Tuesday, 25 November 2008

The Shanghai World Financial Center was named the world's second-tallest building that some say resembles an elegant bottle opener, was named on Thursday by architects as the best skyscraper completed this year... The Shanghai tower was chosen by the group over three newly completed buildings in other regions that received praise: the New York Times Building in New York, 51 Lime Street in London, and the Bahrain World Trade Center in Manama.

The Shanghai tower contains 4 million square feet of floor space (377,000 sq m) to be occupied by some 12,000 office workers on 70 floors, with retail space and a conference center below, a hotel above, and topped by an observation deck.

The tower stands second in height to the 1,667-foot-tall Taipei 101 tower in Taiwan, but both will soon be eclipsed by the Burj Dubai under construction in Dubai. Once its spire is finished, the mostly residential Burj Dubai is expected to soar 2,625 feet into the sky though its ultimate height has been kept a secret.

Developers of another planned residential tower in Dubai say that it will be 1 kilometer, or 3,280 feet, high.

Read more at Yahoo (article by Reuters).

(Picture from China Daily)

Saturday, 15 November 2008

China Makes Internet Addiction an Official Disorder

Link here

China could become first nation to make Internet addiction a medical disorder

China is expected to become the first country in the world to officially classify internet addiction as a mental disorder. Chinese government officials would be required to register the term with the World Health Organization, which has seen an increased interest in internet- and game-related addiction.

Around 253 million of China's 1.2 billion population use the internet, with the number expected to grow as remote parts of the country build necessary infrastructure to support the internet.

Dr. Tao Ran studied at least 3,000 patients over a four-year period to help him classify internet addiction, which will be a condition similar to alcoholism or compulsive gambling.

A person who spends at least 6.13 hours online each day can be considered an addict. InterActiveCorp research indicates 42 percent of young internet users feel they are addicted to the internet, while only 18 percent of American youth feel they are addicted.

Around 50 percent of internet users in China are between the ages of 18 and 30.....

Read more at the site.

Sunday, 21 September 2008

Engrish and Chinglish blog

Check it out for some laughs

Monday, 15 September 2008

Go to China

I just found this website.

There are some great photos and basic information on there, check it out!


I stumbled across this site some time ago but couldn't get it to work properly because I was on an (oldish) Mac but now that I have a brand spanking new Mac computer it works! (have to turn the Java preferences console on though). It's loads of fun.

Here are (supposedly) the most commonly used words on my blog. Who would have thought I used the word 'save' that many times? Weird!

Thursday, 11 September 2008

Happy mid-Autumn August Moon Festival 2008

It's that time of year!

If you want to read more about this festival check out Wikipedia. The Mid-Autumn Festival falls on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month which, this year, is September 14th.

I LOVE mooncakes! I love the creamy lotus filling, I like them with or without egg yolks (although growing up I was always reminded if we tried to bring in anything with egg yolks through customs they would be confiscated... but stores still sold egg yolk ones), hate the nut ones, and well... I just savour them (since they are pretty expensive for their size!) but sometimes I'm just greedy and eat a whole one in one sitting (guilty pleasure...). Growing up we were reminded time and time again how expensive they were and my mum or dad would cut each one into 8 tiny pieces and it would last us a few days or so, and I'd have to fight my sister for the last piece! I used to keep and collect the pretty metal tin packaging too...

Instead of posting my own photos I decided to find a few I liked on Flickr...

1. Vietnamese pig and piglets, 2. Untitled, 3. My Hand-made "HELLO KITTY" moon cake, 4. Assorted Mooncakes, 5. Taiwan's Ten Ren Tea Moon Cakes 天仁茶月饼 [喫茶趣], 6. Wing Wah moon cake, 7. 四黃白蓮蓉月餅 from 榮華, 8. 08.08.07 - Hello Kitty Mooncake, 9. 基隆詠盛餅店蛋黃酥斷面 Yolk Moon Cake

and more!

Check out THESE amazing mooncakes!

Recipe on how to make chocolate mooncakes!

Thursday, 28 August 2008

Mystery Chinese iPhone girl

Mystery iPhone girl

Dressed in a pink striped outfit and hat and wearing white gloves with yellow fingertips, the young woman now known on the Web as the "iPhone Girl" is shown smiling and making victory signs as she poses next to an iPhone.

The MacRumors.com user who posted the photos last week, identified as only "markm49uk" from Kingston-upon-Hull, England, said in a posting that one of the pictures showed up on a new 3G iPhone when the iTunes program was launched.

"It would appear that someone on the production line was having a bit of fun. Has anyone else found this?" the posting said.

The posting received more than 360 responses on MacRumors.com, with readers commenting and speculating about the woman's age, looks and working conditions — and whether the pictures had gotten her into trouble with her managers.

"She is so fired," a reader identified as "PredatoryWasp86" said.

"That's nice that at least they have some fun in the drab of assembling technology," another reader, "BrownManUPS," said.

"She looks about 12 or 13 to me! I don't think Stevo is going to be impressed at all. It looks a little bit too much like child labor," "sibruk" wrote, referring to Apple Inc. Chief Executive Steve Jobs.

News reports say the woman may work at a factory run by an Apple contractor, Taiwan-based Foxconn Technology Group, in the southern Chinese boomtown of Shenzhen.

Calls to Foxconn spokesman Edmund Ding went unanswered Wednesday. Ding also didn't immediately respond to an e-mail from The Associated Press seeking comment.

But the South China Morning Post on Wednesday quoted another Foxconn spokesman, Liu Kun, as confirming that the young woman in the pictures works for Foxconn.

Monday, 11 August 2008

Olympics opening ceremony

Yeah I know this post is a bit late but how AMAZING was the Opening Ceremony?! I was totally blown away. It seems that with each games the bar is raised higher and the quality just gets better and better. I can't wait to see what London has in store for us, they will have a hard task to beat this one.

Thursday, 7 August 2008

World's best countries to be an Expat

Article by Forbes

... Overall, it's good news for those who get the opportunity to be posted abroad. More than half of expatriates are not only able to invest and save more, they can also spend more on shopping and socializing while abroad.

The global expat population has continued to boom--according to the World Bank's Global Links Report 2007, the number of people living outside their home country has more than doubled since 1980 to 190 million--despite the weakening global economic climate, with companies continuing to bear the higher costs of foreign postings.

"As the world becomes increasingly globalized, companies want their managers to get a diversity of experience across the world, while employees want an opportunity to experience a lifestyle and culture different [from] their own," says Cornu.

"Particularly in financial hot spots, there is the potential to earn more and have a better quality of life."

No. 1: Singapore
Longevity: No. 6
Earn And Save: No. 2
Luxurious: No. 2
Accommodation: No. 1
The sweltering heat and sometimes baffling laws are more than offset by high-quality accommodations and the affordability of good private education, health care, and home help.

No. 2 (Tie): United Arab Emirates
Longevity: No. 7
Earn And Save: No. 4
Luxurious: No. 1
Accommodation: No. 4
With no income tax to pay, the largely young expat population is left with plenty to spend on the opulent lifestyle available.

No. 2 (Tie): U.S.
Longevity: No. 3
Earn And Save: No. 5
Luxurious: No. 6
Accommodation: No. 2
Expats often get posted to corporate headquarters and command high salaries. Especially for Europeans, who are used to the high cost of living within the euro zone, life can get a lot more luxurious in the U.S.

