I find Suzhou “soft” visually—its winding canals carrying boats in an unhurried manner; its abundance of greens (in their gardens) that softens the contours of the landscapes; it is soft from a cultural aspect as its people, in comparison to the northern Chinese, are relatively gentler (in terms of their dialects and mannerism) and subtle in expressions; it is soft from a social aspect, where people tend to appreciate the finer way of living and therefore spend their time excelling in embroidery, relishing in the fine arts of calligraphy, poems, operas, tea appreciating and idling their time in tea houses and gardens—a stark contrast to their northern counterparts in Beijing.
(Canals are definitely one of
A Suzhou that is independent of Venice
The Chinese definitely has a terrible inferiority complex in the presence of the West. More often than not, we often need to ascertain our own worth and standard with an equivalence of the West (in whatever ways).
(Some of the remaining canals to meander through the modern city, serving as a reminder and reminisce to those days of prosper.)
In terms of the length of history and the size of trade,
Looking away from economic growth, Suzhou was once a cradle of literary arts and an inspiration for artists and literati.
Not forgetting to mention the unique Chinese architecture manifested in the creation of
(Bus stops and public toilets manifested in the traditional architecture style of Suzhou--white washed walls and grey tiles)