The Leap of Faith

I have been to a few water slides. They are all fun, exciting and exuberating. For someone like me who gets sea-sick easily and doesn’t enjoy either snorkeling or scuba diving, water slides are one of the fun things that I really like to do.

“The Leap of Faith” water slide at the Atlantis resort on Paradise Island is one of its kind. Shaped as Mayan Temple, it is a 60 foot high slide with a nearly vertical angle, connecting to a crystalline under-water tunnel in a lagoon filled with sharks.

Too embarrassed to back off after standing in the long line to the entry of the slide, I crossed my arms and closed my eyes, and took a leap of faith down the slide… I heard myself screaming in a voice so horrible that I have never heard before. The next thing I felt was that my body was like a bomb shooting out of the under-water cannon. I remembered thinking of those sharks around me… they must be amused to see things like this every day!

Before I could take another breath to scream again, I found myself dropped in a calm-water pool, safe and unharmed. However nerve-racking the experience was, everything finished within 5 seconds. It was indeed a leap of faith!

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An Ancient Myth

Once upon a time, there was a beautiful island in the middle of the Atlantic ocean called . It has grassy plains brimming with tropical fruits, winding rivers running deep and pure, cheerful birds flying in the skies, and colorful marine animals swimming in the waters.

It is said the Atlanteans were noble and powerful people. They possessed great technical prowess and made wondrous machines; they traveled far and wide trading with distant lands. On Atlantis, arts reached the heights of expression that has never been seen since.

Until one day, the entire island was submerged by a volcanic eruption and all its civilization sank into the deep ocean within one night. Atlantis mysteriously vanished in the blink of an eye 11,000 years ago.

Thus was the tale written under the pen of Plato; thus was the story told generation by generation; thus was the endless fascination of scholars, researchers and archeologists for this lost wonderland.

At the Atlantis resort on Paradise Island in the Bahamas, we visited an excavation called “The Dig.” It is a captivating interpretation of how life may have been in this legendary paradise, and an example of aggrandized human imagination for a fabled world long lost in time…

What I found marvelous about The Dig is that it is a combination of under-water ancient ruins and a modern aquarium. There is an elaborate maze of chambers and corridors representing the ancient city streets of Atlantis, and over 50,000 sea animals representing 200 different species.

Wandering through the maze, I noticed the “well-preserved artifacts,” innovative apparatuses such as georesonant clock and wet cell battery, a crashed submarine, and the navigation system used by Atlanteans for planning their voyages…. There is even a replication of Bimini Road that was claimed as an ancient sunken wall on the sea bed of the Atlantic.

Flowing around the ruins are the world’s most exotic sea animals including fascinating piranha, moon jellyfish, venomous lionfish and much more, presenting an ever changing spectacle of sights, sounds and sensations.

Nobody knows for sure whether Atlantis has ever existed. The Dig is “a place where sea becomes land and myth becomes reality…”

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Poverty Is Unnecessary

, founder of Grameen Bank, was nominated as one of the in the world along with Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Alan Greenspan, etc.

In an with Nightly Business Report, Muhammad Yunus said poverty is unnecessary. Human beings are quite capable of taking care themselves. but we have created a society that denies some unfortunate people the opportunities.

This made me ponder: what is wrong with our society? Why are 80% of the world’s population living in bad conditions, and proximately 1.5 billion people stricken by poverty (less than $1 a day)? It can’t be just because of the greed of the few and corruption of the governments….

Does this make us – who are fortunate to be in the 20% with reasonably good living conditions – feel responsible to do something about it?

Grameen Bank did something about it. It offers small amount of loans to very poor people, giving them means to generate income and work their way out of poverty.

Now the microcredit institutions are operating in more than 100 countries worldwide. Started with only $27, Grameen Bank has grown into a $5 billion fund with more than four million borrowers.

Poverty is unnecessary. Extreme wealth is also unnecessary.

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Blueberries to Keep Doctor Away

“They may be little, but they are mighty!” Blueberries are considered as nature’s no. 1 antioxidant fruit and the world’s healthiest food.

Blueberries, both wild and cultivated, are packed with unique antioxidants that neutralize free radical damage to our bodies. According to U.S. Department of Agricuture, blueberries were at the top of the list of 40 fruits and vegetables tested for their antioxidant potential.

Further scientific researches show that blueberries help maintain healthy blood flow, improve memory, and even reverse age-related deficits in neuronal and congnitive function. Blueberries also contain ellagic acid, which has been shown to have anti-cancer properties.

I have always loved blueberries. They taste mild, not too sweet, but yet delicious. Every morning, I mix the fresh blueberries with oatmeal as my breakfast. They have become a must-have item on my grocery shopping list. I believe that eating healthy is one of the best ways to honor the Creator who has given us our precious lives.