No. 4: Belgium
Longevity: No. 4
Earn And Save: No. 7
Luxurious: No. 5
Accommodation: No. 3
Capital city Brussels, home of the European Union headquarters, tends to attract expats for long periods of time, while decent accommodations just a few metro stops from the city center is available and affordable

No. 5: Hong Kong
Longevity: No. 5
Earn And Save: No. 2
Luxurious: No. 4
Accommodation: No. 12
Hong Kong attracts the best-paid expats, with just under 50% earning more than 200,000 U.S. dollars a year. This allows them to save, despite the London-like cost of accommodation.

No. 6 (Tie): Germany
Longevity: No. 2
Earn And Save: No. 13
Luxurious: No. 4
Accommodation: No. 12
Expats in Germany often spent several years in their postings to corporate headquarters, but the high cost of living within the euro zone makes it a tough place to save.

No. 6 (Tie) Netherlands
Longevity: No. 1
Earn And Save: No. 5
Luxurious: No. 13
Accommodation: No. 11
Like the rest of Europe, expats in the Netherlands typically spend longer at their postings, as they tend to go to corporate headquarters.

No. 6 (Tie): Canada
Longevity: No. 8
Earn And Save: No. 7
Luxurious: No. 10
Accommodation: No. 6
When it comes to accommodations, Canada can be very affordable, with the cost of a luxurious, two-bedroom apartment in the heart of Vancouver costing $1,796 a month on average, according to Mercer.

No. 9: India
Longevity: No. 15
Earn And Save: No. 1
Luxurious: No. 3
Accommodation: No. 15
Expats in India can command high salaries while still saving, but the standard of accommodation falls short of other popular destinations.

No. 10 (Tie) Australia
Longevity: No. 14
Earn And Save: No. 7
Luxurious: No. 9
Accommodation: No. 6
Expats tend to have short stints in Australia, though it's a good place to save.

No. 10 (Tie): China
Longevity: No. 13
Earn And Save: No. 7
Luxurious: No. 7
Accommodation: No. 10
Expats spend little time in China, though the relatively low cost of living and eating and drinking out still make it a good place to save.

No. 12 (Tie): Spain
Longevity: No. 12
Earn And Save: No. 15
Luxurious: No. 8
Accommodation: No. 8
The Spanish property market may be cooling, but the high cost of accommodation and tax rates makes the country the worst place when it comes to earning more and saving.

No. 12 (Tie): France
Longevity: No. 11
Earn And Save: No. 14
Luxurious: No. 12
Accommodation: No. 9
Having the whole of continental Europe at your doorstep is little compensation for extortionate rent and costs of living, reasons expats tend to spend a limited time in France.

No. 14: U.K.
Longevity: No. 10
Earn And Save: No. 6
Luxurious: No. 15
Accommodation: No. 13
High labor and accommodation costs make having home help--or luxuries such as a swimming pool--unaffordable. All in all, it's the worst place to go if you're looking for a more luxurious life.

Saturday, 2 August 2008

6 days until the Olympics!!

OMG... where did the time go?!!! I can't believe it. It's gonna be here so soon.

Wednesday, 30 July 2008

IOC's internet censorship deal with China

The international Olympic committee (IOC)'s not-so-secret deal with China about internet censorship. Read all about it here.

Monday, 28 July 2008

Loving the Feedjit widget

I love the Feedjit widget (in the right hand column). I love seeing my visitors are coming from all over the world and even though I've been writing less over the past 2 months I've been getting more visitors than ever. Woohoo! Makes me feel popular (even if people are only spending 3 seconds on this blog, haha).

New York, New York

I want to go to New York so bad...ly!! I keep hearing about the place from people that have been there or lived there. And the similarities with Shanghai are just.. well, they are there.

I somehow clicked on something and clicked on something (it may have just been an ad) and just ended up at this page at National Geographic.

Now, you tell me if this sounds like Shanghai or not?

Everything changes in New York, and nothing does. Maestros still wield batons at Carnegie Hall, and lunch at the Oyster Bar in Grand Central Terminal is always a good time. You can’t find a cab in the rain, but you can always get a bagel with a schmear. Yet the city that never sleeps keeps evolving. Plays open and close. Restaurants come and go. New neighborhoods blossom. In Chelsea, the old Barneys store is now the new Rubin Museum of Himalayan Art. High-heeled fashionistas have replaced white-aproned butchers in the Meatpacking District. Such churn keeps the more than 8,200,000 New Yorkers on their toes even as it makes them appreciate the old favorites all the more. New York remains one helluva town. Welcome!

OK OK I'm not entirely deluded. Obviously there are lots of differences too but the things that make both cities 'cool' are pretty much the same (I think). The diversity of people, the cosmpolitan-ness, the varieties of culture, food, history.. so much to see and do, ahhh the list is endless. And I'm not forgetting the bad things either - like the really really bad weather (freezing in winter and hot and humid as hell in summer)! Ha!

Beijing Olympic Mascots parody

This is one of the funniest things I've seen in ages where people give their own interpretations and designs of the Olympic Mascots.

Some examples:

Saturday, 12 July 2008

New theme parks in Asia

New theme parks in Asia


- Joy Valley Theme Park in Shanghai will be the biggest amusement park in China. The 87-hectare Joy Valley Theme Park, expected to open in 2010, includes a hotel, a conference center, and theatre, and is expected to receive five to seven million visitors every year.

- Shanghai’s Chongming Island will build the country’s first theme park for bicycles that will include bike paths, competitions, and entertainment. Three cycling stadiums are planned, including one for motocross. The park will also include a training school, a gallery, and a bicycle museum.

- Overseas Chinese Town, a new park in Sheshan, will add the country’s first wooden coaster, “Fireball,” in 2009. The coaster will stand 108.25 feet tall with a first drop of 103 feet. It will feature 3,819 feet of twisted track and reach a top speed of 56 mph.

- Kids City in Hangzhou allows children ages 5 to 10 to experience adult professions. The indoor entertainment and education park offers more than 50 professions, including pilot, doctor, police officer, and lawyer.

- Outside of Shanghai in the neighboring city of Zhouzhuang, a $40 million park will open to celebrate the theme “5,000 Years of Chinese Culture.”

Well, with the plans of Disneyland on the way there will be no shortage of things for tourists to do when they come to Shanghai. The fast rate of development of China and the whole northern Asia region is kinda scary thing!

Thursday, 10 July 2008

The transient nature of the expat life

In Beijing expat Alan's blog he talks about this topic and he brings up a lot of points I agree with such as:

My expat experience has largely liberated me from an attachment to specific places and things. I thought it would be difficult to leave our house in New Jersey, but I've rarely thought about it. I have no idea what's in the container of belongings we have in storage, and probably wouldn't miss much if it all vanished. Walking into Nathan and Kristi's empty house was a reminder of why stuff doesn't really matter: We make the inanimate objects come to life, and not vice versa. Similarly, it reminded me that the fond feelings I have for this place are all wrapped up in the people. There was certainly no charm to those bare walls, studded with hooks where pictures once hung.

As I've noted before, expat friendships tend to form quickly and develop intensely. I haven't made this many close friends since college. All of us are in the same boat, thousands of miles away from home and generally without our extended families and old friends. Cutting loose from your past can be liberating but also a bit freaky, and the combination fuels the close friendships. We are one another's families, marking holidays, birthdays, graduations and other milestones together. And that's why it's easy to lapse into melodrama when talking about the annual departures of friends; it feels like a family's splitting up, albeit on amicable terms.

I'm sure every expat has experienced this at one time or another. It's sad but unfortunately a part of life...

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Vote for your favorite Shanghai restaurants with Urbanatomy

Vote here for your favorite Shanghai eateries.

