In 1995 I met a blind fortune teller in Guizhou province who told me that when I was 40 I would have problems in my life and become a writer. I arrived in China in 1992. Now it is 2014, the problems began 2013.
I moved to Shanghai, which was the city of Chinese dreams, in 1997, to work as a financial wire journalist. Most peoples dreams revolve around getting rich. There was a myriad of sensations you could feel then, the massive hustle and bustle of twenty million people on the make. The world’s largest subway system hurled people around the city on the world’s fastest trains. Elevators shot people up and down the world’s tallest buildings. The world’s richest people moored their yachts on the Bund, the world’s richest riverfront. A huge golden bull statue pointed its horns at the world’s leading financial centers on the south bank of the Huangpu river, the world’s busiest river, with its constant flow of container ships and coal junks.
On street level it was a writhing mass of humanity, hawkers vending food from stinky tofu to hot meat buns, old electric machinery reparers, knife sharpeners, fruit sellers,old people, school kids in dayglow backpacks, pimps, hustlers, whores, interns, flunkies, thieves and district committee spies all mingled on the streets alongside the daily working ants, heading to or from some important appointments.. Drifting by them were the children of the rich party elite, in buicks, porsches, masseratis and lamboghinis, with bicycles, electronic bikes and scooters of the poor interweaving the clogged traffic lanes. And the noise, the constant noise of ringing bells, car horns, electric beeps, peoples shouts, the grinding of bus gears, the constant tread of thousands on the pavement, and the roarof the ships as they hooted narrowly missing another passenger ferry.