Sunday, February 27, 2005

Working on a Sunday

Sculpture in Time
Today was a very nice sunny and clear day in Beijing. Unfortunately for me I had to sit inside and try to finish off my neverending market assessments. Instead of sitting back in the room, I went to the nearby Sculpture In Time café and worked. Seeing all the language students going through their Chinese flip-cards, talking to their language partners, and studying their text for tomorrow's Chinese class made me want to spend more time on what I'm here for. Not surfing the web.

Today was a 1.30 pm to 00.00 pm working session with two cups of black coffee, a plate of spaghetti, and a large caffe latte. I got quite a lot work done, but now I'm back home and can't sleep. :(

ChengDuMeiShi on Fire

ChengDuXiaoChi on fire
成 都美食[Chéngdū měishí], the little restaurant next to the WuDaoKou lightrail station was on fire last Saturday. It is a quite dirty place where I sometimes went to have a quick and cheap dinner after coming back from work. Now it is closed for repair. Guess from now on will have to eat more at 华堡之家 [huábǎozhījiā] ("Home of the Chinese burgers"), the McDonalds copy.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Snowy night

ZhangWen and snow flakes

The last snowy day of the year?

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Lantern Festival

Today was the lantern festival. Not really sure what that means except that people eat the stuff below.
元宵 [yuánxiāo], sweet dumplings of glutinous rice flour.

Switching off the light

Last person in the office. Been like that this week.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Skiing at LianHuaShan

This Saturday I and ZhangWen went with TianMengYuan to the LianHuaShan ski-resort.

The skiing is as expected not that great. There are just no real mountains around and for the Chinese this skiing thing is something pretty new and exotic. They are really all over the place. A lot of people just go up to the top of a slope and then start to go downhill. They can't stear, they can't stop, and they are out of control. So... better watch your back... and watch out for all skiing equipment and people laying all over the hill.

TianMengYuan is helping to organize these trips, so we only paid 130 RMB/person for transport, entrence, and ski-equipment. Very cheap indeed. Me and ZhangWen managed to break a skiing pole so we had to pay another 100.

Lian Hua Shan ski-resort
莲花山 [liánhuāshān] Lotus flower mountain

father and son skiing
Father and son on skiing trip. Since the kid was too small for the lifts they keep walking up the hill to ski down.

Zhang Wen on the ground
ZhangWen did very good for hitting the slopes for the first time. I was was mean and brought her up a quite steep slope for the last run. Up there she suddenly forgot all technique and went out of control! Sorry for that... Haha...

dog with sleigh
One of the very unhappy looking St. Bernard dogs having to pull people around all day. No wagging tail to be seen.

Johan waiting for ski-lift
Me looking grim in the cold. And yes, that is a little snod in my nose.

Since I am by Scott's order reliving last year, I have also posted some skiing pictures from last year. Scott, please notice that I am even wearing almost the same clothes. I guess next I will have to go to Mongolia during the May holiday like last year... Scott, are you coming over?

Using Swedish at work

My working scope has changed quite a lot since the boss got back from Thailand. I'm now in charge of the whole thing and have delegated a lot of the more practical things. This also means that I'm involved in making contact with the people from the industry.

Last Friday I was planning to call the General Manager for South East Asia of a large company. I usually try to prepare these calls and write a little script of things I want to have said. Since this company's local office is here in Beijing I asked one of my colleague exactly where it was. A big discussion broke out in the office of what the name of the place was and where it was. That's what you get when you ask someone around here. It wasn't very important and if he didn't know a 'I don't know' would have been fine. Now I had to wait for them to debate where it was. No wonder no one is asking questions around here. Things just gets a hundred times worse. I know that my mistake was that I didn't know this guy very well. If I knew him well he probably would be able tell me that he didn't know, but now he felt obliged to help me out. I just waited it out and said 'thank you' when they had scribbled down a place on my paper.

In the end he saw that I had a phone number written down. I wasn't sure what he was doing, but he dialed a number. I thought that maybe he was calling up the reception to ask for sure where the place was, but pretty soon he handed over the phone to me... He had called up my contact! So I had to stand leaning over his desk, make one of my more important calls in this job so far without any of my notes or even a pen to take notes with. I have no idea what he had been thinking. Did he think that I didn't know how to operate a phone? Did he think he was helping me? Aaargh!

