Many would disagree but I think the old China is a better China.
The soil was cleaner. The water was clearer. The air was filled with scents, not fumes. Poultry didn't take steroids. Fishes weren't fed on antibiotics. Organic produces were the only thing to be taken for granted. Life was difficult but faces were more genuine and happiness came from within. Yes, growth has been spectacular. So is the cost. Sustainability is at best a concept, not a reality.
This picture was taken some twenty years ago when I was released for holiday from secondary school. These days it only takes two hours to get there (Dongguan). Those days it required nearly a day.
I was stealing my brother's manual camera (Nikon FM2). Immaculate but painfully heavy for a small kid. Those days there were only films. So this picture holds a degree of authenticity that just comes naturally with it, although I have now converted it into digital.
The backdrop is a typical courtyard in a Chinese village. The folks at the back were making food for my cousin's wedding banquet. Those days there were no restaurants in a village. Banquets always took place in an open area. You would find dogs and chickens chasing round your feet while sipping your soup. Those days banquets were far more environmental-friendly as shark fins would never appear on the menu.
The face in front is my nephew, who is not much younger than me. A camera was something highly exotic in these surroundings. Whenever you held it up, kids would throw you a ton of curiosity.
I miss the old China.