Shanghai City's News & Stories

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Looking good

Miss World China 2010 winner Tang Xiao (left) and third runner-up Xu Jidan pose yesterday in Shanghai. The Miss World 2011 beauty pageant started yesterday in China.
Friday, March 4, 2011

Mistresses' website vanishes from view

A WEBSITE for China's mistresses vanished yesterday - just a day after its online "Festival for Mistresses" ended up in a slanging match. Anyone logging onto www.xeixe.com is now greeted by a site selling women's clothing and all information covering topics of interest to mistresses has been deleted. There were several complaints to Shanghai Daily yesterday from women who had paid 100 yuan to access the website's forums just a few days before the site vanished. The website had some 1,500 paying members when it shut down. Some questioned whether the site was just a commercial exercise using them as tools for the owners to make money. The disappearance of the website also cast doubts over its All-China Mistress Right Protection Alliance, a group which said it was trying to shed mistresses's scandalous image and gain them "social and legal status." The leader of the alliance and the owner of the website, Sister Three, said in her blog yesterday that the site had to be shut down, against her will, for reasons she did not specify. Mistresses who were members of the site believed the shutdown was connected with the online festival which ended in angry exchanges between them and cheated wives on Thursday. The website had attracted a lot of public attention, mostly negative. Celebrity TV judge Bai Wanqing even called police to urge that the website be shut. "I feel like I've been cheated by the whole campaign and its owner. We gained nothing from it and now everyone is treating us like a joke," said one mistress nicknamed "Sugar." Sister Three asked mistresses to follow her microblog for some "surprises" to come.

Drunk driver sobers up after highway rampage

A drunk driver who allegedly crashed with eight vehicles, including two police cars, yesterday evening in Jiading District sobered up this morning after an overnight stay in a police station. The driver, surnamed Han, also stole a van during his escape. Han said he was a driver and got drunk with friends last night before hitting the road. He first rammed into two vehicles, then stole a van to flee the scene, and crashed with six more cars on the road before he was stopped by police.
Thursday, March 3, 2011

Microwaved banana, anyone?

The other day at work a Chinese colleague of mine headed into the kitchen, put something in the microwave and went back to her desk. As my stomach was rumbling of hunger I decided to check out her snack, and maybe see if I could have a bite too. That was, until I looked into the microwave and saw a banana!

I was so stunned that I went over to her desk:

-Hey Lil, are you heating a banana in the microwave?!

(Sure, Ive heard of oven baked bananas but not microwave baked ones!)

-Yeah!

-Eh why?

-Because I cannot eat cold stuff.

-Eh was the banana frozen or something?

-No, but it had been in the fridge so it was cold.

-But, like.. is it healthy to heat a banana in the microwave? Wont it get all soggy and stuff? (To tell you the truth I know very little about how bananas react to microwave heat. I dont eat bananas as I dont like the taste of it).

-I dont know?! Will it?!

A look of horror spread over Lils face. And then sighed and said:

-Thing is, I dont know what to do. My body temperature is so low. Im cold all the time. So I have to heat things up.

-To raise your body temperature?! I said.

-No but if I eat things that are cold I get a diarrhoea.

-Oh. right then. Well Keep heating your bananas!

Later the same day I was in the kitchen, pealing an apple, when another colleague, Soph, sitting next to Lil (so she had overheard our banana conversation) came in to do the same thing as me. Once I had finished I left the kitchen, but on the way out I noticed the microwave door was open so I closed it, and when I did the microwave turned itself on, as the timer had not fully gone down.

-Whoops, I said, and turned the timer down to zero so that the microwave went off.

Soph watched me with a bemused expression on her face, and two minutes later she and Lil were in my room:

-So Jonna you heat your apples in the microwave?!!!

-Ehhhh.

-Thats so funny, do you also get a diarrhoea ! if you e at cold apples?! Lil said.

-Ehum sure. Right.

Sometimes its easier to play along than to try and explain.

City setting records as life expectancy tops 82

THE life expectancy of Shanghai's registered residents exceeded 82 last year, setting a national record, city health officials said yesterday. The average life expectancy reached 82.13 years, up from the previous year's 81.73, Shanghai Health Bureau reported. Males can expect to live 79.82 years old, an increase on the previous year's 79.42, while in females the figure is 84.44 years, up from 84.06 in 2009. The maternal mortality rate in the city stood at 9.61 per 100,000 last year, the same as in 2009 and close to the average in developed countries, local officials said. Meanwhile, the infant mortality rate dropped to 5.97 per 1,000 from 6.58 in 2009. Life expectancy, maternal and infant mortality rates are the three major indicators of medical standards and living quality. "These three figures in Shanghai are in line with developed countries," said Song Guofan, a Shanghai Health Bureau official. Song attributed the rates to improved health care services and medical capability. The bureau noted that last year's World Expo, which attracted 73 million visitors, was a public health success story. Despite the scale of the six-month event, there were no outbreaks of infectious disease and no drinking water or food poisoning issues. Shanghai reported 17,780 cases of serious infectious diseases last year, down 14.44 percent on 2009 and the lowest recorded level. The city also completed a series of national health programs. These included measles vaccinations for 1.79 million children, subsidies towards female farmers' child delivery costs, screening for breast and cervical cancer and hepatitis B vaccinations for people who missed their shots, the bureau said. In addition, last year Shanghai was the first area in the country to introduce a new training program for doctors. Under the initiative, all new graduates receive professional training at the city's best hospitals. In the past, this would have taken place at their employer's hospitals where standards varied. Last year also saw the launch of the city's big! gest hea lth project. This involves building five city-level hospitals in suburban areas, upgrading three district-level hospitals in the outskirts into city level and relocating a hospital in Jinshan District and upgrading it to city level. By 2013, this should ensure that residents in rural areas are less than an hour away from a city-level hospital.

Tough fight to enter Shanghai Theatre Academy

STARTING from Saturday, an estimated 4,000 to 5,000 students from across China will compete for 50 slots at Shanghai Theater Academy's most coveted Acting Department. An admission official at the academy said the entrance examination would last about one week with tests in recitation, singing, dancing, gymnastics and an impromptu performance. "The students will face tougher competition this year in terms of quick wits, passion and acting skills as the Acting Department has 25 fewer slots compared with last year," said Zhang Shengquan, the admission official. After the exam results are released in mid-April, the students are required to take the national college entrance exams in early June and reach the score set by the academy to be accepted. Although many students are attracted to the major of performing art due to its lower academic requirements, Chen Hongya, a mother in her 40s, has confidence in her daughter's talent in acting. "I'm the only one in the family supporting her decision," said Chen. "I know how hard the competition is, but my daughter should have a chance to pursue her dream, instead of living a life according to the will of others."

City's life expectancy tops 82, highest in China

SHANGHAI'S average life expectancy at birth exceeded 82 years last year, setting a new national record, the Shanghai Health Bureau said today. The average life span of Shanghai residents was 82.13 years in 2010, compared with 81.73 in the previous year.The city's maternal mortality rate stood at 9.61 per 100,000 last year, the same as in 2009 and close to the average of the developed nations. The infant mortality rate, meanwhile, dropped to 5.97 per 1,000 from 6.58 in 2009. Life expectancy, maternal and infant mortality rates are the three main indicators of a place's medical standard and people's living standard. "All the three figures of Shanghai are in line with that in the developed countries," said Song Guofan, a Shanghai Health Bureau official, attributing it to the city's improved healthcare service and medical capability. Shanghai reported 17,780 cases of serious infections last year, a 14.44 percent decrease from 2009, reaching a record low level. The city also carried out a series of national health programs such as measles vaccination on 1.79 million children, subsidies for rural women giving birth in hospitals, gynecological cancer screening, and hepatitis B vaccination. Last year, Shanghai hospitals offered 191 million outpatient and emergency services, a 10.26 percent increase from 2009, and conducted 897,900 in-patient operations. The number of ambulance dispatches totaled 498,700 last year, according to the Shanghai Medical Emergency Center.
Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Chinese Restaurant Syndrome

Can all this heavenly goodness be bad for you? Say it ain't so!

