Something is wrong somewhere

Received via email a few facts about China:

  • The United States had been the leading consumer of energy on the globe for about 100 years, but this past summer China took over the number one spot.
  • In 1998, the United States had 25 percent of the world’s high-tech
    export market and China had just 10 percent. Ten years later, the United States had less than 15 percent and China’s share had soared to 20 percent
  • Nobel economist Robert W. Fogel of the University of Chicago is
    projecting that the Chinese economy will be three times larger than the
    U.S. economy by the year 2040 if current trends continue.
  • According to one recent study, China could become the global leader in patent filings by next year.
  • Over the past 15 years, China has moved up from 14th place to 2nd place in the world in published scientific research articles.
  • China now has the world’s fastest train and the world’s biggest
    high-speed rail network.
  • China now possesses the fastest supercomputer on the entire globe.

On top of these figures, I came across a report yesterday about the succesful manufacturing and test-flight of Stealth fighters in China. These planes could evade radar and avoid missiles from the grounds and enemy’s planes. It needs very advanced technology to produce this type of plane.

I first went to China in 1994, Beijing to be exact, and at that time people were still very poor, and there were not many cars on the roads. Though people had started to wear colourful clothing in  place of the dull Mao tunic, on the whole, they were many times poorer than we Malaysians then.

Within a span of more or less 2 decades, it has progressed so much that in many of the urban areas, the standard of living is higher than us now.

When we talk to politicians about how much the ‘little Red dot’ down South  has surpassed us since Malaysia and the ‘little red dot’ separated in 1965, the standard reply from most politicians in power will be that it is much easier to govern a small city-like state than a big area like Malaysia.

But the advance and economic progress of China put an end to this line of argument. If a country about 50 times more populous (and so much worse in infrastructure to begin with) can progress so fast economically and make such big stride  in innovation and scientific research, why can’t we, especially when we have started on a better footing?

There must be something there for politicians and planners to think about.


15 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Richard Loh
    Jan 14, 2011 @ 13:59:18

    “easier to govern a small city-like state” knowing our politicians mentality this time they will argue that China has the manpower and that the majority is of only one race easier to control and manage. If you really pose this question again to them I am very sure they will have the right answer for you even though it may sound idiotic.


  2. klm
    Jan 14, 2011 @ 15:09:04

    Dr. Hsu. What you did not mention is that China has the money to trying different approaches to solve the problems it is facing, especially green energy.

    In the process, it will discover new technologies – hence the increase patent filing. And China will lead the world in many areas. China is the only country with money to spent in new areas.

    So watch out world.


  3. CYC
    Jan 14, 2011 @ 15:50:57

    Most of the export figures were inaccurate in the sense that the west calculate the export figures based on final product value when in actual fact most of the components of the final product manufactured by some other countries, China is just the final assembler. So, the huge trade deficit against China reported by US was a result of this manipulation.

    Malaysia will heading to dooms day both economically and socially simply due to excessive govt interference. Adam Smith has pointed out in “Wealth of the nation” that govt interference jeopardize economic growth, and our govt just happily go against this classical advice. And u see hundreds of GLCs being set up to compete with private entities and resulted in wastage of resources, division of labour overlapped inefficient employment of capital. The funny thing is all those “experts” employed to run those “labs” are either economist or financial analyst who suppose to know this simple theory from day 1.

    If u ever watch the program called ” Boss Town” in Channel 305, u will find that most of China’s top entrepreneurs has much comprehensive or wider perspective in their business ventures. And more importantly, they are more knowledgeable and open to new ideas without being hindered by cultural or religious barriers.


  4. clearwater
    Jan 14, 2011 @ 16:34:17

    The fact is Malaysia cannot beat a little red dot, nor can it beat a gigantic red dot; it can only compare favorably with countries suffering systemic failure. All Malaysia can offer are excuses and more excuses for its lame duck performance. Malaysia is mediocrity personified in the present. Malaysia is a study of a state in decline.


  5. lkt56
    Jan 14, 2011 @ 18:11:39

    The difference is China has the talent and made full use of them as evidenced by their rise from 14th to 2nd place in terms of published scientific articles.

    China the leading energy consumer surpassing the United States? Not surprising considering that they are known as the factory of the world.

    World’s fastest train, their own stealth fighter, and fastest super computer: these achievements comes from their talent pool as well.

    Our politicians are still talking about how to share the cake, about who is the superior race, whose religion is supreme, how to control the media of information and knowledge (the internet)… They seemed to have lost it altogether!


  6. lkt56
    Jan 14, 2011 @ 18:14:14

    Some statistics about their fastest railways:

    China: 2,535 miles operating, 3,824 miles under construction, 1,802 miles planned.

    Japan: 1,575 miles operating, 316 miles under construction, 362 miles planned.

    Spain: 1,278 miles operating, 1,098 miles under construction, 1,058 miles planned.

    France: 1,178 miles operating, 130 miles under construction, 1,626 miles planned.

    Germany: 798 miles operating, 235 miles under construction, 416 miles planned.

    Italy: 574 miles operating, 245 miles planned.

    South Korea: 256 miles operating.

    Belgium: 129 miles operating.

    Source: UIC (International Union of Railways, December 2010). UIC defines “high-speed” as lines on which trains operate at speeds greater than 250 kilometers per hour, or 155 mph.

    Read more:


  7. chabalang
    Jan 14, 2011 @ 20:51:15

    Knowing the quality of our BN politicians – they will just give you some silly reasons why cannot compare.

