Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Evil Shanghai Markets

After 3 weeks of heading to the markets to do some last minute shopping, I have come to the conclusion that in Shanghai they are certainly evil. Thanks to the foreigner’s the prices even after bargaining are becoming a bit steep. For example, I went to one lady at a fake bag market and I have to say she has some really nice designer bags. Most of them are made with real leather but at a hefty price of $100! For me, that is a bit steep, but for others that take pride in their bag collections in might be OK. I just couldn’t bare to splurge at her shop.

The whole market experience is a hoot within itself. You have shopkeepers that have mastered a couple of English words including: HELLO LADY, JUST HAVE A
LOOK-A (the “a” needs to be placed on the end), or FRIEND COME IN, WATCH, BAG, DVD. As they are saying this they can start to pull on your arm or move into a defensive position blocking your walking path. It is also literally a shouting match between shopkeepers.

So with all of this in mind, I have to say that shopping a local Chinese shops is heaps better than the foreigner’s fake bag market. At least you walk out with some pretty good bags and no headache. It is just knowing the right friends to ask that know those shops.

Gift Giving

Many Westerners are always perplexed on what, how, and when to give gifts in China. I just want to share with you…it’s still a mystery to me. All I know is that the Chinese basically are expert gift givers. There is usually a deeper meaning, even if it is a simple pen. My remaining week in China I was showered with many random gifts. My students, coworkers, company, and even friends found a way to surprise me. I received famous cookies for the Chinese city of Tianjin, a symbolic Chinese calligraphy painting, a Beijing opera mask letter opener, a Mickey necklace (too funny) and framed photos of a department trip I took last week. Craziness! Glad I bought an extra suitcase to lug everything back to the UK. When each person handed me the gift they had a good explanation for the gift, more than just a simple “Thanks.” I have to give the Chinese a big clap on this one!

Sino-Style Training

Training classes at a Chinese company can take many shapes and forms. Being one of the only foreigners, they started me teaching an Advanced English Class, but what I found is that many of the students are more interested about other cultures and communicating with Westerners. They can certainly speak English, however maybe a bit shy. So I decided the best thing was to start a “club.” Actually my company has many different types of clubs: photography, English, even Cheerleading (which I think is just to go and watch sports matches)…so why not add the International Culture Club?!
I only wish I had more time because I started a small set of workshops called Globalize Yourself. My first class was an Introduction to Wines. The whole concept of drinking good wines is quite foreign to the Chinese. They have a particular taste for rice wine and another soy sauce tasting, Yellow wine, but really have no clue about international wines, how to drink them, where to buy them. So I felt have a small lesson and a tasting and keep it simple. About 10 people dared to come to the class and we had a bit of a laugh together. They tried their hand at pouring and when it came to tasting the look on their faces was stellar. I think they found that with time an acquired taste will develop, but now they want fruity and sweet. I just told them to stay away from China’s own Great Wall wine!

Another training that went over well was Western food and International music. I decided to base it around the holiday season and brought in some Thanksgiving favorites: stuffing, roasted pumpkin soup, and pumpkin pie (the Chinese frozen version, which was quite good). They also learned about some quirky things such as how many Americans go overboard decorating their houses, probably eat too much food which results in weight gain, and that we name each of Santa’s reindeer..and one of them Rudolph has a shiny red nose. Yup, these kinds of things sound really funny to a country that does not believe in religion really.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Sundays: The Unofficial Pajama Party

Just an local community really has a pajama party on Sundays. It is OK to stroll out in your bathrobe and slippers just to get a breath of fresh air, walk the dog, go to the shop, etc. No worries! Join in and you will feel relaxi taxi.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Soy Eggs

You would think that these two words couldnt be used in the same sentence, but they are really some of Chinese people’s favorite foods. Although, when I see people eating hard boiled eggs boiled in soy sauce I question how they can possible do it. Finally I had a taste and it is quite good. Although, walking past the boiling pots filled with soy eggs on the streets aren't too appetizing.

