Foam

No electricity in the middle of a Skype call. Maybe because of the foaming over washing machine. Always the same when washing the bright clothes. No problems with the dark ones. 房东明珠 is not so happy and told me about the different spoon sizes trying to convince me that I better don’t use any detergent.

I'm a foreigner, I don't speak

The display at the checkout didn’t work. The lady didn’t even try to tell me the prize in Chinese, just took a pencil and wrote it wordlessly on the back of an old receipt: 109,8 Yuan. I would have understood that.

Finally. A gate in the wall

“Tor” is German for gate or short for “The Onion Router”, an anonymity network finally allowing me to access the world outside. VPN hasn’t been working for long. Again. Thanks to a great guide I don’t have to rely on it any longer.

Be honest

Wikipedia knows:

The Ba rong ba chi (Eight Honors and Eight Shames) (Simplified Chinese: 八荣八耻 Traditional Chinese: 八榮八恥 Pinyin: bā róng bā chĭ), officially the Core Value System or the Eight Honors and Disgraces, is a set of moral concepts developed by current President Hu Jintao for the citizens in modern-day China.

Namely (emphasis added):

  • Love the country; do it no harm.
  • Serve the people; never betray them.
  • Follow science; discard superstition.
  • Be diligent; not indolent.
  • Be united, help each other; make no gains at other’s expense.
  • Be honest and trustworthy; do not sacrifice ethics for profit.
  • Be disciplined and law-abiding; not chaotic and lawless.
  • Live plainly, work hard; do not wallow in luxuries and pleasures.

So what does that mean? Obviously not that you should tell the truth. Faked fireworks, a faked singing girl and now 55 faked children. They were said to represent the different ethnic groups inside the country but in fact were all Han.

A Chinese friend suggests that the organizers might not have found beautiful children in the ethnic groups. Let’s check Wikipedia again (emphasis added):

Besides the majority Han Chinese, China recognizes 55 other “nationalities” or ethnic groups, numbering approximately 105 million persons, mostly concentrated in the northwest, north, northeast, south, and southwest but with some in central interior areas.

So no beautiful children in 105 million persons? I admit that it might not be the easiest task to find the 3000 Lhoba, the “smallest officially recognized ethnic group in China”. But then be honest and don’t call it:

Fifty-six children from 56 Chinese ethnic groups cluster around the Chinese national flag, representing the 56 ethnic groups.

OpenStreetMap for Beijing

Wow, that was fast. So they came up with a great fourth option. I hope Shanghai will be next.

English maps, Chinese maps, beautiful maps and no maps

Google has been offering a Chinese map of Shanghai for quite some time. Not at maps.google.com but at ditu.google.com. Ditu, 地图, is the Chinese expression for map.

Now I stumbled upon a new, English one:

It doesn’t only show the public transportation but also restaurants, banks, cinemas, theaters, … Here an example of the area around Nanjing Lu:

But the most beautiful maps of Shanghai come from edushi (E都市, E-City):

Bund, Pudong and Old City

Bund, Pudong and Old City (lower left)

Hongkou Stadium and Lu Xun Park

Hongkou Stadium and Lu Xun Park

They have already covered many Chinese Cities and seem to want more.

So why Yahoo, why, why, why don’t you make maps, buy maps or allow the use of one of the above mentioned ones in flickr?

The police called

And asked the woman if I use the internet. At least that’s what I understood. Very strange.

The woman's advice

Find a Chinese girl because the children will be more beautiful…

Two animals, a city and no end in sight

Markenblog and China-Guide pointed out this funny video about Chinese using English names:

It’s really like that. I had the pleasure to meet some interestingly named people as well. Eagle, Success and a friend’s facebook friend is called Ente, German for Duck. And do you know Bayreuth?

Bayreuth

Or this waitress at a café:

Oscar

Bad experience

With 호환 the Korean language has a special word for “disaster caused by tigers” or “ravages of tigers”.

Tomato and egg

I stumbled upon this picture of a common dish around here (although I’ve never seen it with onions):

Stir Fried Egg and Tomato

While I still don’t like the version they serve in the Tongji Cafeteria, I’ve eaten quite good ones in the meantime.

Su-Lin, the cook and photographer, posted the recipe in her blog. I haven’t tried it yet but you can do it. And if you want to enjoy the real Chinese experience just get tomatoes that are not yet ripe or contain black spots or holes and don’t cut them away. :-P

Finals

When I saw the final of the Euro 2004 in the Bierzelt of a small town in Bavaria, I would have never thought where I’d end up four years later…

Network cable

NULL encryption just worked once. With help of the lrz I’m about to narrow down the problem. Today I bought a new network cable and for now I can use VPN. In case it stops working again, I got three more points on my list. But I hope the best.

NULL encryption

No news from the lrz. They didn’t even bother to reply. Today I played around and checked “Allow using NULL encryption” in the configuration dialog. For the moment, VPN works. I hope it’ll last.

Animal oil

A friend said all the noodle people use animal oil because it’s cheaper. Aaaaaaarg. Bu hao. Hen bu hao. I will never be able to eat noodles again. We had just found a noodle woman a few weeks ago and last week I thought she used animal oil. Now I know…

Another language

As if Chinese wasn’t enough, Ouwen and I decided to learn Korean. Last week a Korean friend has been at home and bought us the book “Korean made easy for beginners”. Looks very good.

Korean made easy for beginners
Korean made easy for beginners

It’s good that they included a CD because I can’t find the free mp3s online. The book is for beginners which implies that they do not speak Korean. How are they supposed to understand the website.

Korean made easy for beginners

Hangul: Fascinating. Not as hard as Hanzi but also not too easy.

Hurry up, LRZ

Would be great if the lrz could finally fix the problems with their VPN server that I’ve reported over a month ago. The golden shield prevents me from accessing several sites. This blog is one of them.

dscf0001.jpg

Shanghai

The tenthousandst picture I took with this camera since I got it for Christmas 2006 shows a ship on Huangpu River and the Oriental Pearl Tower in Pudong seen from Gucheng Park.

Third chance

I’ve tried twice but never got beyond two posts. With me being in Shanghai and twitter’s increasing popularity I’m thinking about giving it a third chance. Let’s try it for a few days.

No hanzi on the cell phone

no hanzi on the cell phone

I get several of these messages per week. Mostly from China Mobile.

no hanzi on the cell phone

Perhaps I’ll get a new cell phone if I decide to stay longer.

Labor day, work on Sunday

Because of Labor Day on Thursday Tongji moved the classes from Friday to Sunday giving us three days off. The downside is that we have to go to school on Sunday. At first I thought it was a joke but it’s obviously not.

Update

Ubuntu 8.04 brought me Firefox 3 Beta 5 which is not yet supported by one of my crucial add-ons. Chinese Perapera-kun translates Chinese words by hovering over them. Very useful.

Now I have to get along with these:

Teamwork

The midterms are over and learning for them has improved my Chinese quite a bit. Inspired by a student of Sinology I had decided not to study any tones as memorizing doesn’t work, I can’t speak them anyway and most Chinese also understand me if I don’t use them. That doesn’t mean that I won’t try to learn them by speaking.

In the midterms we solved some exercises in teamwork and I would have never thought that one day a Chinese would copy from me in a Chinese exam. ;-)

Maybe more

According to Tongji it’s no problem to stay longer as long as TUM agrees. So the question is: Do I really want to stay longer? I don’t know. Fortunately I don’t have to decide right away.