Wo Shi Laowai – Wo Pa Shui

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Haibao and the Sinking of Shanghai

Posted by MyLaowai on Wednesday, May 5, 2010

So, Shanghai is sinking. Perhaps it is hubris, with a name that literally means “Above the Sea”, maybe it will have to be renamed soon. They have staved off trouble temporarily by building dykes (isn’t the Bund so picturesque?) and for the long term they are busy making up for the depletion of ground water by pumping in large quantities of effluent chemical sludge water from the Huangpu river.

Shanghai used to be swampland. Noxious gases, a complete lack of civilized life, unfit for human habitation and dangerous wildlife. Then they started reclaiming the land, nothing much changed other than they actually sited people on it.

Of course, it doesn’t take a lot of genius to realise that pumping the water out to make firmer mud, then piling on towering buildings on the top, doesn’t make for a stable long term seaside city. Unfortunately, even that small amount of brainpower is completely absent in any of the municipal authorities.

Enter Haibao – the proposed new name for Shanghai. Designed to represent people, based on the Chinese character ‘ren‘, and his name meaning “Treasure of the Ocean”, Haibao is the mystic embodiment of the people driving Shanghai into the sea.

After the Expo the myriad of Haibao’s will finally be put to use. Those of flimsy construction will be ceremonially burnt, as symbolic human effigies. Hopefully this will counter the curse. Those of more solid construction will be used as underground structural supports, to try and keep the subsidence to a minimum. Yes, hidden in that simplistic design is a nice load-bearing arch.

So, will Shanghai become Haibao in the near future? Only time will tell, but by all means go visit the basements of the skyscrapers, and check the water level for yourself.

– DaBizarre

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2 Responses to “Haibao and the Sinking of Shanghai”

  1. Chinese Netizen said

    Eh? Expo???

    So if one lops off a Haibao’s arms and makes a generally flavorless soup out of chicken broth with them, it’s considered a delicacy that will make the average Chinese lad hard as a rock with a sex drive equal to Ron Jeremy??

  2. I was in Shanghai recently and I would have to agree with everything this blog article was trying to say. Buildings on top of shaky clay is only a recipe for disaster.

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