Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Happy New Year? That Depends.

Remember how I had a post the other day about Malaysian Chinese men wearing lucky red underpants? Well, I guess those would be considered lucky, compared to the undergarments some other Chinese people have to wear during the lunar New Year:
Migrant workers in south China are wearing adult diapers on packed trains heading home for the Lunar New Year holiday because they have no access to a toilet, state media said Tuesday.

About 120 million peasants from China's vast rural areas swarm the cities for work and all try to make it home for the holiday, filling all standing room on trains and making access to the toilet impossible during trips often lasting 24 hours or more.
That sounds like fun, no?

It's funny. People are always talking about how China is going to be the next big economic superpower, with some even saying that they're going to pass us by in the near future.

But I think some of these people forget that while the Pacific coast of China looks modern and glitzy--and there is an amazing amount of prosperity there, considering the fact that it's only been about 30 years since China escaped Maoism--the bulk of China is still made up of millions and millions of peasants.

This kind of thing, to my mind, shows that China's still not quite ready for primetime.

2 comments:

andy said...

no wonder people say china is going to beat the us. i mean look at them. they have discovered a way to save time by not having to go to the bathroom. think about how much more productive they will be. those wily asians. they think of everything.

Muslihoon said...

A professor of mine, who follows China closely, says that the bubble of China's fantabulous growth will burst soon. A lot of profit is being reinvested in real estate - lavish apartment buildings and the life - which the poor, obviously, can't afford. Add to this the fact there is still a lot of poverty and want in China, and that social unrest has become commonplace, and that people have begun protesting regularly, vociferously, and angrily, and the question rises whether some event is forthcoming that might
a. bring down the regime, or
b. force the regime to viciously crack down, potentially undoing whatever gains the Chinese economy has made

Both are frightening prospects.