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Dear Amber: Leaving The Witness


I first came across Amber on this very podcast around 2007 or 2008 in “Dear Amber - An Insider’s Guide to Everything China” when I was a fanatical ChinesePod listener. I used to listen to her podcast every Saturday and learn so much about Chinese language and culture as I was trying to navigate the Chinese landscape as a foreign teacher in this unfamiliar, yet welcoming land. Amber always struck me as being so educated, worldly, smart, motivated and driven. I was absolutely devastated when her podcast ended. I really felt ChinesePod lost something special when Amber left.

Never in a million years would I have guess that she specifically came to China to proselytise! How do I know this? Well, she’s written a book about it, called “Leaving The Witness” and it is a fascinating read. Here is an excerpt that appeared in “The Believer”:

I’m not sure why I’m sharing this, I just thought it may interest anyone here who knew Amber or listened to her podcasts over the years. Or if anyone is looking for a good book to read (in English), but with quite a few Chinese references!

Peace out,



Funny. I do wonder if Amber was out by the time she was at ChinesePod. Maybe that’s why those sessions with Clay on QingWen were so cringy for me? Because Amber was still feeling her way in the world? Really interesting. Thanks for this Waiguren. By the way, Hi!!

Even more incredible. She developed the story into a book and managed to get on the Daily Show.

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