Posted by: 1of10boyz | February 2, 2013

The Future of Haiyang

This is one of the few places that I have lived in my life where I KNEW I wasn’t going to live “forever”. I KNOW that at some point in my life, maybe sooner rather than later, I will move on to something bigger and better.

While there are certain things that I need to accomplish here in my career, I am always a little nervous that the Chinese will just decide one day that they are tired of the “foreign devils” interfering with how they think this nuclear power plant is supposed to be built and operated and they will tell us all to go home. I hear enough rumors and see enough evidence to back said rumors to know that is not as paranoid as it might sound to people that haven’t live here. There is such a difference in thought process here between my new Chinese friends and me. We really aren’t that much alike.

As I am “driven” around the little village where we live I reflect in my mind’s eye on how much it has changed in just the 18 months I have lived here. I am amazed by the unexplained growth and construction that is abundant everywhere. I am told that it is that way everywhere in China. Buildings are built, stores and shops are built, the landscaping and roads are installed and NO ONE is there.

I looked at all of the buildings that are built and there are more under construction but there are literally thousands of vacant apartments all around them. Where will the people come from that will live here? What will they do for work? How will they survive? It is strangely eerie to pass through the town at night. The streets are empty; the apartment complexes have no shades or curtains in the windows. The windows stare down upon the streets blankly, empty of the lives that would make this city something that it currently isn’t now. The buildings are like giant ghosts with no life behind the eyes that are the building’s windows.

I wonder what this place will be like in 10 years or 20 years. Will the life that is expected for this area ever materialize? Will people come to live here year around or will it only have life in the summer? Will these thousands of apartments ever have tenets? What will life here be like in 2043? I wonder this because of little writing task I recently did for work.

The Chinese are known for having big parties. One of the biggest that I have experienced is Chinese New Year. The company that owns the power plants we are building is having a performance show that is made up of and from the employees in the company. For my Mormon friends out there that remember being a Mormon prior to 1980 you will remember the proverbial Roadshow.

A Mormon Roadshow was where the various wards and more than likely branches planned and schemed a short play or talent show that was presented at a common gathering. I believe that the best ones were brought together for a grand competition in larger gatherings ultimately being the pre-historical version of Mormon’s Got Talent in Salt Lake City, UT.

The company EXPECTS participation from each of the departments in the company. Since my little group is part of that collective, we are expected to participate. Last year we got a bunch of us together and lip-synched our way through a couple of pretty American songs. We opted to perform as the Blues Brothers and I must admit we looked pretty darn good. We are lucky that the Chinese don’t really know who Jake and Elwood are because they ended up “believing” that we were actually singing and playing. The majority of them thought we could actually perform rather than just jump around and pretend that we were something that we aren’t. As with any good and embarrassing moment that involves expats over here it was actually on one of the state controlled TV stations. At some point I will remember to load that whole segment on Youtube so that I can be more thoroughly embarrassed.

Well this year is no exception, we are going to participate. Last year our little group was indeed a little group. More than half of us were in the show last year, this year we have a lot more people so they wanted us to take up a bit more time. I somehow ended up with one of the lead coordination roles. Since we know we can’t or don’t want to do the “real thing” and we aren’t very good at anything for more than a couple of minutes we decided that we would do a montage.

I decided that I needed to figure out a way to have all of that make sense. I thought that the best approach was to do it like the pros, a real screen play. I have heard it read a couple of times now and it gets better each time. I guess the reason it gets better is because of the folks involved, they are personalizing their roles and lines to their personalities and are really making the words their own. So getting better means it is less about what I had to say and more about what they would say. I wonder how much of that happens in a real movie?

Anyway, we placed the play in the year 2043. It has sure made me reflect on what it might really be like here 30 years from now. What will our little village look like when there are 8 nuclear reactors operating down the road? What will it look like when the carnival on the island is open? Will it become a 3rd class city with all of the great places to eat that we see in Yantai, Waihei, and Qingdao? I hope that I will get a chance to come back and see this place when they are all finished here.


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