World second largest economy

One of the events in Olympic that i like to watch is the long distance run. Usually the best runner, or rather the most enduring one, would initially stay at the background, keeping pace but not setting the pace.

The thing that i like to watch is how this person would slowly but surely overtake one by one as the final lap comes near. And then usually in the final lap, you can see him suddenly stretching himself and overtake all the competitors in front..

In the economic arena, we are now seeing this phenomenon. There is a country, the so called sleeping giant, which has overtaken Great Britain (or rather Britain now), France, and Germany. It has been running behind USA and Japan, but now, officially figures have shown that it has finally passed Japan too to become the number 2 economy in the world.  The country that I refer to is  China, in case you have no idea of who I am talking about ( very unlikely of course).

It has done well economically and this century will be the Century of China no doubt.

But with this ascendancy of economic prominence, I can’t help but notice a sense of arrogance among its people, especially the newly rich. It would do them well to learn to be a bit more humble, as it is really against the teachings of their Great Saint, Confucius, to exhibit such arrogance. There are also tales of unruly behaviour in public, pushing and jumping queues are common, just ask any visitors to China.. I once had a bad experience while awaiting to go up the Pearl Tower of Shanghai some time back. We were in a long queue going into the lifts, and then suddenly there was this groups of loud speaking men shoving and pushing when the queue started to move,  these people actually went from behind us to in front of us. When I politely told one of them that they had jumped queue, since no one else seemed to be voicing out, they just gave me a hard stare, an unpleasant look which must have meant to say ” So what!”.

As i have mentioned in the case of Malaysia, to be a first world country is not just wealth alone, but the civil behaviours and thinkings  of its people are very important. To be wealthy but with everyone acting like a goon would not make the country a good place to stay..

Perhaps, Chinese people must start to slow down a bit and ponder on these things..

I am posting part of an article from New York Times about China becoming the No.2 in the world now. Read the whole article here

China Passes Japan as Second-Largest Economy

On Monday August 16, 2010, 12:20 am EDT

SHANGHAI — After three decades of spectacular growth, China passed Japan in the second quarter to become the world’s second-largest economy behind the United States, according to government figures released early Monday.

The milestone, though anticipated for some time, is the most striking evidence yet that China’s ascendance is for real and that the rest of the world will have to reckon with a new economic superpower.

The recognition came early Monday, when Tokyo said that Japan’s economy was valued at about $1.28 trillion in the second quarter, slightly below China’s $1.33 trillion. Japan’s economy grew 0.4 percent in the quarter, Tokyo said, substantially less than forecast. That weakness suggests that China’s economy will race past Japan’s for the full year.

Experts say unseating Japan — and in recent years passing Germany, France and Great Britain — underscores China’s growing clout and bolsters forecasts that China will pass the United States as the world’s biggest economy as early as 2030. America’s gross domestic product was about $14 trillion in 2009.

“This has enormous significance,” said Nicholas R. Lardy, an economist at the Peterson Institute for International Economics. “It reconfirms what’s been happening for the better part of a decade: China has been eclipsing Japan economically. For everyone in China’s region, they’re now the biggest trading partner rather than the U.S. or Japan.”…………………………………


18 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. english chinaman
    Aug 17, 2010 @ 10:19:44

    maybe you should read bo yang’s the ugly chinaman. chinese culture seem to have remain stagnant even when colonised, conquered, occupied by foreign forces for the last 5000 years


  2. iamyuanwu
    Aug 17, 2010 @ 10:32:14

    They are called the nouveau riche—the new rich. Lack finesse and subtlety.

    All countries that are/were up and coming behaves this way. I remember my dad telling me that the Hong Kong people and Singaporeans were cocky as well in the 80’s and 90’s.

    It will take time, and probably the coming generation, and an economic recession like the one faced by S’poreans & Hongkies (Msian too)… to tame down the arrogance.


