Finally I finished the book Mr. China by Tim Clissold. I enjoyed the book thoroughly from the beginning to the end.
Out of everything, I have completely enjoyed the author's style of writing - vivid, lively, humorous, and sharp. I couldn't help reading aloud sometimes just to appreciate the powerful words he used and to imagine the pictures in his stories. I have felt like I have being listening to the author telling his stories directly to me, laughing heartily when coming to the funny parts, feeling stressed when being involved in a complicated row or seemingly everlasting stalemate, getting angry when facing deliberate fraud or betrayal, and raising admiration when meeting people with great guts and incredible persistence.
Equally I was totally moved by the unbelievable effort the author has made to dig bone deep to understand Chinese people no matter who they were: business partners, government officials, employees, peasants living in the remote areas of China. I was actually nearly to tears coming to the very end of the book when the author said "If by writing this book I can make the Chinese people seem more human, less mysterious or threatening, just flawed and beautiful like us, then the troubles of the past ten years will all have been worthwhile."
As a native Chinese, I can't appreciate more about the author's genuine intention to explain and illustrate about Chinese people and China to the rest of the world based on his own personal experience. Obviously as a white person from England and as a respresentative for the Wall Street working and traveling throughout China for more than ten years, he can't be more a justifiable person to tell the rest of the world about China and Chinese people. However, he did not abuse this authority by lightly making some unfair or biased judgement, instead, he has been passionately learning about Chinese history and has been persistently discovering the reasons behind Chinese people's "mysterious" behaviour. Disregard of his personal struggling , sometimes even dismal while carrying on his business duty and ambition in China, he was always based on matter of facts to make any comments on Chinese people and always reserved great respect to the nation and its people no matter how much difference there remained either on the surface or in deep.
As a native Chinese who was born , grew up and educated in China and who is living overseas now, I understand perfectly the author's frustration in China with the "Chinese economic environment" such as the banking system, legal system, definition of contracts, land ownership, lack of morale in the workforce etc and I was also educated about my own country because while reading the book, I was looking at China as an outsider rather than a Chinese who is always "in" without seeing the whole picture! You always see the picture more clearly if you are "out" of the picture. And as a younger generation, I was also educated about the early stage of China's opening up and reform which I wasn't aware of because I was still a bookworm in school back then. Now when I see the modern China, I will have a more complete picture when connecting it to the old days and I am sure I will appreciate more about the changes happening everywhere in China.
All in all, Mr. China is an excellent book both in terms of literature and information. It is a great book demanding slow sipping for both western and Chinese people who are interested in China and Chinese people. The world will be a more peaceful and more beautiful place if there is more understanding !
Thank you Mr. Tim Clissold!