United Food

Food on United flights have always served as a good reminder that I am leaving Hong Kong. Per usual, they were awful but plentiful. I ate all four meals/snacks offered, not leaving anything on the plate. Not good times.

Back in Chicago now. Fittingly, it was snowing rather heavily (yes yes, by Hong Kong standards) when we landed. The plane swerved one way and the other... no biggie.

Yet another reminder that I am back in Chicago: we waited 30 minutes before the luggage came out. =)

Now... it's prepare for school and recruiting.



Just spend an night at Cheung Chau with a bunch of old friends. Still as fun as ever. Surprisingly survived the overnight stay without any sleep. And played bball at 645 am.

I shall miss Hong Kong when I go back to Chicago.


Back in Hong Kong

Back in Hong Kong after a one week trek to Beijing... I guess the move towards China is inevitable, and I might as well brace myself for this:

Polution: check.
Rudeness: check.
Traffic: check.
Good food: check.
Cheap everything: check.
Dynamic market place: check.



Phew... glad I don't have to worry about the 4Cs...!

This day to day pledge has failed miserably. I can only blame myself.

Beijing has been interesting so far. Say what you want about China, but this is definitely the world's most intriguing economic region. Even as a Chinese, I am absolutely blown away by the opportunities and the developments in Beijing and Shanghai. You hear a lot, but until you see it, you really don't realize the reality (great, my English has gone way South) of it!


Queen of the Rings

Her engagement ring covers her finger. Nice.

The ensuing discussion with a friend concluded that "we need to find gals who aren't just looking for rich people (RP) to marry" (we being the NRP and all)

The ensuing discussion from that ensuing discussion concluded that "limitations in social circle does not create limitations in choice of marriage"... or, in English, "Even though you hang out with RP only, you may still be 'able' to choose a NRP to marry"

And the hilarious part is my argument. Hey, I'm apparently learning from my MBA...
1. I am a NRP.
2. ABC is a RP and hangs out with mostly RP.
ABC will not reject me due to my NRP status.
4. I am the "worst" NRP
ABC knows.
Conclusion: There exists a chance where
ABC will date/marry a "worse" NRP.

So among our circle of friends, my friend and I came to the ultimate conclusion that the situation isn't that desperate, that not all the people we know from Boston date money... anyway, whatever.


Cold Weather Warning!

At 12C... or 56F...

...... it's Hong Kong, what can I say.

I saw the protesters on foot today. Rather amusing. One guy says WTO is worse than bird flu. The real scary part is that he believes it.

They are everywhere

It's supposed to be winter break, but I don't feel that way yet. Every day is something about recruiting, something about the Beijing Trek, something about HK Bank Week, something about school.

As usual, the HK media blasted the police for using too much force against WTO protestors... after blasting them for not doing enough to keep the peace. Thanks for reporting, guys.

On the bright side, the glue worked and our pavements have been kept in tact.


Once a day...

Sometimes it can be rather challenging to find something to post at 330am. I'm doing this because I pledged so.

Ah, pollution. I felt dizzy going out on the streets. Maybe this is why the economy is booming. KEEP THEM IN THE SHOPS!

WTO meetings are rolling around. Security is heightened. I hope my Korean classmates won't be mistaken for Korean protestors. The news says the Hong Kong police have GLUED the bricks on the pavements so the protestors cannot throw them at the police. Good tactic. Good tactic. Korean protestor leader (why are they getting a bad rap anyway? there are many more other protestors!) responds: since they glued the bricks, we will find another way to protest, maybe a way never used before. HMMMMM...


Post Finals

Well, if there's one golden lesson you learn from business school, it is this: you will feel guilty about any idle time. So what did I do the day after? Cover letters, recuiting emails, company research... these seem worse than classes themselves!

I'm finally heading back to Hong Kong. Looking forward to this break. Oh, and I'll try and make a post every day. Something simple that touched my soul. Here it is:

I watched Syriana last night. It was quite boring and disjointed, so I fell asleep every now and then. At the end of the movie, I was lost and had no idea what was going on. Anyway, while not feeling that good about spending $8.50 to take a nap, I wasn't feeling too bad. It was, after all, a nice nap. Funny thing is, EVERYBODY coming out of the theater was saying "when did you fall asleep/wake up?" haha.

Well, my immediate reaction was: wow, this is just like class...!



Done. $12000 well spent.


Shocking parallels...

In my kichen, there lies two bags of chip (one half consumed), Reese's Pieces, granola bars, and Chips Ahoy... you know what's up? (and if you don't, see my earlier post...)

It's GSB final week.

Guess what it reminds me of... none other than Hong Kong! There are shocking parallels here: both count for a substantial percentage of your final grade, both places administer difficult or impossible exams, both exams are designed to humble me, both succeed, both make me depressed... and both don't matter in the future.

One glaring difference: GSB has a curve and grade non-disclosure. I'm so glad those are the differences. At least I feel like I learned a lot of useful things... though the exams have certainly not reinforced that idea.


oh man oh man

Per usual, Picasa and Blogger don't work THAT well together. Two lost paragraphs. Oh well.

Finals are up. Monday Operations, Tuesday Accounting, Wednesday Regression, Thursday Microeconomics. Good times, as witnessed with this picture from our student film festival, are long gone.

Speaking of which, next quarter I should be tentatively taking: Tuesday Managing the Workplace, Wednesday Marketing Strategy, Thursday Competitive Strategy. Posted by Picasa


Score card

1. Applications to most, if not all, consulting firms - Nada
2. Beijing Trek - Some
3. Microeconomics cheat sheet for studying - Nada
4. Accounting cheat sheet for finals - Nada
5. Rest - Plenty

Well... I'd say I had a really good Thanksgiving.


