GOOD

Meet More Expats

Microsoft China's chief piracy czar and four other expats share their experiences living in the Middle Kingdom.

It's easy to feel outnumbered in a country of 1 billion people, especially for non-natives. But more and more foreigners are finding ways to make China feel like home. We profiled seven of them in Issue 010. Here are five more.

David Ben Kay

age 53Where did you move from?I moved to Beijing from Hong Kong, moved to Hong Kong from California.How long have you been in China?Eighteen years in Beijing. And if you mean greater China, including Hong Kong and Taiwan, then 25.What do you do?I work for Microsoft China as their piracy czar. I had previously been their general counsel and before that I was in private practice in a number of international law firms. For my "other job," I'm a designer and operate an art gallery-which is also my pied-à-terre.Why did you move?In a word: yuanfen, often translated as "destiny" or "fate." It comes from a Taoist concept that views the cosmos like fabric, with people, time, events, and places running along the continuum of the warp and woof of the fabric. Where the warp and woof cross is where yuanfen occurs. A thousand seeming coincidences from childhood on brought me to China. It's where I'm supposed to be.What do you miss?There's only one thing I miss: really good Mexican food-okay, Tex-Mex food. Every time I land in Denver (where I was born), I immediately head to Señor Pepe's for my fix: a chile relleno, cheese enchiladas, a smothered burrito, and guacamole.Any plans to come back?No.

Jeffrey Ludlow

age 30Where did you move from?Rotterdam, and before that Los Angeles.How long have you been in China?Four years between Shanghai, Hong Kong, and now Beijing.What do you do?I work for design companies working within the architecture field.Why did you move?I came to China to see what this building boom was about. Unlike the States or Europe, where getting experience required waiting for positions to open up, here they just thrust you into responsibility and new project possibilities.How much Chinese do you speak?I'm able to order food and navigate a taxi, thanks to the best tutors, waiters, and taxi drivers.How much do you hang out with other expats?I just want to relax and hang out with friends whom I can relate to easily. Unfortunately, this is 70 percent so-called expats. I don't understand this whole expat classification. No one views immigrant communities within the States with such loaded connotations of colonialism.Any funny stories?When I first moved to China, I went to several grocery stores only to find that the milk expiration date was the same everywhere [and that it had all expired]. What I didn't realize was that the date on milk cartons was the date when they put the product on the shelf.Any plans to come back?I have been saying for a couple of years that I wanted to leave the Chinese rat race, but the opportunities and projects that have come about make it hard to leave.

Sean Leow

age 26Where did you move from?San Francisco.How long have you been in China?Five years.What do you do and how did you end up doing it?Chinese creatives-musicians, artists, writers, designers-are underrepresented by mainstream Chinese media and lack effective distribution options. My company, Neocha.com, helps these young and emerging "creatives" promote themselves by aggregating their work online and organizing a variety of offline events ranging from creative bazaars and concerts to art exhibitions and online contests.Why did you move?My father is Hakka Chinese and, while I was raised in the U.S., I always wanted to reconnect with the Chinese half of my heritage. After graduating from college, I moved to China and have not left.How much Chinese do you speak?I speak it fluently. I went to graduate school in China, 90 percent of my work is in Chinese and I have a Chinese blog.What should people in America know about China?The gap between the young and old generations in China is huge right now. The urban youth are driven by a capitalist mentality, are uninterested in politics, and live in a digital world. One of the most common observations made by my Chinese friends is how they don't understand their parents and how their parents understand them even less.Any plans to come back?Yes, I'll move back in a couple years. I think it's healthy to continually change your perspective on the world and staying in China for too long can make you jaded.

Jeremy Goldkorn

age 36Where did you move from?South Africa.How long have you been in China?Thirteen years.What do you do and how did you end up doing it?I own and edit Danwei.org, a website about media and news in China. I started it four years ago after working in the media and advertising industries for most of the previous decade.How much Chinese do you speak?I can speak, read, and write, but Chinese people still laugh at my mistakes.How much do you hang out with other expats?Beijing is not a happy place if you don't like the company of Chinese people, but I also need friends from other countries. One of the best things about living in Beijing is the variety of foreigners here. It easy to meet people from all over the globe-from Azerbaijan to Zambia.What should people in America know about China?It's not all kung fu, silk, Communists, and sweatshops. The country that most reminds me of China is the United States: both are huge countries with socially and geographically mobile populations that have an incredible work ethic and an inflated sense of self-importance.What do you miss?What do I miss? Free media.Any plans to come back?Come back to where?

