Without going outside, you may know the whole world. Without looking through the window, you may see the ways of heaven. The farther you go, the less you know.
[Laotzu, Tao Te Ching]
China is a country in transition, a country of contradictions and a country worthy of being discovered without bringing in preconceptions, because China is the country with the immortal smile and it's all up to you what you find behind the beaming lips...
By Rowin R. Mulder
Many years I had been dreaming about travelling around the globe and had been aroused continuously by a thousand-and-one travel guides, magazines, programmes and articles. Many times I had flown away in thoughts to unknown deserted islands, remote deserts, snow-capped mountains, thick rain jungles and lush grass lands of rural, rolling pastures.
Today is the day. My day… the day… that I decided… decided… to make the change… to make the step… I had been dreaming about for so long. It seemed that this moment had always been there but never was able to come to realization. It seemed that my dream was perverse, unthinkable, and unfeasible.
Today I decided... that I want to explore the unknown, the new, the unexpected and the mystery of tranquil precincts. I don't want to follow the footsteps of all the world travellers I have been reading about. I’ve the determination to go beyond! Today I know that I will dance in a desert, glide off a distant snow mountain, meet the bizarre, weird, odd, eccentric and peculiar. I am going to take my own erratic road to realize a passionate dream! World...be prepared because here I am…..here I come!!
China is a country in transition, a country of contradictions, and a country worthy to be discovered by yourself without bringing preconceptions, because China is the country with the immortal smile and it's only up to you what you'll find behind these beaming lips.
This book is about my experiences, my deepest exaltations, greatest discoveries, highest annoyances and sweetest memories with the people of China, but especially how I found my fulfilment in exploring in China Behind the Smile. This book goes beyond an experience of China’s everlasting smile, my odyssey, the voyage of working and travelling in foreign and fascinating China. The book will give you insights into what it is to live in China's Hutongs and how rural China can taste in the mouth of a Dutchman.
Your perception of China will never be the same after your first visit. You’ll feel either disgust for the country or you’ll fall desperately in love with it. There is no existence of a fluctuation from one to the other. You can't find real China in the posh hotels with the stars. The real China is where the average is average, where the people have a natural smile and where you can expect contradiction in everything you believed in, stood for or worked to. Read this book and experience a touch of what you could discover in China Behind the Smile.
BEd, PGC-TESOL, TESOL Cert.
From the Publisher:
I must first declare an interest in this book; I have always been fascinated by China, without, alas, having any special knowledge.
Like many other tourists a few years ago, I visited Hong Kong, and
I can remember wondering what enigmas lay beyond that highly
controlled frontier. And no – well, China is right there in the front
row of global preoccupations, and for one reason or another, many
more people are going to be visiting there than in the past.
I would probably be mildly prejudiced in favour of any book giving
a Brit’s outlook on that immensely varied and fascinating country.
And China is a country that is geopolitically almost more important
than any other at the present time; if the last century was the
century of America, many commentators expect this to be the
century of China and India, and I have heard speculation that in 50
years, China may have the strongest economy in the world. Like
Japan, it already has huge balance of trade surpluses; the world
economy seems to be moving in the direction of lean and hungry
industrious Asians lending money to profligate and obese
Nobody needs another high level tome dealing with all these
geopolitical matters; there are quite enough of them, in an
unending stream. But there is not too much which does what this
book achieves, which is to give us, in a chatty, personal,
conversational tone, a picture which we can understand and enjoy
of this strange and different culture. It tells someone what they
might expect if they went there. And now, this is something
thousands more people are considering than was the case only a
very few years ago.
Rowin Mulder’s manuscript is well presented, which sometimes
distresses our editors, when they can find nothing much to change,
although it is good for their humility. The style is particularly clear
and communicative. He writes with colour: details like the red
robes of the monks seen from the bus to Kangding stay in the
The lovely quotation from Laotzu at the very beginning sets the
tone of the whole book; Rowin has travelled with his eyes and his
mind open, he has the ability to recall and communicate; he has
travelled, and looked, and thought, and remembered, and from
this mine of experience he has quarried something which he
cut into a shape that another mind can accept and enjoy, and
from which another person can learn.