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Speaker: It’s Beijing, but not as Beijingers know it

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  • 81stcolumn,

    Its sounds as though Beijing will not be quite the place others have come to know, but nonetheless quite educating. Perhaps some will finally grasp quite the size of the once sleeping giant. F**k ! 40 million flowers the people to plant, grow and place them. I remeber a few years ago whole streets changing in the course of a week I cannot imagine what it is like now.

    Nawthshaw • Since Nov 2006 • 730 posts Report Reply

  • 81stcolumn,

    Oh and I don't know aboout the blue tarpaulin idea but how about a canopy made of blue balloons......

    Nawthshaw • Since Nov 2006 • 730 posts Report Reply

  • Tim Michie,

    Or sky dye..?

    Auckward • Since Nov 2006 • 570 posts Report Reply

  • Charles Mabbett,

    Jia you, Emma! Let's have some more. Beijing will be an awesome place to be tonight. Where are you going to watch the big event from?

    Since Nov 2006 • 236 posts Report Reply

  • Eleanor,

    Beijing will be an awesome place to be tonight.

    The premise of Emma's article seems to be that she completely disagrees with that statement!

    It seems to me that all cities pull their socks up & pretend to be squeaky clean jolly hockey sticks when the international spotlight shines on them. Think Sydney, Athens... but Beijing was exponentially grubbier than most. Must surely be nice to have a little short term respite from that! ...?

    I can't wait to see the Olympics! Bring it on!! :o)

    wellington • Since May 2007 • 81 posts Report Reply

  • stephen walker,

    i hardly think there is any danger of Beijing becoming the next Tokyo.

    maybe if you're really lucky, it will be the next Singapore, except with more than one season and plenty of yellow dust. You know, officious Chinese making as many rules as they can think of, and enforcing them. Something to look forward to.

    nagano • Since Nov 2006 • 635 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    The Green Olympics

    That's an oxymoron if ever there was one. It's about as green as Formula One.

    Huge scale construction, thousands of people flying around the world for a couple of weeks of nationalist flag waving (and a side-dish of "sport") in one of the worlds nastier totalitarian states.

    I'm not watching a moment of it, and I've been careful not to patronise any of the sponsors products for the last few months. I even got the bank to swap my Visa for Mastercard.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4484 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    Also Marina Hyde says it much better than I could.

    I particularly like this from a book by Dick Pound, a former IOC member. He quotes Samaranch (former IOC president) as saying: "'Leesten, Deek,' he said to me at one point. 'For [the Olympics], it is much better to go to these countries. There will never be security problems.'"

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4484 posts Report Reply

  • George Darroch,

    On watching the Olympics in Australia: Upside - extensive free to air coverage on several channels. Downside: hearing the commentators talk about Bay-jeeeng, and what a funny outfit Mark Drysdale is wearing.

    One thing that surprised me however was how much high-school Chinese I remember. Despite it being the world's most spoken language, it's very rarely that we encounter it without it being slathered with subtitles (which usually means I read instead of listening).

    Despite being a skeptic, I've actually been charmed by this spectacle. China seems desperately to want to prove itself to the world (in the eyes of this uninformed foreigner), while simultaneously asserting itself. A contradiction, perhaps, but an interesting one.

    The People's Republic of … • Since Nov 2006 • 2136 posts Report Reply

  • Michael Savidge,

    China seems desperately to want to prove itself to the world (in the eyes of this uninformed foreigner), while simultaneously asserting itself. A contradiction, perhaps, but an interesting one.

    But at what, and whose, cost?

    Imagine the power of Rich's boycott on a large scale.

    What's stopping us? The "spectacle"?

    Somewhere near Wellington… • Since Nov 2006 • 319 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    What's stopping us? The "spectacle"?

    About a billion rather pissed off Chinese for a start.

    There was a piece on Al Jazeera last night here, dunno if it was in the NZ feed, about a guy who spent five years in jail after he was arrested at Tiananmen in 1989. He was back in the square being interviewed again and he was a huge supporter of the Olympics and he doesn't seem to be out of step with Chinese opinion.

    It's folks outside of China who are getting righteous about this, not the Chinese population who seem to be very supportive.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3209 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Imagine the power of Rich's boycott on a large scale.

    What's stopping us? The "spectacle"?

    On whose behalf would you be staging this boycott though? As Simon notes, the Chinese people seem very largely supportive and excited. And the exiled Tibetan leadership has repeatedly said it wants the games to go ahead and be a success.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 19019 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    On whose behalf would you be staging this boycott though? As Simon notes, the Chinese people seem very largely supportive and excited. And the exiled Tibetan leadership has repeatedly said it wants the games to go ahead and be a success.

    I guess that's a legitimate question to ask about the folks who still pat themselves on the back about the '81 anti-tour protests. I don't actually believe they shortened the life of the apartheid regime by one second, but they did send a message (as Nelson Mandela himself has said) that someone somewhere wasn't buying the whitewash where sports and politics certainly do mix.

