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Archive for March, 2007

Spiderman in China….

I admit it! I am one of those geeky fans who waits in line at Midnight for the opening day of new movies. At least I was until I came here and there were no new flicks….

Unless the Bush administration’s decision to slam new tarrifs on the Chinese queers the deal with some new tit-for-tat retaliation, film goers are in for a change. I expect I will be in line to watch the Premeire of the new Peter Parker Peril Pic’ in China!

Arguably, the Motion Picture Association of America says believes they “lost” $244 million to DVD pirates in China last year and Chinese film studios failed to realize $2.5 billion because of IPR theft. Whatever the number, I think this upcoming pre-emptive strike is a smart manuever and I am anxious to track the box-office numbers.

“Spider-Man 3” will premiere in China on May 3, the day before it opens in North America, China’s top overseas film import official said Thursday. The move is designed to secure a strong opening at the boxoffice before pirated copies have a chance to flood the market.

From the Hollywood Reporter: “Yuan Wenqiang, president of state-run China Film Group’s Film Import & Export Corp., said that releasing Columbia Pictures’ “Spider-Man 3″ in China first — during the peak moviegoing season around the weeklong national holiday that kicks off May 1 — was a testament to the growing importance of China’s theatergoers in the eyes of Hollywood.” Whatever…

I am sure that there are already $.60 studio copies, complete with Chinglish subtitles, out there somewhere, but I am fluffing up the sleeping bag and stocking up on Snickers bars in anticipation just the same….

Click here or on the cartoon above to view the trailer

Just for the synchronistic record: I took the Superhero online quiz today and (I am not kidding) here are the results:

You are Spider-Man

Green Lantern
The Flash
Iron Man
Wonder Woman
You are intelligent, witty,
a bit geeky and have great
power and responsibility.

Click here to take the quiz

Asia,China Business,China Cartoons,China Editorials,China Humor,Chinese Media,Humor,In the news,中国

4 responses so far

Addicted to Mediocrity: The Educational System in China

One of my students gave a short speech yesterday on the person who had most influenced her life. Like many others she named her mother as her personal hero. It was a great impromptu speech and I applauded her for her candor about one issue in particular: She lauded her mother for giving up a high paying managerial job to take care of her as she grew up. But she lamented that her father was “only a professor” and unable to support the family in the style to which they had become accustomed while mom was bringing in disposable income. That, and a generalized genuine lack of enthusiasm and respect for even the best teachers here caused me to ponder the problem.

First, it brought to mind the old joke: One day in heaven, God decided he would visit Earth. Walking down the road, he met a peasant who was crying. God asked the man, “Why are you crying, my son?” The man said that he was blind and had never seen a sunset. God touched the man who could then see and was happy. Later, god met another man crying and asked, “Why are you crying, my son?” The man was born unable to walk. God touched him, he could walk, and he was happy. Farther down the road, God met yet another man who was crying and asked, “Why are you crying, my son?” The man said, “God, I work for the Chinese school system.” And God sat down and cried with him.

While average salaries for a professor in the US and Japan hover around six figures, the average Chinese senior college educator can expect to nail down $800-1,200 US dollars a month. A new faculty lecturer can expect to pocket about $360-400 US dollars and will toil in conditions that inner-city teachers in America would riot against. The system is so horribly flawed that I don’t expect the students to think much differently than they do now. Government figures show over 4 million college students graduating (a 22 percent increase) while the labor market will cough up less than 2 million jobs (a 22 percent drop) this year. And salaries are falling with demand: More than 40% of new graduates will earn a monthly salary lower than $190 USD a month. A migrant worker can earn from $99-148 a month in larger cities.

Academic standards in mainland China are decidedly weak compared to the west or even Macau or Hong Kong: many teachers can begin an academic career with a bachelor’s degree and garner full professorships without advanced training. They are appointed and promoted because of longevity, party connections or friendships within the school’s hierarchy. Foreign experts, a dreadful misnomer in many cases, are often hired solely for their ability to speak English or the color of their skin. While the government has made schools aware that the “experts” are essential to teaching managers how to become more internationally competitive as prices level out worldwide, they do little to encourage recruitment and retention of qualified foreigners. Only 1/6 of University level teachers have even a few weeks of English as a Second Language (ESL) Training. And those who are qualified and want to stay here cannot. You must be at least an associate professor with five years of tax-paying residency to even apply for a green card. And even then, the US government, in the wake of 9-11, will hand out more green cards in four days to Chinese immigrants than the Chinese government will part with annually for ALL foreign nationals combined. Just ask Dr. Janice Engsberg an American who has been working in China for 15 years, teaching in the mass communication department of Xiamen University. She was recognized by the Chinese government with its pretigious annual “Friendship Award,” and still is dreaming of a day when she might get a green card.

