Shanghai World Expo 2010>My View
UPDATED: April 26, 2010 Web Exclusive
'Beijing Is My Favorite City!'


Interviewee: Guan Furong, female, 52, a peddler

Place of birth: Rural Fengcheng County, Dandong City, northeast China's Liaoning Province

Current residence: Xuanwu District, downtown Beijing

Cities visited: Shenyang, Qingdao, Tianjin, Xi'an, Nanning, Baise, Changsha, Changchun and Dalian

Understanding of "Better City, Better Life": Harmony, clean air and convenient transportation. The most important thing is the people there are kind and warmhearted. As an old Chinese saying goes, "Step back and you'll have a brighter future." People living in the city should be tolerant and understand each other.

Oral history:

I was born in a village, the third of four children. After finishing high school, I got married and had a baby daughter. At age 29, I divorced my husband and supported my child by selling melon seeds in the village. Then I moved to the Fengcheng County and ran a fruit stall there for about 16 years.

I had not been anywhere outside the province until 2001, when I paid a visit to my sick daughter who at the time worked in Qingdao, a coastal city in east Shandong Province.

On my way home, I decided to stop in Beijing just because I had seen Tiananmen Square, which is known as the "very heart of the capital city," only in pictures and books. When I stood in the center of Tiananmen Square, I was so excited that I decided to extend my stay from the scheduled three days to a whole month.

Compared with my hometown, Beijing made me feel better, because it is bigger, cleaner, more crowded and the traffic conditions are more convenient.

I came to Beijing again in 2002 and had no intention of going back. I settled down in a 6-square-meter room in Hepingmen, where I still live today. My landlord, a local who was sympathetic to my experience, charged me only 300 yuan ($37) per month. I guess this is probably the cheapest rental fee in the downtown area. I make a living by selling little red flags, umbrellas and souvenirs.

As the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games approached, I considered becoming a volunteer but failed because I was unable to speak any foreign language. I also planned to watch a game in an Olympic venue but failed again because the tickets were all sold out.

I finally found my own way of supporting the Olympics by writing lyricsit took me several days to finish my first-ever lyrics for A Harmonious World. To my astonishment, the work I sent to the Olympic theme song office was awarded, and the prize was an album they sent back with my song included. It fueled my passion for writing lyrics.

I also traveled to several cities across the country with the Olympic torch relay to show my support, from northeast Changchun and central Changsha to southwest Nanning and northwest Xi'an. It was probably the most expensive trip I've ever made, but I think it was worth it to see tens of thousands of people outside Beijing who shared the same passion for the Olympic Games as I did.

As the Shanghai World Expo drew near, I wrote Together for the World Expo in March this year to show my support. I sent it to Wang Chunyi, an amateur composer and retired teacher in southernmost Hainan Province. We met each other at a national music seminar and have collaborated several times. He is great and nice.

Singing has been my hobby since childhood. Whenever I'm in a good mood, I will take the day off, find a quiet place in west Beijing's Xiangshan Park and sing my own songs.

In September 2009, I joined the Red Song Chorus, an amateur chorus group for older people. At 2 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday, we assemble for practice at Jingshan Park and the Temple of Heaven, respectively. It really makes me very happy to sing and chat with more than 20 friends at Beijing's most famous and historic sites on the weekends. In the music world, I can get rid of all the hardships I've been through. A song I wrote for the chorusSing, Red Song!was selected for inclusion in the group's music book, which made me very proud.

Beijing is my favorite city, because it is the country's capital, the security here is good, and local people are nice to non-locals. I like taking the subway because it is convenient and because the ticket price, 2 yuan ($0.3) per ride, is quite cheap.

I'm planning to go to Shanghai in May because I've never been there before and I've heard the city is full of foreign styles. More importantly, I'd like to visit the Expo site and see whether it is as wonderful as I wrote in the lyrics.

Lyrics of Together for the World Expo


The Goddess of the Moon talks to the Weaving Woman over telephone.

The World Expo will kick off in Shanghai, so let's descend to Earth to have a visit there.

The Weaving Woman smiles and replies, "I talked to my husband Niu Lang. We will bring our kids together to visit the Expo."

The Expo is the most spectacular gala on Earth.

The Expo can cross borders. Take as few planes and ships as you can. It is wonderful to visit as many pavilions as you can. Every view and scene there is carefully selected and well designed. You'll see the whole world after visiting every corner of the Expo site.

The Expo can cross time. The history and the present are strung together. Ancient civilizations are presented. Innovations in science and technology are eye-catching. Try various kinds of cuisine. The food is mouthwatering and can't be finished at one time.

Come here and take a look. The Expo is the largest museum on Earth. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Come here and take a look. People in China welcome people around the world with open arms and hospitality.

(March 17, 2010 in Beijing)

(Note: The Weaving Woman, Zhi Nu in Chinese, is a goddess in an ancient Chinese fairy tale who lives in the Milky Way.)

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