Living the American dream

By Alywin Chew ( China Daily ) Updated: 2015-04-11 08:18:35

Living the American dream

The Linden Center.[Photo provided to China Daily]

The new hotel, named Linden Commons, is located just a 10-minute walk away from Linden Center and will continue to build on the theme of education with facilities such as a cooking school, a textile workshop, a painting studio and even an on-site kiln. Besides championing meaningful travel experiences and promoting the local culture, Linden's hotel operations also aim to give back to the community.

"We employ over 80 people, the majority of whom are from the local village, and through training and job promotion, we are trying to give our local staff real vocational opportunities that will allow them to comfortably remain in their village," says Linden.

The American also runs Yang Zhuoran, a complex for overseas students. The facility invites prestigious institutes like the Sidwell Friends School - attended by US President Obama's daughters - to conduct a semester of lessons in Xizhou, while getting to learn about Chinese culture and interact with the locals.

Linden Commons, which took 18 months to restore, is twice as large as his first hotel, and one could perhaps draw a parallel to the owner's blossoming camaraderie with the locals.

While at the construction site of his new hotel, Linden greets one of his workers with a big embrace and invites her over for Chinese New Year dinner. During a visit to a Hui ethnic group wedding, Linden is seen playing with the boys near an alleyway. He is apparently so popular with the locals that many of them even call him their mayor.

A career in politics is an unlikely path that Linden will take, though he did appear in a recent Communist Party video, seen shaking hands with a government official. Because of the historical value of his hotel premises, Linden works closely with government and cultural bureaus, and he holds them in high regard, saying: "All the officials I've worked with are incredibly hardworking and many of them want the best for the community. I've not met an official who gave me an impression that he's greedy or corrupt. I feel that China today is being shaped too much by greedy businessmen and it's these people who are abusing the system."

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