Before I get accused of China bashing or undue criticizing of China let me just add this. I like China, I moved here on my own free will, married my wife here, and am raising a family here. Do I like China as much as my home country, no… I am an American, I served proudly to defend her rights and privileges to her citizens, I will always be an American and part of that is being critical of my leaders and the policies they put forth on the people. With that out of the way lets get back to what I like about China and Shanghai.
1. First and foremost is my wife and her family. Despite having married an American, and one who barely speaks Chinese, they have accepted and welcomed me into the family.
2. The history! China has the oldest written record of civilization and the longest running history of civilization; it is truly unique and incredible.
3. The buildings. I love old buildings and old estates, the amount of thought and planning on building things here is incredible.
4. The people. For the most part people in China are friendly and good people, except in the Shanghai subway system.
5. The cheap CDs and DVDs! I hate the RIAA and MPAA for the whole fire sharing thing, the cartel hold and blood sucking monopoly they have on everyone. I think it is ridiculous that the prices of CDs and DVDs have risen in the past 10 years when cassettes and VHS tapes have fallen! This is a mafia of greedy suits that only care about themselves and not the artists; they only use that as a smoke screen for their greed.
6. The gardens. Chinese people love their gardens, they love plants, and they love showing them off in big ways. It is fun and very interesting.
7. Their economic model. The cost of living in China is pretty good. Basics and everyday items are cheap, only luxuries are expensive in comparison. The average Chinese family does not have to scrimp and save for a month to eat at a nice restaurant once a month; they can do that here every week!
8. The food. Some Chinese foods I have actually lost taste for, but others, mainly the spicy dishes and fried dishes I love.
9. Chinese generosity. If you are a guest to someone’s home in China it is an experience that is unlike any other. It feels a little uncomfortable at times the amount of time, effort, and expense Chinese people will pay to make a person welcome, but it does make you feel very appreciated.
10. The wave of optimism. Turn on a Chinese TV, read a Chinese newspaper or magazine, (I can’t read Chinese yet so I have to have them read to me) and there is not the scare tactic you see in the western press. Chinese people know bad things are happening and they know things are wrong here and their but they also like to hear about the good things happening. The Chinese media (even if censored and restricted) reports mainly positive things and doesn’t focus on fear, sensationalizing a story, or negative reporting of things. It is nice to watch the news and not feel depressed or anxious after it is over.
11. Shanghai’s buildings. I love architecture… Shanghai is a city of 100,000 different buildings. Granted they are rapidly losing all the old and historic ones faster then they can protect them, but the modern parts of the city are breath taking. I doubt I could record each skyscraper here if I had just 1 year to do nothing else but take pictures. Dubai may have 20% of the world’s cranes building new buildings now, but Shanghai is doing so almost as fast!
That is just a sample of what I could think of off the top of my head. So many people thought I was crazy for moving to Shanghai. I feel it would have been a shame if I did not. There is so much to experience and see in this world and time, and not seizing the opportunity means you do not want to grow. Our world has gotten smaller and the new way of life revolves around globalization. The only way to grow is to challenge your self and your perspective.