Beijing: Swissness Only for the Stomach

Beijing: Swissness Only for the Stomach

In London, for as much as work as I did finding Swissness at Sainsbury’s, M & S, and Waitrose (I deliberately shun Tesco as much as I can, and I never do Aldi, Lidl, or the like), I found only limited Swissness when it came to dairy products. I was a regular Onken yoghurt consumer, but as it had German roots, I wanted to look for something “more authentically Swiss”. And the only Swiss yoghurt you got were at Whole Foods, from a local dairy in Bischofszell (or thereabouts), Canton of St Gallen. You could easily forget what Waitrose passed off as its Number 1 choice for chocolate — I as a Swiss feel quite insulted that we weren’t picked (but the choice was made pre-Brexit, so they could always reconsider!).

For Beijing, by no means are they cheap (apart from the occasional sale), but if it’s something that won’t kill you, I’m going for it at all costs.

Swiss Views: Beijing’s Second Airport — When China Gets Down to Work

Swiss Views: Beijing’s Second Airport — When China Gets Down to Work

In Switzerland our only “really” global airport is not located in the Federal City (much the equivalent of a “real” capital in other countries), Bern, but Zürich. It is only the “real” 100% Swiss airport of a major dimension (since the airports in Geneva and Basel have connections to nearby France, but all exits at Zürich Airport lead solely to Swiss territory).

We are somewhat satisfied with our 3-runway (or two-and-a-sort-of-half runway) airport, which is in a well-forested part of suburban Zürich. We completed around a decade back the new Fingerdock E, which is where most intercontinental flights land. The inside of the airport has also been massively redone, from the toilets to the concourses and shopping areas. The inside of the Airside Centre, in fact, feels not much unlike Shanghai Pudong!

However, it is the explosive growth of Beijing’s new air hub — Daxing International Airport, as it is sometimes known — that simply wows me in full. A few days back, I took my car for a spin, dashcam and other imaging devices ready, hoping to catch a glimpse of the new airport in the making. What I saw was enough to make me faint: basically miles on end of cranes and construction sites meaning that this new airport was about to become reality — very soon!

Yanqing: Just Upgrade It for an Upgraded Experience

Posted by on Jul 10, 2016 in Beijing, China | No Comments
Yanqing: Just Upgrade It for an Upgraded Experience

I was in Yanqing just a few days back. This part of Beijing joins Miyun as the last parts to be converted from county to district status. This wasn’t my first time to this part of the Chinese capital, but it was my first “real” trip inside the newly-upgraded district.

Yanqing is, admittedly, a fair bit away from central Beijing. Therefore, you can’t blame parts of it looking as if it was still stuck in the 1980s. However, it remains visibly vibrant. Just look on the main avenues… symbols of the Winter Games to come and winter sports symbols as well… All Yanqing really needs is a fuller upgrade and it’ll be good for two events — the 2019 World Horticultural Exhibition — and the 2022 Winter Olympics, together with central Beijing and Zhangjiakou.

Secondary Communications Inspection to begin as of 15 June 2016

Posted by on Jun 15, 2016 in Official David Feng Annoucement | No Comments

In the interests of security, all messages sent to David Feng directly, or to Tracking China and other applicable projects, are subject to secondary inspection. This applies to all messages sent which was received on or after 00:00 GMT on 15 June 2016.

Secondary Communications Inspections will apply to all forms of communications, including email, instant messaging, replies to or on social media platforms, text messages, letters, courier packages, facsimile, web forms, and all other relevant methods of communications. It is a goal that a message that is undergoing secondary inspection is cleared no later than 180 days following the day it first entered such inspection.

David Feng: From Swiss Visa to Swiss Passport

David Feng: From Swiss Visa to Swiss Passport

You’re seeing a black-and-white copy of the first part of my Swiss visa on my old, and now expired, Chinese passport. That was what I used to come to the Alpine republic. When I left for Beijing in 2000, I left Zürich Airport with the classic red booklet — the Swiss passport. The Swiss cross of worldwide fame was no longer restricted to a classical Wappe; it had taken over the entire cover of the passport.

Switzerland has given me so much for my past 12 years there. The country still continues to be part of what I do, day in, day out. Not sold? Here’s what it gave me…

David in London and the UK: Progress in Pictures

David in London and the UK: Progress in Pictures

I’m headed back to Beijing in around a month, after all these years in the UK. Beijing, indeed, is the place I was born in. I’ve always kept my homeland and Beijing close to me — and it shows in all the involvements I’ve been part of. In the past two years, I’ve been more involved academically, am a closer part of the London Chinese community, have been part of events and meetups amongst locals in London, have been closer to UK media and the rail world, and through all this, now understand the UK better — not least also through my travels to all 32 London Boroughs and The City, as well as all lines and stations on the London Underground and the DLR.

