Finding Jan Wong Out of the Blue – The ugly sides of Globe and Mail & Manulife

Monday, 14 May, 2012

Jan Wong Website page pix 01

As a long time reader (and fan) of Jan Wong‘s (website, twitter) newspaper articles and “Lunch with” columns, it came to me as a total shock when I belatedly discovered the real reason of why Jan is no longer working for the Canadian newspaper Globe and Mail (she was fired from the fallout of one article) and why Jan, a successful books author and highly skilled writer, has to self-publish her memoir Out of the Blue (Amazon) (this is a story in itself).

Check out this video “For my review of Jan Wong’s “Out of The Blue” & news report” and the following insightful articles and interviews.

* CBC News, “Q&A: Jan Wong’s long march from depression to reinvention”

* CBC Books Radio interview, Michael Enright’s interview with journalist Jan Wong about her latest book”

* 2012, May 11, TVO Allan Gregg video interview, “Jan Wong On Her Battle With Depression

* TorStar Apr 27, “Toronto author Jan Wong’s book on workplace depression an instant classic

* Ottawa Citizen, Jan Wong’s blues – “Journalist chronicles her controversial descent into workplace depression

* Now, “Jan Wong wronged? The Bestselling journalist wound up self-publishing her memoir?

* Now Book review, “Out of The Blue – Wilful Wong

* backofthe book.ca “Jan Wong’s Globe and Mail blues

* The Chronicle Herald “Old China hand explores Canada’s mysterious East

* Quill & Quire Book review, Out of the Blue: A Memoir of Workplace Depression, Recovery, Redemption and, Yes, Happiness”

Ref: 2006 Sept article from Premier Jean Charest.

Disclosure: I own shares of Manulife and I am shocked and angry of Manulife’s unacceptable business practices. Setting personal feelings aside, it is just bad business to deal with legitimate insurance clients like it did with Jan. These kind of unacceptable behaviours can rightfully drive potential future clients away. I may write a separate article about this. Will see.

Jan Wong Website page pix 02


Video interview Ning Wang – How China Became Capitalist, co-author with Ronald Coase Nobel Laureate in Economics

Thursday, 29 March, 2012

Kempton interview Ning Wang (co-author with Ronald Coase (Nobel Laureate in Economics)) re their new book How China Became Capitalist

I had a great interview with Ning Wang (co-author with Ronald Coase (Nobel Laureate in Economics)) to talk about their new book How China Became Capitalist. (Sample Chapter: You can download a free sample book chapter from Palgrave.)

I appreciate very much professor Wang spending over an hour sharing his insight with me about How China Became Capitalist and answering questions I have related to the Chinese economy. The following are edited clips of the video interview. By the way, feel free to share your comments and questions. When I finish reading the book, I plan to arrange another interview with Ning to talk more. And I may be able to incorporate some of the comments/questions into my next interview.

I have edited the interview into 3 clips with a list of questions/themes. Enjoy.

*** Main interview (see below for list of questions/themes)

Main interview (list of questions/themes)

Q1) Can you talk about the Shenzhen stock exchange in mid-90s where it had 300 offices for people to buy or sell stocks when the stock exchange actually had NO official permission to allow for these trades?!

Q2) China is now the world largest producer of Ph.Ds. Yet Qian Xuesen (錢學森), a most respected Chinese scientist asked a sobering question before his death in 2009 and the question is known as the “Qian Puzzle”.

“Why have Chinese universities not produced a single world-class original thinker or innovative scientist since 1949 ?”

Q3) Quoting the book,

“After more than three decades, the Chinese legal system is still far away from where it can “guarantee the equality of all people before the people’s laws and deny anyone the privilege of being above the law.”” 

This is a tough assessment which I agree with very much. Can you share your thoughts?

Q4) So far I’ve only read parts of the book but I feel more pessimistic of the possibility in seeing China makeing positive changes. I’m feeling more constrained by the history I now know. Can you share your thoughts?

Q5) I love this quote in the book,

“Capitalism with Chinese characteristics is very much like traffic in Chinese cities, chaotic and intimidating for many western tourists. Yet Chinese roads deliver more goods and transport more passengers than those in any other country.

Can you share your thoughts?

*** More in-depth questions

List of more in-depth questions/themes

Q1) China’s “Rule by Law” as opposite to the western practice of “Rule of Law“, that one word (“by” vs “of”) makes the difference of night and day! Can you share your thoughts? (see note 1)

Q2) “Do you see institutional arrangement as something culturally oriented or is base upon universally applicable principles? i.e. if every country is of certain uniqueness or that there exists a ‘one size fits all’ economic system?” [Thanks goes to my economist friend Wallace for this question.]

Q3) What is your and prof. Coase’s main discovery or new understanding gained from the years of research compare to the original understanding in 2008 when you started the research?

Q4) Can you talk about research topics that you and prof. Coase like to see more of? Any interesting puzzles worth further research?

*** Background questions about the book

List of background questions/themes about the book

Q1) Can you talk about the process of writing the book with professor Coase? I understand there was the 2008 Chicago Conference on China’s Market Transformation and then the 2010 Chicago Workshop on the Industrial Structure of Production.

Q2) I understand the book title has a history and may be traced back to 1982! Can you talk about it?

Q3) Given Ning’s Ph.D. wasn’t in Economics, how did he get to write this economics book and meet professor Coase?

How China Became Capitalist by Ronald Coase (Nobel Laureate in Economics) & Ning Wang - published Mar 23, 2012

Thanks: Special thanks to Katy for arranging an advance copy for me to prepare for this interview and for my book review.

Notes:

1) During the writing of this post, I found a link to a book chapter “The Institutional Diffusion of Courts in China: Evidence from Survey Data” (pdf) by Pierre F. Landry, Assistant Professor of Political Science at Yale University. This book chapter is one of the chapters in the book “Rule By Law: The Politics of Courts in Authoritarian Regimes“. While I haven’t read it, it may be something that is worth reading further.

2) On a personal note, I I think How China Became Capitalist is a ground breaking and insightful book that shines a bright light through some foggy misconceptions in our minds. Some of these misconceptions are unfortunately encouraged and repeated by the Chinese government.


Hannibal and Me – A book Review

Tuesday, 20 March, 2012

 Interviewing Andreas Kluth, author of Hannibal and Me, The Economist U.S. West Coast correspondent

Meet with Triumph and Disaster and treat those two impostors just the same.” from Rudyard Kipling‘s poem “If –“, first read in “Hannibal and Me

Andreas Kluth is The Economist‘s US West Coast correspondent and author of a new book “Hannibal and Me: What History’s Greatest Military Strategist Can Teach Us About Success and Failure“. I’ve been reading Andrea’s blog for some time, so I knew I would like his book but I ended up loving Hannibal and Me!

The following is my review of the book, video interview clips, plus some additional bonus materials about characters trimmed from the book.

*** Book Review ***

I love biographies in general and reading Hannibal and Me to me was like reading the crucial slices of lives of many interesting people’s stories of “successes“, “failures“, and sometimes “impostors” (successes that actually lead to failures, or failures that become foundation of future successes) all in one book woven into many cohesive lessons.

To give you an idea of the “who’s who” in the book, take a look of this partial list of characters featured in the book: HannibalAndreas (the author himself), Barack ObamaEleanor RooseveltSteve JobsAmy TanMeriwether Lewis (and Thomas JeffersonWilliam Clark), Douglas MacArthur and Harry TrumanLudwig ErhardPablo PicassoPaul CézanneTiger WoodsCleopatraLance ArmstrongLiu Shaoqi (and Mao Zedong), plus Albert Einstein.

In Andreas’ throughly researched and eloquently written Hannibal and Me, the lives of modern day people like Steve JobsTiger WoodsAmy TanEleanor Roosevelt, Douglas MacArthur and Harry Truman were woven into the spectacular venture tale of Hannibal, bring every characters to live.

Don’t let words like “history“, “military strategist“, “Hannibal” in the title deter you from reading the book. I had to study history for six years and pretty much hated every minute of it. Andreas’ Hannibal and Me managed to bring all these characters to life to teach me, Kempton, teach us, readers of the book, important life-changing lessons. I originally thought I would have to skip a few pages so I can get to the interesting/fascinating modern real life stories sooner. To my pleasant surprise, I ended up reading every page over a few days. I find the lives, decisions and actions of the charters in the book absolutely fascinating and illuminating.

Ultimately, each reader will learn different lessons from the book depending on our own life experiences and life stages. Hannibal and Me is one of the best books I have read for years. To me, the book crystallized some of the life decisions I have made over the last few years and will be making in the future. I know I will be re-reading Hannibal and Me again and again over time as I grow older and gain more experiences. I hope you will enjoy the book as much as I did.

*** Video interviews with Andreas ***

Here is the main video interview clip. (My previous post about my multiple interview video clips with Andreas.)

Andreas on Eleanor Roosevelt Read the rest of this entry »


iPad app review: Moving Tales’ This Too Shall Pass

Tuesday, 9 August, 2011

Moving Tales - This Too Shall Pass iPad & iPhone App

Apple iPad app:  ”This Too Shall Pass

Price: US$ 6.99

Star rating:  5 out of 5 stars

Review: The team at Moving Tales has done it again. ”This Too Shall Pass“ has beautiful 3D animation, engaging voice over, music, sound effects, and great message in the story. In fact, as in Moving Tales‘ first app “The Pedlar Lady of Gushing Cross” and “Unwanted Guest“, these stories are great for kids (and adults)!

I ended up enjoying the story of ”This Too Shall Pass“ in one sitting, like watching a beautifully written story book in the form of a movie. I am happy to see the Canadian team of Moving Tales is doing well and getting international recognition that it deserves. Feel free to have a watch of my previous Skype video interview with Matthew Talbot-Kelly, Founder of Moving Tales.

P.S. With its localization in Spanish and French with beautiful voice over, I recommended the apps to my Spanish speaking friend to use the app as a tool to help teach her daughter Spanish! :)

Here is a trailer and promo clip of ”This Too Shall Pass“.


iPad app review: Moving Tales’ Unwanted Guest

Thursday, 3 March, 2011

Moving Tales' Unwanted Guest - pix 1Moving Tales' Unwanted Guest - pix 2

Apple iPad app:  ”Unwanted Guest

Price: US$ 4.99

Star rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Unwanted Guest“ is great story and wonderfully designed app by the creative people at Moving Tales. The story about a poor old man, down on his luck and living in a tumbledown house, is visited by an unwelcome house guest was very engaging that I ended up finishing the app/book in one reading! The animations are beautifully imagined, stunningly designed and rendered. The English, French, and Spanish voice-over all sounded very engaging and worked great with the story. I can imagine some parents using the foreign languages option to teach their children one or more of the languages. I highly recommend you check out ”Unwanted Guest“.

By the way, if you haven’t seen Moving Tales‘s first story app ”The Pedlar Lady of Gushing Cross“, have a look of my 2010 August app review and you may want to get that app too. By now, I have seen and reviewed producer/director/animator Matthew Talbot-Kelly’s Moving Tales team of creative people’s last two out of three story apps and they are setting very high standard for the industry!

The following is a promotional clip of the app from Moving Tales.


iPad app interview: Matthew Talbot-Kelly “Pedlar Lady of Gushing Cross”

Tuesday, 10 August, 2010

Matthew Talbot-Kelly interviews (Pedlar Lady of Gushing Cross iPad app & The Trembling Veil of Bones animation)

Aug 19, 2010 update: Pedlar Lady is Apple iPad App of the week for US & Canada

***

It was a lot of fun chatting with Matthew Talbot-Kelly (imdb), director & producer of the Apple iPad app “The Pedlar Lady of Gushing Cross” (see app review here).

Matthew got the idea to develop an iPad app right after watching Steve Jobs first demoed the iPad online (in late Jan 2010). After watching Jobs’ demo, Matthew concluded Jobs “didn’t really have the killer app” for iPad and demoed uses were things people could already do with their computers. Soon after the Jobs’ demo, Matthew took one of his animation projects (one previously pitched as a short film) and pitched it again, but this time as an iPad app. And Matthew was able to quickly find an interested Vancouver investor. A note to creative people out there: sometimes your prior creative ideas/efforts can generate result in unexpected places at a later time, you never know if you keep your eyes open.

Pedlar Lady is a story based on an 800 years old poem and this story has many variants around the world. Matthew turned to his partner Jacqueline Rogers and asked her to write and transform the story into a story telling text that is playful, magical, dynamic and alive at the same time. The time it took to create the iPad app is hard to determine because it included a long process of research & development to figure out what are possible or not possible in the current iOS software development kit 4. There are more technical discussions in the video interview.

The animation artists involved int app development are experienced 3D or 2D animators, so animated objects are 3 dimensional and are in prospective. Take a look of the included promotional clip to see what the animations in the app looks like.

The creation of the Pedlar Lady was the beautiful result of an international effort with Matthew and his partner based in Gibson, BC and other collaborators working from Ireland, New Brunswick, Vancouver, Toronto, Calgary, South Africa, London, Mexico, Peru, Finland, etc.

The following are the videos of my interesting Skype video chat with Matthew. Enjoy.

Here is a promotional clip of “The Pedlar Lady of Gushing Cross” iPad app


Cinematic iPad storytelling app review: “The Pedlar Lady of Gushing Cross”

Monday, 9 August, 2010

Cinematic iPad storytelling app review: “The Pedlar Lady of Gushing Cross”

Aug 19, 2010 update: Pedlar Lady is Apple iPad App of the week for US & Canada

***
The Pedlar Lady of Gushing Cross” is a beautifully designed cinematic iPad storytelling app published by Moving Tales. Make sure you check out the enclosed promotional clip of the Pedlar Lady app so you can see some samples of the beautifully rendered images/animations.

Apple iPad app:  “The Pedlar Lady of Gushing Cross

Price: US$ 4.99

Star rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Pros:

* Beautifully and cinematically 3D rendered moving images that go along well with an engaging story. Matthew Talbot-Kelly, producer and director of the iPad app, is also a very experienced animator and you can totally tell from the stunning animations. Even the “cover” of the story app contains a 3D fly through to the Pedlar Lady’s house. (see clip)

* Beautifully recorded sound effects and narration.

* Users can also select the Spanish text and Spanish narration option. And the Spanish narration also sounds great. Potentially a great tool to teach children Spanish.

* The narration can be turned off so the story can be read by a parent or grandparent out loud with the sound effects playing in the background.

Cons:

I subtracted 0.5 star for the following:

* At the moment, the app doesn’t have interactive elements. Some of the pages (e.g. one page has many bottles hanging on the tree) are perfect candidates for adding interactive elements for user to touch/move and make sound or interact. (According to Moving Tales, this combination is technically not possible yet.)

* As part of this review, I discovered and reported a bug that stops the animations. Restarting the app may fix the problem, and rebooting the iPad should fix it. I’ve reported the conditions that can trigger this bug to Matthew, he has promised a bug fix and possibly some additional enhancements in the next update. (see my Skype video interview with Matthew).

[latest update from Matthew: a bug fixed version (v 1.01) was submitted to the app store last week, they are now waiting for Apple to approve it.]

[Aug 16, 2010 Update: version v 1.01 has been approved by Apple. The above identified bug has been fixed. Added new sound effects. Improved application stability.]

Recommendation:

Highly recommended. Great experience for much less than the price of almost all children books. Moving Tales, a Gibson BC based Canadian company, has done a wonderful job in creating a Cinematic iPad storytelling app for all to enjoy. Of local interest, the iPad app programming for the Pedlar Lady is done by a Calgary based programmer.

The official site of Moving Tales says it well, “How does Moving Tales bring stories to life?

  • sophisticated 3D animation on every page
  • original music, voice over and sound effects
  • animate the text using the iPad’s accelerometer
  • Cover Flow-like navigation
  • page swipe or tap for page turning
  • auto page turning option
  • sound effects only sound option
  • compelling narrative
  • randomly selected alternate views and extras to ensure no two viewings alike
  • sophisticated and dynamic typographic layout
  • evocative poetic language
  • Spanish option—choose to hear and display the story in Spanish as well as English”

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