We were unwillingly forced onto the emergency lane today on the eastern 5th Ring Road in Beijing, after a massive traffic jam broke out. Cars and lorries broke down or had issues on the wrong lanes, thus forcing us to the lane usually reserved only for rescue vehicles or police cars…
Beijing traffic needs no description. A potential candidate for the 10th wonder of the world (how many candidates outside of the 7th do we already have?…), it’s chronic, and I was very surprised when a very ontime @vista turned up at the airport for an airport meetup. (We met last time in Taiwan a year ago. Tracy wants to go there really bad!) @vista is well known in especially the Taiwanese and Chinese-language IT world as a tech “big”.
A recent article in Zurich’s Tages-Anzeiger shows Geneva at a loss to control cars: they had to let vehicles legally use the emergency lane during especially morning rush hours. That’s bad news, because they had to expand it and accommodate super-heavy trucks. What used to be pristine territory on the roads is now crying in pain — “thanks” to overladen lorries.
Attitudes to the emergency lane does vary a bit between the two nations. In China, they’re used come hell or high water. In Switzerland, the legal use of these lanes is seen as a gift from the gods…
However, there’s a way to get rid of these lanes: build a rail link not far away. Sadly, today, I’ve heard some pretty disappointing rail news here in China (which I’ll share a bit later), but if there’s a way to stop these jams on the roads, I’m all for it.
I’m also for keeping the emergency lane as-is. Emergencies “just happen”. The last thing a person on the verge of totally passing out needs is some random truck keeping him from the hospital that just might save his soul..
…that we can change our government without dumping the constitution whole.
Thanks to this civilized invention called an election.
The one thing that makes me super-happy to be Swiss: the government has given us this thing called “a ballot” that gets sent out to registered expat Swiss voters every so often (basically once per quarter). And unlike Aussies who are required to vote, we can legally toss the ballot into the shredder (as in not vote at all) without this hidden fear that government might be breathing down our neck, wondering why we were so civilly disobedient. (Sole Swiss exception: the Canton of Schaffhausen, up north, requires people to vote.)
The upcoming Swiss elections take place on 23 October 2011. I’m sending my ballot back the next few days to be doubly sure that my votes count. I’ve decided to give the SVP (the Swiss People’s Party) Dumpster treatment after its discriminatory “minaret ban” got Switzerland some seriously bad publicity. Worse still, it allowed the Swiss to do something un-Swiss: to eat upon the freedoms the Constitution gave this land. You thought China had “human rights issues”? Have a gander at just how bad the situation is in Switzerland, especially post-ban. Communist China has a minaret right by the new Tianjin West Railway Station (and it looks pretty new — both structures, that is). That kind of architecture (the minaret, not railway stations) are now hors la loi in this supposedly “neutral” country.
I don’t want to get into politics — especially not as a politician. But now, post-ban, whenever there’s a vote about stuff that’s Swiss, that’s like — it sets off an auto reaction my end. I posted a whole slew of commentary regarding the whole election on Facebook. I’ve reposted this on my blog so that most of you get to know my political views on this matter:
- The best thing about a democracy is you can expel those idiot politicians and unsightly parties screwing the whole country up. Thank you God!!
Now voting as an expat Swiss as the Swiss national elections loom large and clear. For one thing, the SVP is finished. You gave us the crap minarets ban, ookie… we are voting you suckers out of office!!
- Of course, all politicians ultimately (will) stink. There is nothing you can do once you get your nose shoved into this trade…
But the good thing is this: I have not chosen a soul who wants to let the Swiss keep doing nuclear power plans, especially after Fukushima. Nuclear power has always been this kind of hidden bomb that could feed on humanity — and it has, as Chernobyl and Fukushima have shown us…
- The one “mediated event” of Swiss politics that has completely blown me off is the crazy minarets ban 2 years back. I basically made a huge anti-ban campaign over social media. I told every last living human, algae, cockroach and Swiss-citizen-to-be NOT to vote for that short-sighted bill.
Which was passed “anyway”.
And which got me bat-fr*ck-insane when that DID happen.
- Once upon a time an election was a mere election. Now, it is no more. And while it’s not some kind of crusade or “to save the minarets” (if you can call it that at all), I did find the so-called “minaret ban” most absurd, most unsightly and most anti-humanity.
I don’t know much about the Muslim world. It kind of fascinates me, though, in all ways. I wouldn’t convert religiously, of course, but having said that, I don’t think a minaret should be something that you should have a cow over or stuff like that.
Yes, women are not allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia. But instead of making a huge propaganda campaign against that and by calling that “backward and undemocratic”, the best we can do as outsiders is to merely foster a “live and let live” attitude. I don’t think the entirety of any accepted, established religion is problematic, perverted or anything like that.
The thing that totally pisses me off about the minaret ban is, of course, discrimination, but also this latent and real fear that the Swiss constitution is being eaten alive, bit by bit, by its citizenry. When you start modding the constitution to feed upon itself, when that thing starts taking away the very principles on which it was established, that sure is one hell of a scary development. You think China’s human rights issue is scary? Just you wait until Switzerland comes out with stupider still mods to its constitution. A bigger human rights issue in the making…
And while I think the odds that the Swiss People’s Party will be politically nixed or humiliated are by no means guaranteed, what I can do with my ballot is to show my disapproval. Of course, the vote will be a secret vote, but Bern will have one less ballot in favour of the Swiss People’s Party this time. They’ve sinned and stuff’s got to happen to right that one very big wrong.
All change, please!
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