Friday, May 09, 2008

Ramdam nila ang asenso

I have to say things are going quite well for our colleagues in the head office, and for the city of Nanjing as a whole. I was last here about three years ago, and back then most of our colleagues, the ones who didnt commute, came to work on their bicycles. But now, those who used to come on bikes now come on motorbikes or electric bikes; those who used to come on motorbikes now come in cars. Before the only cars on the parking lot were those of the head honchoes. Now the office parking lot is occupied by employee's cars.

And as for the city itself, if the construction boom that has been going on here for the past five years isnt enough of an indication, there is the rather ubiquitous lack of bicycles on the roads. Whereas as recently as three years ago, the bike still ruled the bike lanes, the roads now belong to cars. The bicycle lanes are almost deserted. And this is quite depressing to me as the Nanjingites seem to have fallen into the dangerous consumption patterns of the West, a consumption pattern we Pinoys recognize as the ideal, as the standard to aspire to, the car being the obvious symbol that youre on your way to economic bliss. I had hopes that the Nanjingites would follow the Dutch at least in their choice of mode of transportation. The Dutch -- no Third World country that's for sure -- havent given up on their bicycles. In Utrecht everyday one sees people in business suits biking to and from work. The parking spaces for bikes were always full. And in Amsterdam I was floored by a multi-level parking space, three-stories high I think, filled to overflowing with bicycles. In Amsterdam now, and in Nanjing then, if you were to be in a road mishap, it would most likely involve a bicycle. Alas, those days are over in this city. "The City of All Around Opening Up" as a sign on a bus said.

But who knows? Maybe one day the now-affluent Nanjingites would rediscover their Confucian - Buddhist traits and give up going after the Western consumption patterns that has so seduced the rest of us and ravaged this planet.


By the way, due to the network security features installed here, I can't reply to comments. I can read them via email, so, yes the canals are near the Confucius temple. And I prefer the apartment. I can't cook in the hotel and laundry rates are ridiculous. :-D We have better apartments now, too. Not like the one we used to stay in near the palengke. We now have rather posh apartments in Nanjing.

1 comment:

grifter said...

the next time you stay, they'll give you a car to drive too! hooooray!!

well, except if they make a mess of the Olympics, and we get WWIII by 2009.