Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Pineapple Cake

TaiTai 太太's New Favourite

I have just learned about this amazing pineapple cake which comes from Taiwan and sold at Raffles Hotel in Singapore.

" All the ingredients being used are the finest chosen ones without additives or preservatives. The pineapples are sun-ripened which organically grown in Taiwan and took 18 months to reach its full flavor. Each pineapple only can be used to make six to seven pineapple cakes. The other finest ingredients are natural New  Zealand  butter,  Japanese gourmet flour, and  the  healthiest  red plump‐yolked  eggs  from local  farm."     --  MORE

Apparently good cake cannot be more than 3 weeks old so we wait anxiously for next parcel   - MORE 

Thank you Kaitlyn for your introduction.  Or rather thank you to you boyfriend's Auntie for the sample.   Its my new favourite.

Monday, September 23, 2013

American Designer Babies

Wealthy Chinese seek US surrogates for second child or green card

American surrogate mothers are increasingly being hired by the rich and privileged to fulfil their desires for 'designer' children and US citizenship

Wealthy Chinese are hiring American women to serve as surrogates for their children, creating a small but growing business in US$120,000 “designer” American babies for China’s elite.
Surrogacy agencies in China and the United States are catering to wealthy Chinese who want a baby outside the country’s restrictive family planning policies, who are unable to conceive themselves, or who are seeking US citizenship for their children.
Emigration as a family is another draw - US citizens may apply for Green Cards for their parents when they turn 21.
While there is no data on the total number of Chinese who have sought or used US surrogates, agencies in both countries say demand has risen rapidly in the last two years.
US fertility clinics and surrogacy agencies are creating Chinese-language websites and hiring Mandarin speakers.
Boston-based Circle Surrogacy has handled half a dozen Chinese surrogacy cases over the last five years, said president John Weltman.
“I would be surprised if you called me back in four months and that number hadn’t doubled,” he said. “That’s the level of interest we’ve seen this year from China and the very serious conversations we’ve had with people who I think will be joining us in the next three or four months.”
The agency, which handles about 140 surrogacy cases a year, 65 per cent of them for clients outside the United States, is opening an office in California to better serve clients from Asia which has easier flight connections with the West Coast. Weltman said he hopes to hire a representative in Shanghai next year.
The increased interest from Chinese parents has created some cultural tensions.
US agency staff who ask that surrogates and intended parents develop a personal relationship have been surprised by potential Chinese clients who treat surrogacy as a strictly commercial transaction.
In China, where surrogacy is illegal, some clients keep the fact that their baby was born to a surrogate a secret, going so far as to fake a pregnancy, agents say.
Chinese interest in obtaining US citizenship is not new. The 14th Amendment to the US constitution gives anyone born in the United States the right to citizenship.
You can basically make a designer baby nowadays
A growing number of pregnant Chinese women travel to America to obtain US citizenship for their children by delivering there, often staying in special homes designed to cater to their needs.
While the numbers are unclear, giving birth in America is now so commonplace that it was the subject of a hit romantic comedy movie, Finding Mr Right, released in China in March.
Overall, the number of Chinese visitors to the United States nearly doubled in recent years, from 1 million in 2010 to 1.8 million last year, US immigration statistics show.
Weltman said that prospective Chinese clients almost always want to choose US citizenship for their babies, while other agencies pointed to a desire to have children educated in the United States.
Some wealthy Chinese say they want a bolt-hole overseas because they fear they will the targets of public or government anger if there were more social unrest in China. There is also a perception that their wealth will be better protected in countries with a stronger rule of law.
At least one Chinese agent promotes surrogacy as a cheaper alternative to America’s EB-5 visa, which requires a minimum investment in a job creating business of $500,000.
While the basic surrogacy package Chinese agencies offer costs between $120,000 and $200,000, “if you add in plane tickets and other expenses, for only $300,000, you get two children and the entire family can emigrate to the US,” said a Shanghai-based agent.
That cost still means the surrogacy alternative is available only to the wealthiest Chinese.
