As I sit on the 17th floor of my ‘so called’ 5 star hotel in Chang’an China, a not so leafy suburb of Shenzen and DongGuan City, I am struck by the fact that all of the nicely uniformed kids parading up and down like military conscripts in the school yard opposite my window, will have a future in this rat infested, polluted atmosphere we, the rest of the planet, call our personal workshop. The air is dank and filled with grey unyielding carcinogens, as the sun tries to rise yet again above yesterdays industrial production and today’s desire for more of the same. You cannot breath, it’s hard to see further than the quarter-mile of hazy landscape that is set forth in front of nothing but continued and unabated construction, and the sad part about all of this mess is, the closer you look, it only appears to get worse.
In two hours it will be time to leave my tiny oasis and venture out once again into the ‘wild west’, although today isn’t nearly half as bad as it was twenty years ago. Chang’an is considered to be an affluent Chinese city, boasting a golf course, which is as yet unfinished due to legal issues, a Wal-Mart, filled to brimming with exotic delights such as dried sharks fin, magic mushrooms and all kinds of foods that are deserved of one quick inquisitive glance before one is overcome by odors that reek of disgusting vomit and perhaps reminders that life ends as suddenly as it began. Chang’an also contains 12 Apple stores, 6 Nike Towns, and as many Rolex shops as one could possibly fit in a main street that runs almost 800 yards on either side, all of which are fake and neatly stacked with exact copies of their original’s fair. The tree-lined sidewalks are littered with yesterday’s news, broken bottles, vomit and spit and an endless river of used cigarette butts, seemingly cast aside on concrete because the trash cans that occasionally occupy space on that very same street are already filled and brimming with millions more. An air of apprehension is evident, no matter where you walk or drive. It’s a kind of disease, where many adults, stand or squat in their own ‘spaces’, just waiting for something to happen, and it rarely does. And yet out there, on the roads, which are now completely grid locked because everyone wants to own or does own a car, something that’s only happened in the past 3 to 5 years, it’s unimaginable chaos, fueled by impatience, intolerance and a general disregard for any acceptance that the law of the land should be adhered to in any way shape or form. In other words, it’s survival of the fittest and one wrong move and you’re dead. The people here do not care. It’s a fact, sadly expressed by their inability to accept that other citizens are their brothers and sisters, that people have rights, that they are a nation built on togetherness and not on the selfishness of greedy individualism. Everything is unfinished or sadly forgotten, from the high-rise buildings that house tens of thousands of people, all sparkly and very desirable from the outside and mostly shabby and extremely underwhelming on the inside where cracks can be seen from the top to bottom in the construction, rats and mice are an infestation that don’t seem to bother any of the residents and where , to the amazement of anyone visiting from the West, families of 20 are seen to be occupying 1000 sq feet of space, with nothing but ease and an acceptance that one day there will be 21 or 22.
Western ideals and influence, a doctrine that has perhaps woken this once sleepy giant and given it the realization that a materialistic path is for the greater good, a complete fallacy when you see the way the populous of modern day China handles their greed and their thirst for more of what we in the USA would describe as our God given right. The fact of the matter is that you can change the place, but you can never change the culture. Ten years ago most Chinese people believed a jaguar was an animal found in Africa. Now, a Jaguar can be found on virtually every street corner in every town, driven erratically by some farmer or business man, made whole and extremely rich over the past few years during China’s industrial boom time, and now found to be flaunting his or her wealth in the form of what was once considered to be western mythology, a luxury motor vehicle. I had a meeting some weeks past in a place just outside the center of DongGuan city. Underneath the office I was visiting was one of the most incredible sights I have ever seen in my 35 years of visiting China. The DongGuan Bentley dealership, situated inside what could only be described as modern day shithole of construction, bricks and rubble scattered all over the front entrance, litter randomly spread inside a half tiled floor where three brand new silver and gold Bentley motor cars were lined up, each one with a price tag of $555,000! Capitalism gone mad, where capitalism was only a figment of imaginations ensconced in gardening and flower arranging. A condescending opinion of course, but one well founded on experience and situation.
Reflecting back to 1979, the very first time I crossed the border from HK into Shenzen China, I was amazed that a populous so large could be so tolerant. Over the years my amazement has evaporated into disgust at the way people the people of China have changed, not so much from the standpoint of warmth friendliness, but more from their aspect of greed and disillusionment. China is huge, it has 1.6 billion people, and believe me, none of them really want to be living there. Now that America and it’s cohorts have made inroads to a culture that was once sublime, their focus on life is 180 degrees polar opposite of what it was, but yet their culture remains steadfastly stuck in a place none of us care to remember or recall. They are polite, warm, friendly, hospitable people, but they have no regard for cleanliness or most of the other things that we in the west find acceptable in the form of sanitation. Yes, China is growing, built rapidly by a government trying to catch up, but China is dangerous. It’s suffocating the rest of the planet, perhaps not deliberately, but certainly slowly and surely. They have little regard for life that is so precious, perhaps because there are so many who care so little for so few.
China is a godsend for some, a liability for others, but no matter what, China is here to stay, probably rule and definitely to remain dirty and rich!
欢迎进入宾利 BENTLEY DONGGUAN
宾利东莞展厅, 南城体育路盈锋商务中心一楼, No.26, Tiyu Road, 东莞, 广东省, 523000, 中国