Showing posts from April, 2011

May Day fun

Shanghai rock bank Bremen plays in front of the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Pudong, as part of a one-year anniversary celebration for the opening of the World Expo Shanghai 2010.

Punishments follow steamed buns scandal

FOUR officials in Shanghai have been punished for dereliction of duty in relation to a recent food safety scandal involving steamed buns, the city government said yesterday. Wang Xinghua, deputy director of Baoshan District's food production supervision office, has been removed from his post. Two other officials of the agency and a deputy director of the district's quality and technology supervision bureau were given "disciplinary punishments," a joint investigation team said in a statement. Tang Qi, director of Lianhua Biaochao Co, the company that runs the Lianhua and Hualian supermarket chains, was fined an amount that was not revealed. The two supermarkets were the main outlets for the steamed buns which contained banned additives and had been made with expired buns recycled and added to the mix. An investigation into the popular product was launched after China Central Television exposed production problems. Shanghai Shenglu Food Co in Baoshan was found to have …

Metro suicide leaves 1 dead, 1 seriously injured

A couple jumped off the platform of a Metro Line 1 station in a suicide attempt today and brought the subway into a halt during the morning rush hour. The man was killed and the woman was injured by a fast moving train as it pulled into the station. The incident happened at 7:43am at Line 1's Gonghe Xincun station where the couple was seen jumping into the tunnel just as the train was coming into the station. They were carried out by Metro staff before 8am and the operation gradually resumed. Passengers were stranded at some busy stations along the line. The man was pronounced dead at the hospital while the woman was in a critical condition. Police are investigating the case.

Baby garments banned after tests

LOCAL authorities have ordered H&M stores and the Bob Dog clothing brand to stop selling items of baby clothing that failed national quality tests. A Bob Dog shirt was found to contain a high pH index that could cause a skin allergy, while an H&M coat contained insufficient fiber, said the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine. The legal pH index range for children's clothes is between four and 7.5, but a Bob Dog shirt produced last December showed a reading of 9.1. The watchdog said it believed the clothes hadn't been rinsed properly after the dyeing process, leading to excessive pH index. Bob Dog was not available for comment yesterday. The watchdog also found problems with an H&M baby coat, produced late last year. The hem was supposed to be contain 100 percent polyester fiber but tests found that spandex was mixed in. H&M said it withdrew the product once it was told of the results. Meanwhile, the Shanghai Bureau of Qualit…

Bus ferries Metro commuters to Lujiazui towers

WHITE-COLLAR workers in the Lujizui financial zone will find the trip from the Lujiazui Metro station to their office towers made easier with a new bus service launched today. The Lujiazui Financial City Bus and its stations are equipped with LED screens to show the latest stock market information. Free Wi-Fi and a Lujiazui map are also available at the stations. The red bus is inviting the public to design its skin that should symbolize the financial zone. The design competition will be held annually and the winning design will be printed on the bus exterior. The bus runs daily from 7am to 9pm with an interval of 3 minutes during rush hours and 7 minutes on average. The fare costs 1 yuan (15 US cents) but it's free within two hours after you take the Metro or other buses. The 5.3-kilometer route has 11 stops and connects 30 office buildings in the financial zone, including the Shanghai International Finance Center and the Super Brand Mall. It has a short distance between stops, a…

Self check-in/bag drops -not really up to date just yet...

Things can move slow at airports in China..

Last week when we were flying to Xian, I was pleased when we arrived at Pudong airport and saw that China Eastern had self check-in stations (as usual in China, the lines to the check-in counters were pretty long). Although the stations were only in Chinese it was pretty straightforward and we quickly managed to put our information, pick our seats and print our boarding cards (but not bag tags, those you werent able to print).

Mom and dad had a bag they needed to check in, so we located a counter that said bag drop and lined up. There was a huge line to this counter, and first I thought it was some kind of misunderstanding. Were all of these people really lining up just to drop off their bags?

They sure were. All of us in the looooong line were holding on to our boarding cards, impatiently glancing at our watches and staring at the actual bag drop counter where action seemed to be very sloooooow.

Actually, I don't understand how it could t…

Metro projects

METRO builders said yesterday that construction on all 77 stations along four new subway lines has started. The new lines, 11, 12, 13 and 16, will see passenger volume increase about 10 percent. More than 5 million passengers use the Metro network each day.

