Why this blog?
I am at heart an optimist.
Last year (2007) was a good year. I went on an unforgettable journey through China. My sponsor at Nokia in China was happy. And Miss Daisy (å°é»), the car I drove (see www.ontheroadinchina.com/nokiadiscoverchina) was auctioned off for the benefit of the China Youth Development Foundation. So far so good, except that the original purpose of me going on this journey remains unmet: I wanted to write a book about this once-in-a-lifetime experience. Sadly, this book is not going to happen any time soon. It takes more time than I have to write it. And, more to the point, the chances of success are small ā as they always are in publishing.
The idea, however, is not dead. I still want to paint a picture of a China as I have come to see it in the fifteen years that Iāve been in Greater China. It is a picture that appears quite a bit different than what I read about China in much of the Western media. It is different because it is shaped by experiences with the common people of China (čē¾å§) rather than experiences in big business or the formal study of Chinese culture or history. It is also different in that it is by and large more hopeful and positive.
I am starting this blog about the people ā the real people ā Iāve met during my stay and during my journeys in China for three reasons. First, I enjoy writing and have some stories to tell. Second, Iād like to let people who have not had a chance to see as much of China as I have know a bit more about this fascinating country. I almost feel I owe it to the countless Chinese people whoāve made my stays and journeys so memorable.
The third reason is that I have this thing about barriers between people. What kinds of barriers am I talking about? Itās the artificial barriers that we humans are expert at erecting ā the me or us versus them, the fences we draw around us based on membership of groups: country clubs or nationalities, fraternities or passports, sports teams or races. It is one of humanityās curses that we tend to focus on the 0.0001% that make us different rather than the 99.999% that we have in common. Take comfort in what we have in common, I say. As regards the differences, celebrate them and donāt let them stand between us.
And with this an impossible task beginsā¦
If in my life I had always known before starting something what it would take to succeed, I wouldnāt have done a whole lot. As I start writing these pages, I once again donāt know what Iām getting myself into. Thank goodness.
For a long time now Iāve been intensely curious about China and its people. So much so that by you could even call it a passion, a passion that makes me want to share my encounters and observations. Sometimes an article will be no more than a photo with a thought, at other times it may be a whole essay. On occasion an entry will take me right to the heart of an issue in China; just as likely it will be only tangentially related.
Regardless, all my writing comes from my heart.