HERE ! For Ten Years

1015_cover-story_1Celebrate with us, as we look back at the first decade of the magazine. Follow the timeline, giggle at the silliness, nod at the truths and dream big with the ultimate experiences.

We’ve had fun putting this together and really hope that you’ll enjoy the read and participate in the fun photo scavenger hunt so we can all take part in exploring Dongguan together.

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1015_cover-story_3YouTube goes online April 23 at 8:27 p.m., propelling melodramatic tantrums and overactive kittens to quickly dominate the world of media. In Dongguan, the Yulan Theater and HERE! Dongguan open their doors to the public. And although the Dongguan International Women’s Club no longer exists, it shows that even back in 2005, when the population of foreigners was much smaller, community organizations were strong. And, as you can see by the location, a Yunnan rice noodle shop, Western cuisine was rare.

1015_cover-story_4Dongguan’s first Starbucks
When the first Starbucks opened in the central city, it was wise to bring a cup of coffee from home to stay awake waiting in line.



5Scientists with the Human Genome Project published the last human chromosome, a final milestone in sequencing human DNA. In Dongguan the local Brazilian community had already taken root and the April cover story, Brazilville, shared stories from the lives and businesses of our gaucho family.


6No more bikes
Look at these kids! Who said motorcycles were dangerous or uncomfortable? Oh, the former mayor of Dongguan did. This pic marked the beginning of the ban.




7The first iPhone, held in the hands of China’s favorite innovator Steve Jobs, was announced on January 9 to hundreds of people at the Macworld convention. Our town set out assembling, while readers here learned the culture and stories behind DG’s DJs. You’ll still recognize a couple of these jockeys (DJ Levis we’re calling you out!) spinning at your favorite spots.


8Letting it all hang
Maybe you recognize this lovely, uh… lady. He’s long been running one of Dongguan’s most iconic drinking establishments, where Transvestite Nights were once all the rage.





The world’s assorted stock markets take a global dive during January as the U.S. suffers in the throes of a subprime mortgage crisis. Dongguan’s Yulan Theater hosts cross-dressing of different significance, as a famed Chinese ballerina and transgender gives HERE! an exclusive in Because Jin Xing Says So.


10Key to the city
Basketball celebrity Jason Dixon, former Guangdong Southern Tigers player and coach, was honored as the Citizen of Dongguan.





12NASA’s Kepler mission began, and the Large Hadron Collider was restarted, but we learned mostly about the life and death of Michael Jackson. In Dongguan great things were happening as well. The city’s first foreign-founded orphanage True Children’s Home began.


A real rocker
Famed godfather of Chinese rock Cui Jin was on the cover of the LA Times in 1992. In 2009, he rocked in the New Year at the Songshan Lake Creative Pavilion.




14Four days into the year, Dubai’s Burj Khalifa becomes the largest manmade structure in the world. Just six months later, Houjie becomes the first of Dongguan’s towns to receive its very own town map in HERE! Dongguan.

On the road to success
Wang Huali, founder of environmental watch group Green Pearl River, carries the 2010 Asiad Torch on tour through Dongguan.





16Across the East China Sea the Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami devastated Japan and caused the meltdown of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. The impact was severe, but HERE! covered a ground breaking of a different sort in Design and Drinks when there were only two bars in Batou Village.

Make a splash
Former Dongguaner and brand new X Factor star Neneth Lyons brings in the house at a jazz bar called Vibe.




17The date this time is June 18, and the International Space Station is receiving astronauts. But unlike previous missions, the Shenzhou 9 rocket is carrying China’s first woman on its first ever docking. Dongguan was making another first for China, its first NBA-authorized training facility. In Dalang Town the NBA Training Center is still looking for the next Yao Ming, back then we interviewed the great CBA-NBA crossover, Aaron Brooks, who had his own experience with Yao.


Good guy blues
The city’s most famous good Samaritan stopped a pickpocket, and was then beaten bloody in front of a crowd of onlookers. He also donated the RMB 100,000 that was given him in compensation.


Edward Snowden takes the world by surprise – well a few people were surprised – when he revealed20 that America’s National Security Bureau was engaged in making known to themselves things that shouldn’t be known. In our 100th issue we revealed The HERE! 100: Dongguan’s Most Essential Facts and Hearsay. This one had all the best, most, worst and gossipy.


For love of puppy
Since being introduced to its first animal rescue center, the city has opened its arms to the charity animal center. They, however, prefer to remain incognito.