Taiwan man gets death for murdering wife and daughters

A Taiwan court has upheld its death sentence against a man named Chang He-Ling who killed his wife and two daughters while his mistress followed his move on cell phone, local media reported today. Chang's mistress Su Yu-Tseng was sentenced to 10 years in jail for being an accomplice but she was given leniency as she made a confession to prosecutors, reported, a news Website portal. Chang started an affair with Su in 2005. His wife Tsai discovered their relationship and revealed it to Su' husband, who immediately divorced Su. With hatred, Su encouraged Chang to kill his wife. On April 11, 2006 Chang phoned Su, saying he was going to carry out the murder to prove his loyalty. Chang then sneaked into Tsai's room and rendered her motionless by putting an ether-soaked towel to her mouth. The noise woke up his daughters and Chang did the same to the young girls. Afterwards, he opened the cooking gas which killed the three. The case was treated by authorities as a…

The bet

No more

After a week with parents in town I feel relaxed and happy, but a bit like a chubby Easter bunny. Its simply impossible to turn down temptation when your parents:

-Travel here with a suitcase full of Easter eggs and Swedish chocolate for their beloved daughter.
-Enjoy sitting down for a coffee and sandwich (mom) or a cake and beer (dad) every day of their holiday week (What are you supposed to do? Not join them?!).

-Encourage you to share a bottle of wine with them for dinner. Pretty much every day.

-Hides chocolate in your apartment (yes, for real) before departure so that wont miss them too much.

Now when they have left, however (and all the hidden candy in my flat has been located and eaten), I am keen to do something about my sugar addiction. So, on Sunday night, in the heat of the moment (read: after 2 snickers bars and some large, sugary milk chocolate pieces that made me feel more like a pig than a bunny) I entered a bet with my significant other (in front of my folks got to…

Catching some rays on the Bund

A man soaks up the sun on an artificial beach on the Bund yesterday, which was the hottest April 26 on record in the city. Temperatures reached 33.2 degrees Celsius, said the Shanghai Meteorological Bureau. It said days with the mercury creeping past 30 degrees are not rare in April as the city usually experiences some ups and downs in spring temperatures. "High temperatures occur in April," said Man Liping, chief service officer of the bureau. "For example, in 2004, the mercury hit 33.5 degrees Celsius on April 22." Today is forecast to be showery with the high expected drop to 23 degrees, the bureau said. The low should remain at 16 degrees. Tomorrow should turn cloudy and more rain is expected at the weekend.

Family conflict causes house fire in Luwan District

A household in Luwan District caught fire this afternoon after a man attacked his father and brother and lighted their home in a dispute. Luwan District police said the suspect surnamed Xia had been taken for investigation. Xia's father and brother were hit in the heads and ran out of their house at 217 Ji'nan Road before it was set ablaze, neighbors said. The two were in stable conditions. Police said the fire was reported at 12:54pm and was put out at 1:15pm by the fire department. Officials said the cause of the fire was still under investigation, but they confirmed it was triggered by the family conflict. Xia, 48, was allegedly suffering mental problems and always had an illusion of the end of the world, according to his neighbors.

Stabbing suspect nabbed for killing property agent

SHANGHAI police have caught the man who allegedly killed a female real estate agent in Putuo District last week. The man, surnamed Zhao, stabbed the victim after a fierce quarrel with her over the rent price in an apartment in Putuo's Ganquan community on April 21, police said today. Zhao was nabbed on April 23 and a dagger was found in his place, said the police who are still investigating the case.

Xi'an , day 2 -Terracotta Army

Day 2 in Xian was all about the Terracotta Army . Since we were flying back to Shanghai that night we decided to get a driver for the whole day, so that we could keep our luggage in his car, and, so that he could take us to the airport after we had visited the sight (the terracotta army is located quite far away from Xian so going back and fourth to the hotel did not feel like an option). I chatted to the bell boys at our hotel for about 30 minutes until we came up with a good deal and were assigned Mr Guo, a black car driver, to take us around for the whole day and then drop us off at the airport.

Mr Guo turned out not only to be a good driver, but he was also a great guide who, once he realized that I could speak Chinese, told me everything I wanted to know about Xian (I could then translate for mom and dad). We started off with a visit to the Banpo Village Ruins museum, followed by the Terracotta Army, and then dinner at a local joint at the mountain area. The Terracotta Army was qu…

Charges over fake drug scandal

THIRTEEN suspects were charged by Luwan District Prosecutors' Office with producing and selling a fake drug that caused eye infections in 61 patients at the Shanghai No. 1 People's Hospital, officials announced ahead of the World Intellectual Property Day today. Officials didn't disclose details of the suspects, other than saying one is surnamed Wu. The affected patients were among 116 people who received the fake medicine on September 6 and 8 last year. After the injections, they reported eye inflammations and poor vision and received treatment at Shanghai No.1 People's Hospital. It had been thought the drug was Avastin, a cancer drug made by global pharmaceutical giant Roche. Avastin is believed to have an effect on eye condition macular degeneration, although domestic drug authorities have not approved it for this use. Meanwhile property rights watchdogs are targeting bazaars that spring up for short periods in shopping malls and hotels. Officials said yesterday tha…

