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Macau brings century-old pawnshop to Expo 2010

CONSTRUCTION began today on a replica of a nearly century-old pawnshop from Macau at the World Expo 2010 site as the special administrative region's Urban Best Practices Area exhibit.

Macau will rebuild the 1,949-square-meter pawnshop at the Expo and operate it as it did nearly a century ago, said Ieong Pou Yee, Macau's Expo preparation authority.

Macau will also show visitors how the old pawnshop was protected and rebuilt at Expo 2010, said Yee.

The Tak Seng On Pawnshop was built in 1917 by Ko Ho Ning, a famous Macau businessman. It was Macau's largest pawnshop in the first half of the 20th century. Its business gradually declined through the 1980s until it finally closed in 1993.

The special administrative government allocated 1.4 million patacas (US$175,000) to restore the privately-owned pawnshop in 2001 and turned it into a museum. The government also set up some cultural salons in the pawnshop, including a readers' salon for Louis Cha, a world famous Hong Kong kung fu novelist. The pawnshop has become an important cultural site as well as a popular venue.

The "pawnshop pavilion" is on the Puxi side of the Expo site. The pavilion will be finished before the end of the year.

Macau will also build a "rabbit lantern" pavilion for its Expo 2010 exhibit. It will be near China Pavilion.

Macau today launched a week-long promotion campaign at the Expo Exhibition Center on No.300 Huaihai Road M. to introduce its Expo exhibition plan to local people. The highlight of the exhibition will be a model of the "rabbit lantern" pavilion.

The pavilion will be wrapped with a double-layer glass membrane and feature fluorescent screens on its outer walls. Balloons will serve as the head and tail of the "rabbit" and these can be moved up and down to attract visitors.

The exhibition will be through next Monday. People can visit the exhibition from 9am to 5pm free.


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