Traffic jingle stirs debate in Guangzhou

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 13 October, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 13 October, 2009, 12:00am

A recent music video featuring Guangzhou's terrible traffic attracted 40,000 clicks in just half a day after being uploaded to the internet. The video was a hit because it takes the tune of the song Welcome to Guangzhou and changes all the lyrics into a description of Guangzhou's traffic jams.

One especially memorable line is: 'It takes me one hour to drive 1 kilometre.'

The video was first uploaded on September 15. The next day, Guangzhou's media reported it and it quickly became the talk of the town. Several days later, most websites had deleted the video and some media had deleted their reports about it.

'The video is not good for Guangzhou's image, although it's just a joke,' said college student Lin Rongqiu.

But some netizens said the lyrics reflected the reality of Guangzhou. They doubted the traffic situation is temporary or that anything would improve any time soon.

With the 2010 Guangzhou Asian Games around the corner, the government is constructing the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) and - given the tight schedule to finish the project before the Games - some roads have had to be closed during peak traffic hours, making traffic jams worse than ever.

Huang Shiding, a researcher at the Guangzhou Social Science Institute, thinks the video is just a joke and there is no need to take it seriously.

'The aim of building the BRT is to have better transportation in the future, and citizens understand that. The Asian Games will put great demand on traffic so we have to build more traffic facilities.'

He advised citizens to avoid the busiest times of day and take buses to go to work. 'Every citizen has a responsibility to reduce traffic flow.'

Lin Rumin, a columnist at the New Express newspaper, said it had to be seen as not just a joke or an act of mischief. While, for the majority of people, it was a fun and entertaining video, the government, he said, had to consider whether the song truly reflected the truth and, if so, how to respond to it.