Long week in Shanghai

Posted by Dominic on Saturday, January 7th, 2006
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It’s been a long week here in Shanghai. It took a couple of days to get my body used to being here but now I’m full strength. We have been very fortunate to spend time with some great people from the area. Both Gary the DJ and Sarah Zhong the local events promoter were very open to our questions as we peered into their lives. These two very much represent the younger generation coming up here in Shanghai and perhaps the whole of China. Gary grew up the son of a powerful general in the Chinese army yet the choices he made are anything but the old ways of the cultural revolution and his father. People here are all about making money amidst this massive wave of capitalism. There are countless shops, restaurants, nightclubs, freeways and lots of office buildings. I have never seen so much glass and steel in my life. This is by far one of the fastest growing cities in the world. There is building after building after building going up in every direction you look. Frankly it’s staggering.

People’s attitudes towards the US tend to be fairly positive. They realize that much of the growth happening here is due to US consumers. In a country that lacks many political and religious freedoms money has filled the void by offering a sense of empowerment and choice. Who cares what the government is doing as long as I got mine. Their prosperity seems to breed a sense of apathy (though this is a basic human trait.)

We spoke with an older couple today who remembered fondly the time of Richard Nixon’s visit in the early 70’s. They really saw his visit as an opportunity to move the country out of poverty through improved economic relations with the US. When we asked about President Bush’s recent visit they seemed indifferent. Most people speak with a general reverence of America and it’s choices but in a land of so many possibilities it’s also becoming increasingly irrelevant.

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