Experiencing China

'Experiencing China' is about ordinary life in China and the wealing and dealing of a Dutchman in the Middle Kingdom. Marc works for DuoArts Consultancy and the Empowerment Foundation, travelling between the Netherlands and China.

Monday, November 15, 2004


Hello everybody,

I am Marc David Brand and this is my first experience with blogging. I was born and raised in the Netherlands and currently live in Haarlem, a city 11 kilometres from Amsterdam. I studied Culture, Organization and Management (COM) at the Vrije University Amsterdam and since then pursued an academic career. Only untill recently I have decided to leave the Vrije University, where I was working as an assistent lecturer in pursuit of a PhD-project and to engage into another career, that is, consultancy. My great hobby is China. Therefore, I named this blog-site 'Marc & China'. From February till July I will become a student again and begin with a course on Mandarin at the Beijing Culture and Language University (BCLU). For the second time I will live for an extended time in China.

The first time I went to China was in 1999 when I was a student at COM, a study that focuses on training organizational anthropologists. Like a more or less traditional anthropologist, in the romantic sense of the word, I stayed at a state-owned enterprise for about four months. The SOE, called the Shandong Dongping Heavenly Hemp Textiles Co. Ltd., was operating in a small county town in the west of the Shandong province, a province roughly between Beijing and Shanghai nearby the famous Yellow River. In rough conditions, that is, no hot water, no central heating (I was there in winter), no fridge, no shower, no telephone and no fax or internet facilities, I managed to do without all these luxuries that so many of the people in Western countries perceive as minimal living requirements. Even more, I began to like the country and especially the ordinairy people. Much has been written about Chinese government practices, economy and culture in general. My possible contribution will be to provide readers/bloggers with an insight in the 'kitchen' of ordinairy Chinese people that have shown so much vitality to work on a better future for them and their children. The comparison between the Chinese and bamboo is in my opinion therefore an apt one. Thus, although impossible to sometimes write about general processes in the country and its global influence on the world economy, this will mostly be about ordinairy Chinese and my experiences in China from February till July 2005. The main purpose, therefore, is to act as a bridge between worlds, the Chinese and Western, Latin, African, etcetera, worlds.

As it is not February 2005 yet, my first contributions will be about my past experiences with the Chinese or a commentary on developments in China. In order to engage in, more or less, objective journalism I will try to clarify my statements by giving the sources I have used, what journalists and academics have influenced me as well as my own publications (see below) on the topic of culture, organization and management in China. Other sources that are of main importance are the Chinese classics, such as The Analects of Confucius, The Art of War of Sun Zi, The Three Kingdoms, Lao Zi's Daodejing, and the I Tjing (Book of Change). Important to note, I do not claim to understand the above publications thoroughly. I am still learning about China and probably will be my whole life. Moreover, it will be my interpretation of Chinese (classical) culture.

Last but not least, feel free to react to my writings. I firmly believe that discussion stimulates mutual understanding and learning.

Best regards,

Marc David