32. Shanghai round one, del 1

torsdag 6 november 2014 Shanghai, Kina
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Katrin har en italienare i Shanghai som gästvänligt bjudit in oss att bo hos honom tills jag skulle ta färjan till Japan om ett par dagar och Katrin flyget till Bali. Vi tog tunnelbanan mot hans adress och fick omedlbart erfara hur prisläget i Shanghai är ett helt annat än i Beijing. 4 RMB! Hutlöst och dubbelt så dyrt som i huvudstaden. Vi hade inget val så vi pungade ut. När vi kom fram till hans rymliga lägenhet var han emellertid inte där utan inneboende Sia öppnade istället.
Vi satte oss i köket tills Signori Spagetti kom hem och inledde ett par timmars tåg av klockrena citat hur det kan kännas att vara en isolerad expat i Kinas ekonomiska center. Regnet öste ner utanför och det hade varit en fantastisk inspelning. Jag spelade in lite av ett samtal kvällen därpå men det blev aldrig så stämningstätt som denna stund i köket. Det hade nästan varit en omöjlighet då han nu pratade av sig månaders frustration som han inte kunnat dela med någon.
- I've been moving around a lot! Believe me, I lived in different cities about every third year since I was a kid and I always adapt. Always adapt. It took me one year, I tell you, one fucking year to get used only to the metro here! I had to shut down, just go into myself. And I read. I read five books in parallel just to always have something that interests me not to go insane.
Och så rann det på i en strid ström av observationer om livet och samhället i Kina, fullproppat med geniala liknelser och infall. Katrin och jag satt bara och njöt och slängde på enstaka vedträn när ångloket tillfälligt tappade fart. Vi uppskattade det lika mycket som han gjorde att äntligen få delge allt.
Papa Pasta hade redan bott i Shanghai i över två år och gjorde det för pengarna och för att det är en otroligt intressant plats. Men det fanns väldigt mycket som frustrerade honom och han var långt ifrån förförd av det kinesiska samhället.
- This is the most perfected implementation of consumerism I've ever seen! It is a fucked up place, I'm tellin' you! And now the second generation after the cultural revolution is growing up - like a second breed - and are only teached to think of what to buy next. They don't have any interests, don't care at all about what's happening outside China - their only entertainment is to go the shopping mall on the weekends! Like my colleges. That's the only thing they do and they don't care about anything else than money. Like, there is no honor of work here like in Japan or so. Very different, man, I'm telling you! There guys stay in the same company their whole lives. Not so here - just changes to what ever pays the most every year. And nobody gives a shit about what we are actually doing! You can ask somebody to do something and nothing happens, and then you offer just a little extra money for it and it's done immediatly. Like a dog! And these are not any poor workers, believe me. These guys are rich here. They go out just buying expensive stuff every week and enjoys a much better standard here comparingly than I would ever do in Europe.
Jag måste pausea och be om ursäkt lite. Jag kan inte göra hans rampage i närheten rättvisa här och minns bara fragment mellan kasten från skratt till hemska annekdoter. Hela tiden levererade i en kaotisk brilljans. Man hade kunnat live-sända hela kökssessionen och kändisskapet hade varit ett faktum. Utanför Kina dock.
Under en extra provokativ passage kom jag att tänka på vad jag läst om den gamla kulturen i förordet till en bok om kinesiska tecken:
"It is significant that until very recently there was no word in Chinese for what we call 'freedom', either in the political or in the philosophic sense. The word zi-you, which is still used for 'freedom', really means 'to be on one's own', 'to be left alone' - i.e. it has a negative connotation. Similarly, there was no word for 'individualism' and no word for 'equality of rights'. As the Chinese saw it, no man is equal to another: he is older or younger than another, superior to women in that he is male, or more highly placed in the state hierarchy. 'Brotherliness', as it was grasped in early Christianity, did not exist in China, for the individual saw himself as a member of a family, and not obliged to do anything for someone who had no family of his own. The Confucian ethic which ruled society prescribed man's duties but had little to say about his rights."
Vad än som stämmer med dagens verklighet från denna lite gammeldagsa bok så finns det i alla fall med den utgångspunkten inget omoraliskt i att behandla någon ojämlikt. I stötande kontrast mot vår kulturs värdingar. Det och det mesta annat i citatet återkom i minnet när kaskaderna av cynism fortsatte:
- And you know what - and I'm sorry to say this - but you just can't be nice to them. If you are they will only use you. I know, it is a terrible thing to say and I was thinking myself in the beginning, that the other guys were just saying that to justify they being ass holes. But it is true. I have to be a bitch to them and treat them like shit or they use me all the time. Believe me, I tried to be nice in the beginning but I got fucked all the time. I have to be a dick. And they don't even care! - for them it is just normal.
Här drog jag öronen åt mig. Det var svårt att avgöra hur mycket han hade rätt och hur mycket han var ytterligare en i ledet som försvarade sin anpassning till makten i en penalistisk struktur. Men jag har verkligen ingen aning om hur stämningen är i en kinesisk fabrik. Lika lite som jag vet hur stjärten ömmar om man är alla till lags i ett amerikanskt fängelse.
Inte desto mindre kände jag mig illa till mods när han beskrev sparkarna och spotten neråt, något som i vår kultur sticker så moralvidrigt i ögonen. Bokcitatet i minnet men som en produkt av min omgiving måste jag erkänna, att även om ständig ojämlikhet är sanning och den egentliga verkligheten hos oss också, så känns det fel att bygga ett samhälle på den principen. Vårt hyckleri och gemensamma skådespeleri om att "alla är lika värda" tror jag ändå för med sig något gott in i statsbygget.
Det krävs mycket för att var öppen. Eller ryggradslös.
Mr Mozzarella brände vidare...
- The cultural revolution has left the Chinese society without a soul, and the void is filled with shopping of new products. Yeah, I know, you will meet a lot of people here that simply are in love with China. Private English teachers and English speaking nannies who just think China is all cute Panda bears, nice parties and cheap food. I don't say that my picture is right either but they should come out the factory to see how real China looks like there. And not in the pink upper class world of their employers who do what ever they can to maintain status quo as they ride on the backs of the poorest workers. Choking them with their heads in their butt. You know that there was this suicide wave in the factory of the iPhone 6 as they pushed productivity before the release? Workers killing themselves one after another in no hope of escaping their future. And I see it every day. The guys in the factory, the people in the metro. They just don't look happy. These are soulless men, I'm tellin' you!
But I have an exit plan. That is what keeps me standing this shit every day. I have no attachments. I have nothing that links me to this place. The apartment is in the companies name, the phone, no car - what ever - you can't find my signature on any contract around here! The minute I'm completely bursting with this place BOOM! I'm out of here the next day... That is what keeps me sane, you know. But don't get me wrong, I have nothing personally against my colleges or any other of the Chinese I've met. It's just this place which is totally fucked up! And I've tried to make friends here as well. It's just that nobody here thinks for themselves! It took my colleges several months to understand why I don't want a wife right now. Several months! Because they couldn't imagine anything else outside the standard line they all are following in parallel. They all got the same fuckin' life! And now they complain about their wives all the time. They just don't question anything!! And it drives me nuts! That's why I am very happy to have you guys here. You know, I have no one to talk to here 'cause no one understands what I'm saying.

