exotic dubai


Originally uploaded by maryannodonnell

the dubai-shenzhen connection reaches new levels of irony on the houhai land reclamation area, where “exotic dubai” is now an architectural style to be bought and sold in a soon-to-be-completed trés upscale residential area.

“exotic” is one interpretation of 风情 , which when refering to gender usually refers to the spiritual aspect of a woman’s sex appeal e.g. 多指女性.风情是女人的韵味,与性感有联系,两者的不同之处是:风情来自於“神”而性感来自於 “形” . likewise, when refering to place 风情 usually connotes whatever it is that makes minority groups “attractive”. this new marketing strategy not only begs the question: what other city has turned a bay into a desert in less than 10 years? but also has inquiring minds wondering: are they building artificial seas in dubai?

on that note, does anyone know if “shenzhen” is now or has ever been used as an adjective to describe real estate elsewhere?

9 thoughts on “exotic dubai

  1. dear mary

    my name is Fermin and im currently in Shenzhen due to my work ( i import electronics and videogames to argentinean market) but im also making a documentary about shenzhen, since last October.
    before coming, i was searchig for information about the city, and found your journal.
    i have read almost everything so far, and to be honest, you say many things o see things the way i have expressed in the first version (incomplete) of the film
    however, i found your vision of the city very interesting, and it would be great if you could meet me one of these days
    i will be here for at least 4 or 6 days more

    im currently in Nanshan district (i guess you are near by your photos) at the Eastern Atheens Hotel

    anyway, if you are interested in talking for a while, please let me know where i can find you or or let me know your cellnumber at ferpedros@hotmail.com or ferminpedros@acegame.com.ar and i will give you a call tomorrow

    thanks in advance


  2. Never.

    Though I love shenzhen, though it’s a brand new city, it’s not as popular (or actually mysterious) as Dubai to Chinese people. Sometimes, ordinary Chinese citizens just like a western-styled brand – They even don’t care what the brand mean and what the word is originally from!

    #PS a joke: shenzhen is sometimes (spelling) like “shanzhai” 🙂

  3. Certainly Shenzhen is used to describe urbanization in China “shenzhenification” “shenzhen speed”-from Chinese etc. (some books The Great Leap Forward… The Chinese Dream)

    • hi b,

      thanks for keeping our eyes on how shenzhen is deployed nationally to sell high-speed, globalization. i’m also interested in if shenzhen is being used abroad to do the same. what’s interesting to me about the dubai billboard is that except for high-priced, state-of-the-art, famous architect architecture there is no obvious connection between dubai and shenzhen. so, now all of a sudden 迪拜风情 is not something traditional like nomadic culture, but a six-star hotel built on an artificial island…

  4. thank you for your reply maryann. those uses of “shenzhen” are employed for the audience outside China too and are not necessarily used to literally sell that kind of market unintentional development (of cities) I guess North Korea or Cuba are woo-ed with Shenzhen. yes Dubai is now mostly equated with luxury. lovely.

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