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Not all Chinese people are engineers

Having spent most of my life in Silicon Valley, I'm always somewhat surprised when I leave here to find that most Chinese people don't work in the high-tech industry. It testifies to how much of a bubble I live in. In our Chinese church, 95% of the working people (including the Chinese-speaking congregation) are engineers. We have one remodeling contractor and no doctors, nurses, or lawyers.

Last week I was in Bournemouth, a city on the south coast of England, to speak at a discipleship training camp. We had an amazing speaker-participant ratio - there were four teachers (including myself) and twenty students. Even though the conference was conducted in English, half of the participants were overseas Chinese. As far as I can tell, there is no Chinese church in Bournemouth so Chinese students attend local international churches/fellowships. There is a significant foreign student population in the city due to its abundance of language schools. The Chinese people I met in Bournemouth make a living through services and small business - running a Chinese restaurant, selling UK infant formula families back in China, and working in service and retail. Two students I met were studying to become hotel pastry chefs. Out of the dozens of Chinese people I met, no one worked in the high-tech industry. No one was an engineer. That was so weird.

And yet even my experience in San Jose is narrow. Most people in our church live in Almaden Valley. It is hardly representative of the rest of San Jose. The American-born Chinese in our area are well-educated and affluent. Often the best way to understand the boundaries of the bubble we live in is to escape its confines. Its a better way to see ourselves and understand how limited our view of the world is.


  1. It's important for me to get out of the Silicon Valley regularly (preferably overseas!) so that I remember that most places are not like this area.

    I was recently in Vienna, Austria where people still sit outside coffeehouses and either watch the world go by or engage in a conversation with a friend with NO phones out or even on the table. What a refreshing sight!

    PS: I'm an ABC in the Silicon Valley, and I'm not an engineer. =D

    1. In Bournemouth, I went to a cafe with a group of overseas Chinese students and everyone under the age of 28 was on their phone. Some things don't change no matter where you are.

      You appear to be an avid reader and I like your book reviews. I've wondered about books like Magicians and Year of Living Biblically. I'll pass on the former and go for the latter.

  2. If i find a good institute for study in my country then it is worthy to study abroad because it cost 10 times more then own country. for more info


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