China, Travel and growing wiser

January 13, 2008

I have been in Thailand for almost 8 hours now. I am sitting in a cafe called Coffee world, having a veg sandwich and chocolate coffee for 250 Bhatts. The sandwich had a lot of mayonnaise. Feeling a little edgy for quite some time. The coffee was excellent. One of the best chocolate coffee i had.

I have just completed a small trip to Shanghai where i had to do some rampup on multimedia on Linux platform. Initial plan was for two weeks, but managed to complete the work within a week. Apart from my work i did some reading on the current affairs in local magazines and newspapers.

China is undergoing an increase in birth defects. According to a statistics, defects in Chinese infants rose from 104.9 per 10000 births in 2001 to 145.5 in 2006. Which is a 40 percent increase. The birth defects are related to environment pollution. For example a coal producing region called Shanxi recorded 189.86 defects in 1996. The government is taking this as a serious issue and is planning to take a number of steps. It plans to introduce pre-marital health checkup mandatory so that people can come to know of problems earlier and take actions about them before they have the baby.

China signed a 12 billion dollar agreement with France to buy two nuclear reactors and fuel from Areva(France). There was not much fanfare about this deal, and it did not really draw much attention. But it caught mine, why? Because in India we have been struggling for more than a year to sign a similar deal with US. The Left is opposing the deal as it would make us dependent on the powerful USA. Two things come up to my mind. Why is Left making such a big deal back in India? If it is about nuclear deal, then i am sure they can learn some lesson from communist china. If the deal is about USA, then what about other countries like France? By the way china has been part of WTO only recently.

Then there is some interesting political stuff from Thailand. Thailand recently concluded its parliament elections, and todays newspaper in Thailand carried some information on how politics work here. The rules somehow seem quite reasonable and if implemented in India for example can bring a great deal of sanity in the whole process of democracy.

  • Election Commission is empowered to strip the seat from a MP within 30 days if it finds out that the person did not follow election code of conduct. This results in a bye election.
  • The government is formed only if the number of bye elections to happen is less than 5%. Else the formation of government is postponed till the bye election happen.
  • The prime minister is elected by the elected MP’s. Each PM candidate has to be seconded by atleast 1/5’th MP’s. Each MP can vote for any candidate irrespective of his/her party. The party does not issue a whip to it’s MP’s to vote for a particular candidate.

Sitting here in the cafe, i suddenly realize how much more aware i am of what is happening around me. The fact that i am not in my own country, and that i am alone (not having to see if raina is having her meal or now) has in a way forced me to be aware of what is going around me. As they say, you grow wise as you travel more.