4 years of old Shanghai blogging

4th-birthdayShanghailander.net has just turned 4 years old, as the original “opening post” was posted in late July 2006. Creating the original “Shanghai Old & New” with only me as a reader and turning it to “Shanghailander.net” with about 800 subscribers has really been a work of passion. It has taken me and (hopefully) the readership in a journey through Shanghai’s past, present and sometimes future. It has been a challenging experience and a truly enjoyable one as well.

The media and blog scene focusing on Shanghai is plentiful these days. Thanks to the emergence of China economic powerhouse and of the Shanghai World Expo 2010 an important part of the world’s attention has been focused on thecity… including Shanghailander.net. This has also translated in several newspaper articles and even some TV shows (see post Shanghailander on French TV). There is even a possibility for Shanghailander to appear on Chinese TV, though the project seems to be stalled at the moment. Another spin-off is my involvement in Shanghai Sideways, designing the tours that are enjoyed by many tourists and old residents alike. The name of “Shanghai old and new” is not used for this blog anymore, but it is under discussion to be used again for a book project that I will keep you posted about.

The most important change in these 4 years is surely the way that Old Shanghai is seen by Shanghainese. When I arrived in Shanghai more than 6 years ago, nobody apart from a few crazy foreigners seemed to be interested in Shanghai’s past. Since then Xin Tian Di and Tian Zi Fang have changed the view of Shanghainese people on their old buildings and showed that old could also be cool. Vintage is coming back in force and the images of Old Shanghai have started to been used again for marketing as the whole city rediscovers its own history and former grandeur. One the clear signs is the development of “modern”and “high class” rebuilt Shi Ku Men, as well as numerous movies focused on Shanghai history. Restaurants and cafes using a touch of nostalgia have also sprung out in the meantime. As more old buildings get renovated, more history will be exposed and more people will be interested. This will surely make the few remaining ones out of most people’s financial reach (they already are), but will  contribute to make Shanghai a more international place with its own (very international) history. After this summer break, writing schedule should resume to (about) weekly as before. Enjoy reading this blog.


4 thoughts on “4 years of old Shanghai blogging”

  1. I used to live in Shi Ku Men on Huai Hai Zhong Rd. for almost 11 years. Really miss those days…
    Opposite the SuiAn building was BiLe Middle School and Mao Tai Restaurant.
    As kids, we always pulled a recliner at the school gate which was always wide open in summer bringing people a lot of wind. We lay down on the recliner and read some books. Mom and daddy would wash clean water melon and cut it in half. I always could finish half a big melon while enjoying the breeze/wind (not from the air conditioner.) Sometimes, I got down on my feet and looked into the Maotai Restaurant watching people eating and drinking Maotai wine the famous Chinese spirit.
    Good memory lives on.

  2. Happy birthday to your blog, Martin! Looking forward to your next, interesting and ispiring entries on Old Shanghai! Karolina

  3. Hi
    I was born in Shanghai at the end of the war and as a child was on one of the last ships to leave after “liberation”. We lived in many countries but my first memories are of Vienna at the peak of the cold war. Somehow we got on the manifest for Liberty Ships that came to the United States. It was on that ship that I gained an understanding of my parents back ground and their stories became part of me growing up.

    Are there any other second-hand Shanghailenders out their with the same hopes, aspirations that brought their parents to Shanghai??

    George Monaster


    A delightful read for a Shanghailander who knew the “old” city.

    Liliane Willens – author of Stateless in Shanghai, (2010)

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