Virginia Hunt

age 30Where did you move from?Boston.How long have you been in China?Seven years.What do you do and how did you end up doing it?Here in Shanghai, I manage a children's learning center, teach children ages 5 to 9 and am completing a children's storybook.Why did you move?I originally came to China to work in education, learn about the educational industry here, and study Chinese.How much Chinese do you speak?I have a working proficiency in Chinese. My friends are constantly helping me with my poor grammar.What should people in America know about China?China is developing and changing faster than a growing child. I advise all those interested to hop on a plane and check it out, while it is still moderately inexpensive. The demographics of cities like Shanghai and Beijing are changing quickly as well. I am a black American female with Caribbean parents. I have been surprised by how many black Americans and Caribbeans alone have settled in Shanghai since 2004.Any plans to come back?I do plan to return to the U.S. sometime soon, although the time is not yet set in stone.
Articles
Julian Meehan

Young leaders from around the world are gathering at the United Nations Headquarters in New York Saturday to address arguably the most urgent issue of our time. The Youth Climate Summit comes on the heels of an international strike spearheaded by Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old climate activist from Sweden, who arrived in New York via emissions-free sailboat earlier this month.

Translated from Swedish, "berg" means "mountain," so it may feel fated that a young woman with Viking blood in her veins and summit in her name would be at the helm. But let's go out on a limb and presume Thunberg, in keeping with most activists, would chafe at the notion of pre-ordained "destiny," and rightly so. Destiny is passive — it happens to you. It's also egomaniacal. Change, on the other hand, is active; you have to fight. And it is humble. "We need to get angry and understand what is at stake," Thunberg declared. "And then we need to transform that anger into action."

This new generation of activists' most pernicious enemy is denial. The people in charge — complacent politicians and corporation heads who grossly benefit from maintaining the status quo — are buffered from real-life consequences of climate change. But millions of people don't share that privilege. For them, climate change isn't an abstract concept, but a daily state of emergency, whether it comes in the form of "prolonged drought in sub-Saharan Africa…devastating tropical storms sweeping across Southeast Asia, the Caribbean and the Pacific…[or] heatwaves and wildfires," as Amnesty International reportsare all too real problems people are facing on a regular basis.

RELATED: Greta Thunberg urges people to turn to nature to combat climate change

Keep Reading Show less
The Planet

Millions of people in over 150 countries across the globe marched for lawmakers and corporations to take action to help stop climate change on Friday, September 20.

The Climate Strikes were organized by children around the world as an extension of the of the "Fridays for Future" campaign. Students have been walking out of classrooms on Fridays to speak out about political inaction surrounding the climate crisis.

"We need to act right now to stop burning fossil fuels and ensure a rapid energy revolution with equity, reparations and climate justice at its heart," organizers say.

There's no doubt the visual images from the marches send a powerful message to those on the ground but especially those watching from around the world. GOOD's own Gabriel Reilich was on the scene for the largest of the Climate Strikes. Here are 18 of the best signs from the Climate Strike march in New York City.

Keep Reading Show less

September 20th marks the beginning of a pivotal push for the future of our planet. The Global Climate Strike will set the stage for the United Nations Climate Action Summit, where more than 60 nations are expected to build upon their commitment to 2015's Paris Agreement for combating climate change.

Millions of people are expected to take part in an estimated 4,000 events across 130 countries.

Keep Reading Show less
The Planet
via Apple

When the iPhone 11 debuted on September 10, it was met with less enthusiasm than the usual iPhone release. A lot of techies are holding off purchasing the latest gadget until Apple releases a phone with 5G technology.

Major US phone carriers have yet to build out the infrastructure necessary to provide a consistent 5G experience, so Apple didn't feel it necessary to integrate the technology into its latest iPhone.

A dramatic new feature on the iPhone 11 Pro is its three camera lenses. The three lenses give users the the original wide, plus ultrawide and telephoto options.

Keep Reading Show less
Health
via I love butter / Flickr

We often dismiss our dreams as nonsensical dispatches from the mind while we're deep asleep. But recent research proves that our dreams can definitely affect our waking lives.

People often dream about their significant others and studies show it actually affects how we behave towads them the next day.

"A lot of people don't pay attention to their dreams and are unaware of the impact they have on their state of mind," said Dylan Selterman, psychology lecturer at the University of Maryland, says according to The Huffington Post. "Now we have evidence that there is this association."

Keep Reading Show less
Health