Outlet shopping!

You know it's gonna be interesting when you wake up at 5 am for shopping. Thanksgiving morning, baby, it's all going crazy.

Fact 1: Be patient. After parking cars in Boston for years, I think I have that.
Fact 2: Be efficient. Business school student. HELLO!?
Fact 3: Avoid lines. I'm a guy, I don't need COACH that badly.
Fact 4: Be early. 5 am was early enough.

Giorgio Armani: guess who is inside? ASIANS! All of them. There were (I counted) 5 white people and one black person. Yup, the sales people! And you know what? Half the Asians were hauling their crying/whining babies and kids around. The other half? Zits! Kids with zits!


I had a game plan with what to buy, and I followed my game plan. Everything done by 10 am. Got my shoes, my socks, my sweater, and my towel. Problem is... my shopping companions were only half done. So I ate and I ate and I ate... in liue of Thanksgiving Dinner, I had Outlet Mall Food Court.


Weird Dream

This morning, I had a really weird dream with a lot of old friends from Hong Kong showing up at a restaurant. We were having a discussion on marriage and relationships. A girl (good friend of mine, who shall not be named) was speaking in desperation. Suddenly, the entire restaurant fell completely silent. In the dream, it was a very odd moment when everything went quiet. We looked at each other across the tables but nobody spoke.

Suddenly, I hear my phone ring in real life. I wake up and go answer it.

Isn't that weird? It was as if the ears heard the ring, told the brain to "shut the dream up," and then the brain let my ears function with the brain! Wait, does that even make sense? So odd. The human mind still works in mysterious ways!


Finally, a break!

Damn, it's been pretty much non-stop since August... here's what I've planned for this break:
1. Applications to most, if not all, consulting firms
2. Beijing Trek
3. Microeconomics cheat sheet for studying
4. Accounting cheat sheet for finals
5. Rest

In that order, sadly. There will be a recap next week.



For those of you who know me, you know my snack consumption patterns. For those of you who don't, here it is: I don't buy snacks and I don't buy soda. The reason is that if I buy it, I'll consume it in less than the intended time. Result: very unhealthy.

Okay, so why am I telling you this? Because yesterday, in a panic response to my increasing work load, I bought junk food to keep me company through my late night work:
Ritz Bits Peanut Butter
Lays BBQ Chips
Ridge Ruffles Sour Cream
Chips Ahoy Chuncky

I finished Lays BBQ Chips in one night. You see what business school does to you!?



Standing in line has a whole new meaning now. I was waiting for pizza at a school event and I couldn't help but think that this line creates valuable loss time for a lot of students. Furthermore, it was such a simple operations problem that could be solved by re-arranging the tables into two rows (two servers), thereby increasing the throughput and decreasing cycle time.

Please shoot me when you have a chance.


Following your heart

Time and again, I tell people to follow where their heart takes them. Everything will work out if you follow your heart. I still think it's true...

Except that time and again, I don't do it. I do something that I really don't want to do but did anyway due to various reasons (give face, peer pressure, premature promise, etc), and then suffer from it. Inevitably, I think back on why I suffered (well, it's not that bad... or pretty bad... anything from paying an extra $20 to failing a midterm to damaging a friendship) and I conclude that I should have followed my heart.

So... the next time I don't follow my heart and I suffer, I will detail the step-by-step process.


Sleep and Work

What is it about sleep and work?

Last night, I came back to home feeling absolutley exhausted. I had a few emails that I need to send out. I had a virtual factory to look after. I had a meeting to prepare for. I had this. I had that. Well... I chose to sleep. At about 11pm, I believe, I fell asleep on my sofa. I had a few chances where I woke up, contemplated about working, and decided otherwise. At 1am, I woke, walked past my desk (two MSN messages flashing), and went to my bed.

Only to wake up in extreme guilt this morning... then I started doing work. Emails. Done. Factory. Done. Meeting. Screw the meeting. This. Done. That. Done.

How ironic is it that I slept to escape work, only to wake in guilt to finish work? I tell you, business school does weird things to the human mind.


I am frustrated...

I am frustrated that each day proceeds without much purpose. I am frustrated that I am working hard but not working efficiently. I am frustrated that I am barely surviving school when I should be breezing through some subjects. I am frustrated that I am not learning as much as I want to at school. I am frustrated that there are only 24 hours in a day. 7 days in a week. I am frustrated that there are so many things I want to do that I cannot dedicate all my time to. I am frustrated that I am distracted easily. I am frustrated that I have time management problems. I am frustrated. I am frustrated.

On the bright side, I am apparently mastering the i-message from LEAD. I am not frustrated.


Butterfly and B-school

This is a picture I took in Belize...

Anyway, midterms are over. Back to presentations and group studies. I feel like the butterfly I saw in Belize. Always on the run, never stopping at one flower. Maybe even a little lost. What does a butterfly do? It smells and chases food? Is that it? Why this flower? Why every flower?

So far, I've had dinners/cocktails with Bain, BCG, Booz Allen, and McKinsey. Why every flower indeed.
Posted by Picasa


I wish

Belize, good times.

My first mid term in N years, not good times.

I wish we were still in Belize!Posted by Picasa


Oh Flowers

While skeptical about long distance orders of flowers... I think this one turned out pretty well! Posted by Picasa

Red and White

So, let's settle this once and for all. I AM A RED SOX FAN. PLEASE, no more White Sox questions Oh, you want proof? Here:

Game 1, World Series, White Sox vs Astros. I was at a bar with some GSBers. Here's what I did: I glanced at the TV when someone in the bar cheered. I watched the last two innings. And I ate a boat load of wings.

As I recall from last year, I never took my eyes off the TV for the Red Sox-Yankees series (Had to mention it, I feel good just thinking about it) and the World Series. No way.

Well, I'd like the White Sox to win, so my karma can continue. But that's where the puck stops. It's been a year since Red Sox won the World Championship. A YEAR!


Clarification on Free Beer

A third person asked me why I put the GSB's picture with a title of free beer. Here goes the story: on one fine afternoon, I sat in the Winter Garden doing homework for operations. And then I was offered some beer. AND I SAID NO THANKS! What has business school done to me!?Luckily...

After coming to my senses, I took the beer and continued on homework. Let me just say that operations homework became easier after the beer!



Man, this is getting ridiculous. I've got so much work lined up! Five classes, one project. Too bad can't really turn back time, so it's suck it up and grind it out. Recruiting season started and everybody is getting nervous. Perhaps I should be too!



Life Events

I sit in the car, and tears are coming to my eyes
I am driving alone on a quiet highway
I start the car
I get resume reviews from a classmate
We leave the restaurant
I say "Well, on the bright side, I did finish my homework today"
Someone tells the story of acquaintances catching planes of doom
Someone tells the story of acquaintances missing planes of doom
Someone tells the story of surviving the Asian Tsunami ordeal
Someone tells the story of going to work and therefore not surviving 911
Someone tells the story of missing work and therefore surviving 911
Someone tells the story of fleeing the World Trade Center
Someone tells the story of seeing people leap from the World Trade Center
We agree that 911 was one of the strangest days in our lives
Someone tells the story of selling a dot com business the day before 911
Someone tells the story of loosing a lot of money... by lack of luck
Someone tells the story of making a huge profit just in time... by luck
Someone tells the story of choosing the wrong telecommunication stock
Someone tells the story of losing $8K on a telecommunication stock
Someone tells the story of reading a "How to play Options" book and costing him big time
Food is finished
I do not tell my most traumatic life experience
I say my most traumatic life experience must be around 12
Someone says the most traumatic life experience happened between 28 and 30
Someone says the most traumatic life experience happened around early 30s
Food comes
Someone tells the story of living off credit cards because of debt
Someone tells the story of gambling on margins and losing his life savings
Someone tells the story of gambling on margins and losing $25K
Someone says that when recruiting season dies down, we will all become day traders
Someone says scandals will be prevalent by the end of the winter quarter.
More scandal stories. In all business schools.
Someone tells the story of relationship scandals in school. Gets everybody's attention.
We sit down at the table and make small talk.
I arrive at the restaurant..


Picture of Belize from the airplane! Posted by Picasa


Belize, Pissed, and Red Sox

Here's one picture from Belize. More willcome to my website if I:
1. Learn how to update my flash website
2. Get other pictures from my Belize buddies

Oh... I'm still pissed at Chicago in general. But looking on the bright side, the tow place was close to my home and very clean. I remember Boston tow places located in dangerous dumps with no maintenance whatsoever. I think the idea was that hopefully you will need a realignment by the time you retrieve your car.

Red Sox lost... went down in flames, really. it was a decent year to enjoy. A team that never was the same as last year, both in terms of character and ability.

Waterfalls (2 of Five Sisters) at Belize Resort Posted by Picasa


Murphy's Law

It all started with dinner at 930. I signed up for a U of C dinner party thing for $20. And then they served us with some take out Italian food. Anyway... the party was okay and I did meet some people. But $20!?

$10 cover charge for a bar!? I paid and stayed for 10 minutes. After a rum and coke, I was on the way out.

Drove to another bar. Parked. Had a beer. Back to my car. It's FREAKING gone! Towed.

$160 parking ticket.

$50 ticket.

I think I hate Chicago now.


Alan's Brithday

He'd be 24 now...

And I look forward to all the good and bad moments today. I'm so busy with business school these days. Funny how I can always find time to grief, but I can't find time to have fun. Isn't that one of the biggest ironies in life? We spend our lives seeking meaning and happiness, yet what our natural instincts focus only on sad events - the brain thinks (knows?) that that is the most important.

On ESPN, the program ran a special on a kid - a Notre Dame fan - who was dying from a brain tumor. The mother said she felt "so selfish for wanting him to live" because he "wanted to be with the angels." Perhaps one day I will reach that stage.


National Day!?

Well, what do you know... it's October 1st and nobody made a fuss in Chicago. National Day, baby! I almost didn't notice that it was October already!


My First Week at the GSB

Wow, I've been warned many times... this is what transpired in my first week of classes:

Thursday: wake at 6, school at 8, microeconomics class at 830, lunch at 1130, home at 430, failed package pick-up at 6, furniture pick-up at 630, dinner at 730, TNDC (Thursday Night Drinking Club) at 1000...

Friday: sleep at 1, wake at 8, package pick-up at 11, haircut at 12, school at 1, regression class at 130, LPF (Liquidity Preference Function) at 430, Regents Park at 7, killer card game at 930...

Saturday: wake at 8, school at 9, club presentations at 930, home at 3, TV fixed at 5, dinner in Chinatown at 730, Regents Park at 9, poker game at 10...

Sunday: second place in poker game at 230, home at 3, sleep at 330, wake at 11, football/baseball/homework/reading at 12, success with baseball and football... not much with the rest. Sleep at 11.

Monday: wake at 6, school at 8, operations class at 830, lunch at 12, regression homework at 1, accounting assignment at 3, study group for regression at 430, dinner at 8, home at 9, accounting assignment at 930, resume update at 11, application for BSG (Business Solution Group) at 12...

Tuesday: sleep at 1, wake at 6, school at 8, accounting class at 830, lunch at 12, LEAD assignment at 1, LEAD class at 130, resume update and application for BSG at 430, pub with LEAD classmates at 530, home at 730, microeconomics homework at 830, operations homework at 10...

Wednesday: sleep at 130, wake at 830, school at 10, study group for operations at 10, lunch at 12, study group for operations at 1230, study group for microeconomics at 300, home at 7, dinner at 830, study group for microeconomics at 1000...

Thursday: sleep at 1. And here ends my first week... way too much stuff going on with way too little time!


Almost over...

My first official week at the GSB is almost over. I will recap my week end of tonight... not looking good, that's all I can say!


Mid Autumn Festival Gathering Posted by Picasa

Well, after multiple bidding rounds, I got what I wanted. Well, almost. And hey, if you want some action: Monday morning Operations, Tuesday morning Accounting, Wednesday off, Thursday morning Microeconomics, and Friday afternoon Regression. Having some butterflies for my first class in... oh, I don't know, five years?


Better late than never...

Help Katrina victims here. So sad to see New Orleans in its current state. Kaleen and I had a lot of fun at the Big Easy. Maybe a bit too much fun. It's a fun city with the best live music you can find in the US.

Hurricane, ironically New Orleans' most famous drink Posted by Picasa


The Road to...

Railroad to Lhasa Posted by Picasa
This picture sort of reflects my sentiments for school right now: long, continuous, and an existing destination that I have yet to see. Today is the second to last day in orientation and school will start in a couple of days. I'm pretty sure the rails aren't going to be straight for me, but at least I can aspire for such a road and make it happen.


BID it!

Today at orientation, we all learnt about the UCBS, or Unnecessarily Complicated Bidding System. In a few days, I'll see if my understanding of the system works for my desired schedules and classes. I'm struggling a bit between 3 and 4 classes, but 4 seems to be the way since I (probably) don't have to worry about recruiting in the Fall quarter.

Anyway, still struggling with this bidding system.


Wedding Crasher...

Man, I've never laughed so hard in my life... okay, rephrase: I've haven't laughed so hard in my life for a long long time! Excellent movie except for the last 10 to 20 minutes when they ran out of jokes and made it a chick flick. But that's okay. Hilarious movie.

The theaters were showing Crash (Movie that explores racism) again. I love that movie. Absolutely positively love it. Go see it.

Off to White Sox game now. Yup, that's right: baseball games are part of orientation!


Back in Chicago

Just returned from a three day trip to Geneva Lake, Wisconsin for GSB's orientation. Fun trip, highlighted by a high ropes course and more alcohol consumption. There were a couple of team building activities as well, which I thought were extremely useful. Definitely worth another try. Let see, what did I learn: loud hot heads can still be a benefit.

Anyway, it's nice to be back in Chicago.



It's 5:30 am and I've already showered and ready to leave home. Well, it's only natural to ask "WHY ON EARTH ARE YOU UP SO EARLY!?" I ask myself too. There's a business school outdoor leadership thingy in Wisconsin that requires us to be at school by 6:00 am and then be bus-ed over to the Wisconsin. Argggggg.


2 in 1

Well... I tried to post yesterday and didn't realize I didn't publish it. Here goes again.



Yay, I stayed dry for two days. Hm, let me see, what was the difference...? No hanging out with business school students! haha.

On home improvement, I got myself a kitchen rolling cart for my rediculous cabinet-poor kitchen. I think I've also found my coffee table/foot rest from Jennifer Convertibles. No bookcase and media rack yet. No sofa either.


The Streak

Chicago is obviously treating me "well"... last night (Thursday) was my 13th consecutive drinking day/night. At this rate, I'll become an alcoholic before school even starts (Sept 26). I'm also going to be downing 40 shots a night (every week, I've added 2 drinks to my night) by the end of the quarter (10 weeks). Ah, the life of a business school student!

Not sure how long this is going to last. Some students already know about my "streak" and there's peer pressure that's mounting. You got to think, however, that it's got to end somehow! I was hungover at accounting class (and late) today. By the way, accounting is still boring even if you have the best instructor.

Accounting class will be over today. Orientation starts next week. Good times.


First class finally...

Not that I'm particularly looking forward to them, but it was nice to finally get a class under my belt. Harsh reality check though, as I had to wake up at 630am and take the train to school. So far so good... accounting maybe boring, but it's quite the necessary evil. I think I now have A = L + SE down and the credit debit situation. What I really don't get is the naming of line items... it seems like people just make them up. The flexibility of the so-called definitions are worrisome as well... but hey, without those flexibilities (and the evil corporate world that took advantage), I wouldn't have had such a nice job at the Analysis Group!


Back from Belize

Good week of vacation in Belize. Now waiting on accounting class on Monday. How fast things can go in a downward spiral!

The Belize trip included visits to Mayan ruins, cave tubing, wind surfing, and snorkeling. Loads of fun, plus I met some great people down there. Pictures will be on later with full descriptions at - which now has a new starting page that is subject to change!

I think I learnt more about U of Chicago and its people on this trip more than I ever did from the few trips I made down there. While not exactly looking forward to school, the chance of meeting 500 plus awesome individuals and learn from them (and hopefully them from me as well) is exciting. Tomorrow will be the first day in years when I am required to be at some place at some time for a class. Let's hope I survive.