I have to admit I'd only been to one or two of the places on each list (and sometimes added my own suggestions) and skipped the second half of the survey since I don't goto bars/pubs/clubs...

Saturday, 5 July 2008

Long live the bicycle!

I love watching the bicycles cruising down in their own lanes, whilst the rest of us are stuck in traffic on a bus or a taxi. I dread to think of the day when there are no more bicycles being ridden in China.. that would be a sad day indeed.

It's funny how the West is only just realizing the benefits of bike riding whilst China has always known about this little 'secret' - it's fast, it's cheap, it's good for you and for the environment...

Read the news story here

First China <--> Taiwan flight in almost 60 years

Woohoo! About freakin' time...

Direct China flight lands in Taiwan

July 4, 2008 - 10:27AM

The inaugural flight of the first regular direct service between mainland China and Taiwan in almost six decades has landed at Taoyuan international airport, outside Taipei.

The China Southern Airlines Airbus A330, piloted by airline president Liu Shao-yong, touched down at 8.05am (10.05am AEST) with 100 mainland tourists among 258 passengers after a 100-minute flight from Guangzhou.

"This is a sacred moment. The two sides of the strait are like members in one family. Flying over the strait to Taiwan is like coming home. It feels good," Liu said after landing.

Several fire engines splashed water over the aircraft when it was on the tarmac in a welcome gesture.

"We were lucky to be on the plane since many people were fighting for seats on the inaugural flight," said Wang Yu, a Chinese businessman from Zhuhai in southern China.

Wang, in his 40s, said he would take his wife to noted scenic spots like the National Palace Museum, Mountain Ali and Sun Moon Lake.

Taiwanese businessman Tsai Chang-lung and his wife also took the flight.

"It is my wife's gift for me for my 50th birthday. We are happy to enjoy this historic moment together," Tsai said.

There will be a total of 36 round-trip flights across the Taiwan Strait weekly, operating from Friday to Monday. They will fly between six Taiwanese airports and five mainland ones.

On Friday alone, there will be 18 round-trip flights.

The deal will increase the number of tourists making the trip from both sides to 3,000, which is expected to give a much-needed boost to Taiwan's sluggish economy.

China still sees Taiwan as part of its territory awaiting reunification, by force if necessary. But ties between Beijing and Taipei have improved markedly in recent months.

Taiwan banks can now exchange Chinese currency, limits on Taiwanese investment on the mainland have been eased, and some Chinese media outlets which had been banned on the island now have clearance to work.


Wednesday, 25 June 2008

China's tallest building... is a dragon?


CHINA'S tallest building, to be built in Shanghai, will look like a coiled dragon, according to its designer.

The US firm Gensler and the Shanghai-based Architectural Design & Research Institute of Tongji University will soon deliver more details about the skyscraper, whose construction is planned to start this year, the Oriental Morning Post reported yesterday.

A dozen overseas and domestic firms offered designs for the building from April 2005 but Gensler's "Dragon" finally defeated the "Bamboo Shoot" from Britain's Foster & Partners.

The top of the new skyscraper will look either like a turned up dragon tail or an inverted Olympic torch, according to the report.

The 580-meter-high Shanghai Center will top the city's skyline and form an impressive triangle with the 420-meter-high Jin Mao Tower and the 492-meter-high Shanghai World Financial Center in Lujiazui finance and trade zone in Pudong New Area.

A project company with 5.4 billion yuan (US$786 million) in capital has been registered in the city. The Shanghai Chengtou Co, the Lujiazui Finance and Trade Zone Development Co and the Shanghai Construction Group are the shareholders.

Once it is completed, the super highrise will have 118 stories and exceed Taiwan's 501-meter Taipei 101 to become the country's tallest building.

It will also be taller than the 555-meter-high Burj Dubai, which is still under construction.

Live in Shanghai

I just found this site which looks pretty interesting and helpful for newcomers!

Friday, 20 June 2008

Something that's been bugging me

I've only noticed this recently.. actually no, I've always known it but it's only started to bug me recently. Why do most people think that their country is the BEST country in the world and can do no wrong and every other country is crap? And if you dare say anything bad about their country (or city) they get very very defensive. I guess there's nothing wrong with being proud of where you live or grew up but still... I just don't understand..

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Mercer HR survey 2008 - Quality of living cities

Considering my other post is the most popular on this blog I thought I'd post this up too.

Full article here

Top 10 cities (rest can be found on the site)

Rank 2008

Rank 2007



Index 2008

Index 2007




























New Zealand

































Apple stores

An Apple store will open in my hometown of Sydney in just 2 days and Apple plans to increase their presence in China by building their first store there (in Beijing, not Shanghai) though).

Friday, 13 June 2008

Beijing Olympics silly comic

Friday, 6 June 2008

Flickr Fun

Hi to Michelle over at Bleeding Espresso :)

Here is my flickr fun grid. I have omitted some of the questions though.

1. What is your favorite food? Italian
2. What is your favorite color? Light aqua
3. Who is your celebrity crush? Paul Walker
4. Favorite drink? Isotonic drink
5. Dream vacation? Mayan Riviera
6. Favorite dessert? Cheesecake
7. What you want to be when you grow up? Librarian
8. What do you love most in life? Photography
9. One Word to describe you. Unique

1. Italian Job Set, 2. light aqua, 3. Paul Walker, 4. No Sweat, 5. Mayan Riviera - Aventura Spa, 6. cheesecake, 7. Librarian, 8. 23.366 I have an eye for photography, 9. pathway to heaven

Thursday, 5 June 2008

Donate to the earthquake appeal just by changing your MSN chat username

OK so this is oldish news and I can't remember where I read it from... But basically if you change your username then 0.2 RMB will be donated to the earthquake appeal.

The original website is here with a rough translation in English here

So far... 6,216,469 people x 0.20 = 1,243,293.80元 人民币 (RMB).

The Queen and the Dragon

(Queen image from Google images, Dragon boat race image from *dans on flickr)

So it happens that China and Australia both have a public holiday on the same day for two entirely different reasons.

On Monday 9th June...

Australia celebrates the Queen of England's birthday (which funnily is April 26) on the second Monday in June. It's a tradition that started in 1788 and has been kept since. Every year it's on a different date (but always in June) and it's a public holiday for most of the country.

China celebrates 端午节 (Duan wu jie - Glutinous Rice Dumping Festival) or Dragon Boat Festival, which occurs on the fifth day of the fifth month of the lunar calendar. In 2008 it falls in June 8th (Since it falls on a Sunday the holiday is on the Monday). Like all Chinese festivals, there is an interesting story that goes with it (a summary can be found here) and it originated in 278 BC. It is tradition to eat sticky rice zongzi on this day, and of course have dragon boat races across rivers, lakes, or harbours.

(image from Wikipedia)

Personally, I love zongzis. My mother makes them from scratch and so I've grown up being used to eating them. They are an acquired taste though. The supermarket across the road from us sells them for 3 or 4 RMB depending on filling, steaming hot and fresh. I love it! They are such cheap, filling and nutritious things to eat :)

Shanghai: The Endless City

Excerpt from Shanghai Daily

Urban experts' 'endless' approval for Shanghai

By Yao Minji 2008-6-5

MANY expats, upon arrival for the first time in Shanghai, are stunned by this ever-changing metropolis. A common compliment is that "Shanghai looks no different to New York except for the Chinese characters on the skyscrapers."

But does that mean Shanghai is becoming a faceless city like many other big cities? German urban planning expert Wolfgang Nowak gives a definite "no" with the support of a newly released 512-page hard-cover book titled "The Endless City."