Intended parents typically pay the surrogate between $22,000 and $30,000, an agency fee of about $17,000 to $20,000 and legal fees of up to $13,000. If egg donation is required, that can cost an additional $15,000 and pre-natal care and delivery fees can run between $9,000 and $16,000.
Indeed, surrogacy in the United States is so expensive that in recent years hundreds of American parents have reportedly turned to surrogates in India.
Often it is infertility that sends Chinese couples to US surrogacy agencies. More than 40 million Chinese are now considered infertile, according to the Chinese Population Association. The incidence of infertility has quadrupled in the last two decades to 12.5 per cent of people of childbearing age.
Shanghai businessman Tony Jiang and his wife Cherry were among them. They turned twice to domestic surrogates after struggling and failing to conceive on their own. Both attempts were unsuccessful, and left them unimpressed with the impersonal nature of in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) treatment in China.
Jiang researched surrogacy in Thailand, India and the Ukraine before settling on the United States, in part because of its superior healthcare system.
In December 2010, he and his wife welcomed a daughter, born in California to an American surrogate he calls “my Amanda”. The same surrogate later carried twins for the couple.
Friends began to ask him to help them do the same thing and last year, he set up his own agency, DiYi Consulting. He has handled 75 surrogacy cases for Chinese parents so far.
Agents said that while many of their clients struggle with infertility, a substantial portion already have one child - some in their teens - and are looking to have a second outside China’s 1979 family planning policy that restricts couples, in most cases, to one child.
They count among their clients government officials and employees of state-owned enterprises, for whom a second child would be a fireable offence. Members of the Chinese Communist Party would also face disciplinary action if a second child were reported.
Families who violate the one-child policy face the prospect of forced abortions, sterilisations and fines, policies that have been most brutally enforced in poor, rural areas.
Technically, Chinese who deliver their second child overseas still violate family planning policies, but in practice the government has little way to enforce this, says Zhong Tao, a Shanghai-based lawyer who has handled similar cases.
Obtaining a Chinese household registration, which is necessary to enjoy subsidised health care and enrol for lower tuition as a local student in state schools, is more complicated, if not impossible for second children.
For children who are foreign citizens, parents must apply for visas and residence permits.
Seeking surrogacy overseas is not in itself illegal, and Chinese surrogacy agency websites, often adorned with pictures of chubby infants, highlight the possibility of bespoke babies.
Chinese surrogacy clients typically want to use their own eggs and sperm, which allows them to have a child who is fully biologically theirs, agents said.
A growing number, though, are open to egg donation. Often Chinese donors will seek ethnically Chinese or Asian egg donors, commonly with Ivy League degrees.
But others want tall, Eurasian children, agents said. “Lots of clients that are Chinese do use tall blond donors,” said Jennifer Garcia, case coordinator at Extraordinary Conceptions, a Carlsbad, California-based agency where 40 per cent of clients are Chinese.
Agents said that clients believe these taller, bi-racial children will be smarter and better looking.

Chinese clients also often request boys, a consequence of a cultural preference for boy children. While sex-selective abortion is illegal - though still common - in China, gender selection is technically straightforward through IVF in the United States, where it is used in surrogacy cases.

Genetic screening also allows intended parents to rule out inherited conditions. "You can basically make a designer baby nowadays," said Garcia.  - 2013 September 24      SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST

Saturday, September 14, 2013


Beyond Plateaus

We value Excellence above all.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Musical Conductors

Interpreters of Music

Tycoon Richard Li  - Patron of the National Arts Centre of Canada to China

Conductor and Soloist Pinchas Zuckerman and the National Arts Centre Orchestra in China:
Hong Kong - Hong Kong Cultural Centre, October 6
Guangzhou - Xinghai Concert Hall, October 8
Fuling - Fuling Grand Theatre, October 10
Chongqing - Chongqing Grand Theatre, October 11
Tianjin - Tianjin Grand Theatre, October 13
Beijing - Tsinghua University, October 16
Beijing - National Centre for the Perfomring Arts, October 17
Shanghai - Shanghai Concert Hall, October 19
Richard has a long past of supporting musicians including bringing Sarah Chang to Hong Kong to perform with the Asia Youth Orchestra.

