Friday, September 16, 2005

Words of Encouragement

In contrast to the rest of the city, Chongqing’s electrically powered monorail trains run smoothly and quietly, moving with ease from one station to the next. The two city centre stations, unlike the others, are underground and so the trip down the escalator has the effect of gradually fading out the ground level noise but replacing it with the acoustic characteristics of a new environment made mostly of marble and glass.

On the station platform, however, one is woken from this underground sterile world as there are large flat screen monitors every ten metres blaring out the local television station, complete with adverts. On board, there are more television screens above each door continually playing adverts, but thankfully these are silent.

On the platforms and in the trains the recorded announcements are by a well known female radio presenter. Each message is first in Mandarin and then in English. As well as announcing the station names she offers advice on how to leave the train as well as encouraging passengers to act out the traditional virtues of the Chinese people.