Shanghai Faces: Tao Wansheng

A Shanghai carpenter and temple restorer

Name: Tao Wansheng

Age: 60

Hometown: Pudong District, Shanghai

What do you do for a living?

I’m a carpenter and traditional woodcarver. I often work on temple restorations.  I began doing this kind of work at age 14.

How much do you earn per month?

Just enough to get by. But let me tell you, as I get older, money is not that important. The most important thing for me now is to cultivate myself [through Buddhism and Daoism].

Do you think other Shanghainese are religious?

Yes, they believe in Daoism and Buddhism. But Buddhism is too complicated for anyone to truly understand.

How has Shanghai changed over your lifetime?

It has changed beyond recognition! But the changes are good; our living standards have really improved.

Tell me one thing you would like to improve in Shanghai.

Environmental protection needs to be improved. The pollution and the trash – it’s too much; people need to care more about these things and protect the city.

What do you think is a distinguishing feature of Shanghai?

It has always been a place where Chinese culture and Western culture have come together. The art here also used to be incredible. There used to be so many amazing works of art in Shanghai, more than in Beijing, because the city used to be so rich. But almost all of it was destroyed in the Cultural Revolution. What you see in the Shanghai Museum today is only a fraction of what was once here.

Are the Shanghainese friendly?

Of course! Everyone should be friends. Aren’t we friends now? As long as you are a good person, you will be welcomed.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *