One of the amazing things while working in an international recruiting agency WOOK Talent is that, sometimes, you meet great people.
This month, we met the senior journalist from Canadian national television CBC, who is currently in Shanghai and reporting the NBA games, Christopher Johnson. Since Chris is an international journalist who is mainly doing his report in Asian countries, we interviewed him about the Topic - What is the best country in Asian to work abroad, China, Japan, or Thailand. We believe that Chris can offer some good advice for you when you are looking for an oversea ESL teaching job.
Chris is very senior, he went to China in the year 1980, when China just finished the culture revolution, and open herself to the world. Chris is the first generation of the western journalist who has been to China.
During his career, he has been to 110 countries including 10 ware zones, Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Interviewed thousands of celebrities and politician including Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Yao Ming, Li Na, Roger Federer, Rafa Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Kei Nishikori and Serena Williams among others, and politicians including prime ministers or foreign ministers of Canada, Thailand, Cambodia, East Timor and Russia, and also King Felipe VI of Spain and Gen. Peter Cosgrove, Governor-General of Australia. Worked for CBC, BBC and France 24.
Here is a recap of our interview with Christopher Johnson:
A (Anatole): How long have you lived in Japan, China, and Thailand?
C (Christopher Johnson): About 3 Decades.
A: Jesus, that's a long time.
C: The first time I came to China was 1987, so you can imagine how much change has happened in that time, that's what makes China such an exciting place to live. You can be part of that change, you can be part of that development and part of the great history that's happening here right now.
A: What do you think the main difference between the societies of China, Japan, and Thailand?
C: I think in terms of work, you know they are three very different places, depends on what you want to do. When I lived in Thailand I wanted to do things as I want to finish writing a book, but took a good look but it took me about five years because I kept going to islands and I thought maybe I'll sit in the hammock for a while, oh well I mean it's too hot sit a hammock, I'll go swimming, well it's still quite hot,
maybe I'll drink a beer and then it was difficult to get work done.
C: So I went to Japan, everybody in Japan is working all the time maybe I can get things done there, but you know Japan is a very different society they have their way of doing things, they have their culture, harmony is very important, there's a lot of great things you can do in Japan.
C: In China it's different, the great thing about China is that people are really working here, they are getting things done, they are ambitious, they are hungry, they want to take on the world. This is a great old civilization here, that's regaining its great place in the world, so you can be part of that. If you want to work hard, if you are ambitious, you have high goals, this is a great place to do it.
A: What do you think about the difference between people from those three countries?
C: I think basically people are mostly the same everywhere, but there are some key important defining differences.
The thing I like about China is that I find people here are very natural, very honest.
Let me put it like this way, Japan is a very polite society, the language has a lot of honorifics, but often feels like there are gloves on everything and sometimes it's difficult to express your true feeling about something. Thailand is more mellow, it's more laid-back, people are smiling people relax, look like they're happy, but sometimes it's difficult to get things done because you don't really know what people think and you don't really know what's going on behind the scenes.
While I feel in China, people are more sort of raw, the energy is rawer, and people are sort of known
they're not really hiding recovering of things up so much, so if I'm playing music with Chinese people or if I'm doing a project with Chinese people, I feel like I can understand them and we can work together, get things done because it's more sort of direct. A lot of foreigners say that here and that's a great thing about working.
A: You have interviewed Yao MING, who is extremely famous in China, what do you think about Chinese celebrities?
C: Generally speaking, because of the history in the culture, here there's some humility built into people , and people are generally speaking right down to the earth. I find this with the famous tennis players Li Na, you know I love her very much, she's a woman she's got this great sense of humor she's very personable very down-to-earth, she speaks from the heart and she will talk directly to you and this is part of Chinese culture that I love. Here are the people's republic of China is that because of history, the revolution and all the suffering that a lot of people went through for decades, and it's made people sort of humble and easy to talk to you the way you can get things done, I think it's hard to do that in Japan. And in Thailand, because it's a royal society, I could never be part of that. Japan, because it's just such a unique place and it's an island rather more isolated, a lot of foreigners there sometimes feel that they are outside of the society, whereas I feel like in China, there's a lot more equality.
A: Why people prefer to go to Japan than go to China? As I know, Japan is a country with lots of culture output, like Japanese manga. As a Chinese, to be honest, I can say in recent years we have almost 0 culture output.
C: It depends on the country right there, countries are in different phases of their growth and their development. I think Japan recently has been very productive in terms of anime manga, the various products, street fashion, punk music. I think that is going to happen in China too, and it's happening already. I think in terms of the history of this country, the priority has been to get full employment for people, full education for people, so there's a lot of emphasis on education here, they're building amazing infrastructure for this country, the railway system here is incredible, I was in a movie shot in Fujian province, used to take 20 hours by bus, but now I can go through in 3 hours by the speed train. You go to Qingdao in the north, a nice beach and you can be there in four or five hours from central Shanghai. So this is a huge change that's happening now, you can go almost everywhere in China now quickly. The young generation travels a lot more, there is more domestic tourism and this is going to create more energy and more cultural industries. If you are a person who's got an interesting culture or you want to do something artistic, this is a great time to be here, because you are on the ground floor of sth that's going to grow and develop so you have opportunities.
A: As a foreigner in China, especially as a western journalist, what do you think about the convenient part and inconvenient part about living in China.
C: If you come here ready to work and somebody like Anatole (from WOOK Talent) is helping you to get set up, things are going to be a lot more smoothly for you.
C: You know it's great if someone can help you solve a lot of issues in the beginning in terms of finding an apartment, getting work permit all of those things. That can be difficult at first for some people, so it helps a lot if somebody is here to help you. It's a big big step, once you get over that, things will get much simple, generally speaking, Shanghai and other cities in China are very safe, people, men, and women of any age. You can walk on the streets at night and you feel safe, I love walking around Shanghai, I like going around and taking photographs of things late at night. So that saves you a lot of energy, you don't have to be defending yourself all the time.
A: It's true, as a big man, I don't dare to walk alone on the street in Paris during the night.
C: Obviously, sometimes, foreigners have problems communicating with taxi drivers or the reception in the hotels, but you know, everyone here is using their smartphones to translate, so that helps you with the communication. Here is Shanghai, is really great mass transportation system, we got 17 subway lines, you can also go anywhere with the night bus, or call a taxi by APP on your phone, so there are lots of technological advances that are happening here. Oh, also bicycles are very convenient.
Here is the video of the interview:
Hope this article can help you know more information and have a better decision about where to go teaching abroad in the future.
If you are interested in ESL teaching in China, also welcome to apply through our website.