Advanced Technology and Chinese Incompetence

This article is slightly of the topic of computers, but it illustrates the prevalent incompetence of Taiwan workers with an advanced technology like diesel engines. If this older technology is too complex, how in the world can the high tech weapons be operated by the ROC personnel? … 0000170254

The article doesn’t really mention the purpose of the red light is for the starter bulb of diesel engines. Turn on the ignition and wait until the light fades out, then finish the turning the ignition key to start. There is a heater coil for these traditional diesel engines. Idling is another issue of diesel engines driver practices as the fuel flows do not take well to frequent “stop and start” of city driving practices. This is driving short distances, turn off, turn on, do it again, but this is commonplace to gasoline engines.

The upside of the diesel engine is rugged longevity per mile, torque power for heavy loads, and one common fuel for the entire military fleet. Such factors makes the use of diesel engines appealing for the taxpayers bottomline. The gas engines are worn out much quicker than diesel engines which means replacing these vehicles every few years rather than decades. Diesel works for the longhaul.

The Humvee is relatively advanced piece of equipment in comparisons with older jeeps in Taiwan. Full-time four-wheel drive and independent suspension makes the Humvee a pleasure on the highway and so on goes these unique improvements.

Of course, the US Army’s military variants of Chevy Blazers and Pickups were diesel engines just like the cited drawbacks of Humvees for ROC conscripts. These civilian vehicles performed very well in the heat and terrain of Desert Storm, and some glowing opinions exceeded those of Humvee supporters. Diesel engines were not the issue. The human factor of Taiwan makes using diesel engines like introducing high technology and thus a drawback for their military use.
So give 'em PLA Liberation Trucks! Gas powered, rugged, and incompetently made for the Chinese longhaul.

Perhaps it’s not stupitiy, but sheer ignorance? I.e. it’s not their property, so why care … !?

As for not being able to read the manual: why doesn’t someone show it to them? Obviously someone in the military should be able to read, even in English!? :wink:

I saw once a Humvee that arrived in my friend’s auto shop for a complete engine overhaul. The conscripts that brought it in said their own depot was unable to work on it.
The vehicle had about 40,000km on it, which seemed like a very short life when you saw the state the motor was in. Inspection revealed the air and oil filters had never been replaced, only the oil had been changed and the fuel tank topped off, despite the trouble someone had gone to in printing the service intervals in Chinese both on the vehicle and in the operator’s manual.

We had a lot of fun ‘test driving’ the thing around town after overhaul :smiling_imp:

I hear that PLA vehicles are even more severely abused, but then it’s Chinese tax payers footing those bills…

Incompetence and immaturity. I’d bet the engine had tons of carbon build up. Funny thing is how boys worship cars in Taiwan, then they really screw up the toys. No wonder the US military is lending jet mechanics to the ROC Air Force. I’d bet that US pilots would have to fly under ROC colors, if the PLAAF attacks.

Honestly, I wouldn’t ever expect anyone to even initially understand the ignition quirk of Humvees. But with a simple explanation and everyone on this website can do it.
Did you like your test drive?

The thing about the PLA vehicles are they are built to take it.
I’ve seen PLA soldiers driving the exposed chasis like in the
linked picture. Driving standing up! That takes some skill… (as he drives over a mountain cliff). Something to be said for antiquated equipment for the younger Chinese military drivers. I read of how one American oil company in China welded the Liberation truck gears into first gear to stop drivers from constantly rolling over on the Gobi dunes. Desert Storm–Chinese-style!! Just the American First Armored Division alone could roll right into Baghdad , and then roll on into Xinjiang. Tehran was just a speed bump.

Meanwhile back in Taiwan, PLA Private Wang, “How do we start the Humvee?”

The thing was in horrible shape as the air filter had never even been cleaned. Full throttle everywhere and half the fuel out the tailpipe unburnt! The oil filter had never been changed and was in bypass mode. All the bearings were shot and the pistons/bores too.

The most miserable foreign engineer I ever met was trying to teach the locals to wrench on the F16…

“So, this is how you change the sprogget grist thungy on the F16…”
Hand goes up
“But, on the F5, we…”
“OK, that’s very nice, but on the F16 we do it this way…”
Other hand goes up
“But Sir, on the F5 we always…”

And so on and so on. Hence the need to import mechanics :unamused:

OTOH, Taiwan has I think more operational F5’s than any other country and the boys are really good at keeping them in the air long past their planned operational lifespans. Just don’t let them touch the F16s.

