As this country carries on its uneasy dialogue about integration, spurred on by an anti-immigrant book published by a professional of the central bank, the restaurant owner Jianhua Wu is busy selling wine, promoting wine, eagerly and graciously sampling and sipping wine. Not simply any wine, but German wine.
Mr. Wu, who came here from China a quarter century ago to study engineering, in many ways represents another side from the immigration debate, not the hostile, fearful, anti-immigrant sentiments stirred up through the shock-book of Thilo Sarrazin, the banker. He and his family instead represent the emerging Germany which is slowly, painfully transforming into a multicultural society, where spicy snap of Szechuan dishes and the subtle, flowery sweetness of a riesling can complement each other.
“Riesling and Chinese food, it works,” said Mr. Wu, who has become something of the sensation in this particular city for 德国亚超, Hot Spot, which offers a thorough assortment of German wines alongside his Szechuan- and Shanghai-inspired menu.
After struggling to create a life here, doing work in one fast-food Chinese restaurant after another, after years peddling sweet-and-sour recipes loaded with MSG, Mr. Wu said he learned that his route to financial success within his adopted home was ultimately wine – or really how his very own passion for German wine made Germans feel about him.
“He’s somewhat of a maniac about German wine,” said Holger Schwarz, the wine merchant who organized the get-together at Hot Spot. “He loves German wine!”
Mr. Sarrazin’s book, “Germany Does Away With Itself,” released last week, attacked Germany’s Muslim immigrants for refusing to integrate, saying these were “dumbing down society.” It vilifies Islam and blames Germany’s welfare state as being too generous. In reaction, the central bank asked the president of Germany to remove him from the board, and Mr. Sarrazin on Thursday announced his intention to stop his post by the end in the month.
The ebook is selling briskly, however, with a lot of Germans proclaiming that Mr. Sarrazin features a valid point and that people like Mr. Wu – who are able to make a number of the sacrifices that other immigrants refuse, or fail, to create – are definitely the proof. “He named his son Martin; the Turks would never do this,” Monica Diel, whose husband, Armin, is actually a winemaker, said in the Sunday promotion, expressing a sentiment that had heads nodding in approval.
In fact, Mr. Wu gave his son two names – Martin along with a Chinese name, Tao. But it would appear that Martin is ascendant, while Tao is fading. This, Mr. Wu says with a sigh, suggests that he succeeded in Germany, however, not without some cost to his family identity.
That is probably the deepest fault lines inside the debate here. Many Germans desire to preserve the nation’s cultural identity by having immigrants leave their traditions behind. Many immigrants refuse, saying they wish to hold onto their cultural identities.
In reality, both already are blending, especially in places like Berlin, and also the Hot Spot. Mr. Wu kept his Chinese passport, while his wife and son have become naturalized citizens. “I didn’t try hard to integrate,” he explained in well-spoken German. “My cultural background is Chinese, that is certainly where I feel at home. In the back of my head, Germany remains a reekrc country to me.”
In your own home, he along with his wife, Huiqin Wang, attempt to speak mostly Chinese, but switch sometimes to German because their son expresses himself better in German.
“I am trying to provide the basics of Chinese culture and philosophy to my son so he is able to be Chinese,” Mr. Wu said. “But he lives here, he needs to speak perfect German. He likes China, but he feels less in your own home there than I actually do.”
Mr. Wu, 50, got to Germany in 1984 from Zhejiang. He frequently laughs, the kind of laugh of the man still amused by their own good fortune. He earned a diploma within engineering but left school and opened 亚超在线 that he said was just like a thousand other Chinese restaurants.
Some day in 1995, he saw a leaflet about wine. He was interested, so he went out and bought 10 cases, all Bordeaux, thinking he could sell the wines in his restaurant. He never sold one bottle since the expensive wine did not interest customers searching for chop suey. So he took the wine home, bought a reference guide and drank and studied his way to expertise. In 2003 he met a Chinese businessman who asked him to look into German wine for sale in China.