My thoughts on Venezuela’s likely censorship of the internet

It looks like Venezuela is following China’s example as Chavez is likely to impose control over the internet. I have written on the subject at my blog and on how Hong Kong, notwithstanding being part of China, has probably the freeest press in the world. Read about it at my blog at Weebly.com

指桑骂槐 Pointing at the mulberry tree but cursing the locust tree

As I said before, I will be writing more at my blog at Weebly. I am putting my blog here and my 163.com blog together into one and hope that both sets of my friends, Chinese and foreigners, can have more interactions. The reason I moved my blog to Weebly is that it is accessible in China, while WordPress was blocked, on and off. Needless to say. I do not like the idea of internet censorship. I wrote about it at Weebly. One of my friends shared my view and said that what the authorities doing was 自欺欺人 (cheating yourself and cheating others) and asked me to write about this idiom. Of course, I don’t want to do that. I don’t want to annoy the authorities and get myself into trouble. I don’t want to move my blog once more time. The worst case scenario is that Weebly would end up like WordPress.

I know my fellow Chinese friend, like me, love our country, but some of us just do not agree with everything that it does and like to criticise it out of our love of the country. Learning from ancient Chinese wisdom, I think a good way to do so without getting into trouble is using one of the famous “smart ass strategies” dating back to 500 AD 指桑骂槐.  Learn more about this  by clicking the link below. For those want to learn about this Chinese idiom come visit me there too.

http://bzin2.weebly.com

Double Whammy to Fung Shui Master Tony Chan

The late woman tycoon Nina Wang Kung


On 31st December 2009. I posted a blog on a Chinese Metaphor or Chengyu 賠了夫人又折兵, which literally means “losing your wife and the army”, and the related English slang “double whammy”. There is a real case in the news in Hong Kong. It is the case of the Fung Shui Master, Tony Chan, and his legal battle for the estate of Nina Wang Kung, who was recognised as the richest woman in Asia at the time, when she passed away in 2007. The estate is said to be worth US$13 billion today. On 2nd February, the High Court of Hong Kong ruled that the purported will. which is in Chan’s possession, on which he based his claim on the estate, is fake. Chan not only lost the legal battle in the civil court, but also was arrested by the Hong Kong Police and is likely to face criminal charges by the police for forging the will. Further, not only that his reputation, if any, is ruined but also likely to face jail sentences.  Please read about the case as reported by BBC in English and ABC.es in Spanish respectively.

Feng shui master denied Nina Wang fortune in Hong Kong

A court in Hong Kong has thrown out a feng shui master’s claim to the multi-billion dollar estate of Asia’s richest woman, Nina Wang.Tony Chan, who said he was Nina Wang’s lover, had argued she left him her fortune in a 2006 will. But a high court judge said the will was a fake and a 2002 will was valid which left the estate to a charitable trust run by Wang’s family.Nina Wang’s Chinachem was worth $4.2bn (£2.1bn) when she died in 2007. The fortune had been part of an earlier dispute with her father-in-law.

High Court Judge Lam Man-hon ruled: “The court finds that the 2006 will was not signed by Nina.” “The 2002 will truly reflected the long-held intention on the part of Nina to leave her estate to charity,” the ruling said.The competing 2002 document left the estate to the Chinachem Charitable Foundation, which was set up by Wang and her husband and is run by members of her family. The Chinachem Charitable Foundation’s lawyer, Keith Ho, told reporters outside the High Court that the foundation was “very happy with the result”.”The main point is that the judge accepted the evidence from us that some signatures in the 2006 will are forgeries,” he said.Mr Ho said the foundation would continue to “carry out its charitable purpose”.

Mr Chan’s lawyer said his client was “extremely disappointed” by the judgment.”But he appreciates how difficult this sort of trial is to judge and that there has to be a judgment,” said Jonathan Midgley.He said Mr Chan’s position remained “the same as it has always been – namely that the will in question was given to him by Nina and accordingly it is inconceivable that that will is a forgery”.Mr Midgley said Mr Chan would appeal against the ruling.

By the time Nina Wang died of cancer in 2007, she had created a huge business empire – a conglomerate of high-rise towers and companies around the world. Her life was marked by the 1990 kidnap and disappearance of her husband, Teddy Wang Teh-huei. She wore miniskirts and her hair in pigtails into old age and was reputedly very frugal, despite her wealth, says the BBC.

