Thursday 12 April 2007

Language Clean up in Beijing

Many blogs have posted pictures or references to interesting translations from Chinese to English that people come across. Interesting examples can be seen here, and I had some as well that unfortunately got lost in the transition to the new blogger version.

Since the Olympics in Beijing 2008 bring in a lot of work, the Beijing government decided to to improve this as well and started up a special program. THis is called the "Use Accurate English to Welcome the Olympics Public Bilingual Sign Standardization Drive."

As part of this program people can send in their observations which then will be taken care off. A few quotes from the website:

"Residents sent in a wide range of complaints," said Zhou Chen, an official at the programme's office.

For example, the "Racist Park" sign was spotted and posted online by a Canadian student named Eric.

"It suggests China hates other nationalities; and foreigners coming to China would feel uncomfortable," he said, adding: "I love China, please change it."

Jay Shen, from the United States, pointed out that the introduction to the Summer Palace says "three quarters are under water" instead of "three-quarters of the park is a water surface."

The website where people can report their findings is:

Interestingly enough....there is no English version of it........

Wednesday 4 April 2007

mainland tourist shopping tour scams

In the last months regularly messages popped up that mainland China tourists visiting Hong Kong were lead into shopping scams. They pay a low fare to visit Hong Kong by guided tour. Once here they are here, they get dragged along all sorts of shops to purchase goods.

Of course the tourguide will gets his\her commision from this.

In this article action and prompt follow up is demanded by the Shenzen tourist authority.

Interestingly enough, during the weekend 2 cases were high lighted on TV.
One could be a little dodgy, where the product either didn't meet clients expectations or indeed was sold something else then that was on the invoice.

Case 2 was more interesting. A person mentioned he was being ripped off by a jeweler, he bought a watch thinking it had diamonds on it. He showed a receipt and everything. So when the reporters went to contact the shop.... they said they have not had and dont have a watch that looks like that in their collection.
Now... this sounds dodgy, either the jeweler is putting up a story...or there is a new series of copycat events coming up. A new way of getting money, by pretending you have been sold fake goods and then get them exchanged for either real, or get your money back.

THat they are good in copying and coming up with creative business ideas can be read at Marc van der Chijs his blog about a joke with fake melrose pizza

UPDATE 08April07:

There have been some major activities to cut down on illegal practices. One jeweller has been raided by customs and excise officers and goods have been taken away for investigation.

People found guilty can expect up to 5 years in jail and 500K HKD fines according to a government website

No Spillage


Earlier this month I was in Macau with my family, and when visiting the mens room I noticed this picture above the urinoirs.

At first I though, hmm interesting hopefully it would be a bit more hygienic. However, the picture was supposed to be above the tap where you wash your hands afterwards to remind people to be more conservative.
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday 3 April 2007

The Great China Firewal

A lot of discussion was and is going around the great China firewall.
The wall that filters and blocks information of internet going into china.

A few people started up an initiative to allow others checking whether their site is accesible in China.

Concept is easy, you type in a URL, they route it to China where they let it access the net via a local server, then feedback the result.

Sunday 1 April 2007

Wong Kam Po wins Gold!

In the past I have helped out friends from the Netherlands who started and run the Marco Polo Cycling team. The team is the first China registered commercial team in their classification (they use all kinds of names for this).

Their goal is to bring European riders to Asia and other non cycling countries\regions. However, even more important is to bring riders from those areas to Europe. In the past they had a few guys over from Eritrea. In the last year they had many top chinese riders under their wings. Including Asian Champions.

Their approach on grooming new riders seems to be working as they are a cradle team for the Discovery team, which is famous for having Lance Armstrong as their main man in the past.

In the asian region they have been doing quite well, given their budget.

A strong rider that used to ride for the team is Wong Kam Po. Who has won pretty much everything once in the Asian region. And good for him, he has expanded his winning territory to Europe as well.

March 31, 2007
Patrick Ho congratulates cyclist Wong Kam-po

Secretary for Home Affairs Dr Patrick Ho has congratulated Wong Kam-po for winning the Union Cycliste Internationale Track Cycling World Championship's 15-kilometer scratch race at the Palma Arena on the Spanish island of Majorca.

"I am thrilled by Mr Wong continuously winning awards in major world events and would like to extend my heartfelt congratulations to him. Everyone one of us is proud of his outstanding performance," said Dr Ho.

For details of the event, click here.


Earlier this week i received an email from Oxfam that we raised enough money last year and will be awarded with another team entry for this years edition of TRAILWALKER.

