From Oriental Guardian (May 10):
A smile keeps the troops neat and orderly
Could it be possible that the efforts put forth in making the Smiling Nanjing Program a success have exceeded all of our hopes?
The 2010 Shanghai World Expo has just opened (May 1) and it is expected that an estimated 2 million visitors to the Expo will go on to travel to other parts of China, not excluding the historically significant city of Nanjing in Jiangsu Province. In preparation for this influx of tourists, there has been recruitment for the ‘Smiling Volunteers Program’. Thirteen students have been recruited from the flood of people trying to register via phone and from Jinling University of Technology Department of Gardening to join the ‘Smiling’ team.
“Give me a ticket now!” A young man yells as he squeezes his way up to the front of the line at a ticket counter. The girl at the counter is aghast. ‘Smiling’ volunteer, Wang Fengfeng, quickly walks to his side and says, “Hi there! Would you please get in line to purchase tickets?” A bright smile is spread across her entire face. The young man immediately mutters an apology and walks to the very end of the ticket line. Wang Fengfeng follows him and explains, “Today is World Smiling Day and we’re the Eastern Gazette’s Smiling Volunteers! Here, have a ‘Smiling Button’!” She hands him the souvenir.
“Nanjing is such a civilized place!” the man remarks. This is his first time to Nanjing. He is from Liaoning Province. He explained that he yelled for the ticket because he was afraid there would be none left when he got to the front of the line. “After I saw this girl’s smiling face, I felt really embarrassed. From now on, if I get nervous about something like this, I won’t cut the line.”
“Celebrity Volunteers” attract tourists
Smiling Nanjing volunteers are the city’s best advertisement
In the Tour Guide Center, whenever volunteer She Lianqing is in the building, one will probably see tourists getting excited, saying things like, “This can’t the ‘The Porcelain Doll’ ?!”
As to be expected, She Lianqing’s face is fresh and beautiful. She has a bright smile and large, round eyes. Her namesake comes from the description of first love: genuine and pure, just like that of a porcelain doll. In actuality, tourists ask the prettier volunteers more questions than other volunteers. In fact, tourists will seek out those pretty volunteers, wearing the ‘Smiling Buttons’, and even ask to take a photo with them.
“Oftentimes, when we smile at others, they feel warm inside, as though they are smiling at themselves, and that makes their day even better!” says She LianQing*, looking especially happy.
The Smiling Ambassador, WeiWei (a popular singer of the song “Eating Dumplings”), appeared at Sun Yat-sen’s Temple in Nanjing, drawing numerous fans wanting an autograph. A middle-aged women commented, “Before, you would only hear about famous people but never actually see them. Today, we can finally see his face! [speaking to WeiWei] I am a longtime fan. I still have your songs on my cell phone and even set as my ring tone…” She took out her cellular phone, which immediately started playing one of WeiWei’s songs (“Neat Mass Transit” , 齐公交，Qi Gongjiao). WeiWei let out a very happy laugh.
Bringing a “Nanjing Smile” to the EXPO
In the eyes of tourists, Smiling Nanjing is the best part of the surrounding landscape.
Wearing a thick helmet, huge goggles, and having the spirit of youth, 58-year-old Zhang Wenlai, leans against his mountain bike, resting. Nine days ago, he and three other friends started their journey from Beijing. Their destination? The Expo. They’ve had a smooth journey and are now stopping Nanjing to see the sights. “We want to take Nanjing with us to the Expo, ” Zhang Wenlai said as he accepted a Smiling Button offered to him by one volunteer. He put it in his pocket for safekeeping. After a little rest, they set off on the final leg of their journey to Shanghai, smiling as they rode away.
“Smiling Nanjing is great!” said Usmal. He and his two friends are from Nigeria. They have recently been studying at Hehai University. While they’ve only been living in Nanjing for just over a year, these men have seen the city’s friendly and happy nature expressed nearly everywhere. This year is the Year of the Tiger, “so I’m very very happy”, Usmal said as he jotted something down on a piece of paper. When he moved his hand away, he revealed that he had written his Chinese name: Shi Hu (石虎) .
The past two months have seen a huge number of people advocating the Smiling Movement and it is evident that it has sunk deeply into the hearts of the people. In Nanjing, one can see smiles everywhere: on a ‘smiling wall’ in the office, on outdoor propaganda posters, on the faces of the cafeteria staff, in frequently used internet emoticons. Smiles are everywhere.
According to a Nanjing Sophistication Office press release, “the purpose of Nanjing’s Smiling Movement is to give the city’s volunteers a trademark activity to perform and help cultivate a healthy mindset in the minds of those who work in the city. With these two goals in mind, the Smiling Movement will inevitably pour more life into the city as a whole.”