"The Endless City" compiles thinking, dialogues and discussions from the project on six major international cities - New York, Shanghai, London, Mexico City, Johannesburg and Berlin. It was edited by London Design Museum curator Deyan Sudjic and LSE urban planning professor Ricky Burdett.

"...the problems illustrated in the book are universal ones that the general public also care about, such as the city's security, the environmental problems, and the future of cities," Nowak tells Shanghai Daily. "So I hope ordinary residents also read the book, think about the problems and become active in their cities."

Nowak is particularly interested in the development of cities because he believes everyone will reside in cities by the end of the century.

The editors picked the six cities mentioned because "they are of particular relevance for a better understanding of urban practice."

In addition, editors Sudjic and Burdett believe Shanghai to be one of the cities that will go through some of the greatest changes in the 21st century. Lagos, Kinshasa, Mumbai, Deli, Dhaka and Jakarta also fall into this category.

"It is projected that by 2030, more than 4 out of every 5 urban dwellers will be in the developing world, so this will have huge implications for the global economy," the editors write.

"At the same time, mature cities such as London, New York, Berlin and Mexico City need to ensure that their future growth reconciles their layered history of planning mistakes and prioritizes sustainable transport and inclusive, contained growth."

Nowak gives examples of Shanghai, a city which "still surprises" him even after four visits.

"When we walk in Shanghai, we see a city of the future, with great public security, large streets, increasing public transportation, people from all over the world and a culture supported by 5,000 years of Chinese history," he says.

Nowak believes other cities could learn from Shanghai's rapid development, public security and planning of the Pudong airport.

On the other hand, he suggests Shanghai could take lessons about the green lifestyle from many older cities such as Berlin, where environmental protection has become part of everyday life.

"Moreover, Shanghai is a city that has still kept its character while developing surprisingly rapidly.
Many new cities have become the same under the large trend of globalization. And even some old cities are facing the same problem.

"In Berlin, we are still struggling to reconstruct our history and culture, because lots were destroyed after World War II."

For Nowak, Chinese cities like Shanghai and Beijing have done well in combining modern development with the essence of the city, instead of simply making the old look new.

Not having been to New York City, I have always thought of Shanghai as an Asian NYC. So I may be wrong, but I know that there are many other people out there who think the same thing. There is the buzz, the liveliness, the HUGE population and density, the huge gap between the rich and the poor, the multiculturalism and more. You can't describe it. You just have to LIVE (t)here to EXPERIENCE it.

My sister lived in Shanghai only 3 years ago and I can already see so many changes since I visited her then. Even in the one year that I've been here there have been huge changes - notably the completion of THREE new subway lines, and the new terminal at Pudong airport. I do wonder though, with so many rapid changes going on... if I ever come back to Shanghai in the future will it be unrecognizable? Will all the little things that make it 'cool' be obliterated in the strive to become more futuristic, more Western, more affluent? I guess only time will tell (although I guess I already answered my own question).

Part of why I love living in Shanghai is the crazy feeling that somehow you're in a time warp. You're kind of living in the past and in the future at the same time. I'm sure there will be a time when those old men pulling the tricycles loaded up with 50 billion kilograms of styrofoam boxes, cane chairs, recyclable cardboard packaging, plastic water bottles or whatnot will be gone and then I can reminisce to my kids, "When I was your age and living in Shanghai..."

If anyone is interested in skyscraper cities there is a great forum here.

And you can buy "The Endless City" book here

Monday, 2 June 2008

Test your vocab and donate rice!


Hope this is true.. apparently the UN will donate rice for every word you get correct. I was doing pretty well... got 5/5 then I stuffed up on the 6th word.

Friday, 30 May 2008

Sharon Stone - the most hated woman in China

Oh Dear. Sharon Stone made a major faux pas. One thing she should learn is not to anger the most populous country in the world. Stupid, stupid woman. I understand the concept of what she said (karma causing the earthquake in Sichuan due to China's treatment of the Tibetans) but that is just plain stupid. For poor, innocent village people who have suffered so much loss already to hear such a dumb, lame comment as that is just cruel, cruel, cruel. Nobody deserves to die or lose family members, and their house, pets, belongings, neighbours, friends, their entire city regardless of what their government has done. Stupid.

Thursday, 29 May 2008

My Haircut

Related post

Yes I'm pretty boring and always play it safe with my haircuts. I don't like funky, 'fashionable' styles that look crap in about 3 weeks' time and take ages to style to look good.

Sunday, 25 May 2008

Turning a child's artwork into a photo

I've been busy lately and have lots of entries in my head, just have to find time to do them all, hopefully in a few days time.

Meanwhile, I found this through one of the fifty billion blogs I read...

It's a Korean artist/photographer's attempt to recreate children's drawings. I am totally amazed. How much effort it would require to style a photoshoot like that? But I love the fun atmosphere, the quirkiness, the whimsicalness (is that a word?), the creativity, the colours, the cuteness, everything!

Thursday, 22 May 2008

Shanghai says big 'Gidday' to Sydney


SHANGHAI and Sydney, Australia's biggest city, signed an historic agreement this week that will open the door to a myriad of business opportunities.

Morris Iemma, the premier of New South Wales, of which Sydney is the capital, revealed yesterday he had signed a "Friendship Co-operation Agreement'' with Shanghai authorities which he says will open the door to many significant possibilities.

He told more than 200 guests at the NSW Premier's China Business Mission "Gateways to the Future'' function at the Portman Ritz Carlton that this new relationship would extend to business, tourism, research, education and culture.

Mr Iemma led a 40-strong delegation of New South Wales businessmen and academics into town this week to seek out business and other opportunities in the country that is Australia's biggest trading partner.

He told guests at the function 25 different Australian companies and nine universities were represented within the delegation.

Mr Iemma said China had a long history of investment in New South Wales but the relationship between Australia and China is more than 150 years old.

More recently however Sydney and NSW had become major tourist and education destinations for Chinese people, he said.

In announcing new relationships between the University of Sydney and the University of New South Wales with Chinese universities this week, he said more than 85,000 Chinese were attending educational institutions in NSW.

Meanwhile, Iemma expressed deep sympathy for victims as he pledged AU$600,000 (US$576,210) to the relief fund.

Speaking at the NSW Premier's China Business Mission function in Shanghai, Iemma said the "heartfelt sympathy" of everyone from New South Wales went out to the earthquake victims and their families.

Iemma also praised the way China had handled the earthquake crisis.

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Dry dry dry

Pretty soon I'm going to have to turn on the air conditioning inside the house. I'm pretty comfortable but I find my palms being sweaty a lot. Also, the air is mega dry (not that the a/c will help with that part).

This morning I had an attack of eczema on my face again. It was twice as big as the lump posted here. When my ayi saw it she gasped in shock. Luckily it's gone down a bit now.

I just checked Yahoo weather and it's 27% humidity now at 4pm. In Beijing it's only 15% - wow!

Apparently it should be between 35-50% for comfort. Other sources say 40-70%. Personally, I find around 45-60% the most comfortable. I don't know why people keep saying that Shanghai is humid, last summer I noted that the humidity rarely went higher than 65%.

Ayis are the best

On Monday morning I went out and when I came back I had discovered my ayi occupied herself by reorganizing my wardrobe and she folded all my underpants! LOL. Noone's ever done that for me before, least of all myself. (she did it for hubby too but it doesn't look as pretty as mine ;) ) I remember seeing a Facebook group called "I miss my ayi" and I'll sure miss having one when I go home. She's like a mother only she doesn't have all the annoying qualities a mother has such as nagging.