Leading a distinguished Orchestra in Italy 

Chinese conductor Xian Zhang

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Fine Art

Warhols take China by storm


Andy Warhol in front of the Forbidden City in Beijing in 1982. (Christopher Makos)

From Jing Daily:

When American pop art legend Andy Warhol visited China in 1982, one of the sights that struck him the most was the image of everyone in matching Communist garb. Time can certainly change quickly: today, China’s wealthy art collectors can’t get enough of his works at auction, and his aesthetic is gaining a growing legion of fans across the country.

His art has been featured increasingly prominently at Asia sales for Sotheby’s and Christie’s, which are both organizing China-based exhibitions containing several of his Asia-inspired works for upcoming auctions. Sotheby’s will be showing an exhibit in Hong Kong from September 12 to 24, which will feature 40 works with prices between US$15,000 and US$1 million, according to Bloomberg. The article describes some of the pieces that will be on display:
A folding screen depicting butterflies done in ink and watercolors is among the pieces included in Sotheby’s “From Warhol, With Love.” A ballpoint drawing called “Hong Kong, China, 1956,” shows a bustling shopping street. A drawing of a shoe is made with gold leaf.
Meanwhile, Christie’s, which earlier this spring inked a landmark deal to operate independently on mainland China, will be hosting a Shanghai exhibition of 45 Warhol works from September 24 to 26, with prices ranging from US$8,000 to US$56,000. Notable Asia-inspired images in the show include a 1986 Komodo dragon and a 1982 black-and-white photograph of two Chinese phone booths.
According to the article, a growing contingent of Chinese collectors can’t get enough of Warhol:
“In our first online Warhol sale in February, 8 percent of bidders were Chinese, a higher percentage than we have previously seen,” said Amelia Manderscheid, Christie’s associate specialist on e-commerce for Warhol. The auction house also held private Hong Kong sales of Warhol’s work in November and May.
Andy Warhol, Marilyn, 1967 (Collection of The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh)
Andy Warhol, Marilyn, 1967, one of many famous works making its way across Asia for the “15 Minutes Eternal” tour. (Collection of The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh)
Warhol is also becoming increasingly well known to China’s general public. From April 29 to July 28 of this year, Shanghai’s Power Station of Art hosted a major retrospective of his work entitled “Andy Warhol: 15 Minutes Eternal”, which was sponsored by Christie’s and will also be showing in Beijing at an unspecified date.
The artist’s growing popularity in China is fitting, considering the fact that the country gave him a great deal of inspiration for his work. When U.S.-China rapprochement began in 1972, Warhol was moved to created his infamous Mao portraits (which, ironically, were not shown in Shanghai for fear of censorship). According to CNN,
“Mao was front-page news in America and that was often where Warhol got his biggest inspiration,” said Eric Shiner, director of Pittsburgh’s Andy Warhol Museum, which organized the exhibition. He described Mao as “classic Warhol subject matter.”
Warhol relied on a copy of Mao’s portrait photograph in the leader’s Little Red Book of ideological quotations to create his paintings. Little did he know that he would eventually pose for a photo in front of the original portrait hanging in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square.
A decade later, Warhol paid his first ever visit to China, where he posed for a photo in front of Tiananmen Square that can be found on posters for sale today in Beijing’s tourist-heavy 798 art district. In addition to the “15 Minutes Eternal” exhibition, visitors to Shanghai have access to a collection of photos of him on his China trip touring locations such as the Great Wall, Forbidden City, and Tiananmen Square shot by Christopher Makos at the Elisabeth de Brabant Art Center in Shanghai until August 30.
In possibly one of the clearest signs of his growing mass popularity, the Warhol aesthetic has also inspired branding efforts: in July, Perrier celebrated its 150th anniversary with a set of four Warhol-themed bottles that were unveiled at a “pop-art”-themed party at Shanghai’s SOHO China Gallery, while Cadillac sponsored a Beijing exhibition featuring works by Warhol in April of last year.
The growing popularity of Warhol pieces to Chinese collectors is likely due the artist’s blue-chip status, making his art highly attractive to this pragmatic group of buyers. China’s rapidly growing group of collectors is likely to have a strong impact on both top-tier Western and Chinese pieces in the years to come thanks to the value of hard assets as important investment pieces.

Friday, September 6, 2013


Why Chinese parents are sending their children abroad to study at a younger age

Parents from China, looking for a private education for their children in the UK, look around Kingswood school in Bath and meet the head boy of the prep school. Photo: China Foto Press
Parents are turning to overseas kindergartens as well as public and private high schools in search of a broad education for their children.

What Matters to the High End Asians

We know what school Alibaba's Jack Ma's son is attending ;-)

Encouraging Kids for Success

How to build your very own CEO


Every parent wants his or her child to grow up to be a successful human being. But maybe you have loftier goals for your offspring. Maybe you want your daughter to be the CEO of a big company; maybe you want your kid to be Prime Minister of Canada.

Sure there are some costs attached, but the 100 highest-earning CEOs on the TSX Index made an average of $7.7-million in 2011, according to the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. If you’re still raw about it decades later, ask your kid to throw you a million-dollar bone from C-Suite.

So aside from dressing him in sweater vests and cultivating a love of cats, here are some ways to raise a big shot.

Get them to the green: Ninety per cent of the Fortune 500 CEOs reportedly play golf and according to a Pompeu Fabra University study of CEOs, golfers earn more than non-golfers and the better your game, the more you earn.

Aside from the hobnobbing and chitchat between swings, perhaps the focus and discipline required for a good golf game transfers to the corporate field.

The National Golf Academy in Calgary begins teaching kids at six years of age. Introductory group instruction costs $99 for four one-hour sessions; private instruction is about $60 per lesson.

“The younger you can learn this game, the better,” says Terry Carter, the academy director. “It’s almost like riding a bike. You get those fundamentals early and you don’t lose them.”

Not sure if your child will swing the golf clubs or ride them like imaginary ponies? Test out their interest with mini golf ($8.50 for 12 and under at Putting Edge).

Cultivate his curiosity: Adam Bryant, who has interviewed more than 250 CEOs for his “Corner Office” column at the New York Times and has written a book about success, identified five qualities that leaders share. One is a “deep, relentless, questioning mind.”

“The best way to challenge corporate orthodoxy is to ask simple questions like, ‘Why do you do that that way?’ They’re almost like the kinds of questions the relentless five-year-old ask, ‘Why? Why? Why?’ But CEOs do that.”

So encourage your inquisitor: Take her to the Vancouver Aquarium ($14 for children 4-12, $25 for adults) or the Ontario Science Centre ($13 for children 3-12, $22 for adults) or The Manitoba Museum ($7.50 for 3-17, $9 for adults).

Teach him to speak up: Oprah Winfrey was a National Forensic League state champion in high school. Both John Kerry and George Bush were on the debate team in university. CBC journalist Ian Hanomansing and Federal Labour Minister Lisa Raitt were debaters in school.

“In an ever changing world, the skills that you really need to develop are critical-thinking skills and public speaking — the skills to communicate,” says Tracey Lee, ‎a world officer with the Canadian Student Debate Federation.

Encourage your kid to join the school’s debating team at no cost (provided that the school has a team registered with the provincial debating league). As alternatives, look for after-school programs. Dale Carnegie Training in Calgary offers an 8-week leadership program for teens ($1,895). In the summer, Debate Camp Canada runs one-week programs in Toronto and Windsor, N.S., $425 and $895, respectively.)

