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Waking from Chinese dream

By Feng Shu (Global Times)

09:01, September 14, 2012

From a weatherman with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) to the first foreign-face news anchor with CCTV International since 2004, Edwin Maher, now in his 60s, says China has become a place where he sees his broadcasting pursuits as having greatly expanded.

"I have to pinch myself sometimes to remind myself this is all really happening," said Maher, who was presented with the Friendship Award, the top award conferred by the Chinese government to foreign experts who work in China since 2007.

Born in New Zealand before moving to Australia to work for ABC for 20 years, Maher describes his coming to China in 2003 as a pure accident, when he was trying to get away from his past life following his wife's death.

"I just planned to stay six months and have ended up living here for nearly 10 years. Sure, I have my Chinese dream, but it was not the moment when I landed here," said Maher, who first came to China as a voice coach with CRI.

Maher is just one of millions of foreigners who have come to China from around the world to seek future opportunities, especially over the past decade.

Not an easy path

If thriving in China was never part of Edwin's dream before he arrived, Osaka-born Japanese actor Koji Yano was determined to chase his Chinese dream in, following his eight years of struggle in Tokyo, mostly playing minor roles in Japanese films or TV dramas.

"China is a huge country. This simply means lots of opportunities for me. On the contrary, I never saw the Japanese dream back home," Yano told the Global Times in his Beijing office.

But Yano warns that this was not an easy path to take and speaks of a mixture of "joys and sorrows."

"I got very sick of always playing Japanese soldiers in "red classic" series featuring China's resistance against the Japanese invasion from 1937-1945. Most of the time, such roles lack depth," said Yano.

His moment to shine finally came when he was able to bag broader roles, given his growing fame.

In a recent Chinese TV drama, Yano starred as a Japanese businessman in China, and in another he even played the role of a Chinese army solider.

Firstly coined by American writer James Truslow Adams in 1931, the term "American Dream" has become a leading source of inspiration for many Americans and immigrants to the US over the past century. This dream was all the more pronounced once again in 2008, when Barack Obama was elected as US president.

While China has risen to become the world's second biggest economy, the aura of the American Dream has faded slightly in recent years, given the global economic crisis, while a new voice has risen, mostly within China itself, about the Chinese Dream.

"We are trying to catch up with the world and emphasize economic success. Beyond that, we also need to find such a dream so as to provide of values that can help inspire future generations of Chinese people," said Wu Xu, associate professor at Arizona State University's Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

He suggested crafting the Chinese Dream to boost China's soft power. He views it as being built by the Chinese people, but belonging to the world.

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