Saturday, March 4, 2017

Harvard says the New Life is NO Life? Escape the Treadmill!

Death by overwork Karōshi 過労死 过劳死  日本中国美国Japan China United States
Ahoy from Amoy (historic Xiamen, China).

In February, 2017, a Harvard Business School article claimed lack of leisure time is America's newest status symbol. If you can't afford a vacation or even a break to catch your breath, it shows you are a hot commodity.

Wealth used to imply leisure, but not today. Thanks to 24/7 connectedness and increased competition, people are online and on-the-job 24/7--and proud of it. What a sad commentary on life.

Death by Overwork HBS noted this is mainly an American issue--though Japanese of course work longer hours than we do--or they did until 2015. Japanese even have a word for "death by overwork": Karōshi, or 過労死. But unlike Americans, Japanese aren't proud of having no life, and they certainly don't aspire to it. Japanese are stuck with it, but as of 2015, Americans work longer hours than Japanese--and we're proud of it?

U.S. Death by Overwork.  Not surprisingly, Americans are now dying from overwork--especially interns on Wall Street and in hospitals, who work 80 to 100 hours per week. You'd think the medical industry would have more sense than to put patients' lives in the hands of interns who haven't slept for 40 hours.

Here in China, by the way, 600,000 Chinese die annually from overwork--1,644 deaths every day of the year (and forget the notion of laid back Mexicans and their long siestas; Mexicans work the longest hours in the world).

The price? 55 = 1/3 > 40. Perhaps Americans embrace the "'No Life' Life" because we feel we have no choice, but there's a heavy price to pay. In 2015, research showed that people working 55 hours per week were 1/3 more likely to have a stroke than those working 40 hours. Is it worth it?

Solomon would have said it's all vanity. It's also insanity--especially for believers.

On November 24, 2008, I posted on Our Daily Noodles "3 Reasons Why 6 > 7" to show that not only do we NOT need to live such a lifestyle to survive, but also that we can get much more done in 6 days than 7 when we live in our Father's strength and not just our own.

As Lily Tomlin once said, "The problem with the rat race is even if you win, you're still a rat." Get off the treadmill! Or as the Chinese have said for centuries, "Don't view the flowers while galloping past on horseback" ( 走马看花 ; basically the same as our "stop and smell the roses").

Or as Christ put it, "Consider the lilies of the field; they toil not, neither do they spin, and yet I say unto you that not even Solomon in all of his glory was arrayed as one of these."

The Most Successful People Set Limits!  If Trust in our Father isn't enough to get you off the treadmill, then consider this: much research has shown the most successful people check email only once or twice a day, limit their use of social media (or don't use it as all), and take time off for hobbies! In the midst of the war, Churchill took off each afternoon to paint. A Hong Kong billionaire takes off every afternoon to go fishing.

It's your choice, but if you don't set limits, you will die early. Is it worth it to you, and to your family?

Because things are even worse today than when I posted "3 Reasons Why 6 > 7" in November, 2008, I repost it below.

Blessings from Amoy!  Dr. Bill

3 Reasons Why 6 > 7  (Nov. 24, 2008)

"The Sabbath is made for man, not man for the Sabbath." Mark 2:27
“Viewing flowers on horseback" 走马看花 Chinese proverb.

The Sabbath: 3 Reasons why 6 is Greater than 7

In "The Protestant Work Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism", Max Weber wrote of Christians' drive for success but he neglected that Christianity is also the only religion that drives us to rest, because is we obey God we can accomplish more in six days than in seven.

With over 260 grad students and no assistant, plus my many other responsibilities, and various works, I am busy. But in spite of this, I almost never work on the Sabbath--and if I have to work on the Sabbath for some reason, I make up for it by taking off another day.

I do this for three reasons.

One: Rest: my body, mind and soul need all need it.
Two: Reward: the Sabbath is a weekly foretaste of the rewards promised by our Father. If we don't stop to enjoy, we are racing through life like the Chinese viewing flowers on horseback.
Three: Trust: resting, in spite of my hectic schedule, demonstrates my faith that my Father will multiply my labor so that I can bear more fruit in six days than seven.

1. Rest. We were created both for work and rest. For example, consider sleep, which is our Daily Sabbth. No one really understands why we must sleep 1/3 of our life away, but we do. Those who do not sleep (there are some) die early. Those who sleep too little fall ill. Rest is necessary for both body and mind.

Shakespeare wrote in MacBeth:

Sleep that knits up the ravelled sleeve of care
The death of each day's life, sore labour's bath
Balm of hurt minds, great nature's second course,
Chief nourisher in life's feast.

D.H. Lawrence wrote that sleep is how God recreates us nightly:

And if tonight my soul may find her peace
in sleep, and sink in good oblivion,
and in the morning wake like a new-opened flower
then I have been dipped again in God, and new-created.
~D.H. Lawrence

Adequate sleep prolongs our lives:
"Sleep is the interest we have to pay on the capital which is called in at death; and the higher the rate of interest and the more regularly it is paid, the further the date of redemption is postponed." ~Arthur Schopenhauer

2. Reward Our mind, body and soul need rest weekly as well as daily. Many speak of eternal rewards, but even as sleep is the "little slice of eternal rest" now, so the Sabbath is a weekly foretaste of eternal enjoyment. Sleep is a nightly inner renewal; the Sabbath allows us to enjoy a weekly outer renewal.

God Himself gave us the example. He created heaven and earth in six days but on the seventh He rested, to enjoy what the fruits of his labor. We need the rest, and we need the time to enjoy the fruits of our labor. We rest each Sabbath, and enter each week a renewed creation.

Breaking the Sabbath Breaks You Jesus warned against making the Sabbath a mere religious ritual. "Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath." But he never said we could break the Sabbath with impunity. Breaking the Sabbath will break us, even as going without nightly sleep will destroy our health and, eventually, curtail our lives.

3. Faith. In this hectic day and age, many of my friends work around the clock, seven days a week, and still can't keep up. That is because they work from their own strength and not the greater Inner Strength our Father gives us within--or that fount has dried up because they have not taken their nightly and weekly rest. Ironically, many say they are working 24/7 for God, but if you are driven instead of led, you might want to consider who is in the driver's seat.

Success requires 1) Direction, and 2) Energy to persevere.
If we do not stop, if we do not take the time to hear that still small voice, we will go our own way on our own steam--and we will run out of steam.

