23 April, 2012
Back In Da Jing
Back in Beijing again and this post is not about technology, nor about my return to Sweden but rather about what really annoys me in Beijing and still really gets to me when I come back to Beijing after only five weeks. These things really bothers me and as time goes by, things will change and my memories fade, but still.
The smell and the smog - see the two pictures to the left - bothers me a great deal. First thing you feel when you get out of the plane is the "Beijing Smell" - the smell of burnt coal and the pollution is a combination of China still using 75% coal to fuel its energy needs, the tripled number of cars in four years paired with a dysfunctional public transportation and limited road infrastructure (in all fairness, who could have foreseen this tremendous growth in cars?) and a disability of understanding how to operate a car in order to drive smoothly.
Clearly, this will improve - as public transports are being built out and roads improve and people's knowledge increase (often aligned with traffic tickets). And China has an ability to gets things done, when they get it.
Secondly, though not right in my face, it is blatantly obvious that the only thing that matters is me, me and me and that I get more money, can show off my success and brag about all the money I get. This creates respect among equals and the less fortunated. Unfortunately, it comes at a price and the price is that nothing else matters. The China Law Blog reported (unscientifically) that the number of violent cases in business have tripled and the murder of Mike Hayward is just another example thereof. KIds that dies or gets seriously injured because milk is tainted with Melanin is another example. And the list just gets longer and longer day by day.
Thirdly, the foreign Beijingers.. I do not know what it is with them and it is not true for all of them (us) but some of us behave utterly arrogant and unpleasant and display a view of racism that "these low-level chinese uneducated creatures" can not read their mind, understand their winks and most of all, appreciated and learn their superior use of the English Language. A lot of times, and I must say I also apply a great deal prejudice here, most of these guys are not able to score the type of job and salary they have in Beijing; nor get access to the restaurants and clubs in their home towns; nor pick up the girls and crowds. What I can't understand is the lack of appreciation, being in the country of opportunities, where they can afford everyday's luxury and appreciate the struggle that all of us has here (locals, migrants and immigrants). You see bad-ass behaviors at bars, at work, in taxis, at restaurants. It can be good to remember who are the guests here. Even if I lived in Beijing more than half of the population has, I still realize I am an outsider, a guest and will also be, but I have had my lowlights as well (I am not a saint)
In Sinica's podcast, The End of the Expat Package, you can here a nice analysis about the situation but the truth is just because you speak chinese (hey, 1.3B does) and that you are foreigner (hey, you are not the only one) does not mean you have a great future in China. I may not agree upon all their thoughts, but insightful indeed. Maybe time to be humble and integrate into the society.
The good thing is that things are achange and only time will tell but I have good hopes of China's future development.