If one watches news reports or reads newspapers, one might be led to believe that the United States is the greatest, most-modern country in the history of mankind. Of course, being ethnocentric, most Americans are convinced of this, as are many foolish and misinformed citizens of other countries.
Being a cynic, I tend to notice what others often miss or ignore. For as long as I can remember, I have felt a slight unease on the road trip from an arrival airport to the hotel in any American city. Roads are in horrible condition, taxis are poorly maintained, and I fear a rusting bridge falling on my head or collapsing beneath the car. Rhetoric about America differs from reality. My words are surely treasonous, despite the promise of freedom of speech.
This gut feeling came to mind in a car (modern, clean, and comfortable) taking us to the Hong Kong Airport. Construction sites were dotted the horizon in all directions, suggesting a booming economy, capital investments, and belief in the future. We breezed through the most-modern tunnel I have seen and over fine bridges on the road from our excellent hotel to the modern and spacious airport on Lantau Island. The smooth and well-maintained road could never be mistaken for an American highway.
Hong Kong Chinese do not brag about their achievements, glory in a distant past, or bluster about what they are not. Being a land with a future, they do things...
What the Chinese do not do is over-control and over-legislate. Building safety is not a key concern, but some of the world’s tallest buildings seem to rise without a hitch. Where western governments demand steel scaffolding, Asians still rely on good old bamboo with connections tied by hand...even up to and above 100 stories.
Prior to writing novels, the author enjoyed a multifaceted career: from decorated combat aviator to advertising professional to global communications director of a major consumer brand. He has traveled the world and met sports, film and television stars, political leaders, and royalty. He graduated from Middlebury College, is married, lives in Germany, and has two grown children.