And a new term, the “industrialization of education,” has bred manyt new universities that only profit hunt as opposed to teach any functional skills. Investors, smart businessmen with no business being in the education business, are reaping huge profits by short-changing Chinese youth. Most of the teaching staff at these new schools are so unhappy with their poor salaries, large class sizes, and fossilized administrative mechanisms in place that they save their energy for second jobs and just go through the motions of teaching. Students are rarely taught transferable skills, especially in English, and employers hiring graduates know it. The students know as well that they have a snowball’s chance in hell of getting a good job upon graduation and they act accordingly. Pass by many classrooms and you will find students text messaging, sleeping, chatting or reading something other than a textbook. It is hard to blame them or the the public who has a long way to go in accepting teachers as a valuable part of societal development and social improvement.

An older article translated by EASTSOUTHWESTNORTH points up the attitudes held by those nostalgic for the days of Mao: “The rat is one of the ‘Four Pests’ in China. Today, there are ‘Four New Pests’ in China, and they are respectively: 1. Public security/procuratorate/court of law 2. National and local taxation 3. Doctors/teachers 4. Organized criminals Actually, while the organized criminals are bad, their damage is much less than that from the preceding three groups. In that bygone era, “public security/procuratorate/court of law” and “national and local taxation” were both imperfect, but they did not persecute people. In fact, public security was even a very respected occupation. Today, “public security/procuratorate/court of law” and “national and local taxation” are disaster areas for corruption. In that bygone era, “doctors and teachers” once assumed the role of victims. The synopsis of that era may be “If you have to work with a knife, you are better off being a butcher than a surgeon; if you have to manage a herd, you are better being a sheep shepherd than a school teacher.” But today, even city workers cannot afford to send their children to university, as education expenses have become a huge family burden. If you are sick, you won’t dare visit a hospital because it isn’t big news if a few days of stay cost you a few hundred thousand yuan.”

A recovered post from a few months before the crash…

Asia,China Cartoons,China Editorials,Confucius Slept Here,Intercultural Issues,past posts,Teaching in China,中国

9 responses so far

The best short-bus blogs

The other day I was not tagged as one of five thinking blogs by the Silicon Hutong or the China Law Blog. Imagine that! So, I am tagging other five blogs which don’t themselves purport to be smart, but are regular reads for lots of folks anyway.

I have tagged China and non-China blogs and call them short-bus blogs because it seems we cannot yet ride with the big kids..

1: The Platypus Society Cap’n Platy is a panic most of the time. He takes nothing seriously and is a breath of fresh bandwidth. He has successfully set a record for losses in the Weblog Awards for best humor blog to the most subscribed to in the business. Cap’n is the lovable pyromaniac little brother you can’t disown. Check out his Random Acts of Stupidity section.

2. The Humanaught: Few have done more for the China Blogsphere than this guy. He needs a job that gets him off the computer a few more hours a day. He seems to have more irons in the fire than a sword sharpener for the 300. That he can read Chinese impresses this dullard as much as it make me jealous. His recent conversation with the new ethnocentric cyber-buddy Xiao I made me blow cloves through my nose. Here is a sampling:

Ryan says:
你认为日本人好吗? (Are Japanese people good?)
小i机器人 says:
世界上最坏的 (They are the worst in the world)

洲人好吗? (How about Africans?)
小i机器人 says:
非洲人都黑漆漆的。(Africans are all dark – exact translation’s a bit weird)
Ryan says:
非洲好吗? (Is Africa any good?)
小i机器人 says:
没有呀。我怕遇到食人族。(No way. I fear encountering cannibals.)

Alright, so it doesn’t like Africans, what about my countrymen?

Ryan says:
你认为加拿大人好吗? (What do you think about Canadians?)
小i机器人 says:
酷,当然比谢停峰还酷。(Cool, of course. Cooler than [HK singer] Xiè Tíngfēng.)

3. FiLi’s World: This guy is fluent in at least three languages: Chinese, Geek and English. He has forgotten more about technology and the China Websphere than I will ever know. I will be using his most recent post on Baidu SEO Basics as a point of reference next Saturday as I dumb down (for me, not you) his well researched China Search Engine Marketing Basics.

4. Mask of China: Dezza just keeps getting better. He could take spectacular pictures with just a box camera. Based in Hong Kong he chases after its crazy political contradictions and injects wry humor into posts about life in the mainland as well his new home ( and new baby) in the former colony down south. Dezza has been on my blogroll since Mao was a corporal.

5.The Peer-See Blog: This movable feast of words is a 12-gauge shotgun approach to blogging in China. There may be a recipe, a film review or a Bronx Cheer over the coverage on the Starbucks threat to Chinese culture at the Forbidden City there. A blog with an occasional bite there are always wonderfully inventive posts like this one:

Single Asian Female Seeks Spanking:

Single, Asian Female seeks American couple for LTR – and maybe some light spanking 😉

I am a cute, young Chinese girl.

You are educated, married, and between the ages of 30 and 50. You must also be well-endowed and generous with your assets 😉

Please no singles or psychos. And definitely NO FATTIES.

If interested, contact China Center for Adoption Affairs

This is by no means a full list of all the Bozos I could have loaded onto the short bus. My apologies….

All aboard!

Asian Humor,Blogroll Diving,China Expats,China Humor,Chinese Internet,Expats,Greater Asia Blogs,Hong Kong Blogs,Humor,Seach engine Optimization,Search Engine Marketing,SEM,SEO,Seo China,The Internet,Top Blogs,Top China Blogs List,中国

11 responses so far

China CEO: Voices of Experience

I have had a rich cyber-life these few years. I have had the chance to dialogue with some extraordinary people. I have not had occasion to shake their hands or to look into their faces because they are Internet acquaintances. I now count some 20 people as “real friends” though I have yet to hear them speak except via VOIP.

I am grateful for my time recently with Professor Chris Carr of Cal Poly’s MBA program. He is every bit the informed, intuitive, and gracious teacher I had envisioned over the months we connected via blog comments and emails. He was here, flesh and blood, to scout out learning opportunities for 30+ MBA students at Cal Poly who will visit here in June as part of an ambitious trip to immerse themselves in China’s business and social culture. From what I have seen, if I can be so prosaic, they have the experience of a lifetime ahead of them.

An added perk for me was Chris making good on a promise to bring a copy of China CEO: Voices of Experience by Juan Antonio Fernandez and Laurie Underwood. Amazon is still just a rain-forest here and the area bookstores nearby rarely have material that I want to read: it is censored or just not in stock. So, I am thrilled when guests coming bearing literary gifts. Come back anytime Chris!

The book is filled with dozens of insightful advisories for doing business in China. Professor Fernandez and Journalist Underwood have a well constructed, predictably pedagogical text about how business is done and should be approached by would-be expat executives.

The authors mined the information presented from 20 American, European and Japanese Fortune 500 executives and 8 “high profile consultants.” The average interviewee in the book had was about 50 years of age, had 23 years of experience with the same company and five years of expat time in China out of a total average of 15 years abroad.

The book details:

Qualities of a Successful International Manager in China
Managing Chinese Employees
Working with Business Partners
Winning Over Chinese Consumers
Negotiations with the Chinese Government
and Living in China among other offerings wherein Guanxi, IPR, Cultural Adaptation and other expected challenges are discussed. The enormous scope of the book limits greater detail, but the reader will still glean many important tips from its pages.

It is a must-read book for the executives or foreign service types being posted here for the first time. The chapters on adaptation strategies for new expat families and managers alone make it worth the cover price.

It is likely not a useful book for the young traveller/adventurer. It is not, as it purports to be, a guide to establishing and managing businesses in the Middle Kingdom. It is effectively written by the power elite in China. Most of these CEOs, personable and kind as they might be in life, likely don’t interact much with everyday Chinese citizens and long ago forgot what it feels like to be an entrepreneur or specifically a China Expatrapreneur.

It is an exceptionally well outlined text and would be a perfect prepackaged course for an MBA or DBA introduction to China. It will make you functionally conversant in the language of expat businessmen and is an worthy primer to read while on the path toward greater fluency.

I am now waiting for a book that looks over the impressive heads of the CEOs of Bayer, BP, GE, Coke and Siemens–all interviewed in China CEO–to the grass roots leaders who are part and parcel of the China most of the rest of us know or will likely come to abide in. I am hoping for a supplemental text that will chronicle the stories of the likes of Chris Barclay. I think the West and China is hungry for, and and in need of, a book about the cultural groundbreakers who came here with little more than a command of English and a love of Asia and who succeeded personally and professionally.

Asia,China Book Reviews,China Business,China Editorials,China Expats,China web 2.0,Confucius Slept Here,Expats,Intercultural Issues,中国

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The Sinocidal History of China

The funniest guys in the China blogsphere have a must-see post for you guys. It has been up for a few days, but is timeless. A preview:

2500 BC: Chinese scientists rename the fatherland “the motherland” after determining the sex of China.

1600 BC: The great Yu, last of the Five Legendary Rulers, promises to eradicate bad habits such as spitting and queue jumping within the next five years. “China is a developing country” he reminds critics.

770 BC – 476 BC: The Spring and Autumn Period occurs in China, and is only brought to an end by the invention of Summer and Winter by Chinese scientists.

1969: The dreams of Man are realised as Neil Armstrong takes his first step on the moon. China responds by stating it too will place a man selling lamb kebabs, t-shirts, and musical lighters, on the moon by 2040.

China in Space

June 4th 1989: According to the official records of the CCP, on this day the sun was shining, so Deng Xiaoping decided to have a nice picnic with his friends out in the countryside. On the way home, he saw a cute kid selling homemade lemonade by the roadside, so he bought six glasses for only one yuan each, and then gave the kid a shiny button to take home.