As we know, an old saying goes “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Perhaps we should change it to:”A bowl of blueberries a day keeps the doctor away?” Perhaps!

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A Hundred Years to Grow a Person

A says: “It takes ten years to grow a tree, but a hundred years to grow a person. (???????????” (that assumes the person can live for a hundred years :-)). Well, the moral is that growing a person is a long term process.

With China’s swift changes, one of the major challenges is the looming shortage of management talents. Although there is no dearth of entrepreneurial spirit (as everyone wants to be his own boss), not too many entrepreneurs have the vision and professionalism to grow their companies into world-class enterprises. There are hundreds and millions of small start-ups with 3-4 people, and mushrooming copy cats, very few have what it takes to become the luminaries of any kind – at least not in the short term.

In addition, long time top-down management style in China killed people’s innitiative and creatitivity. One of my friends, who is the chairman of a major online gaming company, told me how his hair has turned white because he has constantly to give very specific instructions to his managers and employees.

For foreign investors who view China as the next Silicon Valley, it’s important for them to set their expection right and adjust their investment strategies accordingly. In my view, the venture capitalists who will succeed in China in the long run are the ones who are willing to roll-up their sleeves and work with the entrepreneurs of their portfolio companies side-by-side, providing additional mentoring and coaching.

You can’t really invest in a company without investing in people. One of the merits of venture capitalism is growing successful entrepreneurs. This is more true in today’s China. Remember: it takes a hundred years to grow a person.

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Santana Row

Located in the south of Silicon Valley, Santana Row is an “urban neighborhood” with European flair. From its sidewalk cafes, to boutique stories, to art galleries, to famous brand names, Santana Row has become an upscale vicinity in the Valley.

Its Mediterranean style of villas reminded me of Barcelona. I enjoy walking on the stone-paved pedestrian street, sitting in the sidewalk cafes, listening to the live music, and watching people going by. In the nights, people are drawn to it by its very cozy and seductive ambience. Men and women are dressed up in the most fashionable way you can ever see in this Valley. It’s like in a totally different world.

Living in Silicon Valley has its pluses and minuses. We have enough open space, nature and hiking trails, shopping malls with department stores; what we don’t have is a sophisticated urban life. Palo Alto downtown is the closest urbanity we can get without going to San Francisco.

Santana Row made a difference. It has 18 restaurants with a variety of international cuisines and 70 brand name shops including my favorite stores Gucci, BCBG Max Azria, and Z Gallery, etc.

The restaurants there are indeed amazing. Not only the food is superior, they can fake you as if you were in Europe! Left Bank Bistro, an authentic Parisian-style brasserie, was reminiscent of Fouquet’s on Champs-Elysees (not quite the same magnitude). Maggiano’s Little Italy, serving lavish family style Southern Italian cuisine, made me feel like I was in Florence again! On weekends, you can’t even get in without two-week advanced reservation.

I only wish there were more Santana Rows in the Bay Area!

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Thank You

I would like to thank my readers for your enthusiastic support and encouragement. I will try my best to write quality blogs and update them as timely as possible. Please see my new post “The Dance of Free Spirit,” which is delayed and back posted.

Thank you again for reading my blogs! I hope they will continue to give you enjoyment!

I Dream Things That Never Were

The biggest problem facing micro-entrepreneurs in developing countries is the inability to access the larger public market and its market information. They do not have efficient channels to reach customers. This creates a significant barrier for the working poor to rise from poverty.

Yet the world’s poorest people are rushing to embrace mobile phones because of their apparent benefits. For examples, farmers and fishermen use mobile phones to call markets and work out where they can get the best price for their produce. Mobile phones are used to make cashless payments in some African countries.

In China, there are already 370 million cell phone subscribers, adding 5 million each month. Every year, there were about 300 billion SMS sent around the country, creating a billion dollar industry itself.

Imagine if micro-entrepreneurs can turn their mobile phones into income generating devices, imagine they can easily list their product information to large online markets without a need of computers, they can leapfrog the technological and social-economic gaps created by the “digital divide.”

Yes, that’s exactly what e-Mobilizer will do! e-Mobilizer leverages the pervasive cellular infrastructure and mobile technology to bridge micro-entrepreneurs and small businesses to the online marketplaces. It provides a single portal and gateway to allow micro-entrepreneurs to post their merchandise to online market sites via their mobile phones.

Our dream is to help millions of micro-entrepreneurs to advance in life. Our hope is, by so doing, to make the world a better place. “Some men and women see things as they are and say why; I dream things that never were and say why not?” –

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