Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Wo Ju (Woju) – Snail Space 蜗居, Episode 22

*Apologies for not posting but my access has been limited*

Secretary Song's wife proposes divorce. He rejects her offer. She sobs.

Haizao says to Young Bei that they should break up. They both cry.

The scene changes to Song's wife crying. Song, like Young Bei, asks for forgiveness.

Secretary Song and Boss Chen go to visit Grandma Li. Song introduces himself as the developer of the property. Grandma Li sizes him up and says he is not a developer, but a government official. He smells not of money but of power.

Haiping gets another job teaching a foreign student after her Japanese student scores very highly on a test. She happily tells Su Chun.

Haizao and Young Bei are still together and happy.

Secretary Song is at dinner with two others (they are eating at South Beauty 俏江南, a relatively expensive restaurant in Shanghai). The larger one asks the other if the price of real estate in Jiangzhou (Shanghai) will still increase. "It will". "I am silly for asking. This land was bought by you, and the housing was built by one. Half of the city belongs to you. Of course you hope prices increase". Song says he is poor and never cares if prices increase or not. The large man replies that buying property is way to stave off inflation.

Song: "That will be difficult (to stave off inflation by buying property). The price of real estate is the result of governmental factors. Look at Jiangzhou (Shanghai). Every day hot money is flowing into the city. Then look at the area of Xujiawan (an obvious reference to Xujiahui area of Shanghai): how many new banks appear there every day, and how much stored in them is from outside? And this is only what you can see. There is more that you cannot see. If one day all this money leaves, ha! Look at Tokyo and Seoul. It's been over a decade and they haven't recovered. If at that time you apartment is still valuable and worth a lot, there will be no ordinary people who can afford it. No one will take it off your hands. And you will have to pay property tax and other assorted taxes. Perhaps in the end your asset will become a burden (资产变成负担)."

Will there be a property tax? There must be, to police you heartless rich people.

The other man says he has three parcels of land that he is sitting on. If he develops them early and sells them, he will miss out on profits. Song says that making some profit is better than losing money. They drink.

Haizao goes to her company to quit her job. Boss Chen tells her to wait and talk with him, then he calls Secretary Song. Song is in an important meeting, but he leaves. He meets Haizao as she is walking out of the company, takes her things, and leads her away to talk. She cries.

A triple screen appears: in the bottom left, Haizao and Song are together; above that, Young Bei skips happily into work; and to the right is Song's wife and daughter walking along the street. As Haizao gets into the car with Song, the other two screens fade out and the remaining one enlarges. Song drives off.

Haizao and Song have coffee. He gets a call and must leave. As he is leaving, his photo is taken.

[Funny note: when Haizao is sitting at the coffee table, she gets a text message. She opens her phone and it is branded "Coogle" -- with a C instead of a G. A clear instance of shanzhai (see my earlier post from last year).]

That night, Su Chun does not return home. Haiping is very nervous and goes to his workplace but does not find him.

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