Monday, September 18, 2006
People in Shanghai
I would like to comment on the people in SH after spending so much time and getting exposed to various groups of people - I might have talked briefly about this in some earlier blogs, but here's a more in depth view of the population. The young population mostly comprises of mild mannered working class: these are the ones who works hard behind the scenes (mainly at restaurants or in service sector). I can understand why sometimes they look pissed - I would be too, if I made like 100RMB/day while seeing these rich people pushing me around, saying that some dish is just a little too salty or something. At the airport today, I saw a girl microwave a dish of rice for dinner and sat alone in an alley that was piled up with used bottles and dishes from the restaurant she works in. Two steps away are the spoiled customers (including myself I guess) buying a bowl of noodle that is worth their all day salary (I feel bad for them, but what can I say? at least I treat them with respect). Another instance I want to raise up is my farewell bash at SH, the mgr next door (also from Toronto) treated me to a very upscale Jap restaurant that featured very nice decors and an open kitchen. One of the dishes was noodles placed in an ice bowl (carved out just for the meal) and must have cost around 350RMB, I know I wouldn't feel so bad if I was back in TO eating this as the salary would be similar between diff. classes. He also said to me; 'relax Edmund, you have to enjoy and understand your benefits! You hang around locals way too much'. Now don't get me wrong - I very much appreciate him always helping / mentoring me and exposing me to the more higher class and upper mgmt; but I do think that in order for us to really understand who we are and how we fit into the world - we have to also look behind the corner and see how the locals live. It may not be a pretty sight, and may also get us in trouble (one of the security guys at where I lived asked me to loan him $ already - a story for another time); but since I'm still young, I'll continue to believe in trying to see more, and hopefully understand a little bit more about myself in the process.