Norway and Wenzhou

Other than occurring within a day of each other on Friday-Saturday, nothing much links the killing of just under 100 people in Norway by a wacko on the rampage and the deaths of over 40 high-speed train passengers in China’s latest infrastructure disaster. One interesting contrast, however, is in the reaction of rumour-mills to the events. Essentially, the slaughter in Norway has so far led to no remotely plausible conspiracy theories, other than obvious police suspicions about the killer having links with fellow extremists; the Wenzhou rail crash, on the other hand, has prompted a plethora of fascinating and even sinister public conjecture.

Anders Behring Breivik of Oslo: wearer of such creepo costumes as a Ruritanian uniform with medals, writer of a 1,500-page Unabomber-derived tract, avowed ‘Christian’, tanning salon frequenter and – just when you thought Freemasonry couldn’t get any less cool – member of his local inadequate bores’ lodge. He is straight out of central casting, living with his mother, apparently falling deeper and deeper into that unhinged state these people end up being led by paranoia, obsessiveness, narcissism and all the rest.

You would have thought Norway would have SWAT teams with helicopters and a halfway decent system to check people who buy fertilizer by the ton, but apparently they don’t, or not enough. Other than that, there is little to point fingers at. You can’t blame the government, churches or the Freemasons for someone going nuts. It would be impossible to say whether the tipping point that turned Breivik into a mass-killer was provided by something external and tangible, like European countries’ failed policy of tolerating barbarous and anti-Western attitudes among attention-seeking members of Muslim communities, and people will be too polite to ask anyway.

The high-speed train crash in China is clearly the fault of officialdom. The authorities in Beijing reacted in a predictable manner by simultaneously blaming lightning and firing several rail officials. Their hands probably tied by the over-hyping of high-speed rail projects as a mark of the country’s progress, they didn’t try to cover up the scale of the accident, allowing extensive TV and other media coverage, emphasizing of course the heroic rescue work, selfless and generous assistance from local citizens and the deep concern of the nation’s leaders.

Much of the public chatter is more bitter and cynical. For years, it has been clear that public works projects are riddled with corruption, and the result is that innocent people get killed – thousands of children crushed beneath collapsed schools in the Szechuan earthquake being a major example. It is easier to jail people who complain about it than it is to stamp out the graft, though the head of the railways ministry was fired a few months ago because so much of the huge high-speed rail budget had gone missing.

Officials have since reduced the speeds of bullet-trains. One explanation was that this enables lower ticket prices so the glossy network will not serve just a relatively rich elite. This suggests, at best, that the high-tech project is misguided and aimed at prestige rather than solving real transport bottlenecks. It is widely accepted, however, that the trains have to run more slowly because, thanks to the diversion of resources into corrupt hands, the tracks are too poorly built to handle the trains at their advertised speeds.

For people with a taste for mystery, one of the interesting things about the rail disaster is the role of the mechanical excavators digging just yards away from where the trains collided on the bridge, sending several carriages crashing to the ground below. So far, no-one seems to have suggested they are preparing mass graves, but it seems they are burying wreckage. One theory is that this is to conceal evidence of faulty manufacturing or operation; another – much more fun – is that they are trying to hide evidence of technology stolen from overseas firms.

Those of us with nasty suspicious minds will see confirmation of the latter in the clumsy-sounding official claim that the trains have “national level” technology, which must be kept safe from, presumably, covetous foreign eyes seeking to steal China’s advanced railway know-how. Maybe to find out how not to build high-speed rail.

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27 Responses to Norway and Wenzhou

  1. Maugrim says:

    China’s progress has ben remarkable, but as Hemmers says, there are two questions that have to be asked 1. where’d the technology come from (include China’s space programme and new fighter jet along with the ‘Chinese’ commercial airliner)? and 2. what’s the quality control on such massive and quickly erected engineering works like?

  2. Walter De Havilland says:

    So Anders is a Freemason. Perhaps, as a precaution, all local Freemasons should be ‘profiled’ to see if any are nutters. Hang on … men who gather is dark rooms, wearing aprons covered in strange symbols, uttering incantations and threatening to disembowel each other must be by default borderline nut jobs!

    Anyone from Kennedy Road care to comment?

  3. Big Al says:

    Maugrim, my off-the cuff answers would be 1. Foreign Devils and 2. Bugger All.

  4. Tiu Fu Fong says:

    Is Freemasonry legal in China?

  5. Old Timer says:

    It’s cut-price masonry that’s the problem in China, not Freemasonry.

  6. Real Tax Payer says:

    I recall there were some horror stories a few months ago (shortly before the head of the railways was arrested of embezzlement) about the quality of the concrete used in the sleepers. To make the sleepers strong enough for high speed trains the concrete has to be mixed with very fine grade coal ash from power stations, the supply of which is strictly limited ( and thus it’s expensive) . To meet the rail track building schedule cheap, lousy grade coal ash was therefore being shipped through QC / grading offices and being certified as fine grade. Using fine grade ash the sleepers will last for many tens of years. Using coarse grade ash their lifetime is measured in months.

    Personally I’m waiting for at least 3 monster crashes on the high-speed railways before I trust to take a journey . One down and two to go…..

    But some Chinese friends took exactly that train Wenzhou to Hangzhou a couple of weeks ago.

    I just don’t understand why these goons like the previous railways head think they can get away with it forever. Sooner or later someone is going to blow the whistle and they will be arrested , and then spend the rest of their life in a very nasty prison.

    I would not like to be in arch-smuggler Lai’s shoes now that he has be extradited from Canada. I think I would prefer the death sentence to life imprisonment under the conditions he will now suffer. UGH! But serves him right. And I hope that all the corrupt railway goons get the same nasty treatment.

  7. davy jones says:

    Hemlock you’re no railway buff!

    Even if what you suggest about the quality of the tracks is correct – I’m sure it is – nothing could have prevented the carriages from being shoved off the viaduct by a powerful shunt.

    If the high speed rail is as high tech as it’s supporters believe it to be, then the system should have ATP (Automatic Train Protection) in operation. This system prevents trains getting too close to each other. An automatic shut down of the rear train should have occurred miles and miles behind the stationary train and overode the driver’s control.

    The ATP has been in operation in HK since the opening of the MTR. Any shunts on the MTR? No, but admittedly the railway systems are different. Apart from jumpers, any fatalities?

  8. Stephen says:

    To Tiu Fu Fong,

    No. It would be seen as a threat (however small) by the CCP to their divine right to rule China for ever without bothering to receive their peoples mandate. It is that “right” from which a number of today’s problems in both China and HK originate from.

  9. Sir Crispin says:

    To echo Davy Jones, weren’t there any signals on this line to tell the 2nd train the 1st had stopped ahead. You’d think something as rudimentary as this…wait, never mind.

  10. Claw says:

    The scene: the vice-premier who was sent to ‘supervise’ the rescue effort does a stand-up press conference at the site with the wrecked carriages (one vertical) nicely positioned behind him for the cameras. In answer to a question about the cause the v-p states “there are no safety concerns”. As seen on i-Cable News and ATV News.

    I’m not sure which is more frightening: that a high speed train can run into the back of another or a senior Govt minister who can say that when standing next to proof to the contrary.

  11. isomoliu says:

    RTP:

    This is China. Disgraced high-ranking officials get special VIP treatment even when imprisoned.

  12. Maugrim says:

    Looks like Hemmers was right. Just like a naughty dog burying a bone:

    http://blogs.crikey.com.au/planetalking/files/2011/07/train-burial-600×444.jpg

  13. Walter De Havilland says:

    To Stephen,

    Careful, the Freemasons can hardly claim to be an open, transparent, democratic body. People in glass houses, should not throw stones.

  14. Real Tax Payer says:

    Breivik was not just a Freemason and a tanning afficiado, but also a “christian” .

    But then again, hitler was also a “christian” and so was the pope who connived with hitler, and so certianly was the last pope who covered up all the child-abuse scandals in Ireland, for which the Irish govt is now openly criticising the vatican ( last I heard, that last pope was about to be made a saint…. if so : “saints” preserve us !)

    Just to make myself clear : if Jesus is alive today and he can use the internet I’m sure he would have a LOT to say on this blog about what’s truly right and what’s truly wrong.

    In fact, he may be doing so right now on this blog via proxies

    I hope Mr Donald Tsang takes his Christianity as sincerely as do many others who try to “make a difference” , me included.

  15. Claw says:

    Given the steady stream of lies and distortions of the truth pedelled by the HK administration it is plain that neither Sir Donald nor the several other Christians in his cabinet are sincere in their religious beliefs.

  16. Pcrghll says:

    Breivik was also a eurovision fan. ‘Nuff said.

  17. Major Major says:

    As a local gin-soaked Masonic wingnut once said to me (actually I’ve heard him say it repeatedly, usually with a pronounced slurring of his words), “We are not a secret society. We are a society with secrets.” Pass the port to left, please.

  18. Walter De Havilland says:

    I think we need to understand that ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ are not absolutes because both context and circumstances have a bearing on what is ‘right’ and ‘wrong.’ Moreover, those who follow the Christine faith can make no special claim to define what is right or wrong given the crimes committed in the name of that religion.

  19. Real Tax Payer says:

    Walter:

    We are entering very deep and murky waters when we discuss what is ultimately “right” and “wrong” in the name of religion.

    Eventually one could end up ‘logically’ justifying 9/11 ( but personally I find the USA unjustified invasion of Iraq on deliberately fabricated evidence far more horrific)

    I am professionaly privvy to some some very deep inside stuff in that respect ( and I do mean DEEP) , namely how USA prohibits sale of certain technologies to “bad” Arabian countries yet turns a blind eye to such sales by USA companies. Actually the evidence is all there on google images .

    Suffice to say that I think Richard Dawkins got it mostly, if not completely right when he wrote ” The God Delusion”. At least statistical-historically Dawkins is correct as far as the record goes insofar that most of the most horrible excesses of humankind vs humankind in the past have been done in the name of “religion”, and thus Norway today.

    Forget the masonic link . That’s a real red herring , if ever there was one ( in Hong Kong, at least) .

    Hey ! HK govt and its overt collusion with the property developers is FAR more exclusive and secretive than anything that goes on at Kennedy Road.

    All the HK masons I know ( and I am certianly not one but I do know a few) are just a bunch of typical HK w***kers , like most of us. They couldn’t get it up high enough to hoist any flag !

  20. Lantau Larry says:

    Is he referring to the worship of Christine Loh? If so, then I most heartily agree!

  21. Walter De Havilland says:

    Dear Real Tax Payer,

    I’m glad that I’m in esteemed company as I also tend to favor Mr. Dawkin’s view of religion. I look upon the African concept of Ubuntu as the way forward.

  22. Tiu Fu Fong says:

    Dawkins is a evolutionary biologist, right? His views on history and religion are interesting enough, but I’d be cautious about relying on someone trained in neither in history or theology to educate me about those topics.

  23. Vile says:

    Best lock up all the christians just to be on the safe side. Can’t do any harm.

  24. Rutherford Jones says:

    RTP says: “Eventually one could end up ‘logically’ justifying 9/11 ( but personally I find the USA unjustified invasion of Iraq on deliberately fabricated evidence far more horrific).”

    So RTP finds well-advertised, previously-warned multilateral military action against a well-documented murderous dictatorial regime in violation of multiple UN resolutions “far more horrific” than killing 2,000 totally innocent civilians going about their daily lives?

    To paraphrase Norman Mailer on Mobutu Sese Seko, I’d hate to be the person or people associated with this RTP creep.

  25. Vile says:

    I understand far more than 2,000 totally innocent Iraqi civilians going about their daily lives have been killed. All in the good cause of saving them from a fate worse than death, of course, so perhaps that disqualifies it from the descriptor of “far more horrific”.

  26. Real Tax Payer says:

    Rutherford Jones:

    Both 9/11 and the Iraq war were horrific in the extreme. But I would still maintain that of the two tragedies the Iraq war was the “more” horrific insofar that the pretext for the war was entirely fabricated by the USA ( and UK) governments : there were no WMDs anywhere in Iraq, which fact the CIA and the Bush administration knew very well before they started the invasion. The Iraq war was all about USA power in the middle east ( and oil )

    I recommend to watch the 2010 Film ” Fair Game” , which I thought was fictitious until the very last 5 minutes when it cut to footage of a real press live conference.

    I despised Saddam Hussein as much as I am sure you did, but when an American president lies to his country I think that’s even
    more horrifying.

    Anyway, let’s agree to differ. And let’s be thankful that even our present leaders in HK at their most incompetent and dishonest have never – and I believe will never – lead us down that awful path.

    When I read of daily bombings in other countries , even one as peaceful as Norway, I’m glad that I live in HK

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