17 June, 2021

Shanghai Diary

Though I can’t communicate except with shrugs and smiles and alien wiles, I feel much less foreign here than I would in a western city

Shanghai Diary

A Poor Exemplar

Why would anyone want Mumbai to be the Shanghai of India? There was quite a movement for that 10 years ago, but I think Mumbai is bad enough as it is. True, the traffic in Shanghai is orderly—but then there are no dogs or cows, and the pavements are excellent—and the city is largely litter-free. However, the sight of mile upon mile of highrises housing (they say) 25 million people cannot but depress.

There is no sense here of living in a country which is not ‘free’, whatever that means. There are no vast placards of Big Brother or giant hoardings exhorting the citizen to do this or that. There are very few hoardings by Indian standards. There are few policemen in sight, too, but I’m told the CCTV coverage is comprehensive. There’s practically no exhaust smoke and most days are blue-skied. The Chinese seem to have internalised the discipline needed for a working society. Even the gardeners in the city parks do their work thoroughly and lovingly.

I suppose if we had to have...

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