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January 19, 2010

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Shanghai to put own touch on Expo fetes

THE opening and closing ceremonies of the 2010 Expo will be spectacular - but different in style from those of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Shanghai's deputy mayor said yesterday.

Instead of echoes of the Olympics, people should expect extravaganzas with plenty of Shanghai characteristics, Deputy Mayor Yang Xiong said at a press conference in Beijing yesterday.

The Expo organizer has decided the opening ceremony will be held on the night of April 30 and the closing ceremony on October 31.

Rehearsals have started on some performances for the ceremonies, Yang said. He declined to elaborate on detailed plans for the ceremonies and invited people to watch them on television at that time.

The events will take place indoors at both the Expo Center and Performance Center, as well as outdoors along the Huangpu River, the organizer has said.


"The Expo organizer will spare no efforts to ensure a happy and safe World Expo to visitors from across the world," Yang said.

In answer to questions, Yang said he wasn't overly worried that Shanghai's image would be tarnished by locals wearing pajamas in public or speaking non-standard English.

"We shall not take this phenomenon too seriously," Yang said at the press conference of the State Council Information Office.

Some Shanghai communities have seen volunteers confront pajama-wearers and urge them to put on something more appropriate for the outdoors.

Yang didn't directly comment on those citizen campaigns, but said he believed Shanghai people will give up the habit gradually, especially after the 2010 event.

As for non-standard English, Yang said most locals' spoken English will be fine for daily uses so long as foreigners can understand, but the city must avoid misleading signboard translations.

Visitor comfort

Yang suggested letting "Shanghai-style English" develop and improve gradually by itself.

At the press conference, Expo organizers outlined steps they're taking to ensure visitors' comfort.

For example, they said visitors will find a shuttle bus station every 250 meters within the 5.28-square-kilometer Expo site, and buses will roll by every minute.

Visitors will be no more than a five-minute walk from food stalls at any given time.

Visitors can drink free and clean water every 100 meters. The site will have more than 2,000 taps in 95 locations - important, because water and other drinks will be banned at the entrance.


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