Shenzhen’s most recent Party Secretary, Ma Xingrui (马兴瑞) infamously told Shenzhen and its boosters to get over the jubilation for its recent rise in international prestige. On the one hand, there is something snarky and mean spirited about Party Secretary Ma’s scolding. After all, Shenzhen’s raison d’etre has been to make a place for itself in the emergent world order and for most of its existence, Shenzhen has been ignored by Beijing-centric views of China (both in and outside China). On the other had, many agree with his assessment that Shenzhen is not yet a first rank world city.
The new Party Secretary’s surname—Ma—is a homophone with the character for “scold / tell off” (骂)”. In that spirit, the OCT Lifestyle website put out an article in which Shenzhen clearly comes in second behind world class cities such as Beijing, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, and Singapore. With Beijing the comparison is about the internet. Hong Kong stands for level of globalization, Taiwan a sense of well-being, Japan for professionalism, and Singapore for the ability to attract and keep talent. In other words, Shenzhen wants to be best at all of that, which may in fact be its charm—composite rather than first rank across categories. Continue reading
This past week I have been in Shuiwei learning to wrap zongzi (粽子) for the upcoming Dragon Boat Festival. What is apparent is not simply the re-invention of tradition, but also the unpaid work that women do to create that solidarity. The zongzi making takes place over 10 days—two prep days and then 8 days of wrapping and boiling. The hours are long: 6:30 a.m. to midnight or later. Of note: Continue reading
Recently, “Handshake with the Future” curator, Liu He talked with Shenzhen Middle School Teacher Zhong about the current exhibition at Handshake 302. Here’s what she said：
Q: 让学生们参与《与未来握手》的初衷是什么？／ What did you hope to see happen when by having your students participate in “Handshake with the Future”?
A: 我认为城中村是城市发展中一个很特别的存在，希望学生能通过302项目，有一个走入城中村契机，对自己生活的城市有更进一步的了解和加深认识。／ I think that urban villages are a special aspect of urban development. I hoped that by way of this 302 project, students would have an opportunity to go into an urban village, becoming more aware of the city they live in and developing a deeper understanding about it. Continue reading
Recently, “Handshake with the Future” curator, Liu He talked with Xin’an Polytechnic professor He about the current exhibition at Handshake 302. Here’s what she said：
Q: 让学生们参与《与未来握手》的初衷是什么？／What did you hope to see happen when by having your students participate in “Handshake with the Future”? Continue reading