Thursday, May 10, 2007


One of Jodi and my's favorite recurring arguments is about which is the better paper, the Shanghai Evening Post or the Xinmin Evening News. The Xinmin has a more local focus and always sells out sooner, and the Evening Post is cheaper and has a more wide appeal. Without getting into the details of our arguments, here's a few of today's headlines from my favorite, the Xinming Evening News:

对安全生产弊端要重典治乱 (Using the law to crack down on unsafe workplaces)
Director of the State Administration of Work Safety (SAWS) Li Yizhong released a decision stating that over a hundred government officials would be demoted due to neglect in enforcing safe workplaces, a decision that is the result of five major mining accidents recently in the news. This is the paper's front page headline. Other front-page stories show Hu Jintao and Bush discussing trade disputes on the phone, Shanghai mayor Xi Jinping visiting local universities to praise the hard work of students, the opening of a cosmetics convention at the Shanghai New International Expo Center, former acting-mayor Han Zheng visiting the sites of several roadway construction projects, and the start of a series of propaganda articles written in coordination with local Party officials about towns and culture on the Shanghai-Zhejiang and Shanghai-Jiangsu borders.
公交空调车今起“体检” (AC buses get a "check-up")
In preparation for the summer heat, starting today certain buses with air conditioning will receive a physical inspection to make sure they are up to the task of keeping passengers cool.
各项文明“成绩”均有提高 (Civic education sees rising grades)
Last year the city government made a big push to educate pedestrians and bicyclists on how to follow the law in navigating the streets. Officials graded several intersections on certain behaviors like pedestrians walking on green lights and sidewalks being clear of obstructions (parked bicycles), and are now reporting that grades have gone up on average in all categories since the last measurement four months ago.
根治“四乱”顽症,难在啥地方 (Where's the difficulty in stemming the "Four Disorders"?)
This is actually a great article which displays the depth and populist attitude that I appreciate in the Xinmin's local news. The title comes from an effort begun just before the start of the May holiday to clean up the "four disorders" or four nuisances that the metro company sees as plaguing their passengers: uncertified vending stands setting up on metro station property; and advertisement and name card distributors, illegal map and newspaper vendors, and vagrant beggars on subway cars. The multi-part article's purpose is to profile the people who pass through the operation's headquarters at People's Square, and to judge the effectiveness of the metro company's efforts. What comes out are some very personal and detailed profiles, nay, biographies of street urchins, unemployed farmers and musicians, and the metro employees who bring them in. We find out that map and newspaper sellers tend to come from Anhui, uncertified vendors from Henan, business card boys from Shanxi and Hebei... that they are brought over specifically to work the subway system, that they think of their job as a career, that they tend to live in commong areas according to their "occupation", and that their main purpose is to make money to send home to their families. There's no conclusion about the effectiveness of the program, but judging by the newspaper seller I saw on today's 6pm Line 2 from Zhangjiang, they still have their work cut out for them. (My own observations say that subway riders tend to agree with the metro company on 3 our of the 4 nuisances, newspaper vendors being exempted from passengers' contempt.)
加油站成黑车集散调度中心 (Gas stations becomes dispatch centers for unlicensed taxi vans)
This is a somewhat amatuerish article about a reporter's exploration of the workings of unlicensed taxi vans. She found that they tend to park at gas stations a short walk away from bus line terminal stations and wait to take passengers to residential areas away from the city center like Baoshan and Pengpu. Yours truly takes unlicensed taxis every few days when the bus is slow; for the same price as an AC bus, you're guaranteed a seat and possibly a faster journey. Ka-ching.
牛市让老陈节衣缩食成葛朗台 (Bullish Mr Chen skimps and saves, becomes a Grandet)
This is almost a comedic piece about old Mr Chen, who is caught up in the stock market fever. Against the wishes of his wife and grown-up children he is putting every cent of his disposable income into the stock market, reasoning that such an opportunity is once-in-a-lifetime. His wife urges him to enjoy his retirement by loosening his wallet and remodelling their house; Mr Chen retorts: "This month I made forty or fifty grand; remodelling would have erased those gains!" His son invited him to go to Europe expenses-paid at the end of the May holiday, when prices are cheaper. Mr Chen exclaims: "What?! And miss the red-hot opening of the stock market on the first day back from Labor Day week??"
非婚生“洋娃娃”随母亲生活 ("Baby-doll" born out of wedlock granted to mother)
Custody of a baby born out of wedlock to a woman from Belgium and her live-in American boyfriend, 15 years her senior, was granted to the mother by a Pudong court according to the laws of China. This article is accompanied by an aside answering he question "Why was Chinese law used to decide a case between two foreigners?"
网恋见面 情郎似有女友 不甘受骗 女子窃财报复 (Net lovers meet, Don Juan hides previous girlfriend; bitter at being conned, girl snatches goods and runs)
Hilarious story about a girl in Shanghai and boy in Hangzhou who develop an online crush and decide to meet IRL. The boy, his friend, and the girl tour Shanghai, check into a couple of hotel rooms, but the boy takes an early morning phone call in his mate's room. The girl gets impatient, eavesdrops, and hears what she assumes to be a conversation with a girlfriend. She goes back to their room, snatches his wallet and digital camera and flees. After a day of hunting, the boys report to the police who locate the girl and return the boy's belongings. It's stories like these that Jodi rolls her eyes at, but seriously, isn't it great?
切莫轻信网上兜售高考预测题 (Don't fall for internet predictions regarding college entrance exam questions)
I didn't actually read this article, but in writing this post I did run across a site linking to some predictions of this sort. The college entrance exam is coming up at the beginning of June.
《蜘蛛侠3》给国产大片上一课 (Spiderman 3 teaches Chinese film industry a lesson)
The subtitle to this article roughly paraphrases as: when the US sells Spiderman 3 it's not only selling a film, it's also selling its national ideology and moral values; reflecting on our own film industry, what cultural spirit and ethics are we contributing with our own blockbuster films? The article spends all of its time analyzing Spiderman 3, and no time reflecting on Chinese films.

Of course the list above is heavy on articles that I like to read. I skipped entirely the entertainment, culture and sports sections. The international news section, taking up the last three pages of the newspaper, had nothing of note.


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