So if I were going to write a novel entitled #TheExpatriates, here’s what it would look like.
If anyone would like to read this - based on 15yrs being an Expat in China - please let me know.
Roger had to get out of England/Australia/Canada. He was sick of working in the call centre, and was glad he’d just been let go. The three months pay was enough to get a plane ticket somewhere exciting. Somewhere exotic. Somewhere different.
“Expatriates: The Way of the Tsingtao” charts Roger’s life-changing decision to “go East”. Shanghai in 2006 is opening up fast, but there’s still enough dark places for people like Roger who do not want to find themselves or be found.
From Roger’s initial horror at landing a plum role teaching kindergarteners at Montessori in the former foreign French Concession, to his lurid nocturnal adventures with Sheldon and Casey in the hedonist’s playground of Shanghai....
....Roger’s journey from parochial ignoramus to opinionated imbecile is captured in detail before his wrenching decision to leave China and write a memoir which is essentially a 60k version of his Shanghai Expats forum post entitled “F**k this place. I’m going to Manilla”
From the hungover morning classes, to the late night shenanigans with his wing-men Sheldon and Casey, our protagonist hurtles along from to Tongren Lu to Julu Lu but never beyond the Puxi section of the Inner Middle Ring Road.
We encounter Roger at his most victorious - nailing a Bon Jovi song in the KTV and not paying for any Chivas or baijiu for the entire night - and at his lowest nadir - a 72 hour guttural struggle after eating those funny red prawn things at a place near Fuxing and Shaanxi.
His meteoric rise from educator to copy editor for the local expat guide, and the eventual and disastrous decision to “go into business” with his “friend” Little Mao. Or Gaius - as he liked to be called.
“Expatriates: The Way of the Tsingtao” is a cautionary tale to those without the life skills or even a modicum of self-awareness on the perils of moving to a place that’s so mystical and different and exotic and weird.
An epic story of one man not the least bit interested in “finding himself” and then point-blank refusing to look himself in the mirror accept that he alone is responsible for the trail of underachievement, bitterness and resentment he leaves in his wake.
You can follow @mikeygow.
Tip: mention @threader on a Twitter thread with the keyword “compile” to get a link to it.