Photographer's Note

Chinese "senior citizen" looking out of his 2nd floor window in one of the traditional housing structures in Shanghai's Hongkou district.
Chinese streetlife - in all its chaotic, colourful fabric - is played out downstairs on the street, which also functions as a market.
In my homecountry, Denmark, the "elderly" are comfortably tucked away in nursery homes, once they are not able to care completely for themselves, (and sometimes even before). It is considered the job of our welfare state to take care of the elderly, as the families are usually too busy working.
In China, as in many other countries, the elderly are really "senior citizens" in the sense that they are considered heads of the family. It is the responsibility of the children to take care of their parents. Furthermore, the public spaces of the streets and parks also functions as meeting spaces of the elderly; especially in the mornings, they meet to chat, do exercises (kung fu, dancing, qigong, etc.), play chess or put out their caged birds.
Since the welfare state (paradoxically) is becoming less and less existent in this formerly socialist country, people are heavily reliant on their social relations to take care of each other.
Good or bad? That's a big discussion: I think both ways have their advantages and disadvantages.
One advangtage of the Chinese way is that I guess the elderly do not feel as lonely as some do in those welfare states that seem to be more comfortable with "hiding" the elderly in private rooms in nurseries, far away from the public space.

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Additional Photos by Henrik Kloppenborg (kloppenborg) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 139 W: 0 N: 159] (977)
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