Tag Archives: Shanghai

Saying Goodbye to China – Confused Communism & Controlled Capitalism.

2 Nov

Say goodbye to China. I wonder when I coming back? If, I’m coming back? Isn’t it strange to think like that. Thinking that you many never, ever return to a place. In other words, death will knock on my door before China will?

What would bring me back to China? Work? Vaction? I really just don’t know.

Do I see myself in China? Hmmm… Do I see myself in Russia? I believe Russia needs me more than China. They’ve got things cranking in China.

Russia, she just sighs. Has so much potential. I have a “fixer” soul. When I see a problem, obstacle or issue – I look for a solution. For me, China’s simple. She’s in need of an image makeover. Re-branding to describe this blending of free market and one-party government. Russia is lost. She needs to find herself.

After spending some time in China, I found day to day, communism is a non-issue. Like the rest of the world, the Chinese are more worried about holding on to their jobs, paying bills, feeding their kids, saving money for school… They are more concerned about making a better future for their children than what the Chinese government says about the currency, human rights, Tibet or climate change. For the most part, they’re a politically apathetic bunch of folks… Sounds familiar.

Unlike Sweden, UK, US or Canada….there’s scant evidence of any social safety net in China. This SHOCKED me for I assumed communist governments took care of their people to the point of putting a spoon to their mouths.

What about Social security programs? Medicaid or medicare? Welfare? Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac? Chinese are on their own. Because of this, they save and save and save and save.. To buy an apartment. To buy farm land.  To pay for having a baby at the hospital. To pay for their one kid’s high school education.  To pay to drive on a road…They pay out the nose, considering their average salaries per year hoovers around $4,000 US dollars –– depending on who you ask and who you include…

At a macro -level,  one-party rule is here to stay. There’s no tea party. No coffee party. No dumpling party. No nothing. People can’t kick out the inept. Can’t trash talk their leaders. Can’t call for change. Really, they can’t call anyone.

What you see – is what you get. Quite frankly, it’s in their culture NOT to question parents, elders or superiors.  They obey.  Did you see the opening ceremonies for the Olympics???

As a Westerner, I can NOT imagine keeping my mouth shut if I received a notice from the government instructing me to move from my home I was born and raised in to make way for a skyscraper, five star hotel or new toll road.  They do.  They comply.  For, government officials know what’s best for the collective whole.

Commercial break. So, when China Southern Airlines does their 411 on “what do do when you crash,” you have to giggle. Of course, I look around

Picture taken of TV of N. Korea Parade

seeing if anyone else finds this humorous. The plane is 98.4% Chinese. No one is smiling.

They are reading the newspaper. Front page news details yesterday’s little dictator gathering in N. Korea’s where Kim Jong-il showcased his large and in-charge son and his country’s military might on international TV.

OK. China Southern Airlines instructs us to do the following before you crash and burn. Four main rules of thumb…

  1. Take off your high heels
  2. Take out your denatures
  3. Take off your head phones
  4. Put on your flotation device.

Then, and ONLY then, can you slide down the raft. That is, if you are still alive. Never knew wearing heels and denatures were an issue during an airplane crash. Now, they are playing over the loud speaker some Latin dancing number to slow Chinese music. The woman is doing the samba to Chinese music.

Back to blog: Confused Communism and controlled capitalism. That’s how I labeled China.

Came here with little expectations. And, leaving confused.

Someone I met said China, reminded her of Europe after WWII. People had hope. People saw a promising future.  Innovation. Ideas…She said, that is how China is to her now where possibilities are limitless…  Even, a two party government? Freedom to express your differences?  Five thousands years of written history says…“not so fast lady.”

Face of China

I look out the plane window and question what is China’s tipping point?

They’ve entered a time of government corruption, a widening income gap, a decomposed, non-existent social safety net and political disinterest in favor of profits. China’s been here before – just a different dynasty, different millennium, same issues…

And, I wonder if it possible to change the direction of 5,000+ years of a culture based on Confucianism, Buddhist & Taoism?

Where respect for elders and complete obedience of your superiors remains unquestionable.

Where people have differences in opinions, yet are required to live in harmony with each other.

Where seeking knowledge to become a better person means bringing wealth and honor to your family and, once again, serving your superiors.

Where trading for profits is seen as disrespectful and self-serving. Where attraction, not force, is used to obtain what one wants. And, where humanity is seen as kind and benevolent.

This philosophy fits perfectly in this government’s one-party rule. Doesn’t fit so nicely with free markets and modern political parties. China seems to be straddling both sides.

Napoleon Bonaparte once said of China, “Let her sleep, for when she wakes, she’ll shake the world.”

From what I’ve seen, this giant has stirred. Watch out world..

Next stop. Bhutan.

Buddhist country of only 700,000.

Just put in roads in the 1960s… Some towns just got electricity. Monarchy introduced democracy two years ago. Only allows a select # of tourists in per year…My type of place…

Laundry, Shanghai Style

26 Sep

Where is Downy when you need it. Chinese lady just returned my laundry. It’s dry but oozes with the smell of grease. The smell counters my stature… Looks like I’ll be blending in just fine.

Back to Chaos. Shanghai. QuickTweet (QT)

25 Sep

Left order of the Beijing airport. To chaos of Shanghai. Harmony was short lived…

(Picture taken outside my hotel window.  Fifth floor. )

Not sure where I am.  The hotel clerk told me “no map available.  Wait til store opens at 5:00 pm.”  It’s 9:30 pm.  Hotel store still closed.  No worries..went out on my own.  Still don’t know where I am.

Was hungry.  Looking for a food market.  But, walked into a “fast” food Chinese restaurant.  Saw a picture outside.  Looked encouraging.  Stood in line.  Felt anxious.  What am I ordering.  Little, old Chinese lady points to a picture. The only picture.  I nod.  Look down. Grab 10 Yan (less than $2).  Sat down. Let’s see what I get..

All eyes on me. Felt them. Not another anglo, shocking-white, 6 foot girl in the place. Dumplings arrive. Looks like the picture.  Three Chinese girls at next table order the same. Watch them out of corner of my eye.  How do you eat these things?  I want sauce, but what type?  I mimicked them.  They giggled.

Next, chop sticks. Don’t have coordination. Never used them before.. Had to eat very, very slow.  Good for me, considering I use a fork as a shovel. Dumplings were fab. Only one dropped into my lap.  Random meat.  Random sauce.  Random chop sticks. Found my way back to my hotel.  I’m on a side street. It’s LOUD. I think there’s a moped parking lot next to our hotel.  Alarms are going off.

My new roomie comes tomorrow.  I’ve signed up for another backpacker, “I can’t afford a hot meal” tour with Gap Adventures.  Means, I share a room with a random.  It’s so nice to have a night to myself. I’ve been sharing space with others for weeks now…  I’m really  starting to hate people.  I’m in China too… Not a good place to be. Hate being around a lot of people while in China.  Not good.

Need to plan Thailand…I’m rethinking end of Oct and November…In China for 2.5 weeks and then go to Bhutan to hike through monasteries for another 14 days… Need to slow down.  Sit.  Looking for yoga, spiritual retreat in Thailand where all I do is sit in silence, stretch and ween the bod off of bread, beer, yogurt and dumplings… Any ideas out there?