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Thursday, 22 November 2012

Shanghai Autumn 2012 - Out with the old; enbloc here, there, everywhere!

This time in Shanghai, I stayed at a hostel that's near the Zhong Shan Gong Yuan and Yan An Xi Lu metro stations.

Near this hostel, there's a neighbourhood of very old Shanghai houses that's being demolished as we speak.

There's an open air street market that exemplifies the indomitable human spirit - to survive and thrive under the most inhospitable conditions.



I kid you not! The caterpillar crews were just having their morning coffee break as I took this picture. Moments before, everyone were blithely going about their marketing despite dust and debris flying all over as the old buildings were being tore down

If it weren't for the coffee break by the demolition crew, I wouldn't dare go so near... Typical kiasi (scared to die) Singaporean me!

I guess personal safety has another meaning in China. When you NEED to work to SURVIVE, you become BOLD.

What catalysts made my ancestors courageously sail from China to the Southern Seas 189 odd years ago? It cannot be the comfort of home I guess... (Or maybe not, he was a clerk, not a coolie. Even better! He left despite the comforts of home?)

Now this is interesting! I guess the Shanghai local government has learned from the past scuffles 4 years back. The propaganda machinery is now better oiled. How to say no if they appeal to your patriotic zeal?

In the past, there were street protests and sit-ins with placards outside the Shanghai town councils. In China, when you protest, there is a real possibility of ending up in a cold dark place.  So the grievances must have been serious and real; not the frivolous kind where you put a brown paper bag over your head and rant in cyberspace.

What will replace this old neighbourhood? Do you see the condos and towering office block in the background?

I don't think the displaced residents will be staying in them though.

When I bought my HDB 3 room flat 10 years ago at 35, I deliberately chose one of the oldest and ugliest neighbourhood as thought it would have a higher enbloc potential in the future. 

Funny how 10 years of mellowing has changed me. Now I won't be pleased if an enbloc is announced at my block... I can't explain it. I've gone from liking all things new and shiny to fondly embracing all things old and retro?

And caring less about numbers and dollar signs. I guess once you've reached a certain threshold, anything more is either a surplus or excess. It's like the naughty joke explaining the difference between surplus and excess using the tits of a woman as reference. 

This trip to Shanghai had me retracing the steps I've taken in the past. 

Despite the big changes in Shanghai after 4 years, I discovered I've changed more.

Or maybe I've never changed at all!?

Perhaps its me not believing the little lies I tell myself anymore

Or perhaps after removing the makeup and masks, I am starting to recognise the real me?

Travelling is fun!

Some travel to check places of interests off a list. 

I travel to discover myself.   


  1. I like the last sentence.
    Self-discovery is also life long journey.
    Keep the travel posts coming!

    1. Thanks plumerainbow!

      For a moment, I thought I was writing for an audience of one when it comes to travel posts.

      Which is OK.

      I've discovered this rojak (smorgasborg) blog is an excellent outlet to record my meandering thoughts and feelings as I mature and age - like Gouda cheese or red wine?

      By the way, I am super impressed and love your sunflower pic! Taken with a handphone some more!!!

      Looking at it, I can almost feel the sunlight on my face, and the wind blowing across my scalp (Dang! Cannot write hair).

      Cameras don't take pictures; people do :)

    2. Thanks for the compliment but the sunflower pic was not taken on a handphone. Sometimes pictures turn out nice because the scenery is awesome, and everything - the light, the object, the place... all falls into right place at the same time. Kind of like events in life.

      Keep on blogging yeah! and happy travels

    3. You are right!

      Some of my favourite pics are those that all I have to do is to press "click".

      But we have to be out there in the first place.

      Then luck, coincidence, happenstance or whatever you prefer to call it may take over :)


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