Very upsetting news. I always regretted never making the bus ride to Suzhou ten years ago to a bar that felt like the centre of the sinoverse. I will never have the chance now to buy him a beer and say, 'Thank you.'
As 'My Turn Now' he was funny and stood out at that other website, as 'Raoul' he created his own website that, for me, made life in China that little bit more bearable and understandable.
Raoul once wrote, 'One of the hardest and saddest things about being a long-term expat in China is that it's such a transient existence. Key businesses shut down or turn to shit. Good folks pack up their tent and go back to Old Country. There's always new stuff coming down the pipe, of course, but it's hard to avoid missing the old people and places.'
I cannot help thinking that this is well and truly the end of an era. Raoul's website was an umbilical cord to my China past. It really is a transient existence, but when I remember China, I also remember Raoul, and as long as I am able to do that, Raoul F. Duke lives.