I was only able to attend Lincoln High School for part of the ninth grade. I actually graduated from Morrison Academy in Taichung, Taiwan. From high school, I went to college in Orlando, Florida from which I was drafted for Vietnam. Rather than trying to find a hole large enough in which to hide, I enlisted into the Air Force and went right back to Asia. I served my entire military time in Korea, Okinawa, and a short spell in Thailand.
Once out of the military, I returned to school and graduated from California Polytechnic University in Pomona, Ca. 1971. Immediately I went to work paying off my school debts. I learned every aspect of sewing in surgery working for a company named Davis&Geck. After three years of working in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina, I began learning every aspect of instruments for surgery, especially open heart surgery. In the years that followed, I learned Plastic, Nero, GYN, Thoracic, Orthopedic, and Ophthalmic surgical procedures for the purpose of teaching and selling new technology to medical staff and hospitals from Florida to Hawaii. ,,, Seattle to Mexico and most of everything in between.
I married in 1969 and was blessed with a son named Trent who is now an artist and father. Unfortunately, we were not destined to live together as I found myself divorced within 3 years.
Through the course of a life-time, I continue to be a student. I continued on to get an MBA and a degree in teaching English as a second language. Still, I consider myself to be a language and culture student of Chinese customs and spoken Mandarin.
Currently I live in Chengdu, China. I returned to Asia in 2002 and realized that living as an expat was in my blood and that most probably would be a driving force for the remainder of my life. I retired from Medical Devices and tried to be a yacht broker in San Francisco, California, but times were too difficult. Not having a fulfilling life in California in 2000, I decided to return to China and teach Business English in a large university in Wienjiang, Sichuan China. Quickly I learned that the majority of Chinese students were unable to actually speak English, though they were able to read and write. I viewed this as a terrible tragedy and decided to do something about it.
In 2006 I began developing a solution to the lack of speaking English problem with Chinese University, High School and Junior High School students. I established a company (Burkett's Chengdu Consulting Company) and began purchasing computers to address the lack of speaking issues. With voice recognition software, I forced the students to speak the English that was already in their heads. Today, over 5,000 students have experienced my approach to English, 30 are in foreign High Schools, or Universities, and sometimes I welcome 30 day immersion students into my home to prepare them for western living and all English classrooms.
Of late, I have been dabbling into the sport of paragliding the mountains near Tibet, eating exotic tasting foods, playing with photography, and gardening on the roof of my apartment 17 stories over the streets of Chengdu. About twice a year, I venture off on SCUBA diving trips to some of Malaysia and Indonesia's most pristine dive locations.
Here at home in Chengdu, I am the local resident foreign grandfather to all the children in the complex of some 3,000 families and very often I am invited to former student's homes when they return to China after completing their education in western societies. There rarely is ever a dull moment with two cats and a dog, it is very much like the 60's around here.
Lincoln was back when "water" was invented, but maybe I can be stimulated enough to remember... actually remembering back that far is very much like an epiphany. . . . . .
Hello Again ~
Taking photos is an expression of my “Art” and though it isn’t always art to most people, it gives me the feeling of catching an interesting moment of my life’s experiences.
I have been taking photos since 1944. I was two years old when I took a photo of my Great Grandmother getting out of her car (Kodak Brownie Automatic). That is my first recorded photo. Not much is remember from those years, but as I grew to be 11 years old I was moved by my mother and father to Formosa (Taiwan is our modern name). While there, I began to experience Life as a very strange looking young boy. I was the only foreign kid in southern Taiwan. Every Chinese person found me to be very unusual to observe, my hair wasn’t black like theirs, my eyes were green/brown, and my arms grew small white hair which they often plucked at in curiousity.
Now my hair is still white, and I still find children pulling on my arm hairs, people stopping on the streets to observe me going about a normal daily life. I teach exceptionally gifted Chinese students how to prepare themselves for life in a western classroom. The fashion now is for Chinese kids who are High School one age, to journey to an all English classroom somewhere in a western society. This is similar to the shock I experienced when I was a boy trying to attend school in Taiwan during the years of 1952 to 1961.
I attended college for two years in America before joining the Air Force to avoid being drafted by the Army. After my basic training, I was shipped back to Asia where I remained for six years. After being discharged and joining the Air Force Reserves, I tried again to obtain my college degree. I completed my first degree in 1972 and began an intensive study program learning all the tissues, tools and procedures of surgery to support my medical devices marketing career.
The photos I have taken over the years are slowly being scanned into digital format and will appear here as they are completed. I hope you find them interesting and return often to see the new updates.
I live in Chengdu which is in Sichuan Province - northwestern China. I live very near to the boarders between Sichuan and Tibet. On any given day, I can step out my front door and adventure into a photo opportunity.
Thank you for stopping by and when you have time, make a comment as you are touched by the photos. You can reach me via my email Jim@V2rs.com or leave me a message at 916-913-9598. Regards :)