Olympic is about Competition and Happiness

These days are really Olympic days in China. This is the 6th day of the game. I am happy to be in the host country, and I have experienced Olympic completely differently from the previous several games.

Time Zone Plays an Important Role

I believe the key reason besides the happiness to host the game is the time zone. For most of the Olympic games, or World Cup, or similar international games, they games are often in Europe and America, and that brings huge challenge for people to watch in real time. World cup is a good example, since everyone needs to watch the game after midnight in China.

This time, the Game is happening in real time – you can see the watch in the venue are in perfect sync with the watch on your hand. This brings huge convenience to audience.

When I go to restaurants, bars, shopping center, even massage places, they have their TV turned to Olympic real-time broadcast, and whenever possible, there will be many people (20 – 50) gather around it, and chear and applause from time to time. This experience is just unique.

Coverage of Chinese Athletes

This time China send the biggest delegate ever, and compete in many games. To have a team of my own country playing in the game is one of the very good reason to pay attention to a specific game.

I just watched the group preliminary volleyball game between China and Japan – China won at least at very close points. Games like this are breath taking since most of the games, the gap is so close and anything can happen. That kind of involvement is actually enjoyable and is a lot of fun.

Closeness to Olympic

I am in Shanghai, and even today, I am thinking whether I need to take one day or two days leave to visit Beijing to watch one game or two. It is close – it is just 2 hours away! Although you are not there, the kind of closeness it brings to people in China is very unique experience.

I am sure after Beijing hosting the Olympic, the spirit of Olympic is closer to people in China, which is about 1/5 of the earth’s population. At least I feel so. Good choice for the IOC to make in 2001

Fake Image in the Opening Ceremony

I’d like to add some note to the recent disclosed opening ceremony “scandal”. First is the big foot print. It turned out that the real time broadcast of the “foot print” is pre-recorded or computer created. The second is about the singer of “Ode to the motherland” lip-synced with the anonymous 7 year old singer behind her.

Ops. I was shocked when I know that. It is like after a athlete perfectly break a world record and then be tested as drug user. We would rather to have a not-so-perfect image than a “artificial” image. Meanwhile, I am not a complete protester for this yet, because whether the opening ceremony is part of the game or is a show is not certain. In film, and in theater, it is acceptable to use both techniques, but in Olympic… Hmmm… not 100% sure. I just feel it is not good.

Sacrifice and Collectivism

Behind the great ceremony, I am sure there are many sacrificers. To be part of the ceremony itself is maybe harder to get the gold medal in Olympic, if you consider the amount of people competing for the idea, the song, or the performance. The “Drum Play” part, for example, is selected from 500 similar ideas submitted throughout the country. They are the lucky one.

The other story is a dancer called Liu Yan. She fell from the top of the “big paper” one week before the show, and hit to the ground from 3 meters high. She almost lost her life. Luckily she is still alive, but she may not be able to standup for the rest of her life. I believe there are many such stories behind the show. There is a gap between people’s perception to this kind of “sacrificers” in western and Chinese culture. Chinese are now still collectivism, and to sacrifice for the good of the nation, the group, or more people is treated as a great thing to do – the same in Japan and other Asia countries. In individualism culture, sacrifice is also a good thing as long as it is because of PERSONAL motivation or to realize one’s personal dream…. I see big gap here. I think I am already very westernized by being exposed to my friends and readers of this blog, but I still see the value of people contributing to something big.

That is also a key difference this ceremony demoed to the world.

Just like the ceremony showed the thousands of years’ history and set the order by Chinese character strokes, there are unique way of doing things in this country. I thinking it is important for the world to realize it to be able to understand China better. At the same time, China needs to improve itself. In the “game of history”, China has been left behind in the last two centuries, and to catch up quickly is the key for China in the 21st century.

Just my 2 cents about what I thinking around Olympic in the last week.

24 thoughts on “Olympic is about Competition and Happiness

  1. Lee Rosenberg

    Beijing is two hours away from Shanghai

    Go there because it could be a once in a lifetime experience

  2. STLPlace

    A while ago one of my coworker told me I should go to Beijing, because someday I could hold the ticket stub and tell my grand kid, say that I was in Beijing during that historic time.

    I hope Olympics could come back to China in my life time, maybe Shanghai could be the next?

  3. stephen

    JianShuo, can I ask you a personal question……….