To follow-up on yesterdays post about how healthy/bad Chinese food is, Id like to post about something else that Im probably one of the last people in China to even hear about, namely the Chinese Restaurant Syndrome.

I first heard this some weeks ago, when a colleague of mine came back from the hospital where she had been diagnosed with it, after experiencing numbness/burning in her arm (that came and went and then once stayed with her for a whole day), numbness/burning around her mouth after eating at a restaurant, high blood pressure and dizziness. She decided to head to the hospital mainly for the blood pressure, and thats where the doctor asked her if she ate a lot of restaurant food.

Apparently, the food syndrome is believed to be caused by MSG (monosodium glutamate) that is so often added to food over here for flavour. It has not, however, been proved to be the substance that causes the condition. Its just a belief.

According to the doctor, it wasnt mainly Chinese food that was to blame for her condition, but all food cooked in restaurant western food too.

-Chefs from all kinds of cuisines use MSG for flavour in China, said the doctor.

My colleague was told to stay away from the restaurant food and to follow a LCHF (low carb, high fat) diet to get rid of her problem. I felt very hesitant when I heard this. Sure, cooking your own food to make sure no unwanted, artificial flavour is added sounds like common sense, but following a strict diet and cutting out all carbs? Naaaaahnot really my cup of tea. And I really wonder what the doctors think when they tell their patients stuff like this: if! you cut carbs out of your diet it must be a lifetime thing if you want to keep your weight down. Dont believe that you can suddenly start eating carbs again once you are down to your ideal weight: youll get a lot of stomach problems + youll gain back all that lost weight. But, apparently its easier nowadays to tell people to cut things out of their diets and get a quick fix rather than having them making big, lifestyle adjustments (I am very traditional and I believe a lot of problems can be, if not cured, than at least helped with exercise it does not have to be running or weight lifting, it can be pilates or yoga something that is soothing, calming and relaxing for people with high blood pressure).

Anyway, what is your opinion of MSG and the Chinese Restaurant Syndrome? I have never experienced any problems myself. This colleague of mine is the first one Ive heard of to be diagnosed with it.

Newborns given early cure for deafness

SHANGHAI has screened over 1.14 million newborn babies for congenital hearing loss in the past 10 years and most of the affected children received early intervention within three months after birth, effectively improving their life quality. Shanghai is one of the first cities in China to carry out hearing screening on all newborn babies and has set a world record in the number of children screened, said a Shanghai Health Bureau official today, the eve of the National Ear Care Day. The incidence of congenital hearing loss is 0.3 percent in Shanghai, the official said. To better prevent congenital hearing disorder, Shanghai has established a genetic hearing screening center at Xinhua Hospital. Since November 2009, the hospital has conducted genetic check on 3,000 high-risk couples and on women in early pregnancy. The practice has achieved good result.

Expo ticket robbers get jail terms

FOUR men who pretended to buy World Expo tickets from scalpers and ran away with tickets without paying were sentenced from 16 months to six years and four months in prison yesterday. The four convicts, all in their 20s, robbed three victims of 105 Expo tickets valued at 18,240 yuan (US$2,776), according to the Pudong New Area People's Court. The gang leader surnamed Yang from Jilin Province had been detained before for as a scalper of China Pavilion reservation vouchers. After he was freed, he thought of making an appointment with other scalpers who sold World Expo tickets online and snatching their tickets with a run. His idea was supported by other three members. Yang made an appointment with a woman scalper online one day last September to meet the next evening in a Metro station near the World Expo site. Yang went to see the scalper while two members were on watch and another, surnamed Xu, was on a motorcycle waiting to carry Yang off as soon as he grabbed the tickets, the court heard. Yang told the woman to go to a hidden place as he needed to check if her tickets were genuine. The scalper handed him 39 tickets and Yang pretended to check. Since the scalper paid close attention to him, Yang called Xu to come over to "pay." As Xu came up, Yang snatched the tickets to run, but the motorcycle engine suddenly failed and Xu had to run away leaving the motorcycle behind. The gang conducted two more robberies this way after learning the lesson in their first try. When Yang got the tickets, Xu just drove over to pick him up. They snatched altogether 105 World Expo tickets.
Tuesday, March 1, 2011

How healthy/bad is the Chinese diet?


Our visiting friends are real food junkies. Not only do they love and appreciate food they live for food, and plan their days around their dinner. The idea of them coming to visit us here in Shanghai was born last summer, when me and my bf were over at their house, enjoying a delicious dinner (its a yearly tradition since 3 years back) and x bottles of wine. We were discussion the usual things (long distance running, training, food and China) and the more we talked about China, the more we started saying: you guys must come! The two of you in food heaven its meant to be!

Six months later they told us they were game. And now here they are!

They must qualify as some of the best visitors to China ever. They are 100% positive and curious about everything. And they love the food over here, making it a pure joy to introduce them to some of our favorite restaurants (and, funnily enough, it makes US appreciate what we have over here even more!).

As we have been enjoying spicy beef, tofu, cabbage, dumplings and bowls of white, fluffy rice, however, our discussions have as usual moved into the usual, common grounds of interest: health and fitness. To our visiting friends, the Chinese food is delicious but oily and heavy. Me and my bf can agree on the fact that it is oily, but for some strange reason it doesnt feel that heavy anymore. Despite the fact that I down at least 2 bowls of rice every day.

-How can you eat like this and still stay in shape!? Is the most common question asked (not only asked by our visiting friends, but pretty much asked by everyone that comes to China and have dinner with us). How can Chinese people eat like this and still be so small and skinny?

I try to explain it by mixing some knowledge with some assumptions:

* Chi! nese peo ple have been eating like this since they were kids, they have grown up eating noodles, oily food and rice their bodies are used to it.

* Chinese people dont eat a lot of dairy (which I believe is a big reason to a lot of western peoples weight gain, just think about our creamy pasta sauces and how much cheese there is on a pizza), most of them dont drink alcohol, they dont eat much candy/chocolate, they drink a lot of hot water and tea, they dont really have sandwiches for lunch.

* Typical snacks over here are things like nuts, sunflower seeds, dried meat, and fruit. Not muffins and chocolate bars (even though it is becoming more and more common).

*People here eat more veggies than meat.

But then it becomes trickier when people ask us why WE are not huge, seeing that we eat loads of oily, Chinese food. Shouldnt we be getting fat from eating all of this food (according to western standards I mean. According to Chinese standards Im already a fatty but back home Im considered normal or even skinny at some places)?

And this is where I dont really know what to answer. I believe that even though Chinese food is heavy on oil and that it (here in Shanghai) always comes with a bowl of rice (at least every time I order), its still healthier than the western diet of pasta and bread. Despite the fact that we always order at least four dishes and eat a LOT. Also, when it comes to Chinese food you can throw all kinds of Atkins, LCHF and south beach diets out the window. Here you eat everything (fat, protein and carbs) and unless you go overboard (and stay away from eating loads of deep fried and dairy every day) I believe you can do so, and still stay in a reasonably good shape. Or what do you think? Is Chinese food healthier than the typical, western diet? Or do you believe that it make you fat?

Water, water, everywhere

A bird's-eye view of the intersection of Pudong Avenue and Xiepu Road where a 500-milimeter-diameter waterpipe burst at about 1:30pm yesterday, severely flooding streets, damaging the road surface and cutting off the water supply to hundreds of households nearby. According to repair workers, the burst pipe may have been caused by the sudden fall in temperature yesterday, or subsidence attributed to an excessive number of heavy trucks going to and from a nearby construction site. Police closed Pudong Avenue to east-to-west traffic to allow for repair work, which wasn't finished until late yesterday.
Monday, February 28, 2011

Putting out fire

The other day I was standing bumming around in our flat when I suddenly felt the smell of smoke. Since our corridor is not supposed to be any kind of nightclub, I kind of got annoyed, and opened the door to see if I could see someone smoking. I didnt. However, at the end of the corridor I saw an open door and I heard voices, so I guessed it came from there.

