Hi, I'm Bruce from Scotland, although many Chinese people call me Lao Bu or the “Sugelanderen”. I first came to Beijing in 1987. In the summer of 1987, I was coming on a train journey all the way from Scotland, right down through Europe, Asia, all the way through China, eventually terminating in Hong Kong before flying back to the UK. It was a journey of a lifetime, because I saw China for the first time, and I saw Beijing for the first time. The Beijing that I saw in '87 was not really the Beijing that I got to know, because we saw Tian Tan, the Great Wall, Gugong, the Summer Palace. But, we never saw the hutongs, the parks, the Lao Bai Xing. That was years later, before we really start discovering the heart, the soul of Beijing.
嗨，我是布魯斯，來自蘇格蘭，不過許多中國人叫我“老布”或“蘇格蘭的人”。我第一次來北京是在 1987 年。那年夏天，我坐火車從蘇格蘭出發，一路途經歐洲、亞洲，穿越中國，最后在香港停靠，然后飛回英國。那是一次永生難忘的旅程，因為我第一次看到了中國，第一次看到了北京。1987 年我所看到的北京并非我真正了解的北京，雖然我們看到了天壇、長城、故宮和頤和園，但是我們并未見過胡同、公園和老百姓。多年之后，我們才真正開始發現北京之靈魂所在。
When I came to Beijing the first time, it was so different to the homeland I'd left back in Scotland. We came to China at a time when there were no mobile phones, in fact it was very difficult to make a phone call. Many people were still on the bicycles. It was a city that was in transformation, because we were in, almost, the early days of the opening up and reform period of the new China that was really emerging. And it was at a time when there were not many foreigners coming to China. So we were a great curiosity for the people. When I went to the Great Wall, so many people gathered around, wanting to talk with me, wanted to say "Hello", shake hands. It was just, you felt almost like a movie star, but it was so, so many crowds there. But it was just so different.
And also, the food was very different to what I had expected. Because, back in Scotland, we had obviously Chinese restaurants from the Chinese community who lived in Scotland. But the food…I discovered we were having Western Chinese food in Scotland. In Beijing, we're having the Beijing roast duck, we're having a whole range of vegetables that I'd never seen before. We're trying Chinese beer that I've never had before. And it was just quite different to experience this cuisine, which I really appreciated. But it was just, how different it was. 而且，食物也出乎我的意料。因為，在蘇格蘭，我們確實有住在蘇格蘭的中國人開的中餐館，但是食物卻……我發現在蘇格蘭我們吃的是西式中餐。在北京，我們吃北京烤鴨，還有各式各樣、我從來沒有見過的蔬菜。我們品嘗了以前從未喝過的中國啤酒。品味這些美食真的感覺非同凡響，我真的心存感激。中國美食真的無與倫比。
And of course, I was traveling in the trains which I love. And the trains, again, very different. It may be 18 coaches, almost 2,000 people traveling in a train for something like 30 hours. Everything was different. It was a new experience. Unfortunately that first journey was only a few days, and not enough time to really get to know the city, which came much later.
Well, my passion, and really, hobby is taking photographs. Here we are sitting in this lovely restaurant here with a lot of my photographs actually on the wall, of images I've taken of Beijing. In the early days in Beijing, the city was so different to the cities I'd left behind, Glasgow and Edinburgh, back in Scotland. It was a city that was in the early stages of development. I'd see many people still on the bicycles. People would dress quite differently to what I'd been used to. Many people were out doing exercises, doing performances in the street. So it was very photogenic.
Also, places like the Gugong, the palaces, the Great Wall were wonderful for photography, because most people back in Scotland had never been to China. They'd never experienced this. I was seeing these places and photographing them. It was excellent. But, if we come nearer the present day, what we now have in Beijing that makes it so interesting for photography, is you've got an amazing contrast between some of the most modern architecture of the 21st century.