Anyway, it turns out that the guy I reached was Swedish! Imagine my colleagues surprise when I suddenly switched to my mother tongue! After have gotten the contacts I was looking for I put down the phone and noticed that the whole office was looking at me. Guess they never heard a guy speak Swedish before. :)

Tuesday, February 15, 2005


Rooster poster
The door decoration of the neighbor.

Snowy and cold

Didn't sleep at all last night. Felt worried and unsure what I was doing here. I just couldn't sleep. So I lay in my cold room watching the white walls coming at me. After getting more and more restless I started to listen to radio over internet.
Snowy Road
In the morning I managed to sleep a few hours and then at 3pm I went to the office and put in a few good hours of work. Just me and Ben in the office. He seemed pretty bored too. We had a good chat about what he had been doing in China during all his years. He had been bumming around here quite a few year before he managed to get a proper job.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Lush Open Jam

The last 4 nights I've been going out and sleeping in late. The rutine is the following: I sleep until the afternoon, shower, eat, work, go out. Yesterday I went to Lush to check out some live music. Sunday is Open Jam. Anyone can bring a guitar and get on stage. Some really good acts I must say.

guitar guy

3 guys Lush open jam
?, Stephen, Stephen's tongue, me.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Spring Festival SMS

Tian MengYuan sent me this sms. She thought it was very funny.


My translation:
Wish all your undertakings, just like Marxism, unceasingly develop.
Let your charm, just like Mao ZeDong's thoughts, shine in all directions.
Let your love, be like Deng Xiaoping's deduction theory of the Spring festival story.
Let your wealth be the same as the Three Representative Theory and all move forward.

Happy Spring Festival!
I wouldn't mind to hear other people's translations and interpretations of it. I know some parts of my translation doesn't really make any sense.

I'm not really sure what kind of feelings people has towards these old theories other than most hate to study them in school. I think it would be interesting to know.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

The Korean game

Korean game
Went to watch the Korea-Kuwait game at a Korean restaurant. I think the place had just opened because we were given free food, snacks, and booze! Not bad!

The game was really boring and uneven, but that didn't seem to bother all the Koreans that went crazy for each goal. 2-0 Korea. Both teams played really bad.

It would have been more interesting to see the Japan-North Korea game on the other channel. North Korea team of soldiers tied the professionals from Japan for a long time. In the end Japan won 2-1.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Happy New Year!

Happy New year of the Rooster!!

Tian Mengyuan and Yang Fan making dumpings
Tian Mengyuan and Yang Fan making dumpings.

New Years Party

I have put up some pictures from last year's New Year Party!

The year of the monkey
CNY 2004 & Stefan 30!

Here is also some pictures from when Saga, Stefan, and Toba were here:
Saga in Beijing

Or just click on the Januari 2004 link for it all.

Monday, February 07, 2005

Beware of the Car

Beware of the Car

Some official most have missed this sign when planning the transportation system in this city.

Subway slogan

subway slogan

按线候车 排队上车 争做文明北京人

Wait for the train at the line!
Line up for bording the train!
Strive to cultivate the people of Peking!

Going to work

johan going to work

Wake up in the morning. Like all Chinese I get up early as hell... preferably before 5am.

Nah. It's probably closer to 10am. I'm still pretty slow getting up in the morning since I often sit up late at night. Ok, ok. It's not because that either. It's because I have to shower, polish my nails, powder my nose, pub on my blue contact lenses, and put a lot of wax in my hair.

I was supposed to work part-time so I'm excused. But seems like that will change.

Easy access

Arisa at work
Arisa, the happy little front lady.

Work has gotten rather busy lately. I've suddenly been upgraded with a hell of a lot responsibilities.

Being a foreigner offers possibilities to get access to people that are much harder to reach if you are Chinese. When we call companies we quite easily get connected right up to the top people by just speaking English. After that, it is only to keep talking.

The sad news is that I will make up for my days home by working during CNY. I will have to go and see Dapeng some other time.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Korean food

Wu Zhejian w Korean gf eating korean

Thanks for hanging out with me when I'm feeling 'xin li bu shu fu'.

Wu Zhejian w Korean gf eating rice

I really didn't know that the Koreans ate rice with spoon. They use the metal chopstick to eat the other things.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Johanna too!

Must be the largest influence I've ever had on my sisters. Two of them have started to write blogs. Just started, but still.

Johanna's blog

She is my second lil'sister. She is currently studying to become a teacher in Växjö.

Sleep walker

I finally got back to work today. It wasn't really a pleasent day though. I felt so good last night finally being well again and I had so much thoughts on my mind that I couldn't go to sleep when I tried. I ended staying up all night.

