Category Archives: Olympics 2008

Lang Ping’s American Volleyball Team Beat China

Several minutes ago, just watched the game between the US Volleyball team beat China’s women volleyball team at 3:2. The scores are so close in the five sections:

23-25 (US-China)

25-22

23-25

25-20

15-11

It is another breath taking game – it seems most of the volleyball games in this Olympic involving both women and men are very close in score. We just saw one in the men’s volleyball the other day (China-Japan).

Lang Ping’s Role

Because of the US coach Lang Ping, the game has draw enormous attention. Lang Ping was and is still an icon for China. When China’s sports are not as strong as today back in 1980’s, Li Ning (who still had the honor to lit up the Olympic flame at the opening ceremony) and Lang Ping are the generation who won many gold medals for China. There is no wonder the Women’s Volleyball team and Lang Ping had been of such an important role in Chinese people’s heart. When I was young, the propaganda of “The Women’s Volleyball Team Spirit” has been the role model for the how country.

What an interesting moment it will be to see Lang Ping to lead American team to come to China and compete against Chinese team?

There is no surprise to see the negative comments for Lang Ping spread like wild fire in China’s BBS, and I expect it grows heavier in the days to come after China lost.

My 2 Cents

The most moving moment for me during the Olympic Games was, no matter how hard athletes compete in the game, most of them shake hands after the game, and will congratulate each other for the great results they got. I think that is the spirit of sports and Olympic. People compete under a fair rule, and people compete to be better self, and they celebrate together for reach a point that not many people came before – it is either higher, faster, or stronger (in ball games, and other games, people get smarter).

I felt a little bit unease during the China vs Japan game when the whole audience making discouraging noises whenever Japan players severed the ball. The noise in China’s theater means to invite the performer to leave the stage for bad play. It was so loud! In this China vs America game, for the whole game, it was OK, but at the last few points, the “go-away” noise raised when the America team served. I think it is understandable, but not rational.

Lang Ping has her personal decision and she is confident about her decision. I am a supporter of her on this issue. I think she is just like the 40 or something foreign coaches in China to coach the Chinese team – they are leading the world to make it stronger. Sports is not able winning a medal. It is all about being stronger, higher, and faster, and connect the people around the world.

If I had never put my step out of Henan province, I wouldn’t bear anyone born in Henan province to coach another provincial team to finally beat Henan team. It is the same. The barrier of country is much higher than province is, most of the people in the same country receive the similar education and have the similar mindset. The easy of travel and long time marriage, and migration within the country helps. I hope there is a more open world that people break the border of the country more, just for the sake of human being.

Good luck to the China’s volleyball game. I will be happy if they win a gold medal. Good luck to Lang Ping and her American volleyball game, and hope they enjoy their trip in Beijing. (P.S. I do feel sorry for the attack of the American tourists who are in association with the US women’s volleyball team. It is so bad that it happened.)

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.

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.

The Chinese Elements – Part II

This is the second part of the series, Chinese Elements in the Beijing Olympic Opening Ceremony.

The Character He 和, or Peace

During the MovableType show (don’t confuse it with the software I am using to write this blog), the Chinese character of “He” or 和 was shown three time.

Image credit: Getty via Yahoo

和 is written in Pinyin Chinese as He, but it is pronounced more similar with the English word: Her.

The character means peace, and harmony. The character does not really look like the one I displayed in this blog entry (if you have the Chinese system to show it. It is because the Chinese characters change its shape over the one thousand year. A good way to think about it is the English letter have different font. Some are pretty similiar with each other, but for some particular letters, the variation is big. For example, the letter E may have completely different way to write it in different handwriting fonts. The difference in Chinese is, there are several thousands characters and each has the tens of varations.

The Order of the Delegation Entrance

One of the most funny part of the ceremony was the entrance order of the delegates. It is maybe one of the few events in the Olympic history, or the recent world events that the order was completely taken with the Chinese way.

I believe many of my friends (I especially have my extended family member, Carrol and Jim in my mind when I write this article) may wonder: “What is the confusing order?” I can understand when people see each country’s delegation enter the stadium, the order seemed to be random if you don’t know Chinese. Let me try to explain this way.

Althogh the Chinese character seems very complicated, it also has the forming elements. Just like 26 letters are the basis of all English words, there are strokes that makes up a Chinese character.

Chinese has many different type of strokes, but most of them can be classified as the following five types:

Horizontal Stroke, like 一

Vertical Stroke like 丨

Leaning Stroke like 丿

Dot stroke like 丶

Turning Storke like 乛

(This is completely my own translation, and I believe the Chinese textbook for foreigners may have better commonly accpeted translation).

