[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

Friday, April 25, 2008

1. When I told my wife that I was visiting Bhopal, capital of Madhya Pradesh, she asked if the place was still radioactive. Radioactive? Well, many people remember the terrible accident that happened in 1984 when a Union Carbide fertiliser plant leaked noxious gas killing thousands of people. It was not a radioactive leak but cyanide. Hundreds of thousands of others were affected, some for life. The morning after I arrived, I visited the site. Part of the plant is still there. Next to it was an open ground where some kids were playing soccer.

2. Madhya Pradesh is India's second biggest state with a population of 60 million. It is poised to join the ranks of faster growing states like Maharashtra. With relatively more land, investors are coming in from other states to take advantage of cheaper real estate and the availability of power and natural resources. As more highways are built and with the improvement in Indian Rail, Madhya Pradesh's central location has become an important advantage. Recently, Proctor&Gamble decided to centralise its distribution in Bhopal. I was returning a visit made by the Chief Minister to Singapore in November 2006.

With Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan

3. Coming from Delhi or Mumbai, the lakes and hills of Bhopal are a welcome relief. Property prices have been going up. Nearby is Sanchi which is an important Buddhist site dating back to the 3rd century BC. Founded by Ashoka, the Sanchi Stupa is the biggest in India. The British started restoring the ruins in the 19th century. It is now considered one of the best maintained archaelogical sites in India. We met a group of East Asian tourists which included a few Buddhist nuns. The guide said they were Japanese. In fact they were Taiwanese speaking Hokkien. In the coming years, we can expect to see a huge increase in the number of East Asians visiting Buddhist sites in India.

Do also read my posts on Beyond SG


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