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Letters & Essays: 2000s

Wild Flavor

By Karl Taro Greenfeld

Fang Lin woke to the usual din: the bleat of a truck reversing; the steady, metallic tattoo of a jackhammer; the whining buzz of a steel saw; the driving in of nails; the slapping down of bricks; the irregular thumping—like sneakers in a dryer—of a cement mixer.

Up and down the coast, from Shenzhen to Fujian to Shanghai to Tianjin, this was what you heard. They were building—a skyscraper, a shopping mall, a factory, a new highway, an overpass, a subway, a train station—here, there, everywhere.