What US Can Learn From China

By Paul Chong                                                                               Tuesday 15 December 2009

Confucius Classic Tradition

Speaking from personal experience on matters of Chinese education, I had two years of it as a child in a little known town of Port Weld in Malaysia. Chinese education is archaic & very traditional after the old ancient style which largely remained unchanged through the centuries. However, we learnt well to read, write & add – the basic three-Rs. Learning the Chinese language is by no means an easy task & there appears to have little possibility of any change from the traditional method of learning the Chinese language – reading aloud, recitation,memorisation & most importantly learning to write from memory & the consistent practice of hand writing & calligraphy.

Now, however, innovations & progression are making inroads into the Chinese education. Its notorious rigid curriculum now bears additional creative & practical topics.

Inroad of Progress & Innovation in Education

My article on “Roots To Grow . . . Wings To Fly” has merits in the growth & progress of any nation. You just cannot afford to neglect the basic & fundamentals. Foundation must be strong before you can grow any tall structure, and the first brick is laid according to the blue-print.

While US focuses on nukes in Iran & N. Korea, China’s surging military spending, trade imbalances between themselves and climate change, it lacks that visionary outlook to learn & appreciate what’s making China tick!

With the background of 5,000 years of civilisation does bear down a nation to some extent – the burden of inhibitions to change. The Great Wall of China was impenetrable in ancient times & living long in isolation is against the march of times. However, China’s emergence as a dynamo of optimism, an economic power house of growth and experimentation – all within one single generation – is indeed a miracle, to say the least. Never has so much been achieved in so little a time in human history. This will certainly go down permanently in the Guinness World Records.

China has defied the global economic crisis & taken the lead for other nations to follow. US is sensing that it’s the world’s ascending power stronger than it could imagine. The young US nation is suddenly getting old & feeble with a funking national mood, a foundering economy, a dooming dollar & a historic double-digit unemployment.

By contrast, China as the world’s youngest capitalist nation should be learning a thing or two from the world’s oldest capitalist nation – instead no blame should be apportioned if the learning process is reversed now.

Obama has been bowing of late to the Saudi King & then Emperor Akihito of Japan – all for good reasons. If wisdom has the better of him, he should bow to Hu Jintao! When you’re old & weary, eyes dimming, knees shaking, it’s time to take it easy & relax . . . relent from aggression, pursue cooperation & peaceful co-existence. They say that if you live by the sword, you’ll die by it! Let the eyes see and the mind be open. There’s always something to be learnt in life.

Now what is it that China is doing right?

China, cash-rich & own resources, is spending its billions of stimulus package in worthwhile economic & infrastructure projects that will keep its economy humming for years to come, instead of US bailing out all the Wall Street crooks that caused the economic slump in the first place. For example:

Pearl Delta Bridge
  • One of the world’s biggest construction projects: a nationwide network of high-speed train lines covering 16,000 km.
A Typical CRH Train
  • Now China has begun (Tuesday 15 December 2009) its Pearl Delta Bridge linking the Special Administration Regions of Hong Kong & Macau with the mainland city of Zhuhai. This move is widely expected to improve economic efficiency in the affluent Pearl River Delta Region. The cost is estimated at at more than 72 billion yuan (Or US$10 billion) & expected to complete by 2015.
  • The building of subways has certainly been intense this year, with China now leading the world in both speed of construction and investment. More than 800 kilometres were built this year drawing on funds of 100 billion yuan. Meanwhile, the State Council has also approved plans to invest a further 882 billion yuan on building subway lines in 22 cities. By the end of 2016, 89 new lines are due for completion, spanning 25 hundred kilometres. The construction is expected to drive added value of related industries up by nearly 3 trillion yuan, making China the world’s largest market for subway construction.
Super Multi-Lane Highways

Suffice for me to mention just the above massive projects among others of 6-lane highways, factories, resources developments & purchases, sourcing the world for continuous supplies of its economic needs etc. China’s plans are ambitious but specific without wastage.

The Chinese phrase “yong wang zhi qian”, literally meaning “marching forward courageously” is unmistakably its hallmark, outlook & vision. James McGregor, former chairman of American Chamber of Commerce in China, and now a business consultant, has this to say:

“One key thing we can learn from China is setting goals, making

plans & focusing on moving the country ahead as a nation. These

guys have taken the old five-year plans & stood them on their

head. Instead of deciding which factory gets which raw materials,

which products are made, how they are priced & where they are sold, their planning now consists of ‘How do we build a world-class silicon- chip industry in five years? How do we become a global player in car- manufacturing?’”

With its forward vision and looking over its horizon, backed by a thrifty population of saving more & spending less on credit or not at all, its nationals with the tradition of caring & looking after the elderly, and last but not least China’s great emphasis on education . . . the road to greater progress will go on and on.

One thought on “What US Can Learn From China

  1. Martin Chung

    I agree with your comments. China is the one to watch over the next few decades as it marches on with higher objectives to fulfill. This brings pride and joy to its citizens and foreign Chinese as well.

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