Thursday, May 20, 2010

Olympics 2012 Mascots

Have you seen the new mascots that were just unveiled by London for 2012? One looks like a maxi pad and both of them look like penises... The photo below are the two mascots for the Special Olympics and the regular Olympics. They were unveiled in front of a rainbow too.. the universal sign for gay...
Cellphone Sprint Evo

Saturday, May 15, 2010

School Killings

Recently, there has been a trend of people killing elementary school children in China with knives. It has been suggested that this is due to the social unrest with the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer. Also, with politicians and government officials using their power to take advantage of the civilians, these killers seem to be turning to people who cannot defend themselves to get the attention of the government. Recently, Wenjia Bao has responded so maybe this method seems to have gotten the attention of the officials. Whether anything is done is another story though.

In the US and other countries, these kinds of killings seem to be more brutal because the violence is started with a gun. Because of this, they seem to get more press than the killings of schoolchildren in China. It could also be that China tries to repress such news from leaking out of China.

Monday, May 10, 2010


Being in China, it seems to me that local Chinese white-collared workers are almost stuck with their careers once they begin it. When I say that, I mean that it seems difficult to go from a job in finance to a job in marketing. Although there are many skills that can be transferable, it just seems to be something that is very rare. In the States, I always see people move from accounting to marketing or from project manager to sales but not the case in China.

At first glance, people may think that it is due to the fact that China has too many people and companies would rather hire someone with the perfect skill set but in reality, China has a shortage of skilled people and sometimes may need to hire outside the perfect person. I think a big reason that the people in the US are able to change career paths is due to their openness to network with other people. The Chinese do not network as much.

It may be strange to think that considering that guanxi (relationships) is so important in China. However, there are not really networking events that local Chinese people participate in. When I was there, there would be many universities setting up mixers and also having seminars, mostly for people to network and find jobs. However, this concept is new to the local Chinese. They do have job fairs but these are insanely over crowded and you may only have 5-10 minutes to speak to the recruiter in which you barely have a chance to make an impression. They mainly ask, can you speak English, do you know how to do x, y and z. It seems to me that at these recruiting events, they are also looking for the perfect candidates. Maybe its because companies in China do not want to spend the time training. I didn't get much of a training when I went there so its a possibility.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Booger eating

According to Austrian lung specialist Dr. Friedrich Bischinger, picking your nose and eating what you find is one of the best (and most inexpensive) ways of staying healthy. The doc goes on to say that people who pick their noses with their fingers were healthier, happier and probably better in-tune with their bodies. "With the finger you can get to places you just can't reach with a handkerchief, keeping your nose far cleaner," adds Dr. Bischinger. "Modern medicine is constantly trying to do the same thing through far more complicated methods, people who pick their nose and eat it get a natural boost to their immune system for free."

I'm not really here to take sides on the matter. I'm here rather to show that there is, in fact, another side to the issue which rarely anyone thinks actually exists. But since our nose hairs or nasal cilia trap dirt, germs and other junk which then form snot, wouldn't this be similar to eating dust and dirt? Anyway, for those who get sick often, this activity is inexpensive and I suppose it couldn't hurt to try. Happy picking.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Where has the service gone?

Considering that the United States is supposed to be known as a service country, it has some of the worst customer service when it comes to telecommunications companies. Granted, when I was in China, the customer service was not great either with China Telecom. Maybe telecommunicaton companies all over the world have horrible service since they know users only have a couple of choices. Its more of choosing the less of all evils I suppose.

I purchased a Verizon cellphone that was to be of global use. When I received it, I popped in my China Mobile simcard and the phone kept complaining. I called Verizon and the customer service representative said that in order for the feature to work, it would need to be active with Verizon for 60 days. I told them, where in the world did it say this on the website. She said in a condescending tone that if I called an agent, she would have told you. I replied, "that is a very specific question to ask and I doubt that an agent would readily even know that or even provide me with that information without asking." She basically said there is nothing she could do even when I asked to be transferred to her supervisor.

Essentially, a rule is a rule. It really didn't matter that we've been using Verizon at home for the past 10 years (more on this story later). In response, I said, well I'm going to return the phone then since I have 30 days. Her attitude was of indifference and she said, you can send it back in the box you received it in. I sent an email to them hoping that they would change their stance and unlock it for me but I got the same response. I even got a nice voice message from a representative saying that its written in the customer agreement. However, I looked and it is of course ambiguous language that basically allows them to do whatever they want. Fine print: we reserve the right to do what we want.

Fast forward to the day I am going to cancel the phone and the customer service representative says she is surprised because we could have asked the credit department to unlock the phone for you after doing a credit check. I already had enough of their shannanigans so I just cancelled the phone on the spot and mailed the phone back. A couple of days later, the loyalty department calls me to ask why I cancelled. Of course she is deeply sorry and that is probably embedded into their scripts on every other line. But she did offer free or discounted phones and I replied, isn't that what you can find on the website? Sensing that I was not too happy, I think she pulled out her final card and said we can also give you three months of service free.

Of course I couldn't make the decision right there on the spot, but its nice to know I can get three free months of service from Verizon now. This all could have been avoided if they just simply treated me nicely on customer service and unlocked my phone. Honestly, I do not understand the issue since I was already going to pay for Verizon service. Now they may either be out $300 due to free service or potentially 24 months of service that I could have been paying for.

It seems that the departments at Verizon are silo-ed and just work as different companies. This is not a surprise to me as I've gone to many different companies to see their operations and it really amazes me that many are still in business. For instance, the company will pay several millions of dollars and then find that a department pays a good chunk of change to undo what was originally done. Sprint Evo 4g

Monday, May 3, 2010

Signs in China

Similar to the Beijing Olympics, there was an exercise in China to ensure that signs in Shanghai made sense in English. I still remember going to the bank and seeing the sign for the Cash Recycling Machine and being confused because most people there actually do call it the ATM. I did not find the more insulting signs such as the "fatso" size for a extra large that someone did tell me about. However, I did on many accounts find signs that I read and just stared at cluelessly because I had no idea what it meant. Luckily for me, I was able to read the Chinese and make some sense of it.

One of the signs seen in Shanghai above, would have gotten a say what??

With China placing such a deep emphasis on saving face, they are trying to get rid of all these signs that are either hard to understand or are just plain funny. They do not want to lose face by getting laughed at. However, I enjoy seeing these signs. It just lets me know that I'm either not in America or I'm in a Chinatown.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Virginia Gold Cup

I went to the Virginia Gold Cup yesterday which is sort of like Virginia's version of the Kentucky Derby but with horse racing around some grassy track and also a special jack russell race. For anyone who has ever been there, its really not to see the racing but to be seen. Its people watching and the girls getting glammed up for a day in the sun and drinking. People tailgate and just having fun with their friends. It was a fun day but I don't really get why its such a big event. Its has a very country club feel to it, meaning its a very white thing to do.

To picture it, think of the Pretty Woman scene where Julia Roberts goes to the horse event and gets hit on by Jason Alexander. The event was entertaining and I did have fun seeing all the weird things some of the guys wore and the tight dresses that the girls wore. I even got to watch two of the races.