My Top Stressful Moments of the 24/7 Rush Hour that is Shanghai

My Top Stressful Moments of the 24/7 Rush Hour that is Shanghai
chamaflauge Aug 14, 2013 10:20


Everybody has these pulling out your hair moments. In a city of 23 million (very possibly much more) people;  on some days it’s easier just to walk off the ledge, or get enough money to buy a plane ticket back home(which I am in the process of doing). In just the past couple of days alone here are mines.


I’m Too Late


Because my job grants me the opportunity to work from home; naturally one would find this convenient, but because I have a child, an ayi, and mother in law staying under one roof; a moment of silence is virtually impossible. My MIL is hard of hearing so the ayi is constantly yelling, on top of already how loud the average Chinese person is.  So I thought I found a solution in the Pudong Library. Boy was I wrong. The Pudong Library and its 7 floors are nothing short of a vanity project, a glorified mall.


I decide to go there early at around 7:30, but to my horror every seat has been taken. Half the people are sleeping; therefore taking up space of the people who want to be productive. Meanwhile I don’t know why they bother to call it a library when it is as noisy as being out in the street; spitting, loud children, spoilt children, people on cell phones, women bringing their months old babies, no one to enforce the rules. I should have known better though. Free air-conditioning in Shanghai is like turning off the light in a roach infested apartment (Never go to Ikea on summer weekends. You will not like what you see). I realized that no matter how early I go there I will not be guaranteed a seat.



Early Bird Pushed to the Extreme


In the U.S. if I got up at 6:30 am and went outside no one was around. Being an early bird gives you enough time to be productive, and rescues you from the noise.  In many cases it keeps you sane. In New York City I took this for granted. This is a strategy for the most successful people in the world. Try pulling this early bird mess in Shanghai and you will get your ass handed to you on a platter. Unless you get up at 4:30 am in the morning there is always someone or something up earlier making noise and cramping your style.  Sometimes I am pulling out my hair and asking when do these people sleep??!! Even if I try to get up earlier in my own home the old battle axe of a MIL is sloshing around and makings noises in those insane slippers, and running around the apartment like a chicken with its head cut off.




There is a line for everything here. You name it they have a line for it. Need I explain more?



 It Never Really Means “Go”


On my electric bike I almost got into an accident a half dozen times here. Is this what the future of the world looks like once it becomes overpopulated? Are people this stupid and careless? Is there this much disregard for life? The government officials who are in charge of road efficiency  in Shanghai are idiots. They should be fired.  A green light should mean that it is safe for a person or vehicle to go, but many times in Shanghai I found that the green lights are often even more dangerous to cross than the red ones! Green never really means go in Shanghai; not when you have cars, trucks and giant buses turning in all directions at full speed.


You May be the Next Weibo Victim


I hate when I am in some close quarters place like a subway or an elevator and some dumb girl and her boyfriend decide to sneak a picture from their cellphone. People make excuses for China about cultural difference but I call bs. There are just some things that every culture finds rude. On top of that I am black so I get these kinds of disrespectful gestures all the time.  


Inadequacies ?


Oh I’ll save you IN THE MIDDLE OF THE DAYTIME from getting raped by that big black monster gorilla Godzilla!  See how lucky you are darling to have me. Look at that monster with his bulging muscles and crotch, and me with my delicate and scrawny chicken arms and crooked glasses. Yes honey, cower in fear into my arms.


Rockefeller oh Rockefeller!


Pick A Fight


It always happens on Hongmei Lu. Some second generation Nuevo rich middle aged freak decides to pick a fight. Recently a taxi stopped in the middle of the road for me and my “friend”. She was preggo so I wanted to make sure she got in properly. Some donkey in a BMW has his hand plastered on his horn as if we are playing the Family Feud big money round. So I respond and say


“Can you chill the “f—k out?”


I thought it was over but this guy follows us all the way to City Shop. He gets out of his car…follows me in and loudly says….


I hate all of these damn niggers in China. I wish you get out!


He and his friend (because Chinese guys never fight one on one) proceeds to try and attack me.


All the while yelling


You shouldn’t say f--k in China. You should respect Chinese people!


I really wanted to show him what a “nigger” was

But; I being the nice guy in my expensive suit try to avoid confrontation.  In the end the preggo girl sides with the Chinese guys! Unbelievable! No good deed goes unpunished.


This has happened to me several times on Hongmei Lu. Chinese Nuevo rich men randomly wanting to pick fights over anything, and then if you get into an argument complete Chinese strangers will jump in on the fray and join their comrades in a gang beat down of the imperialist scum.  I just hope one day these types of people decide to pay my side of the Bronx, New York for a visit; so that we can kindly return the favor.


Groveling From the West


Well this has less to do with Shanghai and more to do with China. Iron Man 3(which sucked) putting unnecessary Chinese elements into the film. Transformers 4 now being filmed in China and having over half the cast Chinese, and New York University opening up a new school in Shanghai to the record number of Chinese taking up important spots in American middle schools, high schools and colleges  Let’s just make it easy and just ship the whole darn Western hemisphere to China, presidents and all. Isn’t that what it seems like? It seems every western entity needs to have its foot in China. Wasn’t the West hollering about Communism in the 80’s? Why all of a sudden a change of plan?

Why is it all of a sudden the world cannot survive without China? It's like my country has sold me down the river for more money.


I probably have more…But I’m too tired to write them all down…What sets you on  edge here?


Comments! Comments!

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hi I enjoyed reading what you wrote it added to my experience of China

Aug 28, 2013 16:24 Report Abuse



Hey...I'm glad you liked it. I sure did love writing it.

