Sunday, December 31, 2006

Destination: Langkawi

Since the TW fiber optic cables had been down for a while, it has been hard to update my blog despite there are so much to say and to post... Anyways, hopefully tonite i'm lucky in uploading this. My second destination: Langkawi which is a small island 1hr away from KL by flight, and is actually closer to Thailand more. This tropic paradise comprises mainly of Thai and Chinese decendants and featured only 2 seasons: raining and sunny. Being here in Dec, I was able to enjoy great weather throughout my trip. Langkawi island isn't too big and only takes around 40mins from end to end of the island and is mainly a relaxation location with sunny skies, beaches, and water sports. Despite having much visitors from abroad; it still doesn't feature much shopping, nor western restarants. Instead, it has much local shops and restarants. The shops were cool as one can relate to how locals live, but the restarants were *ahem* so-so. I was only able to locate a more 'westernized' eatery towards the end of the trip to make my stomach comfy... Eitherway, Langkawi still has one of the worlds most beautiful scenery due to it's tropic climate, and their island locals are very friendly as well (you feel really safe here).

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Destination: Kuala Lumpar

And so I lied, didnt get the chance to update my blog while travelling so I've left all my blogging after i enjoyed the nice sun and fine sand :)... Anyways, I arrived to Kuala Lumpar late Friday nite and got settled into Renaissance hotel around 11:30pm. The hotel is close to the Petronas towers which looks pretty nice. Phoned up Charlize, and she was so nice to head out at such a late time from her place. After she picked me up, we headed to the tourist bar streets who's skyline was guarded by Petronas :) Many of the shops along the street were closed already, and we still able to chat and chill for the night.
Then Lizzie took me to a local night market street (Jalan Alor) and ordered us exotic fruit drinks, shrimp noodles, and the feature of the night: fried stingray. It actually tastes very good, and was one of the highlights of my trip. The local street compared to the tourist street was packed till late. After that, I was a bit tired; so headed back to the hotel, but still slept around 5am (woo, i feel young again)... haha. It's so nice to meet with Lizzie in such an exotic and beautiful land as Malaysia :) Here's some pics!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Into my 3rd day of holidays

I haven't updated my blog in a while already, don't know why i'm feeling all tired lately; maybe it's because of the humidly cold weather in SH. Cranking up the heat to those portable heaters doesn't help either (SH does not have those furnace unless you live in a hotel), along with those things can make noisy chunk-gloo-glook sounds if you turn it up too high. Geez, what place is this? I'm wearing 2 sweaters and underwear to keep me insulated even inside my apartment. These three days were good so far; played games till late at night (hooked on 天龙八部), joined gym next to the place (package comes with a free trainer but too bad it's not a pretty girl), hitting the pubs, and shopping around town with friends during weekends (weekdays they all had to work...) Last night the friendly waitress at a coffee diner also helped me get working on my laptop (afterall, I eat there like 3-5 times/week so everyone recognizes me there). The program is a China communicator tool similar to MSN but features lots of functionality. Talking about the waitress, she told me she has to work from 10am-11pm everyday and there's only 2 days/ month that can rest up at home (no weekends). Wow, that is insane; and i used to complain about so much OT work in ATI and when I was working as a customs officer in terminal 3. $$$ sure is hard to earn over here and I can somehow relate there's much rude people everywhere; so after watching how locals live, my tolerance level has increased slightly, just slightly... :p Oh, btw, will fly out on Friday (picked up tix today), and looking fwd to warmer weather!

Friday, December 15, 2006

Holidays begin!

A nice way of starting holidays is to have my internet connection restored. Gosh... I feel so much better after I can log onto MSN and surf the net at home! Last night after work also marks the beginning of my vacation and I didn't waste any time; started out for dinner at a 四川 restaurant clashing beers with the guys in my team (learned that it is actually 巴蜀 where 刘玄德 started his quest in the Romance of 3 Kingdoms). After dinner as I was a bit woozy after all the alcohal, a colleague from Toronto on biz trip here gave me a ping and we headed out to a pub (I'm not really a pub person, but since there's no internet, pubs wouldn't hurt :p), after more alchohal, we headed to the Bund; he wasn't satisfied and suggested we continue bar hopping, and so we went till around 3:00am... Ho, I feel young again, lols; I don't think I had barhopped ever since I graduated some 4 years ago... ha ha ha

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Not internet... again...

This is such a stupid place. I got home last night to find out that my network doesn't work again. Called Chinaman telecom 2 times as the first one can't answer my questions and hung up; turns out cuz last time apartment mgmt helped me escort the workers to wire up the signals. But, China telecom insists I will need to be home personally for them to wire it up and explained that the last few days on internet access was just for 'try'. $%#!@&! Idiots. Now I'm without internet at home until Sat when I'll be at home to meet up with their workers personally. I was told that China telecom is the best place to work with high salaries and gov't subsidized, but they sure have a dumb system.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Next destination: Malaysia

Hoho... I've decided where I want to be this X'mas: Malaysia. It's a change of scenery of the traditional white X'mas that I have grown so accustomed to back in Toronto. I've just placed my order in today... Will arrive in KL for one night and fly out to the beach resorts floating on water in Langkawi for the next 5 days. Too bad the package doesn't allow me to stay longer in KL since my friend is there. I can only meet her up for one day in KL along with talking a glimpse of Petronas (next to my hotel that nite). However, this itinery is the best i can find cuz the price is cheap - if I book air-malay or sing-airlines; the flight alone will cost the same as the whole package I have which includes hotel. Nevertheless, I'm highly looking fwd to this relaxing, exploring, and meeting more ppl around the world X'mas :) he he...

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Relaxing Sat

Everyone's Got to relax once in a while...! Woke up late, applied some bugspray around the building (gosh, those things can bite!); and headed out to 新天地 to meet up with Crystal-san for lunch. We shopped around and it was good to have a friend to talk to and vent about work stuff and other things. Afterall, most close friends are in Toronto so it was good to have someone neutral to talk to outside of work... (we talked about you too Lucy-san :p ha ha) Gosh it was cold today with temperatures dropping to 0-5 deg. Bear in mind that Shanghai doesn't have as good insulation, cars, and infrastructure so it was cold everywhere - even at home surfing the net (now). The rest of the day I just took a nap until Yida called me up for dinner. We headed out to 上岛咖啡 for dinner as there's free wireless there.... It was just a soothing and relaxing day to rest up and attend to something stuck on my mind from last week, and it was good. But tomorrow will be workday for me... oh well, all's well and things are under control :)

Friday, December 08, 2006

Connected back online.

As Dr. Nick says: 'Hello e-v-e-r-ybody' I'm back! Finally, after 1 weeks time of living without internet at home, i can finally see again! ha ha. Yeah, it is really THAT important. Today I want to talk about smiling. Never did I thought it can have such a powerful effect. This past week was just insane; bosses after bosses flew in from around the world to Shanghai to lay out the roadmaps. Guess what? It was just dang political as one would expect as there were so much upper mgmt. The outcome wasn't that bright either as it will take some time to execute and plan out what's going to happen. However, one bright side was that I met a new friend from Taiwan. She's ALWAYs similng, regardless of being in meetings that doesn't make any sense or businiess dinners/lunches like 4 days in a row (no complaints there tho, but sometimes it's hard to come up with topics with lots of bosses around). Ok, i'm not talking about those dumb laughing like drunk people, I'm talking about that warm reassuring and encouraging smile. The gatherings were sometimes tough and rugged; but when I looked at my friends' smile, all the uncertainty and worries just melt away like sun shining on a big lump of iceberg, it feels great even if it only lasts for several seconds. Wow. I really never thought I would write this strange thought, but; the world is an interesting place eh? The people who we meet are endless and the feeling of different strangers around the world being friends is just mind-boggling, isn't it? Nature does works mysteriously. Wow.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Cut off from the world

And so, I never thought how big of an impact I can have without internet. Yes, it has been 6 days after I moved into the new place that doesn't have internet. I applied for it 4 days ago but guess what's new? Chinaman telecom efficiency is 0 so i'm stuck with nothing this weekend. How am I getting online? I am currently eating at a finer coffee shop that boosts wireless so I can send out my weekly work report out. Ha ha. Never did I think that without one of man's best friend of the 21st century - internet; the SH winter feels cooler, the mosquitos bite harder, the floor is colder, and time moves very slowly when in the apartment... lols. Anyways, aside from internet problems, the winter here is pretty bad so far. It's nowhere near as cold as Toronto, but since these buildings doesn't have ANY insulation at all, I'm resorting to opening those portable heaters and blowing hotair on myself 24/7... ha ha... a story for another time... Back to work~....

Saturday, November 25, 2006

A moving, working, & packing weekend

Headache due to moving. Especially if you have lots of things like myself. I had to commute 3 times back and forth between apartments and for a combined of 12 times up and down the elevators. 3 pcs of luggages, 4 boxes, 9 pairs of shoes, 3 bags of pillows/comforters, and 2 carried mops/hangers is way too much. Maybe I did get too much things for myself (but it's my way of easing stress), and had prepared for too much household goods for the family visit last time; so it was vey tiresome. I'm due to move my last load out tomorrow, and the new place doesn't have internet connection yet - so I will need to apply for it tmr and won't be able to update my blog for a while. I also cleaned up the place for around 2-3hrs today too (despite some cleaners came earlier in the week already); i'm not overly picky and am looking for a shiny place, but I like to see a spotless environment. I somehow can't stand to live in a dirty area, same with travelling around: many friends and ppl can just live about everywhere to sleep for the nite but not me. I rather not travel if I don't get a place I like (that's just my lifestyle). Other than that, met up with Yi/Dozzie who were in SH for a vacation - we had grilled meat that was pretty cool, activated my SIM card after my phone was stolen before, and got a subway card so I don't have to line up at the counter every morning. Not bad all in a day's work eh!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Mixed thoughts