Since the boss has come back from his wedding trip I expected to meet him today and perhaps hold a little presentation of my progress. Luckily he nor the director turned up. It wouldn't have been very good since I was so tired that I often felt dizzy.

Maybe the only chance to go to see Li Dapeng over Chinese New Year will be to go tomorrow. Dapeng is my old room mate from my university year at NTU in Singapore. I will find out tomorrow morning. If that is the case I won't be able to send over the report which I am supposed to. Not sure how I can fix that. Perhaps the only solution I can come up with is to bring some work to ChangChun. I know that is not going to work out though.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

What's in a name

My Chinese name is 佳宝 'Jiabao'. That is 1st tone 'Jia' and 3rd tone 'Bao'. I try to explain a little what that means in Chinese and how people interpret it when I say it.
The first character:
佳 [jiā] good, beautiful
From 亻(人 rén) 'person' and 圭 guī phonetic.
The left part in this character is supposed to give you the meaning. Unfortunatley it would be rather hard to guess. I would never guess the meaning from this clue. Add to that that there are numerous character with this part with a whole range of meanings. Basically it becomes a very useless clue to remember the meaning. The right part is supposed to give you the pronunciation of the character. This configuration is pretty common, but it rarely gives you more than a qualified guess, and never the necessary tone of the character. For a dialect I suppose it should have even less use.
Some examples with 佳:
佳话 jiāhuà n. charming/much-told tale
最佳 zuìjiā adj. ①〈phy.〉 optimum ②〈wr.〉 best; first-rate
报佳音 bào jiāyīn vo. carol
才子佳人 cáizǐ-jiārén np. gifted scholars and beautiful ladies (in Ch. romances)
On to my second character:
宝 [bǎo] treasure
From 宀 (mián) 'roof' over 玉 (yù) 'jade'. Treasure stored in a house.
The full traditional form 寶 also contains 缶 (fǒu) 'jar' and 貝 (bèi) 'money'.
Everybody knows the character for jade 玉 and put under a roof it makes some sort of sense. This is a good one! Wish more characters were like that.

Some examples using 宝:
宝贝 bǎobèi n. ①treasured object; treasure ②darling; baby ③cowry ④good-for-nothing; odd character ◆v. treasure ◆adj. treasured
宝贵 bǎoguì adj. valuable; precious ◆v. value; set store by
宝剑 bǎojiàn n. precious sword
宝石 bǎoshí* n. precious stone; gem
(I've used the Wenlin software for the translations)

When Chinese people hear it they usually think it is pretty funny. Usually they make a reference to 温家宝 WēnJiāBǎo, the Chinese Premier, since without his surname his name is pronounced the same as mine.

I think my name is sounds gullible and super-sweet. Perhaps a nickname for a baby or something. I believe it will be recognised as being a name of a foreigner. Since I'm a foreigner and only use it as a nickname, that's alright with me.

And... then there is a company with my name. Using the same characters too. The JiaBao candy and dried fruit company! Here you can see their mango product! In stores all over China.
Jiabao Mango

Why 'Jiaboa' then? It is derived from how Chinese would translate my nickname 'Garbo'.

I'm thinking of changing the character to 家宝, meaning 'family treasure'. Since I'm the only son and having five sisters, I think that name could be quite suitable. Especially from a Chinese point of view. Don't you agree my dear (less valuable) sisters? Grin ;)

One but not alone

Johan Unshaved
Unshaved. Having a bad hair day. Coughing like a dog.

These last couple of days I have basically been in my room trying to recover. I'm grateful for the friends that has given me some thoughts and send me some encouraging messages. Also grateful for the shameless flirting attempts ;)

It has also been a relaxing time and given me some room to contemplate my situation here. Basically I still come to the conclusion that it wouldn't have been better for my anywhere else. I also think that I would have been doing pretty good at any other place too. I do have the basic things in life and anything else now would be a bonus.

Having a little distance to your life can be pretty good. Living without having to measure up to some stupid scale makes life a lot more pleasant. It makes it easier to figure out what is really is enjoyable. Looking down on other people from some achieved position won't be much of a reward for me. It also makes it easier to see through people that are building their identity like that. I think that the goals I am trying to achieve are more valuable than those that others have put up for me. I will try to make the best out of my life, but I won't sell myself nor trample on other people. Whenever I get a chance, I will strive to do my best out of it.

Now if I only could stop this fucking spamming of my blog I could die really happy.