I spent nine years of my early career as a journalist and foreign correspondent for Forbes. As a result, I’m a little more indifferent than most to seeing my name in print. With one exception. I do catch a thrill seeing my name in the Chinese press.
An example: “中国首创投资创始人总裁Peter Fuhrman认为中国的创业板企业规模太小，经历较少。企业对上市应保持冷静，应该把重点放到企业自身发展上来。” (http://www.p5w.net/stock/news/news/200907/t2478066.htm)
I participated in a panel discussion at a well-attended two-day Private Equity conference in Shenzhen last week. The event got some press coverage in China, and I seemed to get more than my share of it. I spoke in Chinese – or more accurately, my own overly-enthusiastic and grammatically-haphazard version of the language.
The next day headlines should have been “American Investment Banker Maims Our Mother Tongue at Shenzhen Meeting” . But, the media were far too polite, and instead explained my views on the opening of Shenzhen’s new stock market, the Growth Enterprise Market, later this year.
I reiterated the point made earlier in this blog, that while the GEM affirms the signal importance of SME in China’s economic future, the stock market itself may inadvertently perpetuate a problem already rampant: of SME going public too early, without the scale to support a successful IPO or perform well once listed.
One of the articles I saw was illustrated by a photo from the event, taken during the panel. It catches me in full rhetorical flow, gesturing in a way that looks like I’m trying to swat my Chinese words out of mid-air. Not a bad idea, actually.
Yesterday, two different Shenzhen newspapers had other articles about China First Capital. One of them is shown above, with the article on CFC at the bottom center.
There is something deeply satisfying in seeing my name sandwiched amid large passages of Chinese text, like this, from a different article: “上海国际创业投资、股权投资论坛17日上午在上海华亭宾馆召开。与会嘉宾围绕创业板、投资人和创业者间联动；如何充分利用创业板机会；如何推动创业投资创新发展等话题展开讨论。以下是嘉宾Peter Fuhrman发言实录。”
If I spend the time, with online dictionary at-the-ready, I can translate each passage into English. But, long before I extract the meaning, I’ve already enjoyed the symbolism of it, of seeing my name as a very small element in a much larger Chinese context.
The metaphorical significance is absolutely apt. My life in China is an identical process, of me being incorporated and subsumed into a much-larger, infinitely-complex, often incomprehensible Chinese whole.