Blogroll Diving,China Expats,China Humor,Chinese Internet,New Blogs,Top Blogs,Top China Blogs List,中国

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SEO China 101

David DeGeest

Generally for an SEO Tutorial I would begin with a post on tags and titles. But, after reviewing some of the sites that expressed an interest in this SEO series I opted to start with image tweaking for more traffic. Since I have given myself a year to tell you all I think know about SEO, I will get it all in and the whole picture will come to you in a big intutive flash at the end. Note: Never expect a poet to be a linear thinker. The lights haven’t been on over the left side of my brain for years now. But, I digress….

This series will begin with extremely basic material and move to more sophisticated information. The date will become more and more China-centric as we go…I hope even the seasoned pro can get a little something out of this….And I am very up for learning from the likes of Fili who keeps very current on all aspects of SEO in China….

Over the last six months with the use of proper tagging of my photos my traffic has increased by 34% due to image searches.

Generating traffic solely from keywords has become more and more difficult. The term “China Blog” on Google yields 243,000,000 returns! In contrast there are only 152,000 image results returned for the same keyword. Most blogger/webmasters just do not take the time to properly optimize their pictures, so you should!

Much of the traffic you will get probably will not sign up for your feed or take time to comment, but they will score as a hit for the search engines and improve your ranking. And some of the visual travellers might just take a liking to what they see in addition to the image and hang around for a bit. I receive hundreds of visitors a week because of image searches done on Google and Yahoo!.

Image optimization is easy to do properly and is standard practice for serious SEO professionals. Search engine (MSN, Yahoo!, Google, AOL…) targeted image references should contain these 5 items:

A src The URL of the image
A width The width of the image in pixels
A height The height of the image in pixels
An alt attribute that describes image content
alt titles that display information for browsers when the user places a mouse cursor over the image

I had some fun optimizing an image this last week to demonstrate the power of tags. I attempted to get an an unrelated image to display in any of the engines for my colleague David DeGeest. Here is the picture again:
David DeGeest

Aside: At this point you all are aware that it is not a good idea to anger your SEO guy, right? Instead, buy him Coffee Cola to keep him working for you into the wee hours….

Here is the way the text appears in XHTML: ”David

You can see how we did (using a pretty low ranked site) here: David DeGeest

The “title” tag is probably the least important of the additions above while the “alt” tag is essential to Search Engine rankings. Sites low in content on the main page can use the alt tags to carry keywords to the engines.

Be sure to make the tags descriptive. I keep my tags true to the nature of the picture, but you do not have to. To use a creative term that is related to the picture, and may bring in more traffic, is certainly your option. “Cute Chinese Chicks” for a picture of Easter hatchlings might be a stretch, funny, but….

Anyone primarily looking to monetize their site (and I am NOT one of them so there are few examples on site to show you ) should make sure that Google adwords and other algorithm driven ads are placed close to where the images will appear. The people coming to see the picture might not hang around, but they may see a product they want to buy that is related.

China Business,China web 2.0,Greater Asia Blogs,Internet marketing China,Seach engine Optimization,Search Engine Marketing,SEM,SEO,Seo China,The Internet,Top Blogs,中国

7 responses so far

A chicken in every pot and a computer in every Chinese home…

China already has more than 60 million bloggers within the ranks of the 150 million or so Internet users. That number may look small soon thanks to Lenovo (the  company that bought IBM) and American based Dell.

Michael Dell has announced development and sales of a new computer with a starting price of about $335. He plans to market it in China first and then move on to lesser populated India and finally Brazil. The machine, designed in Shanghai will be customizable and can cost up to $517 USD.

Dell’s “EC280” model is looking to cash in on volume demand in the world’s second largest market and beyond. Smart thinking. It is good to see the West adapting to the China market instead of floundering like Google, Yahoo and others have done here using strategies unattractive to the Chinese. The Internet in China may well be the last real entrepreneurial frontier for a while and economic trend setters like Dell know it….Many companies have stayed out of the market because profit margins are low. Well, zero percent of nothing equals….

To compete with Dell, Lenovo, one of two companies with a firm grip on the PC market here, is partnering with Microsoft Corp. to offer a computer model that a consumer can buy via time payments. The up front cost for the PC is about $150. The rest of the buy will be financed by a bank loan. The loan gets paid back as the consumer buys usage cards that buy time on the machines, eventually paying it off–use it or lose it.

The market is about to heat up. Apple where the hell are you?

Now if we could just make food and medicine affordable….

But I digress…

Asia,cartoons,China Business,China Cartoons,China Editorials,China web 2.0,Chinese Internet,In the news,Internet marketing China,The Internet,中国

4 responses so far

A Chinese New Year Resolution: Teach in China

Guest Post by David DeGeest

“In China many families live in extreme poverty. This is especially true of the mountain villages of the Guilin/Yangshuo area of Guangxi Province where many farm families live a meager existence on a bit of land. They struggle to pay the school fees for their children to go to the local elementary school.”

