Many years ago I had an oppurtinity to visit China and Hong Kong.The latter was still under British control. The impressions and the conclusions I then drew have been confirmed over the years by the progress made by China and India.
In Hong Kong I saw every one had one hand glued to their ears. I came to know that they were using mobile phones, which at that time in India were a rarity. It was a sight to see every one all the time talking, even as tyey were walking on the stairs, sitting on the benches and even whileeating and so on. One novel use I observed was, my host, after we finished a meeting or dining, would on his mobile get in touch with his driver and ask for the car to be brought to where we were. In Hong Kong where parking space is very hard to come by, cars may get parking very far away from where they dropped the host. Before the mobile, the drivers would bring the car at a agreed to time and if missed would keep on driving and keep coming back. The mobile had made it very comfortable for both the owner and the driver.
My host told me that now they can call the plumber or the carpenter instead of going out to locate them. I started visualising such mobile facilitations in India also.
In China, I was amazed by the quality of infrastructure I saw in cities like Beijing, Shanghai, Ningbo, Quingdao etc. Fantastic roads connected cities to each other. There were hardly any cars on these roads. I asked my host, why have the roads been built, on which there are no cars? He said in China we first build the infrastructure and then start using it. I
Another noticeable thing was the high level of cleanliness of the Chinese cities in general. I have always wondered, why our cities can't be as clean as the major cities of the world. Why can't we copy what they do. There seems to be an aversion in us to keep our cities clean.
Coming from India I was surprised to see airport and hotel staff extremely courteous. Another observation was, that both the men and women almost dressed in similar dresses, and from behind, many times it would be difficult to determine which one was a male or female. Also almost everyone was lean and thin. Perhaps sea food is not fattening.
The mobile penetration in India is tremendous now and we may overtake China in the near future. Our infrastructure ctreation activities have unfortunately fallen behind and our roads continue to be choked. Our government officials continue to be grim faced. Thankfully we are still dressing separately although more females are putting on pants these days. Obesity is increasing in our young population, which is a cause of worry.
However the real area where we heavily score on the Chinese is our right of freedom of speech. You cant talk politics with the Chinese, they simply refuse to answer. They are a regimented society. While coming back to India, I too wanted my country to progress like the Chinese, but if it involved exchanging my right of freedom of speech, then the slow progress was acceptable to me.