Since the last blog I posted on musichef.com (dated July 2015) exactly one year ago, many things have happened last year which eventually led me to leave the city I once loved – Beijing. Many people have asked me why I left?
There were three main reasons –
Firstly, the business partnership for the noodle shop ( A.Wang Noodle Bar) as well as the two food projects that I was working on didn’t work out well. I don’t want to play victim and blame anyone as there is always risk involved with any kind of business so I won’t go into too much detail but I do want to mention a few things hoping you don’t make the same mistakes I made.
Don’t invest in F&B business unless you have experience working in F&B industry, will take active role in the business (with daily operation). Moreover, don’t give away 51% of the share (if you do partner up with someone, be equal and invest money equally, don’t be a silent partner if you want to see your initial investment again), if the promise of return seems too good to be true, it probably is. In the end, I not only lost money but also the trust I had for my business partner whom I met through church’s F&B group and a good friend.
The two other food media projects I was involved in – one being the food guidebook (Food Hunting in Seoul) and the other one being the cooking show…
It is a big dream of mine to have my own cooking show, so naturally when a Chinese producer approached me after I was on another reality tv show and asked me to be on their ‘cooking show’, you can probably imagine how excited I was!! It was supposed to be a Chinese remake of a very popular Korean cooking show (냉장고를 부탁해) BUT life is never that simple and easy. I later learnt that it was merely a copycat show (an entertainment show not a serious cooking show that only cares about 大明星(big celebrities)) and what’s more dramatic is that the main producer for the REAL remake show actually found me through my Weibo (Chinese equivalent of Twitter) just a week AFTER I had already signed with this copycat show. aiya….!
the REAL remake of the cooking show I was invited to audition for but couldn’t since I had already signed with another show
‘white’ Christmas Beijing 2015
my air purifier filter only after 4-5 months of use! I heard it’s getting much better in 2016, happy for Beijingers!
Lastly, I felt the Chinese censorship (the infamous Great Firewall of China) and the control by the Chinese government were becoming more and more strict to the point that I felt my freedom was being taken away and it affected my daily life. First came the ban on google, gmail, facebook, and later even line, instagram, youtube, some music, blogs, many foreign websites and videos that are not in accordance with Chinese ‘values’ China was becoming more secluded from the rest of the world and it was becoming harder and harder for me to stay in touch with the loved ones. Additionally, during the rehearsal for the Chinese military parade celebrating the 70th year victory over Japan, many residents living near the main ChangAn road were told to ‘stay inside’ (in another words, locked inside) our apartments for nearly two full days. Having lived in Beijing for a total of 6 years (2003-2004, 2006-2007, 2011-2015), this was the first time I felt OMG China really is a communist country! It definitely wasn’t the same Beijing that I came to love.
Maybe it was just bad timing for everything or just a bad year or maybe it was God’s way of telling me it’s time to move on…. For the next 2-3 months, I traveled to many cities (Okinawa, Tokyo, San Francisco, Taipei and Bangkok) to find a suitable place with higher quality of life and business potential. Actually, I agonized with the decision to move out of Beijing for nearly a full year, however, IT WAS TIME. All of these reasons combined, right before 2016 Chinese New Year, choubu and I made the big move to the land of smiles – Bangkok! 🙂
Even though, I left China out of desperation, Beijing will always have a special place in my heart. I thank everyone I met during my six year journey in China and for all the fond memories and adventures we shared. In my mind, Beijing will always be the charming ‘little’ city I came to love when I first came as a naive exchange student in 2003 – a growing city full of ambitions, untold hutong stories, 1.2 kuai-metered red taxis, 1 kuai erguodou baijiu, streetside 羊肉串，BICF International Church ‘salty’ small group, kids church, 很熱情的北京哥們兒和阿姨 and also the city I found many lifelong friends, choubu and Xintai. 再見我的愛－北京！
April 23rd 2006, near the hutong where I first found Xintai! she followed me home!
Beijing Bucket List – I checked off almost all the items 🙂