Revolted in Shanghai

02 Nov 2003

Three of my esteemed colleagues made a pleasure trip to Shanghai recently. They managed to have a decent time, but they returned somewhat disgusted with the portion of the expat community that they came into contact with. I listened with grim interest to the recountings of their interactions with other foreigners. This is the city I’m moving to soon!
Greg’s account on Sinobling is verbose (and just a bit crude) but hilarious. Carl’s account was more centered on “the facts” but amusing and telling as well. (Alf fans should also check these out.)
A few excerpts:

Carl:
The way I see it, is that all these middle-class, recent college graduates from the western world flood into Shanghai and are instantly flung into the upper echelons of society both socially and monetarily. And how do they react? Like total assholes, that’s how.
Greg:
After leaving the bathroom I joined up with Carl and encouraged him to leave (which for the record took very little cajoling). The price, pomp, and pretension was a bit more than I could stand. Furthermore, if being “seen” means being ignored and looked down upon by legions of charlatans content in wallowing in their own mountebankery I’d just as soon stay home and get drunk in my bathrobe.

Of course, I’ve been to Shanghai, so such accounts come as no surprise to me. But even though Shanghai’s bar scene is not one of the reasons for my move, now that I’m actually going to move soon, such accounts linger in my mind a bit longer….
[NOTE: I’ve got a few good possibilities, but I’m still looking for a job in Shanghai that starts in January. Any leads would be greatly appreciated! Please e-mail me.]

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John Pasden

John is a Shanghai-based linguist and entrepreneur, founder of AllSet Learning.

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