The Twinkie Times

The life and times of a Chinese American. Born a Jersey boy, lived the expat life, attended boarding school (Lawrenceville), converted to a frat boy (Sigma Pi), got an MBA (Columbia), returned to China, and back to the East Coast now trying to carve out an identity and life as an Asian American dad (gulp) in the midst of a "tertial life crisis" ©

Thursday, March 15, 2012

charity: water

We have been making contributions to this great organization called charity: water for some time now and I was impressed with a recent email I received detailing the drilled well that our funds helped deliver in Ethiopia.  More information on this project can be found here.  Through the church we attended in Hoboken, 325 people in this small village now have access to fresh clean drinking water.

I have also pledged my next birthday to help bring clean water to people in need.  Please consider joining me:

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Thursday, March 08, 2012

Scare Yourself

So a childhood friend of mine just completed this very cool year-long project to do something scary everyday.  It was even featured on Yahoo:
Growing up, I spent many a weekend with Greg playing 'guns' and bothering our older sisters as they battled it out in the card game Spit.  Meanwhile our parents played Mahjong into the wee hours of the night.  He was the one who taught me to make a fake gunshot noise like 'blam' (as opposed to 'bang') which I thought was much cooler.

Congratulations Greg - what an adventure:


Thursday, March 01, 2012

Lucky Number

In the Chinese culture, 8 is probably the most auspicious number because it sounds similar to the word for 'generating wealth' or as I like to say, more colloquially, 'hit the motherload'.  We are now 8 days from our 8-month anniversary of arriving in Shanghai so I thought I would quickly provide an update.  On the opposite spectrum, 4 is the unluckiest number in China because it is a homonym for the word 'death'.  Most buildings do not have any floors with the number 4 in them and so even though I work on the 15th floor, there are actually only 12 levels below me.  It's quite amusing because the elevator actually flashes 1, 2, 3, 3a, 5, 6 . . . on my way to my desk.  I heard in Beijing they even stopped issuing any license plates containing poor unlucky number four.  Work has been quite busy lately so without much further ado, here are 18 interesting observations to date:

- You know you're in China when you have to wake up at 6:30 am on a Monday morning to watch the Superbowl.
- You know you're in China when KFC serves a Peking duck wrap (it's delicious!).
You know you're in China when a family of 5 can fit on 1 electric scooter.
- You know you're in China when going to the Gap is a big deal.
You know you're in China when everyone on the subway is talking (actually yelling) into their cell phones.
- You know you're in China when the Holiday Inn or Howard Johnson is actually really nice.
- You know you're in China when green grass is for looking at, not walking on.
- You know you're in China when they serve white fungus syrup for dessert at a Ritz Carlton brunch buffet.
....... when you start ordering toilet paper off Taobao (the Chinese equivalent of eBay + Amazon + FreshDirect + 
....... when the latest young female fashion trend is to sport big round plastic eyeglass frames with no lenses.
....... when 'No Smoking' signs are apparently invisible because nobody adheres to them.
....... when going to the movies costs two to three times more than Loews or AMC.
....... when some folks will blatantly gawk at you if you happen to be blonde.
....... when a license plate for a car can cost up to 50K USD and that's not including the car.
....... when the Tesco (a British export similar to a Target Greatland) has a whole aisle just for MSG.
....... when local public TV consists purely of variety shows, game shows, and historical dramas.
....... when the office is deserted at 12:01 pm because everyone is out to lunch.
- And finally, you know you're in China when all anyone can talk about is or Linsanity, oh wait, that's not just China, it's global!

In closing, I heard an interesting story from a fellow NBA fanatic that I met here.  He said that a Chinese girl who he works with was crying at her desk one day and so he asked her what was wrong.  She said "nothing, I am just so happy because Jeremy Lin said in an interview that the Diaoyu Islands belong to China".  The island group is located in the East China Sea, currently uninhabited, and their sovereignty has been disputed by Japan and China for decades.  Now I'm no history buff and I do not know who has rightful claim to these islands but I thought it was very interesting that someone would ask a ball player from Palo Alto this question and that anybody in China would actually take his opinion to mean anything.  From the savior of Madison Square Garden to the Peace Ambassador of East Asia?  I will fully admit that I am a big fan and he is incredibly fun to watch but I think he should stick to protecting the ball instead of foreign policy.  Go Knicks.

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