Friday, October 29, 2010

Brag fest

Look, I know a man who owns a pig! How many friends like that do YOU have?!

The other night a friend and I was heading to a concert at the East Oriental Art Centre. We took a metro to the Science and Technology Museum, and once we got up from the stairs we started looking for the right exit out. Since I was unsure I decided to go and ask someone. Just as I walked away, a group of middle-aged foreigners passed us, and my friend asked them:

-Hey, this is the correct exit to the Oriental Art Centre, right?

-Sure is!
One of them said.

My friend called me back and we got on the escalator behind the group. Suddenly the older man, who’d been the one answering my friend, turned around:

-So you girls are here as tourists then?

-Eh… no, actually. We are just a bit lost at this station!
We said.

-Ah, but you’re new to town?! Because if you would have lived here like me, for six yeeeeeeaaaaaaars, you would have been able to find your way around!

We both looked at each other, unsure of what to reply to that. This “getting-to-know-each-other” process moved a little bit too fast, and a little bit too much into the brag-about-how-long-I’ve-been-to-China for our liking.

We all got off the escalator and started walking towards the art centre, and the man started telling us things about the area:

-Behind here there is a beautiful park called Century Park! You should go there, it’s great to walk around in. And over here is…

-Well actually, I used to live around this very area when I first moved here in 2006 so I know the park,
I said, not being able to take this whole brag-fest for any longer.

-Oh, so how is it then possible, that you don’t even know your way to the Oriental Art Centre? Don’t tell me that you have never been to a concert there? It’s a beeeeeaaaaautiful venue with….

-I have been here before. I’ve seen a lot of concerts here. But it’s not a place that I go to every week, and today we were simply unsure of what exit to get out from, that’s all.

Still, the brag-party didn’t stop there.

During the next ten minutes, this man took his time, telling me about his successful business, the fact that he was the ONLY foreigner at his company, working with SEVEN Chinese people (“Ohhhhhhhh!” Or, maybe, not so “oooooh?!””). He was obviously super successful, knew Shanghai as if he had been born here, and not scared of telling me about it all. I listened and nodded, not even having to say much because this man knew how to do the talking.

Once we eventually managed to get separated from the group we were both something between upset and in a hysterical laugh attack. Who are these people? Why are they so full of themselves, just because they have lived here for some years, have a business and know which exit to take at a subway station? When is this whole foreigner in China V.S foreigner in China going to end? I’m so sick of foreigners bragging to other foreigners about how long they have been here, how good their Chinese is, how “local” they are, how well they find their way around, and so on… Can’t people just lower their shoulders, smile and relax? I’ve lived in three other countries (maybe not as exotic as China, but still) before this, and not once have I seen this “proud laowai behaviour.” Just live here and get on with it. It’s not that special. And it’s nothing that someone else could not do.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The day I went to try on a designer dress

Stay in my own clothes = stay happy

Last Saturday I did something forbidden. Something I knew I shouldn’t have done. Something I knew would only lead to personal destruction.

Dear all, what I’m about to share with you is a tale of a girl/woman who never learns, and who sometimes also doesn’t knows what’s best for her. Are you ready? OK, well here goes.

For Sunday’s big, Swedish fashion show, I obviously wanted to look fabulous. Fashion-forward. Chic. And cool. So, when I shared this idea of mine with a super funky Chinese designer, and he said: “Well, you should come over to my studio and we’ll put you into one of my, fabulous outfits!” I almost jumped of joy.

-Really?! I cried.

-Really! Just come over this Saturday morning.

Saturday morning came, and although it was a rainy, dull one, I was still determined to get on with the day. My plan was to first drop by the designer’s studio, try out a fashionable outfit, and then head straight to a class of hot yoga that I had signed up for.

