After almost 20 years in the capital, Scott Kronick is something of an old China hand. It was back in 2012 that we asked him to blog his experiences here as a regular columnist. The series was a big hit. Now, two years later Kronick is releasing a book based on that same series of blogs.
What is your best tip for surviving so long in Beijing?
You have to love the adventure. There are so many experiences a person can have here – both good and bad – that you just have to be light-spirited. If you are on a plane that tries to land three times and it has to return to your original destination don’t get angry, find comfort in knowing that landing in that particular location was not meant to be. As long as an experience is not harmful or mean spirited, chalk it up as a great experience that will go in the memory bank. And if you can, have some fun. That’s what The Lighter Side of China is all about.
What is the biggest regret of your time in Beijing?
My language difficulties for sure. I know only a few characters. Despite being here for nearly 20 years, I have not spent enough time on the language and this is my next mission. I won’t leave Beijing until I can at least read basic text.
At what point in the last 20 years were you closest to leaving Beijing? Why?
Never is the honest answer. Throughout the years my family has become more rooted in Beijing. My kids have even come around to appreciating Beijing as their hometown.
When was the last time you showed a visitor around the sights of Beijing?
A few years ago my mother came and we stayed at the Commune at the Great Wall. We make an annual family retreat there that is always a lot of fun. We have visitors come all of the time. Today, I rarely send them to see the sites but arrange for them to have a full Beijing experience. I do join them at meals, however, and perhaps a visit to a market or two.
What advice would you offer to someone just arriving in Beijing?
Learn from every experience. If you are not a native Chinese, you are a guest, so act like a guest. Be gracious and soak it all in and have some fun in learning about the differences.
What Chinese idiom best sums up your time in China?
Fang chang xian diao da yu (放长线钓大鱼), or “Placing a long line to catch a big fish.”
Scott’s book The Lighter Side of China is available at The Bookworm and on Amazon.cn; Scott's blog on the Beijinger of the same name can be read here.
Read more of this interview in the March issue of the Beijinger:
Visit the original source and full text: the Beijinger Blog