Archive for August 15th, 2008

Friday, August 15, 2008

Opening Ceremony – the Minutes from 08:00 to 09:45

Nothing for the faint-hearted – but some brave Laowais actually seem to have watched the whole thing. And communicated with their Daddies @ home in the meantime.

8:42 – CCTV Announcer: “The program we just saw described the ancient splendor of China. Now we’ll start to learn more about the splendor of today’s China.”

And what would the comment thread be without Pffefer, the chevalier always set to take up the cudgels for the splendor of China? He even cared to write the author a letter of reference for his work as a translator.

Like the 3000 Olympian disciples said: ”Of three people walking, there must be one I can learn from”.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Olympic Opening Ceremony: Public Deceived?

Two Orgs, one Dream

Two Orgs, one Dream

I took a break and watched the first twenty or thirty minutes of the Beijing Olympics 2008 ceremony, on August 8. It was interesting to see those nightly pictures of the “Bird’s Nest” or Beijing National Stadium, and the city around. What struck me most was the inclusion of the army inside the stadium at the flag-raising ceremony – as I usually don’t watch Olympic Games, I can’t tell if soldiers in uniform are part of such an Olympic choreography elsewhere too, or if it was part of an Olympic Opening with Chinese characteristics.

When Lin Miaoke “sang” the Hymn to the Motherland… Well – may I call myself a “CHINA EXPERT”? Smarter than James Reynolds of the BBC? I took it almost for granted that she did not sing live. I didn’t believe that she was lip-synching someone else, but I didn’t believe that she was lip-synching herself either .  I took nothing during the ceremony choreography, as far as I watched it, for real at all.

Except for the fireworks. I thought Chinese pyrotechnicians were good enough to make a real one, from the beginning to the end. I thought that they may delay the transmission of the pictures by a few seconds up to a minute, to keep the option of dubbing over some flaws if need be, but I thought they were genuine.

I didn’t think as far as to how people would react if Lin Miaoke’s performance should ever turn out to be a mini-playback show. This surprises me too – that “the show’s musical designer felt forced to set the record straight“. I can’t tell if it is a scandal, as some papers have put it. I just find the comment of the real singer somewhat saddening: “I am proud to have been chosen to sing at all,” the Telegraph quotes her. But then, the great motherland will always warm her heart, so who cares.  

Anyway, I can’t say that I’m disappointed. The way the IOC and the CCP are doing business with each other is an astonishing showcase of everything that can go wrong in such East-Western interaction – and that is what actually surprises me in a rather pleasant way. Few of the people I have seen recently look at the Games uncritically. Sometimes, I even think that some of them are taking their criticism too far, especially their criticism of the CCP. For one, it is alright and not unfair to criticise the CCP and its bombastic hijacking of the games for its own purposes – but wouldn’t the IOC deserve at least as much criticism? Weren’t they about as, umm, eager to have the Games in Beijing as was the CCP itself? And who can tell if the Chinese organizer, Wang Wei, or the IOC is speaking the truth when they offer their versions of what the CCP promised ahead of the Games? I can’t, anyway. If you can, please let me know.

And no, I’m no Know-it-all. I was naive enough to believe that the big Olympic Show would globally come across exactly according  to the wishes of its organizers. Its potential to backfire only dawned on me when violence erupted in Tibet, in March of this year.

Wang Wei’s suggestion that visitors coming to China for the first time would see a different country to the one represented in films and newspapers is silly. It depends on what kind of films the visitors have watched and read, anyway. Wang could have said, if you report things that actually happen but which we dislike, you’ll get arrested. That’s what happened to a UK journalist. Wang could also have said that as long as you stay within the places that are 100% under our control, you will see what we like.

But then, why would anyone have to travel to Beijing? For your convenience, CCTV can be watched at home, all over the world. On the internet. Enjoy. 😉

Public deceived? I don’t think so. But yes, I think they’d have loved to deceive us.

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