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links for 2005-10-29

October 30, 2005 at 12:17 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack


I'll never forget the tears of joy that Angie shed yesterday when we saw the test results. I hope that I can act in a way to honor and respect the love that we share and the love that my parents gave us. We were both so nervous, and when we saw that little line, so much pent up emotion just spilled out. It was beautiful.

It makes me sad though that life can be so fragile. Dad should've been around to share in our happiness. I know he is in spirit, but that's really not good enough. I don't think I wrote about the accident specifics yet, but it's such a tragedy that Angie and I were about a week pregnant and we just didn't know and couldn't share it with Dad yet. I know that it could also have not been. I mean, I have to be thankful that we are pregnant at all. It could've never happened, or happened in months or years.

October 25, 2005 at 07:05 AM in Personal | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

links for 2005-10-24

October 25, 2005 at 12:18 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Angie and I are in Mountain View. We went to Dad's grave today to bai sen and pay our respects. It's been a grueling two weeks and we've all been on an emotional rollercoaster.

Well, now there's an even crazier bit of news. Angie and I took a home pregnancy test about an hour ago...

We're pregnant.

We raced out to the bookstore and blew a wad on baby books. We're trying to keep it hush hush for the next couple of months, but it's hard to not share the joyful news after all of the hardships this week.

We're just so thankful for this blessing. I just wish Dad would be here when we share the news. I know he's here in spirit, and nothing would've been possible without him...

October 23, 2005 at 07:26 AM in Personal | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

mountain view

The services in Troy were beautiful. Dad truly led an amazing life. So many wonderful people came to pay respects and share stories about Dad. I broke down a couple of times during the eulogy, but made it through.

Then it was out here to Mountain View. We're at my brother Chris' place. We found a final resting place for Dad near here in Los Altos. It'll be close to where Mom's going to be recuperating, and maybe moving too.

We bury Dad tomorrow. I plan on saying a few words. It's going to be just as hard as Saturday was. Maybe even harder since there'll be more of a sense of closure and finality.

October 20, 2005 at 01:56 PM in Personal | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

links for 2005-10-19

October 20, 2005 at 12:17 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Thanks to everyone for your prayers, condolences and well wishes.

We just brought Mom back from the hospital today. She's recovering faster than expected. Funeral services are tomorrow here in Troy. Then we take Dad to California to be buried close to where Mom's going to move. All in all, she's hanging in there okay. She's being really brave and not crying when it's just family, but when her friends come around, she cracks. It's tough to see her cry like that.

We're also setting up a foundation for educational scholarships to be called The Allen and Shui Kuen Chin Foundation. More details to follow, but giving his kids educational opportunity was Dad's life's work, so that's what the Foundation will do.

I'm nervous because I'll be giving a eulogy. I hope I can keep it together enough to get through tomorrow.

October 16, 2005 at 06:32 AM in Personal | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

upside down

Last night, on our way home from another amazing dinner at Raul and Massi's I got a phone call on my cellphone. The number was international and right away my heart sank. I wondered who would call at 12am on my cell. It was my brother. He was really upset. He said that my parents had just been in a car accident, and that it wasn't good. He said that Mom was hurt, but would be okay, she was in the hospital. And then... he said that Dad had died in the crash.Mom_dad_1

Angie and I spent the night crying and in total shock. My dad was an amazing man. So full of love and full of life. He was always trying to make everyone happy, always trying to make people laugh. And now he's gone. We were so far away. I spoke with him just about a day before it happened. But it was a short call. Angie says I told him that I missed him, but I don't remember that now. I just remember all the things that I wish that I could've said. How I know that he and Mom had given so much to their kids. How I only wish I had worked a little harder to make life easier on them. How much I really love him. How much everything that I have and everything I am is because of them.

He never got to visit us out here. With the restaurant and his crazy schedule, we'd put it off until next year. We were thinking he and Mom would come out here in the spring. I always told him about the things that I loved about this place, things that I knew he'd love too. On our last call, I told him about Kyoto and how much I thought he'd love it. He said he'd been there but I never got to ask him the story of when and how. And I just wish we could've spent last week in Detroit back home.

The last time I saw him was about five months ago when we rushed back to Michigan to attend his dad's funeral. Angie and I got on a plane as soon as we could to be there to support the family and help with the arrangements. Turned out we would have a few quiet days before everyone came into town. I'll always remember that even as his heart was breaking he tried so hard to make us happy. Angie had mentioned that she liked a particular chow fun that he'd made us for lunch one day. And he tried to make it for her every day after that. He'd make some silly joke. With that little mischievous smile of his. Just trying to show Angie love through food as we'd always done in the family.

We went to a few of the old places where the family used to live in Southfield, where we used to picnic on Belle Isle. He just wanted to turn back the clock some way. And feel the way he used to. To be awash in memories of happier times.

Now Angie and I are making arrangements to get back as soon as we can. Angie has been an amazing friend throughout the night, though it's been really hard on her too. She lost her father at a really young age, and Dad was in some ways another chance. They really loved each other. But now he's gone. So it's back to Michigan. To be by Mom's side to help recover. To help her adjust to a new life in whatever ways we can. To find some connection to happier times. And to say goodbye.

October 12, 2005 at 06:03 AM in Personal | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

links for 2005-10-11

October 12, 2005 at 12:17 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

shanghai jiaotong card

As promised, this is the first of a series of posts that will try to talk about daily life in Shanghai and China at large. My hope is that it'll help capture some of the social fabric of this city that I love, and maybe answer questions that might help with people's business ideas, understanding of China, and maybe even help if you come out here.


So this is the ubiquitous Shanghai Public Transportation Card (上海公共交通卡), as it's officially known, or jiao tong ka (交通卡) informally. It's basically a cash card that you can buy at subway stations and some convenience stores. 30 RMB (about US$3.70) gets you the card, and then you can put any amount of additional cash onto the card (at any of the locations where the card is sold). Like other smart cards, the jiao tong ka uses RFID. At subway stations, on buses, in taxis, you hold the card up to a reader and it deducts the fare from your balance. No magnetic stripe swipe required (like the NYC MetroCard). Basically think, Octopus or Suica or Calypso, etc...

Good for just about any public transportation in the city, I've also seen the card accepted at a McDonald's, although I don't remember where. Some employers subsidize employee transportation by distributing the cards. I've seen some people with 300-400 RMB on their cards (remember the highest cash denomination here is 100), although I usually keep my balance down to about one to two weeks worth of commuting - trying to minimize the free loan to the city.

Terribly convenient, the card also helps you avoid two things that you'd really rather avoid. First, you minimize the times you need to wait in line at subway stations. While people are getting much better, sometimes lines here can still be "lines" with people shoving to get to the front. Second, you don't have to touch the single-trip disposable cards which I've often seen people use to scratch themselves (on the face, on the top of their head, etc...) and sometimes use to clean under their fingernails. Argh.

While most people don't have credit cards, the jiao tong ka is a natural for small, quick transactions. The bank debit cards that many do have require a PIN (密码), and while many restaurants have the cordless systems that allow customers to enter the PIN at the table, it's much more of a hassle than a quick, contactless swipe.

And that's the Shanghai jiao tong ka.

October 11, 2005 at 03:45 PM in China | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack