The East is Going West

Posted on: July 30, 2008

In the West more people are trying to live indigenously: They buy green products, they ride their bikes to work, and their new trend is called city farming. On the other hand, people in the East are dreaming to have big houses and big cars. It’s the battle of the West vs the East and the modernity vs the traditionality.

Buicks are sold more in China than in the United States as the economy is growing remarkably fast. According to The washington Post, since 2000, China started to aggresively promote consumption to balance its export-driven economy and created a list of things that average citizens should be encouraged to buy. And for those of you who have been to Shanghai and seen its magnificent transportation infrastructures you won’t be surprised to know that cars were at the top of the list.

The high demand of cars in China without a doubt is one of the reasons why the oil price is now on the highest level in the history of the world. The high demand of cars in China reflects how the Chinese economy is going strong.

As the economy is rising, Chinese want more things in their lives. The things that they could only dream 20 years ago, the things that people in the West have been enjoying for so long. But it comes with a price. A report suggests that China is now the number one polluter in the world surpassing the United States.

Can we blame China for this? Critics point their fingers at China and blame them for the natural destruction they’re making. But the Chinese people don’t think so. They think it’s their time to enjoy life. According to a survey conducted by Pew Research Center more than 8 in 10 Chinese think China is heading the right direction.

Some experts believe that it’s not wise to blame China. They think the Chinese government is trying to take its people out of the poverty. The key, they say, is how the advanced countries can transfer the technology needed to move China towards a low-carbon economy.

I think it can be understood how Chinese have been changing their lifestyle so rapidly. Now that they have more money to spend it’s not a big surprise that they’re developing their country like crazy. They were poor some years ago and now that they’re rich, is it wrong that they want to be as happy as people in the West? I’m sure we Indonesians would do the same if we were in their position.

But, something has to be understood too that changing lifestyle means cutting more trees and burning more oil. China is now the second largest oil consumer with 7.9 million barrels of oil everyday. This number is still far behind the 20.7 million barrels of oil consumed by the United States but it’s projected that less than 20 years China will be consuming 21 million barrels of oil a day. And China is not alone, India is following.

And that’s scary because global warming is no longer a myth and to see how the world is moving even greedier in exploiting the earth and all its resources many believe that the end of the world is near.

It’s interesting to know how many people in the East believe that being happy means being West. That it’s about having TVs, cars, and big houses. And it’s interesting to know that while Chinese are proud of their big and modern buildings the European and American tourists in China just want to see their historic attractions.

Picture is taken from here.


10 Responses to "The East is Going West"

I hope someday “more than 8 in 10 Indonesians think Indonesia is heading the right direction.”

It’s a beautiful thing when the citizens are satisfied with the government.

Yes I agree with you on that. Let’s hope and pray 🙂

the east has been going west since long time ago, still continuing now 🙂

i remembered Sherwin’s saying a few times ago, the matter is how to be modernized not to be westernized. but the problem is there are many people still want to be westernized.

to have TV, cars, big houses are not western insight, it is written in our holy Quran, Hadits, etc. i forget which part who tell them so, but to be wealthy is everyone’s eagerness, so that’s why Islam tells us how to earn and make money by way of halal and ahsan (good). but don’t forget to put our common sense and belief that material is not the most important, to remind Muslims not to be a materialist. wealth is the vehicle to deliver us to get close to Allah SWT, not to make us blind and money-freak and heartless 🙂

hehehe, sorry for those Islam things i just explained. i’m not preaching and please don’t consider people who talking Islam means s/he is preaching to others. what i’m trying to say is being rich isn’t derive from western culture and notion, it’s everybody’s desire and the west people have started earlier than the east people, as if the standard what is being rich come from them.

do you take China as an only example or as a representative which is represent Asian countries? or both? 🙂

yes, this is interesting and this is happening. take a look at our lovely neighbor Malaysia. They’re trying very hard to be considered as an urbanized country – skyscrapers everywhere, big malls, and highways. And they always try to tell that to the world through their tourism advertisements. And we, Indonesia, are now starting to act a bit like them.

while in the other side of the world, those all so-called developed countries are going down to earth – literally – by buying green products, being environmentalist, etc, etc.

ahhh, dunia ohh dunia..

@yonna: Isn’t being rich and powerful a human desire of all times and all cultures? And, alas, haven’t greed, materialism, exploitation of people and nature, decadence and immoral behavior occurred in each and every epoch of each and every culture?

hey sir, long time no see your comments 🙂

yes the desire to be rich is a natural thing, all times and all cultures. i’m not sure about being powerful part. i comprehend being powerful as a desire to people who want to be a leader, and as far as i know not all people want to be a leader.

but it’s true, that desire can lead human into greedy, materialism, exploitation, decadence and immoral behaviour. But i don’t mean to say that those things happen in each and every era of each and every culture. wow that’s a bit naive to accuse all countries, in every era and culture had done (or suffered?) the same things.

i only see the inclination of most people who are trying to get rich and wealthy will do anything to gain their dreams, one of the ways is by being greedy, materialism, doing exploitation, decadence and immoral behaviour. which are not the option we wish to choose 🙂

..And the West is going East.

GBM: “It’s interesting to know how many people in the East believe that being happy means being West.”

Mulia: yeee…GBM, pan kita bangsa jajahan. kalo dah banyak duit ya maunya kaya bangsa penjajah gitchu. makan roti sama keju, minum anggur, pake dasi…biasalah. apalagi makin marak filem barat komersil ya makin menginspirasikan bentuk expresi kekayaan ideal.

btw so sorry we have lost contact since ages. how was the activities you planned? masih ada lagi? in few months/weeks i will be in Jakarta insyaAllah.

Yonna: Do you think so? That’s interesting. China shouldn’t be the only example but the fact that they’re one of the fastest growing economies in the world of course we should put them as an representation of how Asians think.

Michael: Yes you’re right brother, on the spot. I mean, look at ourselves, new and big malls are being built in Jakarta. Right? And we’re so happy and proud to have them. Hehe.

Colson: Interesting question.

Marisa: Yes, what can you say? Hehe.

M: Yes, it’s been ages since we last talked. We still have so many plans, it’ll be great if you could help. Hehe 🙂

lagi2, aku cuman bisa ngomong dalam bahasa ini. hehehe…
udah lama tak nongol di blog kak tasa…

kak, sebenernya ngeri yah bayanginnya..
kalo orang2 timur terus2an ngejar budaya barat yang boros energi dan udara bersih itu, proses pemanasan global bakal jadi sangat cepet. sengsara deh hari depan kita.
miris juga ngeliat kalo kebanggaan mereka sama identitas diri tuh sangat krisis. mereka begitu bangga sama budaya orang lain sementara kekayaan budaya mereka sendiri terlupakan. both, cina dan indonesia, punya masalah yang sama.

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guebukanmonyet is Tasa Nugraza Barley. He's a free man with unique thoughts and dreams. He sees his life and this world differently from anyone else. That's because he knows what he wants; and for that reason he doesn't want to be the same. Read why he blogs, here.

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