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The Melbourne Age



Extract of article by Helena Iveson

The Age - The Melbourne Magazine

What do people around the world know about Melbourne? We sent reporters on to the streets of New York, London, Tokyo, Moscow and Beijing to find out. 


Wang Guangfu, 75, retired bank teller 

I like TV programs that tell you about the world, and recently there was one on Australia. Melbourne is the second-biggest city and it sounds like there is a similar rivalry between Melbourne and Sydney as we have between Beijing and Shanghai. I think Melbourne is more cultural like Beijing, but most of the money is in Sydney, just like Shanghai. It's hot there when it's cold here, which I find interesting. One of my great nieces is saving up to go and study there, but she's worried about leaving home. I tell her that Australians are supposed to be friendly people, and that she should explore the world. 

Xiu Linlin, 24, journalist 

I know a little about Melbourne because my boyfriend has gone there to study for a year. He is at the University of Melbourne on an exchange scheme. He's finding it tough as it's really expensive, he doesn't know many people and he isn't allowed to do real work, just things like washing dishes. It's very different from here, where he's an editor at a national newspaper. He says people in Melbourne are much more outgoing than in Beijing: he says people smile at strangers when they're walking down the street. In Beijing, people keep their heads down and push past you. He told me about the crowds of people there for the Commonwealth Games - otherwise I wouldn't have known anything about it. 

Wei Hui Bing, 51, travel agent 

Chinese people are allowed to travel to Australia and it's a popular destination because it's not as far as Europe. People report back good things about Melbourne - they say the traffic is good and people are helpful. They sometimes say it's much quieter and greener than Beijing. I think there are about a million people there. Our travel brochures point out all the old buildings in the city, plus the casinos. Chinese people can't gamble here so that's one thing they love to do on holiday. 

Zhao Long, 32, associate, PR company 

Melbourne is the capital of Australia, isn't it? I know that lots of Chinese people live there and I saw a TV program recently that said it had a Chinese mayor. I can't imagine a foreigner getting an important position like that here. I watch a lot of sport because my eight-year-old son is obsessed with cars, but I don't remember hearing anything about the Commonwealth Games. We follow formula one so we watched the Melbourne race together recently. I imagine that the weather is good, as Australians always look healthy. I can't think of many famous Australians offhand but whenever you see them in newspapers, they look fit. 

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