What you Miss in Shanghai?

Cartera did an interesting survey on ShanghaiExpat’s forum: What things do you miss in Shanghai?. Here are some of the answers:

Fresh Air, Food Hygiene, Cleaniliness, Politeness, Patience and Walkers Prawn cocktail crisps, British Sunday Roast Dinner and Sky Sports!!

Fresh air, beaches, clean water, common sense, civilized behaviour, decent food, a decent marina.

-Everything that is not fake.

American Grown stuff,

-Food, size and taste is dramatically different, tomatoes, scallions, meats especially

-Human being temperatures.

-Doing business with set prices, negotiating can be a pain sometimes.

-Air Quality

-Driving my own damn car

-White people even though I’m not white. I just need my daily dose of Whitism.

All the above plus……




Obey the Law

Enforce the Law

A simple “Sorry” when things are done wrong



Blue sea

MSG free food


Clean tap water

Proper ventilated office building

Proper air conditioning + properly insulated office building

Higher grade gas + properly maintained vehicles

People flush soiled toilet paper instead of leaving it in the bin in toilet

Singing loudly when I’m driving the car alone.

Public restrooms that are not completely repulsive.

Going to a store where you can get everything in one trip.

The beach.

Driving my own car.

Spotless supermarkets.

Non Smoking Restaurants, Malls, etc

Service in Restaurants : Quality, Cleanilness,etc

Clean Public Restrooms

A walk in the park with fresh air

Mount Rainier

Nice Beaches

Nice mountain & beach

delicious foods (nithgt marketing)

clearn road no one will spit sputum

non- smoking public place

frinedly and politeness ppl

Tasty foods. Good customer service. Polite and friendly people. People who think before doing things.

Not-too-crowded lifts. The words “Sorry” and “Excuse me”. One-stop shops. Entertainment centers.

I am not surprised to see this from the angle of an expat. I admit that many of the stuff listed here is reality in Shanghai. Come to Shanghai, and you need to be prepared for everything in this city, including the lack of the things listed above.

My Two Cents

Lack of Moral, Ethic, Politeness are all true in Shanghai. However, I’d say, to be fair, it is just the current Shanghai or China (well, to be fair, no one said it is past China). In the long history, China enjoys the oldest civilization, but the recent half century is a disaster. It takes time for people to recover the long-stand moral standard, and being polite again – it just takes time.

Your comments about this?

14 thoughts on “What you Miss in Shanghai?

  1. I have been only visiting Shanghai as a tourist but anyway …

    What I miss from Shanghai?

    – that odd feeling when I realise that I really do not understand anything written in the signs – that is such a funny feeling for a Westerner, I like it

    – the various restaurants – the variety of those, food in general

    – people – there are always people somewhere in Shanghai

    – Century Park

    – the tv sets in taxis and buses

    – Jin Mao Tower and Grand Hyatt, Century Eggs in GH breakfast

    – The Bund

    – the smell of stinky tofu (maybe next time I will actually try it)

    What else … many things but I listed the things I got to my mind at first.

  2. Last time I chatted with Carroll. She said she has been to many places, but only when she set her feet in Taiwan did she realize she is really in a foreign place. In Europe, she can read some words or guess what they mean. However, in China, there is absolutely no possibility for foreigners to guess the meaning of a word.

  3. “It takes time for people to recover the long-stand moral standard, and being polite again – it just takes time.” That is very true. But we are not recovering, we are degenerating. If nothing changes, it will only get worse over time.

  4. Jianshuo, allow me to say this is the best topic of your recent posts. Although I’m not an expat, I do have lots of things to miss in Shanghai, I say it because I’ve always compared what we’re having with what we used to have and what the western world is having right now. I agree with most of the answers above, and there’s also one thing I especially want to highlight: patience. It occurs to me that the whole bunch of population is crazy up to sth and they never would want to spend time on sth that doesn’t directly link with their own interest, I mean not a minute would they want to, I used to witness a bus driver refused to stop the bus when one elderly passenger didn’t manage to get off at the stop (he was just like 30seconds late)and he shouted at the man really loudly saying that this is BUS implying that you have to be prepared to get off before the driver pulls it over no matter who you are, but the sarcastic thing is the next minute at the traffic light, a young man waved the bus to stop, the driver didn’t hesitate to open the door, we all know it’s because the driver wants the money. See? this is what we are experiencing now in Shanghai, the said-to-be most developed city in China. So pathetic, here we don’t have the basic respect for each other, yes, everybody is hurry for STH(I don’t know what), it’s like if you don’t hurry, if you waste time on other people, the money will fall into others’ hands…Shame!

  5. In next 50+ years:

    The taxi driver in Shanghai will not become as polite as the taxi driver in Tokyo. But I am not impressed with the service from the cab drivers in NYC or Brooklyn either.

  6. The word “miss” has two meanings.One is that we lost it or the thing has gone forever. In this way, i will say the good enviroment is missed.The other meaning is that we want to recall someting,in this way,i would like to say i miss the chastity bewteen the people very much.

  7. I have checked your blog and found you did not mention about people in pajamas around the city :) God! It s like a horror movie, zombies around in pajamas !!

    One more thing: The queries in markets or elsewhere, people can try to go before you without asking permissions.. Feels like jungle here.

  8. Agree with most, although found people very friendly if you actually make an effort with the culture/language. Add Salt & Vinegar crisps, flavoured mineral water, good bread (no sugar) and mostly solitude. Many things I loved but that’s another blog.

  9. What i miss in Shanghai is The Bund (definitely), and my girl….

    Long long time ago i never like going to China as well, but who knows, now i can miss this place so much (i love the atmosphere in Shanghai)

    Someone said “Place will be memorable with memories, memories exist because of the loved one”

    ^^ errr.. really miss her

  10. Excellent blog site. We have visited Shanghai many times and will be moving there this year. What can I, an expat, do to encourage Chinese people with whom I live or work?

    1. What is the greatest need? Obviously, those in large cities seem to have a different outlook that those who live in rural areas. Is that correct?

    2. What would help me be better accepted among Chinese people in Shanghai?

    Thanks for your excellent comments and photos, too.

  11. In my opinion you will miss lots of things if you do not understand the chinese culture and language.Knowing living way of chinese people you would really understand China and it’s people . As an foreigner in Shanghai i would recommend you to live as a homestay to know the culture and language more effectively. Here is one sites that provide such services http://www.homestayglobal.com

  12. To few ex-pats coming here was compulsion but in reality after reading this whole things i realized that choice is most important in life.. Sometimes we are struck in such a unfriendly terrain, look at Qingdao you will never complain about anything there because people are so friendly there.. Many countries are slowly recovering but the lion share or jobs in China is lucrative to many nationalities where business was destroyed due to Globalization. This debate will never end this will continue until the end. I just wish to find a place for around 2,000 RMB in shanghai which could be anything… I just wish so…

  13. I agree with the author. All the comments are true in some part, the city is polluted, noisy, chaotic, and manners are not considered important.

    It makes me sad to see foreigners take Shanghai as their only insight into the country’s culture, when the city is anomalous. It is a study in the clash of East and West, crisis of identity and the problems with trying to develop too quickly.

    I hope the author is right, and time will help to change some of this.

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