Well, what are the chances? We’ve come to China for the first time in our lives, and we’re here in Shanghai fairly close to landfall for a category 5 typhoon! This is the current location of the typhoon relative to us in Shanghai:
When we left to explore the city this morning there was light, intermittent rain, when we returned to our hotel this afternoon after 3 pm we were wading through light flooding in the streets through the most torrential downpour I have experienced or seen in a long time!
The Chinese government has cancelled school tomorrow because of the typhoon and the expected problems/delays it will most likely cause. I guess this is kind of like getting a “snow day” for an ice storm in Oklahoma! Thankfully all our tourist shopping is finished and we didn’t have a big “night on the town” planned for this evening!
The highlight of this morning was exploring the “cricket market” near our hotel as well as parts of historical Shanghai within walking distance. The people here are very friendly, and it was great to get away from the typical tourist destinations for awhile and see life in the city on a Tuesday morning. I posted 70 new photos from today to Flickr in a new set:
We saw lots of interesting things that I could comment on, but I’ll settle for just the following Chinese Communist party propaganda poster:
I wonder if Chairman Mao ever imagined a Chinese city like Shanghai would so fully embrace capitalism on its way toward the communist utopian vision? I doubt it. Remarkably, I have sensed a more fervent, “hustling” sense of capitalism and entrepreneurship here in Shanghai than I have in my home state of Oklahoma in the U.S. It seems that in our U.S. schools, the predominant mindset is to prepare students to go to college so they can “work for the man.” Here in China, there are certainly millions of people working for others. China is in the midst of an epic sea change in its economic culture, as it shifts from a predominantly agricultural to an industrial society much as the “developed” countries in other parts of the world made this transition in the 20th century. It would be a mistake to believe that everyone in China is working for someone else, however. Entrepreneurs are all around, and the middle class is ascendant. The pollution problems connected to that rising middle and upper class are significant, but hopefully we’ll see viable electric cars emerge in the next 5 to 10 years which will profoundly change those environmental dynamics.
The “pulse on the street” of Shanghai communicates very little about the communist philosophy I grew up studying in school. The signs, sounds, and sights of capitalism are everywhere here. I will likely reflect at greater length on these topics later, but I will close with two thoughts I’m contemplating now as significant “takeaways” from this brief visit to Shanghai:
- We should enroll our children NOW in Chinese language classes after school. The reality of China’s ascendency to the world stage is SO apparent after being here just a week. If we want to help our own children and students acquire relevant communication skills for the 21st century, speaking, reading and writing Mandarin Chinese as well as understanding the Chinese culture must figure high on our list of priorities.
- We should consider the ways in which we can become financially entrepreneurial ourselves. Entrepreneurial creativity is the engine of capitalism and economic growth, and it seems ridiculously limiting to remain mired in an economic worldview which accepts as a given that we should just work for others the rest of our lives. I have been made more aware of a contagious capitalistic and entrepreneurial spirit here in Shanghai than I have been previously in the United States or other countries I’ve visited. This is a great irony perhaps, but certainly an instructive thought worthy of action as well as further contemplation.
I’ll close with this street advertisement that made me smile today. Crabs, anyone?!
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On this day..
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- Streamlining Blog Post Submissions with TDO Forms on WordPress - 2011
- Visual Literacy, Talking with Images and Curiosity Amplifiers - 2011
- Podcast357: Options for Saving and Trimming Online Video to Your Local Hard Drive - 2010
- Educational TED Talks at #learning2cn - 2010
- Education 3.0: A Framework for Change in Teaching and Assessing 21st Century Skill by Andrew Thomson - 2009
- School Administrator Questions about 21 Century Learning - 2009
- Best Practice WiFi Networks in Schools - 2009
- Our 21st Century Challenge: Developing Responsible, Ethical and Resilient Digital Citizens by Robyn Treyvaud - 2009