Combine that with historical buildings, the Ming Dynasty temples, like the Zhihua Temple, that is there with a background to the Galaxy SOHO and you've got... There's a place at Tuanjiehu Park, where you've got the CCTV building and the People's Daily building contrasting with the older traditional architecture that you see in the parks. The area all around Hujialou, where you've got the buildings from…workers apartment buildings from the 1950s contrasting with the 530 meter China Zun Tower.
你可以想象下，照片上有著歷史建筑，明代寺廟，比如智化寺，遠處的背景佇立在銀河SOHO大廈，那么……在團結湖有一處地方，可以同時拍到央視大樓、人民日報大樓與公園中的古建筑，達到鮮明的對比效果。而在呼家樓周邊，可以看到 1950 年代的工人公寓大樓和 530 米高的中國尊形成鮮明對比。
So you have this, but you only have to walk around the streets. Where you'll see some of the most modern buses, the most modern cars. But then you'll see somebody coming along on a bicycle cart. You've got this contrast that is there, when you look for it. 這些都有，只需要在街上走走就能看見。在街上您會看見一些最現代化的公共汽車、最現代化的小轎車。然后您可能會看見有人開著胡同游三輪車過來。只要尋找，總能找到這種對比。
And when you're going through some of the older alleys you can find this, people still going about their traditional ways. In fact, not even far from where we are here, up here at the Dong San Huan, quite nearby I live a Hutong near Sanlitun. Yesterday, I was walking past The Square, and in The Square, the people, dozens and dozens of people in the evening were out doing the dancing like I used to remember. People would do all over China. I just stood, and I watched this with a background to modern buildings. People were still doing the traditional Tai-Chi, the behavior from years gone by. This is what can really make it, for me, every day something interesting.
Beijing, there are many. There are scenes you can have that are very traditional, people see them as iconic images of Tianjin. But you can always capture wonderful views. For example, when you go to the Gugong and you go down to the Northeastern corner of the moat, just below the Jingshan Park. When you're looking along there, you've got the Northern gate of the Forbidden City. If you can be there at the right time, when the sun is setting behind the Northern gate tower, and you get this wonderful image of historic Beijing. There's nothing modern. There's nothing, no high rise. There's nothing there to suggest the 21st century. You've got the very traditional images of Beijing.
在北京，有好多處。你可以看到一些非常傳統的場景，人們視其為代表性景象。你總是能夠捕捉到迷人的景色。比如，當你去故宮，走到景山公園下面，護城河的東北角，沿著那兒往前看，你就會看到紫禁城的北門。如果你來得正巧，就能看到太陽落在北城樓之后，這可是歷史性的奇觀。沒有現代景象。沒有高樓大廈。不存在讓人聯系到 21 世紀的東西。只是欣賞著真正的老北京。
Or, I mentioned the Jingshan Park. When you take visitors there, particularly on the weekend, a Saturday or a Sunday. You go in there and you can have maybe thousands of people who are doing exercise, playing musical instruments, doing traditional dancing. People, you know, maybe several hundred people, together singing songs with full vigor. It can be, again, inspiring and you feel very welcome, very friendly to walk around. 我提到過景山公園。當你帶游客去那里，特別是在周末，周六或周日去時，你到公園里面，可能會看到成千的人在運動、演奏樂器、跳傳統舞。人們，可能有幾百人，聚在一起，精力充沛地歌唱。同樣地，這非常鼓舞人心，充滿善意，讓你覺得賓至如歸，想要多逛逛。
Or, to go around the hutongs when you know which alleys to go to down near Dashilar. You have the people come along in the bicycle carts, still coming along. Although, nowadays maybe it's electric bicycle carts. There's also a lot of beer bottles clattering, shouting, "Pichu! Pichu!" or some man with his bird cage cart there, or the pigeons flying in the sky with the sound of the jet whistles behind them. The school children going to school in the winter, wearing the yellow, we call a balaclava. The yellow woolen hats that keep them warm. They all say, "Hello, hello, hello." You know, you walk into an old market down there and you see all the vegetables, the food, the bread being produced. Images of old Beijing, they're still there for us to go and find. 或者，如果你知道哪條巷子通往大柵欄，你可以轉轉胡同，那里總有來來往往的胡同游三輪車。不過，現在可能是電動三輪車。此外，有人砸著酒瓶，大叫著，“啤酒！啤酒！”，有人帶著鳥籠遛鳥，鴿子“咕咕”著從空中飛過。冬天學生們上學時帶著黃色的頭罩，我們稱之為巴拉克拉瓦頭套。這種黃色羊毛頭罩可以保暖。他們都打招呼說：“你好，你好，你好。”走進后面的舊市場，你可以看見各種蔬菜、食物、正在烤的面包。老北京印象，它就在那里，等待我們去尋找。
But in the middle of it all, you've got very modern facilities, the Metro. When I came to Beijing, we had two Metro lines. We had a Circle Line and we had the East-West line. The East-West Line terminated at Xidan. What have we now got? It's about 20 Metro lines, I don't know, I've lost count. I cannot tell you how many Metro lines there are in Beijing anymore. Because every day, there always seems to be a new line opening. Yet in the past, we had... That Circle Line that I used so many times, because I used to get the train to Yonghegong and Dongzhimen many, many, many, many times. And I knew all that area so well.
And then suddenly, they were building Line 13. Then they were extending Line 1. Now, I don't know how many lines we've got. 但其間可以看到非常現代化的設施——地鐵。我剛來北京時，這兒有兩條地鐵線，一條地鐵環線和一條東西線。東西線終點是西單站。我們現在有多少條地鐵線了？ 大概 20 條，我不知道，記不大清楚了。我現在沒辦法告訴你北京有多少條地鐵線了。因為似乎每天都會開通一條新線路。然而在過去，我們有……我坐過好多次的環線，因為我曾經乘地鐵去過很多很多次雍和宮和東直門。我對那一帶非常熟悉。然而突然間， 13 號線建起來了，然后延伸了 1 號線。現在，我不知道北京有多少條地鐵線了。
It's funny you mentioned Tiananmen Square, Tiananmen Guangchang. One of my great memories there, if you can remember this particular special date. If I say "Eight-eight-eight," all right? The Eighth of August, 2008 was a very special day in Beijing, because that was the day of the 29th Olympic Games. At that time, I was working with Radio Beijing, and I used to have my own program that was called Bruce in Beijing, Lu Bu Zai Beijing.
你提到了天安門廣場，這很有趣。天安門廣場。那里有我最美妙的一段回憶，提示下，那是個特別的日子。如果我說“8-8-8”，猜到了嗎？北京的2008 年 8 月 8 日，是個非常特別的日子，因為那一天，第 29 屆奧運會在京開幕。那時，我在北京電臺工作，當時我有檔節目，叫做《布魯斯在北京——老布在北京》。
And I was asked to go down, with some of my colleagues, to the Tiananmen Square in the morning, early in the morning of the eighth of August. I remember right in the middle of the Square were all these people were performing traditional dances, exercise, all as part of the opening ceremony. We were there in the middle of all these people doing this great performance, and it was really inspiring. It was wonderful. And after that, we came out of the Main Square into the side roads down at the Tiananmen Dajie. What we had to do was go up to foreigners, walk up, put your hand out and say, "Ni hao, Beijing huanying ni! Welcome to Beijing!" Because this was a day when so many people had come to Beijing, and we were out there welcoming people and saying "Hello." The people think it's great to be here, just love it. It was a fabulous time to be here, at the start of the Olympic Games.
8 月 8 日清晨，我和一些同事被派去天安門廣場。記得，就在廣場中央，所有人都在表演傳統的舞蹈、武術，這是開幕式的一個環節。我們就在進行精彩表演的人群中央，那真是激動人心。非常棒。之后，我們走出主廣場，進入天安門大街的小路。接下來我們要做的就是走向外國人，伸出手，說：“你好, 北京歡迎你！歡迎來到北京！”因為這一天許多人來到北京，我們在那兒歡迎大家，說著“你好”。人們覺得在這里很高興，就是喜歡這里。奧運會開幕之際，我在那兒度過了非常美好的時光。
Mm-hmm. I think, for me, I come from a city of Glasgow in Scotland. And the motto, the slogan for the city is "People make Glasgow", right? "People make Glasgow." To me, a city is about people. It's the people that actually, I think, are what makes a city so interesting, so fascinating.
And when I used to live... For example, I stayed in a small Siheyuan. Part of a Siheyuan, a courtyard. I was facing a Hutong, in Houyuan’ensi Hutong, near Jiaodaokou. Every morning, I would love to go out and walk in the early morning along the alleys, the hutong alleys. Watch the ordinary people, people might be called the Lao Bai Xing. The ordinary people doing their shopping, doing their exercises, taking their children to school. People saying hello to me, and I found photographing the ordinary people is something I still do.
I still love photographing the people. Particularly photograph in monochrome, photograph in black (and white). And I used to say to him sometimes, to be here, for example, I say, "People in China are very, very noisy." I always say that. “People get together in China, always very noisy.” When we were back to Scotland, I said to him "Ben, the Chinese people are very quiet." Remember that, Benny? Two weeks ago in Scotland. I said... We were in a, in a cafe bar in Glasgow, I was like this, “The people, especially the women, when we were drinking beer, just getting noisier and noisier.” As I said, we will never say Chinese people are noisy. They are so much quieter. But it's true. You know...
One of my happiest moments in Beijing was actually living in the Hutong areas. The first Hutong I stayed in was based in Qiaosantiao, where I stayed in a hotel, The Huaqiao Fandian quite near Yonghegong. That was 1994. To go out every morning, walk around the Hutongs, and there, in a time when there were very few cars in Beijing. People were still mostly walking or using bicycle. It was an introduction to Hutong, but I always wanted to have a real Hutong life, and that started in 1999-2000. When I stayed in a room as in part of a Siheyuan, a traditional Beijing courtyard home, at Houyuan’ensi Hutong, near Jiaodaokou.
在北京，我最快樂的時光實際上是在胡同里居住的時光。我住的第一個胡同位于橋三條，當時住在賓館里，（那家賓館叫）華僑飯店，靠近雍和宮。那是1994 年。我每天早上都會出門，在胡同里逛逛，當時北京的車還不多，人們出門主要是步行或騎自行車，這是我的胡同初體驗。但我一直很向往真正的胡同生活，而那始于 1999 年到 2000 年。當時我住在四合院的一個房間里，四合院是北京帶有庭院的傳統住宅。我住的地方位于后圓恩寺胡同，在交道口附近。
To me, living in the Hutong was the ideal. We call it the epitome of Beijing life. Where you simply got up in the morning, had a cup of tea, go out into the courtyard, sit there by the long corridor. Sit and work at the birds flying around the, pigeons flying in the sky above you. Or to, go out into the alley, and people would go "Ni hao, good morning. You know, Huanying! Huanying!" and talk to me. You would have the, again, the people on the bicycle cars delivering goods to homes, calling you all the cries. "Bring out your rubbish, bring out your old goods." Or, "Do you want beer?" Or, "Do you want a dumplings?" And it was there that I got to know the people from the local areas. Going into the local restaurants, and there were many local restaurants at that time. The food was very, very cheap. And you go in, you got, you know, a meal, you could sit there for maybe an hour or two hours, and just watch the life in the Hutong outside: the people passing on the bicycles; sometimes the people carrying the bamboo poles, carrying things along the alleys.
There was always this movement of people. And in the evening, people would be exercising, dancing. Or the morning they’d also be doing morning exercise, doing Tai-Chi. And this became a lifestyle that I particularly enjoyed. To get up in the morning to, walk from Houyuan’ensi Hutong, pass by Nanluogu Xiang, head across to Tiannamen, get into the lake areas of the Shichahai, and start walking right around all the lakes of the Shichahai every morning. And just sit, sometimes look at the lake, look at the birds, look at the boats. In the winter, it'd be frozen. There would be ice, people would be skating on the ice. People would have the portable barbecues, cooking the, you know, yangrou on a stick on the, the barbecue beside the Lake. It was very much a Beijing that, again, I fell in love with. And In fact, I used to adopt all these names even today, on my WeChat, I was known as Bruce in Beijing. You know, and even though I'm back in Scotland, I'm still posting photographs under the title Bruce in Beijing. My radio program with radio Beijing was called Bruce in Beijing.