Why 6 > 7? When I was in business I learned the hard way that I could accomplish much more in six days than in seven. I learned that I could succeed where other much more capable people failed when I was led, not driven, and they were driven but not led.

Plan to Rest It does take faith to stop, but come Saturday night, I put the computer away and don't work until Monday, and if something is urgent, I trust my Father to work it out, or help me avoid getting in such a bind in the first place. This, of course, requires planning as well as faith.

And I continually remind myself that Sabbath-Keeping is not a ritual for show but a gift to grow, and if I trust my Father, and dismount long enough to smell the roses in the garden He has given me, He will do more through me than I could ever do through myself.

With God, 6 > 7.
Without God, even 7 is not enough.<6 7="0.">

Dismount that galloping horse and smell the roses.

It is a common experience that a problem difficult at night is resolved in the morning after the committee of sleep has worked on it. ~John Steinbeck The amount of sleep required by the average person is five minutes more. ~Wilson Mizener

Enjoy Amoy!

Dr. Bill
School of Management, Xiamen University
Amazon eBook
"Discover Xiamen"

Bill Brown Xiamen University

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Love & Peace in the Koran?

Is Islam a religion of peace and love? KoranAhoy from Amoy! (historic Xiamen, China).

Given all the talk about Islam being a religion of peace, I searched the Koran for places in which Allah told believers to love others.  The Koran does have the word "love" in 83 places, but I did not find one instance of it saying that followers of Islam should love anyone--though it did warn clearly against loving those who do not accept Islam. 

Who does Allah not love? There were many verses on whom Allah does not love.  Allah does not love unbelievers [30.45] or the unjust [42.40] or the arrogant [57. 23], etc.  And 60.1 warns against loving those who reject Islam.

And who does Allah love?  61.4 says, "Surely Allah loves those who fight in His way in ranks as if they were a firm and compact wall.

Peace in the Koran?  Although the Koran seems decidedly militant, it does have the word "peace" 49 times. And to my surprise, a common theme seems to be that, although Muslims should fight infidels, if the enemy asks for peace, the Muslims are to cease fighting them.  Consider this verse:

[4.94] O you who believe! when you go to war in Allah's way, make investigation, and do not say to any one who offers you peace: You are not a believer. Do you seek goods of this world's life! But with Allah there are abundant gains; you too were such before, then Allah conferred a benefit on you; therefore make investigation; surely Allah is aware of what you do.

There are many more uses of the word "fight" than "peace," but overall, it seems that Muslims are told to fight when necessary, but to desist when the enemy does not want to fight:

[2.193] And fight with them until there is no persecution, and religion should be only for Allah, but if they desist, then there should be no hostility except against the oppressors.

I'm no expert on the Koran,= but it seems that the Muslims have not followed their own scriptures--but have we Christians? The Prince of Peace's own disciples weren't that peaceful even when he still walked with them. When Samaritans did not welcome Jesus because he was headed to Jerusalem, James and John asked if Jesus wanted them to  call down fire from heaven to destroy them (Luke 9:52-54).  Hard to imagine that men who knew Jesus that well could have imagined he's want to fry unfriendly folks. Verse 55 notes simply that, "Jesus turned and rebuked them." And in verse 56, "Then he and his disciples went to another village."

Isaiah 9:6,"And his name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."

I don't think that Islam is a "religion of peace," but responding with hatred and violence is like pouring fuel on the fire. 'A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger" (Proverbs 15:1).

The answer to Islam is not religion but the Prince of Peace himself living in us and through us.

Blessings from Amoy!

Dr. Bill
Jesus Prince of Peace Isaiah 9:6

If No News is Good News, Axe the News! (or at least trim it).

Ahoy from Amoy! (historic Xiamen, China).

How often do we say "No news is good news"--yet still glue our eyeballs to the newspaper, TV or online news? Thanks to modern tech we can despair at wars and rumors of wars in every corner of the globe. So why inflict this upon ourselves? And make no mistake--most of the news is bad because we thrive on bad news, not good.

Several TV stations, including one in Russia, tried showing only good news. Viewers praised them--and within a week had switched to other channels. We enjoy bad news as much as picking at a scab, and then sharing--often multiplying--that bad news with others. It reminds me of an odd aunt who delighted in showing everyone her surgery scars and elaborating upon every sordid detail of her recovery.

C.S Lewis wrote that he was thankful his father did not have a car because it allowed him as a child to explore the world at a human pace. Modern transportation not only annihilated distance but also wonder and adventure. If modern transport annihilated distance, modern media has cremated the corpse of distance and scattered it to the winds. Thanks to the internet, misfortunes in distant nations are as immediate, and gut-wrenching, as those of our neighbor--for a few moments, at least.

Some research suggests our attention span is decreasing. We are in need of constant, changing stimulus, 24/7, and when nothing occupies our thoughts, we reach for the phone or PC, priding ourselves on how we can multi-task, as if busyness is synonymous with good business. But it doesn't work--or at least it doesn't work well.

Myth of Multitasking. I remember the first time I heard the word "multi-task." I asked a banker if I could write one check for two purposes and he said, "Yes, you may multi-task that check if you wish." Hello? China to earth? I thought I was talking to someone from another planet. But multi-tasking today is the "norm"--even though it is impossible to do effectively.

We are not biologically or neurologically capable of more than one task, at least well, at the same time. Don't believe it? Look up the statistics on auto accidents caused by texting--or pedestrians who die by stepping in front of oncoming cars (or even off a San Diego cliff) while texting.

We can't multi-text or multi-task. And we can't, while remaining sane, multi-news--bearing the news, simultaneously, of the entire world from multi-sources. It's hard enough to keep pace with our own problems, but the entire world's as well? So why not axe the news--at least that news that is irrelevant, or that we can do nothing about. And limit the time (and times) that we view the news? It has been proven that the most effective people limit their time online (many of them, for example, only reading emails once or twice a day).

By axing (or at least trimming) the news, I'm not saying to ignore the world! Some events do affect us, but most do not, and even those that do are often things we can do nothing about except worry--and worry is often just paying compound interest on a debt that is either not ours to repay or may never come due.  Don't believe me? Make a list of 10 things that worry you today and then look back at it 1 year later and see if most of those worries weren't just pebbles in a shoe that felt like Sysyphus' boulder.