Sep 12, 2013 11:14 Report Abuse



Hi, chamaflauge, I can undestand you. I am a Chinese, but I feel quite same as you do. I hate the things you mentioned as well. I hope that you may understand that not all Chinese are the same. Among the 23 million people in Shanghai, around half were just farmers who left their lands recently, 1/3 of the rest were not well-educated due to the cultural revolution, 1/3 are new mid-class, and another 1/3 are younger than 18. The school system only focuses on scores instead of quality, that is why people here are not taught to manner at schools, neither at home. You can imagine how difficult to find a decent person among the crowd. I am so sorry about what had happened to you. But pls. trust me, behind those bad manners, there are still alot of big hearts. If you can talk sincerely and honestly to your wife about what you feel, and let her communicate with your Mil, you may find they are not ireasonable at all. Really hope that you can find peace at home and enjoy your time here. by the way, I am sure that there is no racism here in general. But there are always some guys, no matter where, who are not reasonable at all. I hope you won't take it too serious. Those staring eyes are more of curiosity than anything else. I always tell my foreigner friends that is because they are too handsome/beautiful. hehe...

Aug 22, 2013 10:50 Report Abuse



Hello Zhang thanks for making me feel better. I do believe shanghai is over populated which ruins an otherwise excellent experience.

Aug 26, 2013 06:03 Report Abuse



Today, I woke up at 2:30. played a game a bit and around 5:30 I went to balconi, just have a look. there was already full rush. 4-5 people excersing or sitting on the chairs out, within 1 minits there, i spoted 3 big trucks around our community driving to work and some small cars. 5:30am. Omg.And this was only small area which I can see, other side of building maybe same :)

Aug 21, 2013 10:02 Report Abuse



Other things: How you go to a doctors and get prescribed loads of expensive drugs, then you get home, check what the Dr said you have with the NHS website and find out if you leave it alone it will clear up on its own. This also happens to chinese people, my wife went in for an issue, they found multiple problems with her and charged her 4,000rmb for 2 drips, 1 drip being sodium chloride (water for the blood). I hate how Ebikes completely ignore road rules. I hate how I will get blamed for things when I go and help someone. I hate how when I buy food the price is always more than a Chinese person will have to pay. (not just food, but anything). I hate how I am automatically american because I am white (are there only 2 country's on this planet?). I hate how old people holding babys will stop at a window if I am eating and stare at me while I eat. I hate being stared at, even when I stare back (which kills me inside) the younger and the older offenders dont look away. I hate how police side with the Chinese people in any car accident or motorbike accident. I hate how every other chinese person gets a holiday during summer but I am expected to go without. I hate how my family in law expect me to pay for everything and send money to them, support my sister in law and my brother in law, just because I am white, and when I say I cant do it I am automatically a 'bad husband and a bad son'. I hate how the air here is toxic, I hate how the water here is toxic, I hate how the land here is toxic, I hate how people are happy to selling toxic food and kill other people as long as they make a few yuan. I hate how everyone is so patriotic but if they can they will steal from china and move away. I hate how people are so patriotic then will go and pi$$ on the street, (they dont seem to get it that they are literally pi$$ing on China, there may as well put a flag on the floor and go on that). I too am out of here soon.

Aug 17, 2013 12:09 Report Abuse



Wow you are angry...I get it man...In the words of the "Animaniacs" Maybe you need a "P" sychiatrist. Good luck man.

Aug 17, 2013 16:32 Report Abuse



Yeah buddy, in china. Every white is American and every black is from Africa .hahahaha. Sucks.

Aug 29, 2013 09:31 Report Abuse



By the way - last term we had 3 black teachers - 2 American and 1 Cameroon. We don't seem to have that racism problem here with that. And the school has no problem employing blacks. Why is there a difference? Or is there an underlying racist feeling from parents that doesn't show? I don't think so. But still...weird.

Aug 15, 2013 14:18 Report Abuse



If you are talking about the bf/gf being scared thing...It happens sometimes...not as much as before....picture taking still happens...racism teaching thing happens....Strangely it does not happen at my company(I don't teach for full time anymore)Mainly its because my job now is a life/death thing for the employees now...Mainly getting employees up to speed on communication...If they fall my seminar they might get fired....if too many fail I get fired! They have to see immediate results within 2-3 months... Lots of pressure....I like it.

Aug 15, 2013 17:53 Report Abuse



the parents are the issue here , I think the recruiters are the problem, the parents just want their kids to study, they don't actually care much about who's there. Am a constant victim of this racism stuff,no no ,ignorant thing, many of them are just too blank.

Aug 29, 2013 09:24 Report Abuse



I agree

Sep 12, 2013 11:20 Report Abuse



I'm not having a go at Alejandro here but this rant is not really about spitting. The spitting thing has been done to death. Chamaflauge has gone to some deeper issues here. For example: I arrived back in Beijing today after my holiday in the Philippines. I didn't want to get off the plane and had a laugh with the air hosties about staying on the plane for the return flight. What was that? It's a China thing. I understand where you're coming from mate....and I am not black. Nor am I married to a Chinese woman. Stay cool. In the provinces we don't really have the same level of issues. Provincial China is a little different I admit. My country has an alliance with China as well. Our whole economy is dependent on what's happening here. Shit! Scary.

Aug 15, 2013 14:15 Report Abuse



Totally agree with these facts, One that I personally hate is that they are always spitting, I don´t mind if they spit while exercising or doing some activities but it really grind my gears when they do it while eating, specially the old people who I work with.. the spitting never seems to end. disgusting...

Aug 14, 2013 11:54 Report Abuse



Yeah this was just a rant... I hope I don't pay for it later....Yeah but I really dislike the spitting....Its everywhere you go.

Aug 14, 2013 12:45 Report Abuse