Stories From Gaogang ........4
What is the best of way of seeing interior China for a foreigner who doesn’t speak Chinese? None, except wait for someone to show you around.
We have been living here in Gaogang for the past two years during this assignment. We have lived here in this very town on two other occasions, each stretching over a span of a year. So, we are very familiar with the town and have seen it grow up from a small township to a big city within five years and it is growing at a very rapid pace. Huge multi storied colonies have come up where there used to be vast stretches of fields.
In October last year Taizhou administration celebrated twentieth birth anniversary. Gaogang is said to be her sister city and by all means it is a much younger sibling of Taizhou. So I have a reason to say that if Taizhou is only twenty years old, then Gaogang is hardly ten. In the last six months, I have seen massive construction of highways on all sides of the town. Two years ago, a huge bridge across the river Yangtze came up ten kilometres down the river from Gaogang.
去年十月，泰州政府庆祝建市二十周年。 据说高港是泰州的姊妹城市，无论如何高港都比泰州年轻得多。 所以我有理由说，如果泰州年芳二十，那么高港还不满十岁。 在过去的六个月里，我目睹了这个城镇到处都在如火如荼地建设高速公路。 两年前，高港区向下十公里的地方建起了一条横跨长江的巨大桥梁。
Since, I work for the ships under construction, when the outer shell fabrication of the ship is complete, it is launched in water. Before that the assembly of massive steel blocks is done on a sloping platform called Slip-ways. Speaking about ship construction doesn’t jell with the spirit of the blog but be it enough to say that all shipyards are located on the banks of the rivers or on sea shores. I get to see the river every day. I could see the rapid pace of progress of construction of this bridge. I saw it come up and become operational in about a year.
那个时侯我正为在建的船舶工作，当船的外壳装配完工后，船舶就下水了。 在此之前，大型钢构的组装是在被称为滑道的倾斜平台上完成的。 谈到船舶建造，这可与博客不一样，但足以说所有造船厂都位于河岸或海岸上。我每天都会去看看长江，我看到这座桥的建设进展神速。我亲眼目睹这座大桥在一年内完成施工并开始通行。
The Taizhou Yangtze River Bridge is a bridge complex over the Lower Yangtze River in Jiangsu Province in eastern China. The bridge connects Taizhou on the north bank, Yangzhong on an island in the river, and Yaoqiao Village of Zhenjiang Municipality on the south bank, and consists of a suspension bridge across the north branch stream and a pair of box-girder bridges across the south branch stream. Taizhou Bridge Complex opened in 2012.
This is not the only bridge across Yangtze. China in the last ten years has constructed more than seventy five bridges running across the mighty Yangtze river. It’s almost like putting a gigantic ladder putting across a stream to help the people cross-over, with each rung representing a bridge.
Pontoon bridges have been used by militaries for two thousand years on the Yangtze, but until the completion of the Wuhan Yangtze River Bridge in 1957, there were no permanent bridges along the main stretch of the river known as Chang Jiang (the "Long River"), from Yibin to the river mouth in Shanghai, a distance of 2,884 km (1,792 mi). Since then, over 75 bridges and six tunnels have been built over this stretch, the overwhelming majority since 1990. They reflect a broad array of bridge designs and, in many cases, represent significant achievements in modern bridge engineering. Several rank among the world's longest suspension, cable-stayed, arch bridges, truss and box girder bridges as well as some of the highest and tallest bridges.
Gaogang is not a big port, but all along the river Yangtze, the river front has been used up by factories and the Shipyards. I don’t know in which plan of development of the nation does Gaogang stand but seeing by the construction that is going around, I can say there are grand plans for making it a big city.
These days, the sewers of the city are being replaced with bigger ones, perhaps in anticipation of great increase of population, for which the residential accommodation is all ready for occupancy. This is called advanced planning. The roads here are already broader than highways in India.
When new colonies come up in India and people start moving in, a multitude of woes come with them along with flies and mosquitoes. Bad approach roads, poor drainage, not removed debris, stagnant water in uneven patches of land where mosquitoes breed their invading armies, un-mowed grass, shrubs and vegetation, stray dogs, rats and cats, no boundary walls allowing free run to petty thieves, who steal everything they can get their hands on, you name the woe and it’s there, but the people have no choice after the colony is declared habitable and even the formality of inauguration is gown through.
