Evan Villarrubia: Portrait: Mr. Fu, Our Chinese Paisano
From Portrait of an LBX blog, written by Evan Villarrubia:
We met Mr. Fu by pure happenstance in front of a little store outside his family’s colossal home in the mountain village of Fangshan, Zhejiang (浙江省芳山村). Standing near 5′4″ (1.63 meters), a little round in the middle, wearing a modest suit of Chinese clothes, and speaking in a soft, slightly raspy voice, Mr. Fu is hardly what you’d call an imposing figure. Nevertheless, he is a distinctly Chinese success whose generosity moved us and whose account is worthy of retelling.
Mr. Fu’s story started just after the turn of the last century in distant metropolitan Wenzhou, at the opposite corner of Zhejiang province. His grandfather, then a young, poor man in the city, decided to forego the rat race and boldly moved all on his lonesome to bamboo-encrusted Fangshan, at the time completely uninhabited. Over time more Fu’s and other families moved into the area and developed the agriculture until eventually it became a Wenzhounese enclave among the mountains of Northern Zhejiang. Fast forward to the 1990’s, and in the true Wenzhou spirit nearly a hundred Fangshan’ers are living and doing business in Europe, mostly in Italy with smatterings in France and Germany. Not bad for a village of 800.