Another mention on the egg front.... Soy Eggs are given as small gifts after a baby is born. It has been a big part of tradition and I have been told that historically eggs were hard to come by and prized when eaten. Personally, I thought that by giving an egg to all of your friends the Chinese are really trying to promote fertility...NO WONDER WHY THERE IS A PROBLEM WITH OVER-POPULATION. I think there is a secret campaign going.

Retirement Age

I was given a bit of a shock today after I learned that retirement age for females is 50 in China! For males it is age 60. Now I can see why so many new mothers already have easy access to help. “Lightbulb moment”

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Translation Tools

Translation tools from Chinese to English (vice versus) are still not really up to par. This is a recent translation performed from an email sent by the Admin department. The emails are all in Chinese and sometimes I use the translation tool to decipher. Let's have a look.

Dear All:

- Basically this email talks about the mandatory medical inspection which took place. It is required by law for employees to get the periodic health check.
An attachment to the email outlined the specific inspections taking place.

Ⅰ 常规
A 内科 1)心律 2)杂音 3)锁骨上淋巴结 4)腹部 5)心率
6)血压 7)神经系统 8)肺 9)肝 10)脾
B 外科 1)甲状腺 2)颈 3)淋巴结 4)疝 5)脊柱 6)四肢 7)肛门检查
8)外生殖器 9)前列腺 10)皮肤 11)双乳
C 眼科 1)眼底检查 2)眼脸 3)结膜 4)角膜 5)晶状体 6)玻璃体
D 五官科 1)耳(左、右) 2)鼻 3)咽 4)鼻咽 5)扁桃体 6)喉
Ⅱ 妇科
1)外阴 2)阴道 3)宫颈 4)宫体 5)化验:滴虫、霉菌、白带常规、宫颈防癌涂片
Ⅲ 心电图1)心律失常 2)心肌梗塞 3)心肌炎 4)心肌病 5)冠心病 6)心包炎
Ⅳ B超1)肝 2)胆 3)胰 4)脾 5)双肾
Ⅴ 血液生化
1) 尿素(Bu) 肾功能检测标志
2) 肌肝(Cr) 肾功能检测标志
3) 表面抗原(HBsAg)如检查结果呈阳性,免费加查二对半(新检查方法)
4) 肝功能(ALT) r-GT 慢性肝炎诊断指标
5) 血糖(Glu)
6) 胆固醇(Tcho)
7) 甘油三脂(T.C)
8) 血常规
9) 甲胎蛋白 肝肿瘤检测标志
10) 尿酸
11) 尿常规
Ⅵ X光胸片

Now onto the translation...

Medical projects Details
I conventional
A medical
1) rhythm
2) murmur
3) supraclavicular lymph node
4) abdominal
5) HR
6) Blood Pressure
7) nervous system
8) lung
9) hepatic
10) Spleen

B surgery
1) Thyroid
2) carotid
3) lymph node
4) hernia
5) spinal
6) limbs
7) anal inspection - I wonder what this is??!
8) genitalia
9) prostate
10) Skin

C Eye

1) fundus examination
2) eyes Face
3) conjunctival
4) corneal
5) lens
6) vitreous

D facial features
1) ears (left and right)
2) Nasal
3) pharyngeal
4) nasopharynx
5) tonsil
6) jets

Ⅱ gynecological
1) genital 2) Vaginal 3) Cervical 4) Palace 5) Laboratory: Trichomonas, Streptomyces, Leucorrhea conventional, cervical cancer prevention smear

Ⅲ ECG 1) arrhythmia 2) myocardial infarction 3) myocarditis 4) cardiomyopathy 5) CHD 6) pericarditis
IV B-1) Liver 2) bile 3) Pancreatic 4) spleen 5) renal

Ⅴ blood biochemical
1) urea (Bu) detected signs of renal function
2) muscle liver (Cr) detected signs of renal function
3) surface antigen (HBsAg) in the case of positive results, two pairs of free check-plus (the new method)
4) liver function (ALT) r-GT indicators of chronic hepatitis diagnosis
5) glucose (Glu)
6) cholesterol (Tcho)
7) triglyceride (T.C)
8) blood
9) AFP liver tumors detected signs
10) uric acid
11) urine routine
X-ray chest film Ⅵ