Building Bridges Over Troubled Waters

by Joe

Anyone who has not been in a coma for the past 12 months can speak to the challenges of 2020. I cannot add much to the macro review of last year which has not already been said, repeated and then responded to.  A few friends and of course our loyal Word 4 Asia Consulting clients have asked me “How is it going for you”?  Word4Asia has served a liaison between Western nonprofits and parallel organizations in China. Our primary roles are advising but also bridge building.  When our friends at SARA, in Beijing, wrote to ask what the view of religious people in America thought about events occuring  iin China, specifically in light of the world-wide pandemic, we gladly responded. After all, building greater understanding between the peoples of our two great countries is as important to us now as it has ever been.  

Our work continues to be about building relationships across the small ocean which divides us.    How do we interpret recent events in Hong Kong?  What is the truth regarding the Covid virus, it’s origins and current status?  How has American rhetoric towards trade and human rights impacted Anglo-Sino relations?  What do the most recent religious policies and regulations mean?  What is behind the recent focus on Sinicization?  Will it permanently alter the shape and ethos of the five legal religions in China?  Making all the previous questions more intriguing is the lack of international travel. While absence may make the “heart grow fonder” it also has potential to create unwarranted suspicion and misunderstanding as well.

For building better understanding cooperation with the people of China, there has never been a better option than face-to-face dialogue.  When will this be possible again?  Frankly, Word 4 Asia has no answer, but, so far, neither does anyone else. Until Covid is under control, full routine flights between the USA/China are not going to happen.  No one is more disappointed than the team at Word 4 Asia, and we thank our clients for their continued understanding during this difficult time. While we live in this uncertain reality, 2020 was a good year for Word4Asia.  We were able to assist our clients in the completion of their positive and worthwhile objectives in spite of the challenges. I give credit to the following dynamics for being able to report this.  

  • Our exceptional staff who understand China far better than I ever can. 
  • 25 years of personal relationships in China.  Trust is built over  a lengthy period of time. When relationships move from trust to love, the bond is never truly broken. 
  • Clients who actually listen to counsel and have long-term objectives. A journey of a thousand miles not only begins with the first step, but sometimes we must take a rest or even a couple steps back.
  • Many wise advisors in China who give us invaluable insights. They include business persons, politicians, pastors, party members and friends. Their combined words will paint the China mosaic for us as we continually improve our ability to listen well. 
  • Clients who genuinely seek to be “friends” of China and will patiently learn to look at China through Chinese eyes. 
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 For almost 25 years now, Word 4 Asia has kept our commitment to remain transparent and legal in all our transactions and dealings. When our clients come under our umbrellas, they also make a commitment to this path. Do we face frustrations?  Surely.  Do we wish the entire world could share our conclusions, thoughts, values and opinions?  Of course. Such is in our humanity, this insipient arrogance.  Bridge building is hard work. In the past year it might appear that both sides of the Pacific Ocean have shifted their shoreline a bit.  Word 4 Asia will assess the shifts, and find the bed-rock upon which we can establish a stable bridge for the next decade.  If your organization is seeking help to bridge the China divide, please do not hesitate to contact us. Word 4 Asia is looking forward to another great year in 2021.  Perhaps you can join us in flight when the skies are full again with happy travelers.   

Dr. Gene WoodPresident/Founder

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