It takes years for the infrastructure to complete and that too after the distraught residents form Unions, after approaching the concerned authorities for getting their grievances addressed fail. But here it is different, before the people start moving in, everything, even the landscaping is finished to the last detail.
In Chandigarh the Administration has been planning to construct a flyover at the first major cross roads at the entrance to the town, a square called “Tribune Chowk”, for last one decade and I think it will take at least another decade assuming all sanctions are in place and the money for it has been arranged.
Not a Speck out of place
And when finally it will start appearing that the flyover will become a reality, the lobby for retaining the heritage town as Mr. Le Corbusier had envisioned will start making a strong pitch for sabotaging the project as they want to retain the city as it was when the only vehicles that could be seen the roads were bicycles. We are very sentimental about heritage. People have come and gone and we don’t much bother about them, when they are around but after they are gone, we deify them. We create great monuments in their memory. We take holidays on their anniversaries. We do the symbolic gestures of going to their places of burial for laying wreaths and offering flowers. We laud their great contributions to the nation but do nothing to follow their ideals.
At home we garland the pictures of our dead ancestors and speak with great pride about the values they taught us but don’t think twice before faulting on those. We show great enthusiasm by carrying in processions the things once owned by great warriors and revered saints and returned in but and pieces to make a grand show of magnanimity by the British, who don't talk of returning the loot of gold, jewels and diamonds they carried back to their miserable land to uplift its fate. But thievery doesn't change fortunes and how long can the loot last? They thought, they could just get out of European Union by saying Bye- Bye but the European Union is demanding 100 Billion Euros for the losses and they are refusing to cough up, obviously because the dacoits don't pay. Haven't ever heard of them paying someone Hahaha.
Let me come back to my thought about heritage, legacy and ancestors before I annoy their loyalists in India. My Indian born Brown Sahibs many of which work for Indian media will be very upset with my diatribe.
We have grown up admiring Bharat for placing Wooden Sandals of Lord Rama on his throne for fourteen years, letting him be guided by those.
During Shraadhs we feed the priests with best of the food preparations as we believe that it would benefit the ancestors in heaven and we donate real money for making it reach them. In this regard, I think we are better than the Chinese who shower fake currency on the tombs of their ancestors they visit on Qing Ming Festival day. But well, following, the morals taught by our elders is one thing but keeping the city as it was in 1950s with its roads chock-o-block with automobiles, just another.
The Chinese don't any hangup about heritage. They are just razing the old nation down for building a new one. The speed at which they are rebuilding the nation, I think they won't have anything older than twenty years in a few years from now. What to talk of the roads and the houses, I don't see a single tree older than two/three years of age. They are all planted in neat rows along the newly built roads, parks and streets. Relocation of trees is a great idea. I think the whole world should adopt it. So often, I read about trees being felled, especially in the blog series 'Bhopal Notes' by 'Prnoy Roy" and I feel saddened.
中国人对文化遗产没有任何担忧。他们正在拆除旧中国建设新中国。他们正重建国家的速度之快，让我相信已经找不到20年前的东西了。更不要说旧道路和旧房子，我甚至都没有看到过一棵两三年树龄以上的树。 他们都被整齐的种在了新建的道路、公园和街道两边。 移植树木是一个好主意。 我认为全世界都应该这样做。 我常常读到树木被砍伐的事情，特别是在“Prnoy Roy”博客系列的“博帕尔笔记”中，我为此感到很难过。
As I travel around here in China, I notice that many people grow trees and flowery shrubs at plots lying vacant. Since no one can own land in China, I think everyone has the freedom of tending the vacant plot for whatever one wants to grow on it. People grow crops on any piece of land they find vacant, even the roadside. Many people plant tree saplings on vacant lands and the young adult trees fetch them great prices because they are much in demand from the Municipalities and the builders too. Before any road is opened to public, it has trees and shrubs planted on both sides, it has the traffic lights and video cameras installed at every x-crossing for checking over-speeding and traffic violations and also for having an alert surveillance at all times.
在中国旅行时，我注意到许多人在空地上种植树木和花木。 由于没有人能在中国真正的拥有土地，所以我认为每个人都有在空地上种植喜欢的植物的自由。人们在任何一块能找到的空地上，甚至是道路两边，种植蔬菜。 许多人在空地种植树苗，而小树苗则因为市政和建筑商的需求可以卖到很高的价格。 在道路通行之前，道路两边已经种好了树木和灌木，在每个十字路口都有架设了交通灯和摄像机来检查超速和交通违章情况，任何时候都能得到监测预警。
Heritage Furniture Recovered from Thieves---Pic from The Tribune, Chandigarh
Before I close this article, let me tell that some years ago, the “heritage furniture” (which means the broken chairs on which Le Corbusier and his team used to sit) was stolen from the dilapidated office where it was kept. After much noise was made about it, Chandigarh police swung in to action and caught two women, who after four five years of ordeal have finally been released some days ago. They were some ordinary poor women who might have stolen the broken chairs for getting some fire wood, without knowing the price they would have to pay for the 'priceless' objects. Some time ago, I got a WhatApp forward of police having caught some thieves who stole the Check Depositing machine in place of the ATM machine from one ATM. Sometime the sheer stupidity or call it innocence of a thief can do the incalculable harm to a project. This reminds me of another very interesting story. I came across this once during net surfing and saved it for posting it in my blogs and today, it has got a chance although the blog has become very long, but let me post it.
Peach Theft in China Destroys Research
Leo Lewis wrote in The Times: “A night-time peach-scrumping raid by an improbable trio of thieves in Henan province has dealt a blow to Beijing's economic policy and set Chinese horticultural science back by a decade. The theft, which was discovered, to the distress of scientists at China's Agricultural Science Academy, caused "inestimable" financial damage and involved more than 45 precious kilos of peaches. [Source: Leo Lewis, The Times, July 4, 2012]
刘易斯在“泰晤士报”上写道：“河南省一个三人盗窃团伙的夜间偷桃行为，给北京的经济政策一记沉重打击，并使中国的园艺科学倒退了十年。 盗窃事件让中国农科院科研人员痛心不已，造成了“不可估量”的经济损失，涉案桃子超过45公斤。 [来源：刘易斯，泰晤士报，2012年7月4日]
The thieves - an opportunist group comprising a peasant, a fortune-teller and an incense merchant - saw their chance when roadworks gouged a hole in the outer wall of a peach farm in central China. One of the three, Li Yonggang, later told police that the scrumping party knew the farm was important but not that the peaches were the outcome of a ten-year hybridisation experiment by the Zhengzhou Fruit Tree Research Institute.
盗贼 - 一个由农民，算命先生和贩香的商人组成的投机分子组织 - 当他们发现中国中部的一个桃园外墙被道路施工凿出一个洞时，觉得机会来了。其中一个名叫李永刚的人后来告诉警察，他们知道这个农场很重要，但并不清楚这些桃子是郑州果树研究所进行了十年之久的杂交试验的结果。
As night fell, the trio made its raid, stuffing the fruit into five woven plastic bags. Villagers alerted the institute and Niu Liang, an associate researcher, ran into the orchard to see the thieves disappearing through the hole in the wall. The peasant was caught but the incense salesman and fortune teller made off with three bags of fruit. In those bags were some 20 experimental breeds of peach cultivated as part of a national policy to improve the quality and yield of a fruit of which China produces 11 million tonnes a year, said Mr Niu. "Many of those peaches were national projects. This institute has been shouldered with the task of cultivating new breeds of peaches as part of the 12th Five-Year Plan period," he said, referring to the economic policies ordained by the Communist Party. "A huge number of cross-bred peaches have been stolen and this will have a direct effect on the experiments this year. If the project is delayed the loss will be beyond estimation."
As police continue their hunt for the two missing peach thieves, a terrified Mr Li told them that it was his first brush with fruit theft: "I knew that this place had something to do with science, but I really didn't know the peaches were so valuable," he said. Police in Zhengzhou must now decide if the matter should be treated as theft or industrial sabotage. An academic lawyer said that if the suspect did not know the peaches' value, there was little choice but to consider them normal peaches. The institute, he suggested, could pursue a civil case against the thieves, but might encounter difficulties because it had done nothing to protect the gap in its wall.
Suresh Rao / / 8 months ago
Lovely picture post with excellent narrative.Great progress in Gaogong, China.
Keep them coming Navneet.
