China: HOME SWEET HOME-6 The lessons I learned living in a Studio Apartment in Xiamen, China

SPECIAL NOTE: Before I share with you about THE LESSONS I LEARNED LIVING IN A STUDIO APARTMENT IN XIAMEN, CHINA, here are 3 important photos of my visit to see my godson Jim Cai, with his father, mother and grandmother (grandpa is busy with his own factory)….David got a bigger factory where there is room for them to live in,,,I did not stay long, just one night because the weather was getting too hot for my taste…so I left after staying only one night visiting David. Quanzhou to Xiamen is only an hour train ride. I was truly impressed how far David has progressed in his young career…having his own factory making the products he designed and doing well in a relatively short period of time (3 to 5 years). On the way to the train station, he was telling and showing me the number of factories or competitors in baby business, many in fact owning and running larger factories than David. But David is determined to do it his way, and will compete with all the bigger and older guys, with more assembly line machines to put out more products for the markets, in China and outside China. With the nation now advocating and supporting three-child-policy (to correct the mistakes of the one-child policy of the past 30 or more years), baby business is the business of the hour! With his soft-spoken personality and iron will to pursue his dream, I know David will succeed in this competitive baby business. I have been telling him to put his son on the products…he said to me simply, Africa wants African baby faces on their products…I understand. He is seriously considering putting out products for China, the domestic market. He has his old boss HENGAN INTERNATIONAL to compete with in the domestic market. No matter what he decides, I know he will succeed, his way! 





While walking to my nearby neighborhood grocery store, I took my kitchen knife, and cut a few small branches from a tree, hanging over a fence, removed the leaves and used the RED String to make flowers, like a Japan plant…Smart Man, ahahaha…I assume there is a shop somewhere in Xiamen where I could go and buy some flowers to decorate the room…but I do not have a car, but I  have plenty of  IMAGINATION…and I am a RESOURCEFUL person…so it wasn’t difficult for someone like me to create the ENVIRONMENT I am happy with…money cannot buy everything! I used to tell my college students that because OF WHO I AM…YOU CAN PUT ME IN THE JUNGLES OF AFRICA, I WILL STILL CREATE THE ENVIRONMENT AS AN EXTENSION OF MYSELF…NOTHING COULD STOP ME FROM DOING IT…when I bought my first house in Washington State (outside Seattle)…I did same thing, I mean, the agent showed me a few neighborhood houses but I chose only one house, the one with the potential for me to redesign the environment I wanted for me…I saw the potential of this one particular house, and I bought it and I am still living in it since I bought it in 1990! Who you are will determine the world around you…socially, physically, philosophically and environmentally!!!



As you enter this STUDIO APARTMENT…i want it simple and functional…

BE IMAGINATIVE, BE RESOURCEFUL, BE ORGANISED…make sure you are an ORGANISED PERSON, so you use the space to benefit you and your mind, soul and body…FUNCTIONAL, AHAHAHA! Every space has its own purpose, and you make the best of it…this is a one room house, not the one I live in now outside Seattle…a house big and comfortable enough for a family of 4 or more people! As you can see, colors are critical to make a small space vibrant, lively and attractive…simple!


PHOTO OF THE BATHROOM (and the toilet)

You know, here you see the difference in our two cultures: chinese or oriental and American…in China, many times people would close the bathroom door, ahahahaha, not in America…we leave it open, why?

It is supposed to be clean…this is where I found a few bathrooms in China to be literally bad-smelling and not well ORGANISED, ahahaha

I bought a “squeezer” at Walmart and demonstrated it to Jake how to keep the bathroom clean and an enjoyable place to read your BIBLE or your favorite book…many Americans do that, ahahaha…so the squeezer is a simple tool to use, when you take a shower, make sure you use the water to clean all the corners of the bathroom and when you are done with shower, use the squeezer to mop it dry…it will make the bathroom, fresh and clean at all times, PLEASE AVOID WEARING YOUR SLIPPERS WHEN TAKING A SHOWER…too messy for the room. You should have a floormat at the bathroom door…and when taking a shower, you should leave your slippers outside…ahahahaha!



The Kitchen, it should be simple and ORGANISED, and you know where everything is..I bought a small microwave machine and a small table to go with it. The table is also very functional when cooking…enough space to place your plate or bowl…

In a studio apartment, the ability to UTILIZE SPACE is key to FUNCTIONALITY …you do not need a giant apartment to enjoy your life within your means, ahahahaha! Whereas in America, there was a time when the Kitchen became the center of gatherings of friends and relatives, a big enough area for you to entertain them while doing your cooking. The same was true about the American bathroom, big enough to have friends idly around with a glass of wine while engaging in friendship chats about everything!

