Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Going back in time

One of the great things about the US is that we can do a lot of things extremely quickly due to the web and phone. If I wanted to cancel a bank account or stop my CD from rolling over again, I could do that from the phone or the web. When I was in China, some of the things that were required did not make sense.

For instance, I had to cancel internet services on behalf of my girlfriend. The telecommunications company does not allow you to cancel by phone or web so it must be done in person. In order to cancel the service, you need to bring your identification card. However, if you are canceling on behalf of someone, you need to bring their identification plus yours. For me that would mean, bringing my passport. I assume that they are afraid that someone would want to cancel internet on behalf of someone else for a malicious reason. I do not know why someone want to or would have the time to do that considering that some of the lines take a couple of hours (everything is paper so it takes forever). Anyway, I only had her ID and not mine. The customer service representative would not let me cancel the internet service without my passport. I showed her all the other ID that I had but since they did not recognize things like my drivers license, etc it did not matter. They said there was nothing she could do without an ID.

I turned around and asked the person behind me in line if I could use her ID. She handed it over to me and voila, internet cancelled. Such pain!! Experiences like that just make you appreciate how easy it is to take care of things in the United States.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Television Series

I've been watching Chuck recently and its actually a pretty funny show. Chuck centers around Chuck Bartowski, an "average computer-whiz-next-door," who receives an encoded e-mail from an old college friend now working in the CIA; the message embeds the only remaining copy of the world's greatest spy secrets into Chuck's brain.

I was thinking that such shows would not exist in China due to the fact that it is given a comedic way of depicting a government agency. In China, there aren't any ways to depict the government that are allowed even if they are truthful. In fact, one of the television series that I watched called "Dwelling Narrowness" (if you want the name in Chinese, let me know), where they couldn't even use the city of Shanghai since they were afraid that someone in the government would feel that it was portraying someone in the government. "Dwelling Narrowness" is about the story of people trying to purchase a home in Shanghai and struggling due to the huge price increases of housing and what the development companies would do for the corrupt officials.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

First day of spring

It was a beautiful day for the first day of spring in 2010 and it seemed like there were a lot of New Yorkers out to enjoy the sun. A couple of friends and I drove to Bear Mountain to do some hiking and enjoy some fresh air. Its unfortunate that a lot of New Yorkers do not do activities like that more often considering the mountains are not that far away. Maybe its all the tolls that we have to pay but some places are only about an hour away in NY.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Birth rates dropping in many countries

In many countries like Korea, Taiwan, China, Singapore and the United States, the fertility rates have dropped. China had the one child policy but many couples in big cities have implemented their own no-child policy.  Governments in Taiwan, Korea and Singapore have been urging people to have more children. Singapore has passed legislation to rewards the Chinese to have kids. Many people point to the cost of having a baby for reasons not to have one. Nowadays, many couples have dual incomes and feel that they will decide to have a baby only when they earn enough to sustain their current living standards. The younger generation have grown accustomed to spending their money traveling to different countries, eating at fancy restaurants and buying fancy clothes. Unfortunately, the more one earns and/or saves, the higher living standards rise as well. In addition, some couples do not want to lose the freedoms of enjoying their life traveling and playing which may need to be sacrificed when raising children.

Parents in the past generation were able to raise two to three children while only on a single income. Has the cost of living increased so much that couples today are unable to raise the children? Granted things have become more expensive but its mostly because the parents have made things more expensive. Parents want to get the most expensive toys and newest things to raise their children. However, is it really necessary? Children before played with hula hoops and played tag in the park. Maybe babies are just that much expensive because the parents make it that way. Granted, it is probably extremely difficult not to want the best for your children.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Spoiled children in China

I wonder what will happen to the future of China considering what the one child policy has done to how the children are treated. Since the late 1970s, large cities such as Beijing and Shanghai implemented the one child policy in response to concerns about the social and economic consequences of continued rapid population growth. However, this has caused the birth of the little emperor or empress of many families. With one child whom the parents and grandparents put their hopes and dreams on, they end up spoiling the kid. Part of this is due to the schooling system in China. Since schools are extremely competitive, children end up studying the entire day there without any time for other activities that American children have to luxury of participating in.

Kids in the United States grow up playing soccer, basketball, throwing paper airplanes, chores, etc. and as a result have many different hobbies when they grow up. On the contrary, the children in China only study. Their prime responsibility is to do well in school since the school system is so rigorous. Due to this, the grandparents and the parents end up doing everything for the little emperor/empress. Simple chores that American kids are usually required to do such as washing dishes, laundry, mowing the lawn are not performed by Chinese. As a result, many have grown up not knowing how to cook, clean the house, etc. Because of this, I wonder what will happen after the parents are gone and the emperors who are married to the empresses have to fend for themselves and also raise their child.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Clipping finger nails

When I was in China, it was normal to see or hear people clipping their finger nails in public on the bus or even at work. I am sure that Americans do this as well but I believe most people in the US find this extremely unhygienic, especially since sometimes these finger nails go flying off like a piece of shrapnel. Finger nails are usually not known to be exactly clean since dirt usually gets caught under them. Aside from the occasional broken nail or hang nail, I do not think clipping finger nails should be done in public. I'm not sure if this is considered to be one of the "rules" here such as standing in line though. Do others feel the same way?

Friday, March 5, 2010

Medical Privacy

Going to the doctors in China is quite strange only because there really is no sense of privacy. Essentially, it feels like being on line at the DMV in the US where everyone can hear and see whats going on. For instance, if you wanted to get your skin checked out due to some allergic reaction, there would be many other patients waiting on line in the same room so everyone there would see what was going on.

This is unlike the United States where you get your own little tiny room to wait in before they perform the check up. The doctors even ask if it is okay if the nurse can be in the same room as well.

It reminds me of how there is no privacy in China. I remember watching a Chinese movie (I don't remember the name of it) where a boy had his mail opened by his parents and he complained that there was no privacy. They just laughed.