The ‘Newly Renovated’ Bund – Shanghai

By P Chong                            Mon. 12 April 2010

The Bund Area

The 2,000-metre long waterfront promenade of the Bund, Shanghai’s European-style boulevard or esplanade, looks so refreshing & welcoming after a three-year facelift costing the City officials US$700 million.

New Renovated Bund

Its reopening last month to the public was well in time to welcome the influx of tourists with the opening of the World Expo 2010 on 1 May. It is now four times larger than before connecting four theme squares with a seating capacity for 2,000.

From the photos my email pal sent me, I can visualise a different atmosphere immediately. Its vast development & improvement made it an ideal fun place for the public & will no doubt supersede its past fame as a tourist destination.

Summarily, the improvements include:

* Widening of the pedestrian mall

* Vantage point to view the fabulous Pudong across the Huangpu River

* Tunnelling work to ease traffic congestion

* Reducing to six lanes from the previous eleven – 70% of the traffic

will now be diverted underground

* Convenient now to live in Puxi & work in Pudong with the construction of several tunnels & bridges connecting the two locations

* Illegal vendors or hawkers will be a thing of the past

* It will have its own dedicated team of police.

According to Shanghai’s mayor, Han Zheng: “The Bund is the symbol of Shanghai. It bears 170 years of history of this city & condenses the transformation of Chinese economy, politics & culture in the course of 100 years.”

Pudong at Night

The Old Bund

The old Bund contains 52 historic colonial buildings. Newer skyscrapers are mainly on the eastern side of the Huangpu River. Shanghai Oriental Pearl Tower is the third highest in the world.

As many as two million visitors are expected on the new Bund. I remember during our first visit to the Bund in 1989 & subsequently in 1997, we were swarmed by curious friendly crowds, eager to practise their spoken English with us.

Pudong - The Bund

The Bund will always be the centre of Shanghai’s residents’ life. It fame & longevity have long been perpetuated by the popular tune of “Shanghai Bund” – sung either in Cantonese or Mandarin.


“Ren” – People’s Building, Shanghai World Expo 2010… May 1 – Oct. 31.

By P Chong                  Mon. 5 April 2010

Ren” or People’s Building

World Expo 2010

What do you mean by being a “Greenie Conservationist”?

To me, it would mean having a close affinity to mother earth & nature.

On this premise, China is about the most “greenie” globally in that most innovations are as a result of nature link. For instance, the fighting skills of Chinese martial arts are based largely on the movements of animals & birds & even insects.

There’s another aspect of greenery that I found, during my first visit to China in 1989, to be surprising lacking. I refer to the playing green & lawns – everywhere was largely paved as around the Forbidden City.

Now in this DNY age, with the threat of climate change, China is drawn even closer to this “green” technology, such as wind power for energy, great hydro-electric energy as in the Yangtze & green automobiles & buses. In the imminent World Expo in May 2010, there is a spectacular building depicting the Chinese affinity to the basic Five Elements of the earth – Fire 火, Water 水, Earth 土, Wood 木 & Metal . It’s the “Ren” 人 Building which I thought is much more impressive & meaningful than the main China Pavilion, as representing the wisdom of Chinese people.

China Pavilion

“Our cities must be places where human beings lead full lives in dignity, good health, safety, happiness and hope.”– The Istanbul Declaration on Human Settlement, by the United Nations Human Settlements Program

In line with The Istanbul Declaration on Human Settlements as depicted by the above picture, the theme of Expo 2010 is “Better City, Better Life,” representing the common wish of the whole humankind for a better living in future urban environments.

Ren” 人 – People’s Building is unique – one of its kind in the world. Two arched bodies emerge – one on the ground, the other in water – in direction to the sky, united at the top and bonding in a unique monumental building of hurled forms, similar to a tube of perfumed action and bended by an immense force. Its profile suggests the Chinese alphabetic character which means “people”. That’s the way the People’s Building will be at the Expo 2010, in Shanghai,China.

The Povo Building (codename: REN) is a project of a group of Danish architects and designers named BIG (Bjarke Ingels Group). An oriental philosophical form, a symbol which goes beyond the similarity with the calligraphic sign with whom it identifies. That way, the body emerges from water and is dedicated to the activities of physical culture, sports, etc.; since the emerging body of land is destined to activities such as “spiritual enrichment” – conference centre and others. At the point of encounter, where the building turns into one, is located a hotel of 1000 rooms! The project occupies 250 000m2 of constructed area.

It’s said that “The external is the internal of all of us”. When we look to the beauty of nature, we find that Five Elements provide the foundation for the entire world . . . Fire, Water, Earth, Wood & Metal – as the building blocks of all building materials . . . the basic principles of Feng Shui philosophy, including the Traditional Chinese Medicine.

The Interaction Between The Five Elements

If you are a Chinese scholar, you’ll be able to identify all the Five Elements depicted in the structure of the Building.

*(As a tourist attraction, the “Little Mermaid” sculpture at the Copenhagen Harbour will be flown to the Expo for display in the Danish Pavilion. I saw this “Little Mermaid” way back in the summer of 1959.)