Today was a funny day, I saw two locals arguing in the subway. There was this dirty local dressed in rags and was sitting on the floor eating his breakfast (gosh, he did smell). As you know, the rush hour in the morning is nothing to be taken lightly of as people do pack you in like a compressed sardine on the subway. A mid-aged woman was trying to keep her balance as the subway came to an abrupt stop but accidentally stepped on the ragged local. Ragged local was saying something bad to the lady (i couldn't make out what it was) and the incident started. A man dressed in a suit came and confronted the ragged local saying he shouldn't swear nor he should sit on the floor wasting space.... Nevertheless, the two started yelling was asking for a real fight after they got off the subway, one was saying station A and the other station B, making a scene and creating noise pollution.... ha ha. It was just plain hilarious, then it all ended with the ragged local saying 'SHnese people are idiots' (he was probably from another province, and the suited man comparing the ragged local as a cow. It's just funny eh? No wonder foreigners sometimes treat them poorly (i got to admit, myself too) since they don't respect themselves anyways.
But... looking on the other hand; if you are a ragged local living on a 30RMB/day salary (5cad per day), seeing kids poking on blackberries beside you (me), pretty ladies in LVs or Armarnis frowning on you, and being pushed around just because you are tired after carrying things around the city for big corporations and decided to sit down; sometimes the feeling is hard to swallow. Ironic eh? I do not know why I'm actually relating to them despite also trying to avoid standing next to them (to avoid trouble) in the subway. Too bad, it won't be soon to see any changes as the system is rotten to the core; it can only improve with better education, better salaries, deomographic control, and better system. Easier said than done eh?

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Enjoying the weekends

It was a good relaxing weekend. Took my boss to NanJing East road, XinTinDi on Friday nite, but it was pouring rain; so we had to cancel plans to visit the famous SH strip. Saturday, i finally signed the contract for new digs and am scheduled to move in next weekend. Now's the headache - I think I've bought way too much and now need to find a local moving company (as most ppl dun have access to cars here). My tenant is very nice and offered me much support and information about the new area, and she owns like 4 properties already. Not to mention she's only 1 yr older than I am, this trickles back to my observation of the big gap between the rich and the poor class in China.
Anyways, today was nice too - I did some work during the afternoon at my fav coffee shop; met up with Luna for dinner and headed to Jay Chow's concert together. Coincidentally, I met my coworker with her friend from work sitting right next to us... The concert was great, it featured 8 different singers but Jay sang at the last (and longest) to keep the audience in check. We had a scary time as the people sitting above were throwing their flourescent sticks down - police should do a better job to enforce the law! Here's some pics with Jay with his famous 'fan'... ha ha.
PS. For friends that upgraded their blogging services to the beta release, I can't leave comments! Mainly becoz of this country is afraid ppl will gain too much knowledge and blocked many sites thru their national firewall (I'm on proxy to access my own blog too).

Friday, November 17, 2006

New company, new changes.

And so, my boss was in SH for a week. It's good to have someone who came from old ATx culture and understands what's going on. We met up with these SH bosses / mgrs / directors through endless meetings and political talks. Our conclusion was that we had made lots of new clown friends and were mocking them throughout the week. These guys knows nothing about what they are getting into when buying our BU, wants to hold power and put a foot into what we are doing... and eventually fail in doing so. Boss told me I'm free to come back anytime and he'll reserve a spot for me but also warned me in doing so the team will die here. Not to be conceited, but it's cuz the new comp takes forever to execute something. Everything is process process process and nobody makes the call -it's just like my ex-company Celestica which is a dying asset. Can you beleive it? One of my counterparts in the new comp wasted like 3 months to set up 'racks', another team has 2 projects. My team holds like 9 projects in parallel, adding 3 more next week; and will be getting lots more which I am working out with Austin lately. Oh well, i'm going to stick around for 3 more months at least, and if i dun like what i'm seeing? I'm packing. Not to get me wrong, I'm sure there's lots of talented ppl in the new company, but just not these ppl stationed at SH. Heard next month the new comp VP will be in for a visit and he's a smart man; anticipating what his roadmap will be. PS. there were lots of layoffs in the old ATx Toronto (5-10% in every group), feel sorry for some of my friends and wish the all the best in their future endeavors.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Finding a new place