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

'PS I love you' the film

Related post


I'd been waiting for ages for this to come out on DVD and finally got it last week. I mean why watch it at the cinema when you can own a copy for just over a $1! Of course it's not as good as the book (in fact, it's nothing like the book!) but in its own right I thought it was a pretty decent film. I didn't like how Dan and Chiara were portrayed though. They seemed so stupid and Chiara was barely even needed, she didn't add anything to the film. Taking Holly's father out of the picture was a weird move too.

The DVD extras of the deleted scenes were really interesting. One of the most poignant scenes in the book is the travel agency scene (won't give too much away) and I was looking forward to seeing that in the film but it wasn't in it, however, if you see the extras you can see that they did film it but it was cut out. It's not done that well though and a bit disturbing which was probably why they took it out.

As everyone says Gerard Butler was totally right for the role of "Gerry" and totally hot in the movie, and Hilary wasn't too bad either.

I would rate it 6.5-7 / 10.

Breadtalk's Peace Panda to raise money for Sichuan / Random news

* Three day nationwide mourning period starting from yesterday at 2:28pm, exactly a week after the earthquake hit

* 61-year-old woman found after a week of being trapped, alive but had to have both legs amputated, seriously injured and delirious

* Olympic torch relay through Shanghai (originally 20-21 May) to be delayed

* Death toll nearing 50,000

* From beggars to billionaires, all donate money to support the earthquake victims

* We must not forget our poor friends in Burma, who've also suffered a great loss due to the cyclone there, and they have an even higher death toll :(

* I have to admit that since the September 11 attacks nothing has moved me as much as the Sichuan earthquake. Obviously living in China I'm being bombarded with the news and images whereas if I was in Australia I'd barely hear anything about it. I can't watch the news on tv, even a few seconds brings me to tears.


The other day I found these at Breadtalk. They are adorable! Sure they cost a bit more than the other buns (10 RMB) but half or all (can't remember and couldn't be bothered to try to read the poster, click on image to enlarge) of the proceeds go towards the Red Cross to help the earthquake victims.

They are like the anpanman (red bean inside) but with chocolate on top. I also love how all the faces are totally different. Really cute and tasty! :)

The Bund


The Bund (simplified Chinese: 外滩, pinyin: Wàitān) is an area of Huangpu District in Shanghai, People's Republic of China. The area centres on a section of Zhongshan Road (East-1), which runs along the western bank of the Huangpu River, facing Pudong, in the eastern part of Huangpu District. The Bund usually refers to the buildings and wharves on this section of the road, as well as some adjacent areas.
The Bund is one of the most famous tourist destinations in Shanghai. Building heights are restricted in this area.

The word "Bund" means an embankment or an embanked quay, and comes from the Urdu word band, meaning an embankment, levee or dam (a cognate of English terms, bind and band, German term, bund, etc.). "Bund" is pronounced to rhyme with "fund". "The Bund" as a proper noun almost invariably refers to this stretch of embanked riverfront in Shanghai.

The Shanghai Bund has dozens of historical buildings, lining the Huangpu River, that once housed numerous banks and trading houses from Britain, France, the U.S., Russia, Germany, Japan, The Netherlands and Belgium, as well as the consulates of Russia and Britain, a newspaper, the Shanghai Club and the Masonic Club. The Bund lies north of the old, walled city of Shanghai. This was initially a British settlement; later the British and American settlements were combined in the International Settlement. A building boom at the end of 19th century and beginning of 20th century led to the Bund becoming a major financial hub of East Asia. The former French Bund, east of the walled city was formerly more a working harbourside.

The Bund was famously featured in novel Empire of the Sun by British author J.G. Ballard, based on his experiences as a boy during World War II. The book was later made into a film by Steven Spielberg.
The Bund is a setting (and namesake) of the Hong Kong television series The Bund (1980) and film Shanghai Grand (1996). The story of both involve pre-World War II era gangsters competing for control of the Bund.

Boring intro aside, I had been planning to go and take photos at the Bund for ages but since I'd been here over a year now I thought I'd better get my butt into gear - before the hideous extreme heat of the summer comes - to take nice sunset photos. This requires a bit of planning.

I consulted this site which has sunrise and sunset times (it's excellent and has any location in the world, I've used it many times before, every photographer should have it bookmarked IMHO). So I knew that the sun would set around 6:45pm which meant that the 'golden hour' would be around 5:15-5:45pm (it is usually 1-1.5 hours before sunset). I also knew that it would totally dark at 7:19pm.

I planned to get there at 4:30-5pm but I was running a bit late plus it took way longer to walk there that I thought (from Nanjing East Road station). I just read on some website that it takes 5 mins to walk there. I don't think so!! Maybe because I was hot and tired, and carrying a tripod. I don't know. But I definitely wasn't walking slow and it took me at least 15 mins to walk to the Bund. So by the time I got there (and being peak hour there were fifty billion people and cars everywhere too!) it was already after 5:30pm. About an hour after I left home. D'oh! Oh well. Still, not too bad, I was still in the 'golden hour' period.

At the time I got there there were sooooo many people milling about, mostly tourists but some locals too I think. I had to get someone to take a photo of me (since I was by myself) and just stayed awhile admiring the beautiful view, and the interesting people at the Bund...

After a while I moved further south so I could see the World Financial Center building more clearly. When that building is completed it'll be the third tallest building in the world, and tallest in China, and taking over the Jin Mao building for the tallest building in Shanghai.

On the way I looked across the road to all the former French/British/American buildings. Unfortunately there wasn't much to see because that whole area was a massive construction zone and you coud only see the buildings unobstructed in a few certain areas of the Bund.

Then, I found 'my spot' and then waited for it to get dark. I set up my tripod (which is as tall as me, at 1.65 metres). Then of course people stopped and stared at me, but I just ignored them (you kinda learn that skill very quickly in China, or if you take as many photos as I do!) So I left my tripod up for quite a while and took photos of the Bund view over the Huangpu river to Pudong. I also took some self portraits using the 10 sec self timer (yes geeky and embarrassing! but hey they turned out great!).

I also have to mention that I had this 'idea' of doing this for so long in my head but was worried about the safety aspect. Would someone run away with my camera or my handbag? Well I was pretty much 'on guard' the whole time keeping my eye on both but I wasn't overly paranoid or fanatical about it. I just had common sense and actually I did feel really really safe. Not once did I think I was going to get bag snatched or mugged or anything like that. In fact, everyone was really friendly towards me, and just curious and interested about what I was doing/what I was taking pictures of.

I had several people ask if I could take a photo for them and I was happy to do so, and emailed it to them. I also offered to take photos for couples (with their own camera) while I sat around waiting for the sky to get dark. I think they were very grateful (and I'd appreciate the same gesture as I know how annoying it can be when you're travelling with someone else and there is never anyone around to take a picture of the both of you and if there is they have CRAP skills (blurry, off centre, tilted, head cut off, horrible composition, etc) OR there's that thougth that they might run off with your camera ala that Mr Bean episode...)

Anyway so I was actually pretty tired standing the whole time after having walked all day from morning to afternoon, only going home for about an hour or so. I was busting to go to the toilet but had to keep holding it in. Aahh the joys of being a photographer.

After it got dark, the atmosphere was beautiful. People milling about, lovers kissing under the lamplight and my favourite weather, the cool breeze of a summer night. It reminded me of Sydney and in Hawaii where even though the day time can be quite hot, the night time is just lovely with temperatures in the low 20s which is just perfect.

There were lots of people selling things (which is illegal and they'll run away when the police comes through every so often) and I bought some cute intricate ox bone carving pendants. I bargained down to 30 RMB for 2 and then I realized that I should've paid more. I felt bad because it takes 2 hours to carve one so that's 30 RMB for 4 hours of work :(

Anyway I had loads of fun and I think my pics turned out pretty good, especially since I don't even have an SLR.


An expat (living in Wuxi)'s account of his visit to the Bund at sunrise here

I have two comments about what he wrote... the English in the taxi? Hahaha. "Welcome to take my taxi" and "Please don't forget anything you take" don't exactly make sense. LOL. And 15AUD for a haircut? My hubby goes to a little place across the road from our apartment and only pays 10 RMB (that's $1.50 AUD). He's been there dozens of times and is really happy with them. I do agree with the author in that they do a better job than in Australia, and you get a free head and shoulder massage every time!

Sunday, 18 May 2008

An American expat in Shanghai

Interesting blog here I just found.

It's only since I've lived in Shanghai that I realize it's a popular place for university students to do their internships during the 'summer'. It seems like a really good idea for one's career, I think. Internships aren't really big at all in Australia, except in a few select fields. I kind of regret not studying overseas while I was erm.. studying.. but life's too short to have regrets! Besides, I don't want to work in banking or finance so doing an internship in Shanghai wouldn't have helped me much but still I think if you're still studying and wanting to work in those kinds of areas it's an excellent idea :)

I don't agree with the author's comments about Shanghai being the "London of the East" though, personally I think it's more like New York city.


Today was hot hot hot. It must have been at least 30 degrees, I'm sure. I felt rather headachey and dizzy all day from the heat. Then, because of the heat there was a sudden downpour around 4-5pm and I was in that too. Fun fun fun. It was so heavy that even walking the 2 metres from the taxi to the entrance of my building I was totally drenched. I still can't believe that one day I was wearing a cashmere coat, then I was wearing a trenchcoat, and now I'm wearing no coats! Then inside the house I was wearing thick socks and bootie slippers and now I'm walking around barefeet, just in the space of a few short weeks! Crazy! Where did the beautiful spring weather go? It seemed to have jumped straight from winter to summer (almost)!

Saturday, 17 May 2008

Life of an expat wife

My blog used to be called "Life of an expat wife". I've been thinking a lot about my life in Shanghai over the past year. I think people think that my life is either "really good" ("Wow, you must spend all day getting manicures and going to the hair salon - erm, no. I've been to the hairdresser twice and gotten a manicure only 3 times in the past year) or "really bad" ("Oh, I could never live in China, it's dirty, polluted, crowded, people spit..." - just deal with it, people!) but in fact it's neither. Like most people's lives it's both good and bad, and has ups and downs. I know I complain about random things in my blog (mostly my health problems or the weather, I think?) but if I really wanted to I could complain even more about random stuff, but who the heck wants to read that?

I just did a google search for "Life of an expat wife" and this (my) blog is the first link that pops up which is quite surprising! As well as that I found some other interesting links.

Hardship of an expat wife in Suzhou

Even though I don't live in Suzhou I could relate to almost everything single thing that the author (Linda Ho) wrote about. The English teaching thing is a good point. I don't know how many people have suggested to me that I teach English at an English school. Well, I want to just plonk them over the head! I look Chinese. I look like a local. They don't care that I was born in an English-speaking country and was educated for my entire life in an English-speaking country from pre-school till university. Or that I can spell better than most Caucasian English-speaking people. Everyone has the same story. They've either experienced it themselves or they know of someone who has experienced the outright blatant discrimination and reverse-racism when it comes to hiring overseas Chinese people for English-teaching jobs. It's hard to get a job and even if you get one, they'll treat you like scum and pay you less than a Caucasian person, even someone from Eastern Europe who barely speaks any English let alone can read/write and teach it! Ugh. Plus I didn't move to Shanghai so I could earn 1/6 or 1/8 of what I could earn back home! And doing something that would add nothing to my career at all since I hate teaching and have no aspirations to be an educator or anything like that. Really!

Another thing. we don't have a driver or a car, and the apartment we live in although deemed outrageously expensive by the locals is only 1/3 or 1/2 of what most expats are paying. Some expats would also be paying 6-10 times (or more!) than what we are paying.

I was coming home from somewhere the other day in a taxi and had a conversation with the driver the whole way home. He started asking me where I was from (and I really really hate that question because I don't know how to answer it, people always seem to have pre-conceived ideas about what they want to hear anyway) and I told him I'm from Taiwan (I'm not really of course, but my parents are). He said he thought I was Korean or Japanese. When I told him I'm 'Taiwanese' he said, "But they're Chinese too! They're the same!" Alas, I was too tired to get into some big political debate with him (LOL).

Then he just started talking and talking non-stop and seemed really bitter. I ended up telling him I was actually from Australia (usually get the 'huh?' look and the "But you don't look Australian!") and he said he had some friends who moved there. He said, "You must have a pretty good life here if you're bringing your Australian dollars with you." Erm yes, well, kind of. He said, "If you have money you can have a very nice life in Shanghai".. I said, "If you have money, you can have a nice life anywhere!" to which he agreed.

Then he told me he earns 3000 RMB/month (the average for Shanghai so I've heard) and has lots of health problems from sitting down for 12 hours a day, and stress from having to know all the roads/streets in Shanghai and dealing with traffic. I started to feel sorry for him and all the other taxi drivers because I (stupidly) thought that being a taxi driver would be an OK job to have, if I was a local.

When we were almost at my apartment, he said, "Do you live in... (apartment compound name)?" and I said, "Yes" and he said, "Oh I knew it. Because a local would never be able to afford to live there..."

Every single local we've spoken to says that our apartment is so expensive but hubby and I don't feel like it is! For one thing, it's only about half of what we were paying in Sydney for an apartment (similar size, 2 bedrooms) that was 45mins out from the city! And like I said, other people are paying 2-3 times the price and I don't think their apartment is any better, only the location is probably more central and maybe their building is slightly newer but their space certainly wouldn't be bigger and I doubt their view is as nice as ours. I'm very very happy with our apartment and love it. I also like that there aren't billions of buildings like some compounds that have 10 or 20 buildings. Like what the-? It's like a mini-city!

So anyway he pulls up outside my building and then said to me, "See that man over there?" (pointing to the security guard) "Well, he only earns 1000 RMB/month."I'm thinking, "OMG you're kidding!" I felt so bad. They work 12/hours a day too :(

Understandably, this taxi driver was quite bitter about the difference between the haves and have nots. I can understand because I've been there. Growing up we weren't poor poor but we certainly weren't rich. We had second hand furniture from garage sales in our house, my mother made our clothes, my parents DIY'd everything, our shoes were always bought way too big so we'd 'grow into them' (I'm sure that somehow contributed to my sister and I both having flat feet and having to wear orthotics later) yadda yadda.. we were never left without necessities though and overall I think we had a pretty nice life as kids but getting older these days it's hard not to feel something about the difference between the rich and the poor. Luckily most of my friends are middle-class like myself, I don't actually know that many rich or poor people, but in Shanghai it's everywhere. It seems everyone is either filthy rich, or dirt poor, you just can't escape it. It's so sad really.

Getting back to the topic, I also found two books about expat wives, which both look like good reads.

Emails from the Edge: The Life of an Expatriate Wife

This book sounds like a great idea for a movie!

Me a tai tai?

This book sounds hilarious. Even the cover pic looks funny (hey she kind of looks like my mother). I need to track it down somehow... :)

So in conclusion being an expat wife in a foreign non-English-speaking country has it's pros and cons, it's what you make of it, really. I'm glad I've had this experience which I wouldn't give up for anything. And it's really nothing like what you imagine it to be... unless you've been there and done it.


