Tag Archives | Hong Kong

Hong Kong Black White

I shot in Hong Kong twice and took a bunch of photographs in the spare time, which I animated with Animoto. This is the result!


China University Horror: Gamble For Your Future.

My wife’s cousin from Xi’An arrived yesterday. She’s with us for a couple of days to brush up her english. My wife told me in the beginning that this will help her to get into a Hong Kong university. But by now I’ve found out much more about this topic, and it’s really scary what’s going on.

In Europe, or at least Germany, you kind of have two years to prove how good you are. The exam scores of the last two school years are more or less deciding to what kind of university you can go to. Here in China, a two day long exam decides your future. It’s held in the last month of your last year in school. That’s nuts, in my humble opinion!

Let’s say you’re a good student in China. You learn hard and well. But you’re nervous easily. So you go to the university exam for two days and you’re so nervous that you mess it up. Then it’s over! You can either spend another year and repeat the test, or you can apply for 2nd or 3rd grade universities. And here’s the horror: Chinese companies value you much more then in other countries on your university. They care a lot about the place you’ve studied. So, if you perform bad in the final exam test, kiss your future goodbye.

But that’s only half of the craziness. What’s almost more insane is the fact, that you have to apply to universities without knowing your final score. No, you have to calculate your score yourself first. When you finish the exam, you’ll receive a sheet with all the right answers and a paper for applying to universities. Then you go home, you try to remember what you wrote in the exam and you score yourself!

Once you have your final score, you look at what universities might accept you – but they don’t really tell you what kind of score you need to have. You have to check what kind of score ranges they took in the past and you have to guess if you’re in that range. Example: You calculated that you final score is 500 out of 600. So you check around, and you find out that University X in Shanghai accepted students with 475 points or more. Then you can try to apply there.

But it’s a gamble, really: If you have bad luck, the university maybe only accepts students with 510 points or more this year. Then you can only get accepted there if too little people applied – and that’s almost never the case. What’s even worse is if you calculate your own score way too low – maybe you really have 500 points, but you’re calculating defensive and give yourself only 400. Then you can never apply to a good university, because of the fact that you don’t know for sure what your score really is! Is that totally crazy or what??!

Whoever invented this system must be a sadistic fuck, really.

Last written point is the case with my wife’s cousin. She performed well but calculated her score way too low and thus applied to far worse universities than she could actually go to. Another problem is, once you’ve applied for three universities, you can’t ‘switch’ to others anymore. You’re out. Take it or leave it. So she can now study in a 2nd grade university and forget about ever getting a really good job in the future – or she can try to get into a Hong Kong or foreign university. Or waste another year of her life, repeating the exam and try gambling again. If her parents couldn’t afford a foreign university she’d be stuck with going to the universities she picked, now.

I hope China changes this system in the near future, it’s really not fair. And a person shouldn’t be judged by a two day test, everyone has a bad day every once in a while. And knowing that this test decides your future puts probably an insane amount of pressure on you, so you’re even less able to focus on it. Evil!


SEO Tip: There’s not only english (and America)!

While looking through some older posts of mine, I realized that even some chinese people wrote comments. Why? Because I live in Shanghai and sometimes I write something in chinese characters, just for fun of it mostly. So I just realized, in order to gain a broader audience, why not add more chinese in future posts? Thanks to UTF-8 the encoding of different language characters is no problem at all. And with sites like Wikipedia or the Google Language Tools, it’s easier than ever to have keywords or names translated to a foreign language (please write a WordPress blog on-site plugin, anyone?)…

But there’s more to it than just translating key words or phrases. In other countries, other cultures, other things are considered as important and discussed. This is where Googles Zeitgeist comes into play. I mean, it’s actually so easy to write posts that get many visitors… You just need to check out what people find interesting!

Let’s use the Google Zeitgeist of February 2008 as an example from now on. This post is not going to be a SEO Tip entry only, no, I will keep an eye especially on the visitors of this entry and report later on what kind of audience it found. I hope to attract readers from all over the world!

To attract readers from Afghanistan, you should have written about ako, which sounds like some music band? Or about Afghanistan itself, which is of course written فغانستان in arabic characters. They write from right to left, did you know that? They also like poetry a lot, which is why فال حافظ is another search term that seems important. And love, of course! عشق is the word for that. Poetry and love, that’s already a lot to write about.

Australia on the other hand seems like a bored country. They search for terms like grace kelly, optimus prime, pikachu or james dean. So bored, only watching movies all the time? I guess I am an Australian after all. Timekiller is a word many Australians searched for. Funny! They also care about israel, oakley and nrl sharks. So many topics to get their attention!

In Brazil, the people seem to love celebrities. This is why they search a lot for danni carlos, marco feliciano, caetano veloso and… gwen stefani?! Okay. So open yet another celebrity site and get their attention. Or you write about topics such as lua cheia (full moon), favela (slums), resumo das novelas (soap opera summaries) or ciclismo (cycling). Cycling? Isn’t it too hot for that there? Anyway, many unwritten stories to gain a brazilian audience…

Cold Canada dances itself warm, searching a lot for disco. They’re also interested in craigslist calgary and Bleach, which is a famous Anime if I recall correctly. Canadians also care a lot about the toronto stock exchange, infinity, adecco, viking and footlocker. Well, okay, maybe not the most interesting stuff. Then again, Canada is not that big. Which leads us to…

China! That’s my thing. Looking at the Zeitgeist China list, I have to admit though that me myself is not doing everything right. There are so many topics that seem to interest the chinese people, yet the only thing I wrote about was the Edison Chen sex-scandal. Shame on me! I should have focused more on this stuff: 郭德刚 (a famous crosstalker), 成都小游戏 (small games of Chengdu), 楚留香传奇 (a TV program), 音乐在线 (music website), 旗袍 (Chinese traditional female dress, qipao), 安以轩 (actress), 英超 (premiership), 花样少男少女 (a TV program), CCTV5节目表 (program list of CCTV5), 同济大学 (Tongji University), 化妆品批发 (cosmetics wholesale), 花与蛇 (a movie) or 爱转角 (TV program). Another thing that seems to interest many chinese people is the stock market, as many people searched for the stock codes 600839 and 000532. China is one of the biggest, if not the biggest country in the world, and you should care about getting people from there to visit your website.

Not that interesting or important is Chile, but here’s what you should’ve written about to attract readers from that country: barra los cruzados (Soccer fan club), shangay (huh??!), melipilla (Chilean town), huevos cartoon (cartoons), celulitis (cellulite), radio romance (local radio station), iori yagami (video game character??!), DIARIO LA CUARTA (local newspaper), el exorcista (the exorcist), el tabo (Chilean town), ENAMORADOS (in love) or mu magdalena (online game). Okay. Wow.

No, Cocaine is NOT in the Zeitgeist list from Colombia. Instead, Columbians googled up the following stuff in February: distrital, GRAFFITIS, carolina, espectador (Colombian newspaper), camion (truck), balon (ball), musica clasica (classic music), angeles (angels), modernismo (modernism) and presupuesto (budget). What is also interesting is that Brad Pitt seems to be written with one t only in Colombia, brad pit. So, run a culture blog and the Columbians are yours…

As for Costa Rica and the Czech Republic, they search a lot for music, actors and video games. No need to feature them here big time. Nothing spectacular…

People from Denmark must be real stylish, as the top search term was evisu (Japanese designer brand). Other important things for the Danes: rd (Danish mortgage company), papillon, dolphin olympic (wtf?), ingeniøren (The Engineer, Danish weekly engineering paper), wozniacki (Danish tennisplayer), krone (the Danish currency, DKK), fredericia kommune (Danish municipality), morten andersen (multiple record-breaking Danish NFL kicker) and det moderne gennembrud (Nordic literature in the late 19th century, Georg Brandes). Jesus, these searches seem pretty focused on their own country! It’s gotta be pretty difficult and tough to gain a big danish audience on your blog if you are not danish yourself or live there.

Finland… Well, they like big asses, which is why ‘kim kardashian’ is their number 1 search phrase in February 2008, right? But that’s about it with celebrities. Maybe Kim’s sex tape arrived there late. The other 14 search phrases seem rather random: rockabilly, gilmore girls, kansallismuseo (national museum), hernekeitto (pea soup), bob dylan, julisteet (posters), talent, rap, dementia, puola (Poland), sähkön hintavertailu (comparison of the price of electricity), disco ensemble (Finnish rock band), madrid and Mona Lisa. Gee, that must be the most random and unfocused country… yet. Let’s see if any other country is even weirder than Finland.

Baguette, Crossaint, France. The french seem to be into money and brands, as the Zeitgeist tells us: suivi colissimo (French equivalent of UPS), eastpak (backpack brand), VIDEOPOSTE (banking online service), resultat du loto (national lottery results), deblocage participation (company bonus information), jsl (local newspaper), cnas (national committee of social action), astro, joker, supinfo (engineer school), yu-gi-oh (manga (and anime, dear Google)), fifa, gerardmer (international movie festival) and shopping. The french seem a bit self centered, as the only person who made it to the list is Heath Ledger. Looks a lot like Denmark, France’s search phrases are pretty national. Difficult market…

Now to my roots, ze Germanz. Germany has some pretty weird searches, too: nail art? brandenburger tor? biene maja (German cartoon bee)? borussia mönchengladbach (German soccer club)? bbl (German basketball league)? vw käfer (vw beetle)? Man, am I happy to be an expatriate… On the other side, they also searched a lot for playstation, pink floyd, liv tyler and dwayne johnson aka The Rock. Now that’s something anyone can write about.

The roads in Greece must still be shitty, this is why the top search query there was ‘smart roadster’. They also like bentley. The other stuff is in greek characters: χαρταετός (kite), Αθήνα (Athens), εστιατορια (restaurants), φιλία (kisses), Μιχαλης Χατζηγιαννης (Greek Singer), δασος (forest) and κυπρος (Cyprus). Well, Greece is more an cultural country, so interpret these searches in whatever way you think is right.

Okay, writing this takes a lot more time then I thought in the beginning. I’ll skip the following countries but write their top search term behind them, as they are small and more or less unimportant: Guatemala (sagastume (SMS site from MoviStar)); Hungary (játékok (games)); Indonesia (akatsuki (manga character), sasuke (manga character), samurai x (Japanese anime), naruto shippuden (Japanese anime), one piece (Japanese manga)); Iraq (صو (pictures), العاب (toys), كاظم الساهر (singer Kathim al Saher), حسام الرسام (Hussam al Rasam), ابراج (horoscopes)); Peru (moderato (Mexican rock band), hermione (Harry Potter character), quimica suiza (local company)); Poland (walentynki (Valentines), plemiona (online game), jozin z bazin (viral video), pity 2008 (tax forms 2008)); Puerto Rico (clasificados el nuevo dia (classified ads site), vertebrados (vertebrates), amor de Dios (God’s love)); Serbia (mts mondo (portal), mojenagrade (Coca-Cola’s sweepstakes), leto 2008 (summer 2008)); Turkey (fulldizi (online tv series site), burç uyumu (horoscope harmony), sarışın kızlar (blond girls), panik atak (panic attack)); Ukraine (грузовик (lorry), подростки (teenagers), загранпаспорт (international passport), тернопільський чат (Ternopil chat), Гаррі Поттер (Harry Potter), художественная ковка (art iron work)). Now let’s go back to bigger countries.

Hong Kong, officially belonging to China but with their own Google, searched for: 陸詩韻 (celebrity name), 中信嘉華銀行 (Bank), 民族服裝 (fashion), 全盒 (festival item) and 世界上最大建築物 (the biggest building in the world) as well as 天空之城 (Sky City). They are into skyscrapers, hmm? How about an architecture blog in cantonese?

India is pretty important, as they have over a billion people! So make sure to blog about something that they find interesting, such as: filmfare awards 2008, budget highlights, aishwarya (actress), concept cars, dhoom2 (Hindi movie), causes of global warming, peta (People for Ethical Treatment of Animals), gladiator, punjab university, italy, travel guru, dehradun (a hill town in northern India), reliance industries, cricketnext, nauheed cyrusi (actress)… Ah, just start a Bollywood blog and you’ll be rich in no time.

The war in Israel doesn’t stop them from googling: פורים קטן (Small Purim), ברכות לבת מצווה (Bat-Mitzvah greetings), אזרחות (citizenship), איגוד הטניס (tennis association), מכבי חיפה (Macabi Haifa – soccer team), משפטים מצחיקים (funny sentences), משחקים לגיל הרך (games for young children), וינוגרד (Vinograd – National Investigation Committee), עשרת הדיברות (Ten Commandments), רפואה משלימה (alternative medicine). Boy these characters look cool. You’ll get them to your blog if you write about religion, it seems to me.

O Google mio… Italy is in search of amore, on the 2nd place. Number one is san valentino (Valentine’s day), because that’s always hard to remember. Other things the italian people care about: scusa ma ti chiamo amore (italian movie), caravaggio, i cesaroni (Italian sitcom), marco carta (Italian singer), partito democratico (italian democratic party), carnevale (carnival), sanremo 2008 (TV music festival)… Culture and politics, that’s how to find a way to the italian audience.

Kso sounds funny and means shit in Japan. That’s one of the 10 words I remember from my trip there. The japanese people searched almost only for people – so the next time you blog a star, make sure to include his japanese name somewhere in the post! Here are the people they googled up: 新垣結衣 (Yui Aragaki, actress, model, and singer), 倖田來未 (Kumi Koda, singer), 芋洗坂係長 (Imoaraizaka-kakaricho, comedian), 藤井彩子 (Ayako Fujii, broadcaster), 長谷川静香 (Shizuka Hasegawa, voice actress), 一色紗英 (Sae Issiki, actress), 岡村靖幸 (Yasuyuki Okamura, singer), 真木よう子 (Yoko Maki, actress), ロバート・メイプルソープ (Robert Mapplethorpe, photographer), 柳美里 (Yu Miri, writer). Besides people they google up tourist attractions, I think: 南大門 (national treasure in Korea) and 平壌の凱旋門 (gate in North Korea). I recommend a celebrity blog for japanese readers.

Korea makes quite good movies in the last time and their search queries show that they care a lot about entertainment: 조인성 (Korean actor), 퍼펙트케이오 (computer game), 미스코리아 김주연 (miss korea), 이화선 (Korean actress), 장백지 (Hong Kong actress), 프리즌브레이크 (drama, Prison Break), 박진희 (Korean actress)… Okay, let’s just say that a multi-language celibrity blog for the asian market would be a bomb, really.

Let’s finish the list and this experimental entry with Taiwan – once again I seem to be right with my celeb idea: 陳冠希 (Hong Kong celebrity), 張柏芝 (Hong Kong celebrity), 楊永晴 (Hong Kong celebrity), 阿嬌 (Hong Kong celebrity), 陳文媛 (Hong Kong celebrity), 顏穎思 (celebrity) and 長江七號 (CJ7, a new Chinese movie).

Okay. I think there is no other blog featuring so many different languages in a single entry. Anyway, I’ll update this post in some days or weeks and report how the visits were. Be sure to subscribe to my feed, then you wont miss the update.

And here’s something else: Zeitgeist 2007. It’s also very interesting, as it shows last years most used search phrases – and also the ones that are not interesting anymore. So blogging about one of these topics in 2007 should’ve brought you a lot of visitors: Apple iPhone, badoo, facebook, dailymotion, webkinz, youtube, ebuddy, secondlife, hi5, club penguin, tmz, transformers, myspace and Anna Nicole Smith.

Not that interesting are now: The world cup, of course, it only lasts one year always… Mozart, fifa, rebelde, kazaa, xanga, webdetente, sudoku, shakira and – mp3? Wow, mp3? Really? Good to know. Hope you had fun with this article and found some inspiration.