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August 16, 2010

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Turkey's 'little hero' a surprise hit at the Expo

A TURKISH boy has become the "little hero" of the Ismir Pavilion in the Urban Best Practices Area at the World Expo.

Mustafa Efe Aiden, 9, has also become one of the youngest workers at the Expo as he sometimes stamps passports, guides visitors and acts as an interpreter - he speaks fluent Chinese, Turkish and English.

Aiden's parents also work at the Expo site. His father is vice director of the Izmir Pavilion, which features a sewage treatment project, and his mother is a fortune teller at the Turkey Pavilion.

His work at the Izmir Pavilion just kind of happened.

"I like to help after I finish my homework," Aidan told Shanghai Daily. "But I have too much homework to do (most of the time)."

He started coming to the pavilion to do his homework when there was no one at home to take care of him. But Aiden soon turned his Expo visits into personal shows, giving visitors vivid introductions to the pavilion.

Now he's a bit of a "star" and is popular with many visitors. People are most likely to see Aiden on weekdays, especially from Tuesday to Thursday.

When he introduces people to the pavilion, Aiden usually will say something like: "Izmir has the best sky, best beach and best air. If you come to Turkey, you'll fall in love with the country."

He likes to be called Efe, which means hero in Turkish.

Proud of his name, the "little hero" will sometimes put on a costume to serve visitors and dance to the beat of Turkish music.

"I like the Expo," he said. "I like the volunteers." Aiden came to China six years ago with his parents and for the first five years they lived in Beijing.

The boy is qualified to be an interpreter, at least in the eyes of his parents. Both of them do not speak Chinese well, so Aiden always stands out when the family is with locals.

He even sometimes helps interpret when his mother is reading fortunes at the Turkey Pavilion.

Aiden can also read and write simple Chinese characters, but he said it's not easy. "The Chinese characters are so hard," said Aiden, who dreams of becoming a paleontologist in future.


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