Global EditionASIA 中文双语Français
Home / Culture / News and Feature

Young scholar seeks to act as 'bridge' between China and UK

Xinhua | Updated: 2022-09-28 08:36
Share - WeChat

For Cameron Patterson, a young British scholar who spent his childhood in China, nothing more vividly attests to the country's rapid progress over the past decade than trains.

Before the advent of high-speed railway, getting around the vast country was not easy, recalls Patterson, who is a PhD candidate in space and planetary physics at Lancaster University.

At the age of 8, Patterson had moved from Wales to join his father, an English teacher, in Datong, North China's Shanxi province, in 2003.

In the following years, he and his parents lived in several cities across China, including Qingdao in Shandong province, Lianyungang in Jiangsu province, and Zhanjiang in Guangdong province.

While the moves enabled them to explore more of China, traveling itself wasn't always pleasant. When his family relocated from Lianyungang to Zhanjiang, the trip on the old green trains took them one and a half days.

Now with high-speed trains and an unmatched rail network, life has become much easier. Previous long trips have been shortened to a matter of several hours today. The modern and faster trains are more comfortable. A coin placed standing on the table of a fast-moving carriage wouldn't budge, he says.

"I'm grateful that China has it now," he says. "The changes that the bullet train has brought to China are absolutely mental, to think what you can do with it now."

Though his primary schoolteacher in his hometown of Cardiff was shocked by the decision of Patterson's father to bring the boy to China at such a young age, Patterson says few would doubt that decision now as "it has changed my life in such a big way".

Gradually, fame also found its way to Patterson. Initially a local celebrity in Cardiff who held his peers spellbound with his recount of experiences in China, he solidified his stardom in 2015 with his impeccable Chinese when he finished second in the global finals of Chinese Bridge, a Chinese proficiency competition for non-Chinese university students.

In the same year, Patterson had another highlight of his life: reciting a poem about China's role model Jiao Yulu at the opening ceremony of an annual meeting of Confucius Institute classrooms in Britain.

The poem about Jiao was not a choice Patterson arbitrarily made. Teachings in Chinese classrooms about the local official, who succumbed to cancer after dedicating his life to improving living standards in Central China's Henan province, have long left an indelible impression on Patterson. He understood that people like Jiao kept propelling China's progress.

"Jiao was a man who was dreadfully ill toward the end of his life, but still carried on working to help people, and basically to his last breath trying to give it all to make sure that the world came out a better place after he's gone," Patterson says.

"And this kind of spirit that he had is really quite honorable. Something that even today, especially today, that we should take something away from and that we can learn from," he says.

With his bilingual skills and familiarity with the cultural nuances of China and Britain, Patterson has considered it his calling to deepen the understanding between the two peoples.

Over the years, he has played a succession of roles that attest to his maturity as a "cultural ambassador "and Confucius Institute volunteer at Lancaster University.

"I would be very happy to act as a bridge between the UK and China. It's always been a big part of my life," he says. "In the world we live in nowadays, I think it's really important that we have people that understand the UK and China to help get past the differences."

Most Popular
Copyright 1995 - . All rights reserved. The content (including but not limited to text, photo, multimedia information, etc) published in this site belongs to China Daily Information Co (CDIC). Without written authorization from CDIC, such content shall not be republished or used in any form. Note: Browsers with 1024*768 or higher resolution are suggested for this site.
License for publishing multimedia online 0108263

Registration Number: 130349