Switzerland has in my heart an extremely special position — it was the place that I grew up in, and it was my home for 12 years, from 1988 to 2000. It’s also the country I’m a citizen of. Settling overseas, very coincidentally right after being naturalised as a Swiss, makes me long for my homeland by passport. Growing up in such a special place during your special, young years, makes you weave seamlessly into the local, Swiss, Zürich fabric — from the way you do things, to the way you see issues, big and small. (In the eyes of Swiss nationality law, which regards residency in the country between ages 10 and 20 as double the actual figure when it comes to qualifying for citizenship, I had not settled in Switzerland for “merely” 12 years: the law saw my number of years closer to 20! And in the new law, which is expected to take effect soon, my figure, as new legislation might see it, would go up to become 24!)
My Swiss passport is not just a “travel document” or “souvenir”; far more, it is a reminder of my Swiss upbringing, Swiss home, Swiss identity, and Swiss years, and whenever I’m on the go, I’d always take a moment out, where I can, to tell people more about the Switzerland that is not restricted to the “typical Switzerland” (chocolate, army knives, or mountains). By appearance, I do admit that, appearances-wise, I might not look exactly like “the average Swiss” (then again, with 26 cantons, each of them quite unique, there’s not “really” an “average Swiss!”), but if you were to call me on my mobile, I wouldn’t sound foreign at all (Züridüütsch, mitenand?), and a good number of values I subscribe to are quite, well, Swiss! The fact that people like me, who have woven themselves into the Swiss social fabric successfully, are considered “one of us”, continues to show me how open my Swiss homeland is — especially for those who are happy to play along and be a “plus” in a country where the flag itself is (literally!) a “big plus”!
MY SWITZERLAND IN THE WORLD INVOLVEMENTS
I currently contribute articles to the Newly Swissed website.
Upon my imminent return to Beijing, one of my first priorities will to be an active part of the Swiss communities in the Chinese capital. In the meantime, here’s a look at my past commitments in Beijing:
- 18 March 2012: Spoke about Chinese and Swiss railways at the Chinese High Speed Railway Travel Cooperation Conference, Beijing
- 20 May 2010: Spoke about Chinese, Swiss, and other international TV channels’ prime time news shows at the Communication University of China, Beijing