Tag Archives: Pets

Dog control

18 Jul

I have mentioned in a previous post how mad Shanghainese are about their dogs (see link to Bésame mucho…). They definitely are no dog eaters. They pamper them and are extremely conscious about their wellbeing. In winter, they make them wear warm outfits as well as shoes. In summer, they change the warm clothes for lace ones. They also like to accessorise them: dogs get to wear earrings, have their hair died (more than one colour please), as well as fake colour nails put on their paws! On my street, there’s an especially dedicated beauty parlour for dogs. No other pets allowed. It’s really amazing and I for one certainly have a blast witnessing all of this and trying to capture it with my camera.

Dog beauty parlour on Taixing Road

Shoes and lace!

Well groomed

Her name was Wang Wang

The trouble is that their love for dogs has become excessive. And any phenomenon or habit that starts to be adopted by too many people in Shanghai or China is likely to become problematic for society at large, just because of the sheer mass of people in this city (23 million officially, 30 million I heard if you factor in all the “clandestine” dwellers, foreigners included) and the country. So dogs have become a problem in Shanghai. There are simply too many in the city and this is posing real hygiene problems on the streets due to all the dog shit. I have seen many Chinese picking up their dog’s poop from the pavement but I don’t think the majority of dog owners do it. As in Paris, you have to be very careful when walking in residential neighbourhoods. I’ve unfortunately stepped at least once in dog shit too.

Dog shit all over

To address the problem, in 2011, the municipality of Shanghai adopted the single dog policy which, as its name indicates, limits the ownership of dogs to one per family. According to the French newspaper Libération, in 2010, the number of dogs in the city had reached 800,000, only 25% of which were licensed. Other sources quote other figures. Today there must be at least 1 million. Prior to this law, if you owned more than one dog and if they were all duly licensed, you could keep them. In Guangzhou however, you had to get rid of all your dogs but one.

If they’ve done it for kids over 30 years ago, I personally don’t find it that shocking when it comes to pets. However, I did find it hilarious that they duplicated the single child’s policy for dogs! You can see that, in their own way, they’re equally spoilt. Children are dubbed “little emperors”, I don’t know if dogs have a nickname too. I also wondered about the fairness of the policy. Had they put in too many restrictions regarding dog licensing and health monitoring, the policies would’ve been criticised as being in favour of rich people who would be the only ones to afford to have a dog. With the single dog policy, everybody’s entitled to one toy.

Walking the dogs in a pram!

Shanghai Randoms #2

14 Jun

Our balcony

View from a friend’s house – very typical of Shanghai

Mailbox – in the former French Concession

Chinese don’t like number 4 because it sounds like the word “death”

Cats in hammocks

Chinese are mad about crickets and the sound they make!

Surviving Sichuan food

On motorbikes: like father, like son



Chair seller

Must buy two of these eventually


Bésame mucho…

24 Nov

I am a person who does lists. There’s always a list of something in the back of my mind, like what I want to bring back from my room in Beirut to Shanghai, interesting companies to send my CV to, to do lists at work, etc. And I do derive some pleasure from crossing out individual items as I’ve achieved them or acquired them.

Since arriving to Shanghai, I’ve witnessed several oddities or been in weird situations. Here are my two lists:

Mysteries to unravel

  1. The guys wandering around town with their bicycles equipped with trunks and continuously ringing a bell. They are clearly indicating to people around that they are here but I don’t know why. Most of the time, the back of their bike is empty or has a few items that don’t seem to have anything in common. Sorry I haven’t got a picture.
  2. The pyjama ladies: women going around town in their pyjamas at any time of the day… The pyjamas I’m afraid to say are often childish, with teddy bears or other similar patterns. I really don’t know what it is… Maybe the pyjama has another dressing or fashion value over here… Here’s a stolen picture of a prime example below. I so wanted to get a picture of her that I ran to catch up with her.   
  3. Why do all CD street sellers play “Bésame mucho” all the time????

Mystery no.3 brings us to my second list.

Weird or absurd situations

Globalisation is certainly fantastic but it also leads to situations, which are so disturbing that you feel the two hemispheres of your brain are being dislocated or that your sense of personal geography is being severely stretched. For example:

  1. Hear “Bésame mucho” and occasionally other bossa nova songs on the streets of Shanghai…
  2. Be asked, however kindly, by a Lebanese guy to enrol to a salsa class taught by his Chinese girlfriend…
  3. On your first week in Shanghai, end up at a house party with 10 Lebanese people and speak Arabic while eating French cheese, mozzarella and (tops it all) kabis (Lebanese pickles)!
  4. Repeat after your teacher new Chinese words and try to get their intonations right while Ella Fitzgerald, Dean Martin and Nat King Cole sing Christmas carols in the background at Starbucks in November.

On the cuter side, but equally odd to me…

Chinese people may be dog eaters, but Shanghainese are certainly fond of their four legged friends. Dogs are very pampered here and their confidence and jolliness do reflect their spoilt brat status. Also, owners like to accessorise them and definitely make sure that they don’t get cold.

Unbeatable. I saw two shoed dogs yesterday.

%d bloggers like this: