Where we live now is the original campus of the
It’s not a proper hutong area, not like you’ll find inside the Second Ring Road. It’s all obviously built after 1949 and not according to the traditional criteria. It’s just a bunch of shitty little hovels and shanties filling the gaps between the main buildings whose only purpose, obviously, is to house the plebs who used to work here. The ‘main buildings’ are mostly the original
On a linguistic note, I noticed the other day that on a wall next to the North Teaching Building (North of what I haven’t yet figured out) is a sign that seems to use one of those super-simplified characters that existed briefly back in the ‘70s or whenever, and then was replaced with a more reasonably simplified variant. I’ve read about these characters before, and I noticed in Tianjin that a lot of street food carts replaced 蛋 with something like 但, but without the renbu on the left. But I really haven’t seen too much of these super-simplified characters. I’m going to try posting a photo of the sign in question on my flickr account using this super-slow dial-up, but I may have to wait until tomorrow to try out my new magical and allegedly faster wireless before I can post it. I suspect the sign is supposed to say “快餐小吃”, but the “餐” has been replaced with something that looks familiar, but which I don’t properly recognise. Ah, but wait, that top left part of ”餐” is the ‘character’ I’m referring to, or something very, very similar.
And then today I noticed that quite a few of the 1950s-era original buildings still have Cultural Revolution slogans painted on them. Most of the slogans were obviously whitewashed sometime in the late ‘70s or early ‘80s, but the original yellow paint of the slogans has outlasted the whitewash, so that now the slogans are clearly visible and mostly legible again. For most of the slogans, you only have to fill in one or two characters, and they’re fairly easy to guess. Again, I’ll post some photos to my flickr account when I have good enough internet access. But as a teaser: The first of these slogans I noticed was: “无产阶级文化大革命的全面胜利万岁!”, with the “大革命” almost completely obliterated and the “的全” seriously damaged, but legible. The characters at either end of the slogan (“无产阶级文化” and “胜利万岁!”) were still so clear they could have been painted two years ago. Most of the other slogans were more completely whitewashed, though, to the point where one or two are all but illegible. Still, for the most part, if you fill in the gaps, you can figure out what was written there without too much effort.
This is not what I expected to find anywhere within the Fifth Ring Road. In fact, even out in the countryside, most, if not all, the political slogans are about the one child policy, road safety, or improving the quality of party members and cadres. It’s only in Cuandixia that I’ve seen CR-era slogans still painted on walls, and that’s probably because that village has been preserved (restored?) for tourists.