Dec 2, 2007

Learning from HK

I always believed that one of major causes, if not the root cause, of our relatively poor infrastructure and low standard of living (compared to cities in more developed countries) is our population. 'Itne logon ko kaise manage kiya ja sakta hai? Problem to honi hi hai.'

But this misbelief was shattered on my recent trip to Hong Kong. All the buildings there seemed at least 20-storeys-high, and weren't far apart. So I knew, instinctively, that the population density couldn't be significantly lower than Bangalore, if at all. And I've confirmed it. (HK is in Shenzen, which comes in at no. 5)

The roads are as narrow as Bangalore, yet I saw people drive at 70 kmph in the peak business hours. The local train was almost as crowded as they are in Mumbai, yet it wasn't difficult to board or alight, nor uncomfortable. The bars were small, the showrooms were small, yet they made a good impression.

I've come to the conclusion that population as such isn't an unmanageable problem. The need is for a good, strong-willed administration and disciplined behavior from people. People have to start believing that forming queues makes waiting easier and shorter. That traffic signals and rules are for their own safety, and following them will actually speed up transit. That the little effort required to use a dust-bin will keep the city clean, and a clean city is a lot easier on the eyes and lungs. They should realize that their selfish, impatient, reckless behavior creates disorder, and disorder actually makes life much more difficult, beating the selfish motive they had in the first place.

But to change the way people behave, they need to be disciplined with a stick for some time, till they see the benefits for themselves. And so the real problem is the governments and administration we have - they simply dont have the will to use the stick. I hope this problem, like population, is also one that we can deal with. But for now, I don't think so.

Angrez humein angrezi sikha gaye, aur aaj hum angrezi bhasha ke dum pe badh rahe hain. Kaash, unhone humein, Hong Kong ki tarah, tameez bhi sikhayee hoti.


  1. Govt and administration do not have the will to use the stick because we are not demanding it from them. As long as the people do not use their stick, neither will the Govt and administration.

    Destination Infinity.

  2. A lot is desired in Indians when it comes to civic sense. Traffic rules, use of dustbins,, making queues are just some of basic things that Indians do not follow. :(