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China, Day 20: The Waking Giant

Lee Family Reunion 2006: China
A Tronkie Travellogue
Day 20: Beijing International Airport and Da Dong Roast Duck Restaurant



"I fear we have awakened the sleeping giant, and filled him with a terrible resolve."
    -Admiral Isokoru Yamamoto (1884-1943), in 1941, of the United States of America, when asked about the Japanese navy's prospects after Pearl Harbor

"When China awakes the world will tremble."
    -Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821), in 1809

China's long sleep and slow awakening

Though Napoleon never actually called China a sleeping giant, it hardly requires much imagination to see the world's most populous country (until circa 2015, by most projections) as such. The old country of my ancestors has been asleep for a long time. It has been hypnotized and the waking state deferred - by technological complacency, by opium, by forein invasion (the Eight-nation Alliance, Japan) and civil war, even by false dreams of a socialist utopia that time has proven to be one of the more totalitarian communist regimss.

These days are passing, however. Slowly but surely, you can see China rousing from a slumber of millenia, and it will most likely never be put to sleep or made apathetic again in its history as a nation. The people milling around on the street, going about their workaday lives, have a direction: outward. The introspective nature of the Chinese people is still there, but the drive to grow, to reclaim culture and political status, to expand the economic, demographic, even military bases of the country, and to increase the prestige of the nation, is accelerating. The efforts that these spawn - in manufacturing innovation, in China's first period of full industrialization and emphasis on quality, in its infrastructure development (especially transportation and communications), and in the mobilization of its people, are all converging.

All around its great cities, you can hear it in the bustle, and abovemost, you can see it in the endless building. Even in older developments, scaffolding and cranes are everywhere. You can see it in my casual photos, even indoors. I'd heard and read a lot about it, but you have to see it to believe it.

Photographs of the city




--
Banazir

Comments

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
twinbee
Jul. 10th, 2006 06:14 am (UTC)
oh, I know! lets send all of our top scientists and technicians over to keep China from waking up!!
banazir
Jul. 10th, 2006 02:29 pm (UTC)
Mollify, yes; pacify, yes; lethargize, never again
I know you're joking, but China will most likely never be put to sleep or made apathetic again in its history as a nation. It has been hypnotized and the waking state deferred - by technological complacency, by opium, by forein invasion (the Eight-nation Alliance, Japan) and civil war, even by false dreams of a socialist utopia that time has proven to be one of the more totalitarian communist regimss.

These days are passing, however. Slowly but surely, you can see China rousing from a slumber of millenia. The people milling around on the street, going about their workaday lives, have a direction: outward. The introspective nature of the Chinese people is still there, but the drive to grow, to reclaim culture and political status, to expand the economic, demographic, even military bases of the country, and to increase the prestige of the nation, is accelerating. The efforts that these spawn - in manufacturing innovation, in China's first period of full industrialization and emphasis on quality, in its infrastructure development (especially transportation and communications), and in the mobilization of its people, are all converging.

I'd heard and read a lot about it, but you have to see it to believe it.

--
Banazir
twinbee
Jul. 10th, 2006 06:05 pm (UTC)
Re: Mollify, yes; pacify, yes; lethargize, never again
i

w
as being doubly facetious. we probably will end up sending half our scientists over there :-P
banazir
Jul. 10th, 2006 06:38 pm (UTC)
An American Scientist in Beijing
Ah, I see. How do you mean, though - for what are our scientists going?

I ask because I see the brain drain slowing in China, which - more than any other Asian country, including India - seems poised to hold on to and realize its potential. However, I don't see any mass import of foreign talent in the immediate future.

--
Banazir
hfx_ben
Jul. 10th, 2006 06:25 pm (UTC)
[truly fixed] Oh Jedi-esque Hobbit-type person!
(Witch King? You sure you wanna stick with that, Bill?)

A bit of synchro: one of the geek-wizards I follow through my my technorati blogwatch and digirati network linked to a post in a personal blog. Curious ... ehh, what's this?
"The Wal-Mart in the basement of my building sells live frogs in a big aquarium, for eating."
Ooooooh ... mah French bluhd is rylin'!! *mouth waters*
"Almost everyone who works at the Beijing Wal-Mart falls in the same demographic ..."
Ehhhh whot?!

see "The Day That Nothing Happened"
(Deleted comment)
banazir
Jul. 11th, 2006 12:42 pm (UTC)
China's endless building
Exactly. The Beijing Genomics Institute (BGI) went from a cinder block building in 1998 to releasing the draft sequence for the rice genome in May, 2002, a week after Syngenta. That's comparable to rolling out cars a couple of years after starting construction of your first plant.

--
Banazir
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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