Understanding China, One Blog at a Time

An American in China

Posts Tagged ‘china world fair’

Shanghai Ugly- Life in Shanghai

Posted by w_thames_the_d on December 18, 2009


Still here in Shanghai, people are quite polite, much better than my first time here. The European feeling comes through if you are in the downtown Puxi area. In general, however I disagree with the notion that it is sooo international, a good city, but not a Sao Paolo.

As for the saying that the women are more beautiful, havent seen that, still think Chongqing or the northeast have that honor. There they have better skin and facial structures.

Missing Beijing

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A Passing Fancy- Falling Houses, Construction and the Like

Posted by w_thames_the_d on December 15, 2009


When I was back in the states, I used to think that we overdid it, had too many certifications for seemingly inconsequential or tasks that were- I thought not so important. Take a welder for example, just how much training does a guy need to do it. I learned to weld when I was about 8 or 9, loved it, just didn’t see the difficulty in it.
And then I came to China. China with its rapid construction, and I mean rapid. Since being here, I have watched buildings being thrown up in a scary amount of time, and by scary I mean, is that building really safe.And then I watch the workers, these guys are straight out of the sticks and by sticks I mean rice fields that are still sewn by hand. No big farm implements here, we are talking turn of the millennium stuff here. And these workers are the guys turning wrenches and welding these structures to which we entrust our lives.
I was watching the show Mega Structures and comparing how buildings are made. Most countries will select a good architect and such, but that is where the similarity between the east and the west ends. I hearken back to the fact that the average worker used here, probably is lacking the mastery of a skilled craftsman that we are used to back home. I began to think of these workers, -really nice people, humble and honest- but by no means possessing the ability that one may require for these jobs. And then things like this happen –(article from Shanghai- the sight of the World Fair in 2010), a brand new building just collapsed. The news agency blamed the contractor, his liscence had expired in 2004, but to me the suprising thing is that this doesnt happen more often. In Beijing I have seen a new building by the Suhuai station that is literally listing, leaning like that one in Italy. The rapid expansion, coupled with little or no quality enforcement mechanisms make events like this an eventuality.
Each day on my walk home, I traverse a footbridge over Dawanglu, I feel like a child passing over a bridge with his parents. You know the feeling, like you think maybe the car is too heavy so the Golden Gate bridge will actually collapse. Well here, those feelings have resurfaced. Wow, I really miss all of those extra classes and certifications that the USA demands of its workers.

-today everything is just ducky in Beijing

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That’s a lot of Money- The World Fair and Such

Posted by w_thames_the_d on December 12, 2009


“Maybe U$ 60 billion, could be U$ 50 billion”- that is how much the Chinese are saying that China is pouring into the world fair next year. Now fist off, wtf is the world fair, is that thing still around…

Disregarding my ignorance or yours about just what the world fair is, next year it is coming to China, and like the olympics, they are pouring tons of cash into it. The figures cited above (no one really knows as this is not the most transparent country), are impressive. What they are doing, is spending the equivalent of the GDP’s in 2008 dollars, of more than 125 countries, just to prepare for the World fair. Yeah, that means just like with the olympics, China invested an equivalent amount of cash that the 58th largest country etc. will make in a whole year!

The reason I bring this up is that many of my Chinese colleagues have pointed out the wasteful nature of this and the fact that over the past 3 years, China has had some help in her growth. Between the Olympics and the Fair, they invested 100 Billion, which due to the multiplier effect could have a practical impact of almost a trillion dollars on her economy.  The first issue, that of wasteful spending irks many Chinese who say that the funds could be used to fund pensions, or clean air initiatives- that is not happening. They point out the facilities in Beijing and Qingdao that go unused, the people kicked out of their homes to make way for the new stadiums, and the lack of compassion or the rights of humanity from the government (a good piece from the Economist here). The second issue, that of this being a relative gift to China-well they take that in stride. They just see the juggernaut rising, and don’t know how far she will go.

As for me, I don’t know, I live here-know it is booming but really have seen first hand some of her weaknesses. I sleep well at night.

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