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Print Edition> Nation
UPDATED: May 10, 2010 NO. 19 MAY 13, 2010
Expo in Their Eyes
Participants in the Expo opening ceremony share their opinions on the Expo and Shanghai with Beijing Review reporter Chen Ran on April 30. Edited excerpts follow:


A LIVING BUILDING: Walls of a World Expo Theme Pavilion on the Expo site are decorated with vegetation to highlight the concept of low-carbon economy (FAN JUN) 

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

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

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, 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 create anxiety and less communication.

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

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

I'm satisfied with the performance of Better City, Better Life, which I wrote with Tan Dun (an Academy Award winning Chinese composer—Ed.).

The theme of Expo 2010, "Better City, Better Life," is what it means. A better city is everything, the education, culture, joy, hope, dreams, that 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 the United States ever. So I've been from the bottom to the top.

I saw the Expo site before it opened when director Teng 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.

Yue-Sai Kan (American, Emmy-winning television producer, bestselling author and cosmetics entrepreneur):

I think the opening ceremony was amazing, and one of the highlights was Quincy Jones's song. The most exciting part, for me, was the fireworks show, as I had never seen this from the east side of the Huangpu River; before, I always saw it from the Bund, on the west side of the Huangpu River.

The Expo is amazing for people in China, especially for children, as they have access to seeing so many national treasures presented by other countries. It's a good opportunity for us to learn from each other. It's a once-a-lifetime chance for many of us. The Expo is a big gift that the world gave us.

I think life in rural areas is pleasant, as you can enjoy the simple environment as well as organic food and fruits. The least healthy life, in my opinion, is in the city. So if the city we live in becomes better, our lives will definitely become better. That's my understanding of "Better City, Better Life."

I love the Expo site. It's an interesting place. If you were there for only an hour, you would see nothing. If you have a pair of comfortable shoes, walk around for a couple of hours and visit it several times, I'm sure you'll benefit from the trips.

I live in Shanghai and love it very much. It's beautiful, especially now.

Frank Wong (Canadian, company budget manager):

This is the first time I've been here in the Expo site on the east side of the Huangpu River. My company has a pavilion on the west side of the Huangpu River. I still remember the first time I went to the construction site. It was in late December, and it was chilly. But the construction workers were working hard in the bad weather. I truly want to show my respect for them.

Shanghai is my birthplace. I tried to find the old house I once lived in downtown, but failed because of road and building reconstruction projects. The only thing that remains unchanged is the road's name. I don't think it's bad, because the city is becoming better and better. Although I spend most of my time in Vancouver, Shanghai will always be the place I call home.

My family and I went to the Expo site during the trial operation in late April. It's normal to find problems such as overcrowding or not enough catering booths. I think it's good for organizers to improve and do it better.


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