Dragon 100 - 2012

By Xing Dong

In the cover letter accompanying my Dragon 100 Forum 2012 application I wrote:

"Time is Now!

I feel the urge and responsibility for our community that I need to attend this year’s forum. 
The opportunities are profound: The opportunity to network with likeminded young Chinese leaders from around the globe, the opportunity to look at the place I once lived in with a different perspective, and the opportunity to get inspired and to take part in this life changing experience.

The 2012 theme of this forum “Innovation and Development in Tianjin: Manifestation of China’s 12th Five-Year Plan”, is in particularly relevant for not just this Invercargill and Queenstown community which I live in but New Zealand as a country and China being our second largest trading partner. 

I feel the responsibility to come back inspired and keep chasing the dream for the community who looked after me and bridging the cultural differences between the two nations."

I remembered very clearly from the commissioning ceremony:

Mrs Fanny Law: “look, listen and learn, with empathy, be respectful and try to understand, and draw your own conclusion!”

So here it is, a very brief account of my very own D100 journey:

D100 Journey 

D100 - Hong Kong Impression

I grew up in mainland China. Pop music from Hong Kong was a huge part of our childhood and school years. Listening to and singing along to Andy Lau and Jackie Cheung’s tunes was probably one of the most common themes for kids of my generation (the post 80s generation as it is commonly referred to as). In fact, we still sing along to these songs at our Karaoke sessions today.   Pop Music was our first taste of Hong Kong and of course the Hong Kong movies and dramas were also huge influences when we were growing up. 

The Hong Kong we grew up knowing was a place full of creativity, freedom and imagination. We loved Hong Kong, because of the emotional ties created by music and movies. Hong Kong would only exist in our imaginations, the superstars we adore and the heroes we followed in the movies and TV series.

This year marks the 15th year of Hong Kong’s return to motherland. I still remember that proud day when I was a teenager witnessing the historic moment when Hong Kong was handed back to the Government of the People’s Republic of China: One country, two systems. We had a great celebration!

Hong Kong has a chapter on the 12th 5 year plan. The central government's 12th Five-Year Plan focuses on consolidating HK's competitive advantages.  It states support for Hong Kong’s emerging industries. It aims to develop further the 6 industries where Hong Kong enjoys clear advantages. Overall, the target is to deepen economic cooperation between the mainland and Hong Kong.

I was concerned when I read [KPMG 12th 5 year plan summary], which states that “currently Hong Kong’s expenditure on Research & Development represents less than 1% of its Gross Domestic Product”

However, The Media 21 project [a Community Initiative] somehow eased some of my worries. M21 project provides equipment, space and training facility for school students who are interested in media and digital media projects. I love the fact that the drive for innovation is aimed at developing youth and the “vertical integration” aspect which means that the successful experiments would have the opportunity to be commercialised in the industries which are well established in Hong Kong. 

As I write my report, there are about 120,000 young Hong Kongers demonstrating in public spaces in Hong Kong to have their say in the implementation of National Ethics Education. I admire their courage and I feel hope is abundant for Hong Kong!

D100 - Global Project Sharing

I loved this part of the forum. I had the privilege to share a very special project and place in New Zealand - Deep Cove Outdoor Education Trust, Deep Cove at Doubtful sound of Fiordland National Park on the west coast of the South Island of New Zealand. And the vision of the Trust: To impart to children the wonder of a world heritage park located in Fiordland in New Zealand.
I was absolutely amazed by the visions, ambitions, compassions and dreams in the projects my fellow delegates shared.

Some are working on improving cross straits relations between mainland China and Taiwan through a community initiative which encourages exchanges and conversations between communities, educational institutions and students. Some are involved in charitable initiatives which are building schools in developing countries. Some are involved in promoting understanding between Sino US relations through university student exchange and conversations. Mobile libraries project in Mexico. Creative for Causes project which provides pro bono creative solutions for charitable causes in Singapore. Low Carbon Societies research projects in Malaysia etc. 

If 100 more young people are making an effort to initiate real positive changes then surely, we are one step closer to a better world!

D100 Journey – Mainland China

On the way to Beijing, a three hour short flight from HK. Smoggy sky is the first impression. One of the Canadian delegates who used to live in Beijing said to me “Beijing is a special place in my heart.’ She said to me that she would kiss the ground as soon as we landed and exited the aircraft. I think she did 

How do I look at China now and what do I feel about China now: Somehow I feel every road leads me back to China:

Who Am I?
As an outsider who received Chinese education for up to his early-mid teenage years and spent all his adulthood to date in a western country receiving higher western education, work experience and creating his own business and career, or as a business man who sees the huge opportunities in China for the new home he found called new Zealand. I represent a global citizen who cares about the land and the people of this country and the world.

The cultural and emotional ties have been forged in me. It is inerasable, it is certainly unforgettable. I feel for the past of this nation, I feel that the world cannot afford or should not accept to see an instable China.

I have tremendous love for the history and the creativity the people of this land have contributed to the world.

My business partner Judith Cambridge attended a China Business symposium earlier this year in Auckland. One of the presenters inspiringly said, if you want to do business with China, you need to learn to love China.

Perhaps as somebody who is rediscovering China, that is exactly what I need to do. Learn to love China, learn to understand, learn to challenge the status quo with respect, and most importantly try to contribute to the making of positive changes in this country.

In Progress

We are in a fast moving business world than ever before. It is very well connected and innovative.

As a Nation China has huge amount of ambitions. We have witnessed this first hand at their city planning exhibition halls and heard it first hand from its leaders- both central and local governments.

While the country is learning and adapting to the new world and new ways, its people are learning and adapting at the same time. In some way the traditional barriers are breaking down by technology. Now ordinary Chinese have voice, anyone with access to RenRen, WeiBo, or quite simply with a mobile phone. 

The new generation is being trained by great institutions and exposed to global perspectives as the country keeps opening up. They will have the understanding needed to help the country to evolve further and make further progress in both economic and social developments.

Wen Jia Bao
“We should not only make the cake of social wealth as big as possible, but also distribute the cake in a fair way and let everyone enjoy the fruits of reform and opening up”

China published the 12th Five-Year Plan in March 2011. The Plan is the guide for the economic and social development of China over the next five years.

12th 5 Year Plan In summary

Higher Quality Growth – Sustainability – Inclusive Growth – China Attempts to Solve the Issue of Income Disparity – Scientific Development – Environmental Protection –Energy Efficiency – Domestic Consumption Led Growth…..12th 5 Year Plan In summary

The future of China is as Yang Lan described in her TED Speech” Our younger generation is going to transform this country while at the same time being transformed themselves.”

D100 Conclusion
I have made great friends who are like minded and have the same burning desires to make positive changes to this world. 

I looked, listened and tried to understand with empathy and respect.

I am truly privileged.

Thank you for this opportunity!

Xing Dong Yan

Video Report by Nicolle Wong