Of course I'm liberal, I believe in liberty.

Friday, March 04, 2005

So Much Flying For So Short A Trip

I'm back.

You know, I want to be sympathetic to all the extra security we currently have in our airports, but I really don't think it helps all that much. None of this security would have stopped 9/11. 9/11 didn't occur because some people smuggled box cutters on board, it occurred because some people were willing violently and dramatically take innocent human life as a show of power; pens, keys or even bare hands would have worked just as well. But 9/11 can't happen again because the paradigm shifted, no longer do passengers or crew believe the proper response to a hijacking is to stay quiet, do what they say and wait for the plane to land in Cuba. This kind of hijacking can't happen in a post 9/11 world. In fact, the paradigm shifted so quickly it couldn't even happen in a post 10:00am 9/11 world -- it was the rapid paradigm shift that prevented that fourth plane from becoming the fourth bomb.

Think about it, would you let a hijacker get away with anything today? Of course not. You know your life is probably forfeit, anyway. That fourth plane wasn't filled with former green berets, it was filled with ordinary people who probably saved the White House (or where ever that plane was headed.)

Anyway, here are a few smaller observations from China:
  • When I first entered the Shanghai airport I heard the music of bamboo flutes -- playing music from Evita.

  • In America, Chinese food is often served family style, where each person spoons what he or she wants onto his or her plate. In China it is the same, except they use their chopsticks to grab and eat the food directly.

  • The cans still use pull tops where the tops come completely off.

  • There are peasants living in makeshift shacks in the same neighborhoods as nice, middle class apartments. I'm guessing those kids don't go to school, but I could be wrong.

  • At the hotel there was an envelope to leave money to help poor women in the country.

  • The subway typically costs two or three RBMs per trip; that's less than 50 cents.

  • No one drives. Only one person at the office drove a car and she worked in Canada for years. Car tax is huge to discourage purchase, plus you must win a lottery or something like that, I believe.