|China: Contrasting Contours
ISBN 984 70220 0009 7 2008 132pp 215x136mm HB Tk.375.00 US$23.00
The land of ‘Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon’ is positioned in the twenty-first century in the ‘Great Leap Forward.’ Today’s ‘Great March’ is the fast forward movement of the globe’s largest buoyant economy and the largest global population. One of the world’s earliest and most brilliant of civilisations casts its long shadow over the land and its people. Home to Chairman Mao’s communism, China has embraced capitalism and consumerism with vigour. Home (Beijing) to the Great Wall and the Forbidden City from its distant past, Shanghai in the twenty-first century offers an architectural playground with its surrealistic soaring skyline. Ancient calligraphic scrolls offer inscrutable writings, so too do Harry Potter posters in Chinese. The land that created ‘chow mein’, ‘chop suey’, chop sticks, ‘dim sum’ dumplings’ and ‘ramen’ noodles is the same land that today hosts innumerable KFCs, McDonalds and Starbucks. New elite trailblazers – China’s ‘Me Generation’ has replaced China’s ‘Mao Generation.’ The ancient ‘Middle Kingdom’ credo with China as the globe’s centre-stage – is revived as China hosts Olympic 2008 and World Expo 2010.
Symbolic of China’s past, its future and its present – are the cities of Beijing, Shanghai and Kunming. Weaving her travels within these metropolises, Raana Haider – in a tale of three cities – explores in China: Contrasting Contours the past glories and the present vibrancy of a country in the midst of multi-metamorphoses.
A lifelong traveller, Raana Haider is the author of Paris: A Homage (2007), Fragrance of the Past: A Middle Eastern Itinerary (2007) and India: Beyond the Taj and the Raj (forthcoming 2008); all three books published by Tara Press, New Delhi, India; in a series ‘Travels with a Nomad.’ The daughter and spouse of diplomats, the focus of her research and writing remains global cultural heritage.
She is the author of A Perspective in Development, a study of gender and development in third world countries (American University in Cairo Press, Egypt, 1996). Both Paris: A Homage and A Perspective in Development were first published by The University Press Limited (UPL), Dhaka, Bangladesh as Parisian Portraits (2000) and A Perspective in Development: Gender Focus (1995).
Raana Haider has an MA in Sociology from the American University of Beirut, Lebanon. She has worked for the World Fertility Survey in London and the Bangladesh Centre for Advanced Studies in Dhaka, taught at the Cairo Demographic Centre and undertaken consultancies with UNICEF Dhaka and UNDP Tehran. Her writings on development issues, cultural heritage and travel have appeared in newspapers and magazines in Beirut, Cairo, Dhaka, Dubai, New Delhi, Paris, Tehran and Tokyo.