Morning Viewing

Waiting for the RCN guy to come to my apartment to give me modern life (TV and internet, that is), I popped in the Red Sox World Series DVD. Ah, the joy of watching this over and over again and imagine that we (we as in the Boston Red Sox and yours truly) won over and over again. I would especially like to point to Kevin Millar in the pre-game sounds when he warned the Yankees about the importance of Game 4. In retrospect, Millaaaaah was quite the genius!

Oh, and the link points to my next possible DVD purchase: 35 hours of Red Sox material in 12 DVDs. Maybe, just MAYBE, I can watch them all in one go. Hopefully with Matt Volinsky, whose up and down in the office was a clear indication of how the Red Sox were doing.


Oh, the picture

It's a really cool picture. At first sight, I was thinking of Absolut Vodka ads. Then I thought about aliens arriving on Earth. I think my mom put it the best: seems like a lighted match/flame!
Picture taken by Ricky in NamTso Posted by Picasa

Not only have I almost moved into my new appartment, I also had time to do a little furniture shopping! I rearranged some furniture to (almost) complete my bedroom. Now all I need to do is do the living room.


Bed! Table! TV!

I can't stress how happy I am with all my stuff arriving today. Finally I can sleep on a bed.

I woke up at 9 to go talk to my neighbor about using the elevator. She has reserved it for the entire morning (9 to 12) for her moving out. My movers (yes, they are mine) told me that they would arrive around 11. So I needed to see if they would be finished by then and, if not, whether we can share the elevator since we're going in two different directions.

Anyway, no trouble at all. Moving out was done by 11 and my movers arrived at 12. All is now in the apartment. I spent the next few hours unpacking clothes and small stuff. Tonight I will try to get my entertainment system going. I also need to assemble the bed. I don't know what to do with my books. Probably will make a book case using bricks and wood later on. They really are last on my mind. Okay, I'm rambling... BED! YES!


Review on Time Traveler's Wife

I finally finished the book. It was rather long and not the most straight-forward reading. Anyway, I got the book from Kaleen right before I left for the airport. The girl sitting next to me on the plane was reading the exact same book. Except that she was on p318, and me on p1. She said it's a good book.

Now this is a completely guy thing to do, but I noticed the love story insofar as the logic of the events. Not to spoil the book for you, but when the writing is about time traveling, you wonder if the author worked out all the kink of time traveling. A great love story, yes. A great set up, stronger yes. I wonder if the story will unfurl as it is had our hero not been able to time travel. Did he make things happen? I keep scrutinizing the story up till the end so it wasn't much fun for me. Perhaps you should keep an open mind.

Anyway, deterministic world or free will? I've always been the proponent of determinism. Science rules all.


In town...!

Finally, I seem to have started my next phase of life! The flight from Hong Kong was uneventful unless you count the fact that the girl sitting next to me was reading the same book I'm reading! Time Traveler's Wife. Book review coming soon.

In other news, I found my new Chicago bank, which was acquired by my old Boston bank. So I don't have to do anything. All account info the same. Even got cash from the teller: I've lost my ATM as well as my cash envelope (probably still in Hong Kong). I found internet, cable TV, and phone through RCN. I found electricity.

My two problems: One, I was under the impression that movers would arrive on Aug 10. Turns out it would be Aug 20! After some bitter arguments, it became Aug 15. Internet will "arrive" Aug 15 as well. Two, I need an adaptor for my phone charger. It's on its last leg right now and that is not good.

One more minor problem: Cingular SIM card is temperamental.

Otherwise, life is good. I hope I can last a couple more days in Chicago in an empty home!


Website operational!

It's really hard work to start something like this, at least for me... I wonder how well I will be maintaining this in the future. My next trip will be Belize and I am already looking forward to adding a new section!


Well well well... finally!

Let's see... couple of finalys today:
1. I finally got around to finish pre-LEAD online assignments for the University of Chicago.
2. I finally cashed all my traveler's checks.
3. I finally registered and paid for my own website!

You could say that 3 is the only one that matters. YAY! Now I have to put information onto it... as well as suffer through the learning process of making a website. As for the domain name, I will let you know soon!


Prayer Wheels Posted by Picasa

Picture I took in Tibet. The week before, I was in Philippines visiting my bed-ridden grandmother. Since there wasn't much to do other than accompanying her to the hospital and eating lots of fresh food, I spent most of my free time writing my own website. That's right: with home page and travel page and all that good stuff. Right now, I'm learning how to use Picasa (I love google products. I'm not Ben, I swear) and Hello along with this Blog site. Very convenient so far.


It's been two years...

July 23rd, a day my family will always remember. We visited Alan this morning. I went back home with my parents after dropping James off for an mock SAT test. Anyway, a blog happened. I went back to emails and other writings that I wrote immediately after Alan's passing away. There were a lot. I suppose I recorded them then for a reason... I cannot remember what it was. Nonetheless, a blog is where I want them to be now. So, two years after Alan (AA2? As opposed to AD2005), the blog is born. A website should follow, and that is when I'd tell people about the blog.



At least I survived the Tibet trip... I will put the details of the trip on a website with all the pictures. Must do this before I leave Hong Kong!


I'm OFF!

Tibet, here I come...!



Just like any other day... I mean, what's the big deal anyway?
Met a few friends, had a few drinks, enjoy a good night.