Vocational school graduates earn more than 2,000 yuan

MAJORITY vocational school graduates in the city earns more than 2,000 yuan (US$306,97) per month, according to a survey by the Shanghai Education Commission. The commission conducted a salary survey on 14,758 vocational school graduates who were employed in 2009 and found 45 percent of them are now earning 2,000 yuan to 2,500 yuan a month. About 19.52 percent of them have a monthly salary of more than 2,500 yuan and 8.7 percent have making more than 3,000 yuan a month. About 97.44 percent of local vocational school students who graduated last year have landed a job, 1.48 percent more than the previous year, the commission officials said today. The commission plans to enlarge vocational schools to cover all students who failed to enter high school in the next five years.

Xi'an , day 1

I had some lovely days in Xian with my parents. It was much warmer than in Shanghai and we made sure to make the most of each day:

Thursday (dads birthday) started off with a hike to the city wall (which was conveniently located next to our hotel, however, where to get up on the wall wasnt as obvious as we first thought. We had to look for a while until we managed to locate the south gate). Once we got there we rented bikes and rode around the wall. It was a bumpy, noisy ride, but due to the fact that the peak season hadnt yet started it wasnt too crowded and we enjoyed ourselves... until mom realized that she had dropped her jacket and we had to go all the way back on the wall (and no, we still didnt find the jacket).

After the wall we set out to be tourists de luxe and did something I never do when travelling: visited sights and towers! We went to both the Bell Tower and the Drum Tower (!). None of them impressed me that much, but there was a group performance (= bored looking youn…

Health care reforms to also help the elderly

AS part of the city's health care reforms, a new system for seniors will be set up to meet the growing demands of this segment of the population, authorities said over the weekend. Even non-local seniors will benefit as there is a growing number moving to the city to help look after their children or grandchildren. They usually encounter difficulties in seeing a doctor as they do not have a hukou, or permanent residency. Vice Mayor Shen Xiaoming said the system will have in-home services, community facilities and professional care centers. "We encourage healthy seniors to live in their own home - they can take care of themselves if basic services are available - to make room for those in real need." The system is aimed to relieve pressure on hospitals and nursing homes due to the city's rising elderly population. The government will give subsidies to those living at home, Shen said. The elderly who take care of themselves are expected to receive discounts on services…

Car-crazy crowds

Shoulders are rubbed and cameras are raised as the crowd try to get a view of the fancy cars exhibited at the 14th Shanghai International Automobile Industry Exhibition at the New International Exhibition Center in Pudong. Up to 130,000 visitors braved the crowds to attend the event yesterday, the first day the show opens for the public.

Earth day celebration

Montessori School of Shanghai students show off bags of seeds during an activity to celebrate World Earth Day yesterday. They were told to plant the seeds to enhance their awareness of environmental protection.

2 go to jail for rape of foreigner

TWO Chinese men were sent to jail for the rape of a French female university student last year in Shanghai, a court said yesterday. A man surnamed Fei was sent to prison for three years and three months for raping the 20-year-old woman in his apartment in November. His accomplice, surnamed He, was sent to jail for two years, Zhabei District People's Court said. Both men pleaded guilty. Fei, owner of a media company, hung out with He in bars and befriended several foreigners, the court heard in a hearing this month. On November 14, 2010, Fei called He after taking some drugs and asked him to invite some foreign women over, the court heard. Fei told He he was "looking for some fun." He called the French woman, who they had met in a bar, and said Fei was hosting a party. After she arrived at Fei's home, he intended to undress the woman but was refused, the court said. Fei then raped the woman as He held her down, the court heard. They were caught the next day after she …

Experts offer free air quality test for homes

THE Shanghai Environmental Protection Association announced yesterday that it will offer free indoor air quality test for newly decorated homes to check formaldehyde, benzene, volatile organic compound and radon -- a major indoor radioactive substance leading to lung cancer. Local families can make an application to the association by dialing 51157376 or visiting before August 31. Test results will be used in a research on indoor air quality. While the public is increasingly awareness of the danger of formaldehyde, benzene and other volatile pollutants, the risk from radon is not well known, radiation experts said. Unlike volatile pollutants with bad smell, radon which comes mainly from soil, brick, cement, granite and ceramic tiles is odorless and invisible. Its danger is ignored by people, the experts said. A previous radon check in some public buildings found radon was higher than the country's average level. "Indoor air pollution can cause leukemia, hear…

City crackdown on swill oil

SHANGHAI officials have pledged to end the use of swill oil and the abuse of food additives during a six-month crackdown to ensure the city's food safety. A conference chaired by Vice Mayor Shen Xiaoming on Tuesday decided to launch the campaign amid public concern over a series of food safety scandals in the city and across the country. Officials urged the elimination of management loopholes, which were exposed during the city's tainted buns scandal, as watchdogs had no idea about the problem despite the buns being on sale for several years.

