Saturday, October 2, 2010

Chinese Billionaire donates all to Charity, leaving offspring nothing

“If my children are competent, they don’t need my money. If they’re not, leaving them a lot of money is only doing them harm.”

Yu Pengnian, China's biggest philanthropist sits in the restaurant atop the hotel he built, where he lives and eats most of his meals. Yang Junpo for The Globe and Mail

Shenzhen, China — From Saturday's Globe and Mail

Published on Friday, Jul. 23, 2010 8:46PM EDTLast updated on Tuesday, Jul. 27, 2010 1:31AM EDT

Yu Pengnian’s journey from poor street hawker to Hong Kong real-estate magnate was already a remarkable one. Then the 88-year-old did something even rarer that shocked many in increasingly materialistic China: He gave it all away.

Saying he hoped to set an example for other wealthy Chinese, Mr. Yu called a press conference in April to announce he was donating his last 3.2 billion yuan (about $500-million) to a foundation he established five years earlier to aid his pet causes – student scholarships, reconstruction after the 2008 Sichuan earthquake, and paying for operations for those like him who suffer from cataracts.

“This will be my last donation,” he announced. “I have nothing more to give away.”

With that endowment, Mr. Yu became the first Chinese national to give more than $1-billion to charity, now having contributed almost $1.3-billion in cash and real estate to the Yu Pengnian Foundation.

In a stunned China, the question came quickly: Wouldn’t his children be angry that he had given their inheritance away? “They didn’t oppose this idea, at least not in public,” the eccentric Mr. Yu says, laughing, when asked the question again during an interview at his foundation’s office atop the 57-storey Penglin Hotel in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen.

“If my children are competent, they don’t need my money,” Mr. Yu explained. “If they’re not, leaving them a lot of money is only doing them harm.”

To make sure that didn’t happen, he appointed HSBC as his foundation’s trustee and stipulated that none of its holdings could be inherited, sold or invested.

In a society where capitalism is just 30 years old, and charitable giving an even younger concept, Mr. Yu says one of his primary goals in making a show out of giving his money away was to set an example to other rich Chinese. “Everybody has a different view of money. Some do good things with it, some rich people do nothing with it. …My goal is to be a leader, a pioneer who encourages rich people, inside and outside of China, to do something charitable.”

The charitable eccentric

It would be easy to characterize Mr. Yu as an oddball. His hair is dyed jet black and held up in a bouffant. He regularly wears white Mao suits and matching white shoes at which his Western-educated grandchildren quietly cringe. His desk, which sits in the middle of an office he shares with half a dozen of the foundation’s staff, is covered with such oddities as a bowl of plastic fruit, a money-counting machine, and a pair of duelling model fighter planes, one Chinese, one American.

He displays little of his wealth – he lives in the Penglin Hotel and eats most of his meals in the buffet restaurant – but sits beneath a giant smiling portrait of himself. Another giant dinner plate emblazoned with a picture of Mr. Yu sits propped up on his desk, gazing directly at anyone who pulls up a chair across from him.

As offbeat as he may be, it’s hard to question his generosity. Mr. Yu, who is ranked the 432nd richest person in mainland China, has topped the Hurun Report lists of the country’s top philanthropists four years running – and will certainly do so again this year – leading by example as the idea of large-scale giving has quietly taken hold among a growing number of China’s superwealthy.

Rags to riches

Mr. Yu says his passion for charity is a result of his own humble beginnings. Born in a small village in China’s southern Hunan province, he travelled to Shanghai in his youth hoping to find his fortune. Instead, he found himself pulling rickshaws and hawking trinkets on the streets until he was arrested in 1954 – on the false accusation that he came from a family of wealthy landlords – and sentenced to three years in a “thought correction centre.”

After his release, he finally caught a gust of good fortune when he was granted rare permission to travel to Hong Kong. He found a job as a cleaner at a large firm, and even though he spoke no English or Cantonese, slowly impressed his way up into a junior management position, saving everything he earned along the way.

In the 1960s, Mr. Yu and some friends pooled their money together and bought their first property, the beginning of a new career that would see him make millions through shrewd purchases that he would sometimes later sell at 20 or more times the original price. As his holdings grew, he became notorious in Hong Kong as the “Love Hotel King” – a name he detests – because many of the properties he owned were rented by operators of hotels catering to hourly stays. He also won fame for buying the last home that kung-fu star Bruce Lee lived in before his death, a property Mr. Yu later donated back to the Hong Kong government as a museum.

Hard lessons in giving

But in rural China, particularly his native Hunan province, Mr. Yu was developing a very different reputation. When he returned to his hometown of Lou De each year for the Spring Festival holiday, he handed out red envelopes stuffed with cash to the elderly and poor.

Those trips taught him an early lesson about the perils of charitable giving. One year, he enlisted the help of local government officials to help him stuff each envelope with 400 yuan. He found out later that much of the cash had been pocketed by the corrupt bureaucrats, and to this day he insists that the money he donates go directly to the recipients without going through any other charities or government agencies. “In China, I do charity only with my own eyes and hands. I don’t trust others,” he says.

Mr. Yu’s initial foray into wider-scale philanthropy came after he developed cataracts and had a successful operation to repair his eyes in 2000. When he researched the disease afterwards, he found that 400,000 Chinese developed cataracts every year, and many sufferers couldn’t afford the required surgery.

He was deeply moved and decided to spend $10-million annually on mobile cataract clinics that drive to the most remote parts of China to perform surgeries paid for by Mr. Yu. His own oversized photograph – his eyes clear of cataracts – is on the side of the “Bright Eyes” vans, which have carried out more than 150,000 cataract operations around the country since 2003.

Mr. Yu says his latest passion is education. He says he wants the bulk of the money from his most recent endowment, as well as the profits from the hotels and other properties he has donated to the Yu Pengnian Foundation, to go to scholarships. “Some for poor students, others for talented students I want to encourage, including foreign students who want to study in China,” he said. “Education is very important for a country, very closely related to its prosperity and standard of living.”

A legacy project

Mr. Yu is proud to hear his name mentioned alongside such famous Western philanthropists as Bill Gates and George Soros – as well as Hong Kong’s Li Kashing, Asia's most famous philanthropist who has given away $1.4-billion of his estimated $21-billion – but likes to point out that he’s gone a step further than they have by giving away all his money. However, he admits he wasn’t ready to go back to the hard life he lived as a young man.

“I’m not poor, not yet. I still have a credit card – an American credit card – and I take a VIP room in this hotel. And I take business-class flights. I allow myself this,” he says, smiling.

As Mr. Yu speaks, his grandson, Dennis Pang, watches with obvious respect and affection. As someone who was in line to inherit some of the fortune, Mr. Pang admits that he was initially bewildered by his grandfather’s insistence on giving away what he had earned. But then he took a job as his grandfather’s personal assistant, and saw first-hand the good the Yu Pengnian Foundation was doing.

“Before I came here, I was a little confused. But now when I see the people that he helps, I understand that it’s special,” Mr. Pang said. My. Yu’s two sons, both in their 60s, sit on the foundation’s board of directors.

Mr. Yu is pleased to have his family’s support, but says he would have gone ahead with his philanthropy with or without their approval. “I don’t care what others think. It makes me happy to give my money away. I used to be poor.”

Black Parent.. White Baby

A BLACK couple coo over their new baby yesterday - a white, blue-eyed BLONDE. British Nmachi Ihegboro has amazed genetics experts who say the little girl is NOT an albino. Dad Ben, 44, a customer services adviser, admitted: "We both just sat there after the birth staring at her."

Mum Angela, 35, of Woolwich, South London, beamed as she said: "She's beautiful - a miracle baby."

Ben told yesterday how he was so shocked when Nmachi was born, he even joked: "Is she MINE?"

He added: "Actually, the first thing I did was look at her and say, 'What the flip?'"

But as the baby's older brother and sister - both black - crowded round the "little miracle" at their home in South London, Ben declared: "Of course she's mine."

Blue-eyed blonde Nmachi, whose name means "Beauty of God" in the Nigerian couple's homeland, has baffled genetics experts because neither Ben nor wife Angela have ANY mixed-race family history.

Pale genes skipping generations before cropping up again could have explained the baby's appearance.

Ben also stressed: "My wife is true to me. Even if she hadn't been, the baby still wouldn't look like that.

"We both just sat there after the birth staring at her for ages - not saying anything." Advertisement

Doctors at Queen Mary's Hospital in Sidcup - where Angela, from nearby Woolwich, gave birth - have told the parents Nmachi is definitely no albino.

Ben, who came to Britain with his wife five years ago and works for South Eastern Trains, said: "She doesn't look like an albino child anyway - not like the ones I've seen back in Nigeria or in books. She just looks like a healthy white baby."

He went on: "My mum is a black Nigerian although she has a bit fairer skin than mine.

"But we don't know of any white ancestry. We wondered if it was a genetic twist.

"But even then, what is with the long curly blonde hair?"

Professor Bryan Sykes, head of Human Genetics at Oxford University and Britain's leading expert, yesterday called the birth "extraordinary".

He said: "In mixed race humans, the lighter variant of skin tone may come out in a child - and this can sometimes be startlingly different to the skin of the parents.

"This might be the case where there is a lot of genetic mixing, as in Afro-Caribbean populations. But in Nigeria there is little mixing."

