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Lee Siu Hin - Journey to My Home: Weifang, China Vist My Grandparents

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  • SIUHIN@aol.com
    Journey to My Home: Weifang, China I Finally Meet My Grandparents Lee Siu Hin January 27, 2004 After 13 years, I finally backed to my home to visit my
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 27, 2004
      Journey to My Home: Weifang, China
      I Finally Meet My Grandparents
      Lee Siu Hin
      January 27, 2004

      After 13 years, I finally backed to my home to visit my grandparents. They
      are my mother's parents living in Weifang, China at northern costal providence
      of Sangdong. When we arrived to the town four days ago, a snow welcomes our
      arrival, and when sunshine greets our leaving.

      For personal and family reasons I only met them three times at my life, first
      in 80's, second time at early 90's. Although I had been traveling around the
      World from Russia to South Africa, from Los Angeles to Baghdad, yet I couldn't
      able to meet my grandparents for the past 13 years. They are now at their age
      of late 80s and early 90s, they have some health problems, and I always
      worried if I have no more chance to meet them. The family visits of Spring Festival
      2004 (A.K.A. Chinese New Year) finally fulfilled one of my wishes.

      I cried not only I saw my grandparents, but also witnessed like everywhere
      China, the historical transformation of my hometown, and it's good & bad.
      Weifang is a small city in China's standard: approximate 400,000 urban population
      and another 600,000 at city's large rural areas. It's a historical town of 1,000
      years of history, famous for kite making and woodprint posters. For the past
      50 years since revolution, Weifang had transformed to a one of the Sangdong's
      regional industrial and agricultural center includes high technology and heavy
      industries, at countryside green houses grows many vegetables for domestic
      and export business.

      Living standards had been greatly improved, my grandparents had finally moved
      to an apartment (my parent's financial helps) with phone, cable TV and
      toilet. Unimaginable even at my 1992 visit, downtown Weifang now have dozen
      high-rise buildings, several large shopping malls and supermarkets, and even several
      McDonald's and KFC restaurants.

      Yet, like any other Chinese cities, Weifang has their social and economical
      problems. First of all, the income gap between rich and poor, urban and rural
      are getting critical.
      For government officials, it's kind of "trickle-down" kinds of argument. In
      order to develop the city's economy (includes it's rural areas) with limited
      money, it should first invest in develop industrial park, roads, highways and
      hotels so it can attract foreign investments. The industrial and urban
      developments can help absorb city's urban and rural labor forces. Better economic
      developments helps bigger consumer demands, and helps countryside sell more farm
      products and increase incomes, and eventually develop their local industries.

      Yet, compare with downtown, the city's countryside is still very undeveloped,
      like what happened in United States. Income gaps between rich and poor are
      widen, while many city's new rich--primarily private entrepreneurs, living at
      best apartments at city center; middle class who primarily government employees
      and factory workers, and wealthy rural farmers--can make their living;
      thousands of rural farmers without jobs, they need to leave their hometown to go to
      seek for employments hundreds even thousands kilometers away.

      According from a local newspaper, one of the Weifang's rural district have
      90,000 semi-unemployed farm workers (excess family farm labor forces) need jobs,
      amount 50,000 of them become export labors traveling across the country,
      working at construction, service and manufacturing industries. Ironically, there
      are also thousands of migrant workers from across country to come to Weifang
      for work. As my grandmother says: "China has too many people, everything
      solutions are difficult…."

      Weifang is a typical city in China, a good example of Chinese society. Except
      its international kite festival at spring, foreigners rarely visit the city,
      throughout my five-days visit, I only saw a presumably lone American at the
      shopping mall. If international activists need to understand our country, they
      should come to somewhere like our town to stay, talk, touch and look. For me,
      this trip I can meet my grandparents, to stay with them for few days has been
      one of the greatest learning experience I ever have.

      Lee Siu Hin
      Weifang, China
      January 27, 2004

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