Hermaphrodite: a fusion of male and female voices

The word “hermaphrodite” is generally used as a derogatory, and sometimes even offensive term.

But in this case, Li Yu Gang sings to prove that having a fusion of male and female voices is a blessing.  And, of course, it requires a lot practice.

Lake Baikal

貝加爾湖畔 Meet at Lake Baikal
(Translated into English by Samson Zhong)

在我的懷裡 在你的眼裡
Lies beneath your gaze and embraced by my hug
那裡春風沉醉 那裡綠草如茵
We are surrounded by a haze of spring and the grassy haven
月光把愛戀 灑滿了湖面
Moonlight paints the lake with beams of passion
兩個人的篝火 照亮整個夜晚
Which we outglow with the campfire moldering us together
多少年以後 如雲般遊走
Years have hastened to their decline
as we meandered like clouds of day and night
那變換的腳步 讓我們難牽手
sailing in different rhythms beating too far to round us together
這一生一世 有多少你我
Time and again, mutability sets us apart
in the river of moon night
多想某一天 往日又重現
So nice that I have romantic moonshine
我們流連忘返 在貝加爾湖畔
In which we meet at Lake Baikal
多少年以後 往事隨雲走
Roll with our past, clouds drift away
The affection is too deep for flurrying snow
這一生一世 這時間太少
And this life drifts too swiftly
Leaving no time for the love sets a thaw in snow

就在某一天 你忽然出現
But there you appear again one day
你清澈又神秘 在貝加爾湖畔
Clear but like a mystique you stand by Lake Baikal
你清澈又神秘 像貝加爾湖畔
Clear but like a mystique you stand by Lake Baikal

The earliest prefectural “Taipei City” emerged as the Japanese Colonial Government incorporated the old townships of Menjia (today’s WanHua), Dadaocheng, and Dalongdong into Taihoku Prefecture in 1920. Since then, the city acquired the characteristics of an administrative center as the development shifted towards other parts. The area around Shuang Lian, where the farmers from Dadaocheng grew crops, was part of the sprawling urban planning.

The green belt of the district, Zhongshan Road, not only served as notable landmark, but also a passage connecting the inner city (城內) and the administration center on the north. Walking along the allies and streets and riding the vibes of those old neighborhoods of Japanese civil servants (Yu Cheng Ting御成町) and American ambassadors, it would not be hard to figure out the multilayered hybrid embedded in the local culture.

Here, each turn would bring back a fragment of the history as you dig into the remains of the old landscape and even soundscape behind the enclaves of creative culture industry (the old railroad), the Tsai Jui-yueh Dance Research Institute (the first modern dance classroom in Taipei), SPOT-Taipei Film House (the former U.S. Ambassy) as they strike a cacophony that could be louder than the hustle and bustle of this metropolitan city.

I Translate, Therefore I Be


I Translate, Therefore I Be

Would machine translators free people up for other work? Well, that still remains to be seen as to which degree you would like to depend on it. While the need for crude machine translation may be useful in emergencies, it may fall short of the hopes to replace language learning for face-to-face communication.

  1. The targeted sentences supplied by Google Translate must never be mistaken for “correct translation,” which never exists for there are too many nonverbal and unexpected factors in human speech.
  2. Google Translate, instead of translating, actually pairing most equivalent sentences from an astronomically large corpus utilized by Google search engine. That means it can be cool when it comes to writing, because it has access to the documentation online like Google Books. However, I would not expect it to work miracle when I have to express myself at a meeting, or when I need to craft a prose of beautiful translation. Of course, it should be of no use for simultaneous interpretation.
  3. I think over the last decades there has been a resurgence of optimism in the research community around AI, machine learning and voice recognition, which has come really close to solving some core problems with AI and interpretation/translation. Machines learnings improves with experience, which means even robots can learn as they are being preprogrammed.   With enough data and examples to look at, machines come up, hopefully, with functionaries on their own. Therefore, you feed the systems lots of speech to leave them a conclusion arrived at by induction. And, this gives Google a competitive edge because it has a huge database built and expanded by Google’s search engine.


That is an incredible accomplishment as to understanding human speech given the problems caused by intonation. I think they have a group of software engineers sitting there, trying to write down the rules of syllable, phoneme, semantics and sound. But, they will ultimately get to a point where unpredictable behavior emerges.

