Shanghai is a euphemism for seduction and the embodiment of western colonial decadence in the years before World War II. Once the Paris of the East and the Whore of Asia, is has emerged today as the "Dragon's Head" of communism's capitalist daydream, where eastern and western fantasies of getting rich quick converge. Shanghai illustrates how China sees its future : in superlative.
Sitting on the terrace of Shanghai best know restaurants and clubs on the Bund , your eyes take in the city's bladerunner skyline, the outgrowth of a science fiction dream. On the far bank of the Huangpo River a whole new district has burgeoned : New Pudong Area. Begun not even 15 years ago, this supercity has mushroomed out the one-time farming land between the river and the East China Sea.
Shanghai is inventing its own future in a building boom that far exceeds anything the rampant twenties even dreamt of. Anything that stands in its way is mercilessly swept aside. "Shanghai is Asia's answer to New York" say the young Chinese who have got to the top here. A mere 15 years ago the city's nightlife was virtually non-existent, restaurants were few and far between, and the city had lapsed into a state of suspended animation. Couples kissing on the street were unheard-of. Today Shanghai is busy quenching its thirst for life.
Little remains of its fifty or so twilight years. Shanghai's younger generation spends its days in hot pursuit of the latest mobiles, the newest pirated Hollywood Dvd, and dates at Starbucks . These Young people speak English and dream of studying in the States and vacationing in France. Shanghai has no time to look over its shoulder at the past. It is too busy becoming the future
Text by Anke Kotte