If the farmers of Ireland can successfully run diesel engines without busting them into shite, then I would imagine it wouldn’t be beyond the Taiwanese military… oops naive old me.

Incidentally our diesel engines here in Europe are very advanced indeed. My friend just sold his BMW 330 diesel which had a 200bhp straight six diesel engine, and as well as 40mpg, was capable of 130mph. BMW mechanics only. I have a Toyota Corona similar to another mate of mine’s - his has done 400,000 miles without requiring any major work. Yes it is a taxi. So I guess the Japs know a thing or to about diesel engines.

I don’t understand how anyone can be as thick as your posting suggests. Diesel engines are virtually indestructable, PROVIDED you change the oil and filter every 3000 miles. We are talking about tens of dollars here…

The GMC V8 in the Humvee isn’t the strongest on the planet being developed out of the Chevy MkIV big block (gasoline unit) and at 390-something cubic inches is rather small for a V8 diesel.

However, as you say, it should go a hell of a lot longer than 40,000km before self-destructing… and be a lot easier to service than your mate’s 330.

Part of the problem is that most the drivers and technical staff are also conscripts just wasting away the required two years of their lives, and showing as much care and concern about the job as is necessary to get by without being put up on charges.

But then the Dodge V8 (from 1952!) (a modified version of which is still being put in petrol Range Rovers (3.5, 3.9. 4.6)) is almost indestructible. Still, you can’t expect much from conscripts, another argument for a professional army.

(The same mate’s just got a Porsche Carrera GT4. You wouldn’t want to give that to a Taiwanese army mechanic !!!)

Sorry, but that’s a gasoline/gasoline story. The people at Chrysler could not see a market for an aluminum 8-cylinder motor of less than 300ci, and sold it to Rover for next to nothing.

The Chevy MkIV started it’s life as a gasoline unit (and a fine one at that in 454ci formats) but the basic block was pressed into service as a Diesel for the GMC truck division and many would say it’s constructed with an economy the Diesel cannot long endure.

Shipping a Porsche to Taiwan is indeed casting pearls before swine.

I have a VW Jetta with the Turbo Diesel Injection (TDI) engine. It gets over 50 MPG and has great acceleration for a 4 cyclinder. There is no “proble” of the ignition light either.

However, it is actually banned in California for being not politically-correct emission technology of the environmentalists.

But what about soybean diesel? There are some workable alternatives.

The issue here is less about ignorance (lack of education) and more about fundamental cultural deficiencies regarding technology more sophisticated than a one-speed bicycle.

This goes back to technology theory where “technology” is defined as an extension of our beings. For example, the club is an extension of a caveman’s arm. The telephone is an extension of our ear. Other technologies are an extension of more abstract qualities of our being. Some researchers have said that TV is an extension of “touch.”

The point is that particular technologies are developed by cultures that find a need to extend something (maybe why the Japanese are so in to penis extensions :unamused:). The West has developed the scientific method for exploring how things work and more importantly why. This way of thinking has developed a need for the technologies that have come from this kind of culture. Therefore, Western culture appreciates the technologies that it creates.

Therefore, technology and the culture that developed them are closely linked.

The Chinese have never seen a need to explore or explain their world very far beyond their own backyard. Most of the technologies that have been handed to them are therefore foreign to them. Thus, when they use technologies designed by the needs of Westerners, don’t expect them to use/treat/respect them in the same way. They had these technologies handed to them and therefore don’t have the cultural foundations to appreciate it. Their culture never saw a need for it and didn’t go through the thousands of years of social, political, religious, economic and philosophical development/effort to come up with it.

Just walk down the street and notice to yourself how many things are uniquely Chinese. Actually, no much! Everything from city planning, to cars, to hairstyles, to forms of dress, to pop music, to law, to modern military warfare to whatever

Yes, this is a very intelligent statement, but the Chinese had water clocks and other devices long before our “barbarian” ancestors did in Europe. I don’t fully buy the argument that Taiwan is an urbanized “farm town”.

