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Willem Dijkstra

8500 Naples Heritage Drive#1025
Naples, Florida, United States


Born on August2, 1936 in The Netherlands' province of Groningen.
Supported by the Marshall Plan at first and by an aid program for gifted students later, supplemented by income from odd jobs, I graduated as a chemical engineer in 1957 and as an artillery lieutenant in 1958.
Immediately after my demobilisation in 1959 I left The Netherlands for a career as a project developer/trouble-shooter/problem-solver.
Via the French Antilles, Indonesia, Central Africa and Madagascar I came to the Far East in 1972.
In 1984, after projects in Singapore, Indonesia, The Philippines, Papua New Guinea and Hong Kong, I founded my own construction-engineering and consultancy company in Hong Kong and went to mainland China (Peoples Republic of China)
In 1985 I was awarded a major construction project in Shanghai and was the first Westerner to work independently in China.
Unbacked by large company structures and finances, I built my own highly effective network of relationships (guanxi)with local and central government officials and agencies and was awarded several major projects all over China as well as short term evaluation jobs.
It was during these years that I wrote the manuscript for my book "May You Live In Interesting Times" about the lives and tribulations of a few of my Chinese friends, ordinary people, victims of an unworkable system, under my pen name Lao Dee, written with the characters Lao =old and Dee = emperor, a honorary name given to me by the Chinese.
Though Dutch by birth and in appearance, my philosophical outlook on life is essentially oriental.
In 1996 I gave up my Hong Kong citizenship and setteld in Belgium as a retiree.
Provided I like the people who ask for my help and provided my intervention will benefit all parties, I occasionally go back to the Far East, mainly Indonesia and China, to solve "a problem".
From October to April my wife of 42 years and I escape the dreary cold and dampness of Belgium and take refuge in Naples, Florida.

Interests: reading; linguistics; worldwide travel; golf; fitness

Published writer: Yes

Freelance: No


Published works:


  • May You Live In Interesting Times