Given the progress that has been made so far, machines are moving toward self-education with a huge database fed by the Net and speech. But the final mile would be how to build the correlations between the examples, but causal inference is much more complicated for them to acquire because languages do not always follow the rules. After all, the world is not just a matter of only statistic intelligence and correlations.

Take raining and opened umbrellas as an example. We can train a system to sift through millions of images of people going outdoors with their umbrellas opened. Nonetheless it may come up with an incorrect inferrence that whenever people open their umbrellas, it is going to rain.   Umbrellas and rain are linked with each other, but are not necessarily in an cause-and-effect relation.

Understanding and learning this cause and connections in languages is what makes chatting beyond preprogrammed rules, and, of course, algorithm’s capabilities. If not, then we are predictable machines, too.

Extended Reading:

1.Google Translate App Gets an Upgrade http //bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/01/14/google-translate-app-gets-an-upgrade/?smid=fb-share&_r=0

2. Hold conversations using Google Translate

3.Why Google Translate Can’t Compare to a Human Translation Service http://verbalink.com/articles/why-google-translate-cant-compare-to-a-human-translation-service

Turn Wait to Cash Flow for Business Owners Episode IV Waiting for Equipment in the Gym


          Gym lines are almost impossible to avoid during peak hours. The best way to address this hassle may be to hit the gym during off-hours either early in the morning or after 19:00 hours.


But a crowded gym should not be the reason to stall the routine for doing that exercise on the machines or equipment. So, if we have to spend so much time waiting for meals, business, exercise routine, why not turn these down times into productivity?


This is why some app makers are branching out into other industries for a share of the “waiting economy.”


To get around the “always occupied” issue, having alternative options can be a better way to go. I think a squat rack may be the best place to get in a heavy set of back squats, but as a backup plan, dumbbell goblet squats can be just as challenging and add an element of core strength. Furthermore, this period can be used to warm up so injuries can be avoided as workouts get tough.


However, people will stay moving rather than waiting for the equipment to open up if they can be informed how long they have to wait for each of them. For example, when people know that they have to wait for 20 minutes to use the bench, they will probably go for an alternative plan and budget the time spent on the session.


After all, we do not see why anyone should waste time in a line anywhere. And, gym beasts do not have to scramble with gym clowns for the Smith Machine.



Turn Wait to Cash Flow for Business Owners

Episode I
What my friend Mark Peng and his partners wanted when they open their own 20-seat Taipei eatery, Tammy Cafe, in 2012 was to offer a cozy corner for citizens in Shi-lin district and tourists to Twin River area (外雙溪). However, the scene of people walking in from the cold outside and only to find that all the tables already occupied makes them felt wretched about it.

Aspired to become a bona fide hit, and that posed a difficult dilemma that comes with publicity: “People weren’t going to tolerate long waits,” says Mark. To keep customers satisfied, he had waiters take phone numbers and call people when a table was available. It worked but still not good enough—and did not keep patrons from pestering waiters or dining elsewhere.

Turn Wait to Cash Flow for Business Owners
Episode II

The real trick is to turn those waiting periods into fun time. “It can be a golden opportunity to get real work done. ” From my own experience, I would appreciate it if the restaurateur let me have a quiet corner to do what I have to do so that I can enjoy my meal later. While the restaurant offers prospective customers something useful such as travel tips or pre-order service, not only does it alleviate the stress of the delays, but it allows for more chances to conduct customer surveys or sample tastings.

Some people think becoming a preferred customer is the first step toward saving and maximizing time. Such status may provide quicker service, but may not be cost-efficient if you are not some frequent guest. At an eatery like Tammy Café, each dish takes time to prepare for bringing out the best flavor, so what we can do to pass the down time?

It is where a time waster/reminder such as an app comes into use.

Turn Wait to Cash Flow for Business Owners
Episode III
Opportunities and Challenges
Despite the rich diversity of functions, notification and visualization remain the two fundamental features for almost all wait apps. When a table is ready, you should receive notification via the portable devices on your person, and most wait apps provide access to a real-time visualization of the virtual line so you can see how far back you are.

When people know what to expect, they would more likely to wait and stay with a restaurant.

As the apps work the wonder, so does the improvement in retention numbers. The challenge is in persuading a hidebound industry to utilize new technologies. Even most restaurants lose money on reservations in which consumers can cancel them without penalties, they still do it.

Some restaurants use a “token system” to prevent this. So diners have to buy tokens to reserve a table and they would get no refund once they cancel it. I think this only works for those really famous restaurants and chefs, and wait apps can do the same and, in the meantime, cut costs.

