China Impressions

It's been two years since I last set foot on the homeland, so it was with eager and curious eyes that I observed the country on the recent 3-week trip. Here are some impressions that stood out.

1. Bad news first: the environmental crises, especially the air quality, are even worse than I expected. The APEC-blue did just a little to clear the skies. Driving from Inner Mongolia all the way to Shanghai, we were submerged in dense smog the whole way, except for a few rare relief in the mountains.

Talking to people in the government, business and the legal system provided some clue to the cause of the eco-crises. The systems (political, economic, and social) incentivize pollution, and provide no check-and-balance. The fragile moral fabric does not withstand the pounding force of state capitalism and greed. Many people are getting sick, and dying of cancer. It is heart-breaking. I used to think that I will bike across China in the next few years, but now it seems suicidal to do it to the lung.


Recent Thoughts

1. In the belly 

It is deeply fascinating to work inside the system. The experiential learning and visceral reactions of being in the industrial growth society -- the belly of the beast -- are priceless.

I can start to see how it is hard for those who have never worked inside the system to sympathize with those who are toiling in it. I start to experience the bodily reaction when my work inside of the system is being critiqued and criticized. 

There is confirmation bias on both sides: those who are in the capitalist system, and those who believe they are not. Being inside the system, one needs to rationalize and justify their work. One's ego, self-worth, greed and desires all bond him tighter with the system.