23When Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 disappeared along with its passengers over the Gulf of Thailand, a somber, worldwide mystery began, and we’re just now discovering clues. Dongguan’s first clue to the innards of the city’s newest landmark, the Dongguan Basketball Center, actually arrived. We took a peek in Volume 107.

Changing the game
As is evident in this image, the crackdown on Dongguan’s infamous sex industry has changed the city forever. The bars opened up, but some things just keep moving forward.


So far, we’ve flown by Pluto, endured the Nepal earthquake and watched FIFA president Sepp Blatter resign under controversy of corruption. What was the most important event of the year? We’ll leave that up to you. For us, it was it the story of Gabi, the toddler that brought Dongguan together to raise almost HK$500,000.

Please, take a moment to tell us what was your favorite story or image from issues No. 114 through 125.


Ultimate ¥10万 experiences:
a.k.a. ten ways to spend ten wan in dongguan

For our next trick, imagine you have RMB 100,000 that must be spent today – or next weekend, whatever, that part’s not important. Focus on these ten ways to spend ten wàn on some seriously over the top adventures.

  • ultimate ballers’ party
  • ultimate hong kong return
  • ultimate sports day
  • ultimate lady’s day
  • ultimate health kick
  • ultimate taobao list
  • ultimate local experience
  • ultimate face
  • ultimate entertainment room
  • ultimate philanthropist

Ultimate ballers’ party:

This one was easier to put together than expected. BB Club says they rake in ¥100,000 on the turnover of an average day and that’s what they quoted to rent the place for four hours. So we’ll need to wiggle that margin down a little, because we need a little more bang for our buck if this is going to be the Ultimate Ballers’ Party.

  • Private party at BB Club (open bar): ¥70,000 (negotiated)
  • Top 100 DJ: ¥4,000 (low end)
  • Personal video crew: ¥5,000
  • After party at Pullman VIP Villa (breakfast for 10): ~¥21,000 (discounted from ¥38,000)

Ultimate hong kong return:

OK, we’ve hit our first speed bump. No matter – we’re going into imagination hyperdrive and flying right over the border anyway. We wanted to get a helicopter to bring us back to Dongguan, but they say they won’t let us cross the border by air (don’t buy it) and the Kande Hotel said they’ve shut down heli-pad service. So there’s nowhere cool to land anyway. What’s the next best thing?

  • Private helicopter ride to Lo Wu: ¥25,000
  • Rolls-Royce Silver Seraph Limo for a day: ¥15,000
  • LED Welcome scrolling up TBA Tower: ¥10,000 (10 mins.)
  • Welcome Back KTV with a semi-famous Cantopop star: ¥55,000

Ultimate sports day:

If you’re a sports fan, it is time for your adult-birthday wish list. Because some of you make walking up the stoop into an athletic endeavor (others of us make sipping on juice a training regiment), we’re starting out by driving the ultimate sports car, taking in some golf and then taking it to the hoop with your favorite CBA basketball star and private session at the Dongguan Basketball Center.

  • Ferrari 458 Italia for a day: ¥18,000
  • Mission Hills 7AM tee time: ¥40,000/month (membership)
  • A day with favorite CBA player: ¥10,000
  • Private session in Basketball Center (1 hour): ¥10,000

Ultimate lady’s day:

There are, no doubt, many ways to sequester the penultimate personal day to entertain and revitalize the fairer sex of Dongguan. Maybe you gals stopped at the sports day – or liked the sound of the Ballers’ Party – but let’s just stick to the good ol’ fashioned stereotypes, shall we?

  • Personal stylist session at Meezee with principal and founder Jiang Minjie: ¥20,000
  • Top line Louis Vuitton bag from Hong Kong: ¥25,000
  • Top choice Hermes pumps from Hong Kong: ¥20,000
  • VIP spa treatment at Pullman Dongguan Forum: ¥5,000
  • Portrait sitting with local artist: ¥20,000

Ultimate health kick:

You must choose. But choose wisely, for as the true ultimate experience will give you life, the wrong quest will take it from you. There may be no time to turn back, we should keep moving forward. And if you want to keep doing so briskly through life, maybe the ultimate health kick is a choice best suited to the long life.

