting.

All you people who complain about Shanghai’s live music scene need to get out to this show! This is part of a constructive effort to build upon the scene. So I’ll be there, and I think Micah will be too. See you there!

Update: It was a great show! I think Brad broke the record for number of people packed into Shuffle for one event (90% of them foreign). My favorite performance was The Living Thin‘s. Congrats to Brad for doing such a good job on the first concert he organized.


07

Feb 2006

CCTV's Li Yong

CCTV's Li Yong

A recent post by Micah reminded me about this guy Li Yong (李咏). Before I followed Micah’s link to the NY Times article on Li Yong, I didn’t even know who Li Yong was, but upon seeing the picture accompanying the story, I was all, “Oh, that guy!”

This guy is extremely familiar to those of us who have lived in China for long because he has hosted quite a few of CCTV’s Chinese New Year Craptaculars (春节联欢晚会) in recent years. If you watch a lot of Chinese TV (I sure don’t), I suppose you might know him from other programs as well. He’s immediately recognizable because of his long hair and often weird clothing. I don’t really have any feelings about the guy one way or another. Really, all I wanted to know was his name. When a face becomes that familiar, it’s good to have a name to go with it.

Finally, a question for those with more native-like Chinese than my own. Is 咏 a really weird character to use for a name or what? When I started searching for a pic of the guy based on just the pinyin (no tone), I needed to guess at the characters, and I figured “Yong” was probably either 勇 or 庸 (like 朱德庸). I had to change tactics because none of my guesses were right. 咏?? 咏 means to recite or chant or something. Is this not a bizarre choice of characters for a name?


04

Jan 2006

In Your Face, Beijing

The People have spoken through their partner, The China Daily, that unrivaled bastion of integrity on a never-ending quest for Truth. There has been a new survey on the top 10 most livable cities in China.

I am compelled to make a few statements.

1. What number is Beijing? Oh, I see… it’s not on the list. It’s at a distant #15. (Take that, Roddy, Brendan, and Eden!)

2. Hangzhou is #6. True, it’s not number one, but modesty is a very Chinese virtue, you know. (Plus with weather and transportation like Hangzhou’s, it really doesn’t deserve to be #1.)

3. Continuing with the modesty trend, Shanghai is sitting pretty at #8. Also, 8 is a lucky number in China. (Score!)

4. Speaking of lucky numbers, there’s an unlucky number too, and it’s 4. Due to unstoppable homophonal forces, 4 is the Chinese number of death. Which city got the place of death? Chengdu. (Take that, Chengdu!)

5. Tianjin is not on the list at all. What a shame. (Take that, Micah!)

6. Xi’an is not on the list either! (Take that, Matt!)

7. So #3 on the list is… Mianyang? Mianyang? Huh?

8. The #1 city is Dalian. I have a friend who used to trumpet Dalian’s wonders to me nonstop, until he forsook it for Hong Kong. I guess a lot of people agree with you, buddy. (Take that, Derrick!)

Thanks to chinochano for discovering this story before me and writing about it in a post with more CSS image floats than you can shake a stick at.


03

Dec 2005

Signs of Winter in Shanghai

Winter has arrived in Shanghai, but it’s not yet in full swing.

My checklist would go something like this:

  • ☑ Leaving the water heating function on the water cooler on yet?
  • ☑ Using your warm fuzzy blanket in addition to your comforter yet?
  • ☑ Wearing a heavy coat yet?
  • ☐ Wearing your warm fuzzy slippers instead of the open-toed rubber slippers yet?
  • ☐ Wearing long underwear yet?
  • ☐ Using the heat at night yet?
  • ☐ Using the heat during the day yet?

Hmmm, I might just have to check a few more of these off after today.

2005/12/04 Update: Yeah, this was the weekend that winter finally arrived in Shanghai. It’s way colder now.

This has been a Micah-esque entry. For more HTML symbols (like ☐ and ☑), check out Character Entity Reference HTML 4.


