Home   >   Society >   Content

In memos: Natives tell changes in Kunming over the years

Updated:2018-09-12 11:06:00   Yunnan Gateway

Kunming memos in video

If you want to know how Kunming City has grown step by step in the past four decades, you can also take a look at the motion graph below.

These years, big changes and fast progress in Kunming injected much pride into citizens dwelling in the spring city.

Now, let’s get close to the senior citizens in Kunming, and see the changes in their memories.

Memo 1

“I used to live in Xiangyun Street, and my house was like a courtyard.

Every morning, it was troublesome go to the toilet outside to empty the spittoon. There was no toilet at home, you know... My family lived in a 20㎡ room, which was divided into two smaller rooms by a cloth piece hanging in the middle.

Now, we have a 120㎡apartment in western Kunming, with three rooms and two bathrooms equipped. My family no longer pee into a spittoon near the bed at night.

---You Su (aged 58)

Memo 2

“In the past, most Kunming buildings were below 10 floors. And the18-storey Workers’ Cultural Palace is the tallest building in the city, with a height of 70 meters.

At that time, a ticket was needed to visit the palace top, and it was fantastic for locals to take the elevator. A round trip in the elevator would cost 0.2 yuan, and you could also spend 0.1 yuan on a first-calss soda drink at the entrance. Most Kunming families had a group photo in front of the palace.

By now the former cultural palace has been demolished and become a memory, but buildings in Kunming became taller and taller, with the maximum height of 129 meters, 139 meters, 168 meters and 300 meters appearing in succession.

--- Chen Bo (aged 56)

Memo 3

My family used to dwell on Jinbi Road, with rows of tall Chinese parasol trees standing on either side of the road and forming large areas of shade.

At that time, the Guanshengyuan department store enjoyed thriving business, with folks waiting there in long lines to buy goods every day. Jinbi Road was also coupled by old houses on both sides, and it was busy.

Now Jinbi Road has been widened into six lanes, with high-rises standing on both sides. And the landmark of Jinma and Biji archways on the road also got new looks. Kunming has changed dramatically. It’s like a dream.

--- Zhang Lifen (aged 59)

Memo 4

In my memory, the busiest scene in Kunming happened before the Spring Festival, when citizens crowded to a street near the Green Lake for shopping. Common goods were the Xuanwei ham, agaric, and others.

I even bought a snake with 30 yuan, but now you can never see this.

Those days, few consumer goods were available at shabby department stores. And coupons were needed when shopping, involving food coupons, cloth coupons and others. You could buy nothing without coupons.

Now, everything is different, and you can buy almost anything in the tidy supermarkets. There are various goods for you to choose. Life is much easier.

--- Li Jianguo (aged 65)

Memo 5

“After retiring, I tried to find a place for walk and exercise.I didn’t expect such a wide and beautiful road could be built around the Dianchi Lake.

Seeing young people exercise on the plastic runway, I feel relieved.

Also, I’m happy that I can also walk on the lake-side road with my wife in the evening, using the fitness equipments there at times. I hope to live longer to see more beautiful things in Kunming.”

---Chen Liqiong (aged 68)

Memo 6

“I grew up on Xinwen Road. There used to be paddy fields near my house, but now there stands the Xinwen Road wholesale book market.

We would catch mud fish and shrimps in the field. Back then, it was a remote area, and we were scared when darkness fell. No street lamp.”

“Now the Xinwen road has Kunming’s largest vegetable market. And three first-class hospitals are located in the area. The street lamps are on all night and I did not see any criminal in the neighborhood. ”

--- Zhang Tao (aged 42)

Memo 7

“In the past, there was a thin smell of horse shit in Kunming, for horse-driven carriages used to be the major means of transport.

A carriage trip from Tangzi Alley to Jinbi Road would cost you two cents. The cushion was a must on the carriage that ran on the bumpy roads. During the carriage ride, the horse would shit from time to time, leaving its waste here and there on the road.

Now Kunming is much cleaner, and all dirt is gone. Kunmingers love their city more, and folks don’t throw butts about. It’s good! ”

--- Li Guowang (aged 54)

Text by Zhu Dongran and Wang Shixue; Video by Li Wenjun

Keywords:   memos natives changes Kunming