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Shanghai

 Shanghai-panorama

So many differences – what a remarkably strange and beautiful city – aside from the sometime difficulty in breathing in the city, it reminds me of those US cities perhaps at the turn of the century – early 1900-1930 – those brash – pencil – penis like if you like structures that boldly push their way skyward – to proudly announce that we are here – we have made it – we are a force to be reckoned with.  As they are – once day perhaps in 50+ years they will mature in the business sense – that’s wrong – in a Western business sense would be what I am talking about here  – the Chinese have a long – very long history of trade, conquest and civilisation that goes back several thousand years.

There has always been the haves and the have not in any culture – unfortunately the result of the victory of the Maoist Victory of 1949 has at the end of the day (from my viewpoint) achieved very little for the common man, it was after all I think – if you look into the past you will find that Mao latched onto the philosophy as a vehicle – seemingly little more.   Many in the cities are incredibly wealthy – those in the country by and large have very, very little. They have almost no money, little or no land, and very few rights. I will think about this further and write more  when everything I have seen has been absorbed – the revolution has not touched or improved most of the population.  Also I had to remember that only fragments of the rule of law as we know it in the Western world exist there.

I get the feeling as I have said before that there will be a revolution – a real cleansing of the slate within a few years, certainly less than 20, and then perhaps a greater majority of the people will get to share in China’s success. 

I think beneath the surface, if you squint you eyes – they are the same people who walked around these ancient cities at the beginning of time. Some areas of the city are the same as they have been hundreds of years ago, they have an immense history, traditions, serenity, a peace which seems to envelope them (the buildings I mean) – it draws you to a corner – then across the road – through the doors or building into a time past – into these ancient areas – trodden by many thousands of souls over time – then after a while you come out from this haven, of the past through a time warp, through history and shield your eyes or put your sunglasses on and in the distance there are these almost beligerant and proud new buildings that might last 60 / 80 years – (not 600 years)  as that is the normal use by date of most modern buildings.  It is as if it is more than one city of totally different ethos anchored in space (but not time) but with so many differences – To compare the people who designed and built these older buildings with the skyscrapers it’s like comparing people of a totally different ethos, culture and serenity.

When you go looking for older Shanghai it is there – but there are some areas I was told that it is not safe – I am told of the ever present problems of pick pocketing – there is the problem of GBH or assault or even worse. But in the daytime the busy areas – it seems safe – serene in my walking, my exploring – the little time I spent in the city things was wonderful – currently the air is getting better and I am told that the air is fine “some of the time , most of the time”  – I don’t know what I would do to live there – but I think I would love the people – it would be a good job, as is every job at this level for say 3-4 years – let’s take one step at a time – I don’t want to live in the future – I am just trying to be patient and take one day at a time.  Yes – I could live there providing I had my nirvana – my bolt hole, my serene home to escape to – I don’t think I would drive – well certainly not at the beginning – I am sure that most of the people don’t have licenses – the driving is terrifying – driving rules seem to be more of a suggestion than the law, mind you for me it’s a bit like being in Rome or Paris – the rules seem to get invented as time goes along – turning indicators – you know the blinking things on cars – if used – generally when they are already in the turn or as they turn back in – it’s as if they are saying to you, you must know that I always turn here……

 

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