One Ceremony, Many Perceiptions

I talked with my native American friend over the coffee today. I asked about his comments on the Opening Ceremony.

As many people, he said the ceremony is great, and amazing… just like many people feel. He particularly mentioned that he was at bar in Shanghai with many foreigners. Many of them didn’t believe there are people behind the MovableType part, until the last minute. He said this kind of show is very hard to create in western world. Later, he said, “maybe Germany” – I was very caustious when I heard about it, because I did have the same feeling to connect the “everyone the same, country first, power centric” show with the Berlin Olympic. I will talk about it later in another article. (Don’t worry. Anything can be seen from different angle and reflect differnet result, just like the Elephant and Bindmen story, and this wonderful opening ceremony is not an exception)

Besides that, he mentioned some interesting points that I didn’t thought of before.

Why It is the Army who Raised the Chinese National Flag

One of the question he asked was completely out of my expectation. He asked:

Why at the begining of the ceremony, it is some military service people who raised the national flag of China? Is it a signal sending to the domestic military that “you are very important, so we put you into the most visible location? Or is it a signal to show to the world a powerful military force?

I said no-no-no. In Chinese ceremony like this, it is ALWAYS the military people who raise the national flag, just like in the 1997 Hong Kong take-over. For me, it is the first part that many children took the flag that surprised me a lot – just the other way. If it is perceived this way, I think there is big misunderstanding.

Anything Else

I believe there must be many other misunderstanding like this for the ceremony. What is your favorite piece? I’d like to hear your “questions marks” for the event and help to explain some of it.

10 thoughts on “One Ceremony, Many Perceiptions

  1. Shrek7

    In my opinion the Olympics should be about athletes from countries all over the world competing for recognition and medals in an atmosphere of peace and understanding. The Olympics should not be about a country’s show of military force or used as a cover to invade another sovereign country during the games.

  2. zjemi

    I too was astonished that the moveable type was done by humans. But I didn’t think “only in China and maybe Germany”. Rather I thought, “if we all worked together think of the wonderful things we could achieve.” In a way the Olympics has created the enthusiasm in China that early communism did, where everyone wanted to contribute, to help, even to sacrifice. That happened in New York City when the World Trade Center was destroyed–in a city known for its hostility, everyone helped everyone else and it lasted for months.

    Disclosure: I grew up in New York City and now live in a small town in Massachusetts.

  3. Italian living in US

    Funny comment about the soldiers… Americans do it too. When I was a Duke student I remember at the basketball games there were always soldiers bringing in the flag and marching before the national anthem was sung.

  4. stephen

    The national flag is a symbol of a sovereign country and the protector obviously is her military forces, it is natural for the color guard (US) of the military as the flag carrier. This tradition has been carried out in all previous Olympic summer games.

    May be the image of PLA and the goose-step is little bit too harsh for many foreigners, and the committee had used a little girl sung on the side to dilute the tone, an excellent intention.

  5. stephen

    During the opening ceremony, the adorable little girl who sung “Ode to the motherland” was actually lip singing, to me this is deplorable and is contrary to the Olympic Spirit, may be it is in line with the National Interest ?????

  6. Tony

    Olympics in the modern era is just another big real-time play on the world stage. Of course lip singing, fake fireworks don’t surprise, it’s all part of the show. If I was an athlete, I just focus on my sport and enjoy the party, get it done and get the hell out of there.

  7. Smith

    Ok for Chinese flag but:

    Why does the Chinese soldiers raised Olympic flag? why not athletes ?

    I do not remember seeing that elsewhere… but am I wrong?

    is it always like that?

    By the way:

    — After the fake footprint see at the TV who where in fact computer generated

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/othersports/olympics/2534499/Beijing-Olympic-2008-opening-ceremony-giant-firework-footprints-faked.html

    — The cute girl who “sang” as the Chinese flag entered the stadium was not the real one singing, what we hear was another girl voice (who had bad looking teeth so had been kick out of the stadium)

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/othersports/olympics/2545387/Beijing-Olympics-Faking-scandal-over-girl-who-sang-in-opening-ceremony.html

    I have still enjoyed a lot the show, but I start to wonder how many more cheating there have been to impress the world ?

  8. david

    Ok for Chinese flag but:

    Why does the Chinese soldiers raised Olympic flag? why not athletes ?

    I do not remember seeing that elsewhere… but am I wrong?

    is it always like that?

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