Navneet / / 8 months ago
Thanks Sureshji- Have lots of stories from Gaogang to tell :)
Prasad Ganti / / 8 months ago
Navneet sahib, great writing about progress in China. Certainly, it is enviable.
Navneet sahib是介绍中国进步的伟大写手。 当然，让人羡慕。
Navneet sahib, there is no perceived negativity about China in US, as you mention. There are positives about Asia development including China and India. Occasionally, there are noises about human rights issues and something like currency manipulation by the likes of Trump. Now, Trump has toned down. By killing Trans Pacific Partnership, he has actually helped China, which China is very happy about.
正如你所提到的那样，在美国，没有人对中国有任何消极的看法。 亚洲的发展，包括中国和印度在内，都有积极的一面。 偶尔也会有关于人全问题的质疑，以及像特朗普一样操纵货币。 现在，通过退出泛太平洋伙伴关系，特朗普也被淡化了，他实际上帮助了中国，中国对此非常高兴。
Prasad Ji- No matter what and how much I write, perhaps I can't convince the Americans or even those who have pledged allegiance to America that America is much hot air while China is real substance Hhahaha
Navneetji Splendid as always, your China travelogues give a wide picture of the life in China.I just wanted to know whether there are any problems in the housing colonies once they are occupied, say for example within 2/3 years. Here in the US the apartments where we are living for 8 years, some individuals had problem with drainage, over flooding of the kitchen sink etc due to which residents went for litigation. Litigation affects the re sale of the house as the lenders some times do not the finance the house which faces litigation. In the past DDA used to practice what you have mentioned as regards housing colonies in China. In 1977 when I went to see a friends house in Munirka (DDA housing colony) it was complete in all respect viz a Milk booth nearby, a dedicated bus service(DTU) and completed paved roads. Things have gone bad ever since.
Yes India lives in the past and too much now with the growth of social media. Thanks for a great travelogue
Navneetji还是那么棒，您的中国游记为我们了解中国的生活提供了广阔的视野。我只是想知道在他们入住住宅区后，比方说2、3年内是否会出现什么问题。 在美国，我们已经在这个公寓住了8年了，有些居民因为排水，厨房水槽倒灌等原因走诉讼程序。 诉讼影响到房子的再销售，因为银行有时候不会把面临诉讼的房子视为资产。之前DDA曾经像您提到的中国住宅区那样实践。 1977年，当我去穆尼尔卡（DDA住宅区）参观朋友的房子时，配套设施都完工了，附近有一个牛奶亭，一个专门的巴士服务站，路面也完全铺好了。 后来事情就不尽如人意了。
Karor Ji- I haven't faced the problems but there must be...after all Chinese things come with an expiry date :)) I have heard, when I was searching for an apartment in Shanghai that some old apartments had the problems of blocked lines but well that is understandable. Those old days of DDA's construction are things of the past. Now they don't make durable things that last for ever, the things we have seen while growing up, the things that were passed from father to son- it doesn't make economic sense, I bet even Japan and Germany have learned to see wisdom in this and all that "gyan" has been given to the world by China- so I can't vouch for their quality but anyday it is better than that to DDA and CHB( Chandigarh Housing Board) and when I say that, it means it is better than what we get in India.
Karor Ji-我没有遇到过这些问题，但是肯定有...毕竟中国也有保质期:)当我在上海租公寓时，我也听说有一些老房子有线路阻塞的问题，但这是可以理解的。 DDA建设的时代已经过去了。现在他们也没办法造出永垂不朽的东西，那种陪伴我们成长、从父亲传给儿子的东西，这些都没有经济意义，我敢打赌，日本和德国从中、从中国人带给世界的理念中学到了东西。我无法保证它们的质量，但总是比DDA和昌迪加房屋委员会做的要好，我这么说，就表示了它比我们在印度做的要更好。
Love the photographs too. After quite some time you have posted this...Just loved this and the images are beautiful....
Carry on Navneet
( I don't know why these dots have appeared..I am trying to get rid of them but they are not going off!!! )
Wonderful Navneet .
Thanks Usha Ji- After reading your article I Miss...... I thought of discontinuing with my blogs on Kashmir Problem, not because I wasn't mentioned among those whom you missed Hahaha but wll, I understand when you say that everyone doesn't like blogs based on politics or strife... I have lots and lots of stuff to write but right you are there are not many people around to read
Thanks Geeta for appreciation