Suggestion for Shanghai 2010

After the Shanghai EXPO has opened more than two months, and after I have visited four times, here is the most important suggestion for Shanghai government. It is good that government recognizes the permanent value of China Pavilion and will maintain it indefinitely for the public to visit. I believe the Provincial Pavilions should also be preserved. The two Pavilions should be joined together. China Pavilion provides one central theme and unified thought about the Chinese civilization – proud and rich and meaningful enough for the whole world to see. The Provincial Pavilions provide multifaceted and magnificent views of China’s provinces and special areas. The visits of Zhejiang Pavilion, Shanxi Pavilion, Tibet Pavilion, Xinjiang Pavilion, Hainan Pavilion, etc. would be more than sufficient to prove their permanent values. China Pavilion together with Provincial Pavilions can naturally become the must-see culture venue for domestic and foreign visitors alike. They are good enough to become the Museum of China and its Provinces for the whole world to know and see, not only for the Chinese people. Shanghai would be the logical place to maintain and preserve this precious and wonderful legacy. Chinese everywhere (mainland and overseas) and peoples of all nations would want to take a good look of China and Provincial Pavilions because they are historical, cultural and wonderful.

You may ask how to pay for the management and maintenance of such a huge building and related costs? Revenue can be positively generated by the following means:

1.       Admission fee is charged for each visit. The Pavilions are open all year round.

2.       Parking fees.

3.       Annual membership fee is paid once a year for unlimited visits during the year.

4.       The Pavilion Foundation shall be set up as a trust to receive fees and donations and patronage in order to run and maintain the exhibits continuously indefinitely.

5.       Patronage donation of one million yuan will get one’s name or company’s name engraved in a marble war inside China & Provincial Pavilions. The larger the donation, the larger the inscription. People can even donate to have inscriptions in honor of their loved ones who passed away.

6.       Gifts shop profit. Gift shops sell post cards of China and Provincial Pavilions, memorabilia, tokens, T shirts, knickknacks, all sorts of gifts that visitors would be interested to buy and take home or give to friends and relatives, etc.

7.       Concession payment. Concessions may be granted for fast food, restaurant, sale of food and drink.

8.       Services provided by volunteers. Volunteers are non-paid workers to provide services to visitors as guides, helpers, resource persons, information officers, renting wheelchairs, keeping the premises clean, etc.

9.       Various program activities include special exhibits and conferences, sales, lectures and movies, visits by the important and famous people, books signing, etc.

10.   If needs be, subsidy may be granted by Shanghai or Central government.

11.   I am convinced with good management and a small dedicated staff, China & Provincial Pavilions may be financially self-sufficient and even making a small yearly profit if the programs of actions suggested are followed with enthusiasm and done effectively.

12. After visiting Expo 2010 Shanghai China ten times, this is to summarize my critical experience:

A. China Pavilion has proudly succeeded in representing China’s 5,000 years of civilization. In particular the famous picture of “Riverside Scene at Qingming Festival” illustrates the charms of an ancient Chinese city life. It is the Crown Jewel of the Expo; no wonder millions and millions of peoples wanted and have visited the Pavilion.

B. There are many beautiful and worthwhile pavilions at China's Joint Provincial Pavilion and I have voted Zhejiang Pavilion as the no. 1. The beautiful scene of spring peach blossoms at West Lake is most spectacular.

C. The Chinese Private Enterprises Joint Pavilion offers the most spectacular, splendid, and beautiful Climax Show that you will never forget.

D. Lining up at about 11 a.m. at Japan Pavilion, more lining up even after entering the pavilion, watching the exhibits and shows took one hour, when I got out it was after 6 p.m. During the whole long process you were deprived of going to restroom and afraid of drinking water. Although there were interesting features like a machine that can turn sewage into drinking water and an electronic wall with virtual televisions, clocks and bookshelves – I believe spending more than 7 hours of suffering for such experience was a stupid thing I have ever done in my life.

13. After visiting Expo 2010 Shanghai China 15 times, I can safely conclude:

A.     Without doubt, Shanghai has done well, and the EXPO 2010 is technically a great success, because it has provided the largest and best EXPO in history and achieved and surpassed its goal of attracting more than 70 million visitors. Contrary to the view of a white supremacist, “The contrast between a rising China and a flagging America is reinforced by the Shanghai Expo, a festival of national self-congratulation spread along the banks of the Huangpu River.”

B.     Thank God, no terrorist attack or major accident or incident ever happened. This speaks well of Shanghai security forces and all security measures taken.

C.    In retrospect, one has learned important things. Probably 99.99% of all visitors experienced the first time of visiting a world EXPO of this size. I met some interesting people from many parts of the world.

D.    The positive factors are that people have experienced and saw things which they have never done or known before. Shanghai EXPO has impacted every resident of Shanghai directly, and indirectly every Chinese of the mainland and overseas Chinese all over the world. It is unlikely that Shanghai or China will do another EXPO in our lifetime.

E.      If Shanghai knew all the facts in advance, probably Shanghai would also do a few things differently, such as preventing crowds from pushing, more convenient transportation, shorter line-up times, etc. The volunteers have overwhelmingly done a very good service, although a few gave visitors misdirection.

F.      If I had known all the facts I would have done a little differently.

In my definition, stupidity is doing a not worthwhile thing. In retrospect, lining up 6 hours for Japan Pavilion and watched 1 hour programs – a total of 7 hours deprived of using restroom or drinking water was one of the stupid things I had ever done in my life. Not only Japan Pavilion, all pavilions that required 3 hours or more that I had visited were not worthwhile. How about those who were willing to line up 12 hours for a certain pavilion? Let you be the judge. Out the EXPO line-up emerged some ugly and bad experiences. One quickly learned the meaning of what was “unpleasant” with dirty, noisy, and disorderly (DND) crowds. The most obnoxious were those who insisted they had the right to smoke while lining up in close encounter with thousands of people to enter the EXPO. Another was bad breath.

G.  There are a few unusual and unforgettable experiences to mention:

It was no easy task to obtain China Pavilion reservation tickets when millions and millions of visitors competed for them, but visiting China Pavilion was worth all the sufferings and pains and hardships. The famous picture of Riverside Scene at Qingming Festival is a great masterpiece. There is nothing like it in the world. Zhejiang Pavilion and the Climax Show of the Chinese Private Enterprises Joint Pavilion were unforgettable. Riding a Cable Car at Switzerland Pavilion was also interesting. Let all nations and cities learn the big lesson: long lines are definitely not the feature of Better City, Betty Life.

14. Expo 2010 Shanghai China has demonstrated that the nations of the world could come together to show off their national treasures, cultural characteristics, ways of life, and special inventions or products, etc. in a friendly and constructive manner. One idea having permanent value emerges from this unusual collective experience is the fact that Better Life comes from Better City, Better City should make Better Life– and that continuous improving the way of life should be the universal concern of mankind.

15. Shanghai Expo 2010 has demonstrated to the world what China can do in many fronts and did it very well.

October 31, 2010 

Willie Wong
Chinese for China: Home

Copyright © 2010  - 2018 by Willie Wong


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