Off to (Xi'an)

Woho, finally time to do some travelling within China again. It's been a while! I'm taking my folks to Xi'an to check out the city wall, the great mosque and, of course, the Terracotta army. We'll also make sure to celebrate dad's birthday tomorrow -probably a quite original birthday for him! I'll make sure to share some photos and stories when I get back -until then: Happy Easter!

It's a family affair

"Royal" visitors out of their comfort zone

Forgive my absence, but Im hosting a delegation, much more important than all those royalties and ministers I met last year, and its taking up pretty much all of my free time: yes, of course, my parents are in town!

The worlds cutest (in my eyes!) mom and dad landed a few days ago and are keeping me busy with all kinds of funny questions and comments about everything. Yesterday when I had to go to work they called me when I was in the middle of a meeting:

-Hey, we are standing in a crossing and we dont know where we are.

-Eh right. Now, do you see any names of streets or anything around you?

-Naaah, its kind of confusing to tell you the truth.

-I see

Not to mention the fact that my mom constantly seems to be forgetting that I dont actually live here as a tourist:

-So does the hotel breakfast have any yoghurt?

-I dont know mom, Ive never eaten it.

-Yeah, but what about normally over here?

-I dont normally stay at hotels in China

Dad, on the othe…

Chemical warehouse for drug developers

SHANGHAI will build a world-leading chemical warehouse for new drug screening in the next five years, said an official with the National Center for Drug Screening in Zhangjiang High-tech Park today. The warehouse will store more than 1 million different chemicals, effectively improving China's ability on new drug screening and development, said Wang Mingwei, the center's director. "We will focus on developing drugs for diseases such as cancer and poverty-related diseases through the cooperation of the United Nations," he said. "Sexually-transmitted diseases and schistosomiasis are our targets as well." Local science authorities welcomed the central government's decision to build the chemical warehouse in Shanghai where biomedicine industry is expected to generate 200 billion yuan (US$30.6 billion) in sales in 2012. Shanghai has made incentive policies to encourage the development of new drugs and locally produced high-end drugs. Local hospitals also ben…

Subway operator cracks down on fare dodging

SIX subway fare dodgers were caught within 30 minutes at a station on Line 6 during the morning rush hour yesterday as the city's Metro operator beefed up checks after a video clip showed many people didn't pay at the same stop last week. However, many commuters said they did not dodge fares on purpose, claiming crowd control restrictions at Jufeng Road Station keep them from boarding trains quickly and that they would be late for work otherwise. Metro officials said they would still "conduct random checks on fare dodging" and called for cooperation from passengers. Yesterday, a team of 20 started checks at the station at about 7:40am. Long lines formed at the turnstiles as some were closed to limit passengers entering the platform. A man suddenly rushed toward one closed turnstile, squeezing under it, but was stopped as he made his way to the platform. He was asked by Metro workers to get out and line up again. Another person took out a cell phone and began filming …

Plaza close to reopening

A worker puts up a sign at the revamped Shanghai Cultural Plaza on Fuxing Road M. in Luwan District yesterday. The underground musical theater, formerly known as the Canidrome, which was built in 1928, will reopen in August after a six-year, 1.1 billion yuan (US$168 million) renovation project.

Railway tickets to be sold via Internet

AN Internet booking system for train tickets will be introduced for the high-speed Shanghai-Beijing route when it opens in June and adopted nationwide by the end of this year, the railway authority said yesterday. "The system will be more convenient for passengers," Shen Guangzu, the head of the Ministry of Railways, told People's Daily. Passengers can book the tickets via telephone now, but many complain they can not get seats on popular routes, especially during peak times like the Spring Festival. Demand for train tickets is always high around the country. The 1,318-kilometer link between Shanghai and Beijing will cut the journey time between Shanghai and the capital to less than five hours from the current 10 to 18 hours. It will be the nation's third high-speed route following Shanghai-Nanjing and Shanghai-Hangzhou lines. Meanwhile a real-name ticket purchasing system, which requires proven ID numbers or other legal certificates when buying a ticket, will be exp…

'Rain Man' director to head Shanghai film festival jury

BARRY Levinson, Oscar-winning director of "Rain Man," will be named the jury president of the upcoming 14th Shanghai International Film Festival, the organizer said. The heartwarming comedy-drama film "Rain Man" won four Academy Awards in 1989, including Best Picture and Best Director. It also garnered the Golden Bear award at the 39th Berlin International Film Festival. During his filmmaking career, the 69-year-old American also directed "Good Morning, Vietnam" and "Toys," both with Robin Williams, and the acclaimed "Bugsy" with Warren Beatty. "Levinson is such a talented and influential filmmaker," said Tang Lijun, an official with the film fest's organizing committee. "Many of his productions have impressed Chinese audience. It's our honor to have him as the president of the jury." Tang said a retrospective show of Levinson's works will be held during the festival from June 11 to 19. The six other jur…

