Shanghai 2005

Pearl of the Orient. Paris of the East. The Whore of Asia.

Whatever you call her, it’s undeniable that there’s no other Chinese city that is as unique, romantic and exciting as Shanghai. She’s a victim of the Opium War, a refuge for Jews in World War 2. Communist China was born here. Countless blockbuster movies were made and Jay Chou even wrote a song about her.

Shanghai today is a fast-moving city growing at an extraordinary speed. The city skyline is characterised by futuristic highrise buildings on one side, and breathtakingly beautiful French buildings on the other.
Geographically, the city is divided by the Huangpu River into new Shanghai Pudong and old Shanghai Puxi. The large expat community here usually mispronounced them as Pudding and Pussy.

How a 1.5 hour journey became a 7 minutes – the Maglev Train, faster and cheaper than KLIA Express.

I stayed at the Renaissance Hotel in the internet cafe-deprived Pudong area. At RMB1,400 (RM680) a night, your ass gotta be made of gold to be able to afford staying at this place. Luckily my accomodation was paid for. 😉

The Renaissance hotel chain prides themselves in spicing their interior tastefully with beautiful antique decor, and their Shanghai branch is no different. Check out my Buddhist script (‘fu’) inspired quilt cover.

Waliew. With blankets like these, I sure as hell am not gonna have another nightmare EVER.

Nan Jing Dong Lu. The Orchard Rd/Jalan Bukit Bintang of Shanghai.

Shanghai girls in general are fair-skinned, petite and slender. They are all above average in the looks department and from what I can gather from those young couples canoodling publicly in parks and shopping streets, they tend to be a lot more open-minded and sexually-liberated than most.

Ummm… they were in my line of fire when I took that photo. 😉

That makes Shanghai a certified chio bu heaven. Pity their sense-of-fashion though. I swear I’ve seen more camel toes one day in Shanghai than I have my entire life.

Xin Tian Di. The Boat Quay/Jalan Sultan Ismail of Shanghai.

Still, some Shanghai girls are eager to please, or shall I say, easy to impress. At the expat-frequented pub area of Xin Tian Di, a lot of them young ones would be necking and dirty-dancing with business execs at least 2.5 times their age. Odd, I always thought age and language would form a barrier. Obviously not.

In my humble opinion, I still think Singaporean girls rank number one in the looks department, with Shanghai and South Korean girls coming in a close second. Not trying to butt-polish of course, but whatever lah. Vietnamese girls are also pretty good looking. Too bad they have the face of an angel but the voice of a crow.
I’m just ignorantly generalising of course.

Is that woman wearing her… pyjamas?!

Another thing that irks me about Shanghai is the way people drive. If you think Malaysian drivers were bad, well YOU AIN’T SEEN NOTHING YET. Shanghai drivers are BLOODY LUNATICS I tell you. This is probably the only city in the world where traffic lights are useless. To them, green means GO, orange means GO, red means honk 3 times then GO.

Nice to see Shanghai police doing their jobs.

Seriously, Shanghai drivers like to honk so much its like their hands are like permanently attached to the car honk. Every little thing they also honk.
Got cars in front, they honk. Got cars on the side, they honk. At night with absolutely no cars around, they also honk! Forget “Shang Hai Tang”, the sound of cars honking is the official soundtrack to Shanghai.
Click here to watch how Shanghainese drive. (Quicktime MOV format, 7.9MB)

That said, the abundance of excellent pubs and nightspots will keep anyone coming back for more. Imagine sipping Barcardi on the balcony with the amazing riverview of Pudong serving as the backdrop.

It’s heaven. No wonder celebrities who come to Shanghai feel at home mingling around everyday people in the pubs here. Nevermind the fact that a single glass of coke costs a crazy RMB80 (RM38) here.

Bar Rouge on the Bund. The preferred hangout place of celebrities like Faye Wong, Zhang Ziyi and *cough* Kenny Sia.

The best thing I experienced in Shanghai is probably the foot massages.

Shanghainese Foot Reflexology. Best thing to have happened to my feet since Osim iSqueez.

Take it from me. The foot massages are fucking good alright? These are authentic true blue traditional Chinese foot massages, NOT the seedy types where they start by massaging your feet and end up slowly moving their hands up to massage your bird.
From RMB70 a pop, I reckon anyone who’s planning to visit Shanghai should NEVER leave without having their foot massaged.