Photo Credit: WaitAway

Wait apps like WaitAway maks the wait more tolerable.

Wait apps like WaitAway maks the wait more tolerable.

US Cruise Missile Submarines Ride the Wave of Asia-Pacific Security Issues

  1. P8101743_Fotor_Collage_Fotor_CollageAs two mountains of steel made their way to the Asia-Pacific waters, they made waves to foreign shores.  Having been deployed underwater for three months before making scheduled calls, the two of the US Navy’s cruise missile submarines, the USS Michigan and the USS North Carolina, are serving as a peacemaking force in the disputed waters in the East China Sea, South China Sea and the Philippine Sea.According to the London-based Jane’s Defence Review, the United States plans to move up to 60% of its naval power to the Far East in 6 years to maintain the regional power of balance as China is set for expand its maritime power in the region.

    Security in the Asia-Pacific became the focus of global concern, particularly following the increasing tension between China and some of its neighbors like Japan, Vietnam, Philippines and India. Given territorial disputes have spiked across the region and China is viewed as partially menacing its neighbors. The United States has announced a pivot to Asia, but defense budget cuts and challenges elsewhere in the world like ISIS may undermine Barack Obama’s promises to the US’s allies.

    Paralleled with the shift in the US’s foreign policies, Japan’s prime minister Shinzō Abe is looking to expand the role that his country’s military plays in ensuring regional peace. The retired admiral Kaneda Hideaki called on both the U.S.A. and Japan to create a mechanism to take in Taiwan as they discuss the revision of Japan-US Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security.

    This event is drumming up for support to check the burgeoning Chinese hegemony, but also for the negotiation on trade pacts across Taiwan Strait. The disparity is also reflected in social attitudes and the ambivalent feelings held by many Taiwanese.  Various opinion polls indicate that people here welcome the business opportunities fostered by the ties with China, but also fear a string tag of political and cultural assimilation.

    I hope that we can find an answer from the impending Scottish independence referendum.

Photo Credits: U.S. navy and Reuters

Alibaba Headed into Soccer Field with Evergrande

About 3 months ago at the joint press conference hosted in Guangzhou, China, founder and chairperson of Alibaba Jack Ma (Ma Yun, in orange)and the chairman of Evergrande Group Xu Jiayin(in blue)confirmed their highly anticipated partnership during a signing ceremony. The e-commerce portal will pay 1.2 billion Yuan(US $19 million)for a 50-percent share of Evergrande.


Guangzhou Evergrande is one of China’s most successful football clubs and Alibaba is the Chinese, even to some extent, the worldwide leading e-commerce company.


So, what is the rational for this unusual horizontal alliance?


“We’re not investing in football, we’re investing in entertainment,” Mr. Ma told a press briefing on Thursday. “Alibaba’s future strategies are health and entertainment.”


It seems that Alibaba Group’s IPO has little to curb its appetite for acquisition, and this acquisition marks the firm’s latest attempt to diversify its business and to bolster its online entertainment offerings include Youku, AKA the YouTube of China.


Although it is not common for an Asian tech company wanting to make a foray into sports, it should not be surprising if you know Guangzhou is a stronghold of Alibaba’s arch-rival, QQ.


Who can be a better assistant in penetrating the market than a super property agent?



Photo Credits: BBC, CFP and Bizjournals


Walk In with Honors and Walk Away with Partnership


The summer about two hundred years ago, the Chinese government was called on the carpet to grant indemnity and extraterritoriality to Britain after the Anglo-Chinese War, which had been fought between the two over their conflicting viewpoints on diplomatic relations, trade and other issues.

The circumstances were turned around completely 172 years later.

On 17 June 2014, Chinese Premiere Li Keqiang was followed by British Minister David Cameron as he walked past the Honor Guard at the Treasury Building in London.  This time, he was invited for the UK-China Summit, in which both sides committed to their economic and trading relationship while Li acted as an advocate for Chinese products and services in technology, finance, energy, education and infrastructure.

Record bilateral trade growth tells the story: Britain’s exports to China have risen by 15% last year and more than 200% in the last 5 years at a £1-billion-a-month pace. With more Chinese investment into the United Kingdom in the last one and a half years than in the whole of the last 30 years combined.

This would not only mark the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the China-Britain comprehensive strategic partnership, but also the degree to which Sino-British cooperation stands to benefit both sides, as well as the global economy.


Photo Credits: CNTV, BBC and Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China

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