    Do you wish 2012 Olympic Summer Game to be held again in Beijing or in Shanghai rather than in London?

  4. Carroll

    Your remark about people gathering in restaurants and bars to watch the games reminded me that I was in Europe with our then-teenage sons the year the Olympics were in Barcelona. We had thought we might travel to Spain in order to enjoy the experience of being there during that time, but it was unbearably hot all through Europe that summer. Instead, we had the experience of seeing bits and pieces of the competition from about five different countries. It was really great to be in a restaurant in Austria when one of the Austrian athletes won a medal, and we had similar experiences in Germany, Italy, Switzerland and France. I feel as though we experienced the entire summer games in five or six different languages. National pride, and friendly (but intense!) international competition and unity…such a good thing!

  5. shanghai-ren

    Thanks to Beijing Olympics.

    Thanks for helping to masturbate my eyes and ears with your fake firework image and lip-singing.

    Thanks for helping to show me how to use child labor wisely with your underage gymnasts winning championship.

  6. zjemi

    In entertainment it isn’t at all weird or cheating to have the voices (and the music and the sound effects) done separately from the visual part.

    The song was pre-recorded so Yang Peiyi certainly knew that her voice, rather than her body, was going to be exhibited. This isn’t so strange. Apparently Pavarotti pre-recorded his voice when he sang at the Olympics. In films almost all the voices are redubbed after the filming. David Niven, an old British actor, had his voice substituted in his later films because he had Parkinson’s disease. It isn’t the little girls who were cheated, only those of us who don’t know the conventions.

    I hope we all know that Li Ning didn’t really run around the top of Bird’s Nest in the air all by himself. Wasn’t it still spectacular? That’s what I think about the two little girls. Yang Peiyi’s voice is extraordinary. Lin Miaoke is beautiful, as were many of the flag holders of the different countries. The effect was wonderful.

  7. mac

    so that’s what olympics about

    let’s forget all those un-harmoniousness and

    refocus our attention on these game and get some fun, people

    WE NEED TO BE GUIDED TO THE RIGHT THINKING, AFTER ALL, WE ARE STILL COLLECTIVE. WE. WE

    http://tieba.baidu.com/f?kw=%D1%EE%C5%E6%D2%CB&t=1

    @ Mr. Wang Jianshuo WHAT DO YOU MAKE OF THAT? THAT MAKES 2.1 CENTS TO ME.

  8. mac

    and I”M PRETTY SURE baidu will ‘IMPROVE’ (i decided it was wrong to do this)

    anyway, what’re you gonna do? it is the biggest internet company in your own country

    you job is hope for the best, not the opposite.

    MY job? use it, while be aware of it and depising it. and can anyone view this page without the little red cross instead of the pictures?

    http://images.google.com/images?um=1&hl=en&newwindow=1&safe=off&q=%E6%9D%A8%E6%B2%9B%E5%AE%9C&btnG=Search+Images

    again, why am i so obsessive with these minor affairs?

    OLYMPICS IS ABOUT COMPETITION AND HAPPINESS, isn’t it? OH MY EVIL AND DARK HEART!

  9. wonton

    I don’t think Lin Miaoke was beautiful. In fact I thought she was quite creepy. She looked like a creepy puppet or Chucky the killer doll. Pictures of her prancing about in the news was irritating to watch.

    I feel sorry for Yang Peiyi. At her age, its no consolation to be recognised for a beautiful voice but a “not beautiful” enough face.

    If I was her father, I would have beaten up the jackass that even suggested the idea the first place.

    @shanghai-ren: heh heh…well, at least most people enjoyed the orgasmic results !

  10. Dunk

    If I had a chance to sing at the open ceremony when I was young, I would be very proud. I asked many of my friends, they all felt the same way. I think the way children think is very simple. If I were Yang Peiyi, I might never think about why people didn’t show my face. I could just feel proud of myself until the whole adult world keeps telling me that ‘girl, you are unfairly treated’. Then what?

    Of course, I am not Yang Peiyi. It’s just what I would feel in that situation.

