For a change, a book is coming out right now in Belgium about China:
van Ng Sauw Tjhoi & Marc Vandepitte
[Co-editie met Radio 1]
[Met de steun van het Fonds Pascal Decroos]
And, more curiously, with a whole chapter (no. 42) about myself – result of a couple of interviews by the authors. And, once again sorry guys, it’s all in Dutch.
For a full introduction to the book, click here: Made in China intro.pdf
Some journalists are a pain in the butt, some can be really nice. Ng Sauw Tjhoi, one of the two authors is a charming guy to meet but he has the exceptional touch to send a copy of what he wrote. It’s always interesting to read what people think you told them, or how to find out they have been putting words in your mouth with the most unlikely results. At least I don’t have a boss who could yell at me and ask what the hell went on in my mind to talk all that nonsense to journalists. Lately I have become philosophical about it. As Sun says, never mind, it makes you famous and if nobody complains within a week, just ignore the nonsense they wrote.
So, what I can say about the new book? Well, I am in a soft spot here. Tjhoi has more or less faithfully recorded my ramblings, spiced it up a bit but the end result is kinda interesting. If you wanna know more, learn Dutch and buy the book. Can’t say no more folks. But next time Tjhoi comes over in Beijing, I’ll buy him more than one nice drink.
I think the biggest creativity I ever experienced with journalists was in January of this year. I was interviewed by Chinese journalists when listening to the presentation of Beijing’s Eleventh Five Year Plan (very few foreigners were invited…).
Explaining a bit the work I had just done for the Beijing Government they turned it around and the headlines blasted something like “Gilbert is happy to learn that Beijing has followed his proposals for the new Plan” (Beijing Youth Daily – 16 Jan. 06). Yeah, of course. Good boy, Mayor Wang Qishan, you listened sooo well. Oops. Well, nobody seemed upset and the police did not come knocking on my door so I guess it was all fine after all.
As a result, I am now starting to report and comment on journalists. Turn the tables. So, next time you interview me – you have been warned. As for Tjhoi, he passed the test.