Stickman Readers' Submissions January 29th, 2008

Shanghai Nostalgia Chapters 10 – 12


One of the national treasures of China has definitely got to be its women, after all, they hold up half the sky. Although China’s population is predominantly Han, there is substantial genetic, linguistic, cultural and social diversity in its subgroups. Recent migration trends due to political and economic upheavals resulted in a ‘mixing’ so we are now, in almost any city of China, likely to encounter a girl from the northern province of Liaoning as much as another from Gansu in Northwestern China, one big, to put it crudely, supermarket.

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The beauty in my bedroom has got to be one of the rarer breeds, given the people’s clannishness and dissimilarity both of religious and cultural ethnicity.

I stepped in the room, looked at her lovingly as one looks at a child.

Why are you up so early? She asked in a small voice.

To make you lunch, to replenish your energy, you have use up quite a bit. She giggled and admonished me for being ‘so bad’ and patted the bed. I got on the bed besides her, gave her a peck on her cheek and ask, ‘Are you hungry? I went to the market and lunch is almost ready’.

‘For you, yes’. Shameless hussy, she is. I planted a kiss on her lips, fuller from my administrations last night. She smelled sweet, not a trace of morning breath. She snuggled up close. A tent formed on my robe I had changed to back from the shopping trip. She giggled in that infectious manner I loved, and grabbed the pole and wished it a ‘zhao an’ good morning. The robe fell down the sides to expose my erection, veins bulging, redfaced, demanding. She bent over furtively to administer a few suspicious flicks but soon was massaging her inner mouth with gusto, Linda Lovelace would have been proud of her. I closed my eyes and whispered ‘Yes’. A couple of minutes later, much too soon, she excused herself, went to the toilet. I heard the toilet flushed and shower going for a couple of minutes. Good girl, she’d washed herself so I won’t have stale cheese for breakfast.

The love we shared this morning was deliberate, slow and tender. She loved me eating her out, a new experience for her, she told me later. No wakeup call is better than a morning roll to get the blood circulation going and I concentrated giving her as much pleasure as I could. My own urgency, satiated so completely last night, afforded me a patience a younger me could never summon otherwise. Now nothing adds to my pleasure and enjoyment more than to see my partners really, really enjoying me and this encouraged me to continue my foreplay despite my own growing need. Youth is really wasted on the young.

I think she enjoyed the bowl of porridge as much as we did in bed. She asked for seconds. She insisted on washing up and I did not resist. She then took a mop from my bathroom to give the apartment a good going over, ignoring my feeble, very feeble, protests. She did, to my disappointment, missed that small pile of washed clothes awaiting ironing, but one learns to count one’s blessings.

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When she finished, she changed into her clothes, she was wearing one of my T’s, oversized for her. Damn, I was hoping one for the road would be an appropriate goodbye gesture but again, we count our blessings. I put a roll of red Mao Tzetungs, RMB1800 in all, in her hand, for your taxi and ‘also for your mummy’, I said and gave her a warm embrace before showing her to the door. She had insisted I rest and there’s no need for me to see her off. Knowing some of these ladies, I suspect she would be taking a bus home.

She gave me another prolonged kiss as though reluctant to leave before stepping out. It’s so endearing.

Now, where’s my mobile? Let’s give a call to Xiao Qing to touch base.


In place of a ringing tone, it plays an inane Chinese song, a trend a billion Chinese are so fond of. It’s maddening. The music played. I would have kept at it a while longer but could stand it no longer. She must be busy serving a customer. The cash registers at the stores were ringing no stop with the booming economy. It’s a buying frenzy.

She called back only at around 3, during her tea break, and apologized. Nothing to it, I said, just checking on my little darling, how are you?

Her legs killing her, she complained, it’s a madhouse at the store. I volunteered to give her leg a good massage, saying I have been to enough foot massages to be an expert, and added I do ‘extra’. That perked her up and she laughed, but said she had to get back to work and, before I could ask if she’s free for the evening, said she have to put in compulsory overtime, getting off only at around 11, what with the restocking of shelves and other stuff. I said OK. She sensed the disappointment in my voice and consoled me with I miss you.

Well, I’ll call you tomorrow then, mua, mua, and hanged up.

The majority of my friends had gone home for a week long holidays. If there’s one thing an expat should do, it’s to be away come the long holidays. During these periods, everywhere and especially the tourist spots are packed to bursting, and believe me, it’s the last place you want to be.

Such upheavals caused huge transport woes for everyone. Tickets for train and planes are sold weeks in advance, with queues forming round the block. Shouting matches and occasional fistfights break out with incalcitrant queue-jumpers. The Chinese are notorious queue-jumpers although over the last 10 years, there has been gradual improvement in part due to the government’s civil education in preparation for Olympic Games.

A note on the ticketing sales system in China – discounts are given for off-seasons tickets, ranging from 10% to more than 50% of the list price. The discount rates can vary widely, for example tickets for flights around noon are cheaper than say, morning, because demand for flights around is lower. During national holidays, tickets are sold at full list price.

I had volunteered to stay behind to meet a client who can’t and won’t reschedule a visit, even though we had advised that the factories he wanted to visit are shut. It was his second visit to China and had another agenda. He wanted me to fix him up with the waitress he met at a pub the last trip. No amount of persuasion would sway him from the decision, and at last I told him he could do much better than her. I had got to know the manageress of the pub rather intimately after that first trip and my enquiries told me that girl sleeps around with more men than a 2-bit whore determined to save her first million, and also on the ‘payroll’ of several Western boyfriends. My visitor was confident he could make her see the errors of her ways. I could only shake my head and sigh, stupidity is as stupidity is.