Drive to help ill Pakistani woman

FRIENDS and classmates of Anam Islam, a 21-year-old Pakistani woman studying in Jiangxi Province, have started an online campaign to collect money to help pay for the student's medical bills. Islam was in critical condition yesterday at Shanghai's Changzheng Hospital with serious lung and blood infections. Her brother Usman Islam said the family had used up their savings on her treatment and that medical expenses could cost another 100,000 yuan (US$15,291). "My parents run a small shop in our hometown and they spent everything they have to send us to study in China," Usman Islam said. "We have already spent 160,000 yuan on her treatment. It is such a huge burden to our family." Both the sister and brother are studying Western medicine in Jiujiang, Jiangxi Provice. Anam Islam had a brain aneurysm and was transferred from Jiangxi to Changzheng Hospital, which conducted surgery on her brain in March. Doctors said the surgery was successful but that she has had…

Authorities confiscate 6,000 tainted buns

SHANGHAI industrial and commercial authorities seized more than 6,000 "dyed" steamed buns at the Shanghai Shenglu Food Co. today after the tainted bun scandal was reported yesterday. The buns already passed their shelf life and were thrown into mixers to make "new" buns. The officials have asked local stores and supermarkets to remove the company's products from their shelves. The sales of steamed buns dropped across the city yesterday after the scam was reported in local media, Shanghai Daily found. Customers said they were worried that buns made by other companies may also have the same problem, so they chose not to buy steamed buns for a while. Lianhua Supermarket said today that customers can use their receipts for a refund for the buns they bought at the Lianhua supermarkets.

Steamed buns taken off shelves

Stores have been ordered to take steamed buns from a major Shanghai supplier off the shelves after a TV report said illegal chemicals were being added to cheat customers. Yellow coloring was used in so-called corn flour buns which actually contained little corn, the report said. And preservatives were added after old buns past their expiry date were reintroduced in the mix to produce a batch of "new" buns. Zhang Yusong, an official with Shanghai Industrial and Commercial Administrative Bureau, said a city-wide inspection would be launched today. Last night's China Central Television program claimed that up to 30,000 tainted buns were being sent to hundreds of Shanghai outlets, including Hualian and Lianhua supermarkets, every day. Expiry date CCTV said workers at a Shanghai Shenglu Food Co plant in Baoshan District relabeled buns made two days previously with new production dates. Those that were more than a week over their expiry date, and had been returned by retailers…

City tests public opinion for home-rent rules

SHANGHAI is seeking public opinions for a local regulation on house renting, according to a guideline proposed today by the city's housing administrator on its website. Under the guideline, home owners cannot raise rents if the tenant signed a contract for one year or less. Rents can only be raised on an annual basis if the contract is longer than one year. Meanwhile, a security deposit of one month's rent is allowed for a contract lasting one year or less, while a deposit of two months' rent is allowed for a contract longer than one year. Home owners should also inform their tenants one month in advance if they want to terminate the contract before it expires.

City mulls plan to open airspace to private aircraft

SHANGHAI is considering opening up its low altitude airspace for general aviation to enable a growing number of private jets to fly freely over the city. The East China Bureau of the Civil Aviation Administration of China said its airspace management plan will be formulated within five years. "Opening more airspace can boost related industry and bring both social and economic benefits," it said in response to a proposal made by the city's top advisory body. Civil aviation officials said they have reached a consensus with the military on gradually opening up the airspace on a trial basis. China decided to open its low-altitude airspace to civil aviation last November in a circular that said trial operation will start in some areas this year. Although Shanghai is not on the first list of trial areas, local aviation experts agreed that the city should begin airspace management reform in view of a potential demand for helicopters and light planes which normally fly at low al…

Anger as old trees illegally cut in two

CITY greenery officials carried out emergency rescue work over the weekend in a bid to save old trees illegally cut in two for blocking out sunlight at a complex. Workers applied sealant to the 27 trees at Caobao Road to prevent further deterioration, but were unsure whether they would survive, said Liu Haiyan, an official with Xuhui District Greenery Bureau. According to Liu, greenery officials would work with the city urban management team to investigate the Xufang Property Management Company at the complex. It is claimed that Xufang organized the work on the dawn redwood and camphor trees, which are more than 50 years old, without permission. On Friday, a web user, claiming to be a resident at the Yibiao complex, complained that all the old trees there had been cut in two and that the property management company hadn't sought residents' views. The trees, which had stood seven floors tall, were reduced to one-third of their previous height, with only their trunks remaining. …

They're on the run in Jinqiao

Jogging enthusiasts set off as this year's Jinqiao 8k, an annual long-distance race held in Jinqiao Biyun International Community in Shanghai's Pudong New Area, gets under way. The event, with both an 8 kilometer race and a 2 kilometer fun run, attracted several thousand residents from the community, half of them expats.