The Chinese intellectuals have traced the reason down to the Bubonic plague during the Renaissance period. Over 25% of the European population was wiped out which increased the productivity of farmlands. Land inheritances of this magnitude were the largest generational transfer of wealth in the world. Increased productivity meant increased prosperity and the rest is history of European competition.
Innovation is spurred by military competitors and gave way to industrialization. Even the Internet is the creation of the Dept of Defense including TCP/IP. However, the Taiwanese entreprenuerial middle class (50% are self-employed) has been able to successfully integrate light industrial technology into their bottomlines. Do Chinese lack mental or cultural capacity for incorporeal conceptualizations? Their world of corporeal manifestations are extensions of incorporeality.
Title to property, patents for inventions, paper licenses for social marriage and so on being the corporeal symbolism of incorporeal elements in their society. Perhaps it is more of something related to a lack of military competitiveness and incorporeal incapacity? Interchangeable parts of guns laid the foundation for incorporeal notions of mass production.

Organizational behavior of Confucian bureaucracy and rote-learning for test-taking skills. Blame the education system?

They also suposedly invented gunpowder … and a host of other things to be first at. I don’t know if “being first” is directly correlated with whether one is considered a “barbarian” or not. I wouldn’t link technology and barbarism that close together.

There are plenty of societies that were the first to develop a lot of technologies. However, some have still acted like barbarians. We can see evidence of that, even in 20th century Europe.

Furthermore, before someone makes the claim, I want to disolve and connection between intelligence and innovation. The Chinese are some of the most intelligent people I’ve ever met, just not the most innovative or creative. And that goes back to my point that there was never a need culturally to be this way. There also was never the scientific method that gave structure to how things happen and why. And thus, never a lot of other things, like the ability to question authority.

Thus, the Chinese may have been the first to develop a water clock … but then … so what? That was then, this is now.

This is why I also don’t buy into the American pride in putting a man on the moon. Whenever one talks about this as a means to show how superior America is, my response is, “OK, what have you done lately? What does that mean now? How do you define superior?”

And by the way, that is exactly how I feel! My interactions with Taiwanese give me the feeling of “one foot on concrete and one foot in a rice patty.” Take away the shell of the technology and you get the core … a bunch of galley gongers. And this is not going to change for a very very very long time. One cannot change the cultural roots of thousands of years buy transplanting the forms of Western technology onto the Chinese.

So-called linear logic was originated from the earlier times of Aristostle, Socrates, and Plysagarus. Then the Roman Canons to Cartesian logic and its incorporeal and corporeal elements of DesCartes. We weren’t the barbarians the Chinese think of us as being even today.

All very scholarly, but I think the problem is simply a lack of interest in reading the instruction manual.

Standard reply by Shanghai taxi drivers when we couldn’t stand it anymore and begged them to change gears once in a while:

“Mei you guanxi, no problem, MY car can do everything in 3rd gear (stop, start off, turn, slow down, accelerate …)”


Yes the guys selling clutches are making a killing. I remember that… :laughing: I also remember getting two taxi drivers who didn’t know where the Portman hotel was, or Nanjing Xi Lu. One of them didn’t even speak Mandarin (or Shanghainese - my wife was with me at the time) !!!

Chinese drivers in both Taiwan and China will “wind out” the manual transmission before shifting. Lazy city drivers or are they not intuitive to shifting cues?

Farmers in the US had a difficult time adjusting to the Model T. Some would leave it in the barn overnight, and it would somehow have gotten better the next day. Banging on it and so on are other classic farm remedies. When my old car wouldn’t start one wet night, I hit the steering wheel out of anger. It was dead, not one click or something related to a dead battery or faulty starter. Kind of like out of the scene in Back To The Future I, when Marty hit his forehead on the steering wheel of the Delorean “time machine”. And It started.

A slightly loose battery terminal, it seems, was jarred by the vibration.

Now just teach the Humvee drivers to bang their heads on the steering wheel when the light goes out. It will start. I swear it will.

This is brilliant! This kind of analysis is comical, but shows great insight in how to manage the Tawianese.

I tend to think the 1st and 2nd gear problem is due to the short term way the Chinese look at life. “Lazy” is a great mico way to descirbe the problem, but the more maco approach serves as a model to look at how Chinese do the same thing in other apsects of life:

1st and 2nd gear are great for taking small, petty advantages on the road. There is always power on demand to cut someone off, get a open spot, snag a parking spot, etc. Thrid and fourth gear is only useful for the long-term aspects of driving. It gets you faster to your destination, but it leaves you more vulnerable and with less flexibility to take short-term actions.

And of course the costly damage done to the transmission is of no concern either since that is long-term thinking.

just goes to show how cheap some people will be, before i retired from the us military in 95 most of our humvees were automatic. i know, i know stick is cheaper, but give me a break, sticks breakdown more often.