Saturday, July 09, 2005

Coming Home Next Sunday

It is Saturday night, motzi shabbos. I stayed in tonight to study for finals which will be all this week. I have come to terms with my reasons for being here, and I am comfortable with what I will get out of the courses I have taken. The names of the classes were "Chinese Legal System", "Chinese Intellectual Property Law", "World Intellectual Property Law", and "Foreign Direct Investments". From these classes, I have achieved the status of dipping my foot enough into the Chinese legal system to be able to relate to and to communicate with a Chinese individual or entity when they decide to market and/or protect their patents in the USA.

I came here with a belief and an expectation that in the next few decades, China will be a superpower wave that will be either harnassed or it will pass right over us. As a patent attorney, of course my practice will be based in the United States. I wasn't sure about this until after my course was over when I learned on the last day that in order to practice as a Chinese patent lawyer, one needs to be able to speak, to read, and to write Chinese AND to be able to read and understand Japanese because most of the patents in China are written in Japanese. This is just a quirky part of the system.

Plus, China for the next decade or so is still primarily a manufacturing country, producing and making other people's ideas. As a nation, it has not yet transformed into an innovative country with ideas of its own. It will, but this wave won't come for at least another few decades, so I would be very, very early. If I did want to work in China, it would have to be in the developing fields, namely mergers and acquisition, banking, bankruptcy, and the like. These fields would not only be extremely lucrative, but they would be fun because one would be pioneering the field which has not yet been done.

So as it looks, this has been a nice experience in comparative law. I've learned how their intellectual property system works, and now I will spend the next year learning how our intellectual property system works. If anything, I have broadened my knowledge of international patent law, and now knowing the treaties that the various countries have signed and their contents, I will be better prepared to deal with a customer who wants to protect and produce their idea in more countries than just in the Untied States. Of course when dealing with foreign countries, I will not be the one that writes up the patent, but I now know who to talk to and how to supervise the process, knowing the laws to which foreign attorneys are bound.

As for me personally, I am almost sad to see everything here end. I have met some quality people here in the Beijing community, and I have just begun to develop meaningful friendships and business relationships. It would be sad to leave so soon because I feel that all that I have accomplished here will have been lost because there is simply not enough time to develop the contacts I would have if I stayed here another six months or a year or so.

As for the language, I have been getting by fine. I have been learning Chinese from a Pimsleur course in Mandarin. This has allowed me to easily immerse into the Chinese culture and to be one of the people, so to speak. Most of all, through my studies of their history and their culture from both the legal point of view and from speaking to the natives, I have gotten an understanding of their mindsets and their belief systems. It is interesting to think that they believe that their species were literally born from a dragon. I also understand now why they were stopping and staring as I was walking down the alleyways of Xi'an with my beard down and smoke from a cigar coming out of my nose. I wonder whether in their hearts they were screaming "tatty, tatty!" :)

Anyway, five and a half weeks is too short to be in China if you want to have anything more than a superficial experience, and in my opinion it was more of a culture tease than anything. I wouldn't mind, if circumstances allowed, if I spent more time here.

Of course, on that same note, I am needed at home. My grandmother is sick, law school is starting up again, I need to secure employment, and a good friend of mine is getting married. Also, hopefully a shidduch who might one day be my wife is waiting for me to come home so we can meet (if G-d has decided to pay attention to my prayers.) None of this happens if I don't get on the plane and come home.

Yet then again, part of me has the sad expectation that nothing meaningful will happen once I get home. I will not find a job; there will be no shidduch waiting and even if there is, she will be of the same cheap quality as I have been exposed to so far. I will come home to the same mediocrity, with the same boring lifestyle and the same mediocre friendships that have the depths to them of puddles on a sidewalk. My cell phone will not ring, and more years of my life will be wasted away on meaningless experiences. I am just so tired of the way everything has been, and I need to figure out what needs to be changed and improved now before I get home. I need to shake up my life or I fear that I will die of boredom.

1 comment:

Rowan said...

keep believing in yourself, I am sure that you will be fine once you get home, and your personal balance will probably be set back right.