Pics from SH

Museum of City Planning - which ironically does not have a curator, judging from the lack or organization in the building. Bits and pieces of information scattered around 5 floors. On their own they are okay... put them together? Disaster. It does, however, look extremely like the new Chicago GSB building!

Kaleen and I in front of LuXun's Former Residence. Lu was a revolutionary (I did not know that before) and quite the writer. His place has been kept well. I would highly recommend making the visit to the residence and the nearby memorial museum.



First of all, thank you Kwun for hosting me. Despite not spending much time together, I greatly apprecaiate the entire trip you planned for me! And since it's not a secret anymore, Kwun is heading to Chengdu in July to be the big boss of that port. She will have two cars and three servants - one of them a driver - and live in a big house with a Panda in the backyard. Okay, I made up the last part. OKAY, I made up all the parts except her moving to Chengdu. =)


Couple of Shanghai observations... if you HAVE to compare it to Hong Kong, here's my assessment. It's less tidy, less clean, less civilized, less orderly, less polite, less international, less expensive. It's also more progressive, more cultured (note: different from civilized!), more dynamic, more versatile. Definitely has a much higher ceiling - in almost everything except for language - than Hong Kong. Or at least that's how I subjectively feel. The less and more comparisons are quite objective! And as I've told Kwun many times, it's basically HK smashed on top by a hammer - everything is a little shorter and a little flatter. The appearance of the two cities - infrastructure and people - are extremely similar!

All in all, comparisons with Hong Kong are, I guess, unavoidable. From Shanghai's point of view, what city can they look up to? It has to be Hong Kong. Anyway, I shall not make any more comparisons. Here's my summery of Shanghai. I liked it a lot. I feel really sad that this is my first time in Shanghai. Had I been there 10 years ago, I could have witnessed the greatest change in a city in the shortest period of time! Although I did all the tourist stuff, I was quite impressed with how the government has done with those spots. Despite all tourists and locals being attracted to the same places, it still felt okay. In China, my experience is that whenever there is something good, the entire city will be there. Maybe that's the case in Shanghai, but I don't feel that way. Still a lot of people though.

Shanghai doesn't have much of a history. So its revolutionary history is rather contemporary. With all the foreigners roaming the city and all commercial/tourist activities kissing up to them, it does indeed still have the 1930s Shanghai Tang feel to it. Sad? Or not? I don't know.

Ooops, running out of gas already. Maybe should do day-by-day trip description... until next time! Oh, I highly recommend visiting former houses of Lu Xun and Sun Chong Shan. Gives me shivers just thinking about what great minds they possessed! Gives me even more shivers on how little I have accomplished with my life at 25. OKAY, 26!


Crash (Movie)

While I've seen quite a few movies lately due to my lack of busy time, I have only seen one worthy movie: Crash. As such, I will have a short paragraph dedicated to it.

The premise of Crash is very simple: racial discrimination could be what it looks like but could be not what it looks like. You know, I can't even really type about it because the movie is such a simple one. Go see it. I highly highly highly recommend it. It's written by the person who wrote "Million Dollar Baby," except that this script makes much more sense. It's an ensemble cast which means not one character becomes fully developed. Usually, I feel very unsatisfactory with this type of movie - characters played by good actors but never have the moment to really shine. But in Crash, I was very happy with what little time each character was given.

Go see it. While I can talk about racial discrimination all day in an email and bore you to death, seeing the movie is a much more powerful tool. I guess we discriminate against many people all the time... with or without reason. The key is how we deal with it when such circumstance actually happens.

Men are from Mars

"Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus"
This book is a gift from Kaleen... presumably to tell me that I need to learn more about her and the female animal in general. I found it to be the pinnacle of irony!haha. In the first few pages, the books says "men and women are different... men don't like to read self improvement books and believe it is a waste of time." I almost wanted to just stop there. haha. A few chapters later, it indicates that "Men do not like to be criticized directly." Instead, the women should "use less direct methods to criticize men." At this point, I'm flipping over my stomach and calling Kaleen, accusing her of using a less direct way to directly criticize me. Anyway, I then found that I did the wrong thing because the book says "women criticize became they love their men; any brush back would be viewed as unloving." Man, I am totally stuck.

Anyway... would I recommend the book? Yes and No. You can guess what's the No? NO TO MEN! Enjoy the read. A load of bull crap but could be funny if you can "apply" many of the warnings/suggestions to your own relationship.

For example, when Kaleen asks if I know my directions to xyz, I say "the book you gave me to criticize me indicats that you should not ask me if I know the directions. That implies that you do not trust me and that would really upset me. Instead, you should have said 'I want to get to xyz on time.' If you said that, according to the book, I will take it on as a challenge to not get lost and get you to your destination in time no matter what it takes. I might even look at a map because I don't want to disappoint you." At this point, she is rolling her eyes and don't ask anymore.

Good stuff.


Goodbye, Boston

Remember I once said that waking up to inspiring emails is the best way to wake the brain up? Still true, still true.

I've spend 10 years in New England and 8 years in Boston. Strangely, I don't feel too attached to either place. I will forever be grateful for my experiences at Kent School. If you remember, I was quite a wreck in SPCC. Kent School set me straight. Sort of rediscovered why I should study hard and the fact that studying can be fun. Tufts was an easy four years where minimal effort was rewarded with maximum grades. Made a lot of friends. Turns out that most of them would be just that: friends. I thought I made a lot of good friends. But as people came and people go, good friends became friends became acquaintances.

