• Language and Culture

    The view from Kinshasa, 2005: My family think I’ll return a PhD in snake-eating Buddhist kungfu

    Dear Daoshi, Nobody forced me to go to China. Rather it was my personal decision. I wanted to do something different. I wanted to go and experience another country. I wanted something different from the usual western countries. Another society. China was the right choice. The choice coincided well as China is increasingly an economic power participating in, leading even, a sudden change of world economic order. 

  • Growth Challenges,  Language and Culture

    Getting Old Before Getting Rich – The Only Way to Grey? 未富先老

    ‘Getting Old Before Getting Rich’ is a notion summarizing the combination of incomplete industrialization, and millions of citizens still in poverty, coinciding in China with a relatively high proportion – 10% of persons – being aged over 65. The latter places them forever outside of the formal workforce, lowering the proportion of available productive formal workers while also straining the fiscal envelope during the already challenging development process. Regardless of policies, this challenge indeed will press on the fiscal purse and on the limited younger hands free to take care of large numbers of elderly.   On the other hand and relatively, if China does become more innovative and is…

  • Language and Culture

    China in Four Characters

    Someone once said that “learning Chinese is a five-year lesson in humility". Mark Rowswell, (stage name Dashan 大山), would seem to agree.  Born and raised in Canada, Roswell is probably the most famous foreign face in China. A hugely popular Chinese language educator and television host, widely recognized as being one of the world’s most fluent, non-native Chinese speakers, Roswell says that when he first started learning Chinese, he was “horrified” to hear that it would take him ten years to achieve fluency. “27 years later”, he says, “I'm still working at it.”