Professional singaporean photographer based in shanghai,china. Does photography for china, singapore and asia. http://www.rolento.com

“Those years in Shanghai” – part 2, “那些年在上海” - 第二集

Part 2 – Asking for directions

第二集 - 问路

The most common thing for someone who liked to travel and explore a city alone is to ask for directions, I am no exception.

对于一个喜欢独自旅游探索一个城市的人来说,问路是一个再常用不过的习惯。

Especially when Andy has a day job, we would usually only hang out after he knocks off or on weekends.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

尤其当Andy白天要工作,我们通常只有等他下班和周末会一起出来

Asking for directions from a local in shanghai, was a very frustrating thing to do, before the Shanghai Expo 2010.

上海2010年世博会之前,在上海向一个中国人问路的时候,是一件非常懊恼的事。

During my stay in shanghai from 2004 to 2009, I would be greeted with one of the following scenarios whenever I asked for directions from a local

在上海的2004年至2009之间,每当我向一个中国人问路,通常都会得到以下其中一个待遇

1) The person would look away like he didn’t hear me at all, sometimes I felt have i become invisible. the expression on their face in these situations was really something I have never saw in my years of existence on this earth. They could keep doing this even if I asked them the second time thinking they didn’t hear me. and I would felt I was talking to a tree and not waste my time asking him again.

1)被问路的朋友会看着别地方,好想完全没听到我在说话,有时候这个动作厉害到我觉得自己是透明的。这时他们脸上的表情是我在地球这么久居住以来没看过的。有时候我以为他们没听到,会再问一次,但是他们会一直保持这种状态。至到我觉得我象是在向一颗树问路二不在浪费时间问他

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2) They would point very casually at a general direction and repeat 1). No, asking again in detail did not help.

2) 他们会很“谢意”地指着一个大方向,然后重复1)。追问细节并不会得到更多的讯息。

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3) They would tell me any direction just to get rid of me, even if it’s wrong

3)他们会胡乱说个方向好让我别烦他们,即使方向是错的。

4) they tell me the right direction

4)他们告诉我正确的方向

Through out my experiences of asking for directions in shanghai before the Expo, I would say half the time I get the first treatment, 30% the second, 10% a wrong direction and 10% a kind soul.

世博前我问路的经验,我的估计是有一半的人会给我第一个待遇,百分之30第二个待遇,1成的机会我会得到错的方向,一成的机会遇到好心人。

However, these will not happen if you are asking

然而,如果以下的状况久不会有这样的待遇,当你问

a) a local that you know personally.they would help even if they do not know the place themselves.

a) 你认识的中国人. 即使他们不知道怎么去也会设法帮你问

b) a foreigner. if they do not know the direction, they would give me a straight “I am not sure” or “I don’t know”

b) 外国人。如果他们不知道怎么去,会直接明确地说“我不清楚” 或 “我不知道”

c) a student sometimes.

c) 学生。有时候。

While I have to emphasize again, this is prior to the Expo. the situation is much better now in shanghai.

我必须在这里再次强调,这是在世博前,现在上海地情况已经好很多。

Sometimes while waiting for the make up artist to do up the model’s face while I stare at my already perfectly set up lights, I would try to make sense of all these. and I came to these conclusions below

有时候当我已经完美的把灯光都布好,等待化妆师把模特的脸化好时,我会试着把这一些现象都合理化。

i) there were too many scams starting with asking for directions. My guess is some cheats or scams on the street will start with asking for direction to start a conversation with the victim, and apparently, treating the man like thin air is the best policy. this is probably the explanation for behavior 1)

i) 当时有太多的骗子的伎俩都是以问路开始。我猜想当时的骗子们先问路以便和受害者搭讪,而最好的应付方法,就是把他们当透明的。这样应该可以解释待遇 1)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ii) there’s nothing in it for them if they tell me the right direction, or simply, being helpful is just not something a local would do in shanghai. giving detailed directions to a tourist is probably something troublesome enough for them to not spend more than 1 minute on me. I remembered a local friend teaching me a china idiom, “if it doesn’t concerns me, it will be hang up high” (事不关己,高高挂起)。this should explains both 1) and 2)

ii) 他们告诉我方向也得不到什么,或则可能,帮助别人不是一件中国人会在上海做的事。在一个游客身上花一分钟好好的说出某地方怎么去可能对他们来说事非常麻烦的。我记得有个中国朋友和我说过一个谚语,”事不关己,高高挂起“。这个应该能解释待遇 1)和 2)

iii) they do not say “no”. thinking back in my stay in shanghai, I almost never hear a local saying “no” to me, even when they want to reject me or when they simply do not know the answer. I guess it’s the chinese culture of not rejecting a person directly and somehow evolve into how they would respond towards a lost tourist when they do not know the direction. this should explain all 1), 2) and 3) i guess

iii) 他们不说“不”。回想起在上海的这些日子,几乎没有听过一个中国明确的对我说过“不”,即使他们不愿意或则不知道。有可能是在中国传统文化中就有不能当面直接拒绝人的习俗而演变成今天游客问路时会得到的待遇。这个应该可以解释待遇 1),2) 和 3)。

You have to give credit to the propaganda power of the china government to make shanghai a more friendly city for visitors to the shanghai expo 2010. I remember the campaign lasts only one year and then voila! when I asked for directions now, at least I don’t feel I am thin air anymore.

不管如何,中国政府把上海塑造成一个对于来上海世博会的游客来说是一个友善,和谐的城市的教育能力还是值得钦佩的。我记得该运动在上海也就一年时间,而现在我在上海问路的时候,至少我不会再觉得自己是空气了。

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