Carrie Lee, a good friend of mine at Tufts, left Boston after a year working for Arthur Anderson and never looked back. Yvonne Tung, occasional email. Karen Lau, another good friend, kept in good contact and I hope to visit her soon in DC. Bruce Kessler/Won Lee/Anthony Tesssler, good friends for a long time. Mike Leung, only because I am in Chicago now.

Ah, the list goes on. Even Vincci, whom I've seen so little since she came to Boston. I've honestly spoken to her voicemail more. And yet, this all means nothing. Without contact, it is my belief that very very very very very little parts of the friendship is dropped. With contact, it doesn't mean any friendship is strengthened. I guess due to this mentality, I stay in contact with people but don't really think much of it. So what does leaving Boston mean to me? Right now? Absolutely nothing. Maybe when I start a new life in Chicago, the first time I get lost on the streets and take the wrong train, I will note that I am no longer in Boston, a city that I know inside out!

So. Bye bye Boston. Analysis Group, by the way, deserves it's own paragraph. Short, I promise: if it weren't for the 4 years of working experience, Boston would be much more forgettable! Analysis Group is a great company - I suppose you all know this by now - they take care of their employees with faith and expect the employees to do the same to the company. Of course, this model doesn't exactly work out perfectly. You'll certainly have people who work 9 to 5 and call it a day. I think AG knows but doesn't care. As long as there's a percentage of people who are grateful and put in the extra mile of work, the firm will ride that effort into profitability. People - that is the most important ingredient in businesses.

Anyway... the last advice I got from my peers: don't underestimate yourself.


What news source do you read in Hong Kong and China? Do you just read the newspaper? Just internet? Chinese? English? I ask because living in the "free and democratic" nation of America, it is almost comical to read news from both sides. On one hand, I have the free press of CNN, NY Times, WSJ, and so on... on the other hand I read

The "free" media spends about 70% of the press discussing the demonstrations and how demonstrations work in China, mostly implying that it is state-controlled. The rest of the coverage turns to the cause of the problem and indicate that the demonstration "was triggered in part by a new Japanese history book that PROTESTORS SAY fails to admit the extent of Japan's World War II atrocities." At this point, I don't even have to turn to MingPao to see the other side of the issue... I believe my own gut feeling: that Japan needs to shed those rightists and hawks and actually feel sorry about what it has done to not only Chinese, but mankind. Most of the Japanese I've met in the US are really nice people. Most of them don't talk about WWII, but every now and then you see the remorse they have and the extra effort they take to say what we did was so very wrong. Anyway, my point is that I am not anti-Japanese... I am anti-Japanese hawks... actually, you can even narrow that to non-apologetic hawks (I wonder if any are apologetic...).

Oh, and add one more thing: I am anti-one-sided-non-objective media.

More food for thought: I'd like to see the Chinese history text books and what those say about 1. Tibet, 2. Great Leap Forward, 3. June Forth, 4. The Nationalists, etc etc. Ah, the IRONY!

Some of my personal feelings. Being Chinese, it's impossible to ignore what has been happening to Chinese in the last 200 years. In particular, Nanjing Massacre, Great Leap Forward, and June Forth rank as the three worse things that's happened: one was a by-product, the other two caused by man. Should the communist party apologize their
errorenous judgement in the Great Leap Forward? I think they need to (and have) admitted error. The other two events: I think since a human decision was involved, they need to admit and apologize.

And change. Like the Germans. So remarkable... is this a fundamental difference between the West and the East...!?


Predictably, I wasn't admitted to Harvard and Stanford... tough choice between MIT and Chicago then!


I got admitted to University of Chicago GSB... just yesterday I was
almost sure I was going to MIT. How life changes within a phone call!

Random thoughts:
Sometimes, no choice is a good choice.
Human mind is funny, I've been convincing myself that MIT is the best
possible situation with the best fitting program for me. Now it's
trying to convince me anything away from Boston trumps MIT.
I can watch the Bulls play ball!
The Bulls!

I have a weird vibe from the people I've met at Chicago...


Somethings never change...

I'm almost accepted that I will be spending another two years in Boston, going to MIT Sloan. No complaints, obviously, but just slightly disappointed that I couldn't go to sunny SF.

Anyway, met up with Ben Luk at his hotel two days ago to transport him to McWing's home. Our first conversation. Some things never change:

Me: Dim ah, lei?
Ben: noise
Me: Mut yeh wah?
Ben: noise
Me: Can applicants even understand you?
Ben: Yes.
Me: Really...?
Ben: Diu. Noise.
Me: Mut yeh wah?


Reality: I've been working on creating a table for our clients lately... the numbers are hard to get so I've been working a lot in the office to get them. Anyway, I found a short cut to the problem and did it.

Dream: Walking by the CEO's office, I overheard my boss talking with the CEO, basically indicating that Eric seemed to have use some shortcuts that were wrong. The tables are out and the clients are pissed. I panic. I FLED to the top floor of the building, hiding in a shaded corner. Somehow, our HR person was able to track me down and bring me back down to the office, where I meet with the CEO, my boss, and a bunch of analysts in a meeting room. The CEO fired me, said I was careless and wrong, and then indicated that she would retract her recommendation for MIT and make sure I don't get into any school. I cry and I beg for forgiveness.

Reality: I woke up, sweating profusely and obviously stressed out. At 5 am.

Damn work.


A series of unfortunate events

More MBA news. I sent in "extra material" to Chicago and they decided to interview me (after refusing to do so the last 4 months!). Still waiting for Stanford, though chances are smaller as time passes.

