I am not an alcoholic, I just live in Shanghai (EN new version)

Reworked and English version this time ☺️

That sentence I did not invented it, I saw it once in an article on a newspaper for expats my first few days there. I first was like, yeah maybe old expats, not me, right ? 😂 It didn’t took me long to figure out that it was true, it could sound presumptuous to say that Shanghainese really love drinking, but since you can not drink water from the tap and that beers are so cheap (like 2 yuan), why not.

Shanghai’s nightlife

First of all, Shanghai is a city made for partying, with thousands of bars, clubs, secret bars, restaurants, partying from Sundays to Sundays ( wish I could do that anymore 😜) . On my first year in Shanghai I was not yet 18, we were going to the infamous Sky club with my friends from school, it was a time where open bar with counterfeited alcohol were the norm, followed by horrible headache unless you knew what to go for and what to avoid. Second of all, let’s say life is quite boring there, you kind of do the same things again and again, possibilities are infinite but in the end yes it’s kind of always the same stuff all around, I have never seen a Shanghai home without it’s own bar in the living room, for a last drink after work.

KTV

There are club parties and KTV parties which locals LOVE. Most of the time, Karaoke places are located in office buildings, with one dedicated floor, you get there via a dedicated elevator sometimes on a dedicated entry for the office building (so that you don’t cross the path of those who work there I guess). Once you get there, a waiter is dedicated to your group, you have to book a private room given how many people you are and how much and fancy you want the room to be, for example if you want extra light systems or a themed decoration. Then you either order from a tablet or go through the KTV alcohol and food store, your waiter will follow you with a basket and will carry all your « groceries ». Then it’s time to sit down and choose the songs you will sing for next few hours, often resulting in a lot of debates 😄. Fortunately there will always be a few U2 songs, with stolen footage from MTV, often clips you had never ever seen before with this one song but it’s China after all. From your room you can also order directly more food and drinks from a tablet, you will have mics often covered with weird looking hygienic foam, I must say I am not sure if it was us singing bad or if the sound from those sound system were always terrible. One more thing, it’s not unusual to go to KTV before going to clubbing or even after. I am pretty sure most KTV places are open 24/7.

Movies

Back in the day we would only buy illegal copies of movie in DVDs. Often the last blockbusters, in fact I never could figure out if it was actually possible to buy REAL DVDs, I know it’s not the case anymore nowadays, but at the time you would buy those DVDs in shops in the street or in little markets dedicated to counterfeit goods which were everywhere in the city. Illegal copies were often with a very bad quality, sometimes a move had not aired yet in the USA we would already have it on DVD, with the bottom or the top of the screen showing a disclaimer that this copy was eyes only for producers 😆. Sometimes it would be a movie literally filmed by someone in a cinema in the USA, with the recording device sometimes moving during the movie or heads of people in the actual cinema showing during the movie. I let you imagine the quality of sound and image given the conditions of recording with small devices in 2010… Price of those amazing DVDs was around 10 yuans (it use to be 1€) lower in bundle and this was the price for expats 😅. I had to leave them all when I left Shanghai, to avoid big issues with customs.

Rich kids privileges

It took me a while to finish my last year of high-school there, not to say those years might have appear super duper cool from outside but inside it was quite challenging. Firstly, French schools in Asia all have a 100% score at the national baccalaureate exam and they will do all they can to keep it that way. At the time I was coming from a below average high-school in Paris and it was a huge gap in academic level. Also the bac exams is happening and corrected a lot before the one taking the exam in France, with the exams being corrected by teachers from the other French International school in Asia, since they all know each other you can imagine that they are pretty indulgent with one another, just saying. Since my grades where no satisfying enough to the director of the school at the time they made me go back a year before during my graduation year, to go through another branch in order to assure my graduation the next year. When I think about it today, it was absolutely crazy and probably illegal but once again it’s China. 

French international schools are a perfect reflection of a community without social diversity. Students all have parents from the elite, all being senior executives of big companies there, or children of the local expatriate teachers. Classes are most of the time made up of 20 people, which sounds crazy coming from Paris were classes are more like 40 students. The Shanghai French School happens to be also a German school, it allowed them to have their own soccer field and 400-meter running track, a heated swimming pool and a theatre/cinema room. The facilities are on a par with the even more expensive American school nearby.

