[About this blog] Inspired by local soccer player Mike Lim during my rookie reporter days at Singapore Polytechnic, I set up this blog in August 2002. I feel that blogging is a novel platform to document interesting facets of my life and my thoughts on certain issues. [Email blogger] ephraim@singnet.com.sg

Thursday, October 26, 2006

1. It was good to visit Guangzhou again after 5-6 years. The new Baiyun Airport is a splendid facility linked to the city by a beautiful highway lined by shrubs and trees. The entire highway was cleared of traffic for PM's motorcade! Governor Huang Huahua hosted dinner for us at the White Swan Hotel this evening. After dinner, we cruised the Pearl River in a spacious boat. Both banks were beautifully lit up in different colours. Laser lights swept the evening sky. It all looked like a fairy land.

2. I recalled my first visit to Guangzhou in 1983 with my parents. We had just spent a week in our ancestral village near Chaozhou where I met my maternal grandparents for the first time, both already in their 90's. China was still very poor and backwards then. Deng Xiaoping's new policy of reform and opening up only started in 1978. In 1986, I brought my new wife to see Guangzhou on our way to Shantou. We walked through the wet market, which before the era of SARS, was an incredible place to visit. All kinds of sea creatures and animals were on sale. My wife saw a sad-looking dog in a cage. She asked whether it was being sold as a pet or for eating. The vendor said that it was for the buyer to decide.

3. In 1992, I did an official tour of the Pearl River Delta, starting with a ferry ride from Hongkong to Hu Men where Lin Zexu destroyed British opium. From there we visited Dongguan, Guangzhou, Foshan, Panyu, Zhongshan, then to Macao back to HK. The boom had already started. At night, we heard constant explosions as hills were blown up and sites were prepared for buildings and industrial estates. I read a report that 2000 bridges had been built in the preceding years. Today the Delta is a major pole of economic growth, not only in China, but in the world.

4. Each time I come back to China, I see remarkable improvement in the lives of ordinary people. Never before in human history has a transformation so breathtaking in scale and scope been seen. But the developments are uneven. Social tensions are a serious problem and preoccupy the Chinese leadership. When there is justice, it is rough. It is an incredible unfolding drama.

5. We are not simply observers of this drama. The Teochews, Cantonese and Hakkas in Singapore come from Guangdong Province. So too the Hainanese before Hainan became a separate province. We are linked by history, by blood, by culture and, now, by economics.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

As the communist country opened up their society, their improvements is incredibly fast.

If the chinese government can reduce their corruption rate by half, their improvements might even be more remarkable than present state.

China of 21th century, is vast alot different than in the mid-20th era.

By grabbing on to their giant wings, our economic will fly as high as them.

Friday, October 27, 2006 8:53:00 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"We are linked by history, by blood, by culture and, now, by economics."

I think it should be we WERE linked by history , blood,by culture....in the past tense.
Seriously, if you ask any chinese singaporean on the street...how many will think they are associated with chinese. Despite, us speaking the same language, our chinese is an abomination form, in comparison with them.each generation had forgotten their dialects slowly.Linked by blood..as the older generation passes away, with time..how many remember where their grandparents comes from, or from each province..by culture..ours is non-existent in the first place..we are but a cheap clone of the richness of 5000 years of chinese culture and history,By economics...now, i cannnot fault that..."to get rich , is to be glory"..and we have perfected that to an art..

Sunday, October 29, 2006 8:35:00 am

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr Yeo, Mr Yeo. Why haven't you replied to the readers in your previous post? We're still waiting...

Wednesday, November 01, 2006 2:55:00 pm

Blogger dk said...

The change in mainland had been rapid... take lujiazhui for instance... a short 15 years to build a potential financial capital of East Asia.

I enjoyed Guangzhou when I was there to visit interning-friends. Social problems such as crime are still possible stumbleblocks in development, but marked improvement has been realised.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006 3:29:00 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear George and Ephriam,

firstly, i think its a good idea that a Minister and a pap supporter try to connect with the netizens by blogging.

However, i must said that your blog are filled with political correct stuffs which have no bite on the issues with the common folks.

I am sure by now, you are aware that the internet rage is on the wee shu min saga. if you peel open the issue, its not just about the rantings of a 18 yr old girl. its about the class divide and whether our MPs really understand the issues that singaporeans face.

Until you guys start being forthcoming and getting real about the issues that are discussed at the internet, your blog are, simply, just a "wayang" and "pretentious" blog.

I am looking forward to a day where spirited and honest discussion on the dire issues facing singaporeans are discussed. Hopefully, its not just another off tangent topic about a trip to china and what challenges it poses.

for a start, If you are looking for a topic that bites with the ground,why not discuss about the FTs issues. many folks like us are bitter with the govt on the influx of this FTs coming to take away our jobs. Why?, first the FT males dont even have to serve NS, some are given free scholarships to study in Singapore, have 2 yrs head start in their career as a result, dont have yearly ICT call up, after working for a few yrs here, can go back to their homeland and buy themselves a nice bungalows and cars. What kind of level playing field is this? the way i perceive, singapore is rather a harsh place to its own kind while a haven for the foreigners.

Your kind comment pls

Thursday, November 02, 2006 2:34:00 am

Anonymous Anonymous said...

4. Each time I come back to China,

Mr. Yeo, why did you write "come back" My relatives in China alway tell us "you must come back". I would correct them saying "I will visit" as I consider Singapore as my country and not China....

Tuesday, November 07, 2006 7:03:00 pm


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