When you can't live without bananas

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Saturday, July 28, 2007

Cock: We're Overthrowing the PAP government! Viva La Revolution!

Actually, no, far from it. But I hope that caught your attention.

Young Republic Summer Jamboree on the 9th of August ( isn't it appropriate?) at Gabriel's place.

[My address]

Starts at 5 pm.

Me: Once again this will be a potluck. So please bring whatever food you are both willing and able to (and tell me and preferably Jiekai too what you have in mind). Adequate cooking facilities are available, and arrangements can be made.

For those who do not bring anything, a donation is recommended but the truly destitute will not be turned away.

Esther Wong is still most unwelcome.


Among other things, we will deconstruct the National Day Parade (assuming we don't get raided by the ISD). Yay.
China Trip
Day 3 (25/6) - Shanghai: Pudong, Butt Plug, The Bund, Old Streets
(Part 1)

Whenever people asked me about Shanghai, I said it was hot, humid, dusty, polluted, smelly, noisy and filled with rude people. ie Like Malaysia, but cheaper.

China has the disadvantages of Communism (primarily, an authoritarian government) with none of its redeeming aspects (universal healthcare and social justice through equal misery). Similarly, it has all the disadvantages of Western Liberal Democracy (inequality because not everyone is forced to suffer) with none of its redeeming aspects (political and social freedoms). What a raw deal.

Once again, YuCheng, Lin brought me for breakfast.

Disgusting shellfish (?)
[Addendum: Hai~ren thinks they're freshwater crayfish. Thanks!]

Man making jian1 bing3 ('panfried biscuit' - untranslatable by me)

I wanted to see Pudong (the part east of the river) so I was advised to take the ferry across.

What might be the cheapest ferry in the world, at 40 Chinese cents (IIRC)

The Two Towers


Oriental Pearl Tower Giant Vibrator

The Vibrator in all its glory

Inside the vibrator, I saw some men coming out of the female toilet, herded by an attendant. Perhaps they were all trying to peep. Or perhaps this was because, for once, the male toilet had a lot more people inside it than the female one (though it wasn't so much as to spill out of the toilet). I guess the same rules don't apply to both genders.

Inside the toilet, people were all smoking despite the prominent "no smoking" signs. Also, when I turned on one tap, another started leaking water also. Wth.

While traveling in the lifts, we were subjected to dreary chants by the nominally bilingual lift attendants. Except that their 'English' was so bad, I understood more of the Chinese.

Wonderful view of the Bund and further at 263m (the other views were quite ugly and unremarkable - the city skyline is quite ugly). Maybe the poor visibility was due to the number of people in China who smoke. Or perhaps the chain of causation is the other way around - since the air is so polluted, it's healthier to smoke than to take a puff of air.

View of the same from 350m

At 263 and 350m, we could not go out into the open air. At 259m, we finally could. I was looking forward to enjoying the natural breeze,

only to discover that there was a stupid grille covering everything. Why can't they block it properly like the Empire State Building does?! Gah. Like this, they might as well not have an open-air deck.

On the way down, there was a half-hearted exhibition area which was mostly empty, but for a few curiosities:

Dumb robot

"When guests are at the entrance of the 107 meter floor, they will find themselves welcomed by a robotic receptionist, who will help to enforce the interesting and scientific tour feeling through dialogue and questions."
China's Space Delusions

ET (?! - I bet they don't have the license to use this)

Bund from 90m

Looking at the merchandise, I realised that the tower resembled a butt plug rather than a vibrator.

"Pearl - The Best Gifts Pressented (sic) to the Female
The glittering world of pearls

I then sought a way back across the river to Puxi. Since it was starting to drizzle, and the nearest bridge and ferry that I knew of with quite far off, I decided to enter the Bund Sightseeing Tunnel, Shanghai's primary Tourist Trap.

Chairman Mao would be mortified at this mindless frivolity, nay, waste.

I waited for Johnny Malkavian near the statue of a mayor of Shanghai so we could look at the buildings along the Bund together.

Meanwhile, I saw some youths. 2 of them were engaged in a favourite pasttime of Shanghainese (and I presume Chinese men) - exposing their midriffs (a select few even walked around topless).
Also, one of these spat on the ground. People like to say that when you are in Rome, do as the Romans do, yet even if you are a foreigner, you shouldn't spit in Shanghai, for someone might come up to you and demand a bribe; foreigners are unable to navigate the complicated socio-cultural and legal frameworks that the locals navigate with ease. This is the same reason foreigners shouldn't rape anyone in South Africa, engage in Chikan or enjo kōsai in Japan or ride on European trains for free.

Chen Yi, Mayor

Peace Hotel

China *Something* Bank

AIA, China Merchants Bank


Me with the butt plug behind me

Looking southward. Bear in mind this was taken during noon.


West Bank, looking South

Spyshot. This ang moh asked us to take a picture of him and his 'girlfriend'. Johnny was saying that she was fanning herself and going "好热" (hao3 re4 - "it's very hot"). This proves the aphorism of many ang mohs liking ugly Asians who look like Filipino maids.

[solsetur in comments: The wife of my chinese colleague told me (she's a great, candid person):
Singaporean men don't like Angmohs.
In China we love angmohs. Nobody wants the ugly women, but they love our ugly women. They are doing us Chinese people a favour by taking the ugly women. We love the angmohs for that!

(translated roughly from chinese)]

There were irritating touts all along the Bund giving out cards advertising things to do with flights. Most of them were so persistent as to follow me when I curved suddenly to avoid them. 2 plans I had for dealing with them were to give them my namecard or, better yet, to accumulate some of the cards and to give them back to the touts ("你给我,我给你" - "You give me, I give you").

Free pictures for people aged 70 and above, retired people and soldiers.

River, looking North

Old HSBC building

Bangkok Bank

When going to wait for his driver, we found a very colourful hostel.

We then went somewhere in the vicinity of Yuyuan, a famous garden.

Fake gate
This marked the entrance to another tourist trap: "上海老街" ("Shanghai Old Street"). I called it "上海假街" ("Shanghai Fake Street")

We then ventured forth to find a real Shanghai Old Street, as well as the remnants of the Ming City Wall.

Fangbang Street Middle


Chef rest and networking centre, with free introductions to other chefs.

Destroying Shanghai's heritage

Old and New

The Old City Wall was quite disappointing, not least because there was no information in English. If it was bad for me, it was worse for this European guy there at the same time who spoke no Chinese and little English.

Presumably, the old Wall

The character for "Wine" rendered as smileys

Kid wearing a G-string (?!)

Some temple

Old and New, Redux

More destruction' Dajing

One of the mysteries of the Universe: why do people in Shanghai like to walk around in their PJs in the mid-afternoon?
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