Dont get too upset now, its just smoke! I tried to calm myself with saying. But after a while the smell was everywhere in our flat and I started to get really pissed off. People over here smoke everywhere: at restaurants, in bars (no smoke ban here, no), in elevators, in taxis everywhere! If there is somewhere where I am NOT going to be a passive smoker, it has to be in my own apartment!

With that in mind I went over to the apartment with the open door. I kept very calm when I looked in and told them group of Chinese people that I they really should not be smoking inside, and if they insisted on doing so, at least they should close the door.

-Sure, sure, sorry, sorry! They all said, and then they started calling for a man that was walking around outside, smoking. Turns out it was HE who had made our flat stink of smoke.

Around 10 minutes later I was leaving and went out to the elevator. Straight away I felt the smell of something thats burning. I looked in the common bin that is located next to the elevators, and very well. In the bin, the smoking man (I assume) had butted out two cigarettes in a package of cookies, however, the cigarettes were not completely out, and therefore burning the paper.

This is how fires are started, I thought to myself. I dont wanna die in a fire?!

With that in mind I went back to the flat where Id just been, banged the door, and decided not to hold back. I am not so good at cursing and stuff in Chinese, I think the most offensive thing I can say is something like: Are you crazy?! so I said that over and over again, combined with phrases about the cigarette, about fire, about not be! ing safe , and then I tried to refer to the big fire in Jingan in Shanghai some months ago, but I am not sure if I made sense or not.

While the smoking man was sorry and hurried out to put the cigarette out, some other men in the flat just laughed at me:

-You know what, you should call the police! Yelled one.

It took me around 15 minutes to calm down after that comment.

I dont get it. How can people be so ignorant about things like fire over here? Is there some common sort of thinking that goes: nah, it will never happen to me! that everyone holds on to? I mean, the lack of seatbelts in cars is one thing: back in the 70ies in Europe there was a similar attitude towards seatbelts. But fire? Ive been brainwashed with fire-safety drills and fire safety measurements in school for as long as I can remember. Is there no kind of common fire sense over here? How can people laugh at people that are just trying to do the right thing?

I dont think I will get any answers to those questions anytime soon, and anyway, we have decided to move out. This old complex has its charm but it also has things I cannot put up with (the burning cigarette in the bin is just the tip of an iceberg). We wont make a move immediately, but when our lease is up this summer we will pack up and try and find something a bit more modern.

Turned out cold again

Two women are well equipped for the chilly weather as they walk on a Shanghai street yesterday. A cold wind reduced temperatures to 3 degrees Celsius, with a maximum of 11 degrees, in sharp contrast to Sunday's springlike warmth. Temperatures are expected to drop to freezing point in some suburban areas tomorrow and weather officials are warning of icy roads with the cold front's impact likely to last for a week.

Migrant workers are easy prey to scams

SONGJIANG District police are warning male migrant workers against small ads and flyers that lie about being paid to get someone pregnant. Police said a victim surnamed Zhang was recently swindled 7,000 yuan (US$1,065) after he saw a flyer that said a 29-year-old wealthy widow in Hangzhou was trying to find a healthy man to give her a child. The man will be rewarded with a big sum of money. Intrigued, Zhang called the number on the flyer and a man who claimed to be the woman's lawyer gave Zhang a quick interview on the phone, then gave him the woman's number. After several calls, the woman agreed to meet Zhang but asked Zhang to send her some money to buy her train ticket and make-ups as a proof of his seriousness. Zhang was so hooked and did what he was told. He transferred 7,000 yuan to her account but he lost her contact soon after, police said. Police said the flyers were mostly posted around construction sites to allure migrant workers who are innocent and naive and in need of money.
Sunday, February 27, 2011

Making waves on the Bund

Two yachts sail on the Huangpu River along the Bund area yesterday, when local water authorities for the first time held a "Yachting Day" on the river. More than 10 yachts sailed along the scenic stretch of water.

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