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Reporting this 'chameleon city'

By Andrea O'Neil (Shanghai Daily)

10:51, November 22, 2011

For two months, New Zealand journalist Andrea O'Neil stayed in Shanghai on an exchange program. She shares her views about a "totally crazy" city she came to love.

The saddest part about leaving Shanghai is that it won't exist anymore when you return. In its place will be a new Shanghai, one resembling the Shanghai you know like a cousin or brother, but not the same.

That old street you liked with the shrimp stalls and stray hens might soon be a neck-craning steel tower. Your favorite milk tea shop, your go-to jianbing (pancake with fried egg, a typical Shanghai street breakfast) lady, that Yunnan restaurant around the corner, will they last the months or years until your return to Shanghai?

Your friends, too, especially fellow foreigners, might be gone. I've only been in Shanghai two months and I've lost mates. It doesn't pay to hold too tightly to the things you love in this chameleon city.

Even when you live in Shanghai, this solid mass of people, taxis and skyscrapers, bound together by a sea of cooking oil and smog, you question its very existence, how real anything is.

You only have to read the local papers for a week before paranoia sets in - will this frozen dumpling or packet of tissues give me cancer? Is that genuine L'Oreal shampoo I'm buying? You start to avoid the front and rear carriages of subway trains.

Or maybe that's just me. After all, I'm surrounded by shock news stories every day at the Shanghai Daily, where I've worked for the past eight weeks. The fact there was bad news reported at all surprised me when I first arrived - my expectations of a Chinese paper was it would be full of nothing but relentless good news.

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PD User at 2011-11-22109.250.222.*
shouldnt she have spent more time in learning Chinese , when already so lucky to can have spent few months there , writing for that , forgotten from God and People,from silly Englishmen occupied Islands of good old Maoris .. some not known journalst ...
Stana Fio at 2011-11-22109.250.222.*
could have learn some more Chinese this Maorian-white one ,and not just those 2 words that she proudly presenting to us, readers that now knows, after many months in China, isnt it ?

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