  3. Dr Hsu
    Aug 17, 2010 @ 10:46:48

    yes, I have mentioned the book in my eulogy for Bo yang somewhere in this blog. I read that book many years back, i think it was even before Singaporeans realised that some of them have the Kiasu trait. The book clearly states the deficiencies of the Chinese culture which Bo Yang likened to a big Soy Container, anything white go in will turn into black..For those who have not read the book, it is a good read, something to think about. Thanks english chinaman for reminding me of the book.


  4. klm
    Aug 17, 2010 @ 12:18:51

    The new rich are cocky, because they think they are invincible. It need a crisis to tell them they are not invulnerable. Time will teach them the lesson.

    What is amazing is that the leap of China happens in less than 50 years. China was lucky to have several generation of good top leaders. There are still many rotten eggs at the mid level. But it will take time to clean up the structure.

    What China need now is a good crisis to strengthen the social structure.


  5. Ken
    Aug 17, 2010 @ 14:27:46

    Hello Dr. Hsu,

    Allow me to alert you to this shocking survey result: Only 9pct of Chinese like Soi Lek, 1pct like Tsu Koon.

    Will Koh Tsu Koon do the honorable thing and resign?


  6. CYC
    Aug 17, 2010 @ 14:43:21


    Agree with u that China need a crisis to strengthen the social structure provided it is within the grip of control under the Communist Party. Otherwise, it will explodes and there will be a road of no return.

    The Chinese need to look inwards to rediscover their treasure of civilization and noble culture. The west are rushing to dig as much as possible into those treasures presently ignored by the Chinese.

    There are simply too many newly rich with arrogant attitude but we can still find some personalities like Jack Ma of and PanShiYi of Soho portraying some thought stimulating character which may have some influence on the younger generation.


  7. CYC
    Aug 17, 2010 @ 14:52:50

    Dr Hsu,

    The link posted by Ken is exactly the true reflection of the general public.

    It is only natural for the 2 person to do the honourable thing by resigning since they no more enjoy the trust of the people. But will they ?


  8. klm
    Aug 17, 2010 @ 15:42:46

    Koh Tsu Koon is not an honourable man. Hence he will not resign.


  9. wisely
    Aug 17, 2010 @ 18:40:05

    The war between MCA and UMNO has started. What is Najib stand? Let’s see how it develop.


    Can MCA, Gerakan and SUPP survive the next election?


  10. wisely
    Aug 17, 2010 @ 18:45:32

    China per capita is 3700usd. Rank 105. India, Brazil, Vietnam all rank lower though progressing fast.

    najib stand and M…N differ. M…N has Dr. M and Perkasa backing. Can Najib survive?

    Najid as PM definately better than M..N to nons

    Interesting!!! spell doom for BN if reform cannot goes thru???

    What will KTK says?

    A lot of Qs to answer!


  11. kl_boy
    Aug 17, 2010 @ 20:50:17

    I am actually not bothered about China becoming no2, no3 or even no 1 economy. It is undeniable that this will happen in time ever since its economy transformation occurred 20 years ago what more with Japan unable to pull itself out of its predicament. What would be a concern is how long can maintain that position. Unlike the US and Europe, china’s creativity and entrepreneurship is simply not at the level equal to the US. One can look at the mentality of the chinese people for example, they might have loads of cash but their basic thinking (the majority of them) is like any people you find in Msia’s kampung and lower income population. If i were a biz man in the US or Eu, i will concentrate on tapping as much money as I can from them through whatever means. You can show them the ways of the wealthy but teaching them to behave like one will take years of moulding especially if their wealth is artificially created. IMHO.


  12. Rhan
    Aug 17, 2010 @ 23:04:23

    I have high regards for BoYang when I was young. I think most of us went through similar sentiments, happening to had great doubt toward our own history and culture, lack confidence toward Chinese language and our education background, feel shame and embarrass to hear how backward of that impoverished motherland, the prejudice insult and being look down upon by the Anglo-Saxon LKY horde and their follower here in our homeland, the Thomass, Harrys and Johns.