–from the Volunteer English Teaching Program


China teems with travel wonders and travel woes. I had made plans with friends to head to Vietnam for the Chinese New Year and ended up, because of visa troubles, in Yangshuo, Guanxi province, home of the Yangshuo Mountain Retreat and the unbreakable Chun Li.


While the trip was a cascade of logistic mishap after mishap, the beauty of the karsts and the uniqueness of the people I met–from a Guangzhou leather factory owner to a crew of Dutch HKU students–all gave me reason to be thankful for my fiasco.

During my stay in Yangshuo, I had the good fortune to meet Laurie Mackenzie, a man who, like me, is an accidental expat: he decided to come to China on little more than a whim. A retired professor and former officer in the Canadian army, he’s been here for five years building a network of schools and volunteers to help poor villagers and children learn English skills. But he is not on a mission of religion, Americanization, or exploitation–he is on a mission of heart.

Yangshuo is dense with tourists almost year-round, and its offers of spectacular scenery, excellent mountain climbing and hiking trails, and good-quality, inexpensive food and lodging draw tourists not just from China but all over the world. By offering economically diasadvantaged children and families English lessons and opportunities for sometimes-shy Chinese children and adults to interact with foreigners, MacKenzie opens up economic possibilities for these families and children. MacKenzie also works tirelessly to secure donations that allow for these students to purchase the basic resources they need for school–pens, paper, books, and other supplies. “Poor schools do not have resource materials,” says MacKenzie on the Volunteer English Teachers website. “Classroom equipment is a sheet of plywood painted black and some coloured chalk. It is often impossible for parents to buy the note books, pencils etc. that every pupil needs.” MacKenzie, his wife, and his volunteer staff of Anglophones from around the world do everything they can to help these motivated children realize their potential.

Children at the VET schools learn oral English through games, songs, and activities like choirs (as seen above). I end this article with some words from MacKenzie about why he chose to begin this work and why he continues:

“The cycle of poverty can only be broken through education. Poor peasant farmers struggle to pay the annual school fees for their children to go to primary school but very, very few can afford the higher costs of sending the children to Junior Middle School or beyond. We know that if the children can learn to be comfortable with foreign visitors and speak some English they will be able to get work. Volunteer English Teachers are committed to helping these children realize a better future. “

Asia,China Editorials,China Expats,Chinese New Year,Expats,Holidays,Personal Notes,Teaching in China,Yangshuo China,中国

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SEO China in the News…

I will be posting on Saturday about SEO Techniques, but in the interim I thought you’d find this amusing: Yahoo! has an ad posted for an SEO specialist (Chinese).

The job requires the employee to get high search engine rankings in GOOGLE….

With a hat tip to: Webmaster World

Asia,Asian Humor,cartoons,China Business,China Cartoons,China Humor,China web 2.0,Chinese Internet,Humor,In the news,Internet marketing China,Seo China,中国

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Maybe it was the Chinese tea….

Chinese medicine

China Hands, the expats who have spent several years here, all have one or more stories about questionable medical care in China. One visit to a traditional hospital and a diagnosis of “Palpitation of Hyperactivity of Fire due to Yin Deficiency,” or “Deafness Caused by Exogenous Wind-Evil,”or any other kind of malady for which you might be prescribed snake bile as a cure, is enough to spook any newcomer.

I have long been an advocate of Mind-Body and Non-Traditional Medicine. The iatrogenic (In short: and illness caused by the treatment of an illness) issues caused by many Western drugs had me looking for other solutions. After reading, in Surgeon-Writer Richard Selzer’s book Mortal Lessons, about the uncanny diagnostic abilities the Dalai Lama’s personal physician, Yeshi Donden I was, and am, convinced that there are a great many Eastern healers with skills we sorely need to learn.

But, for all the stereotypical Hollywood hype like Kung Fu: The Legend Continues and its sixty-second healings of fractures, poisonings and such China has a long way to go to return to its traditional roots. Medicine, like everything, has industrialized and mediocrity and greed are more easily diagnosed than illness.

The unsinkable Ms Yue was told that her X-ray showed no abnormalities and they prescribed some herb to help her with some lymphatic pain they attributed to one of the four elements or Feng Gunk or something…. But, a month later she visited the formidable Zhongshan University Hospital in Guangzhou and was told that her X-ray revealed major calcifications indicative of late stage breast cancer.

Another friend nearly died last year when told that his double pneumonia was a simple cold while I was diagnosed with “fatty liver” (they think most westerners only have bad liver scans due to excessive drinking) when I actually had contracted Hepatitis A. In every instance we paid for useless medicines in addition to the questionable diagnostics. With the new industrialism has come cut-backs in medical funding and socialized health care benefits, so the doctors and clinics are looking for ways to make the rent. And they are doing creative diagnostics and treatment for big bucks while many average Chinese are considering suicide in lieu of expensive treatments.

Reuters, via China Digital Times has a great story about the decline of routine Chinese medical care. “A group of Chinese reporters came up with a novel idea to test how greedy local hospitals were — pass off tea as urine samples and submit the drink for tests.