I was also doing writing for Beijing This Month, where I had a regular column in the newspaper. Wait, wait. I used to write every month for the magazine Beijing This Month, the official guide to the city. My feature was introducing Beijing, so every month I would go for a walk, whether it'd been a Hutongs, or down to the Tian Tang area, Tian Qiao area. Find parts of the city to walk through, to describe them, to talk about them, photograph them, and introduce these areas to the people. That's how I got to know Beijing, by going out walking every day to find new parts of the city. Find areas where people have never been to, and talk to this.
Then sometimes I'd bring tour groups on study tours of China, which start to off in Beijing. And here I will take the people around the alleys down to Dashala. I show them all the back alleys of Dashalar, where you still had many traditional food being cooked. Many activities you don’t see the modern city. You bring people, let them see this, and again, they just love to see these aspects. But it was always my way of discovering the city. It was walking.
I got radio station in the early days, introducing Beijing. I'd be out with a microphone and record the, and I would go to places, record the sounds of the birds, the sounds of the bicycles, record the sounds of the people, you know, calling out. The various sounds of the Hutongs. Record this and make programs about the Beijing that I particularly loved I was experiencing.
Okay. Why I found Beijing so attractive. I'll be honest, my earlier days in China, I was living in South China, in Guangzhou. And I really enjoyed living in Guangzhou. It was very dynamic, very, very busy. Shenzhen was developing, and it was a fascinating time to be that part of China.
But, it's when I came to Beijing that I realized that here was something quite different. Because, Beijing in 1994 had not developed to the same level as Guangzhou. Now, you know, a lot of it has, of course. But at that time Beijing still had a lot of the traditional aspects of Chinese life that I particularly loved.
但是，當我來到北京，我意識到了這里的特別之處。因為在 1994 年，北京發展得沒有廣州好，現在，當然大部分都已經超越（廣州）了。但那個年代，北京仍存在許多中國生活的傳統特色，我特別喜歡。
And I do, I suppose, worry sometimes about how do we keep, what makes Beijing so special. To me, a lot of Beijing is about the people. The life of the people, the ordinary people, the little restaurants, the people cooking the food. Again, you know, from the carts at the side of the street, you know. You see a lot of the more traditional things.
And I had an argument with a Chinese friend way back in the 1990s when she said to me, "Bruce, you love all these old areas, but these are old. These areas are not the new China, these are old." I said, "Yes, they're old.” I said, "If you go to my country, Scotland, where did the Chinese visitors go? Edinburgh. Why did they go to Edinburgh? Because Edinburgh is old, and they love it. They love going to the, the old areas. "
No, it doesn't mean an old area has to be old fashioned.You can take an old area. You keep the facade of the building, but you bring in modern infrastructure within the old building. You've got air conditioning, heating, good toilets. All these things you can have within the old buildings, but you keep the character.
So if you go to Edinburg, you walk on the High Street of Edinburg... And when I was there two weeks ago, exactly two weeks ago, I was watching all these Chinese people on the High Street of Edinburgh photographing, getting their selfies done with a backdrop of buildings that were maybe 400, 500-years-old. They were saying to me, "Wow, we love this. This is so beautiful." I think this is what we have to do with China—to keep the old while we can, while it's possible, to keep the heritage, to make it into areas that people love to go to.