Noir&Blanc at Shanghai Fashion Week 2011

I had the most amazing day yesterday! One week of hard work finally saw its results when Swedish Noir&Blanc showed at Shanghai Fashion Week, followed by a high heel after party at Gte Gta store.

The Noir&Blanc fashion show was fantastic. The designers teamed up with dance club Jazz du Funk and did a pretty exquisite cross over show that opened and closed with a dance sequence called Black Sun (see the video at the end of this post for the short closing performance, mind the shaky video, as I was applauding while filming multi tasking, you know!). The dance worked super well with the actual collection: Ethnic Euphoria, which is about tradition and ethnic symbols, pattern-mania, knitted influences and draped fabrics.

The after party saw Kosta Boda Crystal Catwalk collection, live wei-boing (twittering) from (I did an interpretation stunt: Eng-Chi for one of the interviews), as well as high heel painting by Chinese as well as Swedish artists (see the second video of how Gra…

Dylan delivery hard to decipher

BOB Dylan's shadow loomed large Friday night during his concert at the Shanghai Grand Stage. While singing "Tangled Up in Blue", Dylan cowered upon the stage, squaring his legs like an old fighter and occasionally peering sideways at his band like they were his corner men. Behind him, the large curtain was flooded by a murky blue light that silhouetted the black shadow of his 69-year-old frame. It created a large avatar that stood tall over the proceedings. Appropriate, considering Dylan's titanic place in Western music over the past half-century. The black figure stood featureless, malleable to the desires of the audience. The exact meaning of it all was impressive if hard to pin down. Also appropriate, considering Dylan's mercurial nature has always been one of his trademarks. When questioned, much of the audience seemed to go to the show with a similar sense of bewilderment toward Dylan. A typical response was from Dirk Hangberg of Munich, Germany: "I did…

Hello folks! Mickey and Minnie come to town to launch the Magic Kingdom

JOBS: Opportunity for students to earn valuable experience Shanghai Disneyland will offer another job opportunity for university students when it opens in 2015, with a number of openings and internships targeting young people with good English skills. However, the opening of the park is not expected to have a major influence on the local job market, although the number of jobs available is not yet known, but employers may find themselves in competition with Disney for job hunters familiar with quality service, experts said yesterday. About 40 percent of Disneyland's employees will be maintenance workers, such as security guards and cleaners, with 50 percent employed in services, while only 10 percent will take high-level management posts, according to Briton Mark Hall, a human resources expert with nearly 20 years of experience. "Finding people who know services will be the challenge," said Hall, who said the percentages were based on the examples of Tokyo and Hong Kong …

Meeting to set cultural development targets

SHANGHAI Muncipal Government will hold a meeting next Tuesday to discuss the development of public cultural facilities and services. During the meeting, participants will review work done in the past five years and set targests for development in the 12th Five-Year Plan period starting from this year. On agenda for discussion are plans for the construction of Shanghai History Museum, Shanghai Modern Art Museum and the second phase of Shanghai Library. There are also proposals for more and better digitalized cultural services such as digital library, digital museum, digital art gallery, and self-help book borrowing system to meet the needs of people in the digital age.

Inflation blues for locals

MORE than 40 percent of Shanghai residents are unsatisfied with their lives as they are having to spent more and more on everyday necessities, a survey has found. Unrelenting price hikes for basics - meaning less cash for leisure - are leaving city residents fed-up, Shanghai Statistics Bureau said yesterday. The survey also found almost 90 percent of local residents are planning to spend more on food and other living expenses, anticipating no let up in inflation. The findings were compiled from questionnaires completed online by 1,062 Shanghai residents, reflecting a span of age and income groups. Some 42.4 percent of respondents said they are "unsatisfied" with their current lives while 37.6 percent described their lives as "just so so." Bureau experts concluded that a disappointing income status and cost of living pressures are the main reasons for dissatisfaction. The survey found that most who reported their lives as unsatisfactory come from low to moderate inc…

Health Ministry rules out AIDS-like disease

THE Ministry of Health said yesterday people with AIDS-like symptoms but tested negative for HIV are not suffering from an unknown infectious disease. There is no evidence that these people acquired the disease through infection, the ministry said in response to a recent Hong Kong media report that at least six provinces and regions in China reported the AIDS-like disease which may be spreading through saliva and blood. Similar cases began to appear in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore, the same report said and the news caused fear among people. Ministry spokesman Deng Haihua said the ministry began receiving reports from people who claimed they had acute AIDS-like symptoms and believed they had caught HIV virus or some unknown virus since June 2009. The China Center for Disease Control and Prevention contacted these people between September 2009 and January 2010 and recruited 59 volunteers for clinical investigation. All their HIV tests are negative. There is no evidence that they were…

Expats urged to update info to avoid trouble

Foreigners working in Shanghai are reminded of renewing their information at their local police stations if they have changed jobs, said the Shanghai Exit-Entrance Administration Bureau today. A foreigner, whose name is not revealed, was found using outdated materials to apply for an extension of his residence permit because he failed to update his job information within 10 days after he changed job last October. Since he violated the relevant regulations, he had to apply for a new residence and employment permit. The bureau said foreign workers have to get permits from the local labor and public security authorities in order to live in Shanghai. Once they changed their jobs, they had to renew personal information within 10 days to avoid complicated procedures later.

Dating jungle

Not easy to find Mr or Mrs right

A friend of ours is visiting from Europe, partly for work and partly to see his Chinese girlfriend. Neither him, nor we thought that it was going to work out between them when he left China some 1 year ago but, believe it or not, the 2 of them are more in love than ever! Its absolutely lovely to see and shes planning to move to Europe eventually to be with him.

I have to say that it is especially nice to see the two of them together and in love, especially considering how many questionable Suzhou ladies this guy dated before he met his current girlfriend.

He was going out with one, super pretty, local girl that after some dates invited him back to her apartment. He stepped inside and was amazed when he realized that the girl had used photos of herself as wallpaper in the whole flat (well OK, not entirely, but almost). There were several enlarged portrait photos of the girl on every single wall, and the girl was so proud of them:

-What do you think?! Am I n…

Mystery of China's AIDS 'patients'

Patients with AIDS-like symptoms but who test negative for HIV may be suffering from AIDS phobia, Shanghai medical experts said yesterday in response to reports in the Hong Kong media. Such patients may have indulged in highly risky behavior, causing them extreme mental pressure, they said. "It is not new in clinical practice and I have seen many such patients in Shanghai," said Dr Lu Hongzhou, vice president of Shanghai Public Health Center and a leading AIDS expert. "These people suffer serious mental pressure while suspecting they have been infected with the HIV virus and compare their own symptoms with those of AIDS. However, they have received many tests and all negative. It is actually AIDS phobia," Lu said. According to the Hong Kong-based Oriental Daily News, at least six provincial regions on China's mainland reported patients with so-called negative AIDS and said the mysterious virus could spread through saliva and blood. Cases begun to appear in Hong…

First get your license. Then learn how to drive

Now it all makes sense...

Last night (after a gym work-out, I re-started my new, healthy life for the 2984698264th time yesterday I know, I know, such a clich!) I caught up with my old language partner from Suzhou who was in Shanghai for Qing Ming Jie. If you have followed this blog for a while you probably remember her: shes the one who learned English with Desperate Housewives, only ate apples in order to lose weight, and had a boyfriend who made her a home gym when she said she wanted to start exercising. Gosh, Ive missed her!

Since I left Suzhou she has gotten married and she and her hubby has bought a car.

-Great, is it a new car? I asked.

-Of course. In China, no one would buy an old car.

-Right (I always forget!). So do you drive every day to work now?

-No my husband drives. I have a license but I cannot drive.


-Yeah, I bought my license some years ago but I dont know how to drive.

-You BOUGHT your license?

-Yes! What you cannot buy a license in Sweden?

-Eh hell no you cannot!! You…

Record crowds view cherry blossom

Crowds in Gucun Park take advantage of the fine weather yesterday in Shanghai and the ongoing Qingming Festival to view cherry blossom. More than 100,000 visitors crowded into the park in Baoshan District to enjoy a Cherry Blossom Festival, which began last Wednesday in the city's biggest suburban park. This was the largest number of visitors in a day the park has handled since it opened. Its popularity forced Gucun Park Station on Metro Line 7 to close for 90 minutes from 4pm to restrict the number of passengers in the station. The 21-day festival features more than 10,000 cherry trees of 20 different varieties.

Kids with a heavy load

On Saturday, since our office does not follow the Qing Ming Jie holiday schedule, I was enjoying a day off and popped into All Days (convenience store) to get some ice creams for the pancakes that I was planning to make later (yeah, really made the most of my Saturday as you can hear. FYI: now on a no-pancake diet for the next 2 months it went a bit overboard). As I was lining up to pay, I noticed the cute, Chinese kids that were milling about some with huge backpacks and some dragging around mini suitcases with Mickey Mouse prints. Were they going on some kind of school trip?

