Huangpu River is an enduring symbol and a silent eyewitness to the history and development of Shanghai, the financial centre of China.
It starts from Dianshan Lake and empties into the Yangtze River at Wusongkou (mouth of Wusong River), measuring 114 kilometers long and 400 meters wide.
Ice-free around the year, Huangpu divides Shanghai into east and west. The west bank (Puxi) is the cultural, residential and entertainment centre of Shanghai.
The Bund, Monument to the People’s Heroes, Waibaidu Bridge and the oldest park in Shanghai – Huangpu Park, are located on this bank. Besides, many historical buildings left over from Shanghai’s colonial days have been preserved.
The east bank (Pudong) is the newer district of Shanghai and its financial and commercial hub. Steel and glass structures are abundant here.
The Oriental Pearl TV Tower, Jin Mao Tower, skyscraper hotels, offices and malls of the Lujiazui Financial Zone are here too.
Two suspension bridges, Nanpu Bridge and Yangpu Bridge, provide a spectacular sight – they appear to arch over the Oriental Pearl TV Tower, resembling ‘two dragons playing with a ball’.
Ships from all over the world dot the river. The busy wharfs and the ‘three-layer waters’ (or three-colour waters) at Wusongkou are also within sight.
The ‘three-layer waters’ is formed by the convergence of Huangpu River (gray white), Yangtze River (yellow) and the East Sea (green) during high tide.
What is more gorgeous? At sun set, the river is veiled in the glittery neon lights on its banks.
Cruising on the river in the evening, residents and visitors experience its silence and beauty under the moonlight while the cool winds play their songs in an orchestra of nature.
Such cruises have become a happy routine in this place. Cruise ships vary in size, decoration and amenities, with the most luxurious offering air conditioning, conference room, banquet hall, bar and television.
Ships depart from the Bund (Zhongshan Road) – the docking point, sail to Huangpu Bridge in the south, turn and head north towards Wusongkou, and return to the Bund.
What is the point I am trying to make?
Malawi does not have its Huangpu River. But its cities and towns have rivers too. They may not be naturally structured like the Huangpu, but their location is geographically advantaged. We simply have to add value to it.
Back in the many days, Huangpu was not the way it is today. It was just one of the common rivers like those that we have. It took someone to form an idea regarding how this natural resource could be developed. Another person picked on the idea and enriched it. After a while the idea was adopted by the community and they started working to actualise it.
As each day dawned, they kept perfecting it. And they are not relenting; they are still working on their idea to make it better.
Mudi or Naperi rivers in Blantyre, Lilongwe or Lingadzi in Lilongwe, Lunyangwa in Mzuzu will not become money spinners like Huangpu in a matter of days, but become they can. We simply need to look at them as an opportunity made freely available to us by nature.
Sky-scrappers will not dot the banks of our rivers in the short or medium term. Ships will not suddenly start plying these rivers, providing easy transport and the fun of cruises in a short time into the future. We will not have suspension bridges over these rivers just tomorrow.
But these are possibilities that must always be entertained. As long as we spend more time on our hopes than on our fears, we can and we will.
The benefits that have been seized from the Huangpu by our friends, must oil nerves of our thoughts and fire the engines of our enthusiasm into the drive of believing that even us can spin around our natural resources into gold mines of opportunity.