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  • Writer's pictureHsin-Mei Chuang

Book review in the Hindustan Times

A Sikh in front of the Muslim cemetery in Hong Kong, by Matthias Messmer, all rights reserved

Manjula Narayan at the Hindustan Times writes "China is ever at our shoulder, setting off crackers at our borders, playing mahjongg with unfriendly neighbours, seducing us with cheap toys, dazzling us with gleaming cities that inspire and frighten, taking control of the water tap like the local slum dada, and glowering down at our unruly democratic ways in incomprehension. The average Indian thinks about that great giant beyond the Himalayas only when some politician, usually of authoritarian bent, proclaims that he will transform Mumbai into Shanghai. Urbs Prima in Indis hears this, laughs for a bit and jumps onto the local train to work. Her more well-heeled citizens might post holiday pictures alongside the terracotta army in the mausoleum of the Chinese Emperor Qin and write of yearning for Indian-Chinese chow mien doused in green chilli sauce while in the belly of the Red Dragon but, as China at its Limits by Matthias Messmer and Hsin-Mei Chuang recognizes, there is surprisingly little cultural interaction between the peoples of the two most populous Asian nations, and a good deal of mistrust....


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