English 中文网 漫画网 爱新闻iNews 翻译论坛
当前位置: Language Tips > 每日精选

【My China Story】Rolling stone finally settles

[ 2013-07-09 11:12] 来源:中国日报网     字号 [] [] []  
免费订阅30天China Daily双语新闻手机报:移动用户编辑短信CD至106580009009



He's a traveler with incurable wanderlust, but he finallymet a city he really liked. Sun Li meets up with a long-time resident of Xiamen in Fujian province.

Before he moved to Xiamen in 1988, William Brown hadalready lived in over 30 cities. This American bitten bythe travel bug had no intention of staying in Xiamenlonger than a year or two and he never imagined hewould still be here more than two decades later.

Brown is also Fujian's first official foreign permanentresident.

Now a professor of management at Xiamen University'sMBA Center, Brown has taught business studies forgraduate students since 1989. He tells us that his bondwith China started as far back as 1977, when he wasserving with the United States Air Force in Taiwan.

"It was a time of mainland-Taiwan hostility and one daymainland propaganda leaflets dropped onto the air forcebase. Police warned us not to touch them, which mademe only more curious," Brown says.

As Brown secretly looked at some, he was amazed by the photos of happy farmers andtumbling acrobats.

"I've never imagined people on the mainland being real people like people in Taiwan. I thoughtthey were enemies. The photos sparked my interest on the other side of the Taiwan Straits."

After Brown finished his forces career in 1978, he returned home for college and career. Theidea of visiting China again lingered, but it took calls from two strangers to draw Brown'sattention to Xiamen.

"A guy from Thailand and a man in California phoned me. I didn't know them and they didn'tknow each other. Both asked me: 'Since you'd like to go to China, have you ever heard ofXiamen,'" Brown recalls.

Brown started to find out more about Xiamen and discovered that in the 1980s, XiamenUniversity was the only university in China that allowed foreigners to study Chinese whilebringing their family members.

Brown thought studying Chinese was the first step, and so he arrived in Xiamen with his family -his wife Susan, an American who was born and raised in Taiwan, and his two sons.

He was surprised once again when he was invited to teach at the university's MBA center.Brown had graduated from Walden University with a PhD in business administration andmanagement.

"Xiamen was the right place and the right time for me," Brown says. But it was also hard toadapt in the beginning.

"Xiamen in the 1980s was not a nice place to live in. People burned coal and the air waspolluted. I had to carry candles to the bookstore because the electricity was awful. It took memonths to register and buy a tricycle."

Brown says what made him stay was the people in Xiamen.

"In the 1980s, during the planned economy, Chinese people used food coupons to get meat,vegetables and oil. But foreigners had no such tickets, and we could not use cash, which wascrazy," Brown says. "Many Chinese teachers sold their tickets to me, not to make any profit, justthe cost it should be.

"During such festivals as Spring Festival and Mid-autumn Festival, the Chinese faculty wouldinvite my family to their homes. Even though they were not rich, they shared everything with us.Just one year after, I had already decided to live here permanently."

In 1992, Brown became the first foreigner in Fujian province to be granted permanentresidence.

As a veteran expatriate, Brown was bombarded with questions by new foreigners who wanted toknow where to buy cheese, and where to buy toilet tissue that was soft on the posterior.

In 1993, tired of answering the same questions again and again, Brown spent eight hourscompleting a 24-page handbook called Survival Guide for Foreigners in Xiamen.

It became very popular and Xiamen University began to distribute it to all newly arrived foreignteachers. It took years before Brown realized that even the Xiamen city government wascopying "the terrible little book".

"My god, it was only a work done within hours," Brown says.

Brown started to edit and expand it in 1999, and the next year, he published the 160-pageAmoy Magic, adding more content about Xiamen history and culture. All 500 copies were soldwithin two weeks.

He wrote more books after this initial success, including Mystic Quanzhou - City of Light andMagic Fujian.

To write the books, Brown threw himself into research on the Internet, bought enough books tocreate a private library and drove himself out into the field to interview local people.

All this not only make him a resident expert on Fujian province, but also helped him deliver abrilliant presentation for Xiamen in the international Nations in Bloom competition in Stuttgart,Germany.

Now known as the LivCom Awards, this is the world's only competition for local communities thatfocus on environmental management and the creation of livable communities.

Xiamen will host the final round of this year's LivCom Awards at the end of the year.

Sun Jianhui, a Xiamen official involved in organizing the event, says the reason Xiamen waschosen as host can be attributed to Brown's great performance 11 years ago.

"Dr Brown really treated Xiamen as his second home. He spared no effort in publicizing the cityand is the only foreigner I know who understands the culture here even better than some localresidents," Sun says.

Looking back, Brown says the changes to Xiamen have been impressive.

"I knew the difficult times would pass, but I didn't expect the city change so fast," Brown says ofa city that now has a good transportation infrastructure and a bustling nightlife similar to LasVegas.

Over the past decade, Brown has taken his family traveling across China, amazed by the sheerscope and variety of China's natural beauty, but in his eyes, nowhere is more impressive thanhis hometown, especially when the hometown is Xiamen.

"I dreamed of Xiamen becoming an international city and I will live here forever, until they buryme," Brown says.

By Sun Li ( China Daily)