peat o’neil

Travel * Think * Create

Posts Tagged ‘Future

Touristville, Asia

with 2 comments

Events - 1285Events - 1937 Events - 1955 I’ve been to Asia again and it sucks.   You know those places on the Lonely Planet beat?   They’re crowded with brusque, loud  travelers from  places where respect for other cultures wasn’t taught or the current bunch of road-killers didn’t learn.

Here we are in South East Asia, where the overland hippies from Europe and America brought banana pancakes to Samosir Island in Lake Toba in the 1960s and 70s. Where  Bali was already an artsy rest stop by the 1930s.  Where Thailand lured Vietnam War vets on R&R leave.  The same areas that by the 1980s found Swiss and Germans with months of paid vacation hanging out on remote Andaman islets frittering away long winters.

Then came the ’90s and the ’00s.  Western travelers flew to the obliging “Far East” for smokes and more-different-stranger-sex.   Indonesia’s money values swooped low, some Christians were killed in Ambon and there was a worldwide slump with the dot-com bust.  And hello, wake up,  what happened to quiet peaceful Asia?  Now comes terror bombings on the beaches where Ozzies rave.  The world recession-depression through the ’00s, meant travelers didn’t need a trust fund to waste a year on beer, naked mud slides, temple massages and cheap beds in Chaing My and Koh Tweetie.  Tsunami Tragedy and more of the same.  Wow, what an awesome mess.  No one spells correctly anymore and respecting local cultural norms has ended, full stop.  And don’t think it’s only the westerner travelers who dress inappropriately and spurn local customs.

Asia’s relentless push to acquire the  consumer veneer of success has displaced the traditional culture that attracted travelers in the first place.  Do locals have any images about life in the west except what is online or in film/video/tv?  They see a Droid sized version of superficial trappings.  A  highway of revved cars, bright skimpy clothing, painted fake fingernails and Red Bull parties. That’s the western culture dumped by itinerant bored travelers on gap year and beyond.   The intellectual and cultural understanding, once as necessary for successful travel as a passport and a guidebook, could be missing.

Development Requires Water

In a land of monsoons, peninsular Malaysia and Western Indonesia are developed with scant regard for water run-off or sustainable civic management.  Public buildings spring up swiftly without plans for increased car ownership, traffic routing, sidewalks or transportation safety amenities like cross walks, ramps for the handicapped and bicycle lanes.  Existing public facilities that don’t serve the image of the emerging computer chip state, like bus stations, cross walks, public toilets, are left unmaintained.  And all the bustle and growth is to the tune of the requisite recorded mullah blaring off-key from radio speakers, rooftops and storefronts.  No, I’m not politically sensitive, so what.  This is the reality I experienced.

Highway fatalities escalate because driver’s licenses can be purchased and training would take too much time.  Perhaps even contrary to the arrogant Muslim male who feels the seed of Allah in his loins, and struts as if he alone were responsible for populating the world.  Women are said to share public life, yet they aren’t seen and certainly not heard.  Facilities for women are limited and shared public space can harbor danger.   In a world of men, litter, urine, cigarette butts, trash, chewing gum and food wrappings are tossed everywhere.  No one cleans up when women don’t have a place or voice in the public spaces.

In a world where men believe they are the holy endowed, women are ignored, patronized or baited into compromising and uncomfortable situations.  Mercedes speed along the roads beside open sewer drainage ditches which irrigate the city and overflow when it rains.  Tropical forest has been slashed for furniture, replanted for palm oil production and bordered with toll plazas and shopping theme parks.

Huge tour groups from the new middle class of China and South Asia parade around,  while tour buses chug, sending fumes into the already smelly air as the drivers smoke and chat, or sleep in their seats, bus motors running to fuel the A/C.  How much water do these visitors use?  Can the local villages in Myanmar, for example, sustain their own people’s needs with the onslaught of tourism?

Contemporary politicians have grafted their ideas onto the glory and prestiege of the sultanates to gain depth to their history.  Has regard for the masses ever mattered to those elevated by lucre, king or church?

Did I really expect places to be the same?

