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'Woodpecker' keeps chipping away at Chinglish

[ 2010-03-15 15:07]     字号 [] [] []  
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Friends of Noyan Rona affectionately tease him with the nickname "woodpecker" because they say he is constantly picking away at ways to improve Shanghai and make the city more agreeable for the millions of foreign visitors attending the Expo.

As the head of the Shanghai Expo's foreign volunteer group in Changning district, 53-year-old Rona is originally from Turkey but has lived in China for 28 years.

Rona fills his days leading a team around the city, correcting misspelled words on English-language signs, directing traffic during rush hour, and teaching taxi drivers English and etiquette so they are prepared for the estimated 3.5 million overseas visitors during the Expo.

"I see myself as a resident of Shanghai rather than a passerby, so it's my responsibility to correct mistakes and bad manners to make life better here," said Rona, who works at a Turkish bank in the city.

Rona said he also finds time for chats with Shanghai Mayor Han Zheng on what can be done to ensure foreign visitors are taken care of during the Expo.

He said the challenge in making foreign visitors feel at home in the city will be more difficult than during the Beijing Olympics because of the number of expected visitors and the length of the Expo.

"People care a great deal about family in China, but they often ignore the bigger 'family' - the community they live in," he said.

A history major from Wuhan University, Rona has been with the Shanghai Expo since 1999, when the city applied to host the event.

A part of the video used to promote Shanghai to Expo organizers was filmed at his home.


(中国日报网英语点津 Helen 编辑)

'Woodpecker' keeps chipping away at Chinglish

About the broadcaster:

'Woodpecker' keeps chipping away at Chinglish

Nelly Min is an editor at China Daily with more than 10 years of experience as a newspaper editor and photographer. She has worked at major newspapers in the U.S., including the Los Angeles Times and the Detroit Free Press. She is fluent in Korean and has a 2-year-old son.