John So, Mayor of Melbourne

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Mayor of Amsterdam
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Mayor of Melbourne
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Mayor Rama writes - Mayor Bakoyannis replies

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Comments in support of
John So
Mayor of Melbourne (Australia)

The finalists for the 2006 World Mayor Award were chosen on the number of votes received as well as on the persuasiveness and conviction of supporting statements. Below we publish an representative selection of comments received about the mayor.

Comment: John So is a person who continues to bring together peoples of all nationalities by recognising the importance and benefits of different cultures. Melbourne is truly one of the great cities of the world, particularly through its diversity, safety, education and transport facilities. The people of Melbourne have opened their hearts to John So, as he has done to them.

Comment: I am a teenager living in Melbourne and I am extremely proud to have John So as my city's Lord Mayor.

Comment: I strongly believe, along with other fellow Melbourneans, that Lord Mayor John So truly deserves the World Mayor title. Not only is he a funny and intelligent character, but he has a big heart and is very much involved with charitable works. The Mayor of Melbourne is an inspiring role model for many to look up to. Even though he has an accent when speaking English, he doesn't let it bother him, keeps his chin up and uses humour. He has a good educational background and has followed through with his children's education as well. I could go on and write a million word essay on why Lord Mayor John So of Melbourne should win the World Mayor title and why he is just the most lovable person, but i must stop here. I hope this vote counts towards the tally. cheers.

Comment: I have not met a Mayor wanting to do so much for a City then John So. A true AUSTRALIAN story where multiculturalism has excelled. John So makes me proud to be a Melbournian, Australian.

Comment: Unlike mayors in the past, John So has taken bold initiatives to put Melbourne at the forefront of the world. By delivering the 2006 Commonwealth Games, he put Melbourne in the global spotlight, ramping up the city's reputation and lifting the morale of its people. For these efforts, John So was fanatically cheered every time a dignitary addressed him at the games. Political analysts and media all around Australia had to pause to consider why he was fancied so. As one prominent tabloid puts it, 'any aspiring politician can only dream of' such public endorsement. To this point in time, So has perhaps become a living icon for Melbourne. Artists have designed t-shirts in his name; fans have put together websites and discussion forums about him; mugs with his portrait are sold at local markets; one rock band went so far as to release an album about him. Perhaps most surprising of all, the natives even gave to him a cloak traditionally passed down among tribal leaders. No doubt, So has garnered all this because of his superior governing abilities and strong sense of social responsibility. Unlike his predecessors, he seems to be everywhere. One day we hear him making controversial revamps to the city's transport system. The next day, he is out there promulgating radical plans to redevelop the heart of Melbourne's shopping precinct. Yet what So has done in this managerial sense, so too have many mayors around the world. What truly differentiates So is, in the words of one journalist, his near-cult status‚. This is a phenomenon rarely seen in this day and age where people are often too busy to pause for two seconds to give credit to their statesmen. In So's case, people seem to like him. And so one must wonder, is So to Melbourne as Opera House is to Sydney? I would venture to suggest so.

Comment: John So is a magnet that brings all Melburnians together. He is a gentle and unassuming fellow who seems to genuinely have his fellow citizens at heart. A ready smile, a warm heart and a concern for all who live in Melbourne. We are greatly blessed to have such a Mayor. Long may he remain with us, as he crosses all political boundaries with his warmth and humanity.

Comment: I am a resident of Melbourne and have been all my life and Cr So has been an incredible ambassador for his city. He has even become so popular, it has prompted radio stations and bands over here to make songs about him.

Comment: John So was the first directly elected mayor in Melbourne. A success that demonstrates his confidence and ability to harmonize with the mainstream culture despite being a minority. Mr. So has done a lot to improve the welfare of the citizens and the environment of Melbourne City. He is also actively working on building a closer economic cooperation between Melbourne and other Asian Cities. I strongly recommend Mr. John So to you though Mr. John So and I do not know each other.

Comment: He is the lovable face and the persona of an unbelievably awesome city! He has done wonders in promoting Melbourne and highlighting its numerous attractions and offerings.

Comment: He is a legend, Everyone loves him. If he doesn't win it, then this award is a farce. He promotes everything good about Melbourne, and Australia. He is well received, came from another country to prosper here, the Australian way, and has been given an equal chance.

Comment: John So is not only a popular person, but has a passion and enthusiasm for his job and life that is contageous. He is also a fun loving person (as he has proved in many public occasions) and is not affraid to make fun of himself. He is a genuine nice guy too.

Comment: John So for World Mayor; heck John So for World President!!!!!!! Just keep Melbourne his base so we don't lose him.

Comment: John So is a rockstar in a mayors body! The entire city loves him like no other man before him. proof can be seen in the 2006 Commonwealth games closing ceremony. He scores bigger cheers than all other honoured guests. In the end when a guest was makin a speech they would say "John So" and the crowd would erupt!

Comment: Although an immigrant from China, this man has adopted and epitomises the Australian ideals, culture etc. He's such a proud Australian and does so much work for the country. An outstanding candidate!

Comment: Lord Mayor John So encapsulates the multicultural flavour of Melbourne. He has also proven to be a hit with the people of Melbourne with his cheeky grin and oh so cute slightly lilting accent. He is a true Melbournian and not only does he love Melbourne, Melbourne loves him.

Comment: As a young person, (when i was 14), I enjoyed the honor of meeting Mr So when i was on a tour of Melbourne's China Town. Now I’m 19 and studying youth work, and my choir (The Victorian State Singers) this year sang at a restaurant for Mr So. He is such a lovely, charismatic man who gives so much attention to youth culture. He deserves the role of being World Mayor because of the fact that he is genuine, and he is forward thinking for the greater community.

Comment: I don't even live in Melbourne but know that John is probably the best mayor any city could ever hope for. He's done so much for that city, he's always out and about and pushing the city forwards. He's massively popular and he gets stuff done. There’s no mayor that is as in touch with the citizens of that city (especially the youth) as John is. I wish John was mayor of Adelaide, because he'd make this city a whole lot better than it is.

Comment: John So has captured the imagination of the people of his city. He is especially done so with young people. Where else in the world do people under 25 cheer and stamp and shout out his name?

Comment: He is the nicest person we have in OZ

Comment: John So is a wonderful inspiration to all Australian immigrants and proves that immigrants can succeed in any way they want as long as they try their hardest. His hosting of the 2006 Commonwealth Games showed how hard working and committed he is to the City of Melbourne. He is popular with the people of Melbourne, and this is shown by the release of the song John So is my Bro!

Comment: John So is almost universally popular in Melbourne because he is 'of the people'. He doesn't hide away in his office, but rather engages with the people and is charismatic and appears to genuinely care about what he does. His positive, self-deprecating manner is refreshing in politics - I have never heard him put down an opponent.

Comment: John So personifies the happy and eager spirit of all Melbournians and constantly strives to make Melbourne the greatest city to live in. His representation of the multicultural society of the city and his immense passion for his job says a great deal about the people of Melbourne.

Comment: He is highly involved in tourism, ethnic community welfare issues, and promoting Melbourne as a great multicultural city, revolving around business, arts and sport. I believe John So is a amazing ambassador for our multicultural city and ever since he was first elected as Mayor, our city came alive. He is such a kind hearted man, and even though he grew up living in Hong Kong, he loves this city just as much as the people living in it do. As he makes me proud to be a Melbournian, he inspires us all with his hard work by turning Melbourne into the great city that it is and he definitely deserves to be awarded World Mayor. Thank you.

Comment: The Mayor arrived here from Hong Kong at 17 and has achieved so much.  He is so popular and he is so good for our beautiful city.  He was greeted like a rock star at the Commonwealth Games. I think he should be World Mayor 2006.

Comment: Even as an Australian living in London, I am unable to escape the city of Melbourne passion for their mayor, John So. In the words of the t-shirt I just ordered: "John So is my bro!"

Comment: I have lived away from Melbourne for 3 years but when I returned home earlier this year I was amazed at how good the city look. It was sparkling, with shopping strips revitalised, new parks, a great sporting area and brand new waterfront areas. John So is a legend in the city and is very personable making appearances at varied events. John So is the best!

Comment: Mr So is passionate about Melbourne. In everything he says and does publicly he passionately promotes our City and all that it has to offer. Melbournians themselves are passionate about their city, which is why they are so endeared to Mr So. He represents the passion of the people in the tireless performance of his public duties. Besides his passion he is a very kind hearted man.

Comment: John So is an intelligent, articulate and exceptionally community-orientated Lord Mayor, whose terms in office are testament to his incredible popularity and commitment to good local governance for Melbourne. He is a popular media personality, and takes every opportunity to promote Melbourne as a multicultural, vibrant and happening city of the world.

Comment: The Lord Mayor has united the ethnic communities of Melbourne as never before. He has brought a sense of humour and common touch to the title so ordinary people can relate to him.

Comment: John So is of Chinese origin and came to office experiencing the usual difficulty some from his background have in mastering the English language.  It is obvious that he has made enormous effort to overcome this.  He promotes the City of Melbourne tirelessly and effectively displaying a wonderful sense of humour, which is thoroughly appreciated by Melbournians.  He has an infectious laugh and manages to find humour in most situations. He has been responsible for improving life in the central business district and organising large and very successful public celebrations on appropriate occasions.  This has endeared him to Melbournians. He has been the victim of a shameful snub by the Premier of the State of Victoria and I am proud to say 90,000 people of Melbourne displayed their disgust at the snub and their support of John So by engaging in prolonged cheering when John So's name was mentioned by the Head of the Commonwealth Games organisation at the opening ceremony of the games held in Melbourne. This action has been thoroughly endorsed by the public.  In my opinion he is thoroughly deserving of recognition in the World Mayor survey.

