Reflection of emerging economy’s catch-up by Wenjia

By Wenjia, world view

During the stay in the Philippines, we got a chance to have a glimpse of the emerging economy in southeast Asia. I come from mainland China, which has achieved a great success in economic development and urbanization. The experience in the Philippines set me to reflect the difference between emerging economy. Both China and the Philippines are categorized as “developing countries”, but the tour to Philippine set me to rethink different trajectories of development of different countries. How do geographical factors influence the economic growth of countries? Does the economy growth have a connection with national characteristic? Both My roommate and I notice that people in Guimaras live a very idle life. My roommate told me that when she passed by a Street Barbeque stand, she noticed that there were a lot of people waiting to buy food. But only one man was cooking and a woman was just sitting beside him without doing anything to help the man. Another example is that during the visit to the Department of Science and technology in Guimaras. I noticed that the officials were watching Korean dramas on Youtube. It seems that employees are not diligent enough. In comparison, some peasants in rural areas in China are really diligent. My father was born in a poor family in a countryside near Suzhou and my grandparents were so hard working to raise their three children. Despite that the economic condition has been greatly improved over past decades, my grandparents still lives a very economical life and continue to work in their sixties. For emerging countries, the primary competitive advantage is the cheap labor resources. However, it seems that the labor productivity is remained to be improved in the Philippines.

china birth ratephilippines

High birth rates in developing countries partly explain the availability of cheap labors. Eric’s host family have eight children and Lala has six daughters. Because Chinese government enforced one child policy from 1980 to 2015, it is very rare for a family to have so many children. World Bank statistics also reveals that the birth rate per women in the Philippines was much higher than that of China. The high birthrate partly due to the religion belief. In Guimaras, most people believes in Catholicism and Catholics are not allowed to practice contraception, let alone abortion, which partly contributes to the high birth rate. I do think China’s one-child policy features inhumanity to some extent, but the birth control played a pivotal role in improving population quality.


The experience in the Philippines also made me realize the importance of infrastructure. Unfortunately, I lost my phone in Iloilo, on the way back to Guimaras. I tried to track down my iPhone through GPS through my Ipad, but  wifi  access is so rare here. Even in a large company, there is no wifi access. So I had to go to a shopping mall and finally downloaded the application “Find my IPhone” in a milk tea shop and locate my iPhone. It was thrilling when I located where it was and jumped into a taxi to search for my phone. What even more depressed me is that the traffic in this city. It is a mess as there are not enough traffic lights in the city. The traffic congestion further enhances my anxiety. When I reached the place, nothing was found as my iPhone has been taken by someone to other places and it was powered off, which means it could not be located until the phone is charged. I went to the police station but the police were not able to help.  For the first time, I was overwhelmed by great remorse and found myself so helpless in the Philippines. If I were in Mainland China or Hong Kong, I could have reached my parents and friends immediately because wifi covers almost everywhere. After I returned to Guimaras, I talked to my friends and contact my parents, which slightly comforted me.At the moment, I missed Hong Kong and my hometown Nanjing so much. Life there is so convenient and comfortable. I never lost anything in Hong Kong thanks to the high quality of citizen and sophisticated lost-finding system. I just take the life in Hong Kong and Nanjing for granted so I rarely pay attention to my belongings in my backpack. And it would have been much easier to track down my iPhone because 4G internet services cover the city with a strong signal. This unforgettable experience impels me to think about the disparity between different regions. I start to cherish the life I live in large cities. Upon my arriving at the Philipines, the feeling of insecurity is always haunting me. At the beginning it was not  comfortable for me to take on a jeepney, tricycle and pumpboat due to the lack of safety precautions. The experience of suffering diarrhea promts me overly cautious about the food I take. Hopefully,I will get by and the experences will help me to obtain deep insights in developing economies in south-east Asia.


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