Letter From Angel/Francis, Canada
It has been almost 3 weeks since we left KL and back to Calgary . The flight back was eventful with our flight being diverted to Khaoshing because of very low visibility at Tao Yuen International Airport. We had to stay over night at Khaoshing. One subtle thing I have noticed: the name change of Taipei International Airport. It seems to me that the current Taiwan Government is bended on erasing the memory of the Chiang’s rule.
Khaoshing is a delightful little city (relative to many Asian cities). We stayed at hotel overlooking the harbour and it was indeed beautiful at night.
We must thank you for your (you, Chin Wah and others) hospitality (pics attached). We enjoyed the gathering very much with renewed friendship and also taking comfort that you all are healthy and well.
Angel and I spent several weeks during this recent visit in Thailand and Laos, the two countries and their people we truly loved. We met in Vientiane in 1968. This visit took us back in time to nurture our memory as we explored the many routes and places we have had roamed back in the 60”s and early 70’s. The people are still very friendly with readily smiles and soft spoken voices. But the Mekong River, once mighty and grand, was dry. Chinese, Japanese and Koreans influences are evident as they are providing the bulks of the foreign aids in irrigations, roadway infrastructure, electric power generation plant and the like. As Canadians, we pay the highest visa fees on arrival ($42 USD per person plus $ 1 USD over time charge) while the Chinese and Japanese do not have to pay at all – one little measure of influence, that is.
We saw, however, rampant North American style of consumerism, raising its ugly head in all places we have had visited – little towns in Malaysia, not to say about the Capital city KL, BKK and Chiang Mai, and Vientiane and surrounding villages. It seems to us that governments there, national, state and local all are thriving to encourage prosperity through building more and more infrastructure, low or no down payments for cars and other big ticket item loans, bigger and bigger houses, ever larger consumer debt and the like. This gives me an impression that in order to maintain power and internal security, these countries would strive to provide continuous growth and prosperity. Global warming, polluted rivers and ground water sources, polluted air, and congested roadways, though problematic, could be ignored for the time being as long as their citizens could feel that they are getting a slice of the North American dream as measured by car ownership, bigger houses and all the modern comforts powered by electricity and gas/electric fired air conditioners and de humidifiers. Most important of all, those still in the hunt could and must feel that there are opportunities for them to get ‘it’ too.
We saw and feel the great influence of China, Japan , Korea and Europe in Thailand and Laos , but such influence is also crippling up in Malaysia . With the convenience of air, rail and ground transportation linking all if not most Asian countries, and the short distance between each country, we can see more and more interactions amongst Asian countries, be it in commerce, trades, investments or partnership in every aspect from education to innovative projects. It is a good thing to come and the renaissance is at the door step. Asians will one day be identified as one people, no different than that of Europe, as we call them Europeans.
All in all, we enjoyed seeing you all and also our family in KL. Our daughter, Jennifer, is getting married in June. If you have a few minute, take a look at her wedding web site: www.bradandjenny.net. Jennifer is our second daughter, now 25 years old.