I will sign up, altough not 100% convinced I will be doing the actual event. It is for a good cause, the event is good but takes a lot of preparation to get there. On the other side, I know I can do sub20hr over this 100KM cruel that little voice keeps on nagging me as well.

Oh well, lets see in the next weeks....

28 March 2007

Dear Team Leader

Oxfam Trailwalker 2007 - Special Team Category

Oxfam Trailwalker 2006 raised over HK$21 million! We are most grateful to you and your sponsors for supporting Oxfam Hong Kong!

As administration costs were covered by Principal Sponsor State Street Corporation and other contributing companies, the funds you raised will all go directly to support Oxfam’s various poverty alleviation and emergency relief projects in Africa and Asia, including Hong Kong and mainland China. You are most welcome to visit to know more about our work and how funds are used and monitored.

Are you ready for Oxfam Trailwalker 2007? Scheduled for 9-11 November, the arrangements are as follows:

Super Trailwalker Special Team Category Pledge Team Category Open Team Category
Team Number S01 - S50 0001 - 0300 0301 - 0470 0471-0520 0521 - 0740 0741 - 0990
Start Time 9 am 9 am 11 am 11 am 12:30 pm 2 pm

Team numbers 0001 - 0470 are allocated to the Special Team Category, comprising teams which raised HK$28,000 or above for Oxfam Trailwalker 2006 and teams from sponsoring and supporting companies. Team numbers 0521 - 0990 will be allocated to the Open Team Category by lottery, applications for which will be received from 16 May to 7 June. Teams which would commit to raise a minimum of HK$60,000 for Oxfam Trailwalker 2007, please contact Oxfam at or call 2520 2525.

We are pleased to welcome your team as a Special Team for Oxfam Trailwalker 2007 and have reserved you a team place. Please fill out the Response Form and send it back to us by 27 April to confirm your acceptance. We will have to open the place to other teams if we have not received your Response Form by then. As start times are allocated on a first-come first-served basis, please send in your completed form as soon as you can. Thank you for your cooperation and support with this.

Teams which raised over HK$50,000 will have the privilege to choose their lucky team number in 2007. If two or more teams choose the same number, the number will go to the team which raised the most donations.

To enhance efficiency and to save cost, we will inform the team leader by email to register online from
28 June to 12 July. If you prefer to use a Registration Form, please indicate this on the Response Form. We will send you a hard copy by post instead.

For any queries, please contact my colleague Cecilia Chow at twinfo at or call her at 3120 5210.

All the best and see you at Oxfam Trailwalker 2007!

Yours sincerely,

John Sayer
Director General
Oxfam Hong Kong

Safe Cycling Campaing in Hong Kong


Road safety
Safe cycling campaign launches
Hong Kong Police

Police figures show that there were 210 traffic accidents involving bicycles during the first two months of 2007, a decrease of 10% compared with the 220 casualties in the same period in 2006. Among these casualties, 193 cyclists were injured and one died.

The Police will organise a two-week campaign to promote safe cycling from April 1.

During the first week, Police officers will distribute publicity leaflets in areas frequented by cyclists, including railway stations, shops that use bicycles to deliver goods, cycling tracks and cycling black spots.

They will educate cyclists on their responsibilities on the road and the importance of complying with traffic regulations. Offenders will be given verbal warnings and motorists will also be reminded to pay attention to cyclists on the road.

Stringent enforcement action will be taken during the second week, from April 8 to 14.

Police said, once on the road, cyclists are obliged to obey all traffic laws which apply to drivers and are subject to the Road Traffic Ordinance. They should also watch out for other road users.

Quite an interesting campaign this is. I used to cycle regular on Hong Kong Island, Lantau as well as every now and then in New Territories. The article above assumes that the in the majority of cases the cyclists are the cause of accidents.

I don't have the actual statistics, but speaking from experience it would be more usefull to educate drivers of cars, buses, trucks etc. on how to deal with cyclists on the road. I can't count the number of times I had physical contact with cars on the road when they were taking over. (yes, the road was wide enough to fit both of us). An example I have had happening quite a few times is that cars stay behind you on a straight road... and take over at corners or other points with low visibility. Cutting you off, or taking over way to close are normal practices here...

A side note, in the article is mentioned they will be looking at the professional cyclists as well. It is quite normal to have cyclists as couriers, transporting goods like froozen meat, gas cylinders etc. Quite a number of those guys create their own little world whilst on the bike. Crossing over where it suits them, crossing red lights when it suits them, using tram lanes and the like. So, yes there it might be usefull to do a bit of a mind refresher.