Birthday party for Mark Levine

A real big party

On 18 February 2023 a real big birthday party for Mark Levine, attended by many of his friends. Of course with Mark giving a speech, having his birthday cake, playing his music.
He received some presents and personal congratulations, from Michael Crook and government officials. Fu Han sent her best wishes from the USA with a video.

The guest of honor was obviously Isabel Crook, accompanied by two of her sons. What an honor! I was also happy to have a short chat with her.

Mark Levine in the media

Mark has also had his podcasts of the Bridge Podcast, see here an overview.

23 February 2023 – Mark Levine: sing songs about China
From community organizer and volunteer in the US to winning China’s “Friendship” award and working as a volunteer across China, Dr. Mark Levine uses his time to help others. Need inspiration to change the world? Listen to a singer song writer building bridges between the US and China through Music, education, writing and giving back to the global community. He inspires our host; he’ll inspire you. And he concludes the show with an inspirational piece of music. This is The Bridge: our interview with Dr. Mark Levine, American in China.
Listen here from The Bridge Podcast.

I interviewed ‘Mr. China,’ Dr. Mark Levine, about his 20 years living in China, his China Friendship award and his life as a professor and folk singer. (The Bridge Podcast)
Part 1 of a 3 part series with Mark.
Dr. Mark Levine, An American Who Loves China
Watch here on YouTube.

It’s The Kites That Own The Sky – By American Country Singer in China, Dr. Mark Levine (The Bridge Podcast).
Watch here on YouTube.

American Folk Singer Dr. Mark Levine Sings Chinese Song “Gan wen lu zai he fang” (The Bridge Podcast).
Watch here on YouTube.

An American Community Organizer on Making China His Home (The Bridge Podcast).
Watch here on YouTube.

How Does an American Sociologist become a Folks Singer in China (The Bridge Podcast).
Watch here on YouTube.

Gilbert’s interview during the party

Interview with Gilbert “How to see the real China” on 18 February 2023 during the birthday party for Mark Levine. I explain how I introduce China to foreign visitors.
Watch here on Vimeo.

Old China Hands 4 August

Good turnout

Our previous lunch had only 15 people, so I feared our Old China Hands 4 August lunch would be similar. Well. happy to say we were 24, a great turnout as many are still travelling.
Food of Morel’s Restaurant was great as you can see in the pictures, Renaat was still in Belgium but he does keep a VERY close eye on what’s going on! He sent me two pics he took from the restaurant CCTV cameras, he can watch it in his mobile.

So this time I am in two pics for once.

Next lunch

Next lunch planned for Friday 1 September. Let’s cross fingers for a bigger crowd!
For our lunch Susan was already back from her Europe trip. Renaat is back on 6 August.

Home Is Where The Heart Is

I got the book!

As I mentioned earlier with some details, the the book “Home Is Where The Heart Is” came out and I got a few hard copies.

Right now no idea how one can buy a copy, while a price of RMB130 (TBC) has been mentioned.
It’s not yet on Amazon (expected soon) nor Taobao and the bar code does not work as for now. Seems Graham Earnshaw might get involved, he is well-known and also has a publishing company. I met him many years ago when he was talking about his walk from Shanghai to Tibet. That would be interesting!
Anybody interested contact me directly.

The contributors

As mentioned earlier, see here again who talks about their China story.

Mark, Raja, Terry and myself are members of the “Old China Hands Monthly lunch”; I know personally Michael (and his mother!) and Volker.

Home Is Where The Heart Is

The term is actually well known, it’s also a song (Elvis Presley and others), an American movie (1987), a TV miniseries (2022) and a book on Amazon with the same title by Ilse Crawford.

See here some details:

Home Is Where the Heart Is, a TV Mini Series (2022)
A privileged young lawyer, Jane becomes a reluctant champion of the vulnerable when she partners up with Arif, a cynical yet compassionate social worker to take on pro-bono cases of the less fortunate.
Creators: Kai Xiang Chang and Kenny Tan; Stars: Naomi Yeo – Fauzie Laily – Mathialagan

Home Is Where the Hart Is, a 1987 American film starring Leslie Nielsen

Many different versions: “Home Is Where the Heart Is”, see here details.

Belgian National Day in Beijing

Yes on 21 July

For many years Belgian National Day in Beijing was shifted to 15 November, King’s Day because of the summer holidays. A lunch reception was rather for the diplomats, we attended the evening reception along with some 120 Belgians and friends. The weather was threatening the fun, the embassy put a big tent on the patio, good idea as it rained the whole day till late afternoon. It was all in the residence, next to the new embassy that is nearing completion.

It was also the farewell of Ambassador Dr. Jan Hoogmartens and other staff of the embassy. We will all miss them, they were our support during the depressing COVID years.
The new ambassador is said to arrive in Beijing very soon.

Good food, beer and more

We were treated with great Belgian goodies, Belgian fries, Brussels waffles, delicious buffet by Morel’s Restaurant and lots of Belgian beers.
The mystery machine in pic 07 is an authentic Brussels waffle machine.
The ambassador opened the Methuselah Chimay bottle, yes 6 liters! I gave it a try (of course). Happy to discover two new beers for my collection, see pic 13.

Learn more about Belgium

Check this interesting article: “30 things I’ve learned about Belgium in 30 years.
The Brussels Times 1 June 2023


DiDi app updated

App not in my Apple Store

As mentioned earlier the app is not available on my Belgian App Store.

The weird but nice thing is, the app is regularly updated anyway! If I click more info, oh no, app is not available… but I manage to see somehow the details of the update.
So once you have it – it stays active.
See two recent updates and the versions received.