Mark Obama Ndesandjo’s thoughts on China’s city of dreams

One of Shenzhen’s claims to fame is that it calls itself the home of President Barack Obama’s half-brother, Mark Ndesandjo (they share the same father).

Mark was born in Kenya, but studied in the United States and moved to Shenzhen in 2002.  Since arriving, he has learned how to speak fluent Chinese and married Liu Xuehua, a woman from Henan Province.  Mark is also a concert pianist, and published a book in 2009 called Nairobi to Shenzhen, a semi-autobiographical work looking at his immersion into China.

Mark now keeps himself busy by running WorldNexus, an internet marketing company, teaching piano to orphaned children at the Shenzhen Social Welfare Center, and running a popular bar/bbq chain called Cabin BBQ.  He’s traditionally kept to himself, shunning media during his more famous brother’s run for President.  But it appears he might be coming out of his shell, as he’s expected to publish his memoirs which will detail his relationship with Barack Obama.

Over the weekend, his book was excerpted in the International Herald Tribune.  He talks about the frantic pace of change in China’s “City of Dreams”, Shenzhen, and how it might come at the expense of maintaining traditions:

I believe that in the future China, the current Shenzhen disposition will become more relaxed, more traditional. “Time is money” will become “time is precious but can be shared with strangers.” Or, in the words of Confucius,

Don’t just treasure the water, treasure the mountain; don’t just move, but be still, don’t just enjoy, but preserve.

So perhaps by the time the kids of today’s Shenzhen grow up there will be a change in the current attitude toward headlong growth. Perhaps they will begin to ponder questions like: Do they have a wholesome life based on values such as establishing a quality-based economy and social responsibility, and not living just to pursue a quick yuan? Will they begin to stop to check out the blue skies, safely drink water direct from the tap, have more time to be with loved ones, volunteer, and walk where tree leaves gently touch?

The full article can be read here.

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