The 2016 Heroes of Shanghai

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Tuesday, January 03, 2017 

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What a year it's been in our beloved 'Hai, and some have seen more success than others. Here are your Heroes of 2016. 


Quinoa started its local filling in 2015 and this year has seen a grain-based explosion, into over-use. Our research shows that 96% of all salads in Shanghai include quinoa. Probably.

In fact, it's so popular that we won't be surprised when an expat housewife introduces her children to us, named 'Quinoa' and 'Chia'.

Quality Cocktails and Bars

Shanghai gets ever closer and closer to the world's best cocktail makers and venues (we've avoided terms like 'mixologist' and 'barmen/barwomen' because we don't try too hard to be cool). Places like Speak Low and people like Yao Lu at Union Trading Company are taking the whole industry in Shanghai to higher places.

Craft Beer (& Goose Island)

We see a Shanghai in the not-too-distant future, in which we are all working for craft beer companies, then spending all our salary on craft beer. Beer is amazing - real beer - and Shanghai is waking up to that. We saw Element Fresh on Xintiandi with a board outside promoting the fact that they sell beer.

Goose Island and its willingness to spend on marketing has been a notable in-comer. The beer tastes good and is slightly cheaper than other craft beers. Just so you know, the company was sold to AB InBev in 2011.

There's nothing wrong with that, but just an FYI: 

Anheuser-Busch InBev NV is a multinational beverage and brewing company with global headquarters in Leuven, Belgium. It is the world's largest brewer and has a 28.4 percent global market share. Some of their other beers are Budweiser and Corona. Again - nothing at all wrong with having products from a massive company, but still good to know some info about what you're drinking.

The 'Mayor' of Xuhui / Yongkang Lu

Sometimes you see things that can easily change in this city, but no one does anything about it. Yet one man and his staff saw a great opportunity for both points-scoring and sanity.

The over-priced drinks and inconvenient operations, toilets and newbies that crowded a random street in Xuhui are finally gone. Now, some people are desperately touting that place near Ruijin Lu as the 'new Yongkang Rd'. The same place has also been the 'new Tongren Rd' and the 'new Maoming Rd' in the past. When it inevitably becomes boring and filled with pretenders, we trust the Mayor to move them on.

The Last Shanghai Taxi Driver  

It could be a romantic little film -- find the last few local taxi drivers. Now that Didi 'localized' (ruined) Uber, more of us have to resort to taxis here. Which is like resorting to the dark ages. The vile shit-boxes that are nauseating with grease and a driver who doesn't know the one thing that taxi drivers should know - where to go.

It means that when you do get in a taxi that is reasonably un-filthy and the driver knows where to go, it's a surprise. "Oh, something works in the basic way that it's supposed to work" - it's so refreshing. The city's next step is to regulate the quality of the cars so Shanghai visitors and locals don't have to be transported around in mobile sewers. 

Non-ass-kissing People

Placing one's lips firmly onto the bottom of your Boss is one guaranteed way to get a job or a promotion. Due to the revolving door of expats and ever-presence of low-quality people, it's common to see unqualified people get jobs here. They can have no experience, not understand digital or their market in general, be complete a-holes and have no positive attributes as a human, but still be employed as high as GM.

So we salute the people that are qualified, that care about their job, that are frank and honest, polite and friendly. It's not easy to take the high road, but at least know that we appreciate you and respect your integrity.  

WeChat Stickers 

Recently, one of our friends spontaneously blurted out: "God I've got such a great collection of stickers now", with huge satisfaction.

She had felt a clear level of life-achievement and reassurance based on the quantity and quality of saved WeChat stickers. There's nothing wrong with that - it's just an interesting way that people gain peace today. 

We wonder what the next level of this is, and what will happen in 2017 and beyond. Will you be in conversation with someone face-to-face, and in order to express their emotion, they just show you their phone with the appropriate WeChat sticker, as they are now unable and unwilling to use vocabulary to achieve this effect? Maybe.




ZZzzzzzzzz is enjoy even still a thing?


January 16, 2017