just another day in Shanghai

This morning as I was leaving my residence I was thinking of posting a Q-question: If one could emigrate to any other nation free of tax obligation of the former, what country would that be?

Answering that question myself: I thought Singapore, same as when I had graduated (actually the year before) from undergraduate.

Back then I greatly admired the disciplined reputation of that Newly Industrializing Nation. And figured rather than 4 years, I graduate in three and then go to Taiwan for a year and learn Chinese before pursuing my paradise.

My lack of a determination. So I end up in my current circumstances. But is that so bad?

My living in an emerging power across the Pacific Ocean …

After I got off the Metro in my aunt’s neighborhood, I proceeded to 4 almost expiration date wholesalers. At the second one, I bought the same UK lemon soda beer and German sugarfree menthols, that I bought on Sunday for less.

At the cheaper place I bought a bunch of milk taffy, as it was cheaper. Then on the curbside, I asked the attendee where the nearest bus stop was, and then this gruffy man: you didn’t buy anything from me!

I replied: I usually, while pivoting to let the owner see the candy I had bought in the back.


After getting on the appropriate bus, I started chatting with the well dressed bus driver:


First commenting how he was wearing a sport coat as a bus driver as they don’t dress that well in San Francisco, not Hong Kong.

He definitely had pride in his occupation. Then I asked him how much he earned– over 7000 RMB, which is 3000 more than 3 years and 3 months ago then at 4500 RMB, to convey the real inflation rate or cost of living increase over those three years.

And finally I asked him if there were any non-Shanghainese bus drivers. And he replied: NO, insultingly.

I quickly replied that there is an increasing number of “migrant” taxi drivers. As to which he replied, there does not need that in this respectable occupation!

He certainly dressed the part!

Since I got off the bus one stop late, I was thinking how these drivers must be subsidized by the city government as I noticed some riders paying 1 or 2 RMB on their fare cards. And the price has not gone up since 1998 or 99, while there are more convenient subways which lessen the bus loads (bad for cabbies since they are paid by the fare and pay a majority to the taxi company).

When I arrived within view of the Jiangxi food street, east of the Qihu clothing district, the previous food vendors and restaurants seemed to be gone. From this previous vibrant area of migrant entrepreneurs, and the huge volume of foot traffic that passed through there.


In previous times, as recently as 1.5 years ago, this was a vibrant town square. But the police had cleared out the area a few months ago in a week (not landlord raising rents), as the Jiading worker figured there was some corruption.

After eating the wonton, I went to the 5th floor of the clothing mart in the upper right in front of the yellow apartment building. But as I went through the hot and very full food court, I did not see any of the previous food entrepreneurs I knew of. Though one recognized me.

So that is life in a police state, central government defined capitalism.

Another note, I had no idea that I was smelling of garlic until I had reached the hot elevators in the clothing emporium, as the females gave me a lot of breathing room on the elevator. The guard explained that people won’t comment on that, they just stay away.

it didn’t seem like anyone on the bus minded of the smell as the car people stood close.

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Living on the Margin

My @Quora post: Living on the Margin

Post by Samuel Liu:

Living on the Margin

Living on the Margin

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Final Notes

Most graciously I wish to thank seekingalpha, coursera and Quora: Lyndal, Joseph, Paul, Kris, Mike, Bill, Jack, Stan,  Terrance, Joseph, Marc etc. And the 2 Shanghai meetups. which meant more than any Western-oriented church and related organization, except for Shanghai residential Cn and HK such bookstores. there is a special place for you hypocrit Americans embellish your weaknesses lacking discipline or true devotion to the Creator falsely by preaching things you know little. While unrepentant of this and continuing your delusion over others.

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Microsoft nightmare

When I got rid of my Samsung Series 5 intel core I5 laptop in June, I thought I was done with Microsoft. Having traded it in at Best Buy for a 13″ Macbook.

Then in June, Skype cancelled my account. There was hardly a way to contact them. So figuring that it wouldn’t turn back on magically, I went to Microsoft’s office in Xujiahui Office.

Eventhough they had no clue of how to restore it, an ABC Microsoftie Ted Wong helped coordinate contacts to resolve the issue, so one week later my Skype went back on.

On the wee morning hours of Christmas morning, thumbing through Techbargains, I noticed 1/2 off credits for Skype.

It never went through. So I contacted my bank and the Microsoft chat, then I called Microsoft customer service. Three hours it is not resolved.

What a nightmare!

Great way of doing business, Microsoft.

Incidentally– Long: Msft

Incidentally Nadella why don’t you learn from your Seattle neighbor Bezos how to do e-commerce.

