Neighborhoods

Rockbund Museum Shanghai RAS 01

The former Royal Asiatic Society building

Far from the maddening crowds on the Bund, the Rockbund Art Museum on Huqiu Lu (虎丘路) is a favored destination that singularly embodies the East meets West history, design and architecture of…

ZhapuLu Wooden Home 01

The simplicity in patterned wood

I’ve always liked the predictability and soothing effect of uncomplicated patterns. This was one reason why I found myself standing in front of a discreet entrance off the…

Shikumen 01

The diversity of design in shikumen headers

What makes a shikumen (石库门) header an architectural tapestry so emblematic of Shanghai? The grey stone pediment, shaped in a triangle or semi-circle, contains designs that range from the…

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All they need is each other

All they need is each other

The room could only be described as unremarkable. Enclosed by bare and washed-out walls, there was a simple bed, a table and a chest of drawers with the…

They always look so innocent

They always look so innocent

“Look at my flying dragon!” PING!! Plastic connected loudly with glass. My knees buckled and my heart literally fell to the floor. My camera lens was just attacked…

The last squawk 01

The Last Squawk

When I was growing up in Singapore, chickens were also sold live and you would get to pick them out right from their cages. A vivid memory I had…

Studying for a bright future

Path of personal ambition

All through school, the smartest kid in class who scored top marks was never the most well-off or had multiple private tutors on hand. It was the quiet…

Watch where you cross

Watch where you cross

He had a hard look, the kind that resented people on sight which was only sharpened by his menacing tattoo. He appeared as if he had the world…

Maneuvering through traffic

Maneuvering through traffic

For a two-way street, Hongkou market is a smorgasbord of traffic. It is impossible to stand still in any part of the street without a car, bicycle or…

Feeding the workers 01

Feeding the workers

The business of construction involves more than labor and machinery. It often extends to an integrated supply chain of services solely aimed at addressing the daily needs of…

Power breakfast

Power breakfast

CEOs have their executive breakfasts at the Hyatt or Shangri La in gleaming skyscrapers. The ordinary construction worker has his by the side of the road amidst the…

The face of Shanghai’s skyline

We don’t pay enough tribute to the backbone of Shanghai’s construction fervor, as unhappy as Shanghai residents seem to be by all the Expo-driven noise and air pollution….

Solitary labor

Solitary labor

Dawn was just about breaking when I saw him through the haze of cement dust. In a sea of construction workers milling around for breakfast, this man was…