2013/3/24 6:30:00 (By Chen Yingying)
Most of Chinese people who are over 60 years old may retire and return to their homes, sometimes go to parks doing some exercises and help their adult children to take care of their younger children. However, to William Irion, who comes from California of the U.S., and also is above 60-year-old, living in Kunming has a very different picture.
William Irion was being interviewed. Photo by Li Dong
Although Irion knows he is over 60 and accepts this reality, he still does a lot of work in his everyday life, the deeds of which shows that he is perfectly energetic and robust. His resonant voice, fast speaking speed, wide thoughts, and firm determination to do things prove he does not want to retire so quickly, and he could bring more benefits on work to others.
“I went to Qiu He, Deputy Secretary-General of CPC Yunnan Provincial Committee, asked him for helping to prolong my work permit in China. Through some verification processes, I eventually got permission to work in Kunming again,” Irion said. Indeed, due to his previous contributions to Kunming, he was awarded as a “special envoy” by Kunming government several years ago.
Before coming to Kunming, Irion had accumulated pretty rich experiences in doing business, promoting various kinds of trades among China, Japan and America, providing consultations to Chinese or American governments, and facilitating cultural and educational communications between China and America. Even now, he has found new French partners to cooperate with them in the agricultural field in Yunnan.
In his career, he met several influential celebrities, such as Henry Alfred Kissinger, a diplomat boosting friendship between China and America; Don Evans, the secretary of the Department of Commerce in America; Masaharu Kohno, a Japan’s general consul to Southern California and Arizona in America.
Because of his smart opinions on doing kinds of business, he accepted interviews from American and Chinese newspapers, including Los Angeles Times, Pacific Coast Business Times, People’s Daily of China, Kunming Daily, Spring City Evening Paper, etc.
Perhaps people who are familiar with Irion may count him as a generalist, a jack of all trades. He said he had done many jobs before, like being a Planning Commissioner for the Santa Paula city planning commission, a university facilities manager in California, an advisor for International Trade Development in the World Trade Center Association of California, and a planner and designer for B to B websites such as Japanesesspaces.com.
Besides roles he acted above, he learned other new things from different friends. He learned Chinese cooking ways by reviewing a writer’s cook book, got familiar with interior design and appreciated classical music by sharing ideas with expert friends in these fields. He also took time to watch some Chinese traditional theatres like Journey to the West. He majored in Asia history in 1970s, gaining a solid understanding of Chinese history, China’s relations with Japan, America, and can speak and read some Chinese.
In a word, throughout his working life, he is very international and open. In China, few people at his age can view things in a very broad way. Compared to some older Chinese people, he knows many specific differences among Chinese, American and Japanese people. He is familiar with Chinese, American, and Japanese people’s characters, views and perspectives. He can directly point out some differences among three countries’ governmental regulations and rules. He totally understood multi-cultural communications and those communication techniques and skills with foreign people.
He knows so many things and thinks it is very interesting to do so. Although he realizes that he is not very young any more, he keeps his open minds to receive anything he considers it is worthy. “I do not view things right or wrong, good or bad. Everything exists for a reason and with its special background. I just balance those positive and negative things, and find common ground for these things which seem to be going in opposite directions,” Irion explained to the journalist.
To put it another way, he excels in collecting all things together and then tactfully arranges them into the places which the things fit in most well. He seldom regards a thing in only one single aspect, but tries to evaluate a thing in general ways. His sophisticated experiences built up in his previous careers let him go on his successful business road all the way.