Shanghai, Shanghai Municipality, China
99% response rate · Last login about 8 hours ago
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to visit more countries around the world... I've done enough of China right now!
IF YOU'RE ASKING ME FOR A COUCH: PLEASE START WITH READING THE COUCH INFORMATION SECTION CAREFULLY AND IN FULL!
Short story of my life is that I'm born in Singapore and stayed there for 2/3rds of my life, and then the remaining 1/3rd (and counting) here in Shanghai.
I currently work as a courier. Please do NOT ask me to recommend you or anyone else as I'm not in a position to do so and it's awkward for me to have to reject your request. It's kinda my dream job and I hope to keep on doing it as long as I can, despite the fact that some might say that this's a waste of my academic qualifications and it's not a stable job (both opinions are valid).
I moved to Shanghai for my studies in Sep 2003. I started as an undergrad student at Shanghai Conservatory of Music, majoring in traditional Chinese instrument performance.
In Sep 2008, I gained admission to Fudan University's English-taught Masters programme, majoring in Chinese Language & Culture. Since then, I've been heavily involved in the activities of the university's Chinese orchestra and served for about 2-3 years as its vice-president, including after graduation.
Before I came to Shanghai, I'd never been to China before. In fact, my only trips out of Singapore were to Malaysia, Japan and North Korea. I've since then travelled extensively in mainland China, as well as trips to South Korea, Canada, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Germany, Thailand, Hungary, France, Morocco, Sweden, Mexico, Australia, India, Portugal, the USA, Argentina, Qatar, Italy, Macau, Poland, Slovakia, Romania, Spain, the Philippines, Israel, Indonesia, Luxembourg, Austria etc.
Travelling in the well-known as well as the off-the-beaten-path nooks and crannies of China, sometimes solo, I've been privileged to see a China that I believe many international students and expats in China don't.
--end of official CV blurb, start of ramblings--
Well, below are some thoughts that I jot down here from time to time which kinda describe me. Reading them might be helpful if you intend to surf with me (especially), or host, or just meet up.
* I usually like to spend time with my hosts and surfers when in the house. However there're just times (especially when I'm the host) when I don't really feel like interacting very much. Sometimes it's just me, or sometimes I'm just not really motivated to talk more to you (maybe you don't interest me that much? unfortunately). The latter can especially happen if you've been surfing longer than expected.
* If you cannot be bothered to read my profile and send me a copy-paste CSMail or CouchRequest, be warned that you will receive a rude answer from me as you haven't been polite enough to read before contacting me -- I do when I write to other people! If you're lucky you'll only get ignored. Sorry but I no longer have time to entertain random people who're interested in meeting just any human being and not me as a person. If you think I'm close-minded and unfriendly as a result of this then it's just as well that we do not meet.
HOW I PARTICIPATE IN COUCHSURFING
I currently rent a room in a 3-room apartment at Wujiaochang near Fudan University. For couch information, please refer to the "My Home" section.
Due to the nature of my job (which makes up most of my travel), I have to travel very light ie only carry-on luggage. Thus I will not have blankets, sheets or a sleeping bag.
I usually don't bring a towel, but if my host would really prefer that I bring one, I'm happy to buy one and leave it for the next surfer.
The good thing about having so little is that I won't be messing up your place! :)
Other than hosting and surfing
I'm usually happy to meet up for a chat/tea/meal/stroll in my neighbourhood if I'm in Shanghai -- sorry, I usually prefer not to go downtown. :) I can work with meal budgets of generally 10-50 RMB/pax, with a preference for around 20-30 RMB/pax for a meal. It makes me uncomfortable to eat with someone who's on such a shoestring budget that you cannot afford 10 RMB for a meal. On the other hand, I cannot afford to be spending more than 50 RMB on a regular meal, most of the time.
I don't usually go for gatherings as I don't function well in "mass group" kind of gatherings, I prefer to meet in groups of 2 to 6 people.
CouchSurfing is NOT a dating/"hook-up" site and I DO NOT appreciate any CSers thinking otherwise.
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No.1 on the list is travel, of course! I'm quite a history/culture bum, and love going to museums -- though not the ones that look like someone's dusty, abandoned storeroom. However I've also learnt from recent experience that going to museums where I can't understand the exhibit captions (due to language barriers) can be quite disappointing.
Scenery is also a plus with me, but I'm not very athletic and hate climbing! But for a good view I can always consider. ;) I was about halfway up the Dom in Koln when I thought to myself "why did I think this is a good idea?!" ROFL!
Food, glorious food! I love sampling local food wherever I travel, and always try to look up the local specialties and recommended eating spots. My favourite ingredients (cooked in any way) are potatoes and cheese; I stay clear of coriander (cilantro) and celery, and avoid bell peppers as much as possible. No insects in my diet either... eeks! :( As for fruits, I love durian -- in any form as long as it's not rotten!
Unfortunately I can't cook (unless you mean stuff that you just add hot water to ie instant noodles) -- but I can help with cutting, chopping and cleaning if you don't mind that I'm quite a klutz.
Scrabble and other board/card games are a hit with me! So if you're an avid fellow gamer, please look me up! I'm especially keen to play Scrabble somewhat competitively, as it's difficult to find comparable players in mainland China.
Music is another of my passions. For more details, please refer to the Music section below. I also really love going to sing karaoke so if you'd like to go for a session (it's a very Chinese/Asian thing, good culture experience!) please drop me a line!
When travelling, I also like to take some time to write and send postcards, to myself and a few close friends. I'm pretty fanatical about getting them posted in the city which they're from, so sometimes when I can't find stamps or a mailbox they end up waiting months for me to visit that city again and bring them back there to be posted. Those whom I write too usually find copious essays squashed into the available writing space.
Oh, I also like collecting Hard Rock Café T-shirts. In fact, they're almost the only new clothes I've bought in some time. My favourite is one that I bought in Macau, not really a T-shirt but a more girlie top. Another obsolete souvenir is the one from Mexico City, I almost went to refund it but refunds were, strangely, not permitted at this particular outlet. A year later, I found that it had closed, so it was lucky I didn't refund it!
Chatting with friends and reading in English are also good ways to spend my time. However please note that I do NOT enjoy discussions/questions about my Chinese name, my work (most of the time) and religion/politics/Tibet (really not interested, nothing to do with the Chinese government).
I play a wide variety of traditional Chinese music instruments, mostly plucked-string. I enjoy listening to Chinese orchestral and instrumental music -- Western classical music tends to put me to sleep, unfortunately. I also write rearrangements, the best effort so far is this one: http://v.youku.com/v_show/id_XMTg4ODI0Mjc2.html
I also love musicals and my favourites are Miss Saigon, Evita and Les Miserables. I've only been able to see a few musicals live, namely Miss Saigon (Singapore), Forbidden City (Singapore), Phantom of the Opera (Shanghai), Starlight Express (Hong Kong) and Lion King (Sydney).
As a spin-off, I also really enjoy listening to the fantastic voice of Sarah Brightman. Favourites among her songs include La Pasione and A Question of Honour.
I also like some Chinese pop songs, though perhaps a bit outdated. I like going to karaoke, if you're interested we could always try to get enough people to go together.
Reading for leisure/enjoyment will definitely be in English. I do understand Chinese, but I read much easier and faster in English.
I enjoy Harry Potter be it in print or on screen -- as long as it's in English. I also liked George Orwell's Animal Farm, and would be keen to read Iris Chang's Rape of Nanking.
The only Chinese books I'll pick up of my own accord are travel guidebooks -- I especially enjoy the ones by Taiwan and Hong Kong publishers.
However, I do sometimes make exceptions to the "no Chinese" rule. I enjoy the novels of Lu Xun, and Bai Xianyong's anthology Taipei People. I've read these with English-Chinese translation.
