in 80 Days!
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Harbourview Xiamen Hotels
to Xiamen & Fujian
Copyright 2001-7 by Sue Brown & Dr.
to Xiamen Univ!
at Xiamen University!
Educ. Collegee Study! CSP
China Studies Program International
Many Firsts! MBA
Center (China's 1st MBAs) XMU
Art Center XMU
Foundation College Xiada
XMU History: XMU
Founder Tan Kah Kee (Henry Ford of Asia)
Yanan --Scientist Lu
Xun Father of Modern Chinese Lit.
Lim Boon-keng, "Sage of Singapore" Lin
Photo Album XMU--Strength
of the Nation (by Dr. Bill &
“This school [Xiamen
University] is entirely a Chinese institution, with no foreign teachers
and no foreign connections, and right out in a small Chinese village.
The course of study is being made very practical… When we think
of the future days, it is one of the most encouraging things to be seen
in the whole of China.” Paul Hutchinson, 1920s
Xiamen University (XMU, or Xiada) gets top billing in Magic
Xiamen for three reasons:
1) Its China’s most beautiful campus;
2) Its China’s most strategic university (the only key university
in a Special Economic Zone);
3) Its our home. I rest my case!
Xiada’s 400 acres, nestled snugly between the Five Old Man Mountains
and the sea, are as tranquil as the sprawling Nanputuo Buddhist monastery
right next door – except on April 6. Then the campus springs to
life to celebrate its founding in 1921 by Mr.
Tan Kah Kee, a patriotic overseas Chinese with a big heart and an
even bigger wallet.
Click Here to read about Mr.
Tan, who earned his fortune not from Tan Kah Kee Fried Chicken but
from the rubber industry.
To add to the festivities, Xiada’s birthday follows on the heels
of the April 5th Tripleheader: 1) Grave Sweeping Day; 2) the anniversary
of Chiang Kai Shek's death; and 3) my birthday, the latter being the most
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Today! Xiada now boasts over
20,000 full-time students and a few thousand part-time students, who pursue
60 majors in 25 departments, with master’s degrees in 57 majors,
and doctoral degrees in 18. One student earned so many degrees I call
him Dr. Fahrenheit.
A university brochure rightly boasts, “Xiada’s tens of thousands
of graduates and postgraduates have been highly recognized both at home
and abroad as outstanding in their fields.”
Of course, local farmers are out standing in their fields too.
To appreciate Xiada’s impact on Chinese science, arrange a tour
of the Laboratory for Physical Chemistry of Solid Surfaces, one of China’s
key strategic laboratories, where renowned scientists (5 of whom are in
the Chinese Academy of Sciences) wield such hi-tech devices as scanning
tunneling microscopes to perform research in bioelectrochemistry, spectro-electrochemistry,
and other esoteric stuff I can’t even spell correctly.
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The laboratory is located in the five-story concrete and bathroom tile
covered edifice across the street from our Economics College (and not
far from our MBA Center). Website: http://pcoss.org/english/about/e_intro.htm
tour of beautiful Xiada should include the anthropology museum, which
is holding its own even though budget cuts forced the anthropology department
to be shut down a few years back.
Standing beside the anthropology museum is the statue of the patriotic
poet, writer and all around good guy Lu Xun.
Behind Mr. Lu Xun is our campus’ best photo spot—the majestic
granite structures of the original campus, which curve around the soccer
field and face the sea.
By now you’re hungry or thirsty or both, so take a break for lunch
or dinner in the International Academic Exchange’s (Yifu Bldg) dining
room. They have great hot pot, and the best spicy fried shrimp in town
(coated in spices and deep-fried, you can eat the shells and all—though
Sue balks at eating the tail, but that’s another tale). Phone ahead
for large groups, or to reserve a private dining room: 208 7988.
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Wind down your whirlwind tour with a stroll around our serene mid-campus
lake, which mirrors the Five Old Men Mountains and the Oriental architecture
of the student dorms (and walls of weeping willows until Typhoon Dan flattened
them). On a small island are statues of Tan Kah Kee surrounded by students—and
the occasional Laowai listening in.
By day, the lakeside is host to dozens of students standing alone, textbook
in hand, memorizing English dialogues. By night, the lakeside is still
host to dozens of students, this time in pairs.
And they aren’t studying English. In the early 90s, university regulations
forbade males and females (my wife and I included!) holding hands. But
men held hands…
Wanna Hold Your Hand?
I nearly fell off my trusty rusty Forever Brand bike when I saw a gate
guard sitting in another’s lap, arms about him, eyes locked intimately.
Chinese men are very intimate -- unlike us Westerners who religiously
defend our inviolable body space (about 30 inches, according to space
cases who study such stuff).
Chinese view privacy and body space differently because with 1.3 billion
people there isn’t a lot of room for either one. Men have no qualms
holding hands, arms, or bodies, which is all well and good for Chinese
who know the ropes, but not for foreigners.
Consider the simple handshake. Americans grab, squeeze, pump for oil
3 times, and escape, but Chinese may grab your hand and hold it intimately
in theirs, even stroking it throughout the entire conversation. It still
unnerves me, even after 12 years.
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I eventually gave a lecture on how not to shake hands or other body
parts with unsuspecting Laowai. And the very next day, I ran into Foreign
Affair’s Lao Huang, (Lao means “old” or “venerable”),
one of my sons' favorite Chinese grandfathers, and handholder par excellence.
Lao Huang grasped my hand and caressed it for a good 15 minutes while
he chatted away. He eventually asked, “Xiao Pan” (which
means “Little Pan,” not “Unvenerable Pan”),
“Do you feel awkward holding my hand?”
“A tad,” I confessed.
He roared with laughter, threw his arms about me (that I could handle),
and confessed, “I heard about your hand-holding lecture yesterday!”
And ever since then, the old rascal has greeted me with an American
pumping-for-oil handshake—and a sly chuckle.
Main Website: http://www.xmu.edu.cn/english/index.htm
Last Updated: May 2007
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