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2006 06 15
Shanghai Missive, Part 3
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Image: Howard French

Montreal resident Emmanuel Madan recently travelled to Shanghai to install an artwork called Ondulation. He sent us a series of dispatches about his experiences and we thought these were perfect for our feature on Shanghai.

Vestiges of China's authoritarian history show through everywhere: one day we were sitting on the balcony overlooking the plaza just before lunch time, and we saw all the employees of one of the Chinese restaurants standing at attention, all the red uniforms in the first row, yellow uniforms in the second row, perhaps seven or eight employees altogether, getting a pre-shift pep talk from their supervisor. The lecture must have lasted forty-five minutes, during which time all the employees remained absolutely still in the glaring late morning heat. The pedestrian mall was otherwise completely abandoned. The fountain was being tended by a worker in galoshes, and muzak (a syrupy Chinese-Western hybrid) could be heard blaring across the empty square.

David and I had a conversation at one point, you know the one everyone's having about the growth of Chinese industry and what it means for workers in the West. David's from southern Ontario and says that every person in his family except him (...read more...)
[email this story] Posted by David Ross on 06/15
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