As part of preparing for the hot yoga I didn’t put on any make-up that morning. I didn’t wash my greasy hair (although I did shave my legs, thank lord for that!). And I wore something that I think a fashionista would refer to as a “fashion crime,” namely washed-out, baggy comfy pants and a t-shirt, topped off with a fluro green (!!!) hooded jumper (the fact that I even own a fluro green hooded jumper is alarming!) and sneakers. I didn’t look my best, but still, when I checked myself in the mirror before heading over to the designer, I somehow managed to convince myself that I looked kind of sporty-chic. (Now afterwards, I will always refer to this as my "big moment of blindness.")

I arrived at the designer’s studio and was met by a rather big crowd, including: the Swedish designers behind Odeur, a couple of stylists, and some people working for the designer whose studio I was visiting. Everyone had that cool, “I didn’t have any time this morning so I just threw on this old sweater, and my hair is obviously just naturally perfectly messy”-look that I would never be able to pull off, no matter how hard I tried (I think you have to be born with it?) The fact that all the girls were in sky-high heels and had tiny waists goes without saying.

Everyone was there except for the designer himself:

-Oh, he got real drunk last night. Probably won’t make it here until after lunch. What are you here for again? A cool-looking, stone-faced design boy (all dressed in black) said, giving me a quick, not-so-impressed once-over. The feeling of being sporty-chic immediately vanished.

-Eh… the designer, Mr X, said I could try some dresses for tomorrow’s show?

-YOU are going to a SHOW?!

I pretended I didn’t hear the sense of doubt in that sentence.

-That’s right. And the designer, Mr X, thought I could maybe wear one of his dresses?

Another suspicious, pity look before the designer boy disappeared, and left me with the rest of the cool design crew.

-So… guys, how are you today? I tried, trying to take the edge of the situation.

-We’re all good… eh... what are you up to?!

In that moment, I desperately wished I had worn something else but my washed-out pants and a fluro green jumper.

-Oh, well if you are referring to these clothes, I’m going to yoga after this! (I couldn’t help it, I just had to say something).

-Haha, for a moment I thought you were dressing like that on your spare time! Hahahahahha!

(We were laughing so hard that he must have been joking! Right? Right?!!)

Designer boy soon arrived, handing me a tiny-but-exquisite-looking-black dress.

-Try this?

The designer gang gathered around me, nodding and touching, all agreeing that it was a beautiful piece of clothing. For a short moment I felt as if I was going to be OK.

That was, until I tried to try the dress on. And couldn’t get it over my hips. At all.

There were no cheesy applauds or appreciative look when I stepped out of the dressing room, still in my baggy pants.

-Eh… the dress is too small, I said, and handed it back to Mr design boy.

I could see the pity in people’s eyes as they looked at me, then the dress, then my hips.

-Oh, we’ll help you find something! One of the Swedish guys said. Don’t worry! We’ll make you look beautiful as a princess!

And this is where it all went out of control.

Designers, fashionistas, angry-looking-dressed-in-black design boys… well everyone who was in the studio started pulling clothes for me. Clothes, that were either:

-Way too small

-Way too tight (I think I actually told one guy that tried to convince me to try a piece of stretchy-but-skin-tight body suit that “I would feel claustrophobic in something like that.” He looked at me as if I was from another planet).

-Waaaaay too fashion-forward (try a bright red, huge-blanket-like-kimono with a fat dragon print, that wraps around the body in several lawyers before it’s topped off with a tight waist belt, creating some kind of shape. Well, it might have looked cool on a model or on a fashionista, but it made me look like a strapped sausage).

-Way too short (I always considered myself to have “pretty good legs,” however, when in these, short, silky outfits, my legs looked nothing even close to good).

Eventually the designer gang found a loose dress that I knew would look like a bin bag on me, but that I still agreed on trying on, just to be a sport. Since that first, tiny dress that I hadn’t managed to pull down over my hips, I had been close to tears but I refused to let other people know that.

I got into the loose dress, that, despite its loose fit and baggy-ness, still managed to make me look ridiculous and kind of…. Fat!

-Now let’s see you, princess Jonna! The designers cried from outside the changing room. Come out and strut your stuff!

(Strut?! They want me to strut?!)

I took a deep breath, looked myself in the mirror and tried to convince myself that it actually wasn’t that bad, but when I saw what was looking back at me (not-model-thin-girl wearing what looked like a loose, but still tight at the wrong places, too short bin bag that made her legs look like chubby corn cobs) I almost lost it. I couldn’t bare having them see me wearing this, and then, with pity in their eyes lying to me and telling me that I looked good?!

Someone from above must have heard my silent prayer because at that moment, some customers arrived and everyone got super busy. I managed to get out of the bin bag and into my old clothes, and when I eventually snuck out from the studio with a discreet wave, everybody were so busy that they barely noticed me leave.

I caught a cab to the yoga studio and tried some serious “Namaste” in order to get rid of the feeling of being big, wide and fat in the country of no curves. It doesn’t matter that back home, I’m not even close to fat. It doesn’t matter that I train 4-5 times/week or that I have a healthy diet. It doesn’t matter that my weight of 60 kg to my 175 cm is not considered overweight where I come from: I’m still never going to be thin enough to wear local designer labels and look good in China.

Lesson learned! Now I'll do myself a favor and never try that again.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Feedback, please!

New seasons... new posts!

A lot of changes are coming up here in Shanghai: the Expo ends this Sunday (and no, I will not visit any more pavilions, however, I might go for a closing ceremony at the Swedish one if I have time on Sunday). The temperature is dropping steadily (funny how it goes from wearing short, summer dresses one week to putting on your winter coat the next), and I am slowly moving back towards my normal sleeping/exercise patterns (last week I did running twice and hot yoga three times –and I slept like a baby every single night! Exercise is the key to healthy living for me). My trip to Australia (YAY!) is getting closer, and I’m so excited about this that I almost cannot think about it, because when I do I get this kind of cheesy grin on my face.

Anyway, with all of these new things coming up, I feel as if my batteries are slowly recharging, as if I'm getting ready for something new: a colder, calmer city with no more Expo-hysteria and maybe not overtime work every second wknd?! Ya, actually, I am ready! Bring it on!

So, in line with this "new era," I too want to renew myself and give you people that are reading this blog something new, something exciting, or maybe I'm just looking for some inspiration for myself?

Therefore, I now ask you all: what do you want to read about in this blog? What topics interest you? What kind of stories? What sort of photos? Do you want to see something new being introduced (like, an introduction to a new shop or a new restaurant)? Do you want more simple, nothing-special-like updates about daily life, or....

Now, before you all write “more travel stories!” I might have to already disappoint you and say that I cannot afford to go anywhere but Suzhou for a long wknd before my Australia trip.. so unfortunately the travelling posts will be limited for a while still.

However, do tell me what else you’d like me to blog about!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Swedish Odeur at Shanghai Fashion Week

I know, I know, some of you have probably had enough of fashion (especially since this is not a fashion blog in any way), but of course I have to report about something I recall to partly as “my” pride and joy, namely, the Swedish designer duo Odeur showing at Shanghai fashion week.

The show took place yesterday afternoon (2pm) at Fuxing park. And despite the not-so-sexy-time-slot and the fact that it was raining outside, we almost managed to pull a full house. It was a beautiful, if somewhat short, show with models showing simple, clean-cut, modern outfits, while wearing natural make-up and softly styled hair, and spreading glitter powder all over the catwalk while walking.

I was, as usual before events, too nervous to eat, drink or even go to the bathroom (I don’t know what happens to me some hours before events, but my body somehow turns off all of its natural function needs, and all I can focus on is the actual event), so once the show had finished and I finally lowered my shoulders and released my breath (phew!) I realized what a bad state I was in. Headache due to no food or water for 5 hours, urgent need to go to the bathroom, sore feet due to running around in heels, and yadi yadi. Oh well, all in all it was a great day with a good show, and even though it ate half of my wknd I feel happy about it. Now: new week, new challenges. Let’s get things going

Petter and Gorjan -the designers behind Odeur taking interviews after the show

Thursday, October 21, 2010

It's on again: Shanghai Fashion Week at Fuxing Park

It's on!

Now, I know it’s nothing compared to fashion week in New York, London, Milan or Paris. But Shanghai Fashion Week is still a sign of the fact that there is something here in Shanghai, something more than millions of people that are interested in fashion and clothes, and something more than malls of western luxury brands. Shanghai has some real fashion potential. It’s not yet ripe: many of this city’s independent local designers still have a long way to go before they can establish themselves internationally. But with every fashion week there’s something new, something cool, and something exciting. Yesterday, Shanghai’s autumn fashion week opened in Fuxing Park.

The media crowd was bigger than last time, even though the tent proved to be a hot, humid little island in the middle of beautiful Fuxing park. Celebrities? Not so many. Super skinny model Sun Feifei was there (she’s the fashion week’s “muse”) and then of course local personalities like designer Simon Wang (“Oh Darling, lovely to see you, mwah, mwah!” Well, even if Shanghai Fashion Week is not yet there, the crowd sure knows how to do the “talk”). I also bumped into other interesting personalities, like a Chinese guy working for Net-a-Porter, who completely caned Shanghai Fashion Week, but still secretly must have felt some kind of belonging, because when I asked him why he still went if he disliked it so much, he replied with a secretive little smirk. There we go. Hate it or love it. It’s still there. A local fashion week. And the feeling of pride (?) and belonging.

As I’ve heard it so many times before, that it won’t be anything that will be covered internationally in Vogue Italia or But still, it pulls a cool kind of crowd. Gets massive media attention. And it’s fun! I would say it definitely has potential.

So what am I doing at this fashion week, you might wonder. Well, of course we had to look to Sweden’s best interest. After Ann-Sofie Back’s spring success at Shanghai Fashion Week, we simply couldn’t help ourselves from having yet another Swedish designer showcasing their work in Shanghai. This time it will be Odeur, a Swedish designer duo, making beautiful Unisex clothes witha very Scandinavian touch, showing on October 24. Bring it on!

Muse model Sun Fei Fei

No fashion week without a giant.... eh... cake?! Right?

Sneak peak: Seven Days runway show

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

At dinner time in China, don't feed people sweet snacks

This is more like it

Last night I went to what I suppose you can call a “fancy gala evening” that I had been invited to by a Western company/organizer. It was a huge event, held at a five-star hotel with hundreds of guests (at least I realized this when I stepped inside the banquet hall). Since the invitation said things like “enjoy a night of good food” and the time was 7.30pm-late, I rocked up fresh off the treadmill and the gym, and hungry as a wolf.

“When’s the food coming?!” I heard people asking, over and over again.

“Delayed, wait!” was the rumour.

So I waited. Together with hundreds of other, likewise hungry fellas. We all waited at the balcony, while being served soft drinks and wine by waitresses.

8 pm –still no food.

8.15 –someone slammed the big gong-gong: “Dinner is served!”

People rushed inside to the buffet tables, only to notice that the only things that had arrived were some small pieces of chocolate, blueberry pie and green tea mouse… Still, the waitresses barely managed to put the snacks down before people had taken them all. Some guests were so hungry that they took food straight from the waiter’s trays. I, however, was not in the mood for sweets. I needed something substantial. And then I couldn’t help myself any longer:

-What is this? Where is the real food? Is there any real food coming in? I asked the waitress after 10 minutes of watching them being attacked by hungry guests.

-No, just sweets.


Who on earth, in China, invites people to a DINNER at 7.30pm (prime dinner time in China) and serve them tiny pieces of blueberry pie from a buffet table? I didn’t care if there was a free flow of wine and soft drinks, as soon as I learned that there was no substantial food to eat I left, feeling hungry and quite angry.

Honestly, I cannot believe the lack of knowledge of these western people, doing something in China, inviting a lot of Chinese guest, and then serving them small sweet snacks? You would think that by now, people would understand the importance of food in China. But no, apparently not. Then again, it’s “only” 2010 –still time to learn the basics about China and Chinese people while doing business over here. Eh….

(I ended up going to a Japanese restaurant stuffing myself with sushi afterwards. Not that great, since I shouldn’t eat late when I already have troubles sleeping. But well, what to do? Going to bed on an empty, hungry stomach is a big no-no for me).

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Copycat store

On Saturday we were out walking, browsing the shops on Huaihai Lu, and I was just about to suggest a visit to Zara, when I saw something new in the corner of my eye: there, next to Zara, was a new (? –well at least to me it was) shop called UR –Urban Renewal.

-Hey, what’s that place? I asked my boyfriend. From the advertisement in the window, it looked quite nice (a nice looking camel coloured jacket a la 299 rmb –come to mama!). Also, it was located next to Zara where we were going anyway, se decided to do a de-tour and stepped inside for a peak.

Once inside it hit me that even though I’d never been in the shop before, everything still seemed so familiar. Same clothing setup with colour coded racks and then bags on top shelves and shoes on the shelf space on the floor. Independent racks with belts, low tables with knitted jumpers… all the working staff wearing black suits…. Hang on a minute.. it was exactly like… ZARA!

Once it hit us we couldn’t get over it. Urban Renewal was not only located next to Zara, but had copied Zara’s clean cut concepts entirely. The only difference was the actual clothes. The UR clothes lacked both in terms of style and quality and simply looked cheap.

I know that some years ago, this was a super common concept in China: successful western furniture store neighbours a Chinese copycat store with worse quality and cheaper prices. Still, I’ve never been inside such store myself, and it was something between amusing and weird to see it with your own eyes. I wonder what the Zara management thinks. On the other hand, they might not waste energy on being upset, because the two stores definitely don’t attract the same type of customer. After browsing aisles of cheap and tacky looking clothes at Urban Renewal, we headed straight to the “real” thing next door, where everything (at the first sight) looked kind of the same, but then, at a closer sight, looked so much better.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Shanghai Ghost Market

Top floor -only on Sundays!

Yesterday I left home around 8.30am so that I could be at Yu Yuan’s so called “ghost market” (or more like, antique market) before 9am. Despite congested streets I arrived on time, met my two author friends and went inside an old, white building, where the market was held.

It apparently works like this: the old, white house is the home to this market all week long. However, the top floor is only occupied on Sundays, where farmers/villagers from surrounding areas can come in, spread their blankets and try and sell their gods. Expect to find everything from old, broken plates to calligraphy paintings, odd porcelain bowls, jade Buddhas, and beautiful vases. There was really a bit of everything. Now, I actually haven’t been to the infamous “antique market” on a road in the Xintiandi surrounding area, so I have nothing to compare to. But judging from the amount of Chinese people that visited this market (compared to laowais, I would say there were 95% Chinese and 5% foreigners), I think this Yu Yuan ghost market was quite good. I saw a lot of Chinese people walking around with mini flashlights that they used to examine the bowls/vases/porcelain before making a purchase.

My friends shopped until they dropped. I was more conscious and only bought some kind of old, Chinese medallion, which I am hoping to be creative enough to be able to turn into a necklace. Still, the best bit must have been to walk around and talk to the old men and women selling the gods. They were over the moon when they realized that we could communicate, and more than once there was a little crowd around me when I tried to haggle down the price. Only one thing annoyed me and that was that almost all the old men were smoking and after 2 hours I had a headache and felt kind of sick from inhaling so much smoke. Except for that, I recommend a Sunday trip to this market, but go early, because it gets crowded.

Top floor
One of the other floors (not as good as the top floor)

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Royal Week

Nils Landgren and the Funk Unit at SH Jazz Festival

Oh my what a week I’ve had, even though I didn’t do even half of all the things I had planned to?