Take the Chinese numbers I mentioned in my previous article, one requires one horizontal stroke, and two are made up of two…

My last name 王 is made up of three horizontal strokes (like a three 三), but with a horizontal stroke in the middle. So, there are four strokes to this Chinese character.

This page provided wonderful way for you to understand how each character is writen.

Something to note is, how the character is writen has strict rules. Although the final result is the same, how you write the character does matter. Taking the example of 王 (Wang), you may want to write the first horizontal stroke and add the vertical one. Wrong! The right way is write the first two horizontal strokes, and write the vertical one, and finish the character with the last horizontal stroke. Complicated? How Chinese remember it and the billions of people write the character the same way? It is all by memorizing it one by one from very young children.

Here is how the character Wang was written: Stroke order of Wang. (Click the left bottom blue button, and then the right top blue button for the animation to start).

Well. Enough about Chinese characters. This time, the entrance order was determined by the strokes for the Chinese characters for the country/region name.

Image credit: Beijing2008.cn. In the image, the first charcter is 4 strokes, and the second one is 5 strokes

Australia, for example, is typically No. 3 to enter the venue, but this time, because the first character of the Chinese name: 澳大利亚 took 15 strokes to write, so it is the 203rd country to appear.

Romantic Chinese

There are many elements in the event that shows the romatic side of typically regarded as “serious” Chinese characteristics. Here are some: scenes:

  • The initial video of how paper is made (if you visit towns like Lijiang, Yunan Province and many other places, you have the chance to create your own paper from plant roots. I did it before)
  • The Chinese paintings
  • The dream of flying out to the space, and the beautiful fairy lady flying in the sky
  • Li Ning flied high in the sky with a moon like spotlight following him

All the flying elements are not created just for this event. It is seen in many places throughout the history of China. It also reminds me (a native Chinese) about how romatic our ancesters are. It is just the tough time in the recent centuaries that turned the nation into really over down-to-earth, and reality-driven mentality.

Anything Else?

There are just too many Chinese elements in this show that is hard for me to list. Anyone wants to add more and share your thoughts with our kind readers from outside China? I hope this is a great chance for people outside China to learn this nation a little bit more than 100% human rights, Tibet, freedom of speech, censorship topics. These topics will continue and need to continue, but just as Olympic gives the world a break, let’s give China a break.

The Chinese Elements in the Ceremony

After the Opening Ceremony of XXIX Olympic Games in Beijing is over for 48 hours, I am thinking about the little difference people in China and foreign audience may react to the same event. I believe there must be some difference because of the different cultural background, and difference in other experiences. For example, the Chinese may react a little bit more modest to the event than the western viewers because people get used to the scene of many actors lining up as a matrix and doing exactly the same thing, while many people in the west didn’t often seen such arrangement, especially in this large scale.

Besides that, there are many points that made the ceremony received better for Chinese than for foreigners. It is all about the cultural meaning of many arrangement. Let me try to explain some of them to my foreign readers. However, no matter how hard I try, my explanation is far from professional level.

The Opening – the Drums

The very impressive 2008 people hitting drums, and did the count down was reported as “Drum Show” in many media. Actually, what they were hitting was not drum. It is called Fou (缶). It is the ancient Chinese container for wine. In the Qin Dynasty (200 BC), people start to hit the Fou to express welcome to friends, especially for friends from far away.

While they hit the drums (let me still call it drum for the time being), they are reciting the famous quote from Confusion: “有朋自远方来,不亦乐乎?”, or using direct translation: “Friends coming from far away, isn’t it happy enough?”, or a better translation: “Welcome friends from the world”.

Image Credit: Getty

Image Credit: Getty

Don’t worry. No matter you see the meaning behind it or just see it as many people playing drum, it is the same thing – you get the idea of welcome anyway.

The Count Down

It is funny to see the final 10 count down was displayed in both Chinese and number:

Image Credit: REUTERS/David Gray

As shown on the picture above, at the lower side, it is number “1”, and on the top, it is Chinese for number 1: “一”, in the shape of —

Here is the table of Chinese characters and numbers:

一 1

二 2

三 3

四 4

五 5

六 6

七 7

八 8

九 9

The interesting entry level characters are one, two, three. Chinese is simple enough to have one stroke as one, two horizontal stroke as two, and three strokes as three. (See more explanation in my article “Chinese Characters“). Stop here, since four is not four horizontal strokes.

The MovableType

I believe most people may have recognized what this is:

Image credit: Getty

As shown on the