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Part 1 of the interview of Dr. Ben-an always China follower from NL

He makes ChinaReportcom1 as his twitter account. He  comes from Netherlands, but always want to come to china, You never know how many books of China he ever read, you never how many pictures he took when he traveled in China, and you never know how many articles about China he ever wrote. he used to be a doctor, but gived some consultant to the goverment for China affaires. Ok, please read the interview, if you have any questions about China travels, you can write him a mail.


1 tell us something about you, where are you now? whats your job?

It may surprise you but this has grown to become one of the Central Questions in my life, which is very relevant to all of my China plans.
Hmm, I think one might even stay: the whole ‘how am i doing issue ‘stood at the very base of the China website and adventure.
I guess you could say, at the time I was not satisfied. Perhaps I told you and Fernando a bit about this?

At any rate, I suppose at the moment I would say I am fine. That is, comfortable at home and able to work on my cherished project, the website.
On the other hand, there is always a crisis ongoing in DrBen’s life, so there is still a lot to work and to wish for.
I guess this keeps me going for a large part. The website is not all inspiration, it is also a lot of ambition.

I think this brings me to the rest of your questions:
1) Where am I now?

I am at home in Groningen, The Netherlands, which basicly serves as my personal HQ. We have a full computer center here, my library of books, maps and music, plus of course TV for live news and a Wii game console to get a break from everything. Rose Wang just left to go to her Mathematics lessons for her Mba and so now I have time to get back to working and thinking.

What is my Job at the Moment?

Is a very good question. At the moment I am wondering about this myself, since officially my internet company was terminated in the beginning of 2009.
Officially this leaves me with no job, however there is still always plenty of things to do.
During 2009 it allowed me to catch up considerably on reading and writing, plus we saw chance to come to China for a month, however now that I am back it looks like I will have to find some kind of long term solution.
Perhaps I should go look for a job but so far I am still working most on chinareport.com.
At the moment I feel like an artist or something, since I just feel I have to further develop my China Story.
Also, getting a regular job is entirely not my thing. I need a challenge.
Besides, I always intended to go live in China for a large part. How can I be satisfied with staying here.
I am thinking about it and reading about Mao (in Mao – the Unknown Story ; Jung Chang & Jon Halliday),
who had similar traits and always knew how to get a solution.

(I think making business with you guys could be a welcome way to create a bridge to China. It could be a key move and step ahead)

2 you setup several portal about Asia, for example: chinareport.com, japanreport.com. indiareport.com… why? (i dont know how many urls do you have, also tell us please). that means you are an expert of China and Asia, whats your major in the university?

2) Your next question is what about the many domain names. In fact, you would like to have all the URL’s??
Hmm, If I knew all of them!
What is my major in University?

Hmmm, I am somewhat surprised that you have to ask. But (smile) it is okay.
To start with the story of my major in University.
Basicly I studied medicine first. But actually I was already reading a lot during my teenage years and most of it had little to do with medical science.
In fact, i read about natural science, cosmology – stuff about the nature of the Universe.
Later I also read large parts of the bible for some reason and I did study the world war 2 and European Discoveries in quite some detail.

But then, my father was a doctor and his father was a doctor. When the choice for a career came i found I worked best with people,
had already quite some knowledge of medical business and ways, and – through my childhood and reading did very well in biology.
After some looking around the choice to study medicine was quite easy. (To get in was quite another matter though).
So, I went to study ‘Medical Science’ and become a Doctor.
Although I think I never lost my other interests.

Studying medicine is quite hard work and takes up a lot of time. To get my mind off things, of course I would continue to read on other subjects than medicine.
I never read anything on medicine if I didnt have to in those times.
I guess my reading shifted, also due to the making of new friends. One of the guys I met was a heavy drinker and History student with a tendency for giving orations and imitations of historical speakers, etc.
The other was and is an artist who I still cossider a very good friend.
It would a bit too far to explain all the details but eventually I wound up reading an important book: on Central Asian tracks, by Fitzroy Mclean.

I must have started to think differently from other medicine students, since eventually I wound up in trouble.
During these ‘trouble’times however, I just struck out on different pathways in order to achieve more.
Hence, I enlisted to study history for one year.
The year after that I had used my newfound career to have myself invited to the Çlingendael Institute’ at the time obscure and hardly known, but for insiders: the Dutch School for Diplomatics.
Clingendael now is a more commercial thinktank for the Dutch Government, however at the time they were the school teaching newly selected Ambassadors their necessary skills.
So, apart from studying Medicine I also studied some history,
then became involved in a study of International Relations on the highest possible level, which is where I chose China (PRC) as my topic of interest.
This is sort of the basis of the China Report operation, in short.

I could tell you more about this later. Possibly it seems confusing.
Please keep in mind that in principle at had multiple plans going at the time.
The main reason to study international relations on such a high level was to later enter a European Union study program which educates doctors to operate/manage international help in crisis area’s.
In that way I would be a doctor,but do something entirely different from the assembly-line-type work everyone associates with that.
My second plan was to create my own economical base meanwhile by creating a better website on Asia and China then was available on the web at that time.
But it was only after November 2002 i really got into that.
The more non-cooperation I got from my medical school, the more I had opportunity to go to China and/or work on my website.
So, eventually the whole thing got out of hand.

We are a few years further down the road now…

Err- ah yes, the URL’s: I can send a list of them or give you this link.
However, there are several reasons why there are so many domains.
The best explanation is just this: it was possible.
In practice it is like this; I eventually was offered the chance to buy asiareport.com
Having gotten that website, and already having chinareport.com, mongoliareport.com,nepalreport.com and bhutanreport.com
I felt it only made sense to but the rest as well.
Basicly, asiareport.com should be an overall platform.
As is already (a bit) visible on drben.net , one can then choose each country by name.

Each country is a different website. Mainly because already the data for China takes me a lot of time to exchange, synchronize and manage.
Technically it is just easier to split it website by website.
Naturally, this still leaves each country under the asiareport umbrella that I can control.
Furthermore, If you are just a China fan you can directly go to chinareport.com and not be bothered with anything else.
It makes sense to me.

There are some other domain names we have bought. These are mainly intended to help boost sales from advertisements or product retails.
These are domain names such as asiatravel.org,
asiadvd.com and such.

You write that this means I am some sort of expert on China and Asia, but in truth I suppose I am not.
Not officially.
Most things I know are through self-education.
Not only does The netherlands have celebrity news little traditional affinity with China.
(Trade went through Indonesia at first for the most part as the Portugese kept Monopoly in Canton)
I suppose 50 years of communist seclusion and dutch cold war thinking did the rest.
Its still a problem today. Only the Royal University and Institute in Leiden are involved in Asia and China studies.
Naturally, I am a member of the IIAS (www.iias.nl).

to be continued

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2 Responses to “Part 1 of the interview of Dr. Ben-an always China follower from NL”

  1. Garth Tools says:

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  2. Thankyou, this is really helpful info, appreciated.


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