Shanghai (Car Dealer) Surprise

“I have witnessed the tremendous energy of the masses. On this foundation it is possible to accomplish any task whatsoever.” – Mao Zedong

1.7 million Chinese folk have downloaded an online video of a woman who basically goes nuts after her husband (or boyfriend; it’s unclear) refuses to buy her the car she wants at a Shanghai dealership. Shanghai is the richest city in China, and Shangainese do have a reputation for conspicuous consumption.

This ain't yer grandma's China

Reuters translates the main points:

“The car doesn’t suit you,” the man tells the woman, to which she answers screaming: “It does suit me!”

“It’s like this each time we go shopping. I’m not buying this car for you!” he counters.

The woman is then seen jumping into and driving the burgundy sedan up and down the showroom, ignoring her frantically gesturing companion and the salesman.

Finally the man gives in, waving his credit card and shouting: “Stop! Stop! I’ll buy it! I’ll buy it!”

“What we have in excess is women. So if you want, we can give a few of those to you, some tens of thousands. Let them go to your place. They will create disasters. That way you can lessen our burden.” – Mao Zedong

(Of course, Mao also famously said “Women hold up half the heavens.”)

Don’t know what I think the moral of this story is, but one comment on the website has this unusual take:

“I admire this lady. In the end she won — that’s the moral of this tale!.”

But won what?

Mao who?

I visited Shanghai back in December 2008 with my four-year old, for a one-day tour. During that long day, I got to know my official tour guide (from the official state tourist agency) a bit.  Over dinner I asked asked him about the apparent contradictions between traditional Communist party philosophy and the recent go-go boom of Southern China.

He looked at me blankly for a moment, then enthusiastically explained that there was no contradiction because, basically, no one paid any attention to communism any more. I asked him what he thought about Mao Zedong’s philosophies.  Nothing, he said, because he had never read anything about them.

Even in school, I pressed? Even in school, he told me.

“Classes struggle, some classes triumph, others are eliminated. Such is history; such is the history of civilization for thousands of years.” – Mao Zedong

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