In Kraabi, the town appears changed for the better with a jetty promenade and flowers planted down the new four lane roadway.  Why did they need a four lane road?  To handle the tourist influx.  Yet the old buildings endure and you can still find a clean bed for $4.  Thailand seems more prosperous than years back, but not in the flashy way Malaysia has opted to express prosperity.  Public services, structures facilities are reasonably advanced.  Trash bins, road signs, curbs, stoplights a bus station with waiting benches and an indoor  toilet.  Here, I see a balance of women and men in public.  Women wrapped in headscarves stare vacant eyed and follow careless, pushy loud men.  At least they’re not smoking.

In the bright morning light filled with promise, fishing boats chug out from Kraabi to sea. Dried fish on woven mats during the day.  A cat nibbles at the fish.  Women sort the dried minnows and smelt.  I saw a cicada caught in a spider web last night.  Cigarette butts everywhere around the public space.  Why is it travelers never realize they’re littering when they flick away a butt?

Resources:

Virtual Tourist – Dress Code in Asia

Got Passport – Correct Behavior for Buddhist Temple Visits

Written by patwa

01/05/2013 at 12:10 am

Who owns your water?

leave a comment »

Water privatization hasn’t been explored much in the general consumer media in the US, although there are articles in the scientific and water industry press.  Water privatization generally refers to private contract operations of water systems owned by public utilities, however a few municipal water systems are moving to private ownership, usually when a corporation can provide economic incentives to a community that can be used for other expenses such as schools, parks, etc. in exchange for managing/partially owning a water system.

A cursory glance at the topic on the internet reveals that water privatization is a fundamental issue for the anti-government fringe by whatever fanciful name is currently in vogue — Tea Party, Tory Party, Whigs, Tipacanoe and Tyler Too?  The No Nothing Party has the right name.

U.S. water privatization is on the waste water side, especially municipal waste water systems.

One outstanding example of a private water system is in Auburn, Alabama.  Set up in the early 1980’s before changes to the tax law in 1986 killed private initiative investments, Auburn’s water system has been studied by universities, used as a model of successful privatization of public works.  Indianapolis, Indiana  is another waste water system operated on a contract basis, with private investment.  U.S. municipalities embracing privitization include Syracuse, N.Y. , Georgetown, Kentucky, Coral Gables, Fl. and Santa Margarita, Calif.

Currently,  U.S. municipalities are underfunded for infrastructure (including water systems) maintenance,  investment and repairs so they are encouraging private investment to fill the breach.  Multinationals  — particularly French and British water companies — are aggressively looking for water utilities to manage on a contract basis with a view to partial or full ownership in the future.

It would be useful for people in the U.S. to know who owns their local waste water operations and water supply systems.  There may be public-private arrangements where a local government council sets regulations, but who picks up the profit on your flush? Entrepreneurial operators are making an impact as their contract operations managers save money through economies of scale and engineer water plants to work more efficiently.

Written by patwa

01/04/2013 at 6:30 pm

Would You Hire This Guy?

leave a comment »

Written by patwa

26/07/2012 at 1:25 pm

Age :: Debt and who will take care of Grandma?

leave a comment »

Older Chinese Couple

 

In 2000, 6.8 percent of China’s vast population were age 65 or older.

By 2025, 13.4 percent of China’s population will be age 65 or older.

Source:  Eberstat, N. (2004, Fall) Four Surprises in Global Demography. Orbis 48, 4:673-684.  p. 676

So what does that mean for ordinary people?  China depends on families to look after the health and welfare of its elderly population. The one-child policy has been effective in stabilizing population growth, but the replacement population is skewed to males.

China may need a gender based immigration policy to continue a stable replacement worker population to continue the growth which can support the rapidly aging population through individual care or a national pension scheme.

China will always have a vast population, so that demographic impacts may not be as deep, but widespread.  The political history has been to shift populations around the territory in order to support continued growth, populate empty areas and stimulate development. However, soon China will have a top heavy aged population — and the stereotype that Chinese are long-lived applies here — with many of those elders without family members to care for them.  Some of those sole offspring did not survive or did not reproduce because of the under-representation of females since the one-child policy took effect. Some emigrated.

China will have to revisit the current policy on pensions and health care. This may provide emerging market opportunities for developed nations to provide China with services such as elder care and health care delivery.

And, look out China, under-educated, unskilled American females may be headed your way to pick up prosperous spouses.

