I am almost done with my third week of work at UPDIS. It has been a crazy few weeks. Since my last post I have become much more involved in several projects at work and am making great connections with the other interns and my coworkers.
Yesterday was the 25th anniversary of UPDIS. This is pretty remarkable since Shenzhen became Shenzhen in 1979. UPDIS has been around for most of Shenzhen’s development. The company arranged an eventful beach day for all of the employees. We took three big buses out to a nearby beach and played a variety of games (like spin around 10 times [blindfolded] then hit the watermelon with a hammer and run on this spiky board things while carrying your boss)! The company provided food (barbeque) and drinks (including beer!!!) for all of the employees. They also hired five bands to play on the beach at night. It was definitely a memorable day and, although it may have been a bit cheesy by American standards, the Chinese absolutely loved it.
Last weekend I traveled to the Chaoshan area with two other interns where we visited Shantou and Chaozhou. This area is known for its mix of cultures – it is where many of the people who immigrated to Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan and Southeast Asia lived before they left the mainland. They speak their own dialect and kind of live in their own world, by their own rules. Apparently back when the One Child Policy was implemented Shantou was one of the few cities where the department that was in charge of making sure jurisdictions were following the One Child Policy, was unable to actually make the people follow the Policy. It was normal for families to have four or five children and when the government tried to come in to do population control, the whole city would revolt and not let them in the city boundaries. It is pretty crazy to think about, and I’m not entirely sure how accurate it is, but it makes for a good story.
I learned two new words this week that are extremely popular in the Chinese planning world, 增量zeng liang and 存量 cun liang. Zengliang means increasing amount and cunliang means the existing (stored) amount. These two words are used to describe urban development and many of the associated issues. In general China is trying to transition from Zeng liang to Cun liang. These terms can be applied to environmental resources, property rights, etc. Xi Jinping, the Chinese president, said something that caught the public’s eye this week:
Reduce existing corruption while simultaneously keeping an eye on increasing corruption.
We had a good laugh about this at work because it doesn’t really make sense. Even in Chinese!