China’s Engineering Might: Bullet Train

By P Chong                                             Thurs. 28 Oct. 2010

AP/Eugene Hoshiko

The image of a powerful modern China in all its mega-engineering projects simply staggers the mind of the Westerners especially the British who first initiated and engineered the Industrial Revolution. In a matter of three decades or so, China has acquired Western technology & set new heights beyond all past human innovative spirit. Even the American standards have been surpassed. This is China’s era.


With the closing of the Shanghai‘s Expo by 31 October 2010, China is rolling out its new high-speed trains, shaped like bullets, linking Shanghai & Hangzhou, the Three Gorges Dam which is already working & generating hydro-electricity at full capacities.


More mega projects are still in the works: nuclear power plants, a gargantuan project to pump river water from the fertile south to the arid north, & a $32.5 billion, 820-mile (1,300 kilometre) Beijing-to-Shanghai high-speed railway link scheduled to be opened in 2012. China’s engineering triumphs & the nation’s growing ambitions are in line with its economic boom. (Read by same author: “If You Stall . . . Others Roar”).

Completely New Railway Station

On the railway front, its technology is second to none. “We are now much faster,” Railway Ministry spokesman Wang Yongping said at Tuesday’s inauguration of the super-fast line from Shanghai’s western suburb of Hongqiao to the resort city of Hangzhou. “Now other countries are hoping to cooperate with us.” The train will cruise at a top speed of 220 mph (350 kph), making the 125-mile (200-kilometre) trip in 45 minutes.

Pretty Rail Stewardesses At Your Service

Although China holds the patents on the technology, design and equipment used by the CRH380 train, some in the industry question the degree to which China is justified in claiming the latest technology as its own. In a recent interview, Michael Clausecker, Director General of Unife, the Association of the European Rail Industry said, “Everybody knows that a lot of the core technology is European”.


The benefits of high-speed railway are obvious, but with speed costs soar and people are reluctant to pay higher fares particularly on shorter routes. However, the government has embarked on upgrading the whole national network.

A Female Construction Worker Watches As Train Passes By

“Young Man In A Hurry”

Young Man in a Hurry!”

If you run fast to get to somewhere

Oftentimes you’d miss the fun of getting there.

Life is a journey . . . not a destiny!


Last Sunday, Lilian & I did something which we should be doing all the time or at least from time to time – taking the free train ride to Mandurah. Like most retirees, having been accustomed to our own vehicle for convenient transportation, taking the train had always been far from my mind. I was always driving around when visiting friends or places, near or far, until stricken by glaucoma about three years ago. To be restricted in my mobility & to depend on others carting me around is not easy for me.

What a train ride it turned out to be! Lilian drove from our home in Lesmurdie & we parked the car at Bullcreek bus deport. We just hopped in & no ticket is required for seniors/retirees on Sunday. The electric train runs by conveniently every short interval & in just about half hour we reached our destination, Mandurah.


Along the way, with my partially impaired vision, I was enjoying the scenery, which often escape you when driving yourself. The ride was smooth & relaxing with lighted sign & announcement telling you each stop – Murdoch being the first & eventually Rockingham before Mandurah. From the station we boarded the awaiting bus, again for free, which took us to the fore-shore of Mandurah – the place where activities & visitors congregate.

There was the Annual Crab Fest on with a galore of music, activities, stores, crowds & noise filling the festive atmosphere. This certainly broke the monotony of life’s routine, and as an avid photographer, my trigger finger was happily clicking away. Photos are so precious for memories. Like they say the best things in life are free, & we certainly avail ourselves to having a good time. We ended up eating at Cicerello (the famous place for fish & chips) & watched the sunset. Believe you me, the sunset is more glorious & colourfully spectacular than the early morning sun rise.

As an internet user, you probably are familiar with a message re “Life Explained”. Fort the purpose of illustration, if I may, I like to draw your attention to it.

God initially created the animals . . . cow, monkey, & dog.

On the fourth day, God created man and said:
 ‘Eat, sleep, play, marry and enjoy your life. For this,
 I’ll give you twenty years.’

But man said: ‘Only twenty years? Could you possibly
 give me my twenty, the forty the cow gave back, the ten the
 monkey gave back, and the ten the dog gave back; that makes
 eighty, okay?’

‘Okay,’ said God, ‘You asked for it.’

So that is why for our first twenty years we eat, sleep, play and enjoy ourselves. For the next forty years we slave
 in the sun to support our family. For the next ten years we
 do monkey tricks to entertain the grandchildren. And for the
 last ten years we sit on the front porch and bark at

Life has now been explained to you.

As the cumulative years behind us begin to exceed the would-be years ahead of us, you gain a better perspective & realisation what life is all about. It makes no sense to be in a hurry. It is as though we are all in a hurry from the womb to the tomb. That’s precisely the Gospel truth, from the cradle to the grave, which is a certain destiny, we never seem to have time for anything. We don’t have time for breakfast . . . for meals & exercise . . . relaxation & recreation . . . for friends & last but not least for our family. This is indeed a sad indictment & before long we’d be sorrowfully interred with our bones – the best music left unsung.

Life is no race. Take time for everything. We all have 24 hours in the day. It’s how we make use of the hours that will determine the qualitative & quantitative aspects of life. People often ask me where do I find the time to write. If it’s a pleasure to you, you’d find time for it is my truthful simple answer.

Making time to indulge in life’s pleasure needs no advice or advocation. Golf fanatics are known to make “widows” out of their wives. Workaholics expend their energy cooped up with their office work. Failing to strike a balance in life is sad indeed – for there is no turning back!

It is advisable neither be a “young man in a hurry” nor an “old man barking at everyone on the front porch”. Life is precious. Live it to the full. Make every minute count. The Chinese have a saying: “A nick of time is an inch of gold.” And gold right now is your best bet & hedge against “The Great Recession”.

The chapters of life need to be read from beginning to end. Don’t skip any chapters. Don’t just read the prologue & conclude with having read the whole story. Enjoy the prose, the expression, savouring each scene that the author laboured through in his/her presentation as in the case of reading Agatha Christie’s works of fiction.

Life is short . . . so don’t engage in top gear all the time. Stretch out & linger on to appreciate life’s beautiful scenery, lest you’ll end up being sorry.

Paul Chong ©

Thursday, 12 March 2009

5.42 am