By HUI JIA
SHANGHAI (China Daily Show) – A foreign traveler who arrived in Shanghai two years ago, hoping to discover his untapped potential, spoke yesterday of his pain at coming to terms with the brutal realization that he was almost entirely without talent.
“As it happens, just going to a country which is in the limelight doesn’t make you special,” William “Bill” Higgs told China Daily Show. “Turns out, I’m actually kind of a waste of space.”
Higgs reluctantly concluded he possessed absolutely no potential whatsoever at approximately 8:30 on Saturday morning, after a set of shelves erected only minutes before collapsed, smashing an entire collection of jade Zodiac animals he had spent months sourcing from various antique markets in Yunnan Province.
But Higgs admitted the realization itself came after a string of failed endeavors.
“Bill first moved to Guangxi Province to work as an ESL teacher and, while the profession does play host to some very interesting and professional teachers, Bill was not one of them,” Yangshuo English Corner deputy principal Michael Watson recalled with a sympathetic smile.
“He didn’t know what he was doing and just sort of read textbooks aloud. Didn’t really matter though; parents don’t know the difference,” Watson added.
Higgs said he spent many days dreamily cycling and hiking through Guangxi’s beautiful karst landscape.
Despite bringing a notebook and set of paints on his travels, however, Higg’s muse yielded nothing more interesting than a series of insipid watercolors and banal written observations on China, that even he admits to being “sophomoric.”
The latter, published in a now-discontinued blog, caught the attention of Beijing Normal University literary expert Mao Mashan, who retweeted Higgs’s unqualified musings on politics and local cuisine on his Weibo account.
The resulting torrent of derisive comments forced Higgs to abandon to any artistic ambitions and instead attempt to go into business.
Higgs then tried his hand at translating, IT work and venture capitalism – but failed to make a single fen.
Many expats suffer “potential shortage,” says Beijing-based life coach Atkins Peiterman.
Maria Sharie, originally from Manhattan, came to China in 2002 already speaking fluent Chinese, but now works as a “freelance marketer and journalist” in Dalian. Yesterday she declined to give China Daily Show details of her recent commissions or published articles.
In fact, Peiterman estimates that around 60 to 70 percent of all expats have absolutely no potential or talent whatsoever.
“People like Mr Higgs often can’t seem to figure out that, despite their ability to pick up and move to another country, they are still just as pointless here as they were back home,” Peiterman noted. “Bill seems to have just twigged this. That’s good. It won’t help him in the slightest but at least he knows that now.”
Higgs, and foreigners like him, face an uncertain future in China– but will likely still remain for a long time. “I’ll probably stick around a few more years,” said Higgs. “Just to be sure.”
Tylenol contributed to this story
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