I tend to go for films that have some travel, historical or musical background, or those in the kids/family genre. I don't enjoy scary/ghost movies at all. Here're some of my favourites:
- Les Miserables (2012 version)
- The Soong Sisters (Chinese language)
- Up in the Air
- Harry Potter series
- Ice Age series
- Happy Feet series
- Home Run (watched this Singaporean adaption of the famous Iranian film 4 times in the cinema!)
- Amadeus (watched countless times onboard planes)
- Letters to Juliet
Others movies that I currently like, but which might not make it to my lasting list of favourites, are: Paddington, Woman in Gold, American Dreams in China (Chinese language), The Royal Tailor (Korean language), The Hundred-Foot Journey, Guten Tag Ramon (German/Spanish languages), Frau Ella (German language)
Travel and food programmes are definitely my cup of tea, especially food-cum-travel programmes by Taiwan and Hong Kong TV.
As for drama serials, I like anything produced in Hong Kong. I also like certain Taiwan idol dramas (eg MVP Lover) and some mainland Chinese drama serials, mainly the period dramas. In English, the only ones I've watched are The L Word, The Tudors, The Reign and The White Queen; for Korean ones, I've only watched Dae Jang Geum. I don't watch Japanese ones at all.
- Apr 2002: 3-week fully-paid-for trip to North Korea
- May 2008: riding a camel and an ostrich on the same day, at Shapotou (northwest China)
- Sep 2010: spending almost 2 full days at Guadalajara airport because of missing luggage
- Dec 2010: 90 hours, 8 flights, 5 airlines, 1 RTW... and the same repeated 1 week later with more airlines and flights in the equation!
- May 2011: spending my birthday in 3 different cities: Tokyo, Shanghai and Shaoxing
- Aug 2011: eating a local Korean delicacy which arrived at our table still moving in the wok, then seeing more live ones cooked in the traditional way... see it for yourself and it's definitely Fear Factor-worthy :P
- Jun 2012: sent off to fly to the Philippines with a couple of hours' notice, without knowing where exactly nor how long for, and without knowing anything about the plane tickets!
- Dec 2012: getting a visa run to Taipei for almost no money at all, thanks to mileage and a VDB compensation on the flight back
- Feb 2013: being recognised (in a good way) by an American Airlines flight attendant on a flight, a few months after I originally met her on another American Airlines flight
- Mar 2013: getting stamped by exactly the same immigration officer in Frankfurt enroute to/back from Portugal
- May 2013: enjoying the rooftop of the Milan Duomo
- May 2013: going for a daytrip with a CSer whom I later found out shares my birthday
- Sep 2013: sunset on Halong Bay, Vietnam
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I'm extremely well-travelled in mainland China, especially in Shanghai and the neighbouring provinces of Jiangsu and Zhejiang, so you won't go wrong asking me to help with your travel plans and logistics!
I can also help with travelling in Korea (especially Seoul) and Taiwan (especially Taipei).
It would be nice to improve any of the languages that I'm a Beginner in, especially French and Korean pronunciation and vocabulary, as well as making decent sentences.
I majored in Chinese instrumental music for my basic degree and I'm currently the vice president of the Fudan University Chinese Orchestra. Our practices are on Tue afternoons, sectionals on various weekday nights and you're welcome to sit in if you're interested.
Otherwise, with a working Internet connection, I can show you online videos of our performances, including one of my rearrangements.
I can also play piano (Trinity performance certificate) and a bit of cello and double bass.
If you're wondering about getting yourself a decent Chinese name, I also like helping with that. :) I try to give names that sound "normal" and have some kind of relation in meaning and sound to your original name, not just simply translating your original name or slapping you with a Chinese name that has nothing to do with you. So, be prepared to tell me more about your original name if you want a good Chinese one!
Argentina, Australia, Austria, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Macao, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, North Korea, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Slovakia, South Korea, Sweden, Taiwan, Thailand, United Kingdom, United States, Viet Nam
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