I am off to Shanghai next week, and greet it, as I greet any overseas trip … with a mixture of excitement and trepidation. One of my favourite writers, Helene Cixous, explains that she "shivers" every time she crosses from one country to another. I agree that there really is something profoundly unsettling about crossing borders and this is always amplified when you can’t speak the language and the culture is instrinsically different.
It will be my first time in Shanghai, which is from what I hear, one of the most cosmopolitan and vibrant of China’s cities. I expect there will be much to see, do and absorb … and I hope there will be no problem posting my observations and thoughts. On my last trip I was overwhelmed by the energy and enthusiasm of the people that I met. It made me think of New York in the 1980s (even though I was never there for it). It opened my eyes to new and different ways of seeing — but I must admit, I am still struggling to know how this translates to thinking.
I will keep you posted on my current state of culture shock as it advances. In the meantime, if you have any questions, thoughts or ideas that you would like me to write about or think through while in China, add a comment and I will do my best.