In other news, my husband told me he donated 2000 RMB to the earthquake appeal through his work. Woohoo! I was proud of him for his generosity (But I admit I also thought to myself that 2000 RMB would be the perfect amount for me to buy that flash I really wanted.. oh well, guess I'll have to wait a while, and those poor people need that money much more than I do). And, he's gone to Beijing today, for a week. I did get my photo fix though. I looked online for the thing I wanted and the prices were about US$60-120, and I got it for a whopping 90 RMB ($12.50). Yay for bargains!

Friday, 16 May 2008

Death toll 50,000 likely, damage $20 billion

As the death toll grows, the race to save survivors is on, with every glimmer of hope growing weaker... :(

apparently animals can detect things natural disasters like earthquakes and tsunamis



The belief that animals get advance warning of when the earth is going to shake has been around for centuries and is very much the stuff of legend. Scientists recoil with horror at the idea of extra-sensory perception or precognition. What is possible, they concede, is that animals have keener senses, greater awareness of their surroundings and are hard-wired to take prompt action...

In general, animals sense impending danger by reacting to what to us are subtle or abrupt shifts in the environment, says Dr Alan Rabinowitz, director of science and exploration at the Wildlife Conservation Society, based at the Bronx Zoo in New York. Aside from detecting vibrations, they may pick up electromagnetic changes in the atmosphere and there have been reports of luminescence in the sky before earthquakes.

There may even be an explanation of how this heightened sense emerged. In the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, five years ago, Prof Joseph Kirschvink of Caltech in Pasadena argued that a "seismic escape response" could not be dismissed out of hand on purely biological grounds. Over the past 500 million years, animals evolving in earthquake zones have had ample time - and possess adequate sensory abilities - to evolve earthquake-prediction responses. (Assuming, of course, Prof Kirschvink stresses now, that impending earthquakes actually produce precursory signals.) ...

Fascinating! Now where can I get me an elephant? ;)

China - world's second biggest exporter


China has beaten the U.S. as the world's second-biggest exporter, despite that the world's trade growth is expected to slow to a 6-year low of 4.5%, according to the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Apr. 18, 2008 (China Knowledge) - China has beaten the U.S. as the world's second-biggest exporter, despite that the world's trade growth is expected to slow to a 6-year low of 4.5%, according to the World Trade Organization (WTO).

The country's merchandise exports surged 26% to US$1.2 trillion last year, which made it pass the U.S. to be the world's second biggest exporter, just after Germany.

It is the first time that China's trade exceeded the combined trade of Japan and South Korea.

Last year, China made great progress in overseas prospecting and developing nonferrous metals and noble metals such as steel, copper, nickel, bauxite ore etc.

Thursday, 15 May 2008

1930s good wife test


Hahaha one of the funniest reads I've seen in a long time... I scored 7. I don't understand how one can get a high score, I mean the most you could score is 25 (I guess part of the quiz is missing, ie there were more questions). I have to admit I am guilty of the cold feet one! (no. 9 demerit).

Oh dear... to think that men who think like that still exist today is sad, sad, sad!!

Strange happenings at Flickr

Ah yes how I love Flickr. I've gotten a few requests from people representing certain companies wanting to use my photos for an article. This, I think, is highly flattering considering that I think compared to the rest of Flickr my photos aren't even that great. But still, it's good for an ego boost I guess :)

Anyway just got a msg from a girl from nowpublic.com wanting to use one of my pics for a strange but interesting story. Apparently Japan is using face recognition technology in their cigarette vending machines to determine if you are old enough (20 is the legal age) to buy them! Apparently it's accurate 90% of the time. The rest of the time they need you to scan in your driver's licence. Sounds pretty hi-tech to me although I doubt it would've worked for me considering when I was 28 I looked 18 (and now I look approx. 6-7 years younger than I really am).

In other news I did a pilates class. Naughty girl I should be doing this every week but only manage to do it once or twice a month. The class is nice and small (usually around 6-8 people) all housewives like myself ;) who else can attend a class at 10am on a weekday? Ah yes.. the life of a 'tai tai' who does nothing but go to beauty salons and manicurists. oh puh-leeze, we're too busy making sure our figures are nice and lean at the gym! hahaha. Well in the case of most women in China, it seems, most are naturally slim and lean anyway. Pilates is good for strengthening your stomach and back muscles and feels really good afterwards, but the next day I'm in so much pain.

Our apartment compound was collecting money on behalf of the Red Cross for those earthquake victims. I gave them everything I had in my wallet (I mean, how much money should one carry to the gym which is in/right next to my apartment anyway? Not much right... ) I gave them 150 RMB and felt quite proud of myself. There were donations ranging from 20 to 3000 RMB that I saw, most giving around 100 RMB.

Well I'm feeling good now, the weather is lovely, I now should make myself some lunch before heading out and doing something else to occupy my taitai life ;)

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

Air pollution increases DVT risk



Air pollution increases the risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) -- dangerous blood clots in the veins -- even at pollution levels the EPA deems "acceptable."

Harvard researcher Andrea Baccarelli, MD, PhD, and colleagues in Italy studied 870 people diagnosed with DVT from 1995 to 2005. They compared their particulate air pollution exposure in the year before their diagnosis to that of 1,210 matched people without DVT.

They found that DVT risk goes up 70% for every 10 microgram-per-cubic-meterrise in particulate air pollution above 12 micrograms per cubic meter of air (the lowest pollution level measured in the study).....

Air pollution affects the heart and blood vessels even more than the lungs, notes Robert D. Brook, MD, a University of Michigan expert on the cardiovascular effects of air pollution. An editorial by Brook accompanies the Baccarelli report in the May 12 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine.

Earthquake conspiracies

Ah yes the conspiracies start coming in...


As the death toll in China's Sichuan province climbs, the nation’s bloggers have joined together in the search for a scapegoat.

Broadband connections across the country are pulsing with rumours of "earthquake omens" involving toads or butterflies - all allegedly ignored by the authorities. Some even talk of a vast pre-Olympic conspiracy.

One blogger from Shandong province, in eastern China, wrote that more than a month ago, he went to his local earthquake resesarch centre several times to report that his animals had been disturbed and restless.

But, he wrote: "They not only ridiculed me, they accused me of making up stories."
Related Links

* British panda-watchers missing in Sichuan

* Foreign Office to launch traveller tracking site

Other blogs link to Chinese newspaper reports of bizarre natural occurrences in the past few weeks.

The Chutian Metropolis Daily reported that on April 26, 80,000 tonnes of water suddenly drained from a large pond in Enshi, Hubei province.....

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Hayfever hell

I was really really dreading this. I was hoping and praying that this wouldn't happen. I was very very grateful for all the times this didn't happen.

But right now - it's hayfever season. It seems odd that when the flowers were first blooming and blossoming I was totally fine (and often thought about how weird it was I didn't react) but now both my husband and are are having allergy attacks - sneezing, runny nose, and itchy watery eyes. Great. On top of that it's been quite dry lately and my nose has started to bleed again.


On another note most Chinese people don't seem to understand what hayfever (or asthma) is. I noted hubby trying to explain to his Mandarin tutor last night that he had it and I don't think she quite got it. I've also had the same blank expression when I've tried to tell people I'm asthmatic and that's why I can't tolerate cigarette smoke. It seems like nobody here gets it whereas it's so common in the west, well in Australia anyway it's (apparently) really common.

