B. Reading Text 2

Read the passage below and answer the questions that follow.

Even Jules Verne or Aldous Huxley could not have imagined such a world- a complete city that could accommodate more than 50000 people totally beneath the earth’s surface. Science fiction? No, today’s reality. Faced with nowhere to expand and yet a mushrooming population, Asian cities, such as Hong Kong and Singapore, have had to squeeze taller and taller buildings into less and less space. But one Oriental city has been experimenting with a different method and the result is the largest underground urban complex in the world – Osaka’s Rainbow Town.

            Deep beneath the earth is a completely controlled environment in which hundreds of thousands of people go about their daily business oblivious to the world above. Some, like the shop workers and sales personnel, never see the sun except on weekends. They arrive early each morning by subway and do not surface until after sunset. Rainbow Town is so complex and huge that one can actually get lost. For this reason, I was fortunate to have the town’s mayor as my guide. The subterranean metropolis took eight years to construct, he explained, as we strolled down the main boulevard which was crowded with shoppers. The project was designed as a municipal undertaking in the hope of redeveloping the highly congested and polluted southern district of Osaka by connecting all parts of the city to it by subway.

            This was aimed at solving the traffic problem, overcoming the pollution and permitting a vast shopping complex which would easily be accessible to millions of people. It also would provide a vast area on the surface which would be free for recreational development. The idea paid off, and for more than a decade, between 500,000 and a million people have visited Rainbow Town on weekends. Nearly all are transported by subway. The city is not only unaffected by surface climatic changes and temperature, but also temporal ones. Open 365 days a year, it has no night, being perpetually illuminated. In the winter, the temperature remains electronically-controlled 25degrees Celsius and in summer, 20 degrees.

            Why the name ‘Rainbow’? I asked the mayor. “Rainbows, like towns, were once found only above the ground,” he answered with a broad smile. “But we created one here to be a symbol of how man has no limits to his creative powers. In fact, we have two different kinds of rainbow here.”

            The first is immediately visible as one descends into this futuristic world. The motion of the crowds passing through the entrance tunnel triggers special photo-electronic cells which activate electronic music and a polychrome, neon rainbow effect on the ceiling and walls. The second is an equally complex electronic affair. Located in the heart if the city’s main plaza, it is comprised of 2000 nozzles which project streams of water three meters into the air. This waterfall-in-reverse is illuminated by means of intricate ‘rainbow’ lenses- a tribute to man’s genius.

            As we continued along the main boulevard, the mayor told me this broad, car-free street, lined with brightly-lit shops- stretched for 1000 meters and would be expanded. Off the main street, numerous side lanes, each with a different floral name, branched out as far as one could see. There were almost 400 stores along these lanes which catered to man’s every material need. What impressed me was how so many stores selling identical items were able to successfully compete. Just in our ten minute walk, we must have passed a dozen shoe stores, a dozen candy shops and two dozen clothing stores.

            “We have a 100% occupancy rate and business is booming,” said the mayor. “The combined sales from all the different privately owned stores is US$1.6 million a year. Some people warned us that the novelty of the town would wear off but that was 12 years ago and we are still going strong. We are even expanding.”

                  Extracted  from “City Beneath the Earth” by Earl Vinecour. (Asia Magazine, Aug 1 1982)

  1. What is the main idea in the first paragraph?

A             Jules Vern’s version of an underground world

B             A city beneath the earth’s surface

C             A world faced with mushrooming pupolation

D             A city of skyscraper

  1. Which of the following statements is true about the Rainbow Town?\

A             It is cut off from the world above

B             It has its own type of vegetation

C             It has its own skyscrapers

D             It is not affected by weather

  1. The expression ‘subterranean metropolis’ (line 14) means

A             extraordinary city

B             complex city

C             underground city

D             artificial city

  1. Why does the writer say that Rainbow Town has no night? (line 26)?

A             It has rainbows throughout the year

B             It is well lit throughout the year

C             It is built underground

D             It has no sun throughout the year

  1. What do you think makes possible the futuristic world (line 29)?

A             The endless crowd

B             The waterfall-in-reverse

C             The rainbow effect on the ceiling and walls

D             The high level of technology

  1. What conclusion could you draw from the 6th paragraph?

A             Rainbow Town is a haven for shoppers

B             Rainbow Town is a complex car-free metropolis

C             Rainbow Town is a maze of roads and streets

D             Man’s every material need is never adequate

  1. In what way is the warning, in the last paragraph, “that the novelty of the town would wear off” unfounded?

A             The total sales reach US$1.6 million a year

B             The town is still going strong after 12 years

C             Business is booming

D             There is a 100% occupancy rate

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