The Halfpat Life: Oki

Friday, April 27, 2007 5:00

For Oki, life in Amsterdam just wasn’t exciting enough, and the lure of studying Kung Fu was the initial draw to China.

Instead of taking the expat route and finding a company that would send him over, he originally was set to take the plunge to further his study of Kung Fu… but as luck would have it, nailed down an assignment with a Dutch architect firm in Shanghai

Now., after 2+ years in China he is now working on his first start up – AMOD

Language Background:
On a scale from 1 to 10, what level is your Mandarin? 4
How often do you use Mandarin in general? Daily
How often do you use Chinese language skills at work? <10%

To get ready, Oki studies the culture .. (he already had 15 years of Kung Fu study)

for those looking to learn more (and can read Dutch), he recommends Chinezenzijnanders (in dutch…means: chinesearedifferent.blog.com)

Living in Shanghai:

A typical day for Oki is:

After getting up, walking into my living room and seeing a stack of pirated DVD’s that I didn’t clean up last night. Quickly pulling them together and filing them before my Ayi puts them somewhere they don’t belong. Trying to get showered in a shower that is either too hot or just too cold, depending on what size I set the flame in the kitchen…it’s that season in which the transition between medium and high flame leaves that gap of a few weeks where you can not reach the right temperature.

Walking to my Dutch company and grabbing a bubble tea or freshly squeezed juice on the way, wondering about what I’ll have to do today, casually avoiding the sharp extensions of umbrellas that are exactly at eye height.

Sitting at my desk, working mostly at things for my own company, since my Dutch company doesn’t give me any new assignments.

Going out for lunch is something that always requires some contemplation. The dazzling array of choices available makes you hungry but indecisive. Finally my office workers decide to go to a western lunch place where we spend 3 times the money we could have spend on a better tasting Chinese/Japanese meal.

In the afternoon I’m trying to arrange airtickets that will be delivered to my desk by a boy who’s job it is to run around the city and deliver airtickets…this service costs me 1 Euro.

Although I would like to go out for dinner with friends, but one of the scale models that we are building for the Ministry of Interior of Qatar can’t wait, and I’ll have to drive an hour with a taxi to the modeling factory tonight.

Sitting in the taxi I meditate about the meaning of life and why I forgot to bring my bloody PSP.

At the modeling company the workers show me the progress on the model. The things I requested them to do are not done or done wrong. I curse them and my poor skill of Chinese at the same time. Luckily my partner always stays cool and knows how to handle the local workers. They promise us all will be done tomorrow. We’ll have to come back to check it early in the morning.

Finally arriving home I switch on my computer to check and send out e-mails. While checking my girlfriend arrives after an equally long day. We chat a little and watch some DVD’s before falling asleep around 02:00

Top 5 Things about living in China:
1. You can see it changing every day
2. Opportunities/learning curve
3. Meeting interesting people
4. Convenient
5. Affordable

The bottom 5 :
1. Language barrier
2. Cultural barrier
3. Traffic
4. Inconvenient
5. Maintaining needed network

What keeps him in China?

Adventure, love, chances that are not available in Europe at this time

Anything else?

In China, everything is possible, nothing is easy

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One Response to “The Halfpat Life: Oki”

  1. shannon says:

    April 27th, 2007 at 6:57 pm

    I have a question. I am trying to help my 14 year old with a report on China. We need a brief description of traditional verses modern day life in China. I find many sites on traditions. Not much on todays modern day life verses traditional life.

    Could you help us out?

    Thanks.

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