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UPDATED: May 10, 2010 NO. 19 MAY 13, 2010
So Much to Learn

One of the main reasons that China sought to host the 2010 Expo, aside from showcasing the country's ancient cultural glory and recent economic miracle, is to learn from other countries, developed and developing ones alike. Shanghai, the host city, is the "best student" among Chinese regions, which is always ready to learn from foreign experience and follow trendy fashions in the world.

We can expect this goal—to learn a great deal—to be well fulfilled, and no one can tell how deeply and widely its influence may be on the Chinese people during the brief six-month period, as well as afterwards. Though everyone had expectations of exotic designs, the latest in science and technology, and amazing inventions in the foreign pavilions prior to raising the curtain, Chinese visitors and local media have been truly stunned by so many science-fiction-style buildings and state-of-the-art solutions. That these pavilions are so endearing and strange, while their manner of exhibition is so clever and humorous, appears far beyond the wildest imaginations of we Chinese.

What's amazing, for example, is why the UK Pavilion was built into a grand dandelion? Pierced by more than 60,000 perspex spines that occasionally gently sway and each containing a single seed, it is regarded as the most innovative among the national pavilions. All the construction materials can be recycled and the building boasts zero carbon emissions. Obviously, as the leader of the Industrial Revolution and the first to host a World Expo in 1851, Britain is not showing a scientific gadget but values and solutions that the country has been seeking. The Japan Pavilion is believed to be the most futuristic and is referred to as "purple silkworm island." The semi-circular "breathing organism" makes efficient use of natural resources by employing holes and horns to control its temperature. The pavilion has a robot that plays the violin. The Switzerland Pavilion embodies the harmony between rural and urban areas. This design, which was said to be a result of competition amongst many enterprises, is naturally based on the country's long-time lifestyle and development mode.

Now the arduous task of constructing the Expo site and frenetic preparations for the ceremonial extravaganza are all in the past. When the thundering fireworks cease to dazzle the magnificent site along the Huangpu River, and the grand exhibition of both realities and dreams of the human being are formally welcomed, it is the right time to take this opportunity to learn from other countries and societies, instead of remaining complacent about our own accomplishments. Making the Expo an open classroom for ourselves is the smart decision, which is definitely deserving of the great enthusiasm and huge investment that the whole nation has bravely, generously and proudly made.

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