Dam Happy

Public works should not have mascots. They shouldn’t need them. The benefits of the works should speak for themselves and not need to be praised by happy cartoon characters.

The Three Gorges Dam, the largest public work in history, has two loveable mascots. Here they are…

Dam Mascots

Creepy, huh? But effective. I talked with a handful of people today who live near the dam. When I ask where they lived before the dam, they all pointed down the bank into the water. Some of the families had lived in the homes for generations and were forced to move. The government compensated them up to $10,000/person, built them good roads, and provided them with reliable utilities. But the fact of the matter is that many of the locals used to own land and now they don’t. They used to have land to farm and factories to work at and now they are underwater.

Still, of all the locals I talked to today, not one of them had a bad thing to say about the dam. Maybe the mascots worked.

I don’t know enough about the dam to weigh the pluses and minuses. What I do know is that it is not natural for people not to complain about something happening in their backyard. Especially when that something is the most gianormous dam of all time and now playing in your backyard requires SCUBA gear.

jv says:

Not exactly on topic, Kelsey, but are you still going to take a Three Gorges river trip?

Elizabeth says:

Some of the reticence is probably cultural.

People in this sensitive area may not want to complain to a gweilo, especially if friends/neighbors might be nearby to gossip about it to one another or an authority figure. Still, the mascots are creepy.

Kelsey says:

jv, I took the hydrofoil through the gorges area. From what I hear the side trips are more scenic, but I enjoyed the trip all the same. I don’t have the time right now to spend 4 days on a slowboat to Chongqing. I was told that there was no other reasonable way to get from Yichang to Chongqing. Buses don’t make the trip yet directly.

Elizabeth, I’m sure you are right. Plus, I was talking to people who lived right by the dam and had directly benefited from better roads and utilities. I imagine someone farther up river may see things differently. I was searching out dam damners. I was just trying to get a balanced story with all views considered. That didn’t happen.

Let your voice be heard!