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Brisbane May 18, 1988 - Korean dances impressive; U.S. pavilion is disappointing

By Bob Van Leer

PeopleMover  (BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA, May 18, 1988) - Today we revisited Brisbane's Expo 88 and the standout of what we have seen of the whole Expo was the dancers at the Korea Pavilion. A dozen dancers did a series of Korean folk dances that was outstanding. The female dancers were as pretty as China dolls and their smiles seem to have been painted on along with their makeup. No change of expression was permitted. 

  After breakfast at the hotel (where they serve us strange foods such as Rambutan, a prickly tree fruit from Singapore that has to be peeled like an orange but has the consistency of a clear jelly bean)

we went to the Expo an hour before opening time for a briefing at the Queensland Pavilion. 

  Queensland is the Australian state hosting the Expo. The state's pavilion is the largest, 80,000 square feet, and we thought the best done of the whole expo. Fred Maybury, Queensland's Expo Commissioner, said the state had been working on the project for five hears. Attendance is running double the original projections. For the first 17 days attendance totals 1,336,239.

  Queensland's exhibit includes a very expensive people mover; large cars holding about 15, running on tracks through depictions of the different aspects of Queensland. What happens to something such as that after the fair? Maybury said the equipment will probably be sold for use in the 1992 World's Fair in Seville, Spain. He also said that there is a traveling group of fair workers who travel from exposition to exposition.

  The biggest disappointment of the Expo to us was the U.S. Pavilion. The only thing it featured was sports and that was poorly done. Riding back to our hotel our cab driver discreetly sounded out our opinion of the U.S. Pavilion and, after we told him what we thought, he volunteered that the local people were disappointed also. He did say, also, that the Russian Pavilion wasn't much either.

  Observations of the crowd on the grounds are that it is mainly white, perhaps 80 percent, with a significant number of Orientals and hardly any Indians or Blacks.

  The Japanese Pavilion featured a new television concept called the HiVision System. This uses twice as many lines as our present TV system and produces images they say are five times better in definition. This is easy to believe, as images on screens the size of small movie screens had sharper images than movies.

  The South Pacific Island nations jointly put a native village that is a peaceful island, complete with palm trees, in the center of the busy fair. Under palm-thatched roofs we heard about the delights of island nations such as the Solomon's, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu and the Cook Islands. They did not tell us, however, about big troubles in paradise. Tonight's top headline in The Courier-Mall reads, "Australia sends tear gas to Vila", the capital of Vanuatu, after a riot involving more than 10 percent of the population of the capitol city.

  All is not well in the South Pacific. This has been a stable part of the world for decades but the stability seems to be coming apart. In one issue of The Courier-Mall yesterday I counted six stories of regional unrest with headlines, "Kanak killings spark inquiry call", "Radical blacks may take over lobby groups", "Protester dies as riots rock Vanuatu".

  Our visits to Expo are over and tomorrow we tour Brisbane before boarding an overnight train to Sydney.

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