I don’t know her name but she introduced herself as Number 76, and she gets full marks for daring to put her hands on my forest legs.

Shanghai hasn’t been promoted most positively in movies, but I daresay it’s one of the most amazing cities on Earth.
Attitudes are changing and with the exception of rude and money-minded shop owners, most Shanghainese are friendly, courteous and willing to help. The triads, prostitution and drugs rampant in the 1930s are mostly gone.

Yummylicious Shanghainese Xiao Long Bao

What’s left is a city more romantic than Paris, more cosmopolitan than Hong Kong, and a city that blends East and West so perfectly it’s made it to my most favourite cities in the world alongside Perth and Singapore. I don’t mind living in Shanghai if I had the chance.

Yalah, I just want my foot massages lah.


I stepped off the airplane, walked out the door and took in one big breath of Perth’s fresh morning air. Ahhh… that’s the way I remembered it.
It’s like I never really left. Like I just came back after an extremely long holiday. And I feel like I’m finally home again.

97 Replies to “Shanghai 2005”

  1. I wanna sing a song here, to show my love to Shanghai, China.
    “long pan..tong tong tong….long lao….tong tong tong….”

  2. I wanna sing a song here, to show my love to Shanghai, China.
    “long pan..tong tong tong….long lao….tong tong tong….”
    Posted by: Pig Pig at October 15, 2005 11:04 PM
    ! I didn’t know you were singing that until I saw this comment. I know that song dammit! Last time always sing one leh. But I thought it goes kinda slowly.
    And I thought it’s Shang Hai Tang as well leh…Not tang as in the soup…But some other tang…Dunno.

  3. desperate addict:
    I sang this song on my grandmum’s birthday last time, everybody shouted “Encore! Encore!!….” like that. U want encore or not? I can sing again, sing the whole night oso can. Sure U get addicted listening to me one.

  4. interesting experience.
    Thanks for sharing.
    Have you encountered any girl whom you think is compatible to you?
    never know you might marry a girl from China…
    hehe.
    just kidding 🙂
    Do you think Shanghai has very good souveniors?
    take care

  5. perhaps the room you stay is haunted that’s why they use those blanket thingy?
    anyway.. i thought they keep on honk-ing just to inform others that there’s car around.. wonder why they don’t keep on flash their lights to inform the deaf there’re carsss

  6. you raved about shanghai and missed out jingmao tower??? you tried to impress but needed to beef up your research. you need to get more to see the world.

  7. recently perth is gettin a tad hot though …
    but seems windbreaker is a must …
    come along to prima taste for some true blue singaporean cuisine at the city opposite of the new taka kitchen .

  8. haha…tat was hilarious…anyway, their food also quite nice…wat is surprising is, many of their stuff damn ex, ranging frm taxi to hotels. but surprisingly, their food can be quite cheap and their original CDs are, compared to Singapore’s…

  9. To snn: In Shanghai a few years back, pyjamas were considered a luxury item. Who in the world had the money to buy special clothes for sleeping right? So about 9 years ago, everybody went out in pyjamas at night. With no bras or panties. It was quite a sight to behold. I think nowadays, only certain generations of people do it… and I’m not talking below 30s.
    Kenny, isn’t Shanghai traffic wonderful? That, and their wonderful habit of spitting wherever they want are the two things I hate about that city.

  10. You thought Singapore girls ranked number 1? Hmm… I really hope what you meant was the stewardesses you saw in your Singapore Airlines flights, or those models you saw in the Singapore Fashion Week… I think Singapore girls look the same and dress more or less the same way, so none of them seem to be outstanding enough to be ranked number 1 in Asia….

  11. wow, Shanghai looks amazing! even i wouldn’t mind living there… should check it out some day 🙂
    even Indian drivers honk and drive like mad, nothing new there… 🙂

  12. “Vietnamese girls are also pretty good looking. Too bad they have the face of an angel but the voice of a crow.”
    Dude, maybe u met a transvestite. U’ll never know until if u bring them back 2 your hotel room and find out they have little kuku bird, LOLs!

