WATCH: The Untold Story of Shanghai’s Generations-old Rice Farmers

“In a city that’s changing as much as Shanghai, maybe the most courageous thing you can do is remain the same”

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9 months ago

Spring Festival — more commonly known in the West as Chinese New Year — has arrived, meaning we are now in the Year of the Tiger. People born as ‘tigers’ are often associated with bravery, confidence, and competitiveness. To honor these traits, RADII has teamed up with Peddlers Gin to bring you ‘Spirit of the Tiger’ — a selection of inspiring stories from fascinating tigers across China.

Zhan Zhonghua was born in the Year of the Tiger in 1962 and, like everyone in his family, has been a farmer his entire life.

Bountiful rice farms, passed from generation to generation, aren’t the first images people associate with Shanghai. Nonetheless, that is the reality of the Zhan family going back for ages — to Zhan’s great, great grandfather and beyond.

“In a city that’s changing as much as Shanghai,” says Zhan, “maybe the most courageous thing you can do is remain the same.”

Peddlers Shanghai Farmer

Every day, Zhan gets up and does exactly what his ancestors have done for generations.

“This is my heritage,” he says, and despite the ever-growing skyline looming in the background, he is happy with this simple life — fishing in the river by his house, farming, and raising chickens.

Almost everything on his table comes from the area around him, collected by his own hands.

Zhan enjoys his life as a rice farmer and feels that being a tiger has given him the perseverance to pass on his heritage, through the wind and the rain and the drumbeat of metropolitan growth.

Click here for more videos from the ‘Spirit of the Tiger’ series.

All images via Graeme Kennedy

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