My Gulf War Lesson--Embedded Reporters, Embedded Viewers  What opened my eyes to the utter insanity of 24/7 news was Chinese media coverage of the first Gulf War. There wasn't any coverage! Sure, China Daily had small pieces, but it took us 4 days to get the newspaper. I learned later that friends and family back home in the U.S. had followed the "embedded reporters" so closely that they had become embedded viewers (to the point that some fell ill).

China News
As for me in China, by the time I knew the Gulf War was really serious, the really frightening part (for us at least) was over and I had avoided the gut-wrenching agony that assailed my friends back home. It was a great lesson for me, and from that time on, I determined to just skim the headlines but not read them in-depth unless it was 1), something directly applicable to me, and 2) something I could do something about. Some will say, of course, that I can pray about everything--but in fact that is as impossible as multi-tasking. Not even Christ himself, while in human form, prayed about everything, or healed every person he met; are we less limited than he?

I noted earlier C.S. Lewis' comments on modern transportation. Now I'd like to finish with his insights on the futility and inanity making school children reading the news--but I think his arguments could be made for us adults as well! There is, of course, a place for news, for keeping informed so we can make informed decisions (especially regarding voting). But we need balance.

I learned the hard way that I can do more in 6 days than 7.  I've also learned that, with news, less can be more.

C.S. Lewis on Making Schoolboys Read the Newspapers.

Yet, even so, I can hardly regret having escaped the appalling waste of time and spirit which would have been involved in reading the war news or taking more than an artificial and formal part in conversations about the war. To read without military knowledge or good maps accounts of fighting which were distorted before they reached the Divisional general and further distorted before they left him and then "written up" out of all recognition by journalists, to strive to master what will be contradicted the next day, to fear and hope intensely on shaky evidence, is surely an ill use of the mind.  Even in peacetime I think those are very wrong who say that schoolboys should be encouraged  to read the newspapers.  Nearly all that a boy read there in his teens will be known before he is twenty to have been false in emphasis and interpretation, if not in fact as well, and most of it will have lost all importance.  Most of what he remembers he will therefore have to unlearn;  and he will probably have acquired an incurable taste for vulgarity and sensationalism and the fatal habit of fluttering from paragraph to paragraph to learn how an actress has been divorced in California, a train derailed in France, and quadruplets born in New Zealand.

Enjoy Amoy!

Dr. Bill
School of Management, Xiamen University
Amazon eBook
"Discover Xiamen"

Bill Brown Xiamen University

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

C.S. Lewis on "Death of Distance" & Social Media's Asocial Society

xiamen university fujian china first car 1988 William Brown Ahoy from Amoy!  (historic Xiamen, China). In C.S. Lewis' autobiographical "Surprised by Joy," he wrote a remarkable passage about why he was so happy, during childhood, that his father had no car, because modern transportation destroyed distance, and with it, mystery and adventure. Just imagine how he'd have reacted to the changes we've witnessed even during our brief 3 decades in Xiamen, Fujian Province.

Xiamen Chinese train locomotive 1988 厦门福建中国火车80年代When we arrived in Xiamen in 1988, I carted my family about on a heavy iron and wooden pedicab, and the trains were smoke--belching locomotives you'd have seen a century ago in America, and in 1993, it took me 35 hours of driving (not including rest)  to reach Wuyi Mountain in the Northwest of our Fujian province. Today, I can drive it in 6 hours or take a 3-hour bullet train. Fast, convenient, but not near as exciting as 25 years ago, when travel was an adventure and we actually experienced the places and peoples we passed. It has been said the journey is more important than the destination but we no longer journey--especially with social media, where everyone is always "here," staring at me from a screen." And rather than relationships we have facades; we're online avatars with a different face for each social occasion, and more trolls than Middle Earth.

Fujian Xiamen China bullet train 2010 中国福建厦门动车 2010年If Lewis decried the annihilation of space, what would we have thought of social media's asocial society? After reading Lewis' brief passage below, join me in shutting off your phones and computers for at least one day a week and going for a leisurely walk to enjoy this brief Gift of Time that our Father has sliced from Eternity. Cease thoughts of There and Then and savor the gift of Here and Now.

C.S. Lewis' on The Annihilation of Space.

"I number it among my blessings that my father had no car, while yet most of my friends had, and sometimes took me for a drive. This meant that all these distant objects could be visited just enough to clothe them with memories and not impossible desires, while yet they remained ordinarily as inaccessible as the Moon.

"The deadly power of rushing about wherever I pleased had not been given me. I measured distances by the standard of man, man walking on his two feet, not by the standard of the internal combustion engine. I had not been allowed to deflower the very idea of distance; in return I possessed "infinite riches" in what would have been to motorists "a little room." 

"The truest and most horrible claim made for modern transport is that it "annihilates space." It does. It annihilates one of the most glorious gifts we have been given. It is a vile inflation which lowers the value of distance, so that a modern boy travels a hundred miles with less sense of liberation and pilgrimage and adventure than his grandfather got from traveling ten.

"Of course if a man hates apace and wants it to be annihilated, that is another matter. Why not creep into his coffin at once? There is little enough space there."

Enjoy Amoy!

Dr. Bill
School of Management, Xiamen University
Amazon eBook
"Discover Xiamen"

Bill Brown Xiamen University

Monday, February 20, 2017

3,563 Yuan Miracle (Serendipity, Yuanfen 缘分--or Providence?)

Tiffany Studios 1910 Consider Lilies of the Field Xiamen China Amoy马太福音6:28,29,耶稣说.“何必為衣裳憂慮呢?你想野地裡的百合花怎麼長起來;他也不勞苦,也不紡線。 然而我告訴你們,就是所羅門極榮華的時候,他所穿戴的,還不如這花一朵呢!”Ahoy from Amoy! (historic Xiamen, China).

Over the years we've had so many "coincidences" that some have even been written up in the Chinese media, where they are attributed to Yuanfen (缘分, "fate"). Just now I ran across an email I'd sent our youngest son, Matthew, on Feb. 27, 2011 to share just such a "coincidence" when we were working on paying one of his college bills. In rereading it, I can't help but marvel how the need was met--to the very penny, and on the very day I needed it!

Feb 27, 2011, 7:51 PM,
"Hey Shan and Matt! (and Mom)

"Just a quick note to share a MIRACULOUS story of our Father's provision....

"In December, I sent almost everything we had to the U.S. for Matt's college expenses, and then did not receive some money I'd really counted on.  I didn't worry about it, just tightened the belt in January and waited for February payday.  And then the school did not pay me in February because of Chinese New Year (they said they'd pay me double in March but I'd really needed it then).  Still, if we stuck to a tight budget, I figured we'd just barely make it to payday on March 12th.  So I still didn't worry, though I can't remember when things have been this tight (we did have money in the U.S, but given the high costs of transfer and exchange, it seemed poor stewardship to do that).

"Then I learned I needed 4,023 Yuan cash, that day, for an unplanned 4-day trip to Korea on March 8th to 12th. I'd be refunded, but not until after the trip. There was no way humanly possible so I rationalized borrowing it from Shannon. After all, we often help Shannon, so it was "all in the family" But I felt uneasy about it. As J.H. Taylor said, "His will done in His way will never lack His supply." Borrowing, from a son or anyone else, did not seem to be the epitome of faith!

"As soon as I decided to borrow the money, our XMU travel agent phoned to say he'd gotten my ticket for 600 less than I'd already agreed to pay! So the Korean Ar ticket and taxi cost only 3,563. 
consider the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap. 你們看那天上的飛鳥,也不種,也不收,也不積蓄在倉裡,你們的天父尚且養活他。你們不比飛鳥貴重得多麼?
"After he hung up, XMU foreign Affairs phoned to say they had 1,036 Yuan they should have paid me a month earlier but could not because of a paperwork problem. And within half an hour, Sue's brother in North China's Dalian phoned to say he was wiring us 2500 Yuan to settle yet another matter. His and FAO's money added up to 3,536 Yuan--the exact cost of the trip. And so I bought the plane tickets--no need for my son's money because my own Father is better at finances than my two sons' father.

"It was a miraculous reminder that our Father has his hand on every detail, large or small--including a totally unexpected trip to Korea. He has proven faithful countless times during our 29 years in China--and during my 61 years on this little blue ball of a planet that, for now, we call home.

Jesus said in Matthew 6:28, 29 (NIV), "And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these!" 

Enjoy Amoy!

Dr. Bill
Academic Director, SMXMU OneMBA Program
School of Management, Xiamen University
Amazon eBook
"Discover Xiamen"

Bill Brown Xiamen University

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Sisyphus' Boulder in your Shoe? Shake it out!

Sisyphus boulder pebble in shoe Amoy Xiamen China Daily NoodlesAhoy from Amoy! (Historic Xiamen, China).

Muhammed Ali once said, "It isn't the mountains ahead that you have to climb that wear you out. It's the pebble in your shoe." And these pebbles seem like boulders until we shake them out and examine them. Then we marvel at how such tiny things created such great discomfort.

But unless we deal with them, they will plague us like the boulder that Sisyphus was condemned to push up the mountain, only only to have it fall back down and have to start over again every day--for eternity.
Sisyphus boulder pebble in show Xiamen Amoy Daily Noodles
That's no way to amend like spend eternity, much less our brief three score and ten! We either shake the boulders out or they will shake us right into the grave--so shake them out. 
Better yet, go barefoot for a bit! And like a child (for we are always our Father's child), delight in the feel of grass between your toes. When you're barefoot, pebbles large and small are not as annoying because we don't hold them so closely.  
"Consider the lilies of the field, how they toil not, neither do they spin, and yet not even Solomon in all of his glory was arrayed as one of these."

Enjoy Amoy!

Dr. Bill 
School of Management, Xiamen University
Academic Director, SMXMU OneMBA Program

Matthew 6:25-34-- "Don't Worry!"
  25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?
26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?
27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin.
29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.
30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?
31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’
32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.
33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

School of Management, Xiamen University
Amazon eBook
"Discover Xiamen"

Bill Brown Xiamen University

Monday, September 19, 2016

"If I Had 3 Days to See", Helen Keller (假如给我三天光明)

Ahoy from Amoy! (Historic Xiamen, China)

Helen Keller 3 Three Days to see blindness blind
Enjoy this classic by Helen Keller (Atlantic Monthly, 1933), who though blind could see more beauty in life than those gifted with eyesight. Keller (1880-1968) asks what you could look at if you only had three days to see? She thought it would be a "blessing" if those with sight were temporarily stricken blind to better appreciate what they take for granted. In the summer of 2015, the Transport Group performed a play based on this remarkable little work. And Chinese love this little classic, which in Chinese is called 假如给我三天光明. Below are excerpts. If you have time, scroll to the bottom for the entire article.

Enjoy Amoy!

    Dr. Bill

Excerpts from Helen Keller's "If I had 3 Days to See":

"Sometimes I have thought it would be an excellent rule to live each day as if we should die tomorrow. Such an attitude would emphasize sharply the values of life....Only the deaf appreciate hearing, only the blind realize the manifold blessings that lie in sight. ...

"I have often thought it would be a blessing if each human being were stricken blind and deaf for a few days at some time during his early adult life. Darkness would make him more appreciative of sight; silence would teach him the joys of sound.

"Now and then I have tested my seeing friends to discover what they see. Recently I was visited by a very good friend who had just returned from a long walk in the woods, and I asked her what she had observed. "Nothing in particular," she replied. I might have been incredulous had I not been accustomed to such responses, for long ago I became convinced that the seeing see little. How was it possible, I asked myself, to walk for an hour through the woods and see nothing worthy of note? I who cannot see find hundreds of things to interest me through mere touch. I feel the delicate symmetry of a leaf. I pass my hands lovingly about the smooth skin of a silver birch, or the rough shaggy bark of a pine. In spring I touch the branches of trees hopefully in search of a bud, the first sign of awakening Nature after her winter s sleep. I feel the delightful, velvety texture of a flower, and discover its remarkable convolutions; and something of the miracle of Nature is revealed to me.

假如给我三天光明 If I had three 3 days to see"Occasionally, if I am very fortunate, I place my hand gently on a small tree and feel the happy quiver of a bird in full song. I am delighted to have the cool waters of a brook rush through my open fingers. To me a lush carpet of pine needles or spongy grass is more welcome than the most luxurious Persian rug. To me the pageant of seasons is a thrilling and unending drama, the action of which streams through my finger tips. . . . "

If I had Three Days to Live
(entire article)

All of us have read thrilling stories in which the hero had only a limited and specified time to live. Sometimes it was as long as a year; sometimes as short as twenty-four hours. But always we were interested in discovering just how the doomed man chose to spend his last days or his last hours. I speak, of course, of free men who have a choice, not condemned criminals whose sphere of activities is strictly delimited.

