Monday, June 15, 2009

A Decaying Empire

It gives me no pleasure to lament over the sad state of many aspects of the United States who has given so many shelter, protection and a second chance in life from their unhappy past. Me included. My parents were refugees from China before 1949.

Yet, as the American Society of Civil Engineers, (ASCE) the nation's largest such association, has been warning over the past many years, the conditions of the American infrastructure, once the world's Gold Standard, are in dire conditions. Anyone who has visited mainland China (even!), or Korea which US once saved from the North or Taiwan, can spot the lamentable state of much of American roads, telecomunication, bridges. Internet speed is mostly slow even in the high income neighborhood. I compare it to what I have in Thailand. Read the latest from ASCE here.

It isn't just "hardware" that's a big issue in this country where I have been traveling the past weeks.

American airline companies these days, like Detroit automakers, must be prime materials in management courses as to how not to run any organizations.

Not only flight delays are routine, not only service is uncaring, even baggage handling is laughably "Third World". My short flight from San Francisco to Los Angeles was delayed for 3 hours. I checked in 2 hours before scheduled departure. Yet, the carrier managed to have left behind my luggage. If only my random experience were exceptional. But my story met with a knowing shrug among all my friends for it was apparently a common phenomenon. Sad


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