Monday, December 20, 2004

One take on Christmas, from a very pragmatic society 

China, and Chinese street vendors:

"Did you do Christmas shopping when you were in China before 1997?" I did some, but it would be hard to call it Christmas shopping when you compare it to the hundreds and thousands of shopping bags that block the London streets. I was already too old for Christmas shopping, which in most Chinese eyes was considered a western romantic bit of fun for the young.

In fact, the first Christmas things after "open policy" was introduced came not from those big department stores where staff were trying to change their manner from very officious to more encouraging and commercial; nor from "the foreigners' friendship shops", which sold only to foreign diplomats and top officials, who paid in dollars. At that time most Christmas things were sold in the markets full of "xiao shang, xiao faner" - hucksters shouting "the best from western Craze Mass".

I once asked a market trader in Nanjing, a woman in her 60s wearing a red beret, "What is Christmas? What's it for?"

"That is the date for USA God! You see my hat, this is their Craze Mass hat, westerners like the colour red ... I did wonder if that was true after everybody said capitalists like black; but as you know, those rich capitalists are very colourful. Money and wealth bring colour to human lives ... come on, buy one, forget your age ... we have missed out on a lot." I bought my first ever Christmas tree from her. It was made from paper, was no bigger than my hand and had sesame seed-size stars.
(via Guardian)

"Craze Mass" ... Through the magic of the Chinese market, they know us better than we know ourselves...

And when is the US edition of the Guardian going to happen, anyhow? I am so, so ready for it...

corrente SBL - New Location
~ Since April 2010 ~

~ Since 2003 ~

The Washington Chestnut
~ current ~

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