Such stories set us thinking, wondering what we should do under similar circumstances. What events, what experiences, what associations, should we crowd into those last hours as mortal beings? What happiness should we find in reviewing the past, what regrets?

Sometimes I have thought it would be an excellent rule to live each day as if we should die to-morrow. Such an attitude would emphasize sharply the values of life. We should live each day with a gentleness, a vigor, and a keenness of appreciation which are often lost when time stretches before us in the constant panorama of more days and months and years to come. There are those, of course, who would adopt the epicurean motto of 'Eat, drink, and be merry,' but most people would be chastened by the certainty of impending death.

In stories, the doomed hero is usually saved at the last minute by some stroke of fortune, but almost always his sense of values is changed. He becomes more appreciative of the meaning of life and its permanent spiritual values. It has often been noted that those who live, or have lived, in the shadow of death bring a mellow sweetness to everything they do.

Most of us, however, take life for granted. We know that one day we must die, but usually we picture that day as far in the future. When we are in buoyant health, death is all but unimaginable. We seldom think of it. The days stretch out in an endless vista. So we go about our petty tasks, hardly aware of our listless attitude toward life.

The same lethargy, I am afraid, characterizes the use of all our facilities and senses. Only the deaf appreciate hearing, only the blind realize the manifold blessings that lie in sight. Particularly does this observation apply to those who have lost sight and hearing in adult life. But those who have never suffered impairment of sight or hearing seldom make the fullest use of these blessed faculties. Their eyes and ears take in all sights and sounds hazily, without concentration and with little appreciation. It is the same old story of not being grateful for what we have until we lose it, of not being conscious of health until we are ill.

I have often thought it would be a blessing if each human being were stricken blind and deaf for a few days at some time during his early adult life. Darkness would make him more appreciative of sight; silence would teach him the joys of sound.

Now and then I have tested my seeing friends to discover what they see. Recently I was visited by a very good friend who had just returned from a long walk in the woods, and I asked her what she had observed. 'Nothing in particular,' she replied. I might have been incredulous had I not been accustomed to such responses, for long ago I became convinced that the seeing see little.

How was it possible, I asked myself, to walk for an hour through the woods and see nothing worthy of note? I who cannot see find hundreds of things to interest me through mere touch. I feel the delicate symmetry of a leaf. I pass my hands lovingly about the smooth skin of a silver birch, or the rough, shaggy bark of a pine. In spring I touch the branches of trees hopefully in search of a bud, the first sign of awakening Nature after her winter's sleep. I feel the delightful, velvety texture of a flower, and discover its remarkable convolutions; and something of the miracle of Nature is revealed to me. Occasionally, if I am very fortunate, I place my hand gently on a small tree and feel the happy quiver of a bird in full song. I am delighted to have the cool waters of a brook rush through my open fingers. To me a lush carpet of pine needles or spongy grass is more welcome than the most luxurious Persian rug. To me the pageant of seasons is a thrilling and unending drama, the action of which streams through my finger tips.

At times my heart cries out with longing to see all these things. If I can get so much pleasure from mere touch, how much more beauty must be revealed by sight. Yet, those who have eyes apparently see little. The panorama of color and action which fills the world is taken for granted. It is human, perhaps, to appreciate little that which have and to long for that which we have not, but it is a great pity that in the world of light the gift of sight is used only as a mere convenience rather than as a means of adding fullness to life.

If I were the president of a university I should establish a compulsory course in 'How to Use Your Eyes'. The professor would try to show his pupils how they could add joy to their lives by really seeing what passes unnoticed before them. He would try to awake their dormant and sluggish faculties.

Perhaps I can best illustrate by imagining what I should most like to see if I was given the use of my eyes, say, for just three days. And while I am imagining, suppose you, too, set your mind to work on the problem of how to work on the problem of how you would use your own eyes if you had only three days to see. If with the oncoming darkness if the third night you knew that the sun would never rise for you again, how would you spend those three intervening days? What would you most want to let your gaze rest upon?

I, naturally, should want most to see the things which have become dear to me through my years of darkness. You, too, would want to let your eyes rest long on the things that have become dear to you so that you could take the memory of them with you into the night that loomed before you.

If, by some miracle, I were granted three seeing days, to be followed by a relapse into darkness, I should divide the period into three parts.

Day One   On the first day, I should want to see the people whose kindness and gentleness and companionship have made my life worth living. First I should like to gaze long upon the face of my dear teacher, Mrs. Ann Sullivan Macy, who came to me when I was a child and opened the outer world to me. I should want not merely to see the outline of her face, so that I could cherish it in my memory, but to study that face and find in it the living evidence of the sympathetic tenderness and patience with which she accomplished the difficult task of my education. I should like to see in her eyes that strength of character which has enabled her to stand firm in the face of difficulties, and that compassion for all humanity which she has revealed to me so often.

I do not know what it is to see into the heart of a friend through that 'window of the soul,' the eye. I can only 'see' through my finger tips the outline of a face. I can detect laughter, sorrow, and many other obvious emotions. I know my friends from the feel of their faces. But I cannot really picture their personalities, of course, through the thoughts they express to me, through whatever of their actions are revealed to me. But I am denied that deeper understanding of them which I am sure would come through sight of them, through watching their reactions to various expressed and circumstances, through noting the immediate and fleeting reactions of their eyes and countenance.

Friends who are near to me I know well, because through the months and years they reveal themselves to me in all their phases; but of casual friends I have only an incomplete impression, an impression gained from handclasp, from spoken words which I take from their lips with my finger tips, or which they tap into the palm of my hand.

How much easier, how much more satisfying it is for you who can see to grasp quickly the essential qualities of another person by watching the subtleties of expression, the quiver of a muscle, the flutter of a hand. But does it ever occur to you to use your sight to see the inner nature of a friend or acquaintance? Do not most of you seeing people grasp casually the outward features of a face and let it go at that?

For instance, can you describe accurately the faces of five good friends? Some of you can, but many cannot. As an experiment, I have questioned husbands of long standing about the color of their wives' eyes, and often they express embarrassed confusion and admit that they so not know. And, incidentally, it is a chronic complaint of wives that their husbands do not notice new dresses, new hats, and changes in household arrangements.

The eyes of seeing persons soon become accustomed to the routine of their surroundings, and they actually see only the startling and spectacular. But even in viewing the most spectacular sights the eyes are lazy. Court records reveal every day how inaccurately 'eyewitnesses' see. A given event will be 'seen' in several different ways by as many witnesses. Some see more than others, but few see everything that is within the range of their vision.

