Saga Ringmar

Time Out Beijing: “More hints that Google might be returning to China”

As the techies may know, the Beijing stop of popular international startup conference TechCrunch was held in Haidian over the last two days (November 2-3). Eric Schmidt (he’s the executive chairman of Alphabet, Google’s parent company) stopped by for a chat, and, while on-stage, dropped this little gem: ‘The interesting thing is that Google never really left China…In fact, we do hope to provide services here…’

Wait …what? Does that mean there’s a chance Google might be getting unblocked in China? Well, Schmidt seemed to be hinting at just that.

‘[Google] has lots of partners [in China] and we have offices in… Taiwan and Hong Kong,’ Schmidt said at the conference, further explaining that Google has been in constant communication with the Chinese government about the company’s presence in the country

Time Out Beijing: “Construction begins for new fast train to Hong Kong”

Could it be? A high-speed rail that takes you from Beijing to Hong Kong in just eight hours? It seems like our romantic dream to speed down south by train might actually be coming true. At least now that the recent plans to construct a new 2,400km high-speed rail have been approved by officials.

The construction is going to start in December 2015 and, according to News 163, it should be ready to go by May… 2019. Okay, so maybe don’t start buying your tickets just yet – but still, we love having something to look forward to.

Read the rest of the article here. 

Time Out Beijing: “Forbidden City blacklists misbehaving tourists”

Are you on the Forbidden City’s blacklist? Well, if you’ve drawn a smiley face on a Ming vase, scribbled ‘James was ‘ere’ on the Gate of Divine Prowess or thrown sweet wrappers in the imperial gardens, then you might be – and shame on you!
Beijing officials have grown tired of unruly visitors and have compiled blacklist of 2,500 vandals, litterers, loud-mouths and general forbidden-palace-hoodlums since June this year, China Daily reports.
The thought of museum wardens turning away ‘hoodlum’ tourists, decked out in the mandatory silly cap and khaki shorts is quite a comical thought – but they do have their reasons.

Guardian: “Here’s the truth about Shanghai schools: they’re terrible”

“Shanghai tops the Pisa rankings thanks to their focus on test-taking. Their model would be a nightmare for US schools…

The western world watches China’s rise as a formidable world-power with a mixture of awe and apprehension. Sci-fi films depict a futuristic world where Baidu.com is the new Google and Mcdonalds has been replaced by Grandma Wang’s Dumpling Emporium. And yet again Shanghai is number one on the Programme for International Student Assessment’s (Pisa) 2012 ranking list of international education, and the US is once again at a low rank, this time 36th place. The US is desperate, and naturally the Chinese educational system seems like an answer. But let me tell you – this is not the case. I know; for two years I attended a local Shanghainese high school and this is the truth: they are terrible.”

Read the rest of the article here.

The Local: “China teaches its kids to sit exams, Sweden its kids to think”

“In an open letter to the Swedish education minister, Lund high schooler Saga Ringmar asks him not to fear China, despite Shanghai beating Sweden by 37 places on the recent Pisa ranking. Her test-loving school in Shanghai left her disillusioned and her kid sister depressed…”

Read the rest of the article here.