Friday, August 12, 2005


David Scott Lewis, my fellow columnist at AlwaysOn, has a good piece on life in China. I finally met David at the AlwaysOn conference, and one amusing thing he told me was that he didn't know I would be so tall (David is a bit shorter and I'm 6'1". Average if you grew up in the Midwest) because of my picture (the surfing caricature I use at AO and some other sites) that I use in my profile page made him think that I was short. Anyway, check out David's article:

The Life of an Average Wang
Politics are low on the discussion and interest list in the face of daily struggle with poverty.

I am not going to attempt a defense of the central government, but I do want to shed some light on the every day happenings of the average mainlander. This might be an eye-opener, even to well-traveled tourist executives who frequent China.

For most Chinese, the political debate is of no importance. Chinese are much less interested in politics than Westerners. Beijing might be an exception, but even in Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Chongqing, political discussions are rarely hot items in daily discourse. Fact is, when most Chinese think of politics, they are not thinking about Taiwan, tensions with Japan, the "strategic" alliance between China and India, China's space program, the 2008 Olympics, or anything to do with the United States. What they are thinking about is the social welfare system, the rising cost of health care, outrageous property values, food safety, unemployment and job security, and education for their one child. And guess what? In only slightly modified form, these are the same things that we Westerners think about. We might venture a bit broader, but the fundamentals are the same. (full article)

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