China / Society

Introduction to Tianjin harsh for some

By Tang Yue (China Daily) Updated: 2015-08-15 08:09

I have mixed feelings about the fact that I've run into three interviewees in a single day who less than a month ago traveled a long way to work in Tianjin.

Liu Yi, 23, a fresh graduate from the countryside in southwestern Sichuan province, started his probation period at a pharmaceutical company at the end of July.

Mike Carver arrived from Canada just 12 days before the explosion to teach English at TEDA International School. His colleague, Kim Alman, traveled from the state of Texas in the United States a couple of weeks ago.

On one hand, as a Tianjin native, I'm glad that my hometown has attracted talent from around the world to build new careers and lives here.

But I'm so sorry for the fear and injury they suffered in the explosion, even before they had time to fully decorate their new homes. I can't think of a worse beginning.

I would rather they hadn't come, especially when I saw the gauze on Liu's head and blood spattered on his clothes when I met him in the hospital. A son of farmers and elder brother of a 7-year-old boy, he chose to keep his injuries a secret from his family.

I know it must be hard for Carver, too. His 13-year-old daughter, Jennifer, came with him to Tianjin. Seeing a daughter frightened must be the last thing a father ever wants to do. I am glad she was not injured.

Actually, I myself started working in Tianjin just last month, after studying and working in Beijing for a decade. Like the newcomers, I didn't expect my hometown to welcome me this way, either.

No one did.

I was joking with a friend the other day that it is much harder to write big news for the front page when you work at the local office than in the capital. I was then proved wrong, in such a costly fashion.

I was happy to hear Carver and Alman say that they want to stay. I don't know for how long. They might go back to their home country or travel to another place in months or years. But for me, for my dad and mom, for the people who share my childhood memories and others who grew up here, Tianjin has always been and will always be our home.

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