Happy in Beijing

Every so often, a new music video for Beijing — from Shin’s One Night in Beijing, to the 2008 Olympics anthem Beijing Welcomes You, to last year’s Beijing State of Mind —  crops up to showcase the culture and various lifestyles in our fair city. This latest one, by Stephy Chung, is by far my favorite. Shot last weekend in the middle of a particularly miserable stretch of hazardous air pollution,* the video shows just how bleak and depressing Beijing is this time of the year. People are hunkered down in their giant coats and everything looks dead and gray. The smog certainly doesn’t help. But, as I’ve said before, this city — this country — operates on dichotomies, and often something and its opposite are both simultaneously true. The way people dance, sing and laugh to Pharrell Williams’s “Happy,” along with the snapshots of everyday life, is the perfect contrast to the demoralizing nature of Beijing winter. The video itself is uplifting and infectious, a fitting ode to this shitty city.

* An evening rain on Wednesday washed it all away, and strong winds the following day meant that we had a brief reprieve of blue skies on Thursday. But now that it’s Friday, we’re back to unhealthy pollution levels and rising…

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