Digital Dave's Ruminations

This is the place...

...where Digital Dave occasionally shares his thoughts on China, Photography, and other various and random subject-matter.

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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Chairman Sanders

There are more portraits of Colonel Sanders hanging around Beijing than portraits of Chairman Mao.

The Colonel

The golden arches of McDonalds are so ubiquitous throughout the capital that you almost don’t notice - they blend-in with the Beijing’s visual aesthetic to the extent that they somehow look like they’ve always been a part of it.

Golden Arches

I suppose the Chinese go out for “American food” the way Americans go out for Chinese food. Still, it’s a bit incongruous to see these American fast-food icons packed with people who barely a generation ago had never even heard of McDonalds and KFC. I don’t know if it’s the food they like, or the vibe, or both, but these retaurants are always busy and all demographics are represented. I wonder if they’re ready for Taco Bell.


Anonymous said...

sad, our greatest gift to other cultures, garbage disguised as food and the garbage that decorates it.

DjDigitalDave said...

That same thought has occurred to me on more than one occasion while in China. For the last decade or so it seemed clear that many Chinese – particularly the young, well educated and upwardly mobile - were enthusiastically embracing anything with the trappings of Western culture. That was a big turnaround from the days of Mao and Deng when Western society and ideals were actively demonized.

What is interesting is that now things may be coming full-circle as there appears to be a bit of a backlash against the West - or at least a trend toward Chinese nationalism - underway at the moment in China. (The current drama involving Google in China and the reaction to it is quite elucidating on that point.)

At the end of the day, however, my sense is that the rank-and-file Chinese have transformed themselves inexorably into a consumerist society, both for better and worse.

For the youth of China especially, a new day has dawned.