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VOICES | Here is Songjiang


10 December 2018 | By Xie Yiqing | Supervised by Sun Shanshan

I

have been in Songjiang, my hometown, for literally 19 years, which is an unbelievable fact for many ones. I should make it clear at the first place that I didn’t mean to do that, for I tried hard in the most important 2 exams in my life so far to get the access to the central Shanghai, but I failed each time and ended up in schools in the vicinity of my home. And Songjiang happened to have a very good high school and a very good university. So my parents are happy, so does my Schnauzer, and so should I. But time after time, I wondered how much the unchangeable air, along with the streets, the people, the No.17 bus passing important spots including my junior high school where I might see my mother through her office window, and the wet wind howling on the avenues behind the canteen that smells of lotus leaf rice, has possibly blocked some novelty outside the books I searched in desperation for long.

Speaking of Songjiang itself, I’ll say it is beautiful. There are no detailed conceptions of how beautiful it is in my mind, though, and the first image jumped out when I wanted to depict it is the graveyard located near the Tian Ma Hills. I hold a theory that once you’ve been to a graveyard of a place, it would outweigh other spectacles however splendid they are. Nevertheless, the graveyard of Songjiang is truly a beautiful place. I still think that there are indeed white horses high above the sky that will come down to the yard someday. With hills of hills surrounding, the tablets of black and white make an impressive scene like a huge eight-diagram circle. The falling leaves of red and gold drift by the roads. Far away, a rectangular small hill is prominent from the sight, with a row of tall trees making it an oasis in a desert of tombstones. That’s the place for rich families in Songjiang——really rich and famous ones——and some legendary celebrities. I’ve been there several times, for some relatives I never met, then for some relatives I know very well. Since my childhood I’ve wondered where I would be, on the oasis or in the desert.

Other places in Songjiang, to larger or lesser extent, share a similar comprehensive beauty.

It is a suburb area that knows its position clearly, and knows how others look at it ——call a Songjiangnese a “countryman” and he’ll just pay you back a smile——and keeps happily how it grows at a natural pace; a compact area that you don’t have many choices so you might be watching a film on a Friday night with 10 other acquaintances of yours in the same room and then discovered some secret love birds you didn’t know before; an ordinary area that has little to do with the big events, but when something incredible took place or some big names came, which happened quite often actually, you won’t be too surprised either. I talked to Han Han when he was making his second movie in my high school. President Xi paid a visit to a tech company here this month. My cousin told me the news in a mystical manner. Interesting, I said, did you shake hands with him?

Songjiang existed in an ambiguous state of reality and imagination that is coloured by every single dream of a child and every single myth of a later rebel. I should have known it better, but at the same time, I know it too well. “The place of the cloud”, “the city of the deer” and “the root of Shanghai” are all its names, but none is my hometown. Songjiang is the place that absorbs and frees, where the leaves fall, the people leave, the white horses landed and the days grow long.

 

The author, Xie Yiqing, is an undergraduate student of SISU's School of English Studies.

Dr. Sun Shanshan, is an associate professor of English at SISU. Her research fields are contrastive linguistics and text linguistics.

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Press Contact

SISU News Center, Office of Communications and Public Affairs

Tel : +86 (21) 3537 2378

Email : news@shisu.edu.cn

Address :550 Dalian Road (W), Shanghai 200083, China

Further Reading