I had brought him around Shanghai. Although he runs a striving import/export firm in Germany, owns a beautiful country house and drives a Porsche, he loves shopping at the Shanyang Market, THE market for knock-off goods. He has no bargaining skills to speak of and is elated if the stallholder is ‘talked’ into a 20% discount, even though I had told him half of the asking price is about the right deal to strike. Since he could well afford it, and was contented with his efforts, I did not interfere or bargain on his behalf. I am not one to dilute a man’s satisfaction, and one learns not to sneak in snide remarks later. Were I to ask, the stallholders would not object to a 20% commission for moi.

The market has since been demolished. The media had at that time trumpeted the triumph of the anti-counterfeiting campaigns but everyone knows, including the agency representing the consortium of luxury brand owners out to curb the practise, that it is for the ears for the meddling Americans who wanted to prevent the honest entrepreneurs from prospering. Meanwhile a new site was being built. Today, I am told, it’s a spanking new multi-storey building not too far from Raffles City. Too many top officials’ fingers are in the pie for such a lucrative source of income to just disappear. Fact – the first official millionaire in China was an entrepreneur from this market.


We arrived by cab and stopped right in front of the pub. There were 2 other pubs along this stretch of road, near the Ascott Service Apartment in Pudong. A huge cluster of neighboring condominiums contribute to the healthy custom of foreign customers to these 3 pubs. I had made myself acquainted to a group of Philippino seamen on shore leave, their employer had maintained an apartment for these boys in transit. Almost nightly, a group of bulky Texan oil workers on R&R chased Jim Beam with beer. Once I had the pleasure of watching them drink ‘submarines’. Mugs of beers were places on the bartop with accompanying miniature tumblers of tequila. Nothing exceptional until I see them drop the tiny tumblers in the beer mugs, tequila and all. Those boys must have rocks for livers.

At RMB35 a stubby, it is not exactly cheap drinking in China considering a local 650ml bottle costs no more than RMB4 bought from a 7-Eleven clone. Imported ones cost more or less double. Ladies’ drink in this pub costs about RMB40 but these can burn a serious hole in the pocket at the many tourist traps over in downtown Puxi. Padding of the bar-tab of the unwary and drunk patron is altogether not an unknown practice. There is usually no recourse so it is a case of caveat emptor.

The manageress, Anne, greeted us as we pushed the swing doors open. She’s still miffed with me and shot poison arrows in my direction while we made our way to the second level. It was obvious she was displeased with the deprivation of attention from me. I had made it clear to her although I found her fascinating and sexy, I had no dishonorable intentions except to bed her, and that we could never be anything more than fuck buddies. She had had not been served such rubbish before and found it funny and even witty then, saying it a unique come-on line, but obviously it worked….

We ordered 2 Tigers, not patriotism but I genuinely think it’s a great beer. The alternative would be a VB or a 4X, both Australian, though I can’t say the same for Buds which, in my uneducated opinion, taste like tepid water, surprising, considering its German heritage. Anne had her vodka lime. Xiao Xiao, the object of my guest’s ardor, would be coming in a little later. My guest, Hans, quickly enquired of Anne about Xiao Xiao like a lovesick teenager, how was she, has she many boyfriends, and so on. She tried to make light of the subject and said all the girls here have plenty of boyfriends, which was accompanied by a painful pinch on my thigh, but Hans wouldn’t have any of it. Man, it’s sickening to see a grown man like that. I wanted to slap him to knock some sense into him, six footer or not, but he’ll probably fucking cry on my shoulders.

Xiao Xiao came in and he brightened up. It’s a remarkable U turn, and we were quickly ignored. The truth be told, Xiao Xiao’s quite a pretty package, nice rack, compact body, nice rounded ass in contrast to a bumblebee waist, and I would not dismiss easily the opportunity to bed her. But I have problems of my own.

Anne was in denial and almost in the same state as Hans. The trouble here stemmed from not paying her the first time. It would have insulted her if I did but then I would not be in this situation. I looked desperately for a way out. I reminded her we could not be anything more than friends, as I would not be permanently in Shanghai and my deliberate aloofness is a buffer to unavoidable hurt, to both of us. I am grateful to have known her and I felt truly blessed and when I leave eventually, she’ll always remind me of good memories. Apparently the bullshit worked and she closed the distance between us and stood in her favorite position, between my thighs with me sitting on the high bar stool.

The night went on and we switched to a bottle of Black Label. Hans looked like he’s getting seriously sloshed but there’s no stopping him. Anne came and went as duty called. I played some pool and nursed my whisky modestly because I might have to babysit the big guy. She whispered to me she’s on the rag but wanted to sleep over anyway. I had no objection as she has quite a talented mouth but it would mean waiting till the last customer goes home and that might mean the morning. I said I've got to send Hans back and he looked like hell because Xiao Xiao won’t go back with him. Apparently she’s not interested in depressed lovesick men who want to take her away from all these. She liked 'all these' and getting slapped around a bit and told to ‘Suck this, you cocksucker!’ which got Hans all depressed again and ready to cry. Even my offer to go to another bar where sluts are easily available was rejected. What the fuck is wrong with recently divorced men that they want to jump back in the same quagmire they have just escaped from? Men are no less complex than women, even if you don’t ask me.

Eventually he agreed to go back to the hotel.

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