Mr Tom Lee & Friends

1999 > China

Tom rocks the boat with a little help from his friends

Tom’s Style Adjustment

The first time I met Tom, he didn’t believe who I was. He’d read my
website after a trip to Russia and offered to host me when I first arrived in Beijing, but when I
stepped off the train, he was waiting for a bearded wonder. Since it is
summer, and I’m not fighting snowdrifts, I’m clean shaven and I walked right
past Tom who didn’t recognize me. The next day, after I’d met most of his
friends while looking for him, he actually had the gall to ask for my passport
to verify my identity!

When Tom finally trusted me to be who I said I was, we became fast
friends. We also effected each others personal more than either of us care to
admit. When I first met him, he wore a bike helmet every time he rode his bike
in Beijing. Twelve million Chinese riding bicycles in Beijing and Tom is the only
guy in a bike helmet. Honestly, I was embarrassed to be seen with the freak
and I told him so.

With three month’s of exposure to my insane rule-breaking ways, Tom changed
his ways. He can now be spotted sliding down Beijing’s streets with wind
blowing through his hair, and a happy smile on his face. Look, without a
helmet, the crazy Canadian can even pick up girls on his bike!

To me, Tom gave me a new appreciation for immigrants. I’ve always
considered myself only one step from the boat, since my Dad is a naturalized
American from Mexico, but Tom, with Canton on his birth certificate and
Chinese face in the mirror, makes me see just how un-immigrant I really
am. Of course, don’t go thinking Tom considers China his home. If
you tried to take Tom’s Canadian passport from him, he’d display the same
patriotism as any red-blooded North American, and fight ya to the death for