Nina Wang paid half the HK$60m (US$7.7m) ransom for him early on, before proof of life had been made and, unusually, the money and most of the kidnappers were found, but never the body of Teddy Wang. When he never came back she refused to accept his death and reportedly spoke of wanting to join him. Teddy’s father later claimed his son’s fortune as his own, alleging that Teddy had been upset at an alleged affair of Nina’s.

It was the father who pressed for Teddy to be declared legally dead nine years later, prompting Nina to produce the hand-written will showing the fortune was hers. A court ruled it was a forgery in 2002 but a higher court reversed that ruling in 2005, and Nina Wang inherited the estate.

3.000 millones de euros encuentran heredero en China

Un “playboy” buscavidas metido a maestro de “feng shui”, una multimillonaria excéntrica famosa por sus coletas y sus gustos frugales y una fortuna valorada en 4.200 millones de dólares (3.010 millones de euros), pero que en realidad podría ser hasta tres veces mayor.
Estos son los protagonistas del último “culebrón” judicial que ha mantenido en vilo a la opulenta ciudad de Hong Kong, donde se acaba de dictar sentencia en el juicio por la herencia de la millonaria Nina Wang, una de las mujeres más ricas de Asia según la revista “Forbes”.
A sus 69 años, la presidenta del potente grupo empresarial Chinachem falleció en abril de 2007 de un cáncer. Atrás dejaba a su desconsolada familia y a Tony Chan, un maestro de “feng shui” 20 años más joven que ella que se había convertido en su adivino personal y con quien, además, mantenía una relación sentimental.

Al parecer, Tony, que antes de vidente había sido camarero, vendedor de maquinaría, técnico de marketing y hasta exportador de piezas informáticas, había encandilado a Nina Wang con sus cualidades más humanas que espirituales. Por ese motivo, a su muerte esgrimió un testamento supuestamente firmado por la millonaria el 16 de octubre de 2006 donde le dejaba como único heredero de su patrimonio.

En el primer testamento destinaba la herencia a su fundación benéfica

El problema es que la familia de Nina Wang tenía otra última voluntad, fechada el 28 de julio de 2002, donde destinaba su herencia a la fundación benéfica de su empresa, que ella había creado junto a su difunto marido, el magnate Teddy Wang. Curiosamente, la “Pequeña Dulce”, como era conocida la mujer por su parecido con un cómic japonés, también tuvo que pleitear por la fortuna de su esposo, ya que Teddy Wang fue secuestrado en 1990 y, a pesar de que se pagó un rescate de 33 millones de dólares (23,6 millones de euros), su cuerpo nunca fue hallado.

Nueve años después, fue oficialmente declarado muerto, pero Nina Wang, nacida en 1937 en Shanghai bajo el nombre Kung Yusum, tuvo que acudir a los tribunales para batallar por su herencia frente a su suegro, Wang Dinshin. Aunque el juez falló a favor de la viuda sólo dos años antes de su muerte, ya le había dado tiempo a multiplicar la fortuna de su difunto marido, pues convirtió a su empresa, Chinachem, en una de las inmobiliarias más potentes del mundo al construir 300 rascacielos durante los últimos años.

Igual de accidentada ha sido la herencia de Nina Wang, que un juez del Alto Tribunal de Hong Kong, Lam Man-hon, ha otorgado a sus familiares al considerar que el testamento de 2006 esgrimido por su amante era falso. “Su firma ha sido falsificada con mucha pericia, pero el tribunal no cree que la relación fuera tal que Nina estuviera preparada para donarle todo su patrimonio sin tener en cuenta sus otros compromisos y responsabilidades”, recoge el fallo judicial.

Sexo, dinero y “feng shui”

En un caso que ha enganchado a la opinión pública hongkonesa por mezclar sexo, dinero y “feng shui”, la popular filosofía oriental que estudia la disposición de los objetos para aprovechar su máxima energía natural, la sentencia aclara que “darle regalos a Tony Chan e incluso grandes sumas de dinero en vida de Nina cuando éste la hacía feliz es una cosa. Convertirle en el único heredero de toda su fortuna es otra muy diferente, ya que ella situó sus obligaciones caritativas por encima de Chan y habría querido que su relación secreta fuera enterrada con ella tras su muerte”.

Tras ver cómo las intimidades de la multimillonaria eran destapadas en el juicio, donde su amante llegó a decir que tenía dos de sus coletas y que hacían el amor incluso cuando su esposa estaba embarazada, la familia de Nina Wang aplaudió satisfecha la resolución judicial. “Hemos ganado. Hay justicia en el mundo”, se congratuló su hermano, Kung Yan-sum.