The results: six out of 10 hospitals in Hangzhou, the capital of the rich coastal province of Zhejiang, visited by the reporters over a two-day period this month concluded that the patients’ urinal tracts were infected.

Five of the hospitals prescribed medication costing up to 400 yuan ($50), the online edition of the semi-official China News Service ( said in a report seen on Wednesday. Of the hospitals, four were state-owned.”

Me? I see a western MD in Guangzhou then go to Hong Kong to stock up on tried-and-true medications (many of the ones you buy in stores in Guangzhou are fakes) and make sure my medical evacuation insurance premiums are paid up….

For those of you interested in a medical text that does a good job of integrating Eastern and Western approaches take a look at Traditional Chinese Medicine by Professor Chen Keji, MD.

Asia,Cancer Journal,cartoons,China Business,China Cartoons,China Expats,Chinese Medicine,Expats,In the news,Personal Notes,The League of Extraordinary Chinese Women,The Unsinkable Ms Yue,中国

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The Darren Russell Murder…

An American, a teacher displaced by an unethical recruiter in Guangzhou, China needlessly lost his life here two years ago. It will be officially Spring soon and Darren’s family will celebrate once again without their son as the season opens to the warmth and promise of a new year.

I did not personally know Darren. But, I have come to appreciate, admire and care deeply about him, albeit obliquely, through his impact on those around him. He was genuinely cared for by students, associates and of course his those related by blood and shared experiences.

It is my understanding that there is new information/developments in the case. I will report them as soon as I can. In the interim please brief yourself on the case here:

Darren’s memory is held aloft by his family and a cadre of friends who have not idealized him in his death, but have done what true friends and caring families do: they simply continue to love Darren Russell and they are fighting for justice in his case.

Visit his Site and please sign the petition that may protect other sons and daughters in China and other parts of the world should they one day need the kind of assistance that could prevent another tragedy. Click on his image to see the memorial maintained for him:

Asia,China Editorials,China Expats,Expats,Homeland Security,In the news,Teaching in China,中国

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No More YouTube Blues for the China ESL Teacher…

Via a great new find, EFL GEEK, I have solved the problem of being able to show YouTube or other Videos generally blocked in my clasroom for a multitude of reasons. The IT staff here, running the computers on bootleg software, doesn’t want “anything installed that could corrupt the system.” So, I am sans Flash and other malware (insert sarcasm here) and can really use this tool.

Anyway, EFL Geek linked me to Media Converter which will “convert anything you upload to them into almost any format. If you register with the web site you will even be able to provide links to youtube videos and the site will convert them automatically without you having to download the youtube first. Depending on the queue the files will arrive instantly or several minutes later.”


Asia,China web 2.0,Chinese Internet,In the news,Teaching in China,Top China Blogs List,中国

8 responses so far

China Photos

Gil Azouri has posted China Photos worth much more than a thousand of my words:

Asia,China Photos,New Blogs,Photos,The Great Wall,中国

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As many of you know I have been doing search Engine Optimization and Search engine Marketing for about six years. It started as a harmless hobby and now has a life of its own: running and screaming naked down information highways in search of higher ranks for all manner of search terms like: Professor Lucky Pants, The Handsomest Poet in China, Blog Prostitute in Guangzhou American Professor…..

I began blogging when Andy Naughton, the genius behind Cyberglass, told me that I had to quit clogging his box with long-winded emails. He convinced me that I was in desperate need of a blogging forum. That was the start of OMBW and my experiments with weblog SEO. OMBW, early on, was a platform for web trials, but now that it is back to being my writing refuge, I would like to pass on some of what I have acquired along the way to to those of you in search of an audience or a product customer base.

Unlike some SEO information give-aways there is no hook here: I won’t be asking you to sign up for a newsletter, buy my book on the Internet According to Khan or anything designed to MAKE MILLIONS WITH A HOME COMPUTER!!!! It is just a chance for me to download to the blog page a bit of what I have learned via a virtual school of hard knocks. I won’t scoff at offers of business, but I do get a fair number of calls as I am (more seriously) listed–as should be YOUR SEO consultant–in several engines for SEO work in China: China Blog SEO, SEO Consultant China , Seo China, SEO Specialist China, and so on…. I have done work for small and large concerns ranging from Shell Vacations (#1 in Family Vacation Club and 200+ other keywords), and Altec Corporate Training (#3 after three weeks for Corporate Training China), to smaller concerns like Blogger News Network (#1 out of 100,000,000 for Blogger News) , and Yangshuo Mountain Retreat (Now #1 in dozens of keywords such as Outdoor Team Building China)….

This will be the start of an Internet Marketing Tutorial for those doing general cyber-business or blogging in China. I will do a post a week for the next year about how to build traffic and high search engine visibility. I will start with U.S. engines like Yahoo! and Google and then move on to China. Feel free to ask me any questions along the way.

SEO services in the U.S. and China are vastly different. Chinese companies usually charge by the keyword. A top ten listing for a “cool word” (one with low result returns in Google) might cost you 8,000 RMB a word per year; a “hot” word/term like English School China with 85,000,000 returns could cost you 20-30,000 RMB per year. If that were the case for me I would have someone ghost-writing this blog and I would be having my feet massaged in first-class on Singapore Air.

I hope I save you a ton of money and aspirin…


Next week I will introduce my first lesson.

Asia,Asian Humor,cartoons,China Business,China Cartoons,China Editorials,China Humor,China web 2.0,Confucius Slept Here,Greater Asia Blogs,Guangzhou China,Humor,Intercultural Issues,Internet marketing China,New Blogs,Seo China,The Internet,中国

20 responses so far

Egao (恶搞): The evil work of humor…..

The times they might be a changin’ on the Chinese Internet.

The Chinese, long lovers of Three Stooges and Mr Bean-like visual laugh making, are taking plunges into the deep end of the humor pool and everyone seems to be loving it, save the censors.

Picked up via the China Digital Times: “China’s Southern Metropolis Weekly magazine recently reported this shocking news: The central government created universal health care for the country’s 1.3 billion people, wiped out bribery and reduced the country’s wide income gap. And Migrant workers in the southern city of Guangzhou, notorious for its sweatshops, were “happy” and “respected,” the magazine reported in its print and Web editions.

Of course, it was political parody and all untrue.”

It is the start of a new Internet fashion. Not everyone enjoys the freedom to thumb their pens at the central governmeng like brilliant Hong Kong cartoonist Harry Harrison at the South China Morning Post:

Harry, who hammers Beijing and Washington with equal force, is in for some grass roots competition.

Sardonic wit is the new censorship survival, escape and evasion tool of the masses. Its new name, pretty sarcastic on its own, is “egao” or “evil work” in literal translation.

The mainland’s traditional artists ( I love this site!) have gotten a bit bolder of late:

But their political humor, fantastic as it is, remains chiefly aimed at America and Western targets or generally accepted social problems. That would, of course, be a self-preservation move. You won’t last long on a newspaper staff drawing the hand that feeds you:

The word egao describes “a subculture that is characterized by humor, revelry, subversion, grass-root spontaneity, defiance of authority, mass participation and multi-media high tech…” was a definition that appeared in China Daily recently.

With aggregators, bulliten boards and instant messaging the ordinary citizen is braving consequences by not adhering to the government censorship of all media. Movies, cartoons and viral e-mails are slicing and dicing up everything that the Chinese find troublesome in the Middle Kingdom.

I cannot wait to see a copy of “Crazy Stone,” that friends and media reports have said is a pie in the face to about everything sacred in China. At one point “The movie targets Chinese officials in a scene where the main character realizes the ornament has been stolen but decides against calling the police.’The police?’ he asks as he drags on a cigarette. ‘If we call the cops, we’ll lose everything. They’ll just mess things up.'”

I am certain this will not slow down bootleg sales of Mr. Bean or other slapstick, but it is a move in a promising direction…The shortest distance between two people is definitely a smile–even a wicked one!

FYI: Onemanbandwidth seems to be back in the websphere in China. It was on and off blocked over the last few days in various parts of the country. Here’s to my release from Cyber-hold!

Long Live Egao!

Asia,Asian Humor,cartoons,Censorship,China Cartoons,China Editorials,China Humor,Chinese Internet,Humor,In the news,Intercultural Issues,中国

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So My Chinese Students Aren’t the Only Ones?

No. it is not a moment of silence for the ten-fold increase in the trade surplus with America. It is a Pic’ of National People’s Congress Representatives searching for holes in their eyelids.

From China Rises.

Asia,Asian Humor,China Humor,China Sports,Humor,In the news,Photos,中国

6 responses so far

The Bloggie Awards

The results are finally in:

Best Asian Weblog

Tokyo Girl Down Under

The Finalists for Best Asian Blog all deserve a look. They are wonderfully diverse. Unlike Tokyo Girl they are truly Asia based:



Bryan Boy

And OMBW ( I was an also-ran)

Best Australian or New Zealand Weblog

The Breakfast Blog

Best African or Middle Eastern Weblog

Secret Dubai Diary

Best European Weblog

My Boyfriend is a Twat

Best British or Irish Weblog

Girl with a One-Track Mind

Best Latin American Weblog

Cooking Diva

Best Canadian Weblog


Best American Weblog

Cute Overload

Best Photography of a Weblog


Best Craft Weblog

Make: Blog

Best Food Weblog

Help I have a Fire in My Kitchen

Best Sports Weblog


Best Weblog About Music


Best Entertainment Weblog and

Most Humorous Weblog

Go Fug Yourself

Best GLBT Weblog

Perez Hilton

My condolences to the other finalists who are truly representative of GLBT culture, humor, politics, llifestyle and celebration. This is my only truck with popular vote contests. Perez Hilton is to GLBT blogs what Rush Limbaugh is to political radio: entertainment! Visit the finalists:



Daily Dose of Queer

Best Writing of a Weblog

And this guy can shape a story! Waiter Rant!