I visited MIT last weekend. Basically it's the school's sales pitch to us, so they bring out the best professors, the best speakers, the best students and try and wow us. On the other hand, there's also the people who attended the event, my potential future classmates. Obviously a very impressive list of young people. I wonder if thinking everybody else is so much smarter than myself a common phenomenon for all people? I don't think my work requires a lot of intelligence, and I defintely know that I'm not very smart (see A-Math results from HK, haha!)... but somehow people at MIT think I'm smart and my job is cool. Meanwhile, I think they are very very smart and I'm just lucky to be there with them. It was a weird feeling.

Some after comments on MIT. It's obviously a good school... but it also impressed me in other ways. The people are great. All very down to earth and adventurous. Numerous activities for students to keep them busy. Generally, although I am bored with Boston, MIT will make staying in the city a little less painful. Despite being in Boston, going to business school, I think, would give you a completely different perspective on the city.

You know, at first I wanted to talk about bad things, but now I don't anymore. In short: report due on Tuesday, so I planned to move my apartment on Wed. (New address, by the way: 90 Summer St Apt 2, Somerville, MA 02143. Same as McWings) Boss said everything is fine, so I didn't even plan to work that much. Friday night, stuff blow up and I have to come in on Sunday (Saturday I was at MIT). Got sick on Sunday (from MIT, I think). Damn, this isn't short! All day Monday working franctically. Tuesday come in at 7am, report not going out, delayed a day. Work all day Tuesday. I STILL HAVEN'T PACKED MY APT! All night working. 3am, got home, pack some more, 6:30am back in office for meeting. 12pm I absolutely had to leave to office to move apt. 6 pm done. back to work till 9 pm. report delayed again. back to
new apartment to unpack till 12am. got in this morning at 8am to continue finished up the report. It's out now. I think. Hence I can email.


If you ask me, I think Dan Brown (the author) and Da Vinci Code is overrated. His earlier book Angels and Demons follow the same pattern. Nonetheless, a nice and quick read that will bring you some reading pleasure and will not disappoint. Overrated though.

Remember the first John Grisham book, The Firm? Pretty good book. Then you read his next book (The Chamber, A Time to Kill, etc etc) and you find a pattern: more of the same.

Anyway, since being admitted to MIT, strange things have happened:
1. less work, less desire to work
2. way too much free time
3. notice people around me
4. notice things around me
5. more time to think about family
6. more time to think about Alan especially
7. reflections on my life and life in general

Just weird.


My week

Is very good.

I just got into MIT Sloan Business School. They called me this morning. Of course the first reaction is disbelief... then I remembered McWing's episode on how she though others were playing jokes on her by calling her and telling her she got into Harvard Graduate School of Design. No joke here. I recognized the MIT phonenumber and braced for impact!

I skied last weekend, all 3 days. Awesome ski conditions. I think Iimproved slightly.

Tonight I play basketball.

Like I said. My week is very good.



As my applications draw to a close, I feel like a free man. Some movies that I have been able to see while squeezing all sorts of minutes out of my schedule. And some other thoughts. In sequence:

A truly phenomenal movie. Don't watch it with a wife, girlfriend, or date. Just don't. I just noticed that I have to mention all three stages now...! Anyway, the story is incredible. For those who liked "12 Nights," "Closer" would be the more realistic and dark version of the movie. Good performances all around and good story. If it weren't for another movie I just saw, I'd say it is the best. Without spoiling the movie for those who haven't seen it (You can't really spoil it anyway), the movie just talks about deception and lies in a relationship. And love and trust. Human beings are very simple and non-sophisticated animals, yet we are able to make even the most simple situation complicated.

Kung Fu
A masterpiece for Chow Sing Chi. In terms of special effects. Otherwise, it is a movie made for the China market: simple simple plot, a few funny spots, a lot of ooohs and aaaahs. I'd recommend it. But with caution.

Meet the Fockers
Funniest movie I've seen all year (mind you, I saw it in 2004). Once again proving that good actors can make good movies. Dustin Hoffman is hilarious. Always liked him.

Very good movie as well. I guess independent films should have higher standards, but I'll still rate it high. Better than "Closer." Gabriel, this may be too late, but it's a movie about a man who is about to get married and a man who cannot let go of his divorce. mmm. Don't see it with a wife, girlfriend, or date. Maybe not the best idea... if you like wine this is a great movie. if you don't, there's a great lesson to be learned. Kaleen didn't like the hero in the movie. I sympathize with him a lot. There are so many things that add up in a person's life (wine) that you just have to be very careful in dealing with it. If not, you spoil the person (wine) in its peak.

Other insights...
Watched a few previews before watching "Sideways," including Million (british movie), Rwanda Hotel (independent film). Looked extremely good. Made me think about why Hollywood movies (such as Fockers) are so mindless and useless in the world. The films made outside of the States are so much more well made and well thought out. It's amazing and extremely sad that Hollywood is where the money is. Perhaps it is just the market of USA that makes money, not the idea of Hollywood? Or is it true that you have to make your money through dumb ideas that appeal to millions?

More on level of audience - Asia style.

China Chinese/Thai/SE Asia - unsophisticated, looking for entertainment, no plot twists, simple and straight forward, fast pace, demand brandnames

Korea - unsophisticated, entertainment, some plot twists, simple story, same point over and over again, slower pace, demand brandnames, will tolerate with good entertainment.

Japan/Hong Kong - somewhat sophisticated, entertainment, plot twists, diversity, different paces, brandname important, but movie more important.

Independent film: sophisticated, twists, diversity, paces, no brandname, maybe entertaining, whatever the director likes.

Somehow, I am depressed.