  11. Andrew

    For personal reason, I can’t watch the Olympic football game. And I have three (3) extra tickets to watch men’s Olympic football matches at Shanghai Stadium for the following dates:

    8/19 Tuesday 18:00 – 21:00 Men’s Semifinal 02 – match TBD Shanghai Stadium 3 tickets,

    Category A (Best seats) + 2 B seats

    Anyone who are interested, pls contact me via: peanutandy@163.com

  12. Phil

    @mac

    I hate censorship too. But I think this issue is different. Adults are using the little girls to make political statements. Even worse, they (think times.co.uk) created descriptions like “crooked teeth”, “fat”, “bad looks” etc, which were never said by Chen Qigang. I wish all the moralists (including me :-) ) shut up on this issue, for the children’s sake. The negative image was already widely spread. The goal was met. What else do you want?

  13. mac

    Thanks Phil, i wanted to make a POLITICAL statement, that’s what i wanted.

    I wanted to say something POLITICAL about it, like “i strongly condemn the idea of lip-synching, esp to these 2 girls( the song itself taken aside) and someone must take responsibility instead of justifying it”. But that turns out POLITICAL anyway, so let’s not talk about it. Let’s talk about something that’s not POLITICAL. ‘POLITICAL’ sucks. Who invented this word anyway? What does it mean?

    BTW, i don’t hate censorship. I’ve got proxies. What will hatred lead you? More hatred, and worse, NO HARMONY. We 1,300,000,000 harmonious people(oh NO, make that 1,299,999,999) need it to protect our COLLECTIVE CHINESE PEOPLE to survice this INTERNET ICE AGE, waiting to be COLLECTED.

    I’ll stop before this turns out political again.

  14. Andrew

    For personal reason, I can’t watch the game. And I have three (3) extra tickets to watch

    men’s Olympic football matches at Shanghai Stadium for the following dates:

    8/19 Tuesday 18:00 – 21:00 Men’s Semifinal 02 – match TBD Shanghai Stadium 3 tickets,

    Category A (Best seats) + 2 B seats

    Anyone who are interested, pls contact me via msn: peanutandy@163.com

  15. wonton

    @Phil:

    Thanks for your recomendations.

    Interesting read.

    I guess someone was trying to stir things up.

    But I still think it was a bad idea to put up a girl with a faked voice.

    I think the movie “Hair Spray” would have been terrible had the directors replaced Travolta’s voice with Babara Streisand.

    Yeah, there were some debate on the faked voice of Audrey Hepburn in “My Fair Lady” but the movie was made in 1963 !

    Anyways, I don’t think Lin Miaoke was beautiful at all, she was reminds me of Chucky.

    It would have been so much better had she used her own voice.

    So what if it’s not perfect ? It’s human, and frankly more endearing.

    What we got in the end is a creepy face with a plastered smile.

  16. Rishi

    I am also upset about these two things (1. Keeping the real singer behind just because she does not look soooo good 2. Fake broad cast of fire works). Is it in the right spirit of olympics? For me Olympics can not be compared to movies and drams. Common, this is some thing real to bring the spirit and help the people of different countries to come together for better understanding. Does any country ask some beautiful faces to participate in games even though they don’t have talent or ask a beatiful person to receive the medals in place of athletes just because that athlete is not looking good? In that case Olympics will become a skin show instead of talent show. These two events completely changed my opinion of Olympics being organised in China

  17. Phil

    @smith

    I watched the opening ceremony on NBC on 8/8, they clearly said the kids were from a local arts school in Beijing. This is not news.

    @Rishi

    If you do not speak Chinese, please take a look at the transcript of the Chen Qigang’s interview here:

    http://blog.foolsmountain.com/2008/08/13/the-cruelest-insults/

    http://blog.foolsmountain.com/2008/08/12/an-imperfect-perfection/

    I am not saying the director’s decision is right, but the reporters did manipulate the subtle detail to sensationalize the issue. There was something ADDED in translation.

    The age issue is a much stronger case to sensationalize. But reports about fireworks and “bad looks” were based on half-truth. This world is NOT perfect. There are many many much darker stories to dig in China. Personally I still enjoy the Olympics. I hope you enjoy it too :-)

  18. chez

    whoever had the idea that “a pretty face + another perfect voice = China’s national interest” should be prosecuted or then sent to labor camp straight.

    it is so obvious, for people with a good taste, that a not-so-good-looking kid singing the “ode to the motherland” with a not-so-perfect-or-even-hoarse voice under such a huge setting will definitely be much more embracing and closer to the true Olympic spirit.

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