Sunday, September 30, 2007

How Close Should We Get?

After visiting Sydney Australia, I have a better appreciation for the native wildlife that live there including Koalas, Wallabies, Tasmanian Devils, and Wombats. Part of this new found enthusiasm was because we were able to get up close and personal and pet the Koalas at Featherdale Wildlife Park just outside Sydney. Within Sydney, it is illegal to pet the animals and they are lobbying to have all touching of animals banned. Some say this is for the protection of the animals from human diseases or being irritated. Others say the ban is to protect humans from the animals (Koalas are known to get vicious when woken up from their naps).

This was also a controversial subject when Steve Irwin "The Crocodile Hunter" would get up close and personal with the animals in filming his documentaries. His life was ended when he was stabbed in the chest by a stingray. To me, if an animal is tame enough for picture shoots at the zoo, visitors should at least be allowed to pet them. It's obvious when they're cranky because they'll move away from people so you make sure they're on frequent rotations for shifts. I think once you've been able to make a connection with not only sight, but also touch, you'll want to make sure that these animals are preserved for future generations (though in some parts of the world, they're not in danger of extinction).

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

What Do You Make?

Do I really want to know how much money other people make? claims that they have the salary information for over 200,000+ positions throughout the country. "Danwei" is the Chinese term for organization.

On the one hand, if I was job hunting, this may be a useful tool to help negotiate my new salary. This tool could also give me leverage if I found out that I was severely underpaid and want to ask for a raise.

On the otherhand, if I was severely underpaid and wasn't in the market for a new job, this might make me feel the injustice of being unfairly compensated and motivate me to start job searching. However, it doesn't account for whether the person who was paid more has been in the industry longer or possesses certain skills that warrant the higher salary.

All in all - transparency of information should level the playing field and give more power back to the employees.

I'm just glad that I'm neither job hunting nor underpaid.

Another company,, also give company salary data, but it's on a subscription basis. At $9.95 per month, I'd rather just stay ignorant and happy with what I already have.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Chinese Irish

Growing up, my teachers called me "Maureen" because they couldn't pronounce my Chinese name. I didn't think it was strange until Jr. High when someone told me that Maureen was an Irish name.

Last week, I returned from a business trip to Dublin where I ventured out to city center and experienced my unofficial heritage for the first time.
The Temple Bar area was just as I imagined it with Guinness signs everywhere and cobblestone roads. On Grafton Street, the shops were mostly the same as you would find in any big city with the exception of Butlers Chocolates.

The ironic part of the entire trip was when my coworker suggested that we have Mongolian BBQ for dinner in Dublin. I suppose that is better than the traditional meal of potatoes and beef stew of some sort. At over 25 Euros for a decent meal, I would still prefer the cheap eats in the Bay Area where less than 5 Euros would buy you a full Chinese dinner and then some for leftovers.

  • As for my name, I've long since dropped the nickname Maureen, but people still call me "Mo".