Question of Perspective
Question of Perspective
Nadine Godehardt

Walking Through Chaoyang

Chaoyang – one of the richest parts of Beijing. Embassies, Foreigners, Worker’s Stadium, Lifestyle, Expensive Cars and all what you should find in a Western country, except for the amount of air pollution since that is very similar to poorer or even the poorest parts of Beijing. However, this is China’s future but if Chaoyang is China’s future who will pay off for this vast development? Who will pay for an unstoppable pollution?

It is a place where clearly foreigners are not the richest persons any longer. Here Chinese rich ones also show what they have. Some, of course, only play a very dangerous game and act as if they are part of something that for a long time did not exist in this country’s history – the fabulous wealth.

Walking through this district, it seems the greatest pressure is “to not being busy” or like all the tourists flooding the cheap markets that I believe only still exists because they are a crucial part of what we think is part of China: cheap DVDs, fake clothes and any kind of jewelry. I don’t believe that any Chinese person with money would buy something faked – sometimes I in fact believe that a fake to them is like a “representation of old China” or better a “representation of the out-dated China”. Something these people no longer want to represent.

Thus they need all the brands and labels to distinguish themselves from each other and while doing this, simply everybody believes to “need” it to be “part” (the question remains “part of what”) and then no one has it – their identity. Karl Krolow would say like a hand full of sand, it just always slips. The biggest question of all: How to differentiate? How to be different so that you can be finally yourself. For decades not necessary to be answered, then getting even more complex when it becomes clear that money only does half the trick.

Sunshine, a typical Beijing blue sky with a “smog-rim” at the horizon, makes me walk through Chaoyang, sit down, have a coffee, start writing my thoughts down on Beijing’s districts that are each like a huge German city – sometimes I look at all these buildings and know the people living in two skyscrapers represent about the population of my home town.

That is China! Yes, indeed, and it is “a China” that we could engage with and that is very far away from any “superpower”, “China threat”, or “harmonious world” discourse. It is “just” as it is.



It just feels too right

Bounding happiness waiting

Loving my impatience

Feeling that I am in the

Right place


East – West – wherever

Whatever, whoever, as long

As I am still not lost

Happiness – I like it.


Is it mine or ours?

Who knows – waiting,

Calm, concentrated, cool.

Down to reality in

The garden of what

I am looking for. Trouble

Emerging in the darkest

Hour of our greatest



But being out there

Is only helping to close

My heart in front of

Greatness. Then it is

Night and my heart

Is finally free.


October 2012

Copyright by Nadine Godehardt

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© Question of Perspective by Nadine Godehardt