Happy Thanksgiving!

Law.com still won’t take a break this holiday (good for them) – posting this article on Justice O’Connor’s speech on judicial independence, and on the ABA and studies on appellate judges.

Today’s NY Times editorial – great thoughts:

We often find it hard to be as thankful as we should be these days. For so many Americans, it is no longer a question of having too little or having enough. It’s the difference between having too much and having way, way too much.

It is too easy to forget, amid this abundance, that all across America a different kind of Great Depression is still going on. The old stories would have been told very differently – if they were told at all – if they had been tales of growing up poor in the midst of wealth. There was no shame in the collective poverty of the Great Depression. There is no shame in the poverty Americans suffer today. The shame adheres to those who do nothing to change it.

Perhaps it isn’t necessary to have gone hungry in order to be thankful for eating well. In a land of economic entitlement, gratitude may be almost too old-fashioned to sustain for more than this one day. But then there is something to be said for an old-fashioned holiday like this one. For a moment, we grasp how rich we are, how close we feel to the ones around us, and we give thanks before it all seems merely normal again.

Be thankful for what you have; health, family, etc. Wish for peace on earth.

The mother of all tech goodies – Hilon IT Mall

Hilon IT Mall….

And I thought Malaysia’s Sungei Wang/Plaza Loh Yat/BB Plaza was good at it but Hah! Hilon the original in Beijing. 10 floors of just tech goods, from laptops, pc parts, PCs, office equipment, mp3 players, Apple, Ipods, digital cameras, you name it. The guys are aggressive pitching their wares. Have to be careful though, some are just bad fakes but look real (gee, haven’t we heard this before)? I was checking out the USB 2.0 portable slim hard drives and they guy was saying not to worry because his goods were real. We could call the Samsung or Hitachi number to verify the serial numbers on the HDs to make sure they were legit !My friend bought a webcam so he could communicate with his wife in NYC and allow his wife to see her daughters in Beijing.

I also did a drive through around Zhongguancun central where Hilon Mall is located along the west side of Zhongguancun near a lot of the universities, Peking University and Qinghua University. Then drove all the way east again where I’m staying with my friend. This area is known as the foreigner enclave and it’s got some of the best stuff around. of course security is good too. Private guards posted all around who will salute you when you enter and leave the compounds… stuff like that.

I’m about 1 block (1 Beijing block is at least one NYC avenue block in the east-west direction) from the Canadian Embassy and 4 blocks from the US Embassy. Western food is good too – bread just like in the US and the Chinese made jams also like Smuckers.

China has come a long way baby.

Warm day!

Had some internet problems with my new Asus laptop. Missing network controller seems to not allow me to use a regular RJ45 line to plug into the internet. So I was kinda down, borrowing terminals here and there from my friend’s company dealing with entrepreneur startups in China.

Past couple of days was warm, but the winter dryness is killing me. Used up most of my small hotel lotions I pack with me and had to buy chapstick, Chinese style which costs about USD 4 :-0. Been sampling the eats and boy I haven’t been disappointed. Other than being a bit on the salty side, just delicious. Cheap but not so for the local people. Folks are still poor where the average salary for new grads – 3 yr experienced people is about 1500-2500 RMB. Dinner for two could cost us about 100 RMB. The average Beijing rental is about 1000 RMB. This evening was invited to eat at a Sichuan place near An Ding Men MRT station, Beijing. Great stuff and was literally stuffed. At the begining of my trip I weighed a svelte 95kg but since then have gained about 2 kg.

Interesting thing about the taxis in Beijing. It’s a fleet of them that would crush the yellow cabbies of NYC. They run it like the NYC medallion system but they don’t allow individual owners. The other neat thing is that they’re easier recognizable in various ‘colors’
– there’s the all red Citroen fleet which is older. The cabs usually have a metal interior cab around the cab driver.
– there’s the local sketchy looking all-red Xiali which looks really beat up.
– there’s the all baby blue Citroen fleet
– there’s the Elantras
– there’s the Jettas

The last two have combinations of yellow +
a) maroon
b) purple
c) white (rare)
d) brown
e) blue
f) green

And the cars on the road are new and of the expensive kind. Mostly VWs but the Japanese and the Hyundais’ are popular as well. Everyone in Beijing wants a car.

Got two more meetings tomorrow and then call it a trip. Unfortunately no chance for sightseeing :-(.

ps- Happy Thanksgiving to all my friends. And I thank God for all his continued blessings.