Rear View takes a jocular look at some of the experiences that make Beijing such a fun place to live (if they don't break you first).

Here at Rear View, we believe that our role as journalists is about more than just scavenging free food and booze, and getting into things without paying. We believe that it’s vitally important to give something back to the community, and not just when someone runs after us shouting “Hey! Give that back!”

We always try to do our bit for those less fortunate, by writing about other people who do charity work, and sticking a QR code at the end or something.

So for this issue, we decided to speak to some expats who are making a real difference here in Beijing. We meet with Nigella Tray-Ling, who lives on the Sunset Boulevard Oregon Trail compound in Shunyi.

“I feel it’s really important not to get stuck in the expat bubble,” she tells us. “I make sure to chat with the security guards on our compound every day, and ask about how their families are doing. Of course, I get my driver to do it for me, because I’m so, so busy with my voluntary work.”

Nigella has organized a bake sale to raise money for “Asinine Aspirations,” a local charity working with migrant donkeys. “Many of these donkeys have never had a single day’s education,” she tells us, tears welling up in her eyes. “But with the proper training, they can get jobs as receptionists, or English teachers.”

She proudly shows us the cakes she has brought.

“This is an old family recipe, which my grandma used to make. It’s so important to keep these traditions alive. Of course I got my ayi to do the actual baking because I’ve been so busy organizing the event.”

The ladies arrive at the hotel at 11am, and are greeted with a refreshing glass of Changyu bubbly. Three hours later, all the cakes have been sold, and the event has raised the magnificent sum of RMB 358.

“I’m sure that’s going to make a real difference to the donkeys,” Nigella says. “After the hotel has taken out its costs, of course. We do seem to have drunk rather a lot of bubbly. Can you call my driver? I need some help standing up.”

We tried to speak to the chief executive of the charity, Mr. Ronald Stoat, but he was on a fact-finding trip to Macau. “There’s a lot of really innovative charitable work going on in Macau,” a spokesdonkey told us, “especially in the high-end casinos. It’s very important that Mr. Stoat keeps up with the latest developments in card counting. I mean donkey education.”

If you would like to donate to this worthy cause, then just pop your generous contribution into a sealed envelope and send it to Rear View at the Beijinger, marked “Private and Confidential.” Cash only, in used notes.

Photo: timeslive.co.za

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