    To me, China is just reclaiming its No.1 nation after 2-3 centuries of SLUMBER (or rather victim of its own success and became arrogant/inward-looking. During the first hundred years of Qing Dynasty – China was prosperous with good emperors but the decline came in later years of Qianlong and so forth).

    Our BN politicians (particularly the old horse) are always ASHAMED and get really defensive when M’sia is compared to S’pore. Most of us know why S’pore is AHEAD of M’sia but change is difficult and more importantly, not favourable to UMNO politicians. Think/look positively, S’pore is where it is today (to a significant extent) due to M’sian talents – just look at the recent O’ levels results in S’pore (M’sians have topped it for the past THREE years) + Cambridge top law student in 2010 joined S’pore legal service + many, many others.


  8. Meng
    Jan 14, 2011 @ 20:58:01

    Doc , there is nothing wrong in Malaysia , everything is perfectly alright. We are progressing downwards, thats is the culture now and in the future. We have mono rail that worked for only 10 minutes, thats world record. We have an international airport where no planes want to land. Something is not right if correct decision are made.


  9. Nick
    Jan 15, 2011 @ 12:05:28

    The title to your piece “Something is Wrong Somewhere”. It should be re-titled “Everything is Wrong at the Top”. I have been a corporate man all my working life. In all the Companies that I have joined, I can summed it up into truth nuggets by stating that “it all starts at the top”. If the leaders are useless, the result is a company that is rudderless and loss-making entity. Take our cabinet. Instead of the best and brightest amongst our people to lead this nation, what we have are cheaters, liars, robbers, corrupters and worst now we know rapist and murderers. Our Institutions are all buggered and kangarooed. No wonder Malaysia’s best and brightest are all serving other nations and we continue to remain only a mediocre country. What is happening in China is a true phenomenal success story but with its large masses to feed, clothed and shelter, it will take a long long time to join the First World. Did anyone read the tweets that Najib participated? It is a joke. It shows no respect for the PM but what does he expect. Respect has to be earned. In my books, he deserve none. We want justice for TBH!


  10. Mike
    Jan 15, 2011 @ 13:40:56

    Just act like China which executes corrupted officials and politicians , then Malaysia can progress .


  11. petestop
    Jan 15, 2011 @ 21:40:37

    Well, I got to Shenzhen, china every quarter or so. This is the heart of the
    electronics manufacturing sector for China, due to the forward looking
    policies of Deng Xiao Ping to open up China carefully, but setting out
    Shenzhen as a special economic zone.

    The reality is that China is just continuing where they left off after the
    turmoils of various wars and the Cultural Revolution era which have
    but left it stagnant due to the closed policies. India likewise experienced
    the same, due to it rather economically closed policies, in the pursuit
    of “self-sufficiency”, although it was and still is the world’s largest

    Do remember that many China cities are already well advanced even
    before the warring years and communist tookover.

    In this increasingly interconnected world, you can no longer be a
    “katak bawah tempurung” and think that it is enough just being
    inward looking. It is by seizing the opportunities to connect to the
    rest of the world, that will allow you to flourish and the country
    to grow.

    Thus, the massive correction happening in China.

    My first trip to Shenzhen more than a decade ago, they still don’t
    have the underground Metro. At that time Penang already talking
    about the LRT.

    Today, the Shenzhen Metro already connects to so many location
    and more lines are added. Today, Penang LRT is still all talk only,
    with the Federal govt purposely sabotaging this by suspending it.

    Every quarter I went there I see new development and new business
    being set up there. Even the underground location of the Metro are
    filled with shoplots which are occupied so quickly, it never cease to
    amaze me.

    In contrast, we still have the partially abandoned kampung at
    Tanjung Tokong that the developer UDA Land (a federal entity)
    still unable to clear and redevelop after years of negotiation,
    so much so that it has become an increasing eyesore when the
    rest of surrounding areas already progressed and moved on.

    This all had to do with the 50 plus years of govt policy of
    reinforcing the sense of entitlement in a particular race.
    Everytime also want to ask for freebies, bcoz it is their hak-hak istimewa.
    Does not help when the govt policy further reinforced the
    supremacy of that race, by calling themselves Putera and Puteri.

    I know, as I come from govt boarding school, where that term
    is standard policy. No need for me to do a dissertation on BTN,
    I believe most reader here already know.

    In China, the policy is simple, you want your Hak-hak istimewa,
    you WORK FOR IT !!! Otherwise, you starve to death !

    Our Putera and Puteri here, needs a lot of tough love, before they
    can become competitive internationally, instead of being the
    spoilt babies or crippled they are right now.


  12. klm
    Jan 16, 2011 @ 18:19:28

    Something is wrong somewhere alright. The election commission want to introduce proxy voting. This proxy voting can and will be used by BN to conduct election fraud legally. This is not acceptable. We must protest.


  13. Dr Hsu
    Jan 18, 2011 @ 10:59:12

    You may actually be right to say that the title should be “Everything is wrong everywhere”. Read my next post on too many pilots.


  14. oncheng
    Jan 18, 2011 @ 16:17:54

    Dont talk so much, Utusan may ask Chinese to balik China !!


  15. Phoon
    Jan 20, 2011 @ 02:40:59

    Hi Doc ,
    They are where they are today is NOT something went wrong somewhere .
    It is the leaders who have stop playing policitcs and started concentrate on the economy . Openness , equal opportunities and trully working as 1 nation . Unlike some places which say 1 thing , do another . still practising “version 2 ” of apartheid / KluKK regime .
    Lets pray hard ,praying that there is still HOPE for our beloved country and our next generation .


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