Meme quizzes, Uncategorized MY INTERVIEW IN WEST AUSTRALIAN NEWSPAPER 20 September 2010

My interview in the West Australian newspaper, on 14 August 2010.
Written by the ever eloquent Haidi Lun.

A mutual desire to learn Chinese and expand their
career horizons led Beverly and Chris Burgess to the
dazzling skyline of Shanghai. Beverly, who was born
in Singapore and grew up in Sydney’s North Shore,
relocated to Shanghai over a year ago to take on the
role of regional marketing manager for eBay, looking
after China and South-East Asia. At the same time,
Chris was also offered a promotion by Microsoft
based in Shanghai.

“We were very fortunate, as almost all expat
families have a ‘trailing spouse’ — someone who has
to quit their job to move,”
Beverly says.

With a childhood spent between Singapore and
Australia, this foundation in transience and adventure
held her in good stead for the move to Shanghai. “It
was an exciting challenge to uproot ourselves out of
our comfort zone, and start a new life in an entirely
different country and culture,”
she recalls. “Given the
recent economic crisis, I believe China is still soaring
high. The country’s future is bright and I wanted to be
a part of a rapidly accelerating culture and economy.”

Unlike the Gargetts’ heritage residence in the
French Concession, Beverly and Chris live in a
modern two-bedroom apartment in the bustling
central Jing’an district. Their apartment complex
is not dissimilar to any CBD apartment building in
Australia, complete with gym and pool facilities. The
couple enjoy the use of an ayi for housekeeping duties,
as well as a driver for transportation.

“We specifically picked the location of our
apartment because of the neighbourhood — our block
is on a street for excellent food of all cuisines, DVDs
and massages: just a few of our favourite things to
indulge in,”
Beverly says. In fact, one of the couple’s
favourite Shanghai haunts is a “health” spa where
guests are pampered with massage while they watch
the latest movies on widescreen television and munch
on a stream of snacks from an all-you-can-eat menu.

In this city of extraordinary commercial activity
and materialism, the couple try to inject some balance
into their lives by volunteering at orphanages, homes
for people with disabilities and animal shelters
at weekends. “Moving to China has significantly
strengthened our relationship, because we could face
the challenges and excitement of building a whole
new life together,”
Beverly reflects. “It’s really opened
our eyes to the world, and made us more accepting of
different cultures.”

For many expats, sustaining healthy relationships
can be difficult in Shanghai, particularly when
presented with all the decadence and excess that the
city has to offer. The expat experience in Shanghai is
often marred by marital breakdown, loneliness and
depression. “They call Shanghai ‘Sin City'” Beverly
says. “I think it’s particularly difficult for the older
couples and families, especially when one person has
had to follow the other to come here. The nature of
friendships in the expat community is very transient,
because people come and go frequently.”

Read the full article here.