Quatro Staggioni gjorde en liten pause. Han sträckte sig efter en ansiktskräm medan ösregnet smattrade in tankar och intryck från metropolen på andra sidan fönstren.
- And this shit! fortsatte han och pekade på täckande eksem i sin flagnande panna. I've always had perfect skin, you know. Until I got here. It began after about half a year and it keeps getting worse. I think it is the pollution.
I badrumsspegeln, innan Pomodori Secchi hade kommit hem, hade jag för egen del noterat en osedvanligt stor flora av finnar i mitt ansikte. De försvann i Japan men skulle komma tillbaka efter en vecka under Shanghai round 2. Kanske en slump men jag har lite mer på temat hudkvalitet för senare. Nu smorde i alla fall Ferro Formaggi in sin panna och sa först till sig själv men vände sig till oss:
- No, I need a Chinese girlfriend to understand this culture. Not completely Chinese though... She has to be somewhat Westernized. Studied abroad or something. At least so that she has seen something more than this country and CCTV (den partikontrollerade nyhetskanalen). Otherwise we could never understand eachother. I've met a lot of girls here but they just cannot be entirely Chinese - it would never work out!
Han fortsatte på temat tjejer och kom verkligen in i sitt esse. Showen var på sin topp men jag försöker mig inte på att återge den. Framför allt för att jag inte minns alla vändningar och de sjuka beskrivningarna men dels också för att jag tror enskilda läsare helst slipper... Låt oss bara säga att Fredrico Fricadelli hade en hel del att säga om kinesiska kvinnor. Det mesta väldigt positivt och allt i den mest kladdigt vulgära inramningen.
Han avslutade temat med att upprepa en beskrivning sen tidigare:
- ...and, as I said, very caring! Very caring. I don't think I want a European girlfriend after this. I just need to find the right balance of westernization.

Efter det återkom han efter en stund till landet i stort.
- Well, democracy - I don't know... I doubt it would work right now. There's a LOT of tension under the surface and if you let go of the control all hell will break loose. The government is doing anything it can to keep the country together and as long as the standards keep rising people are fine with it. But if they cannot keep up this economic growth I don't know what's gonna happen. If the whole middle class starts to require political freedom or more regions start fighting for independence... If the government looses it's grip... Armaggeddon. And that would be the only reason I could see stopping this country. If they manage to keep it all together, there is no way you can escape China. I don't know but I just hope that I'm not around anymore for that day...

Det började närma sig lägg dags. Men det kändes inte riktigt färdigt. Jag ville ha mer.
"Hur är det med alla andra utländska arbetare då? Det måste finnas fler... Tänker alla som du? frågade jag.
- Sure, there is a big expat community here but I try to stay a bit out of it. I get fed up with all who are just very happy with banging different Chinese girls every night and rolling high on cocain and MDMA five days a week. Man, I've seen some lives crash. This is a FUCKED UP place! I'm telling you. I'll show you tomorrow. You'll see. I'll take you to some of the most fucked up places. Some real weird shit! Expats coming to the craziest parties ever just to find out that they can't handle it. Man, I like these places but not everybody are happy here, you know. People just get fucked up!

Vi gick och la oss.


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