A Cana­dian finds suc­cess in Xi’an

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE -

dur­ing the Qin Dy­nasty (221207 BC) and that it was one of the most de­sir­able places for for­eign­ers.

“I like history and read a num­ber of books about Chi­nese history, but I never knew Xi’an,” Vegh said.

Not long af­ter he came to Xi’an, he met Xue Lin­rong, a woman who is three years younger and was his then-col­league.

The cou­ple fell in love and they later mar­ried. To­day, Xue is a stay-at-home mom and Vegh is owner of his own 3D an­i­ma­tion com­pany, lo­cated in the city’s well-known Qu­jiang Cul­tural Of­fice Build­ing.

In the years he has been liv­ing in Xi’an, Vegh has grad­u­ally grown used to the city and en­joys the an­cient Chi­nese city he has now learned much about.

When he first came to Xi’an, he worked as an English teacher in a lo­cal school and then he es­tab­lished his own firm, selling cos­met­ics online. He tried to learn Chi­nese, but he has only been able to muster a few sim­ple words.

“I have very poor lan­guage tal­ent and think Chi­nese is the most dif­fi­cult lan­guage for me to learn,” he said. “How­ever, I still can easily com­mu­ni­cate with lo­cal res­i­dents be­cause the peo­ple wher­ever I meet with them can speak English. And my wife can be my trans­la­tor as her univer­sity ma­jor was English.”

For­eign­ers learn about the city by read­ing guide­books about its an­cient ar­chi­tec­ture, im­pe­rial tombs and de­li­cious snacks. Vegh sees it as a city with an­cient relics, but also mod­ern in­fra­struc­ture and high-tech in­dus­tries. The city has an air­port, sub­way sys­tem, high-speed rail­way and highways, all newly built.

“The rapid de­vel­op­ment of Xi’an is in­cred­i­ble,” Vegh said. “In the past 20 years, Toronto planned to re­build an old high­way, but it did not start the pro­ject till now. But in Xi’an in the past 15 years, the sec­ond and third ring roads, as well as a ring ex­press­way had been built one af­ter another.”

Vegh en­joys shar­ing with his visi­tors things to see and do in Xi’an. He proudly points them to the ter­ra­cotta war­riors and horses and the Qu­jiang Tangstyle Mall, which is lo­cated near Qu­jiang Cul­tural Of­fice Build­ing. The build­ing, where his of­fice is lo­cated, cov­ers a to­tal area larger than three Pen­ta­gons or 20 Syd­ney Opera houses.

On week­ends, Vegh, his wife and two chil­dren, like other lo­cal res­i­dents and tourists, of­ten go to Qu­jiang New Area, a newly-de­vel­oped com­mer­cial dis­trict with a large num­ber of plazas and restau­rants.

“We like to eat noo­dles in the res­tau­rant, the best noo­dle res­tau­rant in the city, and we also like the ice cream and pizza with in­ter­na­tional brands there,” Vegh said.

The fam­ily of­ten stays there for the whole day to en­joy shop­ping, movies and other en­ter­tain­ment pur­suits, such as skat­ing.

“Xi’an has at least five tourism at­trac­tions listed in UNESCO World Her­itage Sites, and driv­ing out of the city, you can also ar­rive at other world fa­mous tourism spots not far from the city,” he said.

He en­joys alpine pur­suits very much and when he came to Xi’an he found his way to Mount Huashan, a well-known moun­tain lo­cated some 120 kilo­me­ters from Xi’an.

“I still re­mem­ber very clearly that I stood on the moun­tain at night 15 years ago and felt that I was so near to the stars and sky as I looked into the dark sky and twin­kling stars,” he said.

Although Vegh speaks only sim­ple Chi­nese, his two sons are learn­ing Chi­nese cul­ture in the lo­cal school and his youngest son even took part in shoot­ing a film and TV pro­gram.

Be­sides the happy fam­ily life, Vegh’s ca­reer has proven suc­cess­ful. His 3D an­i­ma­tion de­sign busi­ness is boom­ing.

To learn the ropes of 3D de­sign, Vegh at­tended a lo­cal univer­sity for three months of train­ing.

He es­tab­lished the com­pany in 2009. Not bad for a man born into a very mod­est fam­ily who had to work at age 15.

Wang Peng, one of the six em­ploy­ees work­ing in Vegh’s com­pany, said Vegh is an an­i­ma­tion game ex­pert.

“We get along like friends and we can fully ex­press dif­fer­ent views dur­ing our work. But he is re­ally a ge­nius and of­ten gives us new and in­cred­i­ble ideas for an­i­ma­tion de­sign,” Wang said.

“I can­not tell the an­nual out­put of our firm, but em­ploy­ees make be­tween 70,000 and 80,000 yuan ($11,276 to 12,886) in an­nual salary, which is higher than that in some other com­pa­nies in the city.”

Vegh said his dream is to shoot a huge an­i­ma­tion film to tell the long history of China.

PRO­VIDED TO CHINA DAILY.

Matt Vegh

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