    At the very least, it would be nice if TVNZ (in particular) started charging the IOC and China for the advertorial disgusied as news.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12052 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    It's folks outside of China who are getting righteous about this, not the Chinese population who seem to be very supportive.

    And the exiled Tibetan leadership has repeatedly said it wants the games to go ahead and be a success.

    Anything that shines a light on a country with the Chinese record for censorship and imprisoning dissenters ought to be a good thing, the Tibetan leadership is not alone in recognising that. The press conference cancellation I linked to the other day was not surprising of course, but it's up to the journalists to chase such stories regardless, and being there in the first place should help them to do just that. Whether and to what extent they will or not will depend on the authorities' ability to conceal them, their own desire to pursue them, and the respective outlets' will to devote minutes and column inches to something other than Phelps' and their own nation's medal tally.

    Just to add to my folk-outside-out-China righteousness quotient, I'll look out with interest also for stories about international relations with the country - ought to be a pretty good study on hipocrisy on a planet-wide scale - and especially about Chinese people abroad. I know Italy and my own town especially could use examining its attitudes there, we have bang on one hundred years of pretty solid racism to mull over.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7404 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    Well, I have a lot of practice at feeling and thinking two or more things at the same time (feminist hip-hop fan!), so during the opening ceremony I was all 'holy SHIT! This is incredibly awesome! How can anyone ever top this spectacle?'... but I also kept making jokes about how much Leni Riefenstahl would have loved it.

    (I suppose I just Godwinned myself there. Sorry.)

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3663 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    .. but I also kept making jokes about how much Leni Riefenstahl would have loved it.

    I was thinking more in terms of how power has always thrown shapes and conjured magic -- from the cathedrals of Europe to the movies of Hollywood.

    I think you can admire the creative vitality, technical excellence and sheer scale of the opening ceremony while simultaneously holding a thought in your head about how China's human rights performance needs to improve some more.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 19019 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    ...how much Leni Riefenstahl would have loved it.

    Which reminds me, I caught about an hour and a half of the '36 Berlin Olympics on Triangle last night (100% 1936 footage, cut & English audio-tracked c. 1960, by the look of it.) First time I've seen Lovelock's entire 1500m race win. For the record, he was in third for most of the race, but powered out to a 5 metre lead at the start of the penultimate straight (ie about the 1200m mark.)

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Well, I have a lot of practice at feeling and thinking two or more things at the same time (feminist hip-hop fan!), so during the opening ceremony I was all 'holy SHIT! This is incredibly awesome! How can anyone ever top this spectacle?'... but I also kept making jokes about how much Leni Riefenstahl would have loved it.

    Well, I guess if you'd ever seen Zhang Yimou's wuxhia films or Japanese designer Eiko Ishioka's gorgeously eclectic work... well, I don't think anyone was expecting understated neo-realism. :)

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12052 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    I was thinking more in terms of how power has always thrown shapes and conjured magic -- from the cathedrals of Europe to the movies of Hollywood.

    Well, I was also reminded of Busby Berkeley musicals, for whatever that's worth. :)

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3663 posts Report Reply

  • Mark Thomas,

    so during the opening ceremony I was all 'holy SHIT! This is incredibly awesome! How can anyone ever top this spectacle?'

    Meh... i was a little underwhelmed. Havoc (bFM) said they were going to steamroll a tiger. Now that would've been over the top


    What will the London Olympics do? I wouldn't even try to top Beijing. I'd maybe just light the flame and organise a sausage sizzle for the athletes.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 315 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    What will the London Olympics do? I wouldn't even try to top Beijing. I'd maybe just light the flame and organise a sausage sizzle for the athletes.

    I'd organise a rave -- seriously. What London has over most other places in the world is the vitality of its popular culture. They'd be well advised to start arranging giant holograms of The Gorillaz now.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 19019 posts Report Reply

  • Michael Savidge,

    On whose behalf..

    Well for starters perhaps those who were thrown out of their homes without recourse to the law so that some shiny new hotels and such could be erected in their stead.

    The Olympics on one level represent an opportunity for those in the West to display any conscience they may have in solidarity with the voiceless multitudes who perhaps don't see the games as a true expression of their homeland.

    If we say nothing or do nothing we are simply complicit and will be seen as such.

    Good on you Rich.

    Somewhere near Wellington… • Since Nov 2006 • 319 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    What London has over most other places in the world is the vitality of its popular culture.

    Definitely. And the $5 disco biscuit.

    They could get the marathon competitors all loved up and accompanied by huge sound trucks. The race would take 12 hours with all the stopping for group hugs. And at the end the St Helena competitor would get carried over the line and given a gold medal. With blinkies round the rim.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4484 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie,

    They'd be well advised to start arranging giant holograms of The Gorillaz now.

    Please, not The Gorillaz - the execrable Noodle bears more than a passing resemblance to the current gaggle of twee olympic mascots.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 3597 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Please, not The Gorillaz - the execrable Noodle bears more than a passing resemblance to the current gaggle of twee olympic mascots.

    Shut up, puny earthling! The mascots for the 2012 London Olympics are being bred as we speak!

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12052 posts Report Reply

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