  • VIP detox at Equilibrium Beauty Center: ¥5,000
  • Month of soothing local guan incense: ¥25,000 (¥1,000/gram)
  • A day with famed Hong Kong trainer Francis Lam: ¥10,000
  • Lifetime supply of Chinese snake tonic medicine:¥60,000 (¥10,000/bottle)

Ultimate taobao list:

Let’s say that you’re too lazy to leave your home but you just really, really want to blow a wad of Maos. Well, we all know that the Internet is perfect for it. But why wait for Cyber Monday? Get that big spender feeling without going to Macao for gambling. Here’s four ways to toss your load on

  • Custom made diamond ring: ¥100,000
  • Natural jade/crystal furnishing: ¥100,000
  • Yamaha PHX Drum set: ¥100,000
  • Second hand Harley-Davidson motorcycle: ¥100,000

Ultimate local experience:

If you live life as an expat, there’s a good chance that you’ve gone out of your way at least once to be more local (maybe the opposite is more true, but play along). When it comes to being on top of your game as only a true Dongguaner can, let’s play around with some real investment. Why stop at 10万 – we’re blowing our budget on this one. Can you believe what people will pay for?!

  • Top grade local vehicle registration (includes four 8s): ¥1,800,000
  • A second hand car: ¥20,000
  • Chinese caterpillar fungus: ¥100,000/kg
  • Ancient Dongguan art (Agra wood carving): ¥600,000

Ultimate FACE:

Keeping face. Mianzi. Putting on airs. Public image. Protecting your reputation. Managing street cred. These are quite possibly the most important phrases on the face of the planet. It doesn’t matter if you’re talking about Downton Abbey, Menace II Society or just crossing the street in China, the ultimate face package is simple – mo’ money, mo’ money.

  • Follow tradition of CNY hongbao at Huying Park Guanying Temple: ¥80,000
  • Hire top international photographer for portrait: ¥20,000

Ultimate entertainment room:

We’ve traveled from Hong Kong in style, run the gauntlet in luxury and cleansed our system with gold. Don’t worry, we didn’t forget the agoraphobics, or simple introverts, out there. If you’re idea of a good time is chilling at home with top of the line electronics, go no further.

  • Install a dry bar with mini-fridge for refreshment: ¥21,000
  • Lowboy arcade console (60 games) from Homepin (Shenzhen): ¥4,000
  • LG 65-inch Ultra HD Curved LED TV: ¥45,000
  • Top of the line Star brand pool table: ¥30,000

Ultimate philanthropist:

So very similar to advice given for the assortment of ultimate face saving recommendations, we now discuss the pure, angel side of the human spirit. We’re talking giving for the sake of giving. Be there for your common man to lend a shoulder, give a hand or save a life. Don’t think too hard, just give.

  • Give to your charity of choice: ¥100,000


10 ways to volunteer

by Aaron Burns

China Guangdong Lions Club
Whenever a Lions club gets together, problems get smaller and communities get better.
Volunteer Needs: Help with charity events and recruiting new club members.
Contact: or

HANDA Rehabilitation & Welfare Association
Working with people affected by leprosy for 18 years in 12 provinces, providing service to nearly 3,000 leprosy villages.
Volunteer Needs: In need of volunteers to help translate stories and videos from Chinese to English about those affected by leprosy.

Haven of Hope
It is the mission of Haven of Hope to provide a refuge for children by giving each forgotten child a safe place to call their own.
Volunteer Needs: General opportunities available.

Jing Zong Jing Ying Ci Shan Hui
Helping those in need, such as the elderly, students and the blind from the bottom of their heart.
Volunteer Needs: Chinese speaking volunteers to do a variety of
volunteer work.
Contact: WeChat JINGZONG33333333

Project Eden: Captivating International
Captivating International’s purpose is to elevate children above the poverty line.
Volunteer Needs: Regular tutoring for all school subjects

Sunshine Academy
Sunshine Academy is dedicated to loving and educating Chinese orphans by instilling dignity and life skills to enable an independent life.
Volunteer Needs: Looking for native English speakers to teach English on a weekly basis to kindergarten and primary school students at the Dongguan Sunshine Academy.

Treasures of Hope
Treasures of Hope is a charity store making a difference in the lives of Chinese children, youth, and adults in need.
Volunteer Needs: In need of regular volunteers to help with general store work as well as charity events and activities.
Contact: or WeChat: charity-toh

Tianshan Stray Animal Rescue Center
Tianshan Stray Animal Rescue Center is dedicated to saving homeless animals from the streets relying on a network of animal lovers and volunteers across the city.
Volunteer Needs: Be able to endure hardship and hard work.
Contact: 8636 3611, 133 2688 7611

Dongguan Volunteers Federation
With over 4,500 squads spread throughout 32 towns and districts, the Dongguan Volunteers Federation is the biggest volunteer organization in the city. Registration and browsing events is easy online.
Volunteer Needs: Be able to devote time and serve the society.

