Saturday, March 31, 2007

Back in the U.S.A.

What you first notice if you're in America after six month in Indonesia.

It is obvious, but: The wealth. The things. The overall abundance. (And, yeah, well, that you can speak English.) Plus, how clean the air is, and how many trees and birds and flowers there are, and how few unfinished edges — open ditches, stacks of construction beams — you come across.
Well, those were James Fallows' words, not mine (for 'Indonesia', substitute 'China'). The Atlantic Monthly journalist and national editor who has been residing in and reporting about China since last year reflects on how things are different between the two nations.

But they could've been my words too as I am also back in America after seven months being away. And I'd like to add one more thing to Fallows' list: the predictability. Things are much more predictable here than they are back home. Which is another way of saying things are often more exciting (if suspenseful) back home.

Here's the rest of Fallows' interesting observation:
I realize an error of logic I had been making. China is so fast-changing, so ambitious, so covered with construction cranes, so on-the-move and on-the-rise, so dotted with localized pockets of affluence and big new projects like its Olympics sites and its giant factories and its “Mag-Lev” trains, that I had begun, without thinking, to assume that it was “rich.” Not even close. I am reminded of where the country actually stands.


  1. good on you back to the USSR, oh sorry the USA. enjoy it.

    tell me if there's a possibility of crash in DJIA.

  2. USA.... i will come sooner. pray me.

  3. "Things are much more predictable here than they are back home..."

    Interisting thought, I somewhat agree, especially in term of 'creatures comfort'. I mean, in a developed world, rules are more consistent:

    - Traffic rules are more consistent
    - Education, safety (locally speaking), and politics are more consistent (therefore, predictable)

    I guess it is our human nature to like this predictability. Surely, unpredictability takes us out from our 'comfort zone' (what will happen to my old days, my next generation, etc etc)

    In saying that, I observe something that is not so predictable in any world (first, second or third), that is: morality (what moral benchmark do we use here? that's another topic :) ).

    US of A for example, where 'freedom' is the thing, I believe there is 'break' of sexuality (sexual freedom, same-sex relationship, etc etc). Whether this is a good thing or bad, again, that is another topic.

    Indonesia for another example, not uncommon to read people's opinion from my blogwalking that they think 'Soeharto-reign' was more stable (read: predictable). Though my personal opinion is: it's just because there is a 'break' from that reign, and many people started to have their own thoughts, therefore, on how-to-run the country, and these people just can't agree with each other.

    My point is, as people take their 'freedom' (of-selfishness), the more unpredictable this world becomes, as our human nature is selfish. Unfortunately, this selfish ambition clashes with everyone else's

    -my two cents-