01

Dec 2005

Shanghai Vegetable Prices

The other day Micah posted a list of vegetable prices, which I find very useful. Normally I would just link to his entry, but Micah’s permanent archives are on “Blockspot,” which is just a pain. So with his permission I’m reproducing the table here (and adding pinyin tooltips so that I’ve at least contributed something).

From Shanghai Evening Post’s “Metro Life” section called 蔬菜批发价格, or Wholesale Vegetable Prices:

品种
Type
价格
/公斤
Price
(RMB/kg)
品种
Type
价格
/公斤
Price
(RMB/kg)
青菜
Chinese greens
0.7 番茄
Tomato
2.1
毛菜
???
1.7 什椒
Peppers
2
卷心菜
Cabbage
0.6 冬瓜
Winter melon
0.6
大白菜
Chinese cabbage
0.45 黄瓜
Cucumber
2.1
花菜
Cauliflower
2.6 毛豆
Soy bean
1.8
生菜
Lettuce
1.8 豇豆
Cowpea
2.7
美芹
Celery
1.9 刀豆
String bean
3.1
雍菜
Water spinach
(blank) 茭白
Wild rice stem
3.8
茄子
Eggplant
2.1 土豆
Potato
1.45

It’s weird — not only can I not find a translation for 毛菜, but I can’t find any definite pictures of it either (can you make sense of this or this?). Yet I’m pretty sure I’ve eaten it before!


09

Nov 2005

A Look at Chinese Bloggers

Micah recently did a summary of the Chinese Blogger Conference. Then he updated it with a link to Rebecca MacKinnon’s thoughts on the matter. Wow. I thoroughly enjoyed her post, and was glad to be able to read a condensed list of key ideas. I recommend you read her whole article (blocked in China), but here are some key quotes to represent what I considered the most interesting ideas:

  1. Web2.0 is potentially a very Chinese thing.

    One of the most important words in the Chinese language is “guanxi.” It means “relationship.” Whatever you think about the term “Web2.0”, the point is that social networking and relationship-building are at the core of today’s most exciting web innovations. The Chinese happen to be the most natural and skilled social networkers on earth.

  2. Individual empowerment with Chinese characteristics.

    A key theme of the whole conference was how the semantic web empowers and amplifies individual voices. On Sunday afternoon, Blogger “zuola” described how his blog is his personal platform for his own ideas. Blogging, he believes, helps us understand our lives better. Chen Xuer, one of the bloggers who volunteered to work on the conference, said he started blogging and reading blogs because he wanted “to hear the truth and speak the truth.” Sound familiar?

  3. Web 2.0, just like Web 1.0, is not going to spark a democratic revolution in Chinese politics any time soon.

    People here find it annoying that the Western media keeps framing the Chinese internet story within the question of whether the internet will or won’t bring down the communist party. The real story is about the cultural and social implications of the semantic web as it continues to spread among China’s fast-growing pool of internet users. In the very long run, cultural and social change may have political implications, but to people here any attempt to speculate on that is counter-productive.

Just read the whole thing. I can’t quote it all.

P.S. If you don’t know what Web 2.0 is… well, sorry. You’re just not geeky enough.


08

Nov 2005

Shanghai Bloggercon Revealed!

Just in case your inner geek is the least bit curious about what went down at the Chinese Blogger Conference in Shanghai over the weekend, Micah offers a fairly extensive account.

So yes, I was curious how it went. Did I read Micah’s whole account? Yes. Do I wish I had gone? No. (I had to beat Shadow of the Colossus over the weekend! Man, that is a truly awesome, ground-breaking game.)

I think we can expect another account of the Bloggercon from a different angle out of Chinawhite very soon.

This is a pretty crazy week for me; I may take a short break from blogging. After that, I’ll be tackling some subjects/projects on Sinosplice that I’ve been postponing for a while…



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