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January 1, 2012

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Filled with hope

ON a mild winter night, Shanghai residents welcomed the New Year with outdoor countdown parties, traditional bell-striking events at Buddhist temples and bargain-hunting shopping.

The biggest countdown parties were at the Bund and Xintiandi. A 3D light show with fireworks, the first of its kind in the city, lit up the sky over the Huangpu River. The waterfront promenade was full of people admiring the spectacular show. At Xintiandi, several pop stars from Hong Kong and Taiwan drew a crowd of mostly young people. It was the 10th annual countdown party at Xintiandi by Taipingqiao Lake.

Looking forward to 2012, most people Shanghai Daily spoke to last night expressed wishes for bigger personal achievements in the new year.

Susie Song, an office worker who was at the Xintiandi countdown, said she looked forward to studying in the UK in 2012.

Terry Xu, a salesman who was also at the Xintiandi party, said he was betting on property prices to fall so that he could make a purchase this year.

Starting from 8pm, thousands of people crowded at the Bund on the Puxi side of the Huangpu River, waiting to watch a seven-minute laser light show. Among them was 24-year-old Michael Leibenluft from the United States. The stage director has lived in Shanghai for a year and a half.

"For the upcoming 2012, my biggest wish is for my friends to fall in love with Chinese food," said Leibenluft, who enjoys cooking local cuisine.

Wang Yuliang, 18, from Anhui Province, said he just landed a job in suburban Songjiang District.

"I hope in 2012 I can have a chance to travel around," he said.

For those with a more traditional mindset, Longhua Temple and other Buddhist temples were the preferred places to go last night. Some even paid to strike the temple bells.


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