December 15th, 2021
Here’s another one of those “ancient” towns in the suburbs of Shanghai. This one is called Zhaojialou in the south-west Pujiang area. It’s a bit so-so. Usually these towns are significantly better if they have some attraction you can visit like and temple or a garden, but this one is just some old houses and shops.
I walked there from the end of line 15 and across the river on a ferry. The best bit was the industrial area under the bridge where the ferry runs.
On the other size is Pujiang country park which is quite pleasant for a walk too.
December 2nd, 2021
Last week I went for a walk around Nanxiang another one of these “ancient” water towns. It’s not really a separate town, just a few old streets in Shanghai’s Jiading suburb. You can reach there easily on line 11.
The best part is definitely Guyi garden which is the classical-style garden pictured above. I went on a weekday and it was pretty quiet. There’s also an extensive Buddhist temple which is free to get in. Definitely recommend this one over Qibao, but there’s much nicer old towns if you go to Suzhou or somewhere a bit further away from the city.
November 13th, 2021
I’ve released a new version 1.5.3 of NVC, the VHDL compiler I’m working on. This is hopefully the final bug fix release on the 1.5 branch containing the following changes back-ported from the development branch:
access(2) returning EPERM in macOS sandbox.
- Fix race when multiple processes concurrently update a library.
--syntax command when file contains multiple design units.
- Allow constant folding of nand/nor/xor/xnor.
- Fix potential out of memory condition when evaluating complex assert expressions.
- Fix incorrect result of
mod operator with negative operands.
- Fixed intermittent crash when evaluating nested constant records.
- Buffer too small for printing TIME’HIGH.
This release is signed with GPG key fingerprint
0784 505A DB5D 7D86 D2BD E6DA BCDB 295F 7431 9F1A. Download both the
.tar.gz files and verify with:
gpg --keyserver pgp.mit.edu --recv-keys BCDB295F74319F1A
gpg --verify nvc-1.5.3.tar.gz
November 9th, 2021
Kumamon looks as horrified as I feel
October 31st, 2021
After I updated Gnome recently I was alarmed to discover my usual
C-. key binding in Emacs was broken and also now stealing the keyboard input. Turns out it’s Gnome/Ibus’s emoji input method which was previously bound by default to
C-Shift-e and I was completely unaware of. It’s quite fun! (You can change the shortcut key to whatever you want in
October 30th, 2021
It seems reports of Pepe’s death have been greatly exaggerated.
He’s just called “sad frog” here. It’s funny how some cultural things are completely lost in translation.
October 3rd, 2021
Got out of Shanghai for the first time in 2021 last weekend. Not far though, just to a little island off the coast. You can get there quite conveniently with a combined coach and ferry ticket from Nanpu Bridge tourist coach centre. The ferry actually leaves from another island, Yangshan island, which is home to a huge container port and connected to the mainland by a long sea bridge.
There’s enough small attractions to spend a weekend, including beaches, temples, and a lot of cliffs, which you can see pictures of below. I liked the relaxed style of the little fishing villages.
September 19th, 2021
Now I’ve heard Amazon has being going downhill recently but…
I love how Carol Vorderman hasn’t aged at all since I watched her on Coutdown after school in the 90s. And how did the “Salter Air Fryer Cookbook” end up on there? The first book seems a solid recommendation though…
September 5th, 2021
If you work in China sooner or later you’re going to want to transfer some of your salary back home. After a few initial failures and now three straight successes I thought I’d document the process here in the hope that it avoids frustration for others.
The main problem is China’s currency controls. You can’t just wire RMB outside the country and have it automatically converted into your home currency like can for say, USD to GBP. You first need to convert RMB to a freely convertible currency inside China, and then wire transfer that money out. That means you need a foreign currency account with your Chinese bank in addition to the normal bank account where you get paid.
Don’t think you can just walk into the bank and do this though. First you need to collect a lot of paperwork. You’ll need:
- Your bank card.
- Your passport, and any previous passports if another document references the old passport number.
- Your work permit.
- A signed copy of your employment contract.
- The name, address, SWIFT code, and IBAN of your home bank account.
- 完税证明, a certificate that shows tax paid (see below).
- Physical payslips for each month shown on the tax certificate. If you only have electronic payslips you need to print them out and get your company to stamp them.
The tax certificate is most troublesome. To get it you need to visit the local tax office (税务总局) and say you want to 开完税证明 kāiwánshuìzhèngmíng. In Shanghai at least they have a special counter for foreigner tax services. You have to tell them the date range you want the certificate to cover: the certificate needs to show income after tax of at least the amount you want to transfer. It might also be possible to get this online if you have an account on the 个人所得税 app (the one you’re supposed to use for tax returns), although I’ve not done this myself.
At last you can go to the bank. Every bank I’ve been to only handles currency conversion Monday-Friday, and only before 3pm. So I suggest you go in the morning and leave a lot of time. Tell them you want to 换外币 huànwàibì or something to that effect and they’ll give you a ticket. Wait for your turn and then tell them how much you want to exchange and into what currency. Give them all the documents and get ready for a lot more waiting.
As I mentioned earlier the first step is to open a foreign currency account. You can either ask for this explicitly or just act confused and hope they do it for you (worked for me). As part of this they’ll ask you to sign some scary looking legal agreements about money laundering and so on. Whatever, just sign them. You only have to do this the first time.
Then you can actually do the currency exchange. With luck this won’t require much interaction, just wait while they check and photocopy the documentation and finally you’ll have to enter your PIN and sign something to confirm.
They’ll stamp the tax certificate with how much you transferred and the date. Make sure you keep this for your next trip or things will get confusing.
The last step is to wire transfer the money back home. The first time I did this I had to go to a different counter to input my bank’s details. It seems like it’s easy to make a mistake here but I suspect all that matters is the name, SWIFT code, and account number are correct. Subsequent times the account information was saved so I could just do the wire transfer from the bank’s app which was super convenient. The fees are a bit steep though: expect to pay 300 RMB or so plus any fee on the receiving side, so it’s best to only transfer large amounts. Every time I’ve transferred to the UK its arrived on the same day.
August 27th, 2021
It’s so hot at the moment I can’t really face going outside. Occasionally in the evening it’s tolerable though and here’s a large mass of concrete I passed under the other evening.