Oh, the things that I should see if I had the power of sight for just three days!

The first day would be a busy one. I should call to me all my dear friends and look long into their faces, imprinting upon my mind the outward evidence of the beauty that is within them. I should let my eyes rest, too, on the face of a baby, so that I could catch a vision of the eager, innocent beauty which precedes the individuals consciousness of the conflicts which life develops.

And I should like to look into the loyal, trusting eyes of my dogs - the grave, canny little Scottie, Darkie, and the stalwart, understanding Great Dane, Helga, whose warm, tender, and playful friendships are so comforting to me.

On that busy first day I should also view the small simple things of my home. I want to see the warm colors in the rugs under my feet, the pictures on the walls, the intimate trifles that transform a house into a home. My eyes would rest respectfully on the books in raised type which I have read, but they would be more eagerly interested in the printed books which seeing people can read, for during the long night of my life the books I have read and those which have been read to me have built themselves into a great shining lighthouse, revealing to me the deepest channels of human life and the human spirit.

In the afternoon of that first seeing day, I should take a long walk in the woods and intoxicate my eyes on the beauties of the world of Nature, trying desperately to absorb in a few hours the vast splendor which is constantly unfolding itself to those who can see. On the way home from my woodland jaunt my path would lie near a farm so that I might see the patient horses plowing in the field (perhaps I should see only a tractor!) and the serene content of men living close to the soil. And I should pray for the glory of a colorful sunset.

When dusk had fallen, I should experience the double delight of being able to see by artificial light, which the genius of man has created to extend the power of his sight when Nature decrees darkness.

In the night of that first day of sight, I should not be able to sleep, so full would be my mind of the memories of the day.

Day Two  The next day - the second day of sight - I should arise with the dawn and see the thrilling miracle by which night is transformed into day. I should behold with awe the magnificent panorama of light with which the sun awakens the sleeping earth.

This day I should devote to a hasty glimpse of the world, past and present. I should want to see the pageant of man's progress, the kaleidoscope of the ages. How can so much compressed into one day? Through the museums, of course. Often I have visited the New York Museum of Natural History to touch with my hands many of the objects there exhibited, but I have longed to see with my eyes the condensed history of the earth and its inhabitants displayed there - animals and the races of men pictured in their native environment; gigantic carcasses of dinosaurs and mastodons which roamed the earth long before man appeared, with his tiny stature and powerful brain, to conquer the animal kingdom; realistic presentations of the processes of evolution in animals, and in the implements which man has used to fashion for himself a secure home on this planet; and a thousand and one other aspects of natural history.

I wonder how many readers of this article have viewed this panorama of the face of living things as pictured in that inspiring museum. Many, of course, have not had the opportunity, but, I am sure that many who have had the opportunity have not made use of it. There, indeed, is a place to use your eyes. You who can see can spend many fruitful days there, but I, with my imaginary three days of sight, could only take a hasty glimpse, and pass on.

My next stop would be the Metropolitan Museum of Art, for just as the Museum of Natural History reveals the material aspects of the world, so does the Metropolitan show the myriad facets of the human spirit. Throughout the history of humanity the urge to artistic expression has been almost as powerful as the urge for food, shelter, and procreation. And here, in the vast chambers of the Metropolitan Museum, is unfolded before me the spirit of Egypt, Greece, and Rome, as expressed in their art. I know well through my hands the sculptured gods and goddesses of the ancient Nile-land. I have a few copies of Parthenon friezes, and I have sensed the rhythmic beauty of charging Athenian warriors. Apollos and Venuses and the winged victory of Samothrace are friends of my finger tips. The gnarled, bearded features of Homer are dear to me, for he, too, knew blindness.

My hands have lingered upon the living marvel of Roman sculpture as well as that of later generations. I have passed my hands over a plaster cast of Michelangelo's inspiring and heroic Moses; I have sensed the power of Rodin; I have been awed by the devoted spirit of Gothic wood carving. These arts which can be touched have meaning for me, but even they were meant to be seen rather than felt, and I can only guess at the beauty which remains hidden from me. I can admire the simple lines of a Greek vase, but its figured decorations are lost to me.

So on this, my second day of sight, I should try to probe into the soul of man through his art. The things I knew through touch I should now see. More splendid still, the whole magnificent world of painting would be opened to me, from the Italian Primitives, with their serene religious devotion, to the Moderns, with their feverish visions. I should look deep into the canvases of Raphael, Leonardo Da Vinci, Titian, Rembrandt. I should want to feast my eyes upon the warm colors of Veronese, study the mysteries of El Greco, catch a new vision of Nature from Corot. Oh, there is so much rich meaning and beauty in the art of the ages for you who have eyes to see!

Upon my short visit to this temple of art I should not be able to review a fraction of that great world of art which is open to you. I should be able to get only a superficial impression. Artists tell me that for a deep and true appreciation of art one must educate the eye. One must learn from experience to weigh the merits of line, of composition, of form and color. If I had eyes, how happily would I embark upon so fascinating a study! Yet I am told that, to many of you who have eyes to see, the world of art is a dark night, unexplored and un-illuminated.

It would be with extreme reluctance that I should leave the Metropolitan Museum, which contains the key to beauty - a beauty so neglected. Seeing persons, however, do not need a Metropolitan to find this key to beauty. The same key lies waiting in smaller museums, and in books on the shelves of even small libraries. But naturally, in my limited time of imaginary sight, I should choose the place where the key unlocks the greatest treasures in the shortest time.

The evening of my second day of sight I should spend at a theater or at the movies. Even now I often attend theatrical performances of all sorts, but the action of the play must be spelled into my hand by a companion. But how I should like to see with my own eyes the fascinating figure of Hamlet, or the gusty Falstaff amid colorful Elizabethan trappings! How I should like to follow each movement of the graceful Hamlet, each strut of the hearty Falstaff! And since I could see only one play, I should be confronted by a many-horned dilemma, for there are scores of plays I should want to see. You who have eyes can see any you like. How many of you, I wonder, when you gaze at a play, a movie, or any spectacle, realize and give thanks for the miracle of sight which enables you to enjoy its color, grace, and movement?

