Two years ago, China made a statement to the world that they were going to be a huge presence on the international stage – and are here to stay.
This year, they reiterate that same message as they host Expo 2010. The Shanghai Expo 2010 began this past weekend, and it will go all the way up to October 31, 2010. The mascot for the expo is this Gumby-like character called Haibao (who was everywhere that is a huge tourist destination).
While I was in Shanghai last year I saw all the construction that they were doing in preparation for it, and really it’s quite impressive. It is the largest world fair to date, covering about 5.28 square kilometers. (You know that saying that everything in Texas is big? Well guess what – China does everything bigger and grander – just look at the Olympics for reference). The government spent more on this expo than they did with the Olympics, and it shows with its grandiose display of fireworks during the opening ceremony, elaborate performances, more bathroom facilities (very important! especially for tourists!) and over a million volunteers. The cost is reportedly $58 billion compared to $42 million for the Olympics.
They also spent a lot of time correcting many of their signs so as to remove the bad ‘Chinglish’ that can fill the streets of China, especially since they incite laughter rather than respect and seriousness.
Almost 200 countries and organizations are participating and have their own pavilions. The pavilions are what I consider the most amazing pieces of architecture, as each building is supposed to represent something about the country. Plenty of celebrities have come to the Expo event, including heads of states, Jackie Chan (who sang the theme song “City”) and Andrea Bocelli.
Plenty of celebrities have made appearances at the Expo, whether they performed or are featured in the videos playing within the pavilions. For example, U-Know Yunho, some Super Junior members (including Choi Siwon and Eunhyuk), and f(x) appear in the 12-minute video clip called “Chorus City.” Lee Jun Ki also represented South Korea at the event (don’t know how he’ll do the promotional events while at the army though). Hong Kong stars like Jacky Cheung, Eason Chan and other stars recorded a theme song to be played at the Hong Kong pavilion.
South Korea’s pavilion was designed based off the 20 characters in the alphabet, while China’s reflects the old-styled pagoda pavilions. China even has individual pavilions for its many provinces. Japan’s pavilion is supposed to resemble a “breathing organism” to represent both humans and technology fused together. Denmark’s pavilion even included a national historical monument of the Little Mermaid.
Fujian Province and Shanghai Province Pavilions:
Beijing and Hong Kong Pavilions
South Korea pavilion: