January 2, 2020

A return to Shanghai

I am back in Shanghai after 16 years. And back in Mainland China after 10 years.

I didn’t get a chance to spend a lot of time out and about, but I managed to go to a bookshop to see what people are reading. I felt that the selection was tamer compared to what I used to see in bookstores about a decade back. The trouble with coming back to China is that now I realise how much I missed China after defecting to Taiwan. Suddenly, I am borrowing library books on China, I am subscribing to China-related podcasts. I want to go back to the West (Sichuan) and the North East.

The bug these days is that the visa is around 100 USD and it is an only single entry. They are also far stricter about where you stay overnight - no more letting someone take you home.

I sometimes think that places have a certain time where they kind of exist in a twilight zone - you can steal a little bit of chaos and there is some optimism that the things will keep tending towards less rigidity. I think in China that time was the late 1990s and 2000s. Surely, China is more affluent now and I have no doubt, most people have better life. It is just that the selfish me wishes for China from the time when the world was young. It was my China.

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