Beijing is the city of the future. Once back “in the Jing”, I’m going to be involved in the Chinese capital as never before. My main career is obviously going to be rail-centred, but I’ll also keep a firm footing in academia, Beijing’s international events, and particularly the Swiss community in Beijing and across all of China. The Beijing & Zhangjiakou 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics, as well as the building of the northern China megalopolis around Beijing, Tianjin, and Hebei, are stories that will define our time and are unique in their own right. This is where I’ll also come in with my own experience and know-how, as I do my part in making China and its people better off and living better lives daily.

Here’s a look back at 25 pictures of two highly successful years in Britain.

Lea Bridge Railway Station Springs (Back) To Life

Posted by on May 15, 2016 in London, Trains, United Kingdom | No Comments
Lea Bridge Railway Station Springs (Back) To Life

«Da isch ja mega, sehr geil!»

My favourite from the many Schmirinskis skits (of Swiss TV fame) was one involving one of these hors-la-loi skiing down an unauthorised path. After having cleared some distance, he let out a string of Alpine yodel-ish exclamations ending in «Da isch ja mega, sehr geil!», which literally means How cool is that!? in English…

Lea Bridge station came (back) to life in one — 31 years after it closed down. (For those of us born after 1985 however, it’d be the inaugural opening.) «Da isch ja mega, sehr geil!» was my first reaction, for not only was it my first-ever station opening (outside of Ji’nan West station of the Beijing-Shanghai HSR), but it was my first on non-Swiss, non-Chinese soil. I took the opportunity to take a fair number of pictures — mostly souvenir snaps, too.

My train to Lea Bridge departed at 20:08 from Ponders End (actually it departed a minute late. We pulled into Lea Bridge at 20:20:38 (that’s from my iPhone records), and I pushed the Door open button and the whole crowd erupted into wild cheer.

Across the Ø̈resundsbron to Malmö

Posted by on Apr 22, 2016 in Sweden, Trains, Travel | No Comments
Across the Ø̈resundsbron to Malmö

Europe can throw weird things at you.

Sweden is probably the third nation I’ve seen across Europe that has had its stations inspired by our Helvetic font now used by much of Switzerland — from federal government logos and passports through to street signs — Frutiger. (The first I’ve seen was the Netherlands, and the second, Austria.) We made a second stop at Triangeln before arriving at Malmö Central Station, which at platform level looked like a cross between a Beijing Subway Line 15 station and Stansted Airport Railway Station. The inside was much nicer, though, and it could have been seen as the Scanian version of Beijing’s south station.

David Feng is Not David Feng Without Switzerland

David Feng is Not David Feng Without Switzerland

I cannot think of a more exciting place to take centre stage in than the city of Beijing. And I cannot think of a better way of pulling this off than with all the elements of Swissness.

You see, Switzerland is now such a big element of me that I simply cannot be myself without being Swiss. First things straight, I have a Swiss passport. This red booklet is a design classic and opens the gates to around 170 countries and territories — no visas needed! It also is one of Europe’s most multilingual passports, and there’s also a lot of “cantonal elements of Swissness”: on the first 26 pages intended for visas and stamps are printed the iconic buildings of every Swiss canton. The one that’s closest to me? The Wasserkirche of Zürich, just by the Limmatquai.

In the same canton, Zürich, I went to international school for just around a decade. The Inter-Community School gave me my first stage to perform on — things got off to a start when I read along with a fellow student, on a stage, in front of the microphone, a poem in French. Stage fright instantly disappeared, and my trek and path to bigger-still stages began in Switzerland, 20 years ago. (That’s why I call it “Stage Swissness” — made in Switzerland!) Equally 20 years ago, also in Switzerland, I coded my first HTML page that would eventually be one of only three websites to make it to the “wider” Internet — as a student page of the school on the Internet.

To not to be Swiss is impossible chez moi.

Gemeindesaal Zumikon: The Place Where the David Feng Speaking Dream Began

Gemeindesaal Zumikon: The Place Where the David Feng Speaking Dream Began

I have to admit, I’ve mixed feelings when it came to the Gemeindesaal (or Community Hall, a “mini” City Town Hall of sorts) in Zumikon, Switzerland. It remained to me a lesser-favourite part of Zumikon, the place I went to school in Switzerland, for a fair bit of time — simply because we sat exams there — and it was rather scary. A grand hall for upwards of 500, converted to a hall of around 200-300 students sitting exams!

However, the whole thing changed on 14 December 1996. I remembered an audience that almost filled the entire hall — parents, kids, everyone, as everyone joined our school for an afternoon of performances just in time for the festive period. On a conservative count, I figured there were at least 200; more recently, I was told this figure could have been upwards of 500.

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