Monday, June 09, 2008

All About Shenzhen

I came across an amazing article in Esquire by Colby Buzzell about Shenzhen (thanks to Laowaijohn at Twitter). This is quite possibly the best portrayal of the city since Peter Hessler's Oracle Bones (except that this one doesn't focus as much on history). It's a bit lengthy and almost a year old, but well worth reading.

Reading through "Digging a Hole All the Way to America" I noticed the reactions of people who arrive in Shenzhen for the first time--it's all very much the same. Having lived here for almost three years, much of what is written is fairly common knowledge. However, there are moments of amusement when depicting everyday scenes on the street. There's also a reminder of why I don't like bars in Shekou--the foreigners the writer meets are not exactly the desirable acquaintances of the city.

Some of my favorite parts:
The Americans have complained that so many of their products are being hijacked by bootleggers, and the Chinese say they're cracking down, but somebody forgot to tell the bootleggers of Shenzhen. In fact, a fun game to play is the find-something-that's-not-a-fake game.

The heavy metal music of construction is all around you as you walk the streets down there, and you can't help but feel, see, and hear the city expand with every step you take.
He tells me that the Chinese soul is being lost thanks to the fast economic development and modernization, and that it is happening way too fast.


duarte said...

hello,nice blog,congratulations
greetings from switzerland

Josh & Tiffany Summers said...

Interesting article on Shenzhen. I finished reading Oracle Bones this year and thoroughly enjoyed Hessler's descriptions of places such as this.

You must enjoy living there seeing as you've stayed for three years, but it doesn't sound like I place I'm anxious to visit.

Peace, and nice blog.