A CHICKEN FARMER SAYS A woman from a Chinese village stands straight in front of a huge train station. She is a chicken farmer. She has a shrill high-pitched opera singer's voice. This is her first time in Chong Qing - the biggest city in Sichuan Province. How come she's not looking after her chickens and travels to this city instead ? She doesn't explain. All she enthuses about is how fantastic the development of the country is, and how great the government - pure propaganda learned by heart, is it ? But to me, her words are not just that; I can imagine she used to be a poor peasant growing rice in her fields; I can picture that her home now has a TV and a fridge, and that she even can afford to come to big cities as a tourist. "I full-heartedly thank our Communist Party", she nearly screams, with an innocent smile on her sun-burnt face. Do not ask me if we should believe her. I do believe in her, a great chicken farmer.
A PLACE CALLED HOME British people in the streets of London, near Liverpool Street Station, next to the City. An accountant, a bank orker, a policeman, some loud laughing suburb girls - "We are legends ! We are the future !" they shout. Are we? We are the center of the world, aren't we? Who are we? And why in this large, noisy and aggressive city? The blaring sirens, the rumbling traffic, the crowd, the station, the power of money, they all take over those fragile voices; their voices are lost in the void of the city.
RIDLEY ROAD MARKET, LONDON E8 Some working class sellers in an African vegetable market in Hackney, East London. The fishmonger has a big scar on his face. "What happened to your face?" I ask. "What happened? Of course my girlfriend did that!" he smiles. For me, it was the saddest smile in that market. From him, you can get a plastic basin of cod fish for 2 pounds and feed 4 people. If you don't want the fish, you can get a pair of Adidas trainers for 5 pounds right from the next stall. This is the market, this is another China, another reality, clashing with the shiny big City with its bankers giving orders on their mobile phones while rushing between stock exchange offices, managing the abstract concept of money.
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