It has occurred to me that I should try and view in a similar spirit something which, over these three weeks I have been here in Shanghai, has come to be a perennial source of irritation: namely, the way people here seem determined at every opportunity to block one’s view. No sooner has one entered a room or stepped out from a car than someone or other will have smilingly placed himself right within one’s line of vision, preventing the most basic perusal of one’s surroundings. Often as not, the offending person is one’s very host or guide of that moment; but should there be any lapse in this quarter, there is never a shortage of bystanders eager to make good the shortcoming. As far as I can ascertain, all the national groups that make up the community here—English, Chinese, French, American, Japanese, Russian—subscribe to this practice with equal zeal, and the inescapable conclusion is that this custom is one that has grown up uniquely here within Shanghai’s International Settlement, cutting across all barriers of race and class.
Topics : When We Were Orphans Quotes