BE ORGANISED when using a small space, for maximum utility and comfort…a sight that is both pleasing and enjoyable…


PHOTO of simple posters to add simplicity and elegance to the wall with the paper flower and reading lamp to indicate a place to relax after a long day at the office…





Jake bought this very elegant 6×3 feet table…for both of us to use, so I could use the Big Screen as an extension of my Lenovo computer to do all my work on my laptop, especially to write my next book KILL THE BABY: A NOVEL ABOUT LOVE AND SEX IN -=CHINA, ahahahahahaha! THIS IS CHINA IS 612-page book, my sex book will be about 300 or less, I hope.

My first attempt to decorate the room was to get a map at a bookstore in China. Strangely they do not have a map of China, ahahaha…Jake also use an external screen for his laptop…Jake at the moment is at Minnan University to finish his postgraduate papers…after I came to Xiamen in March 3, I decided for Jake to return to the campus to focus on finishing his papers, and not stayed with me at the apartment, ahahahaha! The campus would encourage him to focus on finishing his papers because his company, where he will do his internship, is waiting for him eagerly to return to work. This is Jake’s final year for his postgraduate studies in Information Security at Minnan University.






The key to this small apartment is how to use the small space to your advantage…a small living area to entertain friends and to have your regular meals…if i have the tools, I would make a small flexible low screen to divide the space between the bed and the sitting area…but I do not have the tools and the materials to do it…very simple to make…make a simple wooden frame…3 or 4 panels, foldable and standable, ahahaha…cover with colored paper or simple cloth, ahahahaha…but I do not have the tools to do it..



I wish I could make a simple partition with paper and rectangular panels, using some hinges…but without tools and accessibility to some simple wood to build the frames, I could visualize this paper-panel frame to divide this part of the room…living and sleeping area. Use your imagination, for now.






Since I do not have any kinds of tools in China for personal use, like the many household tools I have in USA…I kept how to have a headlamp for reading in bed…one day I stood in front of different kinds of dustpan…how to convert it into some kind of base for my reading lamp above my bed…finally thought came to me, to turn the dustpan upside down and use it between the wall and the bedpost…it seems to work great! BE RESOURCEFUL WHEN YOU DO NOT HAVE THE RIGHT TOOLS TO CONSTRUCT WHAT YOU WANT…BE CREATIVE!






Bob, is being rained to run a New Oriental English school in Wenzhou…I could not visit him a few weeks ago, because he was sent by his company for training in Wuxi…so he asked his boss if he could visit me in Xiamen, he came against his boss’ wish! Bob showed me how to catch Bus 29, costing onlly one rmb, to take the ride all the way from Software Park 2, where I have my apartment and where Jake can walk to work, all the way to the campus of the University of Xiamen, and on to Xiamen Gang, where I could take a boat to visit TKK campus, ahahahaha…a few of my phd Chinese friemds recemt;y visit me in USA and complained the obvious lack of Punlic Transit System in USA…here in China seems the cheapest in all my travels overseas…that is if you have the time and patience and learn how to use the bicycles and buses to get where you want to go, anytime of the day…I know DiDi is everywhere at your fingertips! Why pay more when you can ride the buses for very cheap fees!!!!

And finally, I hope you have learned something about me because I love China, the Land of my Ancestors and the long article I wrote about President Xi…(which I had sent to many friends near and far, and also a copy to the Chinese Consulate in California, and also a copy to the American Embassy in Beijing) who will be remembered for what he did and will do for China, and the world will forever be grateful and indebted to him for making it a better place–peaceful, harmonious and prosperous—for now and posterity.




SPECIAL NOTE: Since I returned from teaching in China in 2015, I had returned in 2016 for the Chinese New year, in 2017 because I had to deliver a lecture at the University of Malaya, and to Australia and New Zealand, and this year 2018, I came here March 2 to April 15, and will then fly to Finland and Lithuania and to London to spend some time with my sister. I expect to begin my new career in USA after I return July…to talk and to entertain about primarily China, land of my ancestors. I want the Americans to know the China that I had the privilege of knowing as a descendant of my ancestors, and as a visiting professor to China for 7 eventful years 2008 to 2014.  I will fly to Australia and New Zealand 2019 to see my other friends, and also someone in Melbourne had already invited me to talk about my new book  THIS IS CHINA. Everything is possible with God’s blessings. Life continues to surprise me with many opportunities to spread the good news of contemporary China, a new savior of the new world!

Peace passion power,  Steve  April 2, 2018 Xiamen, China

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s