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秋春粉墨

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Shanghainese Food and Communism  

2013-03-26 23:13:41|  分类: 默认分类 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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So lately, I've been addicted to this
Shanghainese Food and Communism - maryhalloran - 秋春粉墨
拌面 Mix-em-up-noodles

This is a specialty of Shanghai, or really, southern Chinese food in general.  People in the south love to eat their noodles n' rice (although only one or the other), and this is one fine example.  It's basically noodles with a sauce poured on top, minus the soupy broth.  The picture above is one of my favorites (even though it looks a bit gross).  These noodles are slathered in sesame seed dressing with green onions and meat to top it off.  I love mixing this shit together and stuffing it in my face.  Yeah.  It's pretty much one of the only reasons I stay in Shanghai.

Shanghainese Food and Communism - maryhalloran - 秋春粉墨


This is the soy sauce version of 'ban mian,' and although it looks bland and gross, it's truly delicious.  I could eat this stuff until I crap it out for days on end.  

Shanghainese Food and Communism - maryhalloran - 秋春粉墨
 
I've always been addicted to this treasure pictured above: 生煎 (fried dumplings)

This is another 'only-in-Shanghai-' type snack, and I've been gettin it on a weekly basis thanks to my new neighborhood. Around the corner I have a slew of mom n' pop-probablyisn'tsanitaryorlegaltorun type shops (coughshacks) that serve AMAZING food. When I smell these oily fried dumplings in the air, I can't help but pop by, ask for a few, grab a stool on the street and gorge on this small delicacy.  

Chinese people love to diss their own country and have absolutely no pride in where they come from, but one thing they will talk up is their cuisine--and rightly so.  Chinese food is hands down delicious, bursting with flavor and varied all across the region.

Many people complain about Shanghai food, saying it's too sweet or bland or whatever, but I think Shanghai food is quite delicious.  Now, it still has a way to go to compete with Guangzhou or Hunan food, but lordy is it awesome.  There's something home-y about Shanghainese cuisine (maybe because I live here), and partaking of the southern delicacies that compromise Shanghai food make me feel... warm and fuzzy inside.

Still, Hunan food is my all-time-favorite Chinese food.  Hands down.

Communism?  Yes, Please
 
So I was having dinner with my old classmates, asking about how horrible the classes are at the university I quit and getting the daily update on their (non-existant) lives.  I mean, they basically live in the library studying all day, so aside from 'studying hard' it's difficult to find other topics to talk about.  But we do, somehow.

Anyway, when I ask them what's new they tell me: "We're applying to the party.  To do this we have to take so many tests and it's such a pain."

"Wow," I say. "Joining the party.  Is that something you want to do?"

"No," they scowl and look at me in disgust.  "I don't believe anything that we study in the books and I think it's a load of crap, but if you want to go anywhere in life, or get a good job in China, then it's a necessity."

"Really now," I pondered.  "You can't get a decent job without joining the communist party?"

"No," they sighed.  "I think it's disgusting, all of it, but I need to join.  I need to be a member of the party."

This got me thinking for a while.  I called my boyfriend later that evening for a follow-up round of questions.

"I was talking to my friends, and basically everyone from my old masters course is joining the communist party."

"Yeah," my boyfriend didn't sound phased. "At my school, I think I was the only one in my class NOT to join."

"Wow.  You didn't join, huh?  Why not?"

"Because," he thought.  "Because it's disgusting.  I don't believe in the ideals, and if I really want to stand for my beliefs then I shouldn't join just for money or power."

This got me thinking even more.  Chinese people, just to survive and succeed in life, would betray their beliefs.  We have people dying around the world for their beliefs in religion, politics, or even societal ideals.  Here in China, they join a party or create a belief just for the pure benefit of making a few hundred bucks a year.

My classmates straight up told me that they don't believe in what they study or what the party stands for, yet they still join and devote their time to the communist party--and thus, in doing this, they are supporting them and allowing for more growth. Although they all complain about the government and corruption, for their own success and survival they throw in the towel and join the winner.

And there you have it.  Everything that's wrong with China.  People don't care about each other, or ideals, or even hopes and aspirations--they just care about survival and the daily routine of life.  Having food on the table, having good status, a good job, making your parents happy by getting married and having children--these are the only things that really matter.  And while all of those things sound like what most 'normal' people want even in the west, we still care deeply about how to help others, make a difference in the world and stand up for our beliefs.  In China, sometimes it's purely about survival of the fittest.

Which reminds me of another conversation.  J was in an interpreting class where the class had to interpret a young Chinese man's English speech.  He said, "In this world, most of want to find a wife, get a car, buy a house, settle down and have kids."  J's classmate, a young lady, was chosen for the speech.  When she had to translate this line into Chinese, she said:

在这个世界上,所有的人都有一个理想的梦想
All of mankind has the same idealistic dream

When J was asked to evaluate this girl's interpretation, she automatically said that not everyone's 'ideal dream' was to get a wife, buy a house and have kids--which illicited a round of gasps from following classmates.  They find it hard to imagine that for some of us, 'having kids and settling down' doesn't create the 'ideal happy ending.'

Basically what I want to say is, Chinese morals are nuts.

Anyway, for all those Chinese youth that choose their own path and avoid the party, they have one advantage over the others.

"Congratulations," I told my boyfriend.  "You can now move to the USA and get a resident permit.  If you're a member of the party, you're automatically denied.“
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