Living in a big city always has its pros and cons, Shenzhen is no exception. While it is a dynamic city with huge potential for growth, the city suffers a tremendous growing pain. In a rare opportunity, I come to a better grip of this city derived from my frequent visits and extended stays starting a decade ago. Under my microscope, I drum up with certain opinions about the city. Some are to my liking, while others turn me off completely. In my observation, I arrive with ten points that really trigger my button of irritation. The ten things I hate about this city which I am about to present below have no particular order and all of them are fitted into my eye sore categories.
The city streets are the choice dumping ground for the people who live there. Littering becomes an acceptable norm with outsiders look on and have their heads shaking in disapproval. On the bright side, there is never a shortage of janitorial works available for migrated workers. In numerous occasions, I saw store keepers dumped their left over food in front of their own stores. A smart business move while they expect customers would come in stride with their stinky front entrance.
No. 2– Spitting
If the dumping fanfare would not be adequately pollute the environment, it has an evil twin brother by the name of ‘ Spitting’ to count on finishing the job. The spitting scenario would by no mean turn people off fast. Everytime when I hear the sound of someone behind or next to me throat clog up and is about to release the spit, my initiative response is to tell myself taking a frogleap, bounces at least three feet away, leaving a safe distance from their spitting territory. The ugliest scene is spotting a well dressed lady spit, I assume a typically must possessed virtue for being ladylike in the city.
No.3– Common Courtesy
Words like thank you, please and excuse me are conspicuously absent in this city folks daily vocabularies. To wait in line, you must be out of your freaking mind. There will a prize for whoever elbow to get in or out the fastest – an award in the title of champ for the indignity. To my amusement, those people would not hesitate to yell at waiters and witnesses for immediate attentions and paying ‘No’ tips.
No. 4– Traffic Mess
When it comes to traffic, locals have little respect on existing traffic laws. It is a psychological combat zone on the street fought out between pedestrians, cyclists and drivers. We are in for a bred of ‘brave new world’ of pedestrians out there. They are the worst offenders. Using human flesh as their shield, they come out overwhelmingly, scattered like wild mushrooms all over the places up against thousand pounds piece of cast iron. They look straight into the eye of the drivers and utterly this silent message as ‘I dare you’. On most cases they get the upper hand. But be very careful, do not push your luck too many times. You might win the battles, but you could lose the war. When you are in the midst of enjoying your fruit of success or when you least expected, you might end up being smashed with every piece of your bone broken, lay moaning in the hospital and then see who gets the last laugh.
A city goes up in smoke. The phrase can well suited to entire nation. Smokers are everywhere in China. The government did little to curb this smoking phenomenal- perpetual into a long term health crisis. These, I have to give great credit to the American counterpart. By taking a big risk of losing lot of customers, they stand firm on their non-smoking ordinance by providing their patrons with a healthy and clean air dining facilities. I feel deeply sorry for those smoking allowed restaurant workers. Not only it is so unfair for them to endure a typical 10 to 12 hours work shift with less than decent pay, but also they have to expose their entire working hours to second hand smoke. They could have died young for sins committed by others. The most intolerable situation is someone light up in a close quarter like inside of an elevator, forcing other passengers to inhale their smokes and ashes. For those, they deserve to yank out in the public and shot right on the spot.
No.6– Talking Loud
People tend to talk loud, I mean very loud, close to broadcast in public. They scream at their top of their lungs while engaging conversation with others or on a cell phone. For those loud speakers, they miss out to be in the profession of public announcing. No wonder the number one hot selling item in this city is Chinese herbal medicine for soft throat. The circumstance becomes unbearable when you are riding with some loud mouths at public transportation. You are forced to listen to their lifetime love stories unfold or learn a valuable lesson of foul language. Even a full box of Qtips cannot remove the residue from those miserable voices echoed in your ears.
No.7– Food Wasting
Food is a scare resource. By wasting it on purpose is a crime against humanity. Persons who do this have no moral conscious and should not be left unpunished. However, it is not uncommon for some well to do upstart fellow citizen in this city practicing it. Quite frequently, I saw them with my own eyes, they had a lavish dinner, ordered a bundle of most expensive food items on the menu, took a few bits and left the unfinished large portion straight to the dumpster. Apparently, they have not had the slightest idea about many of their fellow countrymen and world population suffered from undernourishment or even starved to death. The only rational explanation of this sort of bad behavior is they try to cover up their many aspects of their inadequates by showcase that money is no object to them. They can afford to burn a few bucks on food.
No 8– Soliciting
Sales persons show up at all four corner of the walkways in Shenzhen, approach you with a wide range of merchandises and personal services stem from porno DVD, tattoos to cheap laptops. Ninety percentage of these soliciting are scams and always far too good to be truth. It is a nuisance when they never take ‘No’ for an answer and trailing you every step of your way. If you acknowledge a slight sign of hesitation they will ran all over you and rip you off blind making you nervous and uncomfortable..
No.9– Pick Pocketing
Everyone one who visited Shenzhen has a horrid story to tell about this petty crime. Many sources are coming from rumors and hearsay and in cases are sometimes blown way out of proportion. Either way, it will sure tarnish the city image.The truth is pick pockets do infected all over in the city especially at hot tourist spots. One should not let his or her guard down even for a single moment while visiting the city. The victims, unlike the exaggerated portion of the stories, were never in physical harms way but rather suffered a hefty financial losses. Many were traumatized by the crimes from the standpoint of their privacy being violated and brought them a string of inconveniences. Although, the crime has been contained somewhat due to the seriously by law enforcement’s cracking down, much still need to be done.
No.10– Counterfeit And Dirty Paper Money
With easy accessible to cutting edge technologies, counterfeit money sprang up everywhere in the world. It is not just a Shenzhen problem, it is a nationwide crime but is count as a favorable city for criminals to unleash their funny money. A frustrated feeling when you are ( including me ) to be the victim and there is nothing much you can do except swallow the losses. On top of this, the smaller denomination paper money are downright dirty to handle. How can the paper money get so dirty? Perhaps they use them to wipe their buns off. I wonder. So next time when you done with handle the RMB, wash you hands thoroughly.
Despite all its shortcomings, Shenzhen looks upon as the city of future. A city never goes to sleep. It is the choice selection for city lifestyle dwellers. Long been reputed as a meeting place of East and West where this city never seems to run out of great entertainment and cultural pursuit. A progressive city offers quality lifestyle, outstanding shopping experience, delicious international food and inspiring worldwide music and arts. To the business world, its natural setting serves as a promised land for entrepreneurs and an ideal location for ones dreams and ambitions materialized. Furthermore, it is a place undergoing great transformation and a frontier city in keeping pace with China policy on globalization.
One final thought, I understand that constructive criticisms are difficult to accept in most cases. But it can serve as an useful blueprint to enhance meaningful positive changes and expand ones horizon of self discovery. Going forward, the key to Shenzhen citizen dream of being the best city in China lies in as like I do not emphasize enough time after time that it all bout down to four words ‘ education, education and education ‘.
From Simon at Shenzhen