Saturday, January 17, 2009

Obama's Chinese Half Brother

For months now I've been hearing from Chinese people about Obama's "Chinese brother." I just kind of nodded my head never bothering to look up what everyone was telling me about.

This article from The Associated Press enlightens me on the Obama Chinese brother situation:

SHENZHEN, China — The news release didn't say who Mark Ndesandjo was. Nor did the posters and e-mails promoting the concert Friday in Shenzhen, a southern boomtown where he played piano to raise money for orphans.

But the 200 or so people who showed up for the fundraiser at a posh hotel resort knew the man in a Chinese-style brown silk shirt was the half brother of U.S. President-elect Obama. They had a rare encounter with Ndesandjo, who has been dodging the media since his family ties were made public last summer.

For the past seven years, Ndesandjo has been living in Shenzhen, a freewheeling city just across the border from Hong Kong. The announcement for his piano concert identified him as a strategic-marketing consultant. He also helped start a chain of eateries in China called Cabin BBQ.

Ndesandjo slightly resembles his half brother and shares the same trim, athletic physique. He speaks Mandarin, is a vegetarian and practices Chinese calligraphy.

Read On
Ndesandjo is an interesting side-story to the upcoming Obama presidency.

A lot of the Chinese people I've talked with are optimistic about Obama. I've heard several people say that they think that he'll be good for China/US relations. I've even heard a person or two say that they think that this half brother will help the relationship between the two countries.

Now that might be a stretch, but I'm sure that stranger things have happened. Obama having a blood relationship with a man who is married to a Chinese woman and who has lived in China for years has to personalize the country in some way for him.

Who knows how that personalization will manifest itself as the Obama presidency plays out. It should be fun to watch.

No comments: