This edition is (almost) all about the lockdown in Shanghai. Originally I had added and commented some audio recordings of desperate residents. However, these recordings disappeared again during the month, so unfortunately I had to delete them from the article.
I am of course not a journalist, but just an interested blogger. You hear and see many things from Shanghai these days. Some terrible, some things seem not too bad. The news reports from the mainstream media aren’t very helpful. What to believe? I see the most distressing scenes on Twitter, but does that mean whole Shanghai is like that? All in all, I prefer to hear the news directly from the people on the ground, so that I can gradually connect the dots and understand what’s happening.
My first conclusion is that there is a little bit of everything. Human abysses with a touch of Orwell but also warmth, creativity and helpfulness. There’s no need denying that I fundamentally disagree with the idea of “zero-covid”, whether in China or elsewhere. Especially now that I see around me that the once dreaded disease is (at this point) for the most part no more than a cold. That is why the Chinese approach has a delusional character to me. And I don’t need to explain what an absolute “security need” means for individual freedom.
The whole thing has similarities with a mass movement where everyone has to prove that they are on the right side. For example, by putting on a white suit, doing a dance for the helpers or simply standing in line for your daily test. Anyone who does not wear a mask or leaves their home or neighborhood without permission will be called to order or worse. You have to obey and walk in line. Others would call it a cult.
Is all this necessary to prevent the spread of the disease? Can we prevent the spread at all in the long run? At what cost?
Afu: Shanghai Epidemic | Can you get food? What about pets? How are my family members?
A video update from Afu in Shanghai, showing how he is making the best out of the situation. Looking at his account of the lockdown, I more or less got the impression that the whole situation isn’t that bad. After all, if – like Afu- you have a pleasant apartment, plenty of supplies and connections to get more, it just means you have to stay at home and watch Netflix. He doesn’t mention anything about daily Covid-tests and the fear of being tested positive, but the fact that they temporarily sent their dog away does show this is a concern. He doesn’t go in to the Why of the lockdown. On the other hand, he does explicitly state that his lockdown experience isn’t very representative (“可能不是很有代表性”) and that this is purely his personal account (“我今天拍的内容是我个人的情况”).
|Fēngchéng de shēnghuó
|life in lockdown
|chǒngwù de qíngkuàng
|dùnle shénme huò
|What are you stocking up
|wénhuà bó zhǔ
|zú bù chū hù
|stay at home
|yào qù fāng cāng yīyuàn
|go to the makeshift hospital
|kěnéng bùshì hěn yǒu dàibiǎo xìng
|“probably not very representative”
|wǒ jīntiān pāi de nèiróng shì wǒ gèrén de qíngkuàng
|What I’m filming today is my personal situation”
After more than a month of lockdown, how miserable are the entrepreneurs in Shanghai?
How do entrepreneurs in Shanghai experience the lockdown? How well prepared were they and how long will they last? In this compilation of conversations with local business leaders, we hear their side of the story. We learn that no one’s situation is quite the same.
|out of business
|to lose money
|to fire people
|to live / to survive
|cóng líng kāishǐ
|to start allover
|to face challenges
Taiwanese girl studying at Fudan University shares her lockdown experience
Imagine: you are twenty and for the first time in your life you are going to study abroad. A new city, new friends, a completely new life. And just as you start to get used to your new surroundings, the hassle begins. First daily covid tests, then the campus is locked, then you are no longer allowed to leave your residential building, and again a few days later you have to stay in your room. That is in short what happened to this Taiwanese student.
|kàngyuán zì cè
|sān cān de wēnbǎo
|three meals a day
She first tells about the anti-covid policy measures chronologically, then she shares her personal feelings. Her initial goodwill soon turns into impotence (无能为力) and frustration. Her precious time, her quality of life are taken away from her. She didn’t even get to experience spring in Shanghai because she was locked inside. She does not only want to complain about herself and also understands that she’s not the only person suffering, but I can’t blame her for her honest words. And let’s not forget, studying costs money for which you want to get something in return. Not only in the form of good education together with your peers, but also in quality of life.
|nucleic acid (test)
She does not speak freely, but reads her story. Of course with a slight Taiwanese accent as far as I can judge. The subtitles are in traditional characters.
Speak Chinese with Da Peng 大鹏说中文 – Chinese Expression #169
Da Peng explains the meaning of 过来人, as always with plenty of examples and short dialogues and most importantly, without using a single word of English.
|person with experience
|zīlì gēngshēn de rén
|more senior person
|méiyǒu juéduì de guòláirén, zhǐyǒu xiāngduì de guòláirén
|To explain 过来人 is always relative
|No way to start
|tiānwàiyǒutiān, rén wài yǒurén
|In the wider world there are people more talented than oneself (idiom)
10 Years of an Ordinary Chinese Girl’s Life
More people should make this kind of retrospective videos about themselves. It got me thinking about what I was like ten years ago. Ella tells her story of personal growth that include several stages: not finding her way as a student, first unsatisfying jobs, meeting new people, learning English, meeting her future husband, traveling and becoming a professional content maker. It’s an impressive story about courage that ultimately leads to finding confidence and meaning. Ella speaks quite fast though and uses some slang here and there, so I had to slow down the video to extract all the details of what she said.
|Tuǐ bù zhí
|legs not straight
|fú shuāng yǎnpí
|diǎnxíng guāiguāi nǚ
|typical good girl
|shímáo de rén
|hipster & stylish person
|dì liù nián kāishǐ chūxiàn zhuǎnjīle
|Turnaround started in the sixth year
|wǒ bùyào zài zuò xián yúle, wǒ kěyǐ fānshēn
|“I don’t need to make salted fish anymore, I can turn over” (咸鱼翻身 – to experience a reversal of fortune, be back in the saddle)
|gǒu xuè jùqíng
|melodramatic plot / “dog blood plot”
|kōngxū de gǎnjué
|feeling of emptiness
|wǒ nèixīn qīngchǔ
|I know in my heart
|dōu shuō shíjiān huì bǎipíng yīqiè
|They say time will settle everything
|zuò zì méitǐ
|do self-media (content published on independently operated social media account)
【电影】《朝鲜世界2019》（北韓世界 North Korea World）
|cháoxiǎn láodòng dǎng
|Workers’ Party of Korea
|fēi jūnshì qū
|Juche idea, state ideology of North Korea
|jiānchí shèhuì zhǔyì
|a country that insists on socialism
|Kim Jong Un
Let’s call it coincidence that we started this month in Shanghai and ended up in North-Korea. I hope you enjoyed the ride though. Let’s see what next month will bring!