Debt

Did you know…..China’s public debt as a percent of GDP  —  16.20 (2008 est.), #101 on the global list. India’s public debt as a percent of GDP — 61.30 (2008 est.) # 23.  The public debt of the United States — 60.80 in relation to GDP (2007 est.) #24 on the list.

Source: CIA (2009). Country Comparison::Public Debt. The World Factbook. Retrieved October 3, 2009 from: https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/rankorder/2186rank.html

The U.S. was only a notch ahead of India on the amount of public debt as a percentage of GDP in 2008, using data prior to the global economic implosion.

While India and the U.S. will retain their robust populations to continue economic dynamism, by 2050 half of the U.S. population will be middle-aged or older.

India and the U.S. have similar profiles  of public debt in relation to GDP, but working-aged population is projected to diverge.  This will impact U.S. ability to sustain its economic growth pattern in relation to mounting proportion of public debt. If  the U.S. enhances trade partnerships with the more stable and growing economies such as India, the U.S.  economic outcome may improve.

Great-Grandmama may be able to afford a caregiver — a sponsored immigrant from India who speaks excellent English and has nursing training.

Resources: http://www.Kumarafoundation.com

Written by patwa

01/11/2009 at 11:38 pm

Change the Culture :: Tell the Story

leave a comment »

The skillful manipulation of the essential story of the conflict between the U.S. with al-Qaeda has left the U.S. on the wrong side of the story.  And make no mistake, in the information age, it is all about the story that plays online, on mobile phones, television, on video and film.  Viral messaging moves images and information faster than governments can perceive, let alone respond or manage the message. Today’s message is repeated, expanded and changed as the reteller (retailer) sees fit.

The U.S. should use its considerable expertise in psychology and its thousands of highly skilled civilian psychologists (as well as military psychologists), regional cultural specialists, creative story tellers, film directors and others, to produce a sophisticated narrative to manage the information strategically to turn the story in a different direction.  It is essential to understand how to deliver the message to a culture, region and social setting that is completely different than the U.S.

The development, training and success of the Iraqi Security Force  (ISF) is another element to be managed in strategic information operations.  The image of the ISF as weak and ineffectual must change in order for the narrative to support information dominance. Delivering that message correctly requires a strategy, perhaps more difficult than training the forces. Major General (Ret.) Najim Abed Al-Jabouri, an officer in the former Iraqi Air Defense and now a Senior Fellow in the Near East South Asia Center at the National Defense University points out that “the United States fails to realize is that the ISF itself is the battleground in the larger communal struggle for power and survival. Middle Eastern concepts of civil-military relations are fundamentally different than Western ones. Western militaries have developed a culture of political control over armed forces. …this is not the established culture in either Iraq or the greater Middle East. In Iraq, there is a culture of “he who owns the security forces, owns the politics.” (Al-Jabouri, 2009)

Al-Jabouri, Najim Abed (2009, August). Iraqui Security Forces after U.S. Withdrawal: An Iraqi Perspective. Institute for National Strategic Studies  Strategic Forum No.  245.

Written by patwa

29/09/2009 at 12:58 am

Staycation

leave a comment »

Staying home to conserve fuel and financial resources?

You’re on a Staycation.

cartoon of a woman sitting on patch of sand behind a house

New Yorker Cover February 25, 2008
©CondeNast.com

This summer — or winter– take the time to explore your own backyard, walk through a local park, or tour the county historical society museum.

No need to book out-of-town on a carbon-hearty expedition.

Written by patwa

14/07/2008 at 12:29 pm

Andrew McDowell

An Author of Many Parts

RED ROAD PRESS

On the Red Road in South Puna, Hawai'i

m.lever

life. as i see it.

Interning in Milan

62 Days....counting slow

Mail Artists Index

Biographies, works and links of representative Mail Artists. - Biografien, Arbeiten und Links zu typischen Mail Art Künstlern.

Nellie Bly in the Sky

Celebrating the 125th anniversary of Nellie Bly's historic voyage around the world in 72 days.

The Fox Trails

Exploring Nature and Society

Iconic Photos

Famous, Infamous and Iconic Photos

Travel * Think * Create

No White Food

Add Life::Eat Color

Travel * Think * Create