Tzu Chi Foundation
Tzu Chi Foundation is a Taiwan-based international NGO and the largest non-profit NGO in the Chinese speaking world. Focusing on environmental protection and charity home visits, the foundation has several service points around Dalang, Hengli, Shijie, Chashan and Shipai.
Volunteer Needs: Need to have a good heart.
Contact: Joe Wei at Wechat: 130 3889 4168


1. Five tickets for the Union Lotto

2. People’s park zoo with two cotton candies

3. Miniso 10 kuai shops
1/F, Tianhe Department Store, First International, Nancheng
1/F, Century Square, Dongcheng Ave. (Carrefour building)

4. One bowl of Houjie Lai Fen wonton noodles

5. Two pairs of shoes polished
Behind Tangbei Market, Dalang Street, Tangbei Village in Nancheng

6. Sugar Cane juice from street vendor
5 small cups, or 2 bigger cups

7. Qifeng Park Temple entrance and incense

8. Ten minutes on Huying Park paddle boats (¥30 for half an hour)

9. Second hand book at Treasures of Hope (Starting at ¥10) Buy before October ends, TOH is selling off inventory

10. Tacos on Tuesday, or a pint of lager on Mondays (See HERE! Mail for details)


Top Tips for Tenderfoots

by Jeffrey Hackbarth

1. Find a quiet home base
When renting in new buildings, check for empty units nearby. They could soon be up for renovations, along with plenty of noise and dust to turn your new sanctuary into a combat zone.

2. Don’t fear the food
Remember that China is large. When it comes to food, there are dishes fit for every kind of taste and diet. When dining with friends, inquire about dish names and origins to better navigate future dining experiences.

3. Eyes on the road
Take time to learn the names of major locations – parks, bar districts and anywhere you intend to frequent. On taxi rides, be a vigilant passenger; keep an eye on landmarks. This will be especially helpful during busy hours when buses and taxis aren’t an option. Walking (and the No. 11 bus) is sometimes the only way.

4. Bus rides are possible
There are a number of apps for local bus routes and train schedules, but Baidu is a great start. If you’re using an iOS device, simply enter the destination in English or Chinese and route your trip. Then open the Baidu app within maps and find directions to a page listing bus numbers, schedules and distances.

5. Get out and explore
It takes courage to travel in a country like China, especially without the language. Regardless, this is a must. Take weekends to explore the city. Take holidays to explore the country. In order to truly understand the complexities of China, you must get out and see it for yourself.

6. Discover the culture
This should be a no-brainer, but isn’t always the case. China is filled with rich history and complex cultures. Learning the ins and outs will help make peace with daily annoyances and open up happiness in a world of chaos. Taichi, Yoga, Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, Wushu, Kong Fu, calligraphy, Beijing Opera – take the time to discover some or all, and enjoy the knowledge that comes with it.

7. Learn the language
The thought of learning Chinese can be overwhelming. Don’t fret however; it gets easier with time. Maintain patience and diligence throughout your stay and reap the rewards for the remainder of your life. Whether you want to find a job, communicate with a potential lover, haggle over the price of a banana or simply earn merit; learning even a beginner level will go a long way to a happier life in China.

8. Get out and make friends
In order to find happiness in any country, it’s important to be grounded. Find an expat group to be a part of; make friends by grabbing a stool at any one of the many bars in town; join in on sporting leagues hosted throughout the city, and find people who share your interests. There will be times, no matter how big your love of China, that people who truly understand you is the only escape.

9. Be a smart shopper
There are many shops across Dongguan that offer foodstuffs for expats. However, prices vary greatly. If you’re looking to cook familiar foods often, your wallet may take a hit. Be aware of the differences. Mix and match. Look for open-air produce markets in your area for fruits and veggies, and meats, if you’re daring enough. When shopping for comfort foods, there are many import markets – take the time to explore and be an informed consumer.

10. Mind your manners
Although you may feel invisible at times during your stay in China, it’s important to maintain your composure. Despite a lack of social etiquette and manners in China comparatively, don’t forget where you come from. Always show face for yourself and foreigners as a whole. Negative actions committed by one can reflect poorly for all.