Now, for example, I was in, earlier this year I was in Zhejiang, and I was in a beautiful town by canals, by the, the Grand Canal. This town was called Wuzhen. You may have heard of Wuzhen. But in Wuzhen they kept the old town. It was filled with mostly domestic Chinese visitors who are loving walking through the old town, where there's cobbled streets, where there's old buildings, where there are people working in the canals. I thought it was fabulous. And I fell in love with that place. 比如，今年年初，我在浙江，一個漂亮的小鎮上，就在京杭大運河旁邊。它名叫烏鎮。你可能聽說過烏鎮。烏鎮保留了古鎮的風味。那里幾乎到處都是喜歡在古鎮漫步的中國游客。那里有鋪著鵝卵石的街道，古老的建筑，和在運河上干活兒的人。我覺得妙不可言。我愛上了烏鎮。
And I think somehow we've got to keep the things are special about China. Not to think we must remove the old because it's old and to bring in the new. Yes, we need the new airports. Yes, we need the new Metro. Yes, we need the, you know, the modern city center at the CBD. But, we've got to watch we don’t throw old, what is so special.
Because one other problem you then have, is when visitors come to China from overseas. They then say, "Oh every city looks the same." If you get off at this railway station that's exactly the same as the railway station we saw, you know, several hours ago. Where is the unique identity that makes Beijing special? Or a neighboring city, Tianjin, it’s ’cause, you know, you can see a different city. Shanghai, you can see you've got, you know, the bund, with the Huangpu River. You know, you can tell in Shanghai, “I am in Shanghai.” Beijing, when you go to see the Gugong, you know you're in Beijing. But, it's keeping this identity and making people feel that they want to come. You want people to come to Beijing, you want to encourage them to Beijing, and you want to make them feel, it's worthwhile coming to Beijing. And also, it is to create, for ordinary people, to create an identity with the city. So it doesn't look just like every single modern city in China, or in the world, but it has something that says "This is Beijing." And people say, "Ah, wo ai Beijing."
Really got me thinking. Okay, Ready? There's, another feature of Beijing that people maybe not aware. Certainly most foreigners are not aware of this, that Beijing is a canal city.
Where we are here, in Dong San Huan, walk five minutes from here, you come to the Liang Ma He. The Liang Ma He is a man-made canal. It goes back to the Yuan dynasty. You've got the Xibaihe, you've got the... There's other rivers that you've got all around Beijing. They're all man-made canals that go back to the Yuan dynasty.
Part of it's related to the works of a hydrologist called Guo Shoujing, who brought these canals to connect with the Grand Canal from Tongzhou, when the canal boats come up from Hangzhou bringing the supplies, bringing the food, bringing everything for the Forbidden City. The canals were built connecting the Grand Canal Tongzhou with the lakes of the Shichahai. The canals come around. Where you've got the big Er Huan, alongside that, you've got a canal. That canal was part of the waterway connecting in the Jishui Tan, which connected through a series of canals, all the way right down to the Qian Hai.
And, another canal that you have via the Jade River, the Yu He, was a canal that fed right into the Gugong. Now, we are seeing close to here...Ready? Again, very close to where we are here at Dong San Huan. When you get down to the Liangma He, go down now, and you'll see a big, big project under way to transform the Liangma He into an environmental corridor. But people will be encouraged to walk, to cycle, to explore.
My hope is that people will also be informed of the importance of these canals for Beijing. Because without the canals, without these waterways, we would never have the Beijing we have today. We live in a very dry climate in Beijing, as we see right through the winter from now, there's almost no rain. But, these waterways brought the water into the city. And without them, life would've been very difficult.
But these now make wonderful places for walking, for exploring, for discovering, and to realize this essential element in the history of Beijing—the canals. Whether you're doing at the Tiantan, doing that area of the canals, west of Beijing, near the West railway station, there are canals, there are great lakes there. And all over this area here.
But if you can, come up here, walk along the Liangma He, follow its branches up to the, you know, walk up to the Dongzhimen, and find these waterways. And you’ll find some amazing stories of the old Beijing. And in fact, if you go round the Dongzhimen, we talk about water. You can still visit the historic, original waterworks of Beijing, because it's within the grounds of, I think, the Beijing Water Bureau. Just up from the, the Dongzhimen Metro station. Just before you come in on the big bend at the Eastern, Northeastern part of the Er Huan. You've got the original waterworks, going right back to the end of the Qing dynasty. You can discover this part of the history of Beijing. There's so much, we could talk all day.