The city lights of Shanghai, China, consume nearly 8% of the city’s electricity, illuminating the bars and banks of the Huangpu River. From the commercial Pudong District, the neon glow highlights another part of China, one that’s often hidden behind reserved expressions and long office days. During the short evening hours between business and home, the stresses of an average 44 hour work week (one of the top 5 longest in the world) are dissolved by workers with alcohol, in quantities more appropriate for rocket fuel.
The reverse of Japanese happy hours, in China it’s the women who chug beer after shot, looking to get to land of intoxication as fast and forceful as possible. Mirroring how things work on a personal, local, and national level among the world’s largest population, fervor is invisible at first daylight glance. Somewhat by design, as the former Deputy Director of the Shanghai Municipal City Planning and Resource Management Bureau Wu Jiang says, “lighting is a way to show the hidden side of a city, a side that can’t be seen during the day.” A side that becomes especially clear after 4 shots and 6 beers with the locals.