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! :)