Sandra Nyaama Ayarum
It was a drizzly afternoon in 2013 and the weather outside the hostel of the Jiangsu University in the Jiangsu Province in China was not friendly; it was extremely cold and unwelcoming for people not in heavy clothes.
But unlike me who was shivering under an umbrella, Ding, one of the street workers around my school, was the least perturbed.
With a deadline to catch, work to deliver and night fast approaching, the harshness of the weather was the least of his worries. As a result, he continued with his work of sweeping, much to the admiration of the many African students in the school.
Out of curiosity, I approached him for a conversation on why he was risking doing what he could do tomorrow. His reply? ‘I’m doing it for our China.’
For a country that moved itself from poverty to its present state, where it now rubs shoulders with the United States of America for the world’s most enviable economy spot, the attributes of its citizens should be of interest to Ghana, which has tried without much success to expand its economy and enhance the lives of its people.
I have sampled six attributes that most Chinese cherish, which if Ghanaians imbibe and implement, would help advance our dear country.
1. Love for country:
‘Wo men de zhonguo (our China)’ is a common saying that one will hear from most Chinese who try to explain something about their country.
The passion, the love and pride for China keep them wanting to do more to see China grow and prosper in all directions. Do we have that spirit here in Ghana?
If we can see Ghana as ours, we would not be quick to misapply public funds or misuse public property anywhere.
Corruption and misappropriation of public funds is rampant in Ghana yet offenders are hardly prosecuted. In China, the story is different. There, nobody is above the law; everyone is accountable and is dealt with severely if he/she goes contrary to the law.
As a result, most Chinese are responsible in the little things they are given responsibility over, especially when they are in government. Here in Ghana, the reverse happens. The earlier our leaders became accountable, the better for our society.
An old woman sweeping the streets of China, the doctor in the ward of a Chinese hospital and any other worker in China does not do that because they are being paid what they deserve.
Most of them work because they want to see China on a new level and they want to see the rise and the beauty of China. The Chinese are simply a people so hardworking and so sacrificial no matter how much they are paid.
This does not mean that we Ghanaians are not hardworking or not sacrificial but we are easily influenced by the many bad lots among us. We have to renew our patriotism .
Let’s stop our overwhelming demands and the numerous demonstrations and start building our country in a patriotic manner!
Here in Ghana, our maintenance culture is broken beyond repairs yet we go on to build nice roads and compartments, which we leave for grass to take over.
We leave them uncared for and we refuse to fill in the potholes until they become so bad and cause series of fatal accidents that cost lives and properties. Shoddy work by contractors is another thing that must be stopped.
Before a contract is awarded in China, the particular number of years are apportioned for maintenance or reconstruction.
Here in Ghana, while in traffic, one can easily see street sweepers sweep rubbish and sand into our already blocked gutters.
The Chinese, like Ghanaians, pays tariffs and their government like ours, pays contractors for work done. One would, therefore, wonder why our story is different. For me, we need to wake up as a people and take charge of our responsibilities.
Tourism is one of the fund-generating machines for the Chinese government. Tourism sites are made attractive and the great Chinese culture displayed.
Both indigenes and foreigners crowd at Chinese sites to catch a reminder and a glimpse of culture.
The Great Wall of China could be our Elimina Castle; the Tianamen (town’s) Square could be our Independence Square or our Kulunguugu; Beijing’s popular cotton market could be our collapsed tomato factory or collapsed meat factory, and many others.
There are a great number of interesting sites in every region in Ghana, which, when taken care of, could bring in cash to help run our economy.
Beyond the revenue, a strong tourism sector would help teach our culture in today’s generation and that of tomorrow’s leaders.
6. Cherish of local goods:
In April last year, when I was preparing to leave China for Ghana, a small container of Eversheen Cocoa Butter cost GHC4 . In China, however, it was sold at 300 yuan, equivalent to GHS150.
This is an astronomical increase compared to the local price.
As a result of this killer-price, whenever one’s Eversheen pomade finished, he/she had no option but to shift to a Chinese lotion, which is less costly.
Any foreign product in China is expensive and this is intentional so as to inculcate the appreciation and consumption of their local products. It also helps to increase production and innovations in China where the manufacturing sector continues to grow.
In China, you do not see a billboard advertising the product of a different country like I saw on a billboard advertising American rice and chicken in various parts of the national capital, Accra.
However, here in Ghana, we spend foreign currencies, eat foreign, wear foreign and import everything foreign, including toothpick.
I believe that we all can take Ghana from grass to grace if we stop throwing unnecessary tantrums, quit wanting everything for free and start working and sacrificing for our country.
It all starts with you; if you brighten your corner, it will force your neighbour and neighbour’s neighbour to do same, which will result in a communal difference in our country.
Let’s start now and act fast!