China Post #12 The Shanghai Envelope, Please.

By Joe Duffy Dec 19, 2006

Damn, what a city. I already miss it and it’s only been 1 week since the super high speed magnetic train slung me from Pudong to Shanghai International at an amazing 431 km per hour. That was a trip in and of itself – all 7 minutes of it. With the terrible traffic congestion the morning I left Mogenshan Road arts area, I was told the same trip by cab would have been over an hour. When the hell are we going to build the rails for these pollution-free, comfortable, speed demons in America? Oh well, that’s probably another subject, for a future post.

What I want to share with you here is my summary of The One Show China workshops in Shanghai. First and foremost the part of this experience that will be etched in my memory bank, until at least the ’07 version of this incredible ongoing experience, are the students – the delightfully energetic, dedicated, talented, warm-hearted students. As I told them on awards night, to somewhat curious stares, they seriously rock. These are kids, who, unlike many, maybe most, of their counterparts in the U.S. of A. – are not “too cool for school”.

Every workshop class was filled with kids who really gave a shit about what we had to share and were equally determined to make their work better, based on a westerner’s evaluation of it, not that they didn’t stand up for what they honestly believed in their heart was the proper creative solution. These kids have conviction as well as an unbelievable work ethic on their side. As I’ve stated in earlier posts, they will be a force to be reckoned with in a few short years to come – promise.

This year was no different than the 6 previous in one very important, somewhat selfish, personal barometer of success - once again, I learned much more from these kids than I could ever hope they would take home from me. They come from literally every physical, as well as every young, psychological place in this amazing behemoth of a country. The dreams and the very deep concerns of this microcosm of Chinese youth culture is served up to us in every session – absolutely fascinating.

The winners on awards night were ecstatic - and unafraid to express both their joy and their gratitude. Wild-assed leaps from the seats, screams of victory, high fives and hugs all around, were the order of the night. Ross Chowles and Dave Holloway even gave an award to the best dancer in their class and she proceeded to jump up to reprise her performance to a rap ditty in front of the assembled crowd, which included the somewhat taken aback head man at Shanghai U. You get the feeling that the previous generation in general and the communist government specifically are somewhat perplexed by this youthful exuberance. On the one hand they’re encouraging their dedication to creativity as the missing ingredient in their quest for a powerful world economy. On the other, they seem to be a little frightened by the natural side effects.

All the more reason to stay tuned to this creative evolution in the most populated place on our planet. It’s going to be one fast and furious ride. Attached are the top ten winners for Shanghai ’06.

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