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Feelings about Three-day Workshop for EU-China NGO Twinning Program

Quick Actions Are the Best Response to a Touched Heart

Three days passed by in a flash. When listening to the wrap-up made by the representative of Friends of Nature, I told myself in my heart that I should write something to keep alive my memory of the meaningful moments. But when finally carrying my exhausted body and my suitcase to the crowded subway, I was already thinking about giving up the writing which seemed not a must-done task for the workshop. To stop that evil thought, the first thing I did upon my arrival at the airport was turning on the computer and finishing the “now or never” thing, by which my feeling of being touched and sense of fulfillment can be documented.

The three days in Beijing were so busy that time passed quickly before I knew it. The city was crowded and the air was hot and sultry as I remembered. But I was no longer the young boy who once studied here and knew nothing then. Having organized similar activities for many times, I’m deeply aware of how hard the organizer had worked for holding the workshop, including careful planning. Of course, no activity can be perfect, but all can sense the organizer’s sincerity and what’s expected of us, that is, carry forward culture felt at the workshop, and keep our passion to affect and attract more people.

Michael, my exchange partner, was senior but very kind to me. He always had one concern weighing on his mind: how to help me find partners together bound for Berlin at this workshop. Very luckily, we already had four people forming a perfect team. Sometimes, I still can’t believe that among a sea of several billion faces, we four just met so naturally after living in the world for several decades. During the day, we discussed seemingly very big topics that are indeed closely related to everyone; we drew paintings and planted trees together, laughing and talking while working up a sweat; we talked about our dreams and puzzlement, and helped each other tackle difficulties. All this just ended so quickly. At that time, I even thought if I should spend the night sharing or exploring more possibilities with others, instead of continuing work.

The day before I came to Beijing, I was still confused about how to plan my future while still following my heart. The experience at this workshop seemed to have made me more determined to keep going. When seeing friends on WeChat share moments of their colorful life, when the institution cannot make ends meet, and when knowing the former colleague became the target of persistent headhunters, I couldn’t help calculating the opportunity cost of my choice in doing philanthropy. It might not be that high but is also high enough to disturb my mind. I then imagined what I would become if I hadn’t made such choice. I don’t know if others would have the same feelings. But I think I found the answer at the workshop. Alongside the information I have not yet digested completely, the biggest gain was hope and belief it offered me. As long as you can be firm in sticking to your original choice, all opportunity costs would be entirely overshadowed by the inner comfort and career achievements you are rewarded with.

It seemed that the three-day workshop didn’t hear many voices from Chinese representatives, including myself. I’m used to taking a passive and silent role, which I found was hard to change. Language may be the first barrier I must overcome. But beyond that, I think I need to focus more on my responsibilities in the project, and what contributions I can make to it. Nowadays, China is no longer poor and backward. Despite the great number of social problems that are difficult to handle, with more resources, the country is more capable of solving them and offering shareable experience. So, I believe as we become stronger through joint efforts, we can gradually improve on the current silence and weakness, and make the unique voice of China heard.

We want to cooperate on The River film festival with the institution Michael works for. We desire to have more people get to know the province of Shanxi, and understand what dilemma it is facing, what actions it is taking, and what a future it is marching towards. We are keen to achieve win-win cooperation and resource sharing with more partners, rather than go through the motions of paying lip service to each other. We must also develop independently on an equal footing, without being totally dependent on our partners. This is the only way to ongoing collaboration.