Shanghai city impressions

By Pauline D.Loh ( China Daily ) Updated: 2014-04-11 07:09:39

For the next three months, I shall be exploring China's brightest city skyline and everything that lies below. Two weeks into my stay, I am already amazed and amused by the differences I see between China's political hub and its commercial heart.

Beijing is all about politics, policies and policing. Shanghai is all about business.

While native Beijingers constantly complain about their city being overtaken by migrant workers at every level, local Shanghainese are more at ease holding their own against invasion from other parts of China, and indeed, the world.

Shanghai is a proud town, assured of its position in China, and aware of its image as a major global cosmopolitan city.

In fact, according to an expatriate colleague in our newsroom, it is the only international city on the Chinese mainland giving Hong Kong a good run for its renminbi.

It has its own language, culture and cuisine, and is fiercely proud of local traditions in every facet of life, including certain idiosyncrasies.

I remember not so long ago, residents would calmly walk out to market or the mall in their pajamas. They were nice, no doubt, as befitting the normally well-groomed Shanghainese, but pajamas? It was a good barometer of local confidence, if not style.

A couple of decades on, it is all about style, especially well manifested in the young modern Shanghai family.

Last weekend, taking lunch at the former French concession on a bright sunny spring day, we were treated to a microcosm of life in the city.

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