Signs that the apocalypse is near (Shanghai edition)

1) On a beautiful spring afternoon in the city, the gingko trees along (relatively) charming Da Gu Lu, beginning to leaf out, are filled with .... twittering birds! Where did they come from?

More ominous thought: how long can they last?

2) On Chengdu Lu, beneath the North-South Elevated Highway, a taxicab roars up to a red light, like always, and prepares like always to mow down the pedestrians in a marked crosswalk, with the green light in their favor. But a uniformed "traffic assistant" steps bravely into the cab's path,

raises his hand (complete with white glove), and signals and whistles the cab to a halt. Where did that come from? I give the traffic assistant a thumbs-up and he smiles and gives one back. Can "rapidly-changing China" have changed that much in just three weeks?

At the next corner, a bus accelerates through a red light and nearly crushes a family. In a way it's a relief: there are some constants in life.