Mientras tanto, sus abogados aseguraron que Tony Chan estaba “decepcionado”, pero que recurriría la sentencia. A su frustración se suma ahora la posibilidad de que sea acusado de haber falsificado el testamento de Nina Wang, unos cargos por lo que, en caso de ser declarado culpable, puede ser condenado a 14 años de prisión.
Compuesto y sin herencia, el adivino necesitará algo más que el buen rollito del “feng shui” para superar que los 3.000 millones de euros de Nina Wang han encontrado, por fin, un heredero. Y no ha sido él.

Beautiful Argentina 美丽阿根廷



My good friend, Robert, of Argentina, contributed the following article on the subject to my Spanish related blog. I have written the English and Chinese versions. Another friend of Argentina, P. Ricardo, had sent me 73 beautiful pictures of the country. I posted some of them here. The rest of the pictures will soon be in the album section of this blog. To both gentlemen, I am most grateful. I hope this will make you want to go to Argentina tomorrow. I have asked my Chinese friends to do likewise about China or their hometowns.

La Argentina es un país que ofrece cientos de opciones para los turistas porque es inmenso tanto en extensión como en belleza. Desde Salta ‘la linda’ -al norte- hasta Ushuaia -la ciudad más austral del mundo-, su generosa naturaleza permite que se puedan realizar todo tipo de actividades -como por ej. relacionadas con el ‘turismo de aventura’-, y para todos los gustos. Por mencionar sólo algunos, los lugares más visitados por su atractivo son: Al noreste, las Cataratas del Iguazú -en la provincia de Misiones- es lo más cercano al paraíso aquí en la Tierra; Al noroeste, las montañas, con espectaculares paisajes y pintorescos poblados. El ‘Tren a las Nubes’ -que llega a 4200 m de altura- permite recorrerlos en forma inmejorable; En el centro, Córdoba y sus ‘sierras’, otra provincia elegida como centro vacacional porque ofrece de todo. Su capital es la segunda ciudad más importante del país; Al sur, la ‘Patagonia’ es uno de los destinos más elegidos por los turistas extranjeros que nos visitan. En esta extensa región se destaca el imponente glaciar ‘Perito Moreno’, otra de las maravillas naturales del planeta; La cosmopolita ciudad de Buenos Aires, con su intensa actividad cultural y de entretenimiento -desde tomar un café en alguno de los tradicionales cafés de la ciudad, hasta asistir al teatro Colón, a un partido de fútbol o a un show de tango; Son de destacar también los centros de esquí en los Andes, las bellas playas de la costa atlántica, y el caudaloso Río Paraná -segundo en extensión en Sudamérica después del Río Amazonas. Por esto y mucho más, amigos, si visitan la Argentina se sentirán como en casa porque la gente aquí es muy hospitalaria, sobre todo en el interior del país. Los esperamos con los brazos abiertos!

Argentina is a country that offers hundreds of options to tourists because it is huge in both size and beauty. From Salta ‘the beautiful’ in the north to Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world, the country’s natural enviroments allow tourists to engage in all sorts of activities, according to their needs or budgets, in adventure travels. The country’s most popular and appealing places, to mention a few, are: in the Northeast, Iguazu Falls, in the Misiones Province, which is probably the closest thing to paradise on earth; in the Northwest, the mountains, with spectacular sceneries and picturesque villages, featuring the ‘Train to the Clouds’, which reaches 4,200 meters in height and allows you to travel in superb form; in the center, Cordoba and the mountains. another province resort which offers everything, which capital is the second largest city in the country; in the south, the ‘Patagonia’ is one of the most preferred destinations for foreign tourists who visit us. In this vast region highlights the impressive glacier Perito Moreno, another of the world’s natural wonders; the cosmopolitan city of Buenos Aires, with its intense cultural activities and entertainments, one may drink a cup of coffee in one of the old cafes and then attends the Columbus theater, a football game or a tango show. There are popular ski centers in the Andes, beautiful beaches along the Atlantic coast and the mighty Parana River, the second largest in South America after the Amazon River. For these and more, my friends, if you come visit Argentina you will feel at home because people here are very friendly, especially in the countryside. We are welcoming you with open arms!

阿根廷因其面积巨大风景迷人为游客提供无数旅游景点,由北面美丽从萨尔塔至世界最南端城市乌斯怀亚,上天赐予阿根廷天然环境可让游客选择各适其适精彩旅游活动。阿根廷引人入胜景点随便数数有:东北方被形容最似人间天堂的伊瓜苏瀑布,在西北方风景如画的山区,其「火车入云」于海拔4200米高行走,令人有另外的感觉, 在中部Cardoba及环山是另一个可提供一切活动的省,该市是全国第二大城市,南部巴塔哥尼亚是外国游客首选的地方,在突出水面的广大冰川令人印象深刻,可算是自然奇观,还有在布宜诺斯艾利斯国际大都会,其强烈的文化和娱乐,在古老咖啡室喝一杯咖啡人后到哥伦布剧院看歌剧,看一场足球比赛或探戈表演。也值得一提的安第斯山脉的滑雪中心,大西洋沿岸美丽的海滩和强大的巴拉那河,该河是南美洲仅次于亚马逊河最大。 各位朋友,如果您访问阿根廷将有宾至如归的感觉 , 因为这里的人们非常好客,特别是在农村。我们正张开双臂欢迎你们!

If there is a will there is a way 有志者事竟成

When I re-activated my blog at WordPress in October 2009, I have indicated my intention that I wanted to bring the Chinese and Spanish speaking peoples to blog in one place. Of course it included the English speakers too as I am one of them. It was impossible at the time as WordPress was blocked in China. So it seemed no way for me to reach out to my Chinese friends. Thanks to the introduction by a Chinese friend at LiveMocha, I came to know of the blog site 163.com. Although the latter was designed primarily for Chinese language users, I find it very English friendly. As a matter of fact, I find it, to a certain extent, better than WordPress as it has a lot of the gadgets pre-installed. Besides, it got a lot of my friends’ beautiful pictures in the first page, which make it more interesting. The problem is, at I said earlier, that it is all in Chinese. I have a Spanish friend who wanted to join my blog, but to no avail, because, although he is learning Chinese, he could not understand all the Chinese instructions to be able to register.

During the course of my making friends at Italki and Livemocha for the past few months I see that increasingly more Chinese are learning Spanish and more Spanish speakers are learning Chinese. I have a lot of Chinese friends at 163.com and I have a lot of Spanish speakers friends at WordPress. However, it seems almost impossible to bring the peoples of the two languages together. However, as the title of this post suggested, if there is a will there is a way. It is clear my will is there, now I have to find a way. Now I have a way, which is that I am going to start a new blog at another blog site and the name of the blog is bzin2.weebly.com, which is accessible in China. My friends please visit my blog there and feel free to blog. But please…….no politics, otherwise, it will end up like my WordPress blog.

WordPress is blocked in China again

It is sad that I learned from my good friend Joseph that my WordPress blog is now unavailable in the Mainland as it was and still blocked by the authority. The reason that I have one blog hosted in 163.com and one hosted in WordPress is that WordPress at one time was blocked in the Mainland but to my surprise it was unblocked a couple months ago and now it is blocked. The on and off, blocked and unblocked, is not good for a blog like mine, which has minimal political content yet it was affected by the country’s policy ebbs nonetheless.

It is extremely inconvenient for me to post my blogs at two different websites. Besides it defeats the purpose of me trying to bring the peoples of the two different cultures together. I think no social net or blog could be successful with both Chinese and western readers, although I am trying to do that impossible task. The reason I say this is that any one who is successful in doing so would be a victim of his own success. It is because there are people who would do things just to get on the Chinese authority nerves and would use such forum to achieve their purposes. Apparently there is no such forum at the moment. If there were one, I am sure it would be inundated with materials that would guarantee a shut down by the Chinese authority.

Further, there are some professional bloggers, which have economic motives to irritate or provoke the Chinese people or authority. They know some of the sensitive topics would guarantee strong and emotional reactions from the Chinese people. As I have written in my post on 17th November, 2009 entitled, China, one big blogging country, it was estimated that China has a blogging population of 182 million people at around September 2009. There is no single country which has such a big blogging population. If a blogger could make a name in the China, even in an underhanded way, it would be like printing money or like selling Big Macs in China. I need to point out they are so called professional bloggers because they earn money by putting advertisements in their blogs and more readers mean more advertising revenues.

Having said that I do not support a controlled internet policy. As a Hong Konger, I am used to and all for an open door policy in respect of internet use and information. Speaking from personal experience, I know my Mainland compatriots are sophisticated enough to tell which is true and which is untrue in respect of news or information received through the internet or other medias.

It brings me to another sad news is that Google reportedly is contemplating pulling out of the China market if its ends to self censorship are not acceptable to the Chinese authority. I am a big fan of Google. I use Google’s search engine for researches on my blog topics and on my English style and grammar. The other day my friend asked me a English grammar question: whether it is “make a voice heard” or “make a voice be heard”. At first glance, both seem correct. However, when I did a Google search, there were hundred of results for the former and none for the latter. So it is clear the former is the correct one. If Google indeed pulls out of the China market, I think it would be a great loss to the English learning community in China. With no disrespect to Baidu, which I think is a great search engine, personally I think as far as non-Chinese languages searches are concerned it has no competition against Google. Similarly, I think it would be a great loss to commercial business users in China too. Last week, my US principal asked me to search for certain machine parts, which are not available in the US. First off, I looked for a possible China supplier and did a Baidu search, but it came up with no answer. Then I did a Google search and found out that a part supplier in Poland had them in stock. What I intend to point out is that in the commercial world more information the better, a Google loss could be a China loss.

I hope Google and the China authority could work out an amicable settlement and my friends in the Mainland could continue to enjoy the great resources that Google has built up in English language searches.

Can you find real friends at language social nets?

I have been a regular user of the language social nets like italki and Livemocha (hereinafter referred to as the said two nets) for almost 2 years, although I was on a hiatus for over 1 year and became active again in October this year. During the period, I have made a lot of friends. Recently I came across an interesting topic raised by my good friend, Judy, as to whether one can find real friends over such nets.

First and foremost, no one would argue that the two said two nets are not dating nets like Match.com or Love.163.com in the US and China respectively, the purpose of which are to serve people who are looking for dates or relationships. Whereas the purpose for the said two nets is for people to look for language partners usually from another part of the world. Under such circumstances, it is difficult to develop real friendship or a relationship.

Having said that, I think real friendship can be made over the nets like the said two nets. It is particular so in LiveMocha, whereby friends review the exercises or homeworks of other friend without any material benefits. A lot of my friends have gone through the trouble of going through the exercises I submitted in details and recommended ways as to how I can improve my language skills. I reciprocate the same by reviewing those of my friends. If that is not real friendship I don’t know what is.

As for my personal experience, I think I have found, among others, a real real friend in Jose Antonio of Mexico, whom I met at italki, in about June of 2008. He was very supportive of me when I wrote a similar blog then. He used to contribute from time to time to my former blog. Jose and I had difficulties understanding each other and I think we still do as my Spanish was limited then and still is, so was and is Jose’s English, but that did not affect our friendship. When I started this blog in about a month ago, without asking, Jose contributed a page long article entitled “The Chinese and Mayans were connected 5000 years ago” (my title), which has created tremendous interests among my Spanish speaking friends. To Jose, thanks once again.

Another good friend of mine is Jenny at my blog at 163.com. We share our personal feelings and concerns with each other from time to time, although we are only Platonic friends. Also Jane too at bzin1.weebly.com, I have been reviewing her English exercises. She is very kind to let me put up her works at my site for the benefits of my other friends. From time to time Jane gave me advice and inputs regarding the said website. Thanks also to Joseph which had written more comments on my blog at Wordpress than anyone, although I have known him for only three days. Also to John, another frequent follower of my blog, who shares his interests in music with me at bzin1.

As I write on, I notice one fun fact is that of all the names mentioned above, they all start with a J, Judy, Jose, Jenny, Jane, Joseph and John. I think it is what we Chinese say I have unspoken connections (緣份)with people’s names starting with the letter J. My friends, if you are angry with me because I did not mention your name as yours does not start with a J, let me know. If that is the case I owe a big apology to you.

Another issue encountered by users of the said two nets is whether one should meet his or her friend face to face personally. It is unlikely that friends of the said two nets would meet face to face as most of them are literally world apart. If such situation arises, what is your position? Personally, I have reservations about meeting a person whom I  know over the internet. Nonetheless, I have met one of my friends, an Italian fellow, together with his wife, when they came to Hong Kong as tourists. They were an extremely nice couple and we had a nice coffee and a nice exchange of languages in English and Spanish.

As a man, I have lesser concern, or no concern at all, regarding my personal safety if I am to meet with friends of the said two nets personally. If you come to Hong Kong, I would be most delighted to meet with you personally and extend a warm Hong Kong hospitality to you. As a matter of fact, I have never had any bad experience with my friends on the said two nets. The same cannot be said of my female counterparts. A couple of them told me that they occasionally were being pestered or harassed by some so called “men friends”. I think that is one of the negatives of an open communications system that one has to live with amid the many benefits that come with it.