Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Fake Happiness

Back from China with a very interesting first impression. First of all I was impressed with world's largest city and the fact that Shanghai was clean, traffic pretty ok, good infrastructure and many green spaces. Lots of things to love about the Chinese culture, the arts, the attention for details and even the food :)

However not what I want to write about today. One thing that has really amused me is that China where you can find EVERYTHING- how can you tell what is REAL or FAKE?

I went to a FAKE market during my first day- shopping for some Jimmy Choo, Chanel and other souvenirs :) I was impressed on how well organized the fake industry is: there were different types of fake quality, bargaining was incredibly fun (you start at 10-20% of what they are asking and end up with 25 or 30), there were secret doors and passages to get access to items from the latest collections. A pretty fun experience. Must admit-I bought most of the stuff for the pleasure I had when negotiating and discovering the sellers' behaviors.

I have no idea what this banner says. I saw it on the way from the airport to my hotel during my first day and thought it would be a fun addition to my #happymaking collection. So please accept my excuses in case there is something wrong with it :)  I thought about it like "Call  5223666 and get some Happiness" - which seems very reasonable to me, especially since I learned one can get anything in China. Which for me, who I was imagining them being a true communist country, was a total surprise. You see in Romania, when we were little and during Communism, there were no Ferraris on the streets, no Coca Cola, H&M, expensive brands and private companies. No endless groups of foreign tourists, no public transportation til late in the night, not even as much milk as my parents wanted to buy for us. We knew all these are available in China but still for someone coming from an ex-Communist country this was a bit of a shock.

But you wander, is this a fake democracy? And if you dig deeper will you find the same challenges we had to go through years ago- do people still feel fear? Do Chinese people feel free, do they own their future, their education, their development? Or is this optimism...fake?

You think of fake bags, fake democracy and during a late night taxi ride back to the hotel, someone concludes "Damn, we have absolutely no clue what is fake and real in this world !". And everyone gets quiet, thinking that we all ended up in China, wondering how much of what we see around us or at home is real, how much us as humans and Marketers are contributing to the fake world we are creating for ourselves.

It makes me want to continuously repeat it to myself:
I want to keep HAPPINESS authentic.
I want to keep HAPPINESS authentic.
I want to keep HAPPINESS authentic.

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