I have to say I always felt bad in this non mixed environment, I think the lack of diversity is bad for a country, a school and also a company. With diversity comes new ideas, new way of doing things and it’s overall a more enriching environment. 

Within two years in this super elite environment I was accepted in some of the best business schools and universities, but I was also deceived by this lack of new faces, it’s why I decided to go to University instead. I was accepted in McGill, in some great HK and London universities, in Science Po Paris (note that coming from an international French School at the time you had extra advantages to be accepted to this school, in fact it was only based on your grades and an oral exam whereas in France you would first have to go through a written exam to pass the first step), I was of course accepted in France too, again from an international French school you would have some privileges, you were automatically accepted to the first one on your list. 

My own choices

University is almost free in France, it’s where students go when they are not from rich families or when they want to study fields like medicine where there is no private schools. I wanted to make sure to meet people from every background, these people became my friend today and I could not be happier. 

NFT mania is here, like Pokemon cards 20 years ago ?

You might still not fully understand what an NFT is, I myself had to read a bunch of articles to really figure out with time what was a “Non Fungible Token” and how to make it more simple to understand. I am going to try to popularise this topic for non specialist readers.

Remember the end of the 20th century, around 1999-2000 when buying packs of Pokemon cards was every kid dream with their pocket money ? I would be one of them, trying to get the most rare ones to have them all in my dedicated card folder. They were of course physical cards, the size of a card game and they were not unique but some of them were pretty rare. Well NFTs are the modern digital version of these. As simple as it sounds.

I am not sure outside of Pokemon online games, NFTs of these card exists yet. But I am pretty sure its licensing company, Nintendo, is planning on releasing them soon or late, either in their own metaverse or on a dedicated marketplace.

A NFT can be anything from a unique piece of art, a copy of an existing piece of art, a copy of a card (like Pokemon cards would be, or Magic cards etc…), a GIF, a song, an item for a video game, a piece of land (yes you can buy a piece of land in a metaverse).

As for today, there is already a craze among generation Z for those digital items. They are literally spending all their pocket money into it, and the richest one are spending crazy amounts into it.
But not only the gen Z but any big players of the crypto craze is already buying them, as well as bunch of high net individuals like artists who are getting attracted by this new world of possibilities.
As I was saying in one of my recent article about the Metaverse, these items are the things you will be proud to show your friends on Instagram in the future. It will not be you new crazy expensive watch, it will be your digital monkey that you bought for the crypto money equivalent of $10k.

I am mentioning the metaverse because in fact since it’s a digital asset you can only show it to people in for example online art galeries on the metaverse. I am not sure yet there are companies offering in real life displays of NFT’s that you own but this might become in the future a product that everyone will own to be able to show their recent acquisitions.

You also have to understand that the those assets are localized on a blockchain, and that the blockchain is keeping tracks of who owns this particular item. Blockchain is also already a complicated thing to understand, to give you an example, let’s say the blockchain is like an online database, that keeps tracks of all data and connect those date on a chain of blocks. You can not modify an existing block but you can add a new one containing for example a new NFT. ( in reality blockchain is way more complex)

A popular NFT you can buy on OPEN SEA nft markeplace

So you are wondering probably, what are they buying and why are they buying something that is fully digital and that has no value but the one people are ready to pay for ? Well it’s exactly like those Pokemon cards, their real value is almost nothing but the price people are ready to pay for the rarest one is crazy.

And also it is a fashion trend and also surely the desire to own something unique that may very well increase in value in the future, a form of investment. Also with the new developments of metaverse, a totally new system of artefacts and assets is being developed.

For example the new players of the Sandbox game (link), which is using the $SAND token, to be able to be among the first players of the full game you have to buy on Open Sea an “Alpha pass” which is available for 2,76 Ethereum or $13 083,86 (link).
Just Yesterday, a piece of land of the metaverse of the sandbox was sold more than $4 million (link). Knowing that it’s only the beginning of Metaverses and that 99% of people probably don’t know anything about it yet, the potential is probably HUGE, but still with it’s a super high risk investment for something 100% virtual.

Of course NFTs are far from being perfect, first of all there is an issue of licensing since anyone can copy any piece of art and sell it as if he/she was the artist who made it in the first place. Marketplaces and buyers will have to be vigilant before buying and making their own research on whether or not this NFT they are buying is a legit one.
Also blockchain is well known for not being the most environmental friendly technology with all the power it needs.
There are security concerns as well, since you digital assets are located on a dedicated online wallet, there will always be at risk of being stolen by hackers.
And of course, as I was mentioning it on the article about the ugly reality of metaverse, people will probably tend to hide in the VR world if their “real life” is not as good as it can be in their dreams, risk of addiction are high.

Open Sea one of the largest NFT marketplace : https://opensea.io

Reached my thirties and now what ?

“Everything I know I learned after I was thirty.” 

– Georges Clemenceau

I’ve been feeling the need the last few days to write articles. I always write my articles in one shot, then publish them and make a few corrections on the go the next few days. I felt the need to mention this, because I am not yet happy with my lastly published article about gamification ! Sometimes I would take notes during the day on my phone about subjects I want to write more about later, and then spend some time compiling the similar notes together in order to form sort of a backbone of the next article. There is no logic on when I publish or write these, it can be between two classes, between two meetings or in the middle of the night when I can’t fall asleep. 

Believe it or not, I am sort of suffering of a little down time following my birthday’s celebration last weekend 🤔 

I have millions of ideas coming to my head all day long, when a subject is interesting enough to me I take notes or also spend time looking into it. Then I try to figure out if it’s worth sharing to the blog or not. 

It can be super diverse thoughts and subject such as how trains are going from China to Europe given the fact the track width is changing between different countries, found out there are dedicated train stations with special tracks that allow trains to gradually widen or narrow their width (of course they need trains who have the ability to do so) at the speed of 15km/h which is nonetheless impressive given the forces and weight at stake. Or how come property developers all around European cities are building super small 15 square meters surfaces and how this type of apartments on the market is influencing rent and property prices. I think that last one is a really big & important subject which I will write about later. Everywhere I have been, Paris, Lyon, Berlin, Wroclaw, I have seen the exact same phenomenon of newly built overpriced 15 sqM apartments, the size of a student apartment but sold has one room for young couples … driving the prices of the whole city market up like crazy. It’s also crazy how now kitchens are disappearing in modern 2 rooms apartment, with part of the living room becoming an open kitchen. 

Anyway I keep this one for later, because it’s quite a large subjects ! By the way I am surprised that even today we do not have any European size newspaper with journalist coming from all the countries and publishing about a wide range of subjects, maybe there is not anyone really interested in the end about Europe as a whole but only citizen of different countries only caring about their own land, SAD. That’s another subject again , see ! Writing on a subject is always widening my thoughts to new important subjects 😅 European Union has been build politically, forgetting the citizens themselves, who only see it has a nice way to cross borders (except during the first part of covid times brrrrhh) and use the same currency. 


I am currently creating my own company in order to be able to freelance in France and offer my help to companies needing help with their customer care. Not sure how well it will go, but just spending time to create things makes me want to create even more !
 I have a few entrepreneurial projects on my mind, and I think I finally have the confidence (maybe it comes with age ? Or at least maturity ) to try, I am not scared of failure at all, had my own failures before but each time it helped me progress.

 I already mentioned it before, but I am following intensive class of Python development, following some live Python also on Twitch, king of becoming a geek. Since it’s mobilising quite a lot of mathematics I had to take a few classes again also… On the side I also study Front End in order to be able to start interviews faster than Python which is much more complex. It’s definitely a new passion, I love technical fields, I should have gone into it from the beginning 🤔 ! The hardest part when you study/work alone is to not feel guilty while you are not doing it ! 

I think programming is the logical learning to work on right now, it should really be taught at school in France, not sure when our government plans to finally update the way they teach technical fields at school ? Maybe in 20 years … I feel the how annoying those subjects are just by writing about it, when I was mentioning already European Union I felt that it’s a hot topic, probably not worth the burden.