Over the weekend, was strolling around for a new apartment to live at since this commute is eating into my life. And so, i went to this newly opened subway station at Century Avenue; it's not one of the end stations but was just a newly opened station at PuDong, close to the Pearl tower. I was somewhat impressed at the subway station as it resembles that of a Taiwan station - clean, new, and those Chinese civil guys actually made wider stairwells and more escalators (ah, finally; a station that looks better). The downside is stores and markets are less convenient, but its only a small downside of having an environment with breathable air and space that you can walk on instead of people (picture). Other than that, didn't do much; as I was mainly home trying to rush up for a deadline. But oh well, that's work... speaking of which, the comp actually owes me much $$$, as I haven't expense my Taipei business trip nor my living expenses this month yet. Auck... still got to work hard like a white collar for now :p ha ha.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Work work work... Work work work

Too tired. Work had been just too tired after I got back from Taipei. Meetings, conference calls everyday with the new bosses; endless deadlines mixed with crazy logistic problems (yeah, they still exist). And to make it worst, Taipei had been spoiling me too much a week earlier with good food, exotic fruit drinks, pretty girls, and polite people - now I feel completely out of place in China and have trouble adapting to it's smoggy place. Good thing that next week my boss will be in Shanghai so I can bi7ch to him... ha ha, now I know how hard to manage people - I have to sooth everyones' feelings and find reasons for their complaints after recent merger changes, yet I have no one to complain to - somehow people in China are always requesting for more and more stuff, they tend to rush at things instead of building up foundation (maybe it's a work culture thing? or I'm too nice to them - anyways; today I was pissed and threw a fit to them, freaking everyone out which was good since I had undisturbed time to work on my deadlines). This weekend will be busy too, need to finish a project planning for Austin's review next Monday. Oh well, here's some pics reminding me of luckier times in Taipei... ^^

Monday, November 06, 2006

Back to a 40% approval rate country...

And so, I'm back to Shanghai today; and I miss Taipei already. Damn, time really flies when you are having fun eh? I also joined the tour yesterday to travel around northeast Taiwan with pics coming shortly in future posts. And so, here's a pic of my good-bye meal at Taipei 101 before I left featuring stinky tofu and oyster eggs... Yum, that night I went to the night market to further satisfy my dessert appetite too... As the chinese proverb says (rewritten): "They laugh at me saying I'm fat, and I laugh at them saying they are unlucky". ha ha ha... Guess which proverb? lols

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Taipei travel log - Part II

Ok, I've been roaming around town all day today and signed up for a 1/2 day tour. A company friend was also supposed to show me around tmr morning too. And so I am more convinced that Taipei is a much more better city than Shanghai. I went to 101, Fisherman's wharf, then to XiManDing, and back to 101/NewYork NewYork for dinner/shopping again. I have spent so dang much these two days (I think I overspent on cool stuff), and am behind in work too. I better settle down and reply some emails today or tmr :p Too much fun in TP yo! Anyways, more pics and more thoughts:
1) Food: I bought a travelling book and 70% of it talks about food in TP. Over this week, I have visited most places already, so in conclusion - TP actually doesn't have that much scenic tourist places, but much food and night markets.
2) Clothes: Prices of clothes here are actually similar to those in Toronto, Shanghai is cheaper; but as I mentioned before, the presentation of goods here are much much better.

3) Culture: Taipei was once ruled by Japan for 50yrs (b4 WW1) so there are still many areas of similarities between Jap and Taipei. Once thing for sure, ppl here likes Japanese ppl where Chinamen hates them.
4) Architecture: There's much creative ideas or many expat architects here... The new buildings are pretty nice, with subway stations looking like space stations and malls like space colonies. I was in the subway station today and it reminded me of ZOE. I'll post some building pics up later :)
5) Celebrities: Many celebrities here! I actually ran into Nakata today in my hotel! I'm glad I got the new cam so that I can take a pic instead of just relying on memory like last time with Kelly Chan... Wooo... Anyways, time for bed or time for work? Bah, more interesting tales another day... but so far, I like what I'm seeing!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Taipei travel log - Part I

It's been a fun week, the MS Vista/DTM Fest was a good learnin exp, got to meet more cool guys, and got exposed more to TP. It had been a tightly packed schedule as I was roaming around town looking for stuff afterwork these few nites. Went to 2 night markets, my TW colleague showed me gov't buildings and youngsters town (like Shibuya Japan), and got acqainted to the subway :) Too bad I only called Ka late tonite (1:00am) after hitting the pubs. We couldgo bar-hopping, but he's on a flight to HK already. Anyways, some thoughts:
1) Presentation says it all: It's so important, girls are so much attractive if they clean up (!=makeup), there's some stores like Giordano-G2000 that sells clothes for 10% more just by hanging them up and having nicer store decors. Damn, I need to be careful not to overspend.
2) Realistic yet nice people: With a capitalistic society, people are more cautious and realistic. It's a bit ironic, but the people are nice once you get to know them though, and locals are very polite. In SH, locals bow and say nice stuff to u as u enter their shop, but frown upon you if you leave (i heard curses too!)... ha ha, but here, you don't see that here. People are nice even if you choose not to buy stuff.
3) Night market: The night market is a MUST go if you visit TP, it's what every big city should have; tents of food, trinkets, good looking ppl strolling around, and good deals that you can haggle for a better price. I went to two already and I'm longing for more! I was so full that i barely could move after :p
4) Clean food, fresh fruits: The food here is very clean!, along with lots of fresh fruits, good drinks. Today I had: Fire-dragonfruit, Kiwi-passion fruit mix, Mango today... so good.

5) Old buildings: Don't be surprised to see old buildings everywhere in a modern city. It's cuz the gov't is nice and don't just dismantle the building that belongs to ppl. China is different cuz if you buy a house, the house belongs to you, but the land is still the governments' so they can take it back within the contract time frame.
6) Nice system: Hey, asian ppl actually knows how to line up! I was amazed to see that there were lines drawn on the floor in the subway station, along with ppl leaning to the right on elevators letting people walk on the left. In China, you'll starve to death if you line up for food. Heh, no wonder Taiwan wants independence (my colleague was very hyped up about the topic and I somewhat understand why as I've been to the two largest city in Taiwan and China.. ho)
7) Salary: Just for comparison sake - for a starting engineer position (converted to CAD); annual salary - 24K in Taipei, 8k in Shanghai... but, the talent skill is stronger here in TP.
More details and pics to come as I continue exploring TW this weekend witha fully packed schedule! :)

Monday, October 30, 2006

Taipei vs. Shanghai

And so I'm in Taipei, and barely just had enough time to fire out my document prior to the deadline today. It was tight, mainly cuz of the big domain screwup (prev post). Anyways, here's some thoughts between SH and Taipei.
1) People: TP people are more polite, cute (girls only), and clean. However, they are less approachable and everything feels so 'business', I hate to use the term 'fake' but sometimes they give me that feeling. SH people on the other hand are more down-to-earth and 'real'; if they have something to say -they'll say it in front of you. Despite all this, I still enjoy listening to TWnese girls speak, very soothing and comfy.
2) Fashion: Of course TP people are more fashionable, there are suits and ties everywhere with good looking girls in fashionable wear. There are people who wears nice in SH too, but somehow ppl in TP gives you a more cleaniness feeling, sorta like Japan.
3) Efficiency vs. class: Things doesn't seem to be as convenient here in TP actually; it took me 10mins to find a light switch in my hotel (I'm living in Grand Hyatt already), walk 10mins to get a toothbrush, and wait for 5+mins for the 'walking' lights (altho not much complaints there as things are back to normal: Green for Go, and Red for Stop).
4) Systematic: Oh yeah, things are more systematic in TP of course, with more law enforcement (a cop stopped me for taking a pic of his bike), but was thrilled to know I was from Toronto and we had a pic together (there's something about pro-western). In SH, you see ppl walking into ppl, spitting, crossing through red lights, etc. Of course, there's pros and cons to both sides. Too much control makes you tired.
5) Cost of Living: TP is much more expensive than SH, the cost stucture is similar to more capitalized countries like Toronto/New York/EU countries/Japan. However, good thing is that you still don't need to tip in TW, and also taxes are included in prices so you do not need to worry about not having enough cash once taxes are included, like in Toronto.

6) Food: Food is good in both places but TP seems to be more clean, even with the street vendors - I just had them yesterday. In China, you are afraid of fake stuff ranging from eggs to softdrinks so have to be careful when you eat. In TP; you can just rest assured that things are safe and people take pride in what they are selling.

And, so; there's pros and cons and I bet I'll have more thoughts on this later this week once I get time to go around the city =_= So far, I would prefer TP over SH, let's see if i'm going to change that thought when I leave in a weeks' time.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