Best Group Weblog


Best Community Weblog and

Weblog of the Year

One of those “I wish I had thought of it” blogs that takes you through the full spectrum of emotions evry single visit!

Post Secret

Best New Weblog

Say No to Crack!

Best-Kept Secret Weblog

Confessions of a Pioneer Woman

Congrats all….

As a postscript: I hope the folks over at The Asia Blog Awards revive their contest. They had the best formula in the blogsphere: Popular vote, Technorati rank, Distinguished Judges scores ….

Asia,China web 2.0,Hong Kong Blogs,In the news,India,Japan,New Blogs,Top Blogs,Top China Blogs List,中国

3 responses so far

40 Years Beyond Saigon…

The Wall Between the Names

I don’t know if you have ever noticed, but if you stand
at the base of the wall at the apex when it is quiet you can
feel a warmth ….It’s as if you’re being surrounded by all the
spirits of the wall.

—The Last Firebase

There is a wall between the names

It is the color of residue in driftwood pockets
The shadow in the soft pocket of a head wound
It is their hair and their eyes dark and full of falling
The oil on worthless roads. Factory smoke and ashes
It is charcoaled faces. Shapeshifting under night flares
The toothless smile of a man who no can longer move his legs
A million fragmented hearts pulled below its granite suface
The veils of widowed girls, telegram ink, short bursts of words
It is the color of disappearance and passing

There is a wall between the names.

— On the 40th Anniversary
of the mortar attack near Saigon
that eventually took my father’s life

For those of you who did not go to Vietnam I know that you too, as said by David Lehman, planned your lives around it just the same. And for those of you who know war, or are obliquely affected by it, I hope that you can one day dismantle the worst of weapons: memory…

American Poet in China,Asia,Personal Notes,Poetry,Vietnam,War,中国

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Asians all sound alike to me….

One of my hobbies ( I have a couple that I haven’t turned into obsessions) is the identification and mimicry of accents. It comes from growing up in a household with an Irish Mother raised in Pennsylvania and a Native American father raised in a Kentucky town so back-country that the Dairy Queen ( I am not kidding here) had outdoor plumbing. More than once I was asked to translate whatever my folks said for schoolmates.

I was blogroll diving again and came across The Cognitive Daily. It is rife with information for the budding and practicing shrink in your household.The authors there are smitten with tests: both are from Davidson College and there isn’t much else to do in that part of “Norf” Carolina. One of their recent polls asked people to ID accents originating from a couple of states in America and from people living in the wee little space outside U.S. borders (Earth) where inhabitants are generally known by most Colonists as “aliens.” But, I digress….

Here are the results:

“The test required participants to listen to ten people from different parts of the world reading the same English text sample (via the fantastic Speech Accent Archive). Then they had to choose which accent was which from a list of 15 countries (actually 15 countries and 2 U.S. states). Which accent was easiest to recognize? Alabama! Eighty-eight percent of respondents correctly identified this accent (though this result was statistically indistinguishable from Wisconsin, with 86.5 percent correct).” Not hard to believe, aye? But, I was surprised so few people nailed China….

To brush up on your abilities go to the Archives mentioned above where you can listen to all the voices catalogued OR help them out by recording your speech patterns for posterity….

Oh, and I almost forgot:

Beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig oraibh!: Happy St. Patrick’s Day–in Gaelic!

Asia,Blogroll Diving,cartoons,Chinglish,Confucius Slept Here,In the news,Intercultural Issues,Japan,Personal Notes,中国

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“Global Uprising Day”

One of the staff at my college, a Canadian-Chinese, recently reported me to the administration because I expressed surprise at her fierce anger about foreign faculty and student visitors being upset about last year’s shootings near Tibet. She will not watch the video and is certain no such event occurred in October of last year nor 48 years ago. She is still unconvinced and I remain warned that I could lose my job for talking about it on campus.

Acording to Boing Boing via the Hao Hao Report: Tibetan exiles around the world and their supporters plan to use YouTube to commemorate “global uprising day” this Saturday, March 10. Videos already uploaded include pilgrims, rap songs, statements from monks, rants from young Tibetan exiles in the United States, and words from ama-la (grandmas). Looks like the revolution(s) will be televised after all. Link. (Thanks, Nathan Freitas / Students For a Free Tibet)

History: On March, 10, 1959, an uprising took place in Tibet against the Chinese occupation. In Lhasa on that day, 300,000 Tibetans surrounded the palace that housed the Dalai Lama, in order to protect him from anticipated abduction or assassination. China’s military response in the days that followed left thousands dead. Link. More than 1.2 million Tibetans have since died as a result of the occupation, according to the Tibetan Government in Exile.

Asia,Censorship,China Editorials,In the news,India,Personal Notes,Tibet,Videos,中国

5 responses so far

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