Becoming a Bitter Melon

Hard to believe I’ve been in the US for one month, the DJ Olympics at Xiong Mao and subsequent debauchery seem like eons ago.  Although I’m a bit bored by the predictability of N. American lifestyle and simplicity of country living, I have to say there are of course things I truly miss about Chendgu, and still have my sights to return within the next two years.  However, I believe that I “escaped” from Sichuan at the right time.

Time  to eat bitterness "吃苦“ and move along

Time to eat bitterness “吃苦“ and move along (Pic from

My hard work at Giving Hand, was rewarded bureaucratic roadblocks and internal failures which lead to losing a potential donation project with TOMS shoes and prevented us from moving into a new office under the wing of our 1st “Chinese” sponsor.   The new director also canceled a huge website project that I spent nearly half a year advocating for  and working on. That’s not to say it wasn’t a rewarding experience, I greatly enjoyed visiting rural areas to assess humanitarian needs, forming alliances with local charities and giving presentations at government panels and corporate social responsibility plenaries.  Other perks included the 16km commute to the office, challenging my co-workers ability to consume chili oil and handing out my business card to literally everyone I met.

Moreover, I found myself getting disenchanted with china as a whole.   The fresh spice of life that held me in awe from 2008-2009 seemed to wane with every trip until I was left with the metallic aftertaste of a warty bitter ku gua 苦瓜. And to diffuse the trolls, No, unlike the last post, I’m not talking about my penis.

Surely trips like hitchhiking through Ganzi and joking with Tibetans revive my sense of wonder with the region but the greenhorn days are over.  Too often I found myselfoverwhelmed with thoughts of Han Hegemony, social stratification,  and  bothered by the ubiquitous corruption.  When will people  refuse to  be complacent with such lack of morality, ethics and patience?  Heavy handed? Harsh?  Sure, but no matter how big you build the walls, or how shiny you paint the room, the elephant still occupies the corner.

I’ll miss  my  amazing friends:  musicians, writers, urban nomads, techno kids, entrepreneurial  hustlers  keeping their heads up and trying to make a positive impact. But personally I felt like I was just treading water instead of paddling onwards.  I’m being brief here, many prominent journalists have written farewell addresses to China, but the blue ribbon goes to the parody site China Daily Show, which will be a fun read after this cookie-cutter post.

Congrats on the one year anniversary of Occupy Wall St. I was sad that I missed the movement last year but I remain hopeful  that more ninjas and power lifters will join the ranks.  Together we can  go GANGNAM STYLE! on those riot cops.    <3

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2 Responses to Becoming a Bitter Melon

  1. JULIAN says:

    I must say that I feel so happy for you guys all left Giving Hand and start a new life.

    • admin says:

      Thanks Julian, I can’t believe how many things failed in such a short period! I’m still planning to return to China for a “real” career in the next few years, perhaps even doing a joint Master’s program between Berlin and Chengdu ;)

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