Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Day 5: AT THE (truly) GREAT WALL!

Photo: Now I feel like I've officially arrived in China, reporting from the Great Wall and Summer Palace.

Yesterday was the third and final day of the fair. Not as crazy busy as past two days. Many people passing by still. Very hard to know who will follow up. I talked to more people today about helping us establish a presence in China. Difficult but definitely doable. Too long to explain here but will surely explain intricacies when I return.

Pollution back to normal, which is not pretty. Pretty stinky and grey.

Went to buy a battery in an electronics store that looked like the 22nd century. So many amazing techological products, and so many people selling and buying them. One thing that is clear is that the cumulative wealth in this country is staggering. When you look at US with .3 billion people, and China with 1.3 billion, they have a billion more people. Obvious, yet overwhelming. When the government of a country this big that now has the technology that the West has had decides to do something, it is only a matter of time that they come to race past the rest of the world in important ways.

Just to stay with this simple idea for a minute. I have been reading and teaching in my classes for years that China will be the superpower of the 21st century. If you look at the history of the rise and fall of great powers over the past 2,000 years, China has all the ingredients. Now that I am here and see just how huge everything is, how advanced their techology is everywhere in the city, how amazingly efficient things are (I have found nothing not working- not even a lightbulb), and how innovative it is- from the electric scooters, to the unbelievably creative architecture everywhere (like we saw in the Olympics), to simple practical solutions, like bike lanes everywhere in the city, it is truly impressive. I know the countryside is different, and I will see that on the 10 hour train ride from Beijing to Shanghai. But you have to realize, for better and for worse, China will be leading the world in important ways. The question is what is the US going to do about it. How about a little Chinese language instruction to start...

Be well. cheers, Tom


Al said...

Great photograph, Tom! Yours is a very poignant message about China and that country's position to be the world's leader. I am thrilled to see how enaged you are with China's culture and the role China will play in the global tranformations taking place.

Be well.

Karen G. said...

Wonderful to follow your experiences in China -- from the vistas to the cultural insights to the educational opportunities. Looking forward to your future posts.

Megan said...

Wow, that is really amazing! I can only imagine what it is like to encounter those things in person. I definitely agree with you that there is a lot more that the world has to learn about China because they are so massive in size and are quickly becoming the most innovative country on the planet. You're right in your lectures that they will become the superpower of the world, but it's up to all of us to stay on the same page. Hopefully some of the students/institutions you spoke with will follow through so we can become at least slightly influenced by their lifestyles.
I hope you enjoy your train ride! Hopefully it will be filled with enjoyable scenery.