Earthquake toll expected to hit 50,000-150,000

Those people at Shanghaiist are champions :) They probably didn't sleep at all last night. The news just gets worse and worse :(


How you can help by donating

Account name: Red Cross Society of China

For those who want to donate in RMB: you can send money to the RMB account at the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China branch below:
人民币开户行: 中国工商银行 北京分行东四南支行
人民币账号: 0200001009014413252

For those who want to donate in foreign currency, you can send money to the foreign currency account at the CITIC Bank branch below:
外币账号: 7112111482600000209

Hotline: (8610) 65139999
Online donations: Red Cross Society of China website: www.redcross.org.cn
Click the tab for online donations


I wondered which were the biggest earthquakes in the last couple of decades. Wikipedia didn't really tell me but this site did.


The worst earthquake in the 20th century (and the last 4 centuries!) was in the year I was born and it was in China too. :(

Date UTCLocationDeathsMagnitudeComments
1976 07 27Tangshan, China255,000
Official casualty figure is 255,000 deaths.
Estimated death toll as high as 655,000.
799,000 injured and extensive damage in the
Tang-Shan area. Damage extended as far as
Beijing. This is probably the greatest death
toll from an earthquake in the last four
centuries, and the second greatest
in recorded history.
2004 12 26Sumatra227,8989.1
This is the third largest earthquake in the world since 1900
and is the largest since the 1964 Prince William Sound, Alaska
earthquake. In total, 227,898 people were killed or were missing
and presumed dead and about 1.7 million people were displaced
by the earthquake and subsequent tsunami in 14 countries in
South Asia and East Africa.
(In January 2005, the death toll was 286,000. In April 2005,
Indonesia reduced its estimate for the number missing by over 50,000.)
The earthquake was felt (IX) at
Banda Aceh, (VIII) at Meulaboh and (IV) at Medan, Sumatra and
(III-V) in parts of Bangladesh, India, Malaysia, Maldives,
Myanmar, Singapore, Sri Lanka and Thailand. The tsunami caused
more casualties than any other in recorded history and was
recorded nearly world-wide on tide gauges in the Indian, Pacific
and Atlantic Oceans. Seiches were observed in India and the
United States. Subsidence and landslides were observed in
Sumatra. A mud volcano near Baratang, Andaman Islands became
active on December 28 and gas emissions were reported in Arakan,
1948 10 05Ashgabat (Ashkhabad), Turkmenistan (Turkmeniya, USSR)110,0007.3
Extreme damage in Ashgabat (Ashkhabad) and nearby villages, where almost all brick buildings collapsed, concrete structures were heavily damaged and freight trains were derailed. Damage and casualties also occurred in the Darreh Gaz area, Iran. Surface rupture was observed both northwest and southeast of Ashgabat. Many sources list the casualty total at 10,000, but a news release on 9 Dec 1988 advised that the correct death toll was 110,000.
2005 10 08Pakistan86,0007.6

At least 86,000 people killed, more than 69,000 injured and
extensive damage in northern Pakistan. The heaviest damage
occurred in the Muzaffarabad area, Kashmir where entire villages
were destroyed and at Uri where 80 percent of the town was
destroyed. At least 32,335 buildings collapsed in Anantnag,
Baramula, Jammu and Srinagar, Kashmir. Buildings collapsed in
Abbottabad, Gujranwala, Gujrat, Islamabad, Lahore and
Rawalpindi, Pakistan. Maximum intensity VIII. Felt (VII) at
Topi; (VI) at Islamabad, Peshawar and Rawalpindi; (V) at
Faisalabad and Lahore. Felt at Chakwal, Jhang, Sargodha and as
far as Quetta. At least 1,350 people killed and 6,266 injured in
India. Felt (V) at Chandigarh and New Delhi; (IV) at Delhi and
Gurgaon, India. Felt in Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh,
Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttaranchal and Uttar
Pradesh, India. At least one person killed and some buildings
collapsed in Afghanistan. Felt (IV) at Kabul and (III) at
Bagrami, Afghanistan. Felt (III) at Kashi, China and (II) at
Dushanbe, Tajikistan. Also felt at Almaty, Kazakhstan. An
estimated 4 million people in the area were left homeless.
Landslides and rockfalls damaged or destroyed several mountain
roads and highways cutting off access to the region for several
days. Landslides also occurred farther north near the towns of
Gilgit and Skardu, Kashmir. Liquefaction and sandblows occurred
in the western part of the Vale of Kashmir and near Jammu.
Landslides and rockfalls also occurred in parts of Himachal
Pradesh, India. Seiches were observed in Haryana, Uttar Pradesh
and West Bengal, India and in many places in Bangladesh.
1970 05 31Chimbote, Peru70,0007.9
About 50,000 people were killed - 20,000 missing and presumed dead - and 150,000 injured in Ancash and La Libertad Departments from the earthquake and a catastrophic debris avalanche of rock, ice and mud which buried the town of Yungay, which had a population of about 20,000.
1990 06 20Western Iran40,000 to 50,0007.4
Estimated 40,000 to 50,000 people killed,
more than 60,000 injured, 400,000 or more homeless and
extensive damage and landslides in the Rasht-Qazvin-Zanjan
area, Iran. Nearly all buildings were destroyed in the
Rudbar-Manjil area. Substantial damage occurred as far away as
Khalkhal and Now Shahr and slight damage occurred at Tehran.
Felt in most of northwestern Iran, including Arak, Bakhtaran
and Tabriz. Slight damage also occurred in southern Azerbaijan,
USSR. Felt (VII) at Astra and Lenkoran; (VI) at Dzhibrail,
Lerik, Mossony and Yardyshny; (III) at Baku, USSR. Complex event.


Monday, 12 May 2008

Earthquake - death toll almost 10,000 and rising

This is just horrible. I feel so sad for all those people whose lives have been lost. I remember when a big earthquake hit Taiwan in 1999. I remember it clearly because my mother was there at the time (she felt shocks/tremors but was fine) and also I remember having a discussion with my friend about how this wasn't big enough news to report in the Australian media. I mean it was reported on, but it was deemed a small story compared to other stories as is usually the case with small countries.

I really hope the death toll doesn't rise anymore. This is just so horrible and can't even think of another word to describe how I feel. I'm sure there are evil minded people and conspiracy theorists out there who say this is God punishing China and all that and I'm sure there's someone who's going to say there is some prophecy about something bad happening in China in the year 2008 .. pfft.. whatever.. some people are just mean, evil and just suck.

Women and blogs


An article about women and blogging.

* Women are so passionate about blogging that large percentages of women said they would give something up to keep the blogs they read and/or write:

- 55% would give up alcohol

- 50% would give up their PDAs

- 42% would give up their i-Pod

- 43% would give up reading the newspaper or magazines

BUT, some things are sacred … only 20% would give up chocolate!

Well, personally, I could give up writing a blog, but I don't think I could give up reading a blog (or lots of blogs rather). I could easily give up alcohol (since I don't drink it anyway and can't even stand the smell let alone the taste), don't own a PDA and don't ever plan to, have an ipod but don't use it that much and could give it up however newspapers, magazines or chocolate would be extremely difficult! hahaha. I'm a total 'information junkie' which is why I almost never read fiction and I hardly ever watch tv these days. I couldn't live without newspapers or magazines really, and blogs for that matter. I love to fill my brain with as much crap as possible. I guess that's why (I think) I have a good general knowledge and do reasonably well in trivia quizzes.

Oh jeepers. Shanghaiist is still reporting on the earthquake and now it says that 3000-5000 have died in a certain area. That's just horrible :(