Thursday, March 19, 2009

Shanghai International Literary Festival Live Blogging

Shanghai's international literary festival does an impressive live blogging, which provides real time transcripts of author talks and audience interaction. I found several of the China-related conversations quite interesting:

James Fallows: "People in the U.S. would generally like to think, 'well is China good or is it bad?' and the answer is of course that, like the U.S. it is good and it is bad. You have to embrace the good and work on the bad."

Stella Dong: "In Shanghai the taxi drivers come out and put your luggage in the back of the trunk. They want to do what you want and help you out. In Beijing, people argue with you and you're treated, well, there's this certain attitude like, make me do it. "

Jeff Wasserstrom: "There are so many differences and rivalries between Shanghai and Beijing. When I told people I was writing about important student movements like the May Fourth movement, they said 'but that happened in Beijing!' But I point out that although the protests started in Beijing, they peaked in Shanghai."

Jen Lin-Liu: "Nevermind that I clearly informed the administration of this information. 'Miss Lin is a Chinese-American writer and she wants to spread propaganda to the Chinese people...unsurprisingly, they thought I was retarded.'"

3 comments:

Matthew said...

I like Stella's comment about taxi drivers. I'd take Beijing or Shanghai over a Shenzhen taxi any day.

Xujun Eberlein said...

Matthew, what did they do to you in Shengzhen?

other lisa said...

Hmmm, I have almost always had good experiences with Beijing taxi drivers, and I've taken a ton of them. I haven't been in as many Shanghai taxis, but they were usually good too. What really struck me after my last month in China was how much easier it is to get a taxi in Beijing than in any other place I traveled.