A musician went looking for Xiamen—and found herself (and a puppy)

I had always imagined myself, as a half-Chinese woman born in Hong Kong, arriving in China for the first time and fitting in straight away. In all my fantasies, my Cantonese slid naturally into perfectly intelligible Mandarin, and everyone I met became my brother or sister.

A trip to China, I knew, would be the spiritual equivalent of dropping in the final piece to win a game of Connect Four. All I had to do was get there.

This spring, a four-week music residency in Xiamen, Fujian province, gave me a chance to test that theory. Arriving on a steamy April day, I was taken to Gulangyu, a small, picturesque island next to the metropolis, where I would be given a space to build a studio. The residency was part of the British Council and PRS Foundation’s Musicians in Residence China program.

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Fate, Play, Love is a story from our issue, “Fast Forward.” To read the entire issue, become a subscriber and receive the full magazine. Alternatively, you can purchase the digital version from the App Store.


Emma-Lee Moss is a contributing writer at The World of Chinese.

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