The Chinese Dream: Myth or Reality? Why does it matter?

Market positioning is a concept in business defined by the Business Dictionary as “an effort to influence consumer perception of a brand or product relative to perception of competing brands or products. Its objective is to occupy a clear, unique and advantageous position in the consumers’ mind.”

This concept is fluid and moves beyond the business space into politics. Nations, institutions, and NGOs also perform this activity to stay competitive in the world space, China is also in that bucket. For those that have been keeping up with News about China, you probably have heard of Xi Jinping’s ‘Chinese Dream.’ If you do not keep up with China news, the Chinese dream is realizing the great renewal of the Chinese nation in modern history. Similar to the continuous Jewish civilization, the Chinese have 5000 years of pride in their heritage and they want to capitalize that in the modern times. I don’t blame them, I would too.

Now you may ask why does this relate to allofasuddenpartJew? What is the connection?

It overlaps is my answer.

Realizing the Chinese dream, first comes overcoming many internal challenges that I outlined in my last blog post. Getting back into market positioning earlier – this is how I will position myself and efforts. Align with the goals of the Chinese dream to get buy-in and people behind me. That’s the connection. Make sense? Now the government and I share the same mission and goals, to see a China as a better country, setting the way for the world. Here is a quote from Xi Jinping’s Speech about the Chinese Dream.

Our responsibility is to unite and lead people of the entire party and of all ethnic groups around the country while accepting the baton of history and continuing to work for realising the great revival of the Chinese nation in order to let the Chinese nation stand more firmly and powerfully among all nations around the world and make a greater contribution to mankind.”

Xi Jinping and my ideals match perfectly. We will make great partners in the future. You will soon see that it is reality; not a myth.

:) until next time.

China: You have a lot of Problems…Let’s focus on the Solutions

Last week I spent a majority of my time researching into “China’s biggest problems”. I put this in quotes because everyone has an opinion on this topic, mostly Western media with a big opinion on what’s going on in the Eastern giant — soon to be world superpower.

A google search came back with hundreds if not thousands of articles, blogs and op-eds on this subject. For example, Martin Feldstein’s WSJ piece on China’s Biggest Problems are Political, Not Economic, he lists corruption, skewed birth rates, and gross inequality as his top three China killers. The Diplomat says it even better in the piece China’s Greatest Challenge: Not America, But Itself. Again, its own social issues and home politics are named as the future deal breakers. I won’t list the other articles that came up, but they all reiterate the same voice and subject. China has major internal issues it must address first, before it can become a world superpower — one that other countries will emulate and follow.

All this reading about challenges has got me thinking…whenever I see a challenge, I also see opportunity. Opportunity to fix the problem and address the solution. Seth Godin, another famous Jewish thought leader, wrote a blog post titled ‘Goals, strategy and tactics for change.’ It provides the perfect framework for me to put my plans into actions, words, that I can then go to others to get buy-in for.

Oh, I also need a team to help me get this done. I can’t do this all alone. We are all created for a reason, to work together and in harmony…Recruiting efforts to begin.

until next time

xx

Xiaoming

Twists, Turns, Pauses, and Re-Starts – My Journey Continues

So much has happened in the past few months. The super hot and humid days of Hong Kong has come and gone but not without first sinking deep beneath under my skin. I have been irritated and frustrated that what I thought was supposed to happen, did not pan out. First, I graduated from my Master of Arts in Chinese Studies. That was supposed to happen on schedule. Second, I was rejected by the Tikvah Jewish Fellowship in New York City. That was not in my plans, but I don’t decide the future (only G-d) does. Third, I am back in the corporate working world, surprisingly in financial services again. I won’t mention which bank here, as I had to take a lot of compliance training as a new joiner. I am still in Hong Kong, I thought I wouldn’t be here starting in late 2014. Well, life doesn’t always work out in ways you expect and think. I will change my approach and let G-d lead and not assume any event will happen until G-d gives a sign and/or direction.

I have finally come to the realization that my future is in Asia, specifically Hong Kong, for some reasons still unclear to me. I just can’t leave Asia — it is not in my cards. Going to New York City to study Jewish history now seems like a ridiculous idea. My immediate next steps are to 1) find a suitable Chinese name for allofasuddenpartJew 2) get Chinese people behind my idea.

Speaking to the first point, Mandarin will be spoken by over 1 billion people, that’s a very large audience. I need to be able to appeal to the Chinese masses. To the second point, I am thinking through ways in which what I am doing will benefit the Chinese people — from business people to government officials. My alter ego will need to solve one of Chinese people’s biggest problems, a problem that even the PRC government cannot solve. That’s where I come in….riding on a beautiful white Arabian horse to save the day. There is so much back end brainstorming, thinking, and planning involved. I want you all to know that I am working — though you may not see it daily — my journey continues….

love,
Xiaoming

Situation: Be’Chol Lashon Diverse Jews Birthright Trip

If you are a Jew of diverse origins (AKA: not Ashkenazi), you probably have heard of Be’Chol Lashon, hebrew for “In Every Tongue.” It is an organization dedicated to advocating for the diversity and growth of the Jewish people. Its Mission consists of growing and strengthening the Jewish people through ethnic, cultural, and racial inclusiveness. I have been following them on various social networks since my Jewish discovery in 2011. A few weeks back, I got an e-mail from the organization about a Birthright Israel trip for diverse Jews. My ears perked up, eyes got big, and forgot what I was doing in that moment. My full attention refocused on this Israel trip for diverse young people. The only caveat is the age criteria; 18-26 year olds only, and I discovered my “Jewishness” at 29. Now it is 2014, do the math, and I’m way over the maximum age according to Birthright’s rules.

Undeterred, I sent an e-mail to Lindsey Newman, program coordinator for the trip. I explained by situation, shared this blog and asked some advice about my situation. After all, it is unfair to impose an age limit on someone who discovered Judaism at a later age. Lindsey wrote back and suggested I email Birthright directly; as they do grant exceptions on a case-by-case basis. She also shared Be’Chol Lashon’s blog and asked if I would be interested in contributing a piece. The blog is hosted on MyJewishLearning, a leading transdenominational website of Jewish information and education. I responded with an affirmative yes and Lindsey connected with Rabbi Ruth Abusch-Magder to work out the logistics. Rabbi Ruth is Be’Chol Lashon’s Rabbi-in-Residence and is based in San Francisco, California. I have been following her on Twitter for almost 3 years and reached out when I was researching Judaism sects. My next step is to brainstorm an interesting and engaging topic. 

I sent Birthright a message explaining my unique situation and ask for their advise on the diverse Jews Israel trip. It is rare and difficult to meet “diverse Jews” in Asia. This trip would be a great way to know other Jews in my situation-while seeing and experiencing the beautiful Israel. It’ll also be a great way to expand my knowledge of Jewish people’s diversity, outside of China and Asia. I’m awaiting a response from Birthright and will keep you all posted on my progress.

In other news, I have finished my Masters of Arts in China Studies. I am job hunting in Hong Kong while freelancing for various small businesses. So glad to be free of school! It feels so good to finish writing research papers and essays. I have realized that I have no interest in being a scholar–writing academic papers aren’t really my thing. My core skills are marketing, communications, and consulting. Teaching, writing, and editing round out the top of my interest list.

I will finished here. Will keep you all posted on my progress. I’m sure all will work out alright, G-d willing. Until next time.

love,

Xiaoming

A Successful #MakeitHappen

Earlier this month, my #MakeitHappen project with the Schusterman Family Foundation came to life.

The School of Architecture at the Chinese University, a brand new state-of-art campus, hosted the event. Participants woke up extra early on a Saturday morning to learn about the intersections of Chinese and Jewish history. I was really amazed by the diversity of the audience, it really shows that many are interested in Jewish history in China and Asia on a larger scale.

A video of Founder Lynn Schusterman and President Sandy Cardin speaking on Schusterman’s core mission and values opened the event. The audience learned about the core theme of inclusion that drives the foundation and their philanthropic giving to better the Jewish world and in turn, the broader world. After that I briefly introduced myself, the speakers, and flow of the event to the audience.

Next I presented an overview of the major Jewish immigrations to China. For the Kaifeng segment, a video of a Kaifeng Jew Shi Lei. I couldn’t invite Shi Lei, a descendent of Kaifeng Jews to speak, so I did the next best thing and purchased a DVD of him speaking. The history of Jews of China can be traced back to the Song Dynasty when China was at the height of its ancient empire. Jews came to China for business reasons, similar to today.

Brian Skerratt, a Harvard PhD and lecturer of Chinese poetry at the university presented on (half-)Jewish identity in America. He also worked in various Yiddish words and taught the audience some Ashkenazi Jewish vocabulary. The audience said the new words out loud for practice during the interactive talk. The event concluded with a screening of the award-winning documentary by Dana Janklowicz-Mann and Amir Mann, Shanghai Ghetto. It tells the harrowing tale of 20,000 Jewish refugees without a place to go during Nazi Germany during World War II, where Shanghai was their only hope. A delicious catered vegetarian lunch buffet and open networking brought the event to an end.

The content available for the Chinese and Jewish topic is rich and diverse. This first event is only scratching the surface.

Soundbites and Feedback

“The event was great, interesting, inspiring, educational and well-organized,” said Hong Kong Chinese participant Sherry Ha.

“I really didn’t know what to expect so I came here with a big open mind and I was impressed with the wide range of people in the audience and the diversity of the things we saw” said British-Jewish participant Catherine Ben-David.

Event Flyer
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My Tikvah Center Application for Jewish Study

February 15, 2014 is known to the world as the day after Valentine’s Day. To me it was the deadline to apply to study at the Tikvah Institute. This past Saturday, I compiled my application into one PDF file that included my CV, a personal statement, an essay on the 20th century figure whom I admire, and my thoughts on a significant challenge faced by the Jewish people. I logged into the Tikvah website, attached my supporting documents, swallowed and pressed send.

According to the Tikvah Fund website, “The Tikvah Fund is a philanthropic foundation and ideas institution committed to supporting the intellectual, religious, and political leaders of the Jewish people and the Jewish State.” The Tikvah Center for study is based in New York City, in midtown Manhattan. I discovered this learning treasure trove a little over two years ago, when I googled for ‘Jewish learning’. At the time, I had just started writing this blog and was relocating to Hong Kong, so I thought I would wait before I applied. Now, more than two years later, I feel more than ready to tackle New York City and the intellectual rigor and challenge of this program.

I applied for three Spring Advanced Institutes. My first choice is the Jewish Idea of God, followed by The Future of the Family and War and Human Nature. Three incredibly interesting topics in my opinion. I also plan to apply for the summer semester as well. Topics like Is Judaism a Religion?, Jews, Power, and the Bible, Reason, Revelation, and Jewish Thought, Zionist Statesmanship: Ben-Gurion and Begin, Divine Justice and Human Creativity  in Jewish Literature, and The Rabbinic Mind and Divine Law. There, I just listed all of them! :D

Will keep you guys updated on my progress!

Keep fingers crossed for me that I will be accepted!
love,
Xiaoming

Yom Tov – Tu B’Shvat

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Thanks to Chabad’s creative photo, I like to wish everyone a Yom Tov Tu B’Shvat.

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