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Blog all bookmarked web pages: Shanghai Diary

Shanghai Skyline from 492 Meters, by Sprengben on Flickr (CC licensed).

News of the high speed rail crash in China last week (which has raised questions about what some perceive as a cargo-cultish rush into modernity) prompted me to dig up some choice quotes I’d saved back in 2004 from Justin O’Connor’s Shanghai Diary on the City of Sound blog. Seven years may have passed from then to now, and the environment may have changed drastically in the interim – but people don’t change that quickly.

From Shanghai Diary #1:

“The men on the construction site work from 6am I think, definitely before 7am. They wake me up, but gently, the drop of metal and scraping of shovels slowly gathering weight around the dreams and then tugging and pulling and then — you’re awake. They work in the sun but drink tea in the shadows. They work until late. It’s hard to tell when, they’re gradually absorbed into the background. Then the flare of an arc welder reminds you. Last night they were laying concrete at 2am. Nobody opened the window and shouted shut the fuck up you fucking inconsiderate fucking fuckers. I suppose they all lay there, tired, hot, that’s just the way it is.”

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