Comment: I believe that John So is the worthy candidate for this award for his countless and continuing contribution to the city of Melbourne. He has united the city behind him and has been passionate and true in his actions. The Commonwealth Games in particular were a great success due to his leadership and welcoming attitude to tourists. The people of Melbourne agree unanimously on this as seen in the popular chant, John So is my bro, not to mention a single made in his honour. Mr. So has united and interested the youth of Melbourne, which is a tremendous effort considering how often these days the youth are misunderstood. Mr. So ought to be congratulated for his fine effort in all these areas. And So (pun intended) there is only one thing left to do, pronounce John So as World Mayor for all his contributions to the city of Melbourne and the state of Victoria, Australia.

Comment: I'm a new resident of Melbourne having moved from Chicago.  Mr. So's tireless work to promote and improve accessibility of Melbourne to its citizens and visitors is most impressive.

Comment: John So is by far the most passionate and energetic Australian leader in public office today and he lends the power of his office and the Melbourne City Council to a huge variety of worthwhile causes. I am sure that John So works 23 hours a day, for he makes himself available to everyone and what is more, he does it with unbridled enthusiasm! He is a wonderful Australian, an outstanding community leader and all Melbournians are proud to have him as our Lord Mayor. This was evidenced by the fact that he received the longest and loudest ovation of all the dignitaries from the 90,000+ crowd, at the he opening of the Commonwealth Games.

Comment: Mr John So was the first directly elected Lord Mayor of the Melbourne City Council in 2001. Initially his election to Mayor of Melbourne was met with extensive public disapproval as it was suggested that his spoken English was not fluent enough to represent Melbourne as its Mayor.  However since his election in 2001 the public have learned more and more about his passion for Melbourne and all the projects he has supported to improve this great city.  He is such a likable character with a very funny contagious laugh. He is now one of the most popular and well-known Mayors Melbourne has ever had!

Comments: In my opinion, Mr. John So represents Melbourne positively on a worldwide scale. He is passionate about all things important to Melbourne and its people, such as sport, whilst promoting important values in our society that include equality and multiculturalism. He has also become somewhat of a cult figure amongst Melbournians and actively participates in community events, all with a smile on his face.

More than 100,000 citizens from around the world have taken part in the 2006 World Mayor Project.

• Mayor of Antananarivo, Madagascar
• Mayor of Johannesburg, South Africa
• Mayor of Maputo, Mozambique
• Mayor of Tunis, Tunisia

• Mayor of Calgary, Canada
• Mayor of London, Canada
• Mayor of Toronto, Canada
• Mayor of Denver, USA
• Mayor of Harrisburg, USA
• Mayor of Houston, USA
• Mayor of New Orleans, USA
• Mayor of New York City, USA
• Mayor of Portland, USA
• Mayor of Seattle, USA

• Mayor of Belo Horizonte, Brazil
• Mayor of Curitiba, Brazil
• Mayor of Bogota, Colombia
• Mayor of Quito, Ecuador
• Mayor of San José de Mayo, Uruguay
• Mayor of Valencia, Venezuela

• Mayor of Phnom Penh, Cambodia
• Mayor of Chengdu, China
• Mayor of Shanghai, China
• Mayor of Bangalore, India
• Mayor of Jaipur, India
• Mayor of Rishon-LeZion, Israel
• Mayor of Tokyo, Japan
• Mayor of Nablus, Palestine
• Mayor of Angeles City, Philippines
• Mayor of Makati City, Philippines
• Mayor of Taipei, Taiwan
• Mayor of Istanbul, Turkey

• Mayor of Melbourne, Australia
• Mayor of Wellington, New Zealand

• Mayor of Sofia, Bulgaria
• Mayor of Dubrovnik, Croatia
• Mayor of Mulhouse, France
• Mayor of St Etienne, France
• Mayor of Augsburg, Germany
• Mayor of Bonn, Germany
• Mayor of Potsdam, Germany
• Mayor of Bologna, Italy
• Mayor of Luxembourg City, Luxembourg
• Mayor of Amsterdam, The Netherlands
• Mayor of Porto, Portugal
• Mayor of Oradea, Romania
• Mayor of Zaragoza, Spain
• Mayor of Valencia, Spain
• Mayor of Zurich, Switzerland
• Mayor of Middlesbrough, UK