The great corporate domain

Finally our company is officially merging up with AMx (using x to avoid legal issues, but you know what i'm talking about). So AMx likes to be safe, lots of firewalls, securities and tracking methodologies. IT was working on my laptop yesterday to make it 'safe' and comply with their policies. It was so safe that:
- They couldn't logon to the AMx domain after deleting my ATI account - IT folks had to download a hack program to get around security features so I can logon.
- And so, we can logon now. But the network was so safe that I as a puny user on the great AMx domain was without admin access and couldn't VPN and connect to my mail server and databases.
- Fine. At least I think I can use my webbased server to get around all this security at home. Oh wait, IT did so much changes to my system now that I can't even launch my ADSL client.
- Ok, I befriended the IT guys and asked them to give me admin password thinking I can at least configure a normal system not belonging on any domain (only as workgroup) so I can connect. Crap, tried reinstalling ADSL client several times but now it seems to be busted (I don't know why).
- Mmmmmm, I have a deadline due for Austin AMx folks; but oh well, no worries... I'll just let them know the document is completed, sitting on the desktop but I can't send it out since the network is so safe that I can't connect.
And so, I sat in front of my laptop 2 days straight with limited or no internet access (between office and home). I must admit, AMx does have such a safe network that nothing gets leaked, probably because work gets done at 1% of my capacity - but that's ok, it's only a little drawback so that we can be a lean, mean, process machine with absolutely no secrets being compromised.
Oh, BTW - I had to configure a test system at work to be used as my workstation since my latop is so security oriented now. And another thing, I now have another identity; I'm listed as with a 'Li' last name on the great AMx server, probably they want to hide my identity so nobody can send email to me. It's going to be soon that they figure out I still have my blackberry for communication and 'make it safe' too. My mind is now like an engine reved up to 6000RPM but car stuck running at 5km/hr. That's ok, AMx just wants me to relax and not to overwork myself. All's good, everything's safe and sound. How I got around the problem? Another long story for another time ;)

PS. I arrived at Taipei, and will be updating my blog soon with pics and more encounters once I locate a Card reader for my MSDuo (Mmm... it's too small that most readers have the Duo stuck in its' slot). Busy busy rushing for deadline now.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Travelling Tags.

OK, this is the first time i'm responding a tag on blogger and it sounds pretty interesting. Here's the rules:
1) Name the person who tagged you. 2) 8 Things about you. (Pick Any Topic) 3) Tag atleast 4 people.

1) Ajeya: His posts are really enjoyable as Ajeya's writing posesses great meaning (sometime requiring some time to digest), very philosophical; and at times sending through that nolgistic and agreeable feeling.

2) 8 Travel Things about me:
1. Sometimes I also enjoy travelling alone. In groups is definately fun, but sometimes I enjoy the feeling of venturing out alone into that mysterious unknown.
2. I'm not really a person of schedule, but once I'm hungry - I must eat regardless of what cool things that I see when I'm travelling.
3. Pictures, I enjoy taking endless pictures so I always have my camera around. I even got a smaller one so that it can fit in my pocket anywhere... pictures of people, buildings, signs.
4. Food: I am open to any new food as long as they are clean and are not insects. This includes rotten tofu, super spicy pepper sticks, doggy meat.
5. I like watching people, especially pretty girls... ha ha, isn't that normal for all guys? Some of my friends jeer at me but what can I say? I like nice looking people :p
6. My dream is to visit some place in middle east, I have this facination of small white houses made of clay/mud, with small boats everywhere, and Persia. Maybe I'll visit UAE, one of the safer countries later.
7. Travelling anywhere, just going somewhere makes me learn something about myself and interacting / absorbing into the crowd makes me feel human along with understanding a little bit more of where we stand in the world.
8. Relax: some of my friends/family, like my sister likes to fill their schedule 100% when they are on travel, so it's somewhat like a marathon. To me, I need to rest and I like to take things slowly, even if it means spending more time absorbing into a place than seeing more things.

3) I tag: Corrie, Henry, Winnie, Andrew

Sunday, October 22, 2006

仙剑奇侠传 Game & Series

Just finished watching the series 仙剑奇侠传. It all began with a game that I played in 1998, a Chinese RPG game that had a great storyline with heros wielding swords and magic. By no means that this is any cheesy normal sword fighting game like the newer RPGs out there. The storyline was just beautiful, comparable only to the likes of Final Fantasy (there's none other than can really compare... really). After coming to SH, i learned that it was made into a TV series in 2005. Normally TV series changed some of the important aspects and introduced some fan service to boost up ratings (like Harry Potter); but this one stayed on the storyline till the end and I'm very impressed on how much it resembled the game, even with very hard to create CG scenes, along with a great cast that really fit into the role that they were playing. Even LOTR at times felt awkward since some things are better told in literature than in film, but not with this series. Damn, I shouldn't have got so obsessed in the series and completing 34eps within 1 week, now I feel so nolgistic and sad (because of the ending and completing it so soon) after watching it. Ah... but can't complain, it's just too good of a series, i'm thinking of replaying the game or even getting the authentic movie discs. Now I got the music stuck in my head: 一场雨把我困在这里 你冷漠的表情会...

