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Shanghai Travel Guide

Shanghai was once the main business centre of Asia, and the stronghold of imperialists in China. Shanghai was the city to which foreign traders came, eager to grab the wealth, not just of China, but of the entire Orient. This was the city which actually gave its name to a word in the English dictionary- shanghai - “to use force, threat or trickery to put into an undesirable position”; the original meaning was “to put aboard a ship by force” (the common method used in Europe, and especially England, to gather crew to man ships bound for the Orient). It isn’t a pleasant connotation, but then, Shanghai wasn’t a pleasant place, infamous for its decadent imperial past, and its exploitative merchant class. Shanghai was synonymous with squalid poverty, vice, racism and criminal gangs and triads.

Modern Shanghai has left much of that past behind; skyscrapers, flyovers and smart office complexes are coming up all over the city and it is catching up with bustling metropolises like Hong Kong. But, like most Chinese cities, Shanghai retains memories of its past- in some of its long-forgotten parks, its old buildings, and it’s people. A walk through the city’s lanes and alleys is still an experience to learn from, and to remember.

The White Magnolia has been adopted by the city as its flower. The flower blooms in April and is made up of large white petals and always points upwards towards the sky which perhaps symbolises the enterprising spirit of the city.

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