Yeah, we know — unfair fight. Pop music versus (diluted agitprop) theater. But that’s what this article is about:
“Most of my friends and colleagues like Western pop music as we appreciate their sense of taste,” said Samuel Zhu, a recent graduate of Shanghai’s elite Fudan University.
“Traditional Chinese music is very outdated and I find most of the lyrics rather immature and stupid.”
Just 20 minutes away by car from the Westlife venue is the city’s Shanghai Majestic Theatre, which seats 1,328, and where the story of the Chinese Communist Party’s early history was being acted out.
Taken from a 1930s account by US journalist Edgar Snow, the play is set in Yan’an, a remote mountainous area where the early Chinese communists hid from both the Japanese and the Kuomintang forces, who later fled defeated to Taiwan. Yet, though it was based on a key element of Chinese communist folklore, few students knew anything about it.
If you’ve been reading any of the English mags out there you know that Canadian cheeseball Da Shan is the one playing Edgar Snow in the Shanghai production. Poor guy, he didn’t get his name mentioned in the article, especially after all he’s done to promote cross-cultural understanding.
Forget the 21 year olds, what are China’s teenagers like? A recent Mc Kinsey report, which studied their consumption habits, divided them into four groups: fashionable, well-behaved or virtuous, the leisured, and the poor. They made some startling discoveries, like the fact that the fashionable spend money on expensive, high-tech products, while the poor spend a a greater proportion of their spare cash on food. On the whole, Chinese teenagers spend a third of their free time watching television, and about eight hours a week reading, more than their counterparts in developed markets.
Photo from Ipoplp’s Flickr page.