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, (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 , 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 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.


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