The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

Proud To Be Chinese …

As you all know, I lived in Asia for a long time.

And as much as I loved it all, the time I loved most were my 7+ years in Shanghai.

Of course there were moments that were challenging – but that happens wherever you move, even if it’s just down the road from where you have always lived – but without doubt, I can categorically state it was one of the absolute best times of my life and I still miss enormously.

Part of this was because I was in China at a time of great change … where the country was starting to realise its own potential and power. Because of this, I got to witness the character and creativity of the culture came together to start creating something new … exemplified by the ‘coming out party’ of the Beijing Olympics to the rest of the World.

Part of this was because I was working at Wieden+Kennedy at a time where the business World had woken up to the importance of China as a market. What this meant was I wasn’t just part of work that I still feel immensely proud of, but my team had direct exposure to a level of client that few people ever get, with an opinion that has rarely been so valued.

Part of this was because of the people and places I got to meet, go to and work with. In almost every case, everyone was generous with their opinion, compassion and hospitality. In many ways, it is the place where we felt we were part of a real community – where everyone genuinely had everyone’s best interests at heart. The impact was so great on me, that I did a presentation in Australia on how living in China had made me a better person, let alone a better professional. The impact of those years still influences and drives me today.

Part of it was because of this guy …

I am so proud he was born in a country I weirdly regard as ‘home’.

And I am so so happy he feels the same way.

It’s for this reason he wanted to wear this top to school recently.

The symbols are the Mandarin characters for China – or more specifically, Zhōng Guó.

China has been going through a tough time.

Not just because of the Corona Virus, but because of the incredible prejudice being shown towards it and their people.

I get its scary and people aren’t really sure what to do about it … but I must admit I have found the open hostility shown towards it unbelievably offensive.

How the Chinese government have reacted to this situation has been unprecedented – in fact I doubt any other nation would ever react with such pragmatism.

Yes, there have been mistakes, but compared to the terrible way they handled SARS, they have learned their lesson and are actively doing all they can to stop the spread under incredibly complicated situations – exemplified by the fact they basically banned all travel during Chinese New Year when that is the very moment where 300+ million people go back to their homes across China to celebrate with their families.

And how did the World try to help?

By banning and being outright hostile to the people and country.

The paranoia has been incredible.

People claiming to be frightened of Chinese products.
People claiming to be frightened of Chinese services.
People claiming to be frightened of Chinese people.

The bit that upsets me most is that even now – as they are closing their borders to all – the narrative towards the Chinese is aggressive and fearful … which is very different to how they have reacted to other countries going through it.


Is it because of a language barrier?
Is it because of a lack of awareness?
Or is it because of an inherent prejudice towards China and their people?

Look I get no one wants to go to a place suffering with a dangerous respiratory virus and I get borders of nations needed to be protected [as they should be always] but at a time of struggle you would expect some compassion.

That governments have shown open hostility to a country and its people who they need for their own financial wellbeing is incredible – yes, that’s you America – and they should be grateful that China as a nation does not like conflict, because if the tables were turned, I don’t think other countries would be responding in the same way.

But whatever happens, I will always love and visit China and am grateful to the country for so many things – the main one being that my wonderful son Otis was born there.

23 Comments so far
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Well said Robert.
Trump needs to read this.
Otis looks a teenager in that photo.

Comment by George

He does, doesn’t he.

As Mr Dodds say’s, no one reads long copy anymore so Trump definitely won’t be. Even if I did, he wouldn’t agree. Remember this is a man who said America was safe from Corona and then did a total 180 a week later but doesn’t admit he misjudged it.

And yet he is still President, still loved by many and still will get in again, even if the Democrats actually worked together rather than let their in-fighting agendas and egos get the better of them.

As someone once said to me, the democrats want to be right, the republicans want to win.

Comment by Rob

I know you said you would go back to your normal time for posting next week. But I just want to reiterate how annoying this is.

Comment by George

Its screwed my evenings up. His posts were like an alarm, a nudge to wrap up the night. With the later posting time, I’m going to bed later and I’m exhausted. He still has the power to mess with my head.

Comment by Bazza

You’re literally giving me more reasons to keep it as it is … hahaha.

Comment by Rob

Win Win.

Comment by Bazza

even campbell is bored of reading his own shit.

Comment by andy@cynic

Oh great to know that you have worked and lived in China. I am also working as a freelancer for I have never been there but I have felt that whatever you are saying is true.

Comment by Waqar Ahmed

When it dies down, you should go. It’s an amazing country. Not the biggest fan of Beijing – even though it’s amazing – but the people, the culture, the experience is one that will stay with you forever.

Comment by Rob

Yeah, I hope that I will go there sooner or later for a 10 to 15 days tour!

Comment by Waqar Ahmed

You wrote this a while back didn’t you Rob?

Not sure China is getting as much abuse anymore. They shouldn’t have got any but think it’s quietened down until governments want someone to pay for all the money it cost them.

Comment by Bazza

Trump called it the “Chinese disease” yesterday.
The prejudice is real and only going to get worse in the build up to the election.

Comment by Lee Hill

Yep … exactly Lee.

Though I do think you raise a good point Baz. How long till countries reach out to China for some sort of recompense. If that’s the case, maybe China can charge America for the obesity, diabetes and blood pressure it has infected the World with. It’s about the same argument … given there had been warnings about a new pandemic hitting us for years, regardless of it’s place of origin.

Comment by Rob

Blaming others is how you avoid introospection.

Comment by John

That means 99% of the people who comment on this blog are frightened of their truth. Hahaha.

Comment by Rob

That we have nothing better to do than to read this blog?

Comment by John

your son is the best fucking thing youve ever pulled off campbell. and like everything youve got, you owe it all to some other fucker.

Comment by andy@cynic

The only person I know who can fall up a ladder.

Comment by DH

Quite a skill.

Comment by Rob

and you are the last fucker on earth who deserves it.

Comment by andy@cynic

After all they encountered, this is an act of humanity other governments would do well to learn from and follow.

Comment by Rob

I love this. I’m going to be supplying him with those jackets for the rest of his life.

Comment by DLIN

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