  13. “In my humble opinion, I still think Singaporean girls rank number one in the looks department, with Shanghai and South Korean girls coming in a close second.”
    HAHA! No need to read the comments, knowing your readers, sure gonna kena sooner or later.

  14. I’m willing to forego the comfortness of my home and travel to China, where all Asians have their familial ties.
    The comfort of your job. Good hotel…foot massage…nice.

  15. thai girls (no i’m not talking abt the trannies)are definitely the most gorgeous – natural beauty unlike singaporeans & south koreans.

  16. Your lovely pictures brought back memories of my own trip to Shanghai back in 2001 during the CNY holidays. Saw lots of fireworks. Makes me wanna go back for the food, the shopping and the shopping.

  17. Ken-NY!
    bar Rouge looks amazing. We all gotta go sometime.
    Enjoy your hols in Perth too. Sorry, I won’t be there but I’m sure you’ll have plenty to report. Hugs.

  18. those really pretty and genuinely friendly stewardesses that you see on singapore airlines are most probably malaysians.

  19. I am just out of curiosity wondering if you have been to Paris before, or stayed at any of the places long enough to be able to make that sort of conclusion about Shanghai 😛

  20. Kenny, where did you get the foot massage? What’s the name of the place and the location? i was thinking to make my first trip to shanghai next mth and i don’t know anything and anywhere and anyone. So your post came at just the right time. btw, didn’t know dat everything there is so expensive!

  21. One stay in Shanghai and you think you’re an expert? Expatriate hangouts are not where the real Shanghai beauties are found; you might as well say the most chio females in Singapore are at Orchard Towers. And who says Vietnamese girls have unattractive voices? Obviously you haven’t had the pleasure of a Vietnamese cooing in orgasmic bliss. Strongly suggest you stop embarassing yourself with your kampong roots.

  22. Oh fer heaven’s sake, there’s nothing wrong with kampong roots.
    Plenty people have roots in the kampong, and are the better for it, so don’t disparage your own ancestors.
    And there’s nothing wrong with being a tourist for the first time, and sharing those impressions as you see it. Especially when Kenny does it so well, and to amuse others.

  23. Generally, think the Malaysian mei meis are much, so much prettier in most depts than those in Sinkie land. So are the Viets and the Japs. Donno abt China’s mei mei (as hv not been to China) but if by any measurement, the foreign talents one in Sinkie land, are also generally prettier compartive to Sinkie girls, except that they (the China mei meis) seems to go for old, pot bellied, botak, arthritic ah peks. Just a cursory and personal observation.

  24. Is Jason implying that “real Shanghai beauties” flock together at certain spots and that he has heard of or *gasp* been to these spots? Pray share!

  25. disagreement: I’ve been in shanghai for 6 months,and find Shanghainese girls generally taller than malaysians.
    You were spot on in capturing the unique scene only found in Shanghai though: pyjama aunties on the street 🙂

  26. Desperate addict’s right in that the “tang” in “shang hai tang” does not refer to soup. It’s 上海摊, where the æ‘Š by itself would mean a booth or a stall.

  27. Shanghai is a wonderful place indeed. Everything is developing at the speed of light. A factory that requires 18 months to build in Singapore takes only 6 months there. With regards to the hotel blanket printed in Buddhism writings, i doubt it would give a non-Buddhist a peaceful night’s sleep. On the contrary, a non-Buddhist might very well be kept awake the whole night by terrible nightmares ;p

  28. Looks like you are having the time of you life.
    But it looks like you started another war there with your comment about Vietnamese girls 😉

  29. shanghai girls!!???? pretty!?!….. the 100% pure shanghainese girls mebbe la, but most of them are from other provinces….and ewwww…..
    I was there few months back to….nite scene there are fabulous!!!
    Bar Rouge, Zapatas on ladies nite, Mint, windows for cheap drink….did u go to windows??? its like RM5 for vodka mix dude!!! and RM100 for a bottle of Vodka (plus free flow of mixer)!! (not absolute la)I miss shanghai man….

  30. I don’t understand what’s the big deal about being the first to comment. It has already been several posts – I see “hooray I’m the first“. WHAT THE FUCK? Bah, kids.
    Ah foot massage chicks… *drools*.

