The man who hasn't seen snow

Updated: 2015-01-23 07:39

By Richard Lim(China Daily)

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The man who hasn't seen snow

Li Min/China Daily

I had expected snow. But this is already the middle of winter, and I have yet to see any snow, although there had been two brief (and too brief) light snowfalls recently.

Seasoned expatriate colleagues tell me it is unlikely that it will snow in Beijing this winter. Local colleagues say Beijing hasn't seen much snowing in the past several winters.

I have never seen real snow before. Ever.

I come from tropical Singapore, and although I traveled once or twice a year, every year since my late 20s, I had always done so in the summer months. When I visited Sydney and Melbourne on separate occasions, it was during the early part of the year, when it was summer Down Under.

I had been on three two-month long fellowships - to Japan, the United States and Britain - but those were held in the summer breaks too.

The only city I visited during autumn and winter is Xiamen in eastern China's Fujian province, where temperatures generally do not dip below 10 C.

This is the first time I am living through the autumn and summer months in the country's colder north. I must admit this is late for my age - I'm in my mid-60s - still, what can I say? Better late than never. So I am grateful for the opportunity.

There may be no snow, but the cold weather here is of novelty value to me. My first experience of what it felt like to be brrr-cold was when I visited the award-winning architectural project Commune by the Great Wall.

This was during the National Day holidays last year, when the weather was fine in the city and I had not prepared for the chill - 8 C - outside of the city and up in the hills.

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