Daytrip around SH

Was another off day myself yesterday and went around the city exploring new places. The weather here is still incredibly nice, with an avg of ~27deg. Was out on the street for 12hrs straight so was a bit tired afterwards.. ha ha. Anyways, here's some pics of Jinan temple, XianTinDi (foreigner's place) and the local mall district at XuHui, along with some pretty girls in events.
I still find that the place where I am living at is more convenient (XuHui) with everything you want to see here; ranging from upscale places to local environments. The scupture of the 'flying horses' looks more of starved dead horses to me instead :p The three buildings? it should look like a chair with the two armrest to the side, it does resemble that a bit... Okee, so enuf blogging for me today... back to watching China's CCTV model competition. Swimsuits coming up... gosh, they're so tall! v^_^... hee...

Friday, October 20, 2006

Next destination: Taipei.

Wooo, finally. I was waiting for something to change as I'm getting weary of all the daily road travel (yes, I just have to rant about it everyday)... ha ha. I'm heading to Taipei next weekend for 1 week. Will be there to meet up with ATI Taiwan folks and attend some Microsoft LogoFest event together. I have requested that the hotel room be extended for 2 more days so I can look around the city. Can't wait, heard that TW has more attractive things/people, along with better mannered people. I've asked my old-coops (TWnese) about good places to go, but if you know of any other places that are must-go, please lemme know so I can do some visiting around outside of work ;)

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Journey to SH office

From XuHui to office in Shanghai
Finally gathered enough physical energy to take a DV clip of my average day commuting to work to the new office. It's hard, since there's oo much people and sometimes it's not safe to pull out a camera exposing yourself to theives and other crooks since the subways are packed with rude people everywhere. Ha ha, somehow I feel pretty proud being a Canadian; one of the local guys in my team was saying: 'Hey Ed, after your term, maybe you can apply for a Chinese citizen and stay in China' during one of our lunches - I automatically said 'Hell no!' without even thinking... ha ha (when said in Chinese, the tone isn't as harsh :p). China is a land of opportunities and it's good for myself to stay here and open up some doors while gaining exposure, but to stay in this place? no way man... it takes being away from home to understand how good it is (Toronto).

Monday, October 09, 2006

Toronto is a paradise to live in.

OK, our group was relocated to the Shanghai AMD at a new high-tech park called ZhangJiang. It takes around 1.5hrs /way to get to work for me now; this includes a combination of walking 20mins walking, 20mins of line 1 subway, 5mins walk to transfer to another line, then another 20mins of line 2 subway, and finally hitch some stupid shuttle bus to the office costing me another 15mins. What a waste of time! I don't work crazy hrs anymore and leave at before 7:00 everyday now since I don't want to get home too late. The conclusion? Other than getting lucky and getting crushed into some hot girl in the subway; this type of ancient commute way is just inhumane and thirdworld like; and my conclusion? Shanghai infrastructure sucks, and Toronto is absolutely a paradise to live in. Once I gather enough physical energy, i'll take a movie of what I go through every day just for you to feel how good Toronto is and for the Guiness book of records. I'll go find a closer place to live at this weekend. PS, now after getting to know about google video, any suggestions of programs to merge vid clips (mpeg) with mp3?

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

New Digicam

Woohoo... finally got persuaded by a colleague to get a new digicam. I got the Sony T10 (just released) and am loving it already. With it's bold white colour, sleek body metal casing, big 2.5" LCD, 3x optical, slim and compact design (1/2 of my wallet size), and 30fps smooth video playback; it's enough to over satisfy a point-and-shoot user like myself. Ho ho. I'm thinking of posting some video clips of SH on my site later (like Danny's stormtrooper walkabout in Tokyo), but anyone has suggestions as to where I can upload my clips and have streaming connectivity? I can only think of UTube at the moment, but any other suggestions?

Time Flies!

Wow, it has been 2 weeks that I have been in Toronto already and it just felt like yesterday. Maybe it's becoz that I have been away for a while that I quite appreciate the beauty of home - Toronto. I didnt' update my blog in a while already; I'm not particularly busy and I'm not sure of why there's a decrease of energy - maybe I'm just lazy or too much flying around is finally getting to me. Anyways; it had been a fun two weeks - catching up with friends, Karaoke till 3:00am, game or B5 late into the night, washing and zooming around in my car, endless lunches/dinner reunions, and lots of Rblading activity as well! Mmm... strange eh? I find that I even meet up with friends and relatives more often than when I was stationed in Toronto... ha ha. Which brings me to another point - we always say how beautiful a foreign city is during vacation; but we rarely really explore our own city in where we live in. Let's say Toronto, how many times have we taken pics along Gardiner, enjoy the night view of the skyline illuminated by skydome and CN tower, or bar-hop along Peter street? Mmm... (Pics courtesy of Ka and Ivan)

Monday, September 25, 2006

Mission complete

It's done... Excercised my options, sold the shares the comp gave me, and claimed all my stocks that I held for ATI. Not that I am leaving the company or losing faith in it, but I guess since there's much uncertainties surrounding the merger with AMD; it would be a good idea just to have a little bit more cash in my pocket... ho ho. And the other fact is that PS3 will be hitting us soon. Came back from Shanghai 2 Fridays ago and it had dead busy... preparing presentations, presenting (and shaking) in front mgmt who probably drive Cayennes or Ferraris to McDonalds, coordinating new things for the team in SH, and watching how everything is changing day by day. I was lucky enough to meet up with some friends and also rollerbladed (pics coming tomorrow) with the company folks over the weekend. Still have much friends to meet before I leave next week again. I'll send out an email or evite soon after this work madness dies down! Ciao~ and hope I'll get to update this bloggie soon!

Monday, September 18, 2006

People in Shanghai

I would like to comment on the people in SH after spending so much time and getting exposed to various groups of people - I might have talked briefly about this in some earlier blogs, but here's a more in depth view of the population. The young population mostly comprises of mild mannered working class: these are the ones who works hard behind the scenes (mainly at restaurants or in service sector). I can understand why sometimes they look pissed - I would be too, if I made like 100RMB/day while seeing these rich people pushing me around, saying that some dish is just a little too salty or something. At the airport today, I saw a girl microwave a dish of rice for dinner and sat alone in an alley that was piled up with used bottles and dishes from the restaurant she works in. Two steps away are the spoiled customers (including myself I guess) buying a bowl of noodle that is worth their all day salary (I feel bad for them, but what can I say? at least I treat them with respect). Another instance I want to raise up is my farewell bash at SH, the mgr next door (also from Toronto) treated me to a very upscale Jap restaurant that featured very nice decors and an open kitchen. One of the dishes was noodles placed in an ice bowl (carved out just for the meal) and must have cost around 350RMB, I know I wouldn't feel so bad if I was back in TO eating this as the salary would be similar between diff. classes. He also said to me; 'relax Edmund, you have to enjoy and understand your benefits! You hang around locals way too much'. Now don't get me wrong - I very much appreciate him always helping / mentoring me and exposing me to the more higher class and upper mgmt; but I do think that in order for us to really understand who we are and how we fit into the world - we have to also look behind the corner and see how the locals live. It may not be a pretty sight, and may also get us in trouble (one of the security guys at where I lived asked me to loan him $ already - a story for another time); but since I'm still young, I'll continue to believe in trying to see more, and hopefully understand a little bit more about myself in the process.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Back home!

Took Friday off (today) to mainly pack and get ready to go head home to catch the flight at 7:00. Also needed to attend to some things like picking up last minute souveniers, an along with getting money to pay the rent for next month; just when I thought that I had seen enough of SH already - and left my camera back home; guess what? I saw Kelly Chan at the big local mall district performing a function!!! Gosh, I even lined up and shook hands with her too, but too bad; no camera... oh well, at least I get bragging rights ;p Anyways, I'm home in Toronto already - left Friday evening (SH time) and arrived here Friday night (TO time). Convenient, isn't it? Oh well, I guess I'll have to make up 1 day extra time when I fly over to SH next time round :S

Monday, September 11, 2006

Coming home... finally

Woohoo... Finally can come home soon. Will fly this Friday afternoon; although ATI doesn't offer no more biz class after the merger, but i'm still highly hyped up for the trip back home... afterall, can come back to enjoy the weather, spend time with family and friends, zoom around in my car, and to breath fresh air to lighten up my lungs... and basically to recharge. The Mgr next door was so funny, he is going to hold a farewell bash for me despite i'm only going to be back in Toronto for 2/3 weeks... lols. Anyways, highly lookin fwd to be home and meeting with some of ya, but i'm back after learnin Some Siu-Lam Kung Fu (transcript in pic!) Woooo.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Short trip last weekend in China

Haven't updated my blog for a while already; last week took Friday off for a long weekend and went to HangZho and SuZho with the family. The saying that 苏州 (Suzho) produces pretty girls in ancient Chinese literature isn't fake at all, as the girls has more smooth skin, and are generally more polite and elegant. We had to wake up both days around 6ish and was a bit tiring but it was worth it as there's also another saying that goes by 上有天堂,下有苏杭 (there's paradise above, and there's Suzho and Hangzho below) boasting about the beautiful scenery in these two Chinese provinces. The scenery were nice alright; but I find it a bit too hot with that nasty feeling of sweat and stickiness. Nevertheless, good thing we didn't have to cram into the trains that was packed like sardines as we commuted by car. Here's some pics, the background with myself in it is called the 'sword pool' with 3000 legendary swords in them. Cool, since I'm a huge fan of chinese martial art legends.