Question of Perspective
Question of Perspective
Nadine Godehardt


The Bund - fading


The Bund is Shanghai’s Tiananmen Square

The one place where you need to take a photo

The imagery that proves “I was here”


It is the calendar picture that every megacity has to offer

Like the view from the Rockefeller Center on Central Park

The Eiffel Tower, the Brandenburg Gate, the Red Square

Icons of cities and countries alike


The Bund is public. I’m facing China’s idea of modernity

Not very different from ours – just faster

City for cars, efficiency, business but not for people


It’s a portray of authority that I don’t understand

Western, non-Western, Chinese, non-Chinese

Looking into my beer, I can only say,

It is difficult.


Taking pictures of the Bund only possible with

Distraction. Bad Religion. Tested.

Portray of authority. Loudly.


Nothing more, nothing less
An icon on the wall decoration and duress
That which many strive to be
It's the marble statue standing over me


No one cares about me walking around,

Following Chinese visitors of the Bund

Taking pictures, laughing, expressing pride

A young couple, students, already staying

In the city for four years and just today made it

To the Bund.


And nobody has the will to tear it down
It determines wrong and right
But to me it’s just a stereotype
And it makes us lose our sight


The migrant workers with their small kid

Sending a picture back home showing

That everything is getting better. Soon, the kid

Is old enough to stay with the grandparents

In the countryside. New Year parents to be!


The portrait of authority
You tell me that's what I'm supposed to be
You tell me what I'm supposed to be


Another time another man
And oppressive intrusion and a plague across his land
And it haunts him every day
It tells him he has no chance his hopes just fade away (…)


Walking away makes me fading,

Angry and lost at the same time.

What happened to this city?

Emptiness. Tested. Music. Loud.

(…) Often times we're made to wonder what we're supposed to do
Stand and deliver or see the conflict through
And as we long and proceed to build our castles in the sky
Our plans get confounded and determination dies
There's no preparation and no guide
Just what you've done before here with your life

Silence in my head. Where is the city?

Around, everywhere, merging into a fuzzy, misty dream world

Of a different time. Past. Future. People. Lost.

(…) You can play by the rules, or bend them to your needs
But the test isn't over 'til you've reached your dark eternal sleep
There are no absolutes, no big wheels in the sky
You don't have to be first, you just gotta somehow get by


Still. Oriental Pearl Tower behind me.

Shanghai’s landmark. Faster.

Dizzy. Dawn. Down.

Bombarded by multiple choices 24/7
Navigating a tangled web of logic and passion
Guided by subconscious voices, astute and sharpened
Tested, Tested, Ooohh


Shanghai you got me. I get another beer.

Not satisfied with my portray of the Bund.

Looking into my beer, I can only say,

It is difficult.



Italic lyrics are from Bad Religion songs Portrait of Authority and Tested

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© Question of Perspective by Nadine Godehardt