78 years on, my mother returns once again to her birth place* – this time with my father. It’s hard to imagine that the building still stands at the address 1531 Xinzha lu where she was born (now converted into a children’s hospital). That’s perhaps one of the very few things that hasn’t changed much in this morphing mega metropolis over the last few decades since her last visit.
My parents are proving to be quite inexhaustible – at least at the time of writing. I suspect that the adrenalin rush that has been driving them up until now will be wearing off soon. My father has been particularly courageous on this first trip to Asia and has been willing to taste everything placed in front of him AND to use chop sticks (although he’s not had much choice in this matter as most restaurants simply don’t have any forks or knives to offer).
‘Shanghighs‘: It’s been really nice to be ‘forced’ to visit Shanghai again as a tourist and to see it through new eyes.
One of our outings was a visit to the Shanghai Propaganda Poster Art Centre. Propaganda posters were used extensively in the 20th century to get messages across to the masses and it was fascinating to see how the images depicted the the changing political climate over the years. It really did give a deeper insight into China’s modern history with all of it’s twists and turns.
If a propaganda poster were to be created today it would no doubt portray The ‘Chinese Dream’ which the General Secretary Xi Jinping began promoting in 2013. According to the party’s theoretical journal Quishi, the Chinese Dream is about Chinese prosperity, collective effort, socialism and national glory (Wikipedia). Hmmmm, perhaps all of those people driving the Lamborghinis, Porsches and Ferraris around the city are focusing on the first part of the dream.
‘Shanglows‘: Spring rain.
‘Shangunusuals‘: Check out the price of these dried sea cucumbers. That’s over $2000 US dollars per 500gm(?)! Considered a delicacy, sea cucumbers are served in order to impress guests. I can only suppose that they taste alright too.
* My mother was born in Shanghai in 1935 to an Australian father and English mother who were missionaries based in China for a number of years. I’m hoping to learn more about this experience through the memoirs that my mother plans to write…but she is having difficulties processing all of the emotions that are involved in doing this. She says that a number of her peers with whom she spent her childhood also struggle with their past which was not particularly stable.