Oh no they were not, I realized, when I 5 minutes later stepped out of the store and saw one of them being picked up by his grandpa on a scooter. They were just heading home after a normal day at school. Carrying such a load of heavy books, that they drag them around in mini suitcases rather than carrying them in backpacks. Just like me when I was a kid. Not.
These kids sure are carrying a heavy load around, not…

City in nuclear staff shortage

SHANGHAI is struggling to find enough nuclear professionals amid growing demand for clean power and the increasing use of radioactive materials in other fields. By 2015, the city will need to recruit 1,000 nuclear professionals a year, yet only 100 students majoring in nuclear science graduate annually, according to the Shanghai Nuclear Society, a social organization of nuclear experts. The group reiterated the importance of nuclear power in moving the country away from relying on burning polluting coal. Nuclear power is in the headlines at the moment as Japan struggles to stop radiation escaping from the stricken Dai-ichi plant in Fukushima, which was struck by a tsunami on March 11. "Nuclear energy is deemed as one of the most promising and cleanest sustainable power to replace coal in the country's energy strategy," said Xu Daoli, general secretary of the organization. China has 13 nuclear power stations in commercial operation, more than 20 under construction and wor…

Choose Shanghai's best villages

LOCALS are invited to help select the city's top 10 villages in terms of environmental and public amenities. The Shanghai Agricultural Commission has organized the competition, hoping that the results will provide guidance on where to travel in the suburbs. Some 25 candidate villages are scheduled to take part, and the public are asked to make their choice online or through newspapers. Experts will also be involved in the judging, with criteria including transport facilities and restaurants. The final results will be announced in the autumn, the ideal traveling season. Officials believe the competition will help attract more visitors to the villages and promote their agricultural produce.

Disneyland goes ahead

THE construction of Shanghai Disneyland is expected to begin on Friday, said an anonymous government official yesterday who is involved in the project. The agreement on the project was signed last November. The new theme park will be the first Disneyland on the Chinese mainland and the fourth outside the United States, after Paris, Tokyo and Hong Kong. The cost for the first phase of the project is expected to amount to 24.5 billion yuan (US$3.74 billion), Shanghai Mayor Han Zheng said on the sidelines of the annual parliamentary session in Beijing in early March. Earlier reports said that 116 hectares of land has been allocated for the Disneyland project in the Pudong New Area. Two Metro lines will converge at the area.

Festival fare

Qingtuan, or glutinous green dumplings, are sold at the city's famous Wangjiasha dim sum store yesterday. Local industrial and commercial authorities said yesterday about 10 percent of qingtuan tested in the city failed a quality inspection, including some time-honored brands, such as Wangjiasha and Xinya. The snack is popular around the Qingming Festival, which falls next Tuesday. The Shanghai Industrial and Commercial Administrative Bureau inspected 50 samples collected from local supermarkets and food stores. The products which failed, such as a box of Wangjiasha sweet-beanpaste-stuffed Qingtuan sold at the Shanghai No.1 Food Store, were found to contain colibacillus, which may cause vomiting and diarrhoea, said the bureau. Other brands, such as Xinya and Luyangcun, had the same problem. The products were removed from shelves, officials said.

China to build space observatory at South Pole

CHINA'S only icebreaker Xuelong (Snow Dragon) returned to its Shanghai base today after Chinese scientists completed a geographic survey on Dome A, the highest elevation in the South Pole. Officials from the Polar Research Institute of China said the scientists carried out a series of research on Antarctic marine system, the South Pole climate and astronomy, but choosing a location for an observatory was their main task. "Dome A is the best choice for an observatory concerning its location and environment," said Zeng Honghui from the institute. "Research found Dome A has the best sky view on earth. Good visibility is the deciding factor for setting up an astronomical telescope." He said the telescope installed in the Dome A observatory can function like a space telescope. Officials said the construction plan has been approved by the Scientific Committee for Antarctic Research and has passed an international environmental evaluation. Other countries and internat…

Xuelong completed study at South Pole

CHINESE scientists have completed a geographic survey on Dome A, the highest elevation in the South Pole, after China's only icebreaker returned to its Shanghai base today. officials from the Polar Research Institute of China said today Xuelong (Snow Dragon), China's only icebreaker, carried out a series of research on Antarctic marine system, the South Pole climate and astronomy. Choosing a location for the observatory was one of their crew's top tasks, the institute officials said. "Dome A is the best choice for an observatory concerning its location and environment," said Zeng Honghui from the institute. "Research found Dome A has the best sky view on earth. Good visibility is the deciding factor for setting up an astronomical telescope." He said the telescope installed in the Dome A observatory can function like a space telescope. Officials said the construction plan has been approved by the Scientific Committee for Antarctic Research and has passed…