Saturday, December 16, 2006

The Bund

I am writing this as I sit in my Hotel room in Shanghai. I had to take an urgent company business trip up here and will only fly home to Singapore tomorrow afternoon. When I came, the temperature was 8 degrees celsius. I heard that it will drop to 0 degrees today.

This is my first trip to Shanghai. It is certainly a busy city with a very vibrant night life. A friend of mine who has been living here for 3 months told me that he hasn't gotten tired of the city, that there is something new to see and experience. As every visitor does, I went down to the Bund (Wai-tan) yesterday evening. The Bund was made famous by a Cantonese serial way back in the 1980s starring Chow Yun Fatt (the guy who played the King of Thailand with Jodie Foster as his home tutor). His alter ego, Ding Lek (a character in the movie), became such a favourite with a friend of mine back then that he would mention the name every time we talked. It was certainly a seminal movie that brought Shanghai back to life - at least in minds of many.

Youths are too young to remember that the Cantonese song "Shanghai-tan" was introduced through this serial. This just goes to show that audio still surpasses video in longevity in capturing and sustaining history - or is it because of the Speak Mandarin campaign in Singapore that killed this part of our youth's exposure and consciousness to history in the making?

Shanghai has since roared back life. It is a relatively safe place although one must get used to the Shanghainese's loud banter. I'll come back again, the next time for a vacation. I heard the shopping can rival Bangkok's. Well, I'll come more for the history, although, from I have have seen so far, a lot of it has been commercialised.


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