Here’s an interesting one: a competition to find the sound that is most representative of Shanghai. Set up by the British Consulate and the Shanghai Oriental Publicity Service Centre, the competition requires contestants to record an mp3 file of the sound they choose, and write an explanation of it in 100 words of less.
A similar competition has already been held in Beijing, Chongqing and Guangzhou. Apparently the winning entry from Guangzhou was the sound of a construction site, but we’re not sure what came up trumps in Beijing. Perhaps the sound of a taxi meter ticking over.
The Shanghai Daily provides readers with a few suggestions of noises that may be indicative of Shanghai:
Fireworks on New Year’s Eve? The screeching brakes of a bus? Hawkers trying to convince tourists to buy knock-off Rolex watches?
We have our own list of possibilities, which may not be representative of everyone’s Shanghai, but could at least provide a bit of respite for the judges, who are destined to receive thousands of entries consisting of the relentless honking of car horns.
- The sound of the elevator announcing its arrival on the floor of our work office. The two-tone chime is identical to the opening two notes of Radiohead’s “No Surprises,” which always makes us think the doors will slide back and Thom Yorke will step out. Disconcerting.
- The sound of silence (from our television, when the satellite drops out yet again — usually at the crucial moment when Steve Irwin is about the subdue a crocodile, or Tyra is about to send someone packing).
- The sound of gentle croaking, from the basket of bullfrogs awaiting their fate along the side wall of our favourite local Sichuan joint, La Zi Yu.
- The sound of teeth grinding small rocks hidden in mi fan, which Shanghaiist hears whenever we’re foolish enough to eat at the canteen on the bottom floor of our office building.
- The sound of clicking, from those many taxi drivers who spend the time waiting for red lights to turn green by studiously flicking unwanted matter from beneath the one fingernail that they somehow always forget to clip.
More details on how to enter, here.