Prof Sykes said BOTH parents would have needed "some form of white ancestry" for a pale version of their genes to be passed on.

But he added: "The hair is extremely unusual. Even many blonde children don't have blonde hair like this at birth."

Friday, October 1, 2010

When a Plane Runway Is Too Short

Of course, all plane runways are long enough for airplanes to land. But there are situations, when jets overshot a runway. Such case happened in Jamaica last winter. There were over 150 passengers aboard an American Airlines flight going from Miami to Jamaica. The weather was not nice, as there was a heavy rainstorm. The jet overshot a runway when it was landing, and broke up in 3 parts. Good, no one was fatally injured.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Substitute Javier Hernandez struck the only goal of the game with five minutes to play as Manchester United beat Valencia 1-0 in the Champions League.

- 0

Hernandez also hit the post in a cameo spell which lit up an effective but otherwise uninspiring Manchester United display.
United, missing several key players includingWayne Rooney, were able to name Rio Ferdinand and Michael Carrick in their line-up, while Sir Alex Ferguson opted for Anderson in the centre of midfield.
The away side seemed to settle well and the in-form Dimitar Berbatov struck a fierce early effort from distance which was close to finding the top corner.
The better chances fell to Valencia, however.
In a frenzied two minute spell Pablo pounced on a moment of indecision from Carrick to flash a shot from range narrowly over the bar, and then Roberto Soldado contrived to miss an open goal when Edwin Van der Sar missed a cross.
Soldado looked on aghast as his header looped over the crossbar.
Anderson nearly got on the end of Nani's cross from the right shortly afterwards, but in truth there was little in the way of clear-cut opportunities to score.
Both sides exercised caution as the game's bright opening ebbed away, and little changed as the second half started.
Berbatov, who had a lonely evening leading the line, fashioned a chance for himself brilliantly from the left wing ,drawing a save from Cesar Sanchez, but it was an isolated moment.
Coach Unai Emery stirred the home fans into song with his decision to bring on Aritz Aduriz on the hour and turn to a more attacking formation.
His introduction seemed to lift the side and Valencia looked the likelier to find the winner as the game entered its final stages.
Full-backs Miguel and Jeremy Mathieu probed on the wings, while Soldado and Aduriz were a handful which forced Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic, playing together for the first time this season, to be at their sharpest.
United fans must have thought their best chance of a smash-and-grab victory had disappeared when Nani's cross was met by Hernandez's outstretched boot and steered on to the post after 83 minutes.
But just two minutes later Federico Macheda, on the field himself for less than 60 seconds, slid a pass across to the Mexican who eased past David Navarro before clinically striking the ball into the corner of the goal.
Valencia grew frustrated as the final minutes slipped away, and left the field without anything to show for their efforts.
It will not concern United, though, who will be delighted by the clean sheet and a first win away in Spain for over eight years - a victory that puts them top of the group, level with Rangers.
source: Mark Patterson / Eurosport


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

An Airline With a Sense of Humor

Kulula is a low-cost South-African airline that doesn't take itself too seriously.

Check out their new livery!


Kulula is an Airline with head office situated in Johannesburg .

Kulula airline attendants make an effort to make the in-flight "safety lecture" and announcements a bit more entertaining.  Here are some real examples that have been heard or reported:

On a Kulula flight, (there is no assigned seating, you sit where you want) passengers were apparently having a hard time choosing, when a flight attendant announced, "People, people we're not picking out furniture here, find a seat and get in it!"

On another flight with a very "senior" flight attendant crew, the pilot said, "Ladies and gentlemen, we've reached cruising altitude and will be turning down the cabin lights.  This is for your comfort and to enhance the appearance of your flight attendants."

On landing, the stewardess said, "Please be sure to take all of your belongings.  If you're going to leave anything, please make sure it's something we'd like to have."

"There may be 50 ways to leave your lover, but there are only 4 ways out of this airplane."

"Thank you for flying Kulula.  We hope you enjoyed giving us the business as much as we enjoyed taking you for a ride."

As the plane landed and was coming to a stop at Durban Airport , a lone voice came over the loudspeaker: "Whoa, big fella. WHOA!"

After a particularly rough landing during thunderstorms in the Karoo , a flight attendant on a flight announced, "Please take care when opening the overhead compartments because, after a landing like that, sure as hell everything has shifted."

From a Kulula employee:  " Welcome aboard Kulula 271 to Port Elizabeth .

To operate your seat belt, insert the metal tab into the buckle, and pull tight.  It works just like every other seat belt; and, if you don't know how to operate one, you probably shouldn't be out in public unsupervised."

"In the event of a sudden loss of cabin pressure, masks will descend from the ceiling.  Stop screaming, grab the mask, and pull it over your face.  If you have a small child travelling with you, secure your mask before assisting with theirs.  If you are travelling with more than one small child, pick your favourite."

Weather at our destination is 50 degrees with some broken clouds, but we'll try to have them fixed before we arrive.  Thank you, and remember, nobody loves you, or your money, more than Kulula Airlines."

"Your seats cushions can be used for flotation; and in the event of an emergency water landing, please paddle to shore and take them with our compliments."

"As you exit the plane, make sure to gather all of your belongings.

Anything left behind will be distributed evenly among the flight attendants.  Please do not leave children or spouses.."

And from the pilot during his welcome message: "Kulula Airlines is pleased to announce that we have some of the best flight attendants in the industry.  Unfortunately, none of them are on this flight!"

On Kulula flight 255 just after a very hard landing in Cape Town,  the flight attendant came on the intercom and said, "That was quite a bump and I know what y'all are thinking.  I'm here to tell you it wasn't the airline's fault, it wasn't the pilot's fault, it wasn't the flight attendant's fault.  It was the asphalt."

On a Kulula flight into Cape Town on a particularly windy and bumpy day, during the final approach the Captain really had to fight it.  After an extremely hard landing, the Flight Attendant said, "Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to The Mother City.  Please remain in your seats with your seat belts fastened while the Captain taxis what's left of our airplane to the gate!"

Another flight attendant's comment on a less than perfect landing:

"We ask you to please remain seated as Captain Kangaroo bounces us to the terminal."

An airline pilot wrote that on this particular flight he had hammered his ship into the runway really hard.  The airline had a policy which required the first officer to stand at the door while the passengers exited, smile, and give them a "Thanks for flying our airline."  He said that, in light of his bad landing, he had a hard time looking the passengers in the eye, thinking that someone would have a smart comment.

Finally everyone had gotten off except for a little old lady walking with a cane. She said, "Sir, do you mind if I ask you a question?"

"Why, no Ma'am," said the pilot. "What is it?" The little old lady said, "Did we land, or were we shot down?"

After a real crusher of a landing in Johannesburg , the attendant came on with, "Ladies and Gentlemen, please remain in your seats until Captain Crash and the Crew have brought the aircraft to a screeching halt against the gate.  And, once the tire smoke has cleared and the warning bells are silenced, we will open the door and you can pick your way through the wreckage to the terminal.."

Part of a flight attendant's arrival announcement:  "We'd like to thank you folks for flying with us today.  And, the next time you get the insane urge to go blasting through the skies in a pressurized metal tube, we hope you'll think of Kulula Airways."

Heard on a Kulula flight:  "Ladies and gentlemen, if you wish to smoke, the smoking section on this airplane is on the wing.  If you can light 'em, you can smoke 'em."

Hoover Dam Bypass, USA . . .!!!!

Creeping closer inch by inch, 900 feet above the mighty Colorado River , the two sides of a $160 million bridge at the Hoover Dam slowly take shape.
The bridge will carry a new section of US Route 93 past the bottleneck of the old road which can be seen twisting and winding around and across the dam itself. 
When complete, it will provide a new link between the states of Nevada and Arizona . In an incredible feat of engineering, the road will be supported on the two massive concrete arches which jut out of the rock face.
The arches are made up of 53 individual sections each 24 feet long which have been cast on-site and are being lifted into place using an improvised high-wire crane strung between temporary steel pylons. 

The arches will eventually measure more than 1,000 feet across. At the moment, the structure looks like a traditional suspension bridge. But once the arches are complete, the suspending cables on each side will be removed. Extra vertical columns will then be installed on the arches to carry the road. 

The bridge has become known as the Hoover Dam bypass, although it is officially called the Mike O'Callaghan- Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge, after a former governor of Nevada and an American Football player from Arizona who joined the US Army and was killed in Afghanistan.

Work on the bridge started in 2005 and should finish next year. An estimated 17,000 cars and trucks will cross it every day.

The dam was started in 1931 and 
used enough concrete to build a road from New York to San Francisco. The stretch of water it created, Lake Mead , is 110 miles long and took six years to fill. The original road was opened at the same time as the famous dam in 1936.

An extra note: The top of the white band of rock in Lake Mead is the old waterline prior to the drought and development in the Las Vegas area. It is over 100 feet above the current water level.

Sponsor Links

Do You Want To Know The Fastest Way To Master The Basics Of Adobe Photoshop!
Very Well Conceived And Presented Of All The Tutorials!

Track EVERY Move Your Partner, Employee or Child is Making Using Our POWERFUL Cell-Phone Monitoring Technology!

Have A Very Profitable Stay At Home Business Teaching English On The Internet!
Money Into Your PayPal Account Every Month!