WHAT mattered on Thursday, January 28, 2016

Today, was a dreary, darkened rainy day. But the temperature warmed up this afternoon.

On the way back to where I live, enroute to have 2 more soy milks and sweet pastry. I passed by a Qinghai Sunni family restaurant to pick up a 5 RMB tke out of their pull noodles.
When I entered the restaurant, I was astonished as the under 14 year old (probably younger fresh from graduating from elementary school) was cooking dishes  for the clientele. Previously, she was in charge of the bill (cashier).

After I finished my soy milk and pastry, I took the bus back to nearest where I live and went to pick up more pull noodles from the similar Islamic restaurant in my neighborhood.

I told the young manager that I was impressed as this girl has shown much more responsibilities than his niece, also just graduated from elementary school. That the first girl had exhibited skills that is 1) advertisable 2) her exhibited skills finds her a superior  marriage mate.

The young manager said his niece could do that also. I said, but I saw the other little girl working, but also in the rest of the world this is called child abuse (underage employment. Actually China has rules that minors under 15.5 can not work for companies or seek employment.

I told him yes his niece can do this, but I saw, the other girl doing those things. As the conversation wore on, I ended that I regret that when I went to school, I solely focused on the academic benefits and none of the other parts or involved myself to better develop other skills.


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

2nd chances and redemption

Today, like almost everyday for the past 2 months I was at the corner restaurant that has higher quality soy products. It’s the sort of place I wonder how they earn money despite their competitive and low prices.





Unlike most restaurants big and small, people under 40 are the employees at such establishments– for their vigour and strength and health. So today I spoke to a 65+ year old worker as repress native of the majority of the employees.


First I asked her where she was from?

Anhui Province.

How long have you been here (I assumed she and her fellow employees had been here for decades but were passed over from the prosperity or opportunities).

Since July.

What did you do in Anhui?


What aspect of that?

I can’t describe it.

I could not understand that but assumed it was in the iron and steel industry, so I responded: so your collecting your pension?

No, I was a farmer.

What about your kids?

They are working here also.

Then it came together. That her child is one of the scholarly professional that works here.

During the whole time, I was reflecting on one of Billy Joel’s greatest dual CD hit albums bought in Hong Kong in the late-90s.

On one of his campus lectures, he mentions walking on the streets of Austria with his father, and asked him what is that elderly woman sweeping the streets.

His father replied that if one needs employment, everyone gets that. As oppose to the welfare-ridden USA.

And then he begins to sing “Song from a Vienna https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vienna_(Billy_Joel_song) cafe. About redemption and overcoming life’s troubles and given a 2nd opportunity in life.

I reflect on my 2nd chance then and still wonder, I have been absolutely consistent on my fervent devotion. Where have I missed it?


Why did I pick Vienna to use as a metaphor for the rest of your life? My father lives in Vienna now. I had to track him down. I didn’t see him from the time I was 8 ’till I was about 23-24 years old. He lives in Vienna, Austria which I thought was rather bizarre because he left Germany in the first place because of this guy named Hitler and he ends up going to the same place that Hitler hung out all those years! Vienna, for a long time was the crossroads.

So I go to visit my father in Vienna, I’m walking around this town and I see this old lady. She must have been about 90 years old and she is sweeping the street. I say to my father, “What’s this nice old lady doing sweeping the street?” He says, “She’s got a job, she feels useful, she’s happy, she’s making the street clean, she’s not put out to pasture.” — Billy Joel, An Evening of Questions & Answers and Perhaps a Few Songs




Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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.

Screen Shot 2015-11-24 at 15.24.15.png











Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Living on the Margin

My @Quora post: Living on the Margin

Post by Samuel Liu:

Living on the Margin

Living on the Margin

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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?

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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!

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment