I recently took part in the Bridging Minds Symposium as organised by the China Development Society of LSE (Student Union). My interview, which formed part of the “e-symposium” (this time, the event was more a series of online interviews and features), was about the recent Under the Dome documentary by former Chinese Central Television host Chai Jing.
In my interview, I noted that Chai used the kind of down-to-earth language not used by government (it more sense to the average commoner). But I also noted that the timing of the film meant that nobody (especially long-time observers of China) would be surprised if it ended up silenced — as it was trying to grab the microphone at a time when the meetings of China’s political advisory body and national parliament, were looming. ▶
As someone who’s been in Beijing for 14+ years, I’ve seen it all. When I was born back in the 1980s, the skies were fair. Back in the early 2000s, they were worse, yes, but not to the extent that you got smog day in, day out. On 27 February 2014 we had our sunniest day yet so far, and yet just a day later we get more and more grey.
I’m no certified scientific professional in all this, but from the commoner’s point of view, given my mileage and seeing how other cities got it right, I think the city of Beijing needs a serious change to the way things work. For smog to go, we need smarter city management — in particular when it comes to getting from A to B. Here are just some of my ideas… ▶
The one thing I liked about Paris back when I visited it in around 1996 or so was the Metro. This thing was fantastically easy to use, despite a heck of a Châtelet-les-Halles interchange.
I didn’t really get my feet wet on an accelerator pedal in Switzerland despite getting my licence there — because the trains and the trams worked so much better. Especially in First Class, with less riders, you could finally have your piece / peace of mind (don’t know which one to use), and on better trains, get power and start typing away.
It kind of hit me, then, about my obsession on the rails… I think it is more a Green thing than a geek thing. ▶