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,, 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, 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.
via Chela Horsdal / Twitter

Amazon's "The Man in the High Castle" debuted the first episode of its final season last week.

The show is loosely based on an alternative history novel by Philip K. Dick that postulates what would happen if Nazi Germany and the Empire of Japan controlled the United States after being victorious in World War II.

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via Mike Mozart / Flickr

Chick-fil-A is the third-largest fast food chain in America, behind McDonald's and Starbucks, raking in over $10 billion a year.

But for years, the company has faced boycotts for supporting anti-LGBT charities, including the Salvation Army, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and the Paul Anderson Youth Home.

The Salvation Army faced criticism after a leader in the organization implied that gay people "deserve to die" and the company also came under fire after refusing to offer same-sex couples health insurance. But the organization swears it's evolving on such issues.

via Thomas Hawk / Flickr

The Fellowship of Christian Athletes explicitly announced it was anti gay marriage in a recent "Statement of Faith."

God instituted marriage between one man and one woman as the foundation of the family and the basic structure of human society. For this reason, we believe that marriage is exclusively the union of one man and one woman.

The Paul Anderson Youth Home teaches boys that homosexuality is wrong and that same-sex marriage is "rage against Jesus Christ and His values."

RELATED: The 1975's singer bravely kissed a man at a Dubai concert to protest anti-LGBT oppression

In 2012, Chick-fil-A's CEO, Dan Cathy, made anti same-sex marriage comments on a radio broadcast:

I think we are inviting God's judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say, "We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage". I pray God's mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to define what marriage is about.

But the chicken giant has now decided to change it's says its charitable donation strategy because it's bad for business...Not because being homophobic is wrong.

The company recently lost several bids to provide concessions in U.S. airports. A pop-up shop in England was told it would not be renewed after eight days following LGBTQ protests.

Chick-fil-A also has plans to expand to Boston, Massachusetts where its mayor, Thomas Menino, pledged to ban the restaurant from the city.

via Wikimedia Commons

"There's no question we know that, as we go into new markets, we need to be clear about who we are," Chick-fil-A President and Chief Operating Officer Tim Tassopoulos told Bisnow. "There are lots of articles and newscasts about Chick-fil-A, and we thought we needed to be clear about our message."

RELATED: Alan Turing will appear on the 50-pound note nearly 70 years after being persecuted for his sexuality

Instead, the Chick-fil-A Foundation plans to give $9 million to organizations that support education and fight homelessness. Which is commendable regardless of the company's troubled past.

"If Chick-Fil-A is serious about their pledge to stop holding hands with divisive anti-LGBTQ activists, then further transparency is needed regarding their deep ties to organizations like Focus on the Family, which exist purely to harm LGBTQ people and families," Drew Anderson, GLAAD's director of campaigns and rapid response, said in a statement.

Chick-fil-A's decision to back down from contributing to anti-LGBT charities shows the power that people have to fight back against companies by hitting them where it really hurts — the pocket book.

The question remains: If you previously avoided Chick-fil-A because it supported anti-LGBT organizations, is it now OK to eat there? Especially when Popeye's chicken sandwich is so good people will kill for it?


Oh, irony. You are having quite a day.

The Italian region of Veneto, which includes the city of Venice, is currently experiencing historic flooding. Venice Mayor Luigi Brugnaro has stated that the flooding is a direct result of climate change, with the tide measuring the highest level in 50 years. The city (which is actually a collection of 100 islands in a lagoon—hence its famous canal streets), is no stranger to regular flooding, but is currently on the brink of declaring a state of emergency as waters refuse to recede.

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The Planet
via Gage Skidmore / Flickr and nrkbeta / flickr

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) dropped a bombshell on Tuesday, announcing it had over 900 emails that White House aide Stephen Miller sent to former Breitbart writer and editor Katie McHugh.

According to the SPLC, in the emails, Miller aggressively "promoted white nationalist literature, pushed racist immigration stories and obsessed over the loss of Confederate symbols after Dylann Roof's murderous rampage."

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via Twitter / Bye,Bye Harley Davidson

The NRA likes to diminish the role that guns play in fatal shootings by saying, "Guns don't kill people, people kill people."

Which is the same logic as, "Hammers don't build roofs, people build roofs." No duh. But it'd be nearly impossible to build a roof without a hammer.

So, shouldn't the people who manufacture guns share some responsibility when they are used for the purpose they're made: killing people? Especially when the manufacturers market the weapon for that exact purpose?

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