As the foreign national population residing in Chengdu hits ten thousand and continues to rise at an astounding pace, it is with this in mind, and with great concern for future integration, that I propose a “Foreigner Community centre” to service the needs of the foreign community here in the city of Chengdu. Through research and close work with foreign community leaders, from the sectors of education and business, we have noted that the current amount of bars and restaurants are not meeting the needs of our foreign nationals. The proposed centre will be wide-ranging in its appeal and services provided, it would need to reach-out to all types of nationals within Chengdu and provide them with the kinds community services they need the most. Extensive conversation and research have come to the conclusion that any Foreigner community Centre should provide the following things;
1. A bike sales and repair complex; Research shows that the vehicle of choice for foreigners in Chengdu is the humble bike (electric or pedal). Many foreign nationals report that proper service in bike repair is extremely hard to find, without ship-shape bikes foreigners find getting around hard. The centre would include bike repair service men with a grasp of the English language (at the very least a firm hold of Mandarin).
2. A visa application service centre; Close work with community figureheads has bought to light the fact that few, if any, foreigners understand, or even adhere to Visa regulations. A great number of honest foreign nationals complain of shoddy H.R treatment and even allude to forgery of documentation. The centre would provide staff to give clear advice and information on these matters.
3. A Women’s community centre; The number of businessmen coming to Chengdu has exploded in recent years, but the infrastructure has not kept-up with the number of wives, children and family who have come along with them. The centre would include a centre for women, services included would cater for a wide range of women’s issues, health, family and child care.
4. A Full-Time counselor; The foreign community has no official source of mental healthcare, work with the foreign community has indicated a vast number of foreign nationals suffer from psychological and mental problems during their time in China. The causes are complex and different for all, but a major issue is culture shock, particularly during the first two years of re-settlement. Day-to day misunderstanding takes its toll on all, and some have no-where to turn to for advice, help or even anyone to listen to them. The centre would provide a full-time counselor, available upon booking, to provide help under these circumstances.
5. Bar and Club Mega complex; Foreigners like going to bars and clubs, in fact conversation with the nationals themselves points towards and overwhelming need for such a thing. The Bar and Club Mega complex would also have a therapeutic effect of being a place where foreigners with problems, as mentioned above, could forget their problems and pretend they are at home. The enterprise would accept non-foreign nationals on the premises, and profits from the “Laowai Megaclub老外超级酒吧” would be poured back into the running of the centre.
6. Bakery and Butchers; The two could be put together, foreigners crave baked goods and meat, sometimes at the same time. The current crop of bakeries and butchers are not meeting the foreign nationals desires, the “Bakery and Butchers” would not sell sweetened bread, a bugbear of many foreign resident mentioned in our surveys.
7. A Marriage Registry; The foreign community, statistics show, is integrating at a rapid rate with locals, both culturally and matrimonially. The number of foreign nationals marrying local residents is on the rise and shows no sign of stopping. The site for marriage registry, currently near Dongdajie东大街, is understaffed and overworked, the community centre would need to include a site for marriage registry and a family planning clinic. The “Laowai Megaclub’s 老外超级酒吧” presence in Chengdu would surely only add to the number of marriages in the future.