Shanghai Impression: Part 2

Why did people then think of European and Non-European culture as superior and inferior? Clearly, it’s because of successful colonization. In fact, not only Japan’s but also most of the Non-European countries’ elites would have thought same. Advanced weaponry and science of Europe was shock and awe to most of Asia and so to China.Shanghai was one of the few cities that first forcedly opened by British Empire. Beijing was not in the list, and before this opening, Shanghai was merely a small fishing town.

This leads to the conclusion that Shanghai as a City, actually cannot identify itself as Chinese city. Urban center of current Shanghai all used to be the part of foreigner district, divided by French, British, American and so on concessions. Maybe Shanghai was on the land of Qing Empire, but city Shanghai was constructed by those Europeans.

In the meantime, Shanghainese were somehow way more passionate about learning foreign culture and language than people of other cities. It had biggest number of foreign language learning center – even more than the bigger city back then, Beijing. This passion has not died even in nowadays. So many girls I got to know here were extremely for making English-speaking boyfriend, including mine now. When my friends are out for night club, they would often say when they come back that it seems they went out not for dance but cross-culture and language lessons.

However, history doesn’t completely explain animosity against other Chinese. It only explains how Shanghai is psychologically different from other regions, and maybe the residents feel a slight superiority over others who are less modern. Then what would make then so exclusive? The answer lies in what they find repenting in outside people. Usually, what I can read from comments of Shanghainese regarding outsiders is their dislike of outlanders’ 1) lack of morality, 2) poor hygiene, and 3) loudness.

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