Then, prepare for vociferous debate about chores, curfews, homework, dating, etc.

Encourage her because she’s a girl: Let’s face facts. According to Statistics Canada’s 2011 National Household Survey, 80% of Canada’s one-percenters are men; more than 94% of the CEOs of Canada’s top 500 companies are men, says Catalyst, Inc., a nonprofit organization that promotes opportunities for women and business.

“Women are desperate for access to female role models,” says Carolyn Lawrence, president and CEO of Women of Influence Inc. “For girls, between the ages of 9 and 13 are the most critical in terms of developing potential leadership skills. The earlier you give girls examples of female leaders, the better.”

Find your daughter a mentor (Cybermentor, matches girls with women who have careers in math, science and engineering, at no cost) or enroll her in a leadership workshop. The YWCA’s GirlSpace programs for 9- to 18-year-olds offers a variety of free programming in your area. FearlesslyGirl offers a $350 spring and a summer leadership one-week day camp for girls aged 8-12 in Toronto.

Send him into the lion’s den (safely): CEOs have “battle-hardened confidence which is developing a track record of facing down adversity and succeeding so you know what you’re capable of,” Mr. Bryant says.
“As a parent you want to have your kid grow up in a safe and fun environment but they also learn important life lessons by metaphorically skinning their knees. Kids have to face down adversity and muscle through it to find out what they’re made off.”

Send your 12- or 13-year-old to Outward Bound Canada’s adventure day camp in Toronto for some safe challenges such as climbing, canoeing and hiking ($265 with a $75 application fee for two weeks).

Pit him against others: Healthy competition teaches kids to persevere, stand up for themselves and be vocal, says Ashley Merryman, co-author of Top Dog: The Science of Winning and Losing.

“It could be chess club; it could be auditioning for a play. We have this idea that the benefit of competition is winning. But the real benefit is pushing yourself further than you imagined,” she says.

Tycoons make and lose fortunes, she adds. “If you want to be a big shot, you have to understand that…being a big shot isn’t a one shot deal.”

Put your daughter in hockey (hockey league fees over the year could cost $2,300 in Toronto) or competitive cheerleading (starting at about $3,000, not including travel to competitions).

Make it about numbers: Before Marissa Mayer began solving Yahoo’s complex problems as the company’s CEO, she was solving equations in math club. As a CEO, your kid’s going to be putting deals together; they should understand the numbers. It costs $50 to enroll your child in Kumon (Vancouver)’s after-school math and reading program with a monthly fee of $110 for twice-a-week studies.

Start networking at recess: Many a CEO attended a prestigious private school. Ken Thomson, Galen Weston and Ted Rogers attended Toronto’s Upper Canada College (tuition runs from $29,000 to $55,000). Former prime minister John Turner and former cabinet minister Stockwell Day graduated from Ottawa’s Ashbury College (day fees are $20,900, boarding fees are $50,100).

Meanwhile, a year at Switzerland’s Neuchatel Junior College costs about $55,000. Alumni include Anthony Lacavera, CEO of Wind Mobile and Jennifer Stoddart, Canada’s Privacy Commissioner.

Get them educated: Sixty-seven per cent of the top one per cent of full-time workers have a university degree, the National Household Survey says. Most studied in three major fields: business (29.2%), health (14.5%) or engineering (11.4%).

Spencer Stuart, a Chicago-based executive search consulting firm, reported in 2008 that the most common undergraduate degrees among the S&P 500 CEOs were: engineering (22%), economics (16%) and business administration (13%). Sixty-seven of them had earned some type of advance degree such as an MBA.

Get your RESPs in order: A four-year university degree is expected to cost as much as $60,000 and that sum could rise to more than $140,000 for a child born this year, BMO says.  -- FINANCIAL POST

Illustration by Chloe Cushman/National Post