I cannot enjoy the beauty rhythmic movement except in a sphere restricted to the touch of my hands. I can vision only dimly the grace of a Pavlova, although I know something of the delight of rhythm, for often I can sense the beat of music as it vibrates through the floor. I can well imagine that cadenced motion must be one of the most pleasing sights in the world. I have been able to gather something of this by tracing with my fingers the lines in sculptured marble; if this static grace can be so lovely, how much more acute must be the thrill of seeing grace in motion.

One of my dearest memories is of the time when Joseph Jefferson allowed me to touch his face and hands as he went through some of the gestures and speeches of his beloved Rip Van Winkle. I was able to catch thus a meager glimpse of the world of drama, and I shall never forget the delight of that moment. But, oh, how much I must miss, and how much pleasure you seeing ones can derive from watching and hearing the interplay of speech and movement in the unfolding of a dramatic performance! If I could see only one play, I should know how to picture in my mind the action of a hundred plays which I have read or had transferred to me through the medium of manual alphabet.

So, through the evening of my second imaginary day of sight, the great figures of dramatic literature would crowd sleep from my eyes.

DAY Three The following morning, I should again greet the dawn, anxious to discover new delights, for I am sure that, for those who have eyes which really see, the dawn of each day must be a perpetually new revelation of beauty.

This, according to the terms of my imagined miracle, is to be my third and last day of sight. I shall have no time to waste in regrets or longings; there is too much to see. The first day I devoted to my friends, animate and inanimate. The second revealed to me the history of man and Nature. To-day I shall spend in the workday world of the present, amid the haunts of men going about the business of life. And where one can find so many activities and conditions of men as in New York? So the city becomes my destination.

I start from my home in the quiet little suburb of Forest Hills, Long Island. Here, surrounded by green lawns, trees, and flowers, are neat little houses, happy with the voices and movements of wives and children, havens of peaceful rest for men who toil in the city. I drive across the lacy structure of steel which spans the East River, and I get a new and startling vision of the power and ingenuity of the mind of man. Busy boats chug and scurry about the river - racy speed, boats, stolid, snorting tugs. If I had long days of sight ahead, I should spend many of them watching the delightful activity upon the river.

I look ahead, and before me rise the fantastic towers of New York, a city that seems to have stepped from the pages of a fairy story. What an awe-inspiring sight, these glittering spires, these vast banks of stone and steel - sculptures such as the gods might build for themselves! This animated picture is a part of the lives of millions of people every day. How many, I wonder, give it so much as a second glance? Very few, I fear. Their eyes are blind to this magnificent sight because it is so familiar to them.

I hurry to the top of one of those gigantic structures, the Empire State Building, for there, a short time ago, I 'saw' the city below through the eyes of my secretary. I am anxious to compare my fancy with reality. I am sure I should not be disappointed in the panorama spread out before me, for to me it would be a vision of another world.

Now I begin my rounds of the city. First, I stand at a busy corner, merely looking at people, trying by sight of them to understand something of their lives. I see smiles, and I am happy. I see serious determination, and I am proud. I see suffering, and I am compassionate.

I stroll down Fifth Avenue. I throw my eyes out of focus, so that I see no particular object but a seething kaleidoscope of color. I am certain that the colors of women's dresses moving in a throng must be a gorgeous spectacle of which I should never tire. But perhaps if I had sight I should be like most other women - too interested in styles and the cut of individual dresses to give much attention to the splendor of color in the mass. And I am convinced, too, that I should become an inveterate window shopper, for it must be a delight to the eye to view the myriad articles of beauty on display.

From Fifth Avenue I make a tour of the city - to Park Avenue, to the slums, to factories, to parks where children play. I take a stay-at-home trip abroad by visiting the foreign quarters. Always my eyes are open wide to all the sights of both happiness and misery so that I may probe deep and add to my understanding of how people work and live. My heart is full of the images of people and things. My eye passes lightly over no single trifle; it strives to touch and hold closely each thing its gaze rests upon. Some sights are pleasant, filling the heart with happiness; but some are miserably pathetic. To these latter I do not shut my eyes, for they, too are part of life. To close the eye on them is to close the heart and mind.

My third day of sight is drawing to an end. Perhaps there are many serious pursuits to which I should devote the few remaining hours, but I am afraid that on the evening of that last day I should run away to the theater, to a hilariously funny play, so that I might appreciate the overtones of comedy in the human spirit.

At midnight my temporary respite from blindness would cease, and permanent night would close in on me again. Naturally in those three short days I should not have seen all I wanted to see. Only when darkness had again descended upon me should I realize how much I had left unseen. But my mind would be so overcrowded with glorious memories that I should have little time for regrets. Thereafter the touch of every object would bring a glowing memory of how that object looked.

Perhaps this short outline of how I should spend three days of sight does not agree with the program you would set for yourself if you knew that you were about to be stricken blind. I am, however, sure that if you actually faced that fate your eyes would open to things you had never seen before, storing up memories for the long night ahead. You would use your eyes as never before. Everything you saw would become dear to you. Your eyes would touch and embrace every object that came within your range of vision. Then, at last, you would really see, and a new world of beauty would open itself before you.

I who am blind can give one hint to those who see - one admonition to those who would make full use of the gift of sight: Use your eyes as if tomorrow you would be stricken blind. And the same method can be applied to other senses. Hear the music of voices, the song of a bird, the mighty strains of an orchestra, as if you would be stricken deaf to-morrow. Touch each object you want to touch as if tomorrow your tactile sense would fail. Smell the perfume of flowers, taste with relish each morsel, as if tomorrow you could never smell and taste again. Make the most of every sense; glory in all the facets of pleasure and beauty which the world reveals to you through the several means of contact which Nature provides. But of all the senses, I am sure that sight must be the most delightful.

Enjoy Amoy!

Dr. Bill

Amazon eBook "Discover Xiamen"

Thursday, October 9, 2014

YOU can help African children! (Kisses from Katie)

Ahoy from Amoy!
      In May, 2014, our youngest son Matt and wife Jessica visited Uganda to explore ways to use their medical interests and skills to help African children and the poor. They also saw the work of Katie Davis, who as an 18-year-old senior class president and homecoming queen in Nashville visited Uganda on a short mission trip during her Christmas break--and found her world turned upside down. Katie disobeyed her parents, who wanted her to go to college, broke up with her boyfriend, and moved to Uganda.
Whether you're interested in helping children at home, here in China, or in will be encouraged at just what one person can do by reading Katie's bestselling book, Kisses from Katie. Now in her mid 20s, Katie's working on actually adopting 13 children! Her Amazima ministries now sponsors 400 children, and they feed lunch to over 1200 children every weekday, as well as provide basic medical care, health training and bible studies.