  31. Just wondering if you had spent enough time in Shanghai, Paris and HK to be able to make the comparison about Shanghai being more romantic and HK more cosmopolitan. Also wondering why people complain about the cost of overseas cities everytime they travel. It’s a bit insular to expect everywhere to be cheap like one’s hometown.

  32. oh my friggin gosh….
    i was just talking to my friend about how singaporean girls were sooo not hot and then i read this -_-. and China girls are hot! not the ones who come to sinagpore or whatver but when u actually go there, they loook so pretty. they all had china doll faces.
    wherever they lacked in style, they made up in looks. however, singaporeans have no looks and no style..
    we gotta be honest here:)

  33. I like your comment on the loonie drivers in Shanghai. In Beijing is just as bad or maybe worst! Honking is their #1 hobby, #2 spitting. See who spits loudest and farthest… Ew.

  34. in my first post which probably caused the confusion, what i meant was that “滩” is pronounced as “tan”, not “tang” as in “soup”…

  35. “Singaporean girls rank number one in the looks department,” Hahah, you’re right, with all the typical “sai kua pao” mouths ie gums portruding -very pretty sight indeed.

  36. Those of you who say that the xiao long baos look obscene, got dirty minds leh. They look like ordinary, albeit delicious, xiao long baos to me. Talking about food, every visitor to Shanghai should try their 羊肉串 – lamb skewers. Sold by hawkers in the more ‘ulu’ parts of Shanghai, and barbequed over charcoal, they’re scrumptious. Tender, and you can have chili powder sprinkled over the skewers if you wish. They’re 1 or 2 RMB each and are sold in the open air.

  37. dude are you sure u wanna say sg girls are chio?
    unless you are referring to just asians… but you probably haven’t seen the rest of china. flawless complexion.
    sadly, you can’t say the same of (MOST) sg girls…
    very few actually look good.
    but i know their sense of fashion is definitely not lacking. well, at least when they make an effort to doll up.

  38. Remember to take along with you a peacock feather. Believes to protect you from danger, especially crossing the road. Once is enough…no more second trip to shanghai. *SIGH*

  39. THAT SUX BALLZ!! SHANGHAI IS FULL OF SKYSCRAPS
    YOU CAN SEE ANYWHERE AND NOTHING ELSE!!IT S BORING!! IS THERE SOMSHIAT INTERESTING?????????????????? PERSONALLY I HATE SHANGHAI!!
    THAILAND IS REMOTELY BETTER BEAUTIFUL,SO IS JAPAN
    UNLESS IF YOU LIKE TALKING TO STUPID PEOPLE,JUST GO TO CHINA.

  40. All of you goddamn foreigners are ignorant PIECES OF SHIT. Go home and fuck your big-ass tarts. Leave my country alone. And if you can’t do that, at least learn something about our culture, history and some decent chinese… ignorant peasants.

  41. LUO HAN 你是真的中国人吗?连最基本的礼貌都没,留言句句是粗,还敢说要我们学习了解中国的历史文化,我想中国十三亿人口有你这么一个样的人,真是耻辱!中国五千年文化的脸都被你一个人给丢尽了!好好反省老汉先生!

  42. Can someone halp me ? Are ‘Shang Hai Tang 上海灘’ and ‘Shang Hai Tan 上海滩’ is the same ? and WHYYYY ? Thaaaanks.

  43. i am a shanghai girl, tell u the girls u saw in xingtiandi with those old foreigners are from other cities, not shanghai girls, shanghai girls are not that cheap, never, remember! if u don’t understand culture of shanghai,don’t say sth wrong, our city don’t welcome ppl like u!!!!

  44. how you know she wasn’t Shanghai girl?
    别把上海人说得那么清高,我只知道每个城市都有好人和坏人, 吉隆坡也是一样。

  45. Hey… RMB 70 is quite ex.. I used to get 3hr massage for RMB 180 only (1hr foot massage + 2hr body & head & facial massage)
    They even come to my room, I dont need to go out. After massage can just sleep straightaway and have a nice dream.. 🙂

  46. i’m a shanghainese guy. and i agree with Cowardly Anonymous Chicken. those are definitely not shanghainese girls. esp the ones doing foot massage. they are foreign workers from other poorer cities in china.

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