A 1200km trip in three days from Ningbo to Nanjing, Huia’an, Huzhou, and finally Shanghai bears no comparison to the Long March despite what my back is telling me, but it gave me a tantalizing glimpse of how China’s third-tier cities are being developed.
If it’s Friday I must be in Nanjing, literally the southern capital of China. A hipsterish boutique hotel called the Metropolo with self-described “sassy” rooms was my home from home here. At only CNY280 per night, it was quite a steal. Despite a distinct lack of sass, the room’s excellent facilities provided plenty of comfort for my aching back.
It’s a pity I won’t have any time to poke around the cultural delights of Ningbo during my flying visit here. This ancient port city 220km from Shanghai has a history that dates back nearly 5,000 years and features the oldest private library in China and a rather magnificent drum tower.
It’s great to be back in Taipei enjoying the glorious sunny weather. I just wish that my resistance to jet lag would increase with the more miles I fly. Unfortunately, the reverse seems to be the case.
How to deal with someone who is acting against principles that underlie the harmony of the group or who is threatening the unity of the nation through their criminal actions?
There are no rules on when you should consult the I Ching. Some people only like to carry out a reading when they have a major decision to make. I prefer to do one when I wake up as an early-morning ritual to settle my mind and prepare for the day ahead. Daily interactions with the text also help me to build up a greater knowledge of the core principles that underlie it.
It shouldn’t come as that much of a surprise that China has been so successful in building such a strong and efficient transportation and industrial infrastructure including – among many other marvels – the world’s largest highway and high-speed train networks. The ability to build and manage massive public works projects has been an integral part of the DNA of the ruling class and bureaucracy since at least 2000 BC when the legendary sage king Yu the Great is said to have created a network of dikes, dams, and canals to control the flooding that plagued the rich farmland around the Yellow River.
Not exactly the warmest of welcomes back to Taipei. I don’t think I can ever remember it being so cold and miserable here! And while I’ve experienced heavier earthquakes than the 5.8 one that hit the island last night, the tremors were more than enough to set my heart pounding and blood pumping a little too quickly for comfort.
Even after so many years of coming China, I still get a spring in my step whenever I arrive here. The economic growth that has lifted hundreds of millions of people out of poverty over the last forty years is the greatest achievement in all human history.
I’m heading off to China today for a whistle-stop tour of Shanghai, Beijing, and Shenzhen for our company’s Chinese New Year parties known as “weiya”. There was a time when I used to enjoy knocking back cups of Maotaijiu (white spirit) as part of the celebrations, but these days I’m a lot more restrained. My body simply doesn’t have the powers of recovery that it once had.