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Up Front May 2007: Volume 4, Number 2
   

Letters to the Editor

OPPORTUNITY KNOCKED
Henry To, Warren ’98, and I have worked in Seattle, Silicon Valley, Los Angeles, San Diego, Toronto and Minnesota. In 2007, an opportunity with Medtronic, a medical device company, for which I’ve been working five years, brought us to Shanghai, China. I worked on a strategy project with some of the brightest talents in the industry and the experience was extremely valuable. Living in Shanghai definitely allows us to further understand the market from the ground up and it also worked out great for our family.

Our two boys had the opportunity to be immersed in Mandarin while we were in China and our oldest is now enrolled in a Chinese Immersion Program as a kindergartener.
Kammy Tsang, Warren ’97

ONE IN A MILLION
I am currently living in the Guangdong Province in a small town of one million called Yangchun. I am literally one in a million here as the ONLY foreign face to be found. Do I attract attention? You bet —just like a rock star.

I have 800 first-to-sixth-year students who think I’m rather special. I don’t speak any Chinese and, try as I may, I am finding it rather hard to learn. I’m teaching the children using total immersion. I teach the children how words sound, and we practice learning words and the older children practice making sentences. We play a lot of games and children here are rather competitive so that works well.

I came to China with an image in my head but I will leave China with a real picture of life here. So many things I thought were true have proven to be myths while other things I couldn’t begin to conceive have shown me a larger picture of this country and her people.

China has the world’s attention this year but, as someone who has been living and working here now for over five months,
I believe it is what China does after these games that will matter most. The Dragon is awake. Are we ready?
Lori Rai, Warren ’78

DOING BUSINESS IN CHINA
I have lived in Shanghai full-time since October 2005. I am married to a wonderful Chinese woman and teach business English to mid-career professionals who need the language to advance in their careers. The companies pay for their lessons and I teach on-site, usually in conference-board rooms using a Powerpoint PPT. I have taught employees from Bayer, BASF, Dupont, Intel, General Electric, General Motors, Lenovo, Panasonic, Siemens, Shell Oil and Wyeth. This is definitely not the Communist China I had pictured. It is a side of China I never learned about at UCSD IR/PS in Dr. Naughton’s, “Doing Business in China.” I am now seeing wholesale capitalism at its finest.

Foreigners get all kinds of interesting invitations in China. I have been invited to ask questions on a Chinese talk show called Brainstorm when Li Kai Fu of Google was a guest. I was invited to be in a movie recently. I write a monthly column for a Human Resources training magazine. Life in China for foreigners, especially Americans, is getting better every day.

I could write for hours on the interesting places I have visited. Once you get to China, it is hard not to travel because it is so cheap to do so.

I hope that other Tritons get an opportunity to experience the wonderful times that I have had in the Far East. It has been the experience of a lifetime. My only regret is not having done it earlier.
Ken Haumschilt, Marshall ’97

A DIFFERENT IMAGE
My interest in China was sparked by political science professor Susan Shirk. I was taking one of her classes in the late ’70s when she was invited to the People’s Republic of China in the middle of the quarter. That was a rare occurrence at that time. When she returned, she invited the class to her house to view slides and hear about her trip.

In 1985, I had the privilege of spending the summer taking Chinese law classes at the Chinese University of Law and Politics in Beijing. We were lectured by the very people who had just written the modern laws of China. We also had the opportunity to attend two trials, see inside a prison and tour various factories, as well as visiting the Great Wall and other sites around Beijing.
What I remember most is the kindness of the people and the very colorful clothing of the children. Most of the adults wore blue, grey or green, but the kids had vivid pinks and oranges, reds and yellows. It projected a much different image than the otherwise dreary existence associated with a Commu­nist nation at that time.
Roy Carlson, Warren ’80

IT’S THE REAL THING
Working and living in Shanghai has been an incredible whirlwind of a ride. Two months after I arrived in the city, I found myself working with world renowned filmmakers on the massive set of a Coca-Cola commercial for the Olympics.
I ’ve always had a great interest in filmmaking and producing in particular, and the crazy idea of relocating to Shanghai and looking for a job in production had been brewing for some time. So I decided to take a chance on China, where my bilingual abilities would give me an edge.

After interviewing with a number of production houses, I landed at Protean Image Group (P.I.G.) China as a production coordinator, and about two weeks into my first real job, I began work on what my boss and executive producer says is the biggest project he’s ever worked on—the Coca-Cola job.

The workdays were long, but I was just so glad and exhilarated that my brazen trip to China was not in vain, and that I was actually doing something I wanted to do. And since I’d become so aware and familiar with the different parts of this production, I sort of became the go-to person for a lot of people . . . and you know, for a newbie, that felt pretty good.

Currently, the Coke project is in post-­production, and I’ve begun to prep for an up­coming Visa TV spot for the Israeli audience.
And apparently, my work on Coke was well-regarded, as I was offered the opportunity to help represent the company at this year’s international advertising festival at Cannes, France.
Like I said, it’s been pretty incredible.
Lily Niu, Warren ’07

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