The week started in a healthy manner with yoga on Monday, a power walk at 5 am at Tuesday (I have to say I felt like something between a nerd and a loser when I walked by our neighbour bar in exercise gear and was greeted by drunk customers, still having beers. How do people do weekday drinking, I keep asking myself?). Wednesday was a big working day at the Expo, as the Swedish pavilion was honoured by a visit from no one less but Sweden’s very own (newly wedded) Crown Princess Victoria and her hubby Prince Daniel. I was there all day, and then spent the night watching a jazz concert by Nils Landgren and the Funk Unit, as part of Shanghai Jazz Festival. Real good stuff: Landgren managed to get the seated audience (mainly Chinese) to stand up, clap their hands, swing their hips, and eventually also to sing along! It was one of the better concerts I’ve been to here in Shanghai.

Thursday was a busy day at work, much due to having Royalties in town. At night I joined the blue-blooded crowd at the newly renovated hotel Waldorf Astoria (beautiful! Go there and have a look!) at the Bund where we enjoyed a 7-course dinner with the Royal highnesses. Pretty glam, I must say (and an excellent excuse for me to splurge on a new dress the day before).

Friday came and it wasn’t fun to get up at 6.30am… (again, how do people do weekday wining and dining and then go to work the next day?) but I didn’t have much of a choice as I’m still drowning in work. When I finished for the day all I wanted to do was to go home and curl up in the sofa with a DVD and a big chocolate bar, but I had promised to join some friends for dinner at Japanese joint Bankura, so there wasn’t much time for couch quality time.

It ended up being a fun night though. Dinner was great and was followed by some cocktails at a bar, and then we all felt so inspired and creative (….) that we ended up going back to a friend’s house, and played Balderdash until early morning (believe it or not, but it’s even more fun when four non-native speaker plays the English versions, because not only can you laugh at silly answers, but also at bad spelling and grammar… hehe).

Saturday was spent in a quite calm way: Slept late, had a big brekkie, and then went to a Swedish author’s reading in the afternoon. Early dinner, Chinese massage (aoooch!) and early bedtime, which could have been great… But, of course it wasn’t because guess what managed to ruin this calm, re-charge Saturday? Well, of course it was my inability to fall asleep last night (Gosh, I simply cannot afford to be tired these days?! How hyper active do I need to be in order to be able to sleep at night?). Today (Sunday) I still got up quite early and now I’m getting ready to go (in the company of one Swedish and one south American author who are in town doing a residence program) to something called “the Ghost Market.” I have no idea what it is, but I’ll tell you all once I do. The rest of the day will be spent doing a class of hot yoga, and then going to some dance performance arranged by a good friend. Now if this doesn’t manage to make me tired, God knows what does…

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

EXPO coming to an end

Absolut Bar at the Swedish Pavilion rooftop

It's now less than a month left of the EXPO, and guess who's heading out there today for a day of meetings. Yeah, that's right: Meeeee! Well, actually, I will be spending a lot of time there during this week, so today's not really any exceptional event.

I haven't blogged about the EXPO as much as I thought I would, mainly because I have not enjoyed it so much as a leisure sort of place. To me, the EXPO just means work and I normally don't blog about my job. Also, I don't really like huge crowds and long lines... but still. Some of the EXPO events I've been to have been a lot of fun!

I was thinking that I would give this opportunity to all of you who haven't had a chance to go to the EXPO, if there is something you'd like to know/find out before it closes? Some pavilion that you've heard of that's said to be "crazy" or something like that? Fire away, hit me with your questions, EXPO stories or EXPO advices... In less then a month, it will be all gone!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Disrupted sleeping patterns -help needed!

It’s Monday and I’m gearing up for what I believe is going to be one of the busiest weeks of my life.

This week includes a visit from the recently married Swedish Crown Princess Victoria and her Prince Daniel Westling, as well as the opening of Shanghai International Jazz Festival, Rolex Master Tennis Games, preparations for Shanghai Fashion Week (that kicks of on Oct 20), Finnish fashion events, dinners, mingle, cocktail receptions and you name it. I promise to try and become a better person if I survive this all.

Survive? What? –you might think, but yeah, the thing is that the recent hectic travelling schedule of mine has managed to mess up my sleeping patterns completely. I’ve had troubles sleeping for quite a while (basically since I moved to China), but for the last month or so it’s been on the verge of unbearable. Last week I slept two out of five nights. The other five nights were spent tossing and turning, counting the hours until I had to get up. I try not to panic about it, as I know it makes it all worse, but it's hard, and nowadays I sometimes catch myself thinking "I bet tonight I'm not going to be able to fall asleep" even before I go to bed. Ahhhhrg!

I’ve tried a fair bit of things: no coffee after 9am, no tea, no coke, no late dinners, exercising myself tired, reading before sleep, deep yoga breaths in order to calm down, and last week I even turned to some herbal sleeping pills, but they did nothing to me. So, in case some of you are sitting on some kind of magic sleeping cure, I’d be delighted to take part. I need my hours of rest this week more than ever (however, don't say "drink warm milk" because the taste of milk makes me feel like vomiting. I cannot handle anything else but soy products these days).

NOtCH 2010

Saturday, October 9, saw the opening of the fifth NOtCH festival in Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou (the abbreviation "NOtCH" stands for Nordic and Chinese) and I attended the opening of the NOtCH art exhibition at DDM Warehouse in Red Town, Shanghai.

The idea behind NOtCH is to expose two distinct cultures – Nordic and Chinese – to each other’s music and art as a way to better link the two cultures. The festival features more than 20 Scandinavian musicians and artists, playing everything from free jazz to psychedelic folk to electronic pop music.

The art exhibition was better than expected and includes the following Nordic/Chinese artists:

Sweden: Henrik Rylander, Nille Svensson, Fredrik Söderberg, Kris Ström, PST + Po
Norway: Yokoland, Kim Hiorthøy, Morten Spaberg, Fantastic Norway, Nina Birkeland, Njaal Borch, So Takahashi
Denmark: Hvass & Hannibal, Mette Juul, David Garcia Studio, BIG
Finland: Jan Anderzen, Tommi Musturi, NAPA, Husky Rescue, Sami Sänpäkkilä, Pekka Finland, Kasino A4
Iceland: Magnus Helgason, Kira Kira
China: Ma Qiusha, Sun Yao, Qiu Anxiong, Pan Jianfeng

Check it out: DDM Warehouse, Red Town, 570 Huaihai Xi Lu.

NOtCH will go on until Oct 31 and there will be plenty of concerts at the DDM Warehouse/Mao Livehouse. The Swedish/Danish night is at October 15.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Precious family matters

Head of family

Back in Shanghai after some intensive days in Berlin and Malmö. Yesterday I did the lovely (not), 12 hour flight back. I had to transfer in Beijing, and when I stepped on the plane I was walking next to a typical Shanghai family: “mom and dad” (a young, trendy looking couple) and their mom and dad (grandpa and grandma) carrying their (at least) 3 year old "baby" boy. Although I’ve witnessed what I’m about to describe a countless number of times, it still manages to astonish me: The load and heaviness of that (not so little!) boy was totally on the grandparents, meanwhile the young, trendy parents went to sit at another section of the plane. The grandma and the child was seated in the middle section next to mine, and as soon as the plane took off the boy started whining.

It didn’t take long before the grandmother got up, and gave up her seat to him so that he could lie down and sleep across the seat section. But what was she supposed to do then? An old woman, standing on a full plane? Well, she simply sat down on the floor! Year, on that tiny little floor that also acts leg space between two seat rows on an economy class flight. She sat there, half leaning forward, hoping for the little boy to get his beauty sleep. They were like that for maybe 45 min, until the boy sat up, bawling like an animal. Grandma did all she could, but this time the boy wanted his trendy mom, who then had to get up from her comfortable position, and rush over to hold him for a short while, before handing him back to his grandmother.

Why do young people even get kids over here when they so obviously do not want to take care of them themselves? And why are children spoiled to an extent that makes me see red? Well, actually, don’t bother answering that, I know the answers already… deep rooted in history and tradition, yadi yadi. Still. Seeing a grandmother take the airplane floor so that a kid can sleep on a 2 hour flight between Beijing and Shanghai is quite a sickening sight. Just had to say it.