The Wandering Continues...

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Naive or just plain stupid? You decide!

This is a conversation I thought I will never have with my friend; especially not in 21st century anyway!

Her: Hey, I have a funny story for you! (sounds really excited)

Me: Really? And what would that be? (while thinking..what could be more exciting than a beach in Maldives??)

Her: I received yesterday a text message from O2 Telecom informing me that I have won 500,000 Pounds in a lottery in London!

Me: Hmmm (started to get suspicious, especially there is no O2 Telecom provider in Indonesia). Are you sure O2 Telecom?

Her: YES!!!!! (notice the exclamation marks!) I win 500,000 Pounds! Imagine all the things I can do with that money! And all I have to do is just to reply to an email address and give them my personal data so they can arrange the fund transfer! I am so rich now! (and still trying to go on with that “I-just-hit-a-black-jack-story”)

Me: (immediately sit straight and serious) Ok, now, we have to talk! (and start to explain her about the world of spam and hustler and identity theft).

Guys, seriously, if anyone of you still don’t realize how dangerous the world is out there, then use this as my token of friendship to you!

NEVER, and I am seriously saying NEVER (notice the capital letter!), believe anyone telling you that you win a lottery if you have never purchased any lottery ticket before! Never try to open you spam email, delete them immediately! You will never know if they attach viruses in the mail or hidden program to take your harddisk data! NEVER give your personal identification to somebody/an organization that you are not familiar with, especially providing your personal data (date of birth, address, etc) and bank account/credit card information to somebody you don’t know via email/instant messengers.

Beware of the identity thefts out there ready to get your informations and use it to open a credit card under your name and use it to make online purchases and left you with a huge credit card bill.

If you feel something is too good to be true, then be suspicious and check before you do what they ask!

Remember, in this world, there is no such thing as miracles!

May God bless us!

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Sunday, August 17, 2008

We won!

First (and perhaps the only) Gold Medal for Indonesia in Badminton Men's doubles!
And to add to the excitement, they won it in the Independence Day of Indonesia!!!
That will for sure make the headline of tomorrow newspapers!!!!

Congratulation to Markis Kido and Hendra Setiawan!
You guys rock!!!!

PS: It definitely kills China's dream to win all gold medals in Badminton! Yay!!!

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Sunday, August 10, 2008


So it's officially started!

The fireworks and the lighting of the Olympic torch was incredible! But then again, the Chinese did invent the fireworks and they would like to make sure we know it.

We celebrated the evening in a bar next door. I would like to post a short clip to show the atmosphere and enthusiasm but haven't managed to edit it so far. So it has to come later!

Meanwhile, we are now off to our one week vacation. This time: Maldives!

Photos and many other beautiful photos from the ceremony can be seen in The Boston Globe.

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Wednesday, August 06, 2008


In two days the most awaited sport event of the year will be happening in Beijing.

The event will be taken place mostly in Beijing, which is around 1300km from Shanghai or about 2 hrs with plane or 9 hrs driving but you won't believe all the security measures they have implemented for this event here in Shanghai.

  1. No liquid allowed for air travel has been implemented since min. 3 months ago (see this post)
  2. X-ray machines and dogs check all luggage going in and out of China
  3. The government has imported millions of "explosive residue detection kits" from US to swab all incoming and outgoing passengers in order to see if they have been recently in contact with explosive materials
  4. All bags must pass security control in the subway stations
  5. All shops and vending machines located in subway stations are closed for a month without government compensation to shop owners (imagine if they try to implement this in a capitalist country!)
  6. The government removes the business license of many small Chinese manufactures if they don't meet certain environmental standard (resulting unfortunately major price increase in China)
  7. The government enforced "no free plastic bag" regulation when shopping in any store in China, also in spirit to be more environmental friendly (in Germany is only applicable for shopping in supermarket, but not when you shop for clothes in the mall!)
  8. Gasoline stations are only open before 9 am and after 7 pm at night because the government banned trucks traffic into the city during the day time (imagine the long queue every night!)
  9. And last, yesterday my friend told me that the government will ground all Chinese airlines traveling any places on earth for a period of 5 hours before and after the opening ceremony! (Thank God I am flying on Saturday!!!)

Another blogger wrote, and I must agree to his words, "Almost all of the action is taking place in Beijing, hundreds of miles from here, but from the frantic security tightening around town, you’d think Osama Bin Laden was coming to officially open a new Mosque here in Shanghai."

I'll be glad when it's all over!!

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Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Complaint to China Post!

This is a complaint to China Post!

It has been a while since I came back from Germany but I haven't managed to post this in time.

I was really upset in the last visit to Germany as my credit card was blocked by the credit card provider.

I was in a finance conference with other financial officers of our subsidiaries worldwide. It was held in an exclusive resort and spa in Bad-Herrenberg. When it came to hotel billing settlement time, the receptionist lady told me that my credit card was blocked for use. Immediately I was confused as I don't remember using the credit card a lot in the last weeks. In fact, I rarely use my credit card in Shanghai as I have only a German credit card, which I reserve it only for either emergency or holiday purposes to avoid loss in conversion rate and the overseas charges. I have of course tried to apply for a local chinese credit card but soon realized that it is almost impossible for a foreigner to have one. Don't ask me the reason why. After 15 months living in China, I have learned that some things should remain as a mystery.

Anyway, I was lucky that I still have my debit card from my German bank so I can pay my hotel bill without embarassing myself by borrowing money from colleagues around the world (remember, it was an international Finance conference!).

After the conference, I called my credit card provider just to learn that the credit card was blocked because the replacement card* was returned back with a remark of 'address unknown" from China Post! Being German as they are, they immediately blocked both current card and the replacement card for security purposes.

For those of you who don't live in China. China is a new emerging country in the world economy. The country is at the moment the only country in the world that has surplus economy. The country enjoys long time benefit for being a Low Cost Country and has focused its main activities with export to US and European market. I bet you money that you'll find chinese made product in the shop next door.

However, little that you know that the country has faced serious problem with foreign language ability. In the offices in Shanghai, you will find only the managerial level has acceptable foreign language skill. The staffs level have still difficulties communicating in English. Outside of the office, eg. taxi drivers or shop owners, speak either very little English or none at all. If they do speak English as they claim, they can only express the general word and not your specific requirements. Easy example is when you shop for clothes. They can only say that the clothes are made of good quality (read: expensive!) but you can't ask them if you have to handwash the material or dry clean, let alone to explain if it's made of cotton or polyester.

In China Post, they have special department which their daily task is to translate every address in the envelope into Chinese characters so the post delivery man can understand. But imagine they will translate millions of international letters every day and perhaps one of them, like my replacement card, is sort of slip in the translation process and here I am stucked with the bad situation. So far, it is not my first experience with missing mails. I have never received christmas cards sent by my friends last year also and only God knows which other letters I have lost as well.

I strongly suggest China Post to educate their staffs with minimum English or at least to read the normal Pinyin** to ensure safe arrival of our letters in China. Afterall, we, the foreigners, have copped up also with our other limitations in here.

*apparently my card will be expired in October so they sent in advance the replacement card to my shanghai address (which is my billing address).

** all international letters have chinese address written in Pinyin (romanized mandarin based on its chinese pronounciation)

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