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Yao Ming’s facial expression appears on Egyptian traffic sign

By Zhang Tianrui (People's Daily Online)    15:50, September 30, 2016

An illustrated version of Chinese basketball star Yao Ming’s face now appears on traffic signs in Luxor, Egypt, along with the instructions “do not reverse,” according to photos posted by a netizen on Sept. 29. A local guide explained that Yao’s likeness is recognized throughout Egypt, though many Egyptian people don’t realize he is a basketball star, or even his name.

Yao has been gaining popularity in Egypt for quite some time. Yao’s face first began to appear on Egyptian Facebook users’ accounts in the form of illustrations, generally employed to criticize or ridicule hot-button issues. Soon, the picture was embraced by more netizens, becoming popular and widely used.

Known as "Chinese funny face," Yao’s facial expression was also the subject of a column in the Egyptian Gazette, an English-language daily established in 1880. Yao made the now famous expression during an interview after the 2009 Western Conference semifinals. Asked about how it felt to throw himself into the audience to catch the ball, Yao's teammate, Ron Artest, said the spectators had already prepared a beer for him. Upon hearing Artest's humorous quip, the popular expression appeared on Yao’s face.

Responding to his popularity online, Yao said he was pleased to bring joy to so many netizens.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Zhang Tianrui, Bianji)

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