By Simon Strebel, Insight China Delegate
The first thing that comes to people’s minds when thinking about Shanghai probably is the famous skyline of the city that includes several eye-popping buildings like the Oriental Pearl Tower (TV Tower) or The Shanghai Tower that currently is the second tallest building in the world. Although I was really fascinated when I saw the skyline for the first time, another experience was more impressive to me.
For me, it gives a good example of the way how I have learned to know the Chinese people and their lifestyle during the Insight China project. On the second day of our stay in Shanghai we have visited the Tianzifang artist quarter in the French Concession district. In the Tianzifang visitors can find several shops, boutiques, bars and restaurants. But the impressive thing was not the area itself.
It was the behavior of the people in the Tianzifang. When I walked into the Tianzifang I just saw a massively overcrowded street in which a huge mass of people was slowly moving into the same direction. Some of my colleagues and I quickly felt a bit uncomfortable after we walked into these streets. While we took every little chance to get out of the trouble for a few seconds, the Chinese people didn’t give the impression to care about the enormous crowd of people.
For me, this was the most surprising difference between our European and the Chinese behavior in our daily life. I have watched this difference several times during our journey e.g. at tourist attractions or at subway stations. To Chinese people it seems to be indifferent how many people are around them. They just do what they planned to do and it doesn’t matter how long it takes or how many people are around them. Meanwhile we (European people) are trying to avoid every little queue, the Chinese people just queue up no matter how long a line is. Maybe it is because of the much bigger population but I have definitely learned that Chinese people are more patient than we are.