The week started with a trip to Dresden, where I gave a guest lecture on China and the "One Belt, one Road Initiative" at the Technical University in the Zentrum für Internationale Studien. It was a great pleasure to be back to Dresden and catching up. And I really enjoyed the quality of the students. As I had one day gap between my Dresden assignment and further meetings in Berlin, I decided hop over to Leipzig and stay there over night. I have fond memories of Leipzig from the time of the German-German reunification and heard recently that it would become for creative people, an alternative to Berlin (where the cost of living is rising). I went to the Museum der Bildenden Künste Leipzig, visited some galeries, and talked to a few people. But somehow, I could not confirm what many people say about Leipzig. Sure, my visit was very short and it always depends a lot on the angle how you enter a city. Then in Berlin, of course, it was easy to confirm that the city is "hip". In the start-up scene some people bragged how often they already went bankrupt. It's entertaining, but professionally there is not much to do for me there. The week ended with a meeting and lecture in Mannheim, as well as catching up at the Mannheim University Business School, where I had the chance to see the impressive new facilities on campus.
We are the only ones who have seen "Die grosse Chance" by Dieter M. Gräf and Nina Zlonicky in both: Beijing and Mannheim (Germany). In Mannheim, it is a group exhibition joined with Marvin Hüttermann and Irina Ruppert at Port 25 Raum für Gegenwartskunst. The exhibition will last until March 5th and circles around material remains of loved ones after they died. It creates a bridge between the environment they lived in and what it becomes when they are gone. Dieter re-published his book from Beijing in German with an appendix of the Beijing setup in The Three Shadows in Caochangdi, in the North-Eastern outskirts of Beijing.
After spending the week in Bonn, I gave a talk on the current reforms of Chinese State Owned Enterprises (SOEs) at Mannheim University Business School on Friday, and taught an introductory lecture on “Doing Business in China” for the Mannheim-ESSEC EMBA students over the weekend. The latter brought me to a small place in the beautiful Pfalz region, called Asselheim. There were nice and interesting classroom discussions, as the students were experienced and many of them well-travelled. Some though were slightly stunned by how different a realistic view on China is from a romantic one. I tried not to touch on the pseudo-cultural propaganda which they might have heard in a Confucius Institute, or the burp on “Guanxi” propagated in second grade management literature. Instead I told them, what my insights are and how things work (or don’t). Hope this provided them a short cut and helps practically.
Now is the Sunday of the Second Advent, and Christmas is approaching together with North-Eastern winds. So, the chances of getting a white Christmas are getting higher.