And what is wrong with Microsoft and Google, that they have such lousy after-sales service? Just copy Apple!

Finally there is no Santa Claus as I have not slept since yesterday December 24th morning.

After I awoke, I spent over an hour talking to the Microsoft Representative in India and the Chase Manhattan Representative in the Philippines (think call center), to process an $85 order. It was then divided, so that the greater order for $50 went through while the $35 did not.

Why do such companies make it so difficult to spend money?

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Apple Store is the best!

Last Friday, December 12th, my newer Mac was acting like a Vista Basic Chinese computer, fairly dreadful.

I kept on having to restart it. Eventually the AC wasn’t lighting to indicate charging. Unfortunately, I had to do a visa run the next day, so I didn’t set an Apple Care appointment.

Also I had to drag all the computer, and Time Capsule backup to HK. With my duffle bag, that was the only thing I did in HK. An hour later, I took the E22 to Kowloon Tong and a short walk over to the Apple Store.

There there were no available Apple Care appointments, but I had my TimeCapsule back up drive to first back up this computer.

After a few Apple dudes, the second was able to tell me how to do the back-up despite my forgetting the password (reset). He spent an hour and a half with me (I also purchased 2 IPAD mini 2s and another AC cord as my original was still not working).

It took about 3.5 hours for the back-up, during which time I set-up the Mini and I called Apple IAPM Shanghai to set an appointment, but that was inconclusive as the person who answered the phone seemed to be missing a few.

It was past 4 PM when the back-up was done, then I immediately took off to Jordan to eat (looking forward to some Vietnamese food). Unfortunately, I could not find a restaurant and ended up eating at the Wonton house and Australian Dairy Company restaurants as I did the previous time.

After which I just went back to the airport,but saved HK$20 taking a local bus rather than an Airport one.

The next morning my body was in traction so I did no go to church.

On Monday, I took the bus closest to IAPM mall, and the Apple dude set an appointment for me the next day.

On Tuesday, my AC was charging, so I figured I would have them check out the looseness of the Thunderbolt and USB ports.

The most attractive Apple gal agreed that one of the ports was loose and said it would be serviced.

That evening, first I got a call for the password (which I had given the gal); then a few hours later, I got a call that my computer would not be serviced.

Which was ok, but what happened the next day utterly surprised me! There was surveillance blocking software on my computer!

As I started the VPN, the google page went to .com.hk rather than the VPN’s European location. Then news.google.com personalized was also blocked.

I contacted those I knew on Quora for advice (better accounts of the situation).

Quickly I learned that if I set two VPN accounts accounts.google.com was able to be registered.

Then near noon on Friday, I could no longer set my VPN. No google or other blocked sites was fairly drastic.

For 12 hours I was irritated, then I read some of the VPN directions and at least one VPN could be set, that means Twitter access was OK.

A few minutes later a VPN.ac technician over Skype contacted me. And for the next hour, she patiently led me to set a Chrome app for the VPN.

That is life in China victory over circumstances!

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is it worth it

On Thursday, I went to the Bible Study of my former Youth Group leader. I was young at one time.

Outwardly she looked run down, a lot older than a year and a half ago, when incidentally she had a motorbike accident.

In 1996-97, I was attending a Cn church at the premises of the Church in San Francisco I went to in my high school years.

There was a George and Betty Anderson who sort of guided me and Aldo. He had been an elder that was ejected from the Church in Berkeley during the late-50-60s.

They looked worn too.

A few years later, having moved to Oklahoma City, George had died. Betty responded, not affirmatively that he is in heaven, but that he was in a better place.

Teacher Jiang: Emphasized that with much suffering brings her closer to God’s Son.

That is something I definitely did not learn in Sunday School or in the American Church’s preaching.

Was it worth it? I don’t think so. …

And it gets rougher!

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off to Shanghai



For the entire week I was looking forward to come back to the hostel so that we (me and Gary, a carpenter) could eat steak together. On Monday, I went to Costco and he went to Trader Joes.

So he showed me how simply it took to prepare a great looking and tasty meal. Saving me a lot of money in the future.

Today Friday, the Chongqing girl sleeping at my feet indicated that she was taking out her blender– as I wanted to grind all the tomatoes and the left over veggies from last night. I tore off the white meat from the Costco chicken bought yesterday and heated it in the tomato base on the stove.

After eating I was fret that this was a waster of time. But returning to my room I saw Gary and his friend. As he was permitted to take all his luggage that he left here.

That brought closure and meaning to the extra few days that I stayed in San Francisco and now can look forward to eating with my sister and perhaps her in-laws and be proud of what had transpired for me during the past three weeks.

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