    When I turn a bit older, I started to read books written by some of the modern Confucianism scholar, and finally understand the true idea behind BoYang viewpoint, i.e., a Chinese worldview and civilization that lack the willpower to conquer, to colonise, and to impose our religion and values into others. In a nutshell, the 酱缸文化is embedded into our gene and our poverty is caused by a very lagging culture, must therefore acknowledge our sin of working very hard peace and quietly, to the extent of being slaughter and discriminated upon? I think 龙应台is a better read, BoYang is….how shall I put it…..shallow and confuse.

    Breaking rules and law is a pretty common approach to enrich oneself in any newly developing economies, China still has a long way to transform itself into a truly developed and cultural superpower, perhaps as suggested by Hsu, a re-look back into their aged philosophies would help.


  13. wisely
    Aug 18, 2010 @ 07:53:04

    Najib yesterday calculation of per capita rising to 15000USD based on 6% growth till 2020 accurate?

    Is that how per capita income is calculated?

    Anyone can shade some light.


  14. Ken
    Aug 18, 2010 @ 08:36:41

    USD15,000 convert to RM49500 or about RM4100 a month. In 10 years time will this be high income? Inflation would have cut down its purchasing power by half so it’s like RM2000 now. Graduates are struggling to survive in the Klang Valley on RM2000. If they don’t have the support of their parents they can’t even drive a car.

    But this is the most optimistic projection. Our income has stagnated for the past 15 years. A graduate’s starting pay now is exactly the same 15 years ago, about RM2000. If we realistically project that this will increase by 50% in 2020, this means an income of RM3000 but a real income of RM1500 after taking inflation into account. I’m being optimistic in using 50% increase here although there’s nothing to say it won’t continue to stagnant.

    So real incomes are going backwards. We have moved on from the 1980s when a graduate can afford to buy a car when they get a job. The time will come when our graduate find that they cannot make a decent living in Malaysia and go overseas looking for jobs, even menial ones. This is BN’s legacy to our children.


  15. klm
    Aug 18, 2010 @ 14:56:07

    I have a perverse theory on why China developed so fast the last century. China went through many societal changes in the last 100 years:

    – got rid of the Ching emperor
    – went republic
    – went communists
    – Mao and pre -cultural revolution
    – pre-cultural revolution
    – post cultural revolution

    A lot of bad things were squeezed out from China.
    And it is still in the re-building phase. What we see today is the work of a hundred years and the sacrifice of millions.

    Why Japan stagnated? Japan society has not essentially change since the Meiji restoration. The second world war has not change its internal structure. For this reason, Japan will remain stagnant. It is stuck. For Japan to move forward, Japan must undergo a major societal change and this is unlikely.

    The next one to overtake Japan will be Korea. South Korea is fast and coming. Japan will be relegated to be no.4.


  16. iamyuanwu
    Aug 18, 2010 @ 18:14:16

    Does Najib or BN have the courage to evolve?

    This article, even though written by a strength coach, is relevent to our country.

    To quote:
    “Malcolm [Malcolm X] again had the courage to evolve when the truth slapped him in the face.”

    “I (author Mike Mahler) think it is safe to say that we have all done things in our lives that we’re not proud of. While we cannot go back in time and make changes [but] we can choose to evolve now and become something better.”

    Do You Have the Courage To Evolve


  17. disgusted
    Aug 18, 2010 @ 22:36:35

    An inch of time is an inch of gold but an inch of gold cannot buy an inch of time. Najib can have all the gold in the world but he cannot buy any inch of time and is losing time fast.


  18. sosong
    Aug 19, 2010 @ 16:07:59

    Someone said S. Korea will overtake Japan soon, please be informed this is very very unlikely, S Korea presently at No. 14, its economy only about 1/4 or less of Japan economic size.


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