Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Kansas City/Xi'an Connection

Just doing a Google search on Xi'an, I found out that yesterday the local government of my hometown, Kansas City, declared July 13th to be "Kansas City-Xi'an Day."

This isn't ground-breaking stuff here, but I would like to highlight some media on the special relationship my hometown and my Chinese hometown have.

Here is a video from WDAF in Kansas City and an article Kansas City Infozine:

Kansas City, Missouri Celebrates 20-year Partnership with Xi'an, China

As part of the celebration, the City Council will adopt a resolution declaring July 13 to be "Kansas City-Xi'an Day.

Kansas City, Mo - infoZine - The City of Kansas City, Mo., will mark its 20-year Sister Cities partnership with Xi'an, China with a celebration from July 12-14. Three delegations from Xi'an, representing government, trade and tourism, will attend economic and cultural activities while visiting Kansas City.

As part of the celebration, the City Council will adopt a resolution declaring July 13 to be "Kansas City-Xi'an Day.


The mission from Xi'an to Kansas City represents the culmination of a three-year China strategy, which included leveraging the sister cities program as a "door opener" for trade and as an innovative economic development tool. Mayor ProTem Bill Skaggs led two successful missions to China in 2007 and 2008 focused on trade and the City's global strategy with Asia.

Read On
Kansas City and Xi'an are a perfect match for being sister cities. Both are in the central of their respective countries. Both are "Gateways to the West." And there is some significant history between the two cities in that the journalist and author Edgar Snow is from Kansas City.

Snow's work in the 1930s essentially introduced the world to Mao. His seminal book - "Red Star Over China" - is incredibly famous over here. I've asked several young people I know, and well over half have at least heard of the book. Somewhat surprisingly, a foreigner from Kansas City wrote the official history endorsed by the CCP of the Long March and the communists living in northern Shaanxi Province in the mid-1930s. Pretty interesting stuff.

I know (or have met) several of the people in that above clip. The KC/Xi'an Sister City Organization is actually the means by which how I ended up in Xi'an.

When I was a junior in college, I spent four months studying abroad in Maasticht, the Netherlands. Living abroad for the first time just blew my mind. I knew that after I graduated from college, I wanted to go abroad again. My first choice was to go to Japan via the JET Program. JET didn't want me though. I had an interview at the Japanese consulate in Chicago and then was wait-listed to go, but then never got called up to go to Japan.

After going to Japan fell through, I looked into going to Chile and Taiwan. But after I began contacting schools in those countries, a friend of my one of my parent's friends told my mom about chances to teach English in Xi'an, China. Seeing that I wasn't being blown away by any offers in Taiwan or South America, I pursued the Xi'an angle.

Needless to say, Xi'an is the path I went. And I'm happy I did it. Being rejected from the JET Program and coming to China instead has been a great thing.

For any Chinese speakers reading this, I think the idiom 塞翁失马 (sai4weng1shi1ma3) is appropriate for my path and how I ended up in China. The idiom dictionary at chinesetools.com says this idiom means "a loss may turn out to be a gain."

Seeing the way my life is going at the moment and my general level of contentment/happiness, I feel like I gained having found the KC/Xi'an Sister City Organization back in the summer of 2005.


Anonymous said...

Lol, I've lived here in the states all my life and I never knew you guys called it KCMO. Never even heard that before but sounds cool.

Nice story, glad to see this kind of thing going on in the heartland. Really hope China and the US foster a friendly relationship, because right now I am getting the vibe that a lot of people here are starting to magnify China's faults and this probably comes from being threatened by its emerging power. Likewise, I am getting the vibe that China is getting a bit ahead of itself and needs to be more diplomatic in its progress.

Hopefully there are enough level heads in both countries with the guts to help foster a growing friendship and not an icy relationship.

Ramesh said...

Perhaps you and Qian should become the cultural ambassadors of the Kansas/Xi'an sister city organisation. As Hopfrog says, much more of understanding needs to be created between many countries and China - both sides seem to have a instinctive mutual suspicion of each other. Who better than you and Qian to be ambassadors of goodwill.

Anonymous said...

About 10 years ago there was a gathering for the sister cities of Kansas City, Missouri. The table was empty for the city of Xian. So I went to that table and sit there as a rep for the City of Xian. Not far from my home there is a Peace sculpture designed and made by the City of Xian. It is located on the North Oak and Vivion Road in North Kansas City, right in front of the Price Chopper today.
By the way ,the City of Guiyang in Guizhou Province is the sister city of Kansas City , Kansas.
Anqi in Parkville, Missouri