In our monthly series 'Getting Moderately Deep With... ' we ask a food vendor tough questions. Well, sort-of tough.
This month we meet Shang, who is busy preparing overpowered Long Island iced teas for his loyal customers.
What is your idea of the perfect day?
The perfect day for me is a normal day. I like to have my family and friends close to me after I wake up in the morning, and not have a day that is too fast-paced, and after work to be able to have a drink with friends and talk about what happened.
What's the first thing you thought when you woke up this morning?
I have to go to work.
Who is your best customer?
The loyal ones, who come back often and behave.
Who is your worst customer?
The ones who start screaming, spitting, insulting others after drinking. Drunk customers are the worst.
Which living person do you most admire?
President Xi. I’m very patriotic.
How are you feeling today?
I’m feeling a bit hopeless. I have a lot of thoughts going through my head, not counting this job. My life is going too fast. But I feel better now that I’m at the bar – the time passes a little faster here.
When and where were you happiest?
When I had my baby. The moment I held him in my hands, I felt my life just got better. I felt like I moved a step further in my existence.
Which talent would you most like to have?
I wish I could speak all the world’s most important languages. This is partially because I have so many foreign customers here.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
I’m not even 30 yet. I think an achievement is something that comes after a life of struggle and work – I feel I’m not there yet.
What trait do you most value in a person?
Filial piety. I don’t know if this is something a foreigner can understand – it’s a concept coming from traditional Chinese culture. I like people who can respect their parents.
What is it that you most dislike?
People who do not respect their elders and their family members.
Who is your hero?
Kobe Bryant. I love playing basketball and he’s just incredible.
What is your motto?
With the right disposition, anything is possible.
What's the most surprising thing that's happened to you?
It happens every time I buy a ticket to go back home and I see my relatives again. After a long time has passed and I see them in front of me, it feels like the first time. I always feel a special connection.
Which era of Beijing's history would you most like to have lived in?
I would still choose today. I believe society keeps getting better as time passes. And this is particularly true for China. I believe people’s spirit and civility keep getting better. Some moments of ancient Chinese history were really good and society was really advanced, but they still don't compare to today.
[Cover photo via Edoardo Donati Fogliazza/That's]