Friday, April 17, 2009

100 Mayors TV

Bill Brown ... Xiamen University
This afternoon, I was one of 3 guests on a TV special, "100 Wenming City Mayors," 《百位市长》, with Mayor Liu Cigui. I've never figured out a good way to translate "wenming." Civilized? Cultured? Since I helped Xiamen win the international Livcom Award in 2002 in Stuttgart, Germany, the city has gone on to win numerous other international honors, including the coveted U.N. Habitat award (I was impressed too, once it was explained to me; I had thought habitats were what you put hamsters in).

I'm surprised at all of the changes in Xiamen even over the past year. I didn't know we had almost 100,000 Taiwan residents in Xiamen now! Makes sense, though; 3/4 of Taiwanese are from S. Fujian anyway.

I also saw a middle school student who wrote a letter of complaint to the mayor about environment problems in relatively remote Xiang An (where the undersea tunnel will end up; Xiamen University is building an extension there, and Xiamen YMCA was talking about building some kind of retreat center out there).

But back to the student who complained...she was shocked when Mayor Liu gave her a handwritten response, and then showed up at her home to see first hand what she had complained about. She said, "What we can do for ourselves, we should do for ourselves--but if we can't handle it, the government should." And, I suppose, they did!

I gave a short talk, and was glad they can edit it. I forgot the very first paragraph and after stumbling, grabbed my notes out of my pocket, reviewed them, and then went on--fairly smoothly from there. Even after 21 years here, I'm still not a "natural" at doing TV in Chinese--though this time I did the first few lines in the Amoy Dialect, which was fun. And that's probably why I forgot the rest of the lines. It's still my dream to take some time to study the dialect for a year or two. Maybe when I retire?

I enclose my talk below. I only have it in Chinese, but basically I say we love Xiamen, it's changed a lot in 20 years, I've been to over 100 cities in over 30 countries and lived in a dozen, but Xiamen is one of the most special--and more and more foreigners thinks so as well, and want to move here from Shanghai, Guangzhou, etc. because they not only want business success but a good living environment for their family--and Xiamen gives us that. I also threw in for free that our sons love Xiamen as well, and that Shannon, who works at the Xiamen Millennium Harbourview Hotel, just married a beautiful local Xiamen girl (and showed a photo of Shannon and our beautiful new daughter), and I said that I hope they get busy and give us some Sino-Chinese grandkids soon. And that was about it. Except for taking a couple of breaths here and there.

The photo, by the way, is of them making me up for the program. Someone said, "He doesn't need make-up. He's white enough!" Chinese, as you know, think the whiter the better. But the make-up girl said, "We're making him darker, not lighter."




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