Zhang Joni Bethesda Ministries Anshan China Quadriplegic doctor
Dr. Zhang, Bethesda Ministries, Anshan, China
Katie's book may inspire you to help her work with African children. Or Click Here if you'd like to help children right here in China with CP Sapling, or the work of Nathan and Anna Fields here in Xiamen, or Bethesda Rehabilitation Ministries in N.E. China by Dr. Zhang--the "Chinese Joni" (and a male Joni at that!). Sue and I, in fact, are visiting Dr. Zhang's work in about 10 days.


Dr. Bill
Xiamen (formerly Amoy) University

Amazon eBooks
"Fujian Adventure" $1.99

Matt & Jess' Uganda Blog

Bill Brown Xiamen University

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Why Worry is Agnosticism at Best, Atheism at Worst

Good Morning from Amoy!

When a friend or loved one is troubled, it is so easy to piously quote, "Be anxious for nothing," but when I'm facing a trial myself, I'd respond to that with,
"But Lord, this ain't nothing!" And certainly our Heavenly Father understands His children's doubts, fears, anxieties. After all, even Abraham, the man justified by faith, tried to shield himself from Pharaoh by lying about his wife and sending her straight to a harem! Most Biblical heroes, even those who saw Him face-to-face, had worries, despite Jesus' repeated admonitions to not worry--to "consider the lilies of the field, how they toil not, neither do they spin, yet not even Solomon in all his glory was arrayed as one of these..." (Matthew 6:28, 29). Followed by the great promise of Matt. 6:33, "Seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and all these things [those things we worry about] shall be added to you."

Worry betrays our doubt that our Father can, or will, do anything about the issues facing us. But according to Lloyd John Ogilvie, worry is not only a lack of faith but also a "low-grade fever of agnosticism!" (in Ogilvie's 1980s devotional "God's Best For Our Life."--a powerful book with a cut-to-the quick sermon each day).

I can do no better than to simply quote part of that day's devotional, and trust you are as encouraged by it as I was (God's Best, by the way, has as a Kindle version, which unfortunately is a bit abridged, but still excellent).

Excerpt from Lloyd John Ogilvie's "God's Best for my Life," (1980)

August 12, Strangling the Soul 
"I say to you, do not worry about your life". (Matthew6:25)
"Worry is thinking turned toxic, the imagination picturing the worst. The word worry comes from the root “to choke or strangle.” Worry does choke and strangle our creative capacity to think, hope, and dream. It twists the joy out of life. Worry changes nothing except the worrier. It becomes a habit. At the core, it is a low-grade fever of agnosticism. When we worry, we express a lurking form of doubt that God either knows, cares, or is able to do anything. It is a form of loneliness—facing eventualities by ourselves on our meager strength."

Dr Bill's Amazon eBooks
"Fujian Adventure" $1.99
Bill Brown
Xiamen University

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Fujian Adventure eBook $2.99 special on Amazon! 魅力福建 over 520 pages and almost 700 photos (doubleclick to enlarge), many by Fujian's top photographers, Fujian Adventure is now an eBook on Amazon for $2.99 promotional price ($5.99 regularly). Click Here to download a copy and if you enjoy it, please rate it and share the link with your friends!

If you (like me), don't have a Kindle, download  Free Amazon Reading Apps to read it on Android and Apple devices,or Mac and Windows computers.
Thanks so much for helping to get the word out. I hope to have some of my other 11 books online this summer. 
Enjoy Amoy! 

Dr. Bill 

Amazon description of Fujian Adventure.
Columbus' goal was not a New World but a shortcut to India and to Marco Polo’s fabled Zayton in Fujian, China. Columbus never made it to Zayton, but you can.

Over 500 pages and almost 700 photos, many by award-winning Chinese photographers, bring to life the people and places of Fujian (Fukien), the cradle of Chinese seafaring (200 B.C.), start of the Maritime Silk Route, port of departure for Marco Polo and ibn Battuta, and ancestral home of most overseas Chinese.
Meet Admiral Zhenghe, the "real" Sinbad; the ancient Southern Shaolin Kung Fu Temple’s youthful abbot; the Hui'an maidens who cover their heads, bare their bellies, and only sleep with their husbands 3 nights a year; the firewalkers who dance across the flames bearing heavy idols; melancholy Miss Mo who became the sea goddess Mazu; Zayton’s famous marionette makers; the Anxi farmers who produced the tea tossed overboard during the Boston Tea Party. Visit China’s first Protestant church and the planet’s last Manichean temple. Explore Gulangyu, the Roaring 20s’ “richest square mile on earth,” which even today has over 1,000 “Amoy Deco” mansions. Discover the secret of Hakka roundhouses that Nixon and the CIA thought were missile silos, and then visit the nearby Amoy tiger preserve. Enjoy scenic Sanming, with China's 4th largest gem beds, China’s largest sleeping Buddha, Ming Dynasty villages, enchanting caverns and underground lakes. Marvel at Wuyi Mountain’s 2,000-year-old Min Palace, and the Eden-like biological diversity that drew French naturalists in the 1700s to study the rare plants, king cobras and 33 foot pythons.

And of course there’s the Fujian food. Moliere said "Man should eat to live, not eat to live," but Dr. Bill says, "Moliere never ate Chinese food—especially Fujian food.”

Locals say Fujian is “8 parts mountain, 1 part water, 1 part field”. This torturous terrain not only gave rise to an innovative and tough people but also to more local dialects and greater cultural diversity—including cuisines—than any other province. Every hill, valley and river has a story behind it, and Dr. Bill invites you to explore them.

Author Bill Brown, Prof. of Organizational Behavior and Business Strategy at School of Management, Xiamen University, was Fujian's first foreign permanent resident and has driven over 200,000 km. around China,even through the Gobi Desert and Tibet,幸福福建),but still considers Fujian the most fascinating province for foreigners. In addition to textbooks such as Art of Business Warfare (Beijing University Press), he has written ten books about Fujian. He has also written and hosted several TV documentaries, including a 62-episode mini-series, "Fujian in a Foreigner's Eyes". In addition to teaching MBA, he hosts the weekly "Xingfu Fujian"《幸福福建》。
 Bill Brown
Xiamen University