Shanghai World Expo 2010>Round Table
UPDATED: May 6, 2010 Web Exclusive
Expo in Their Eyes

Shanghai finally raised the curtain on World Expo 2010 on April 30 as some 8,000 spectators, including Chinese President Hu Jintao and heads of state from over 20 countries, watched the opening ceremony, which included an indoor performance at the seashell-shaped Expo Culture Center and an outdoor show of lights, fountains and fireworks along the Huangpu River. The next day, the 5.28-square-km Expo site welcomed some 204,000 visitors from home and abroad.

Expo organizers expect some 70 million visitors from all over the globe from May 1 to October 31. The 184-day event is the first of its kind in a developing country. Participants in the opening ceremony and visitors to the Expo site on the first day shared their opinions on the Expo and Shanghai with Beijing Review.

Teng Junjie (Chinese, chief director of the opening ceremony's indoor performance):

Teng Junjie (CHEN RAN)

My team and I felt very lucky to be part of the opening ceremony. After a decade-long effort, including two years in bidding and nearly eight years in preparation, I really hope that through our efforts for the opening ceremony we can make a great hope into reality, which can be recorded in the Expo's development process.

We had only five months to prepare for the ceremony, so we were really pressed for time. Every team member put his or her heart and soul into the rehearsals. I injured my waist in a rehearsal when I was on stage to check a prop device, but it's no big deal compared with the whole project.

Human beings now face the rapid urbanization process, which means the development of cities is changing with each passing day. From my point of view, this is a double-edged sword. On the positive side, the massive construction improves material conditions. Viewed from another angle, however, there are problems emerging particularly with the absence of urban planning, such as overcrowding, excessive skyscrapers made of steel and concrete and, even worse, the gulf of misunderstanding between people, which can be seen through anxiety and less communication.

I think "Better City, Better Life" makes us pay attention to a city's layout or appearance and, more importantly, makes us care more about and look into our inner side. For example, in the last act of the indoor performance, Ode to the Expo, three familieseach with parents and a childwith different skin colors (yellow, black and white) stood hand in hand on stage, their kids playing with two orphans who suffered from the 7.1-magnitude earthquake in in Yushu Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Qinghai Province on April 14. We'd like to use the Expo as a platform to bring people together and show our love and concern for all human beings.

Quincy Jones, Jr. (American music producer, writer of the theme song "Better City, Better Life" for Expo 2010)

Quincy Jones, Jr. (CHEN RAN)

The opening ceremony was lovely. Child performers, dancers, singers, fireworks, the boats on the Huangpu Rivereverything was lovely!

I'm satisfied with the performance of "Better City, Better Life," which I wrote with Tan Dun. Mei you wenti! (No problem!)

The theme of Expo 2010, "Better City, Better Life," is what it means. A better city is everythingthe education, culture, joy, hope, dreamsthat makes your life better. Your dream is better and your city is better. I came from Chicago during the Depression, one of the worst times in America ever. So I've been from the bottom to the top.

I haven't seen the Expo site yet because I just came here from America, but I'm sure that the Shanghai Expo will be great. I saw the Expo site before it opened when director Teng Junjie showed me around. It's just like the Beijing Olympics, the Bird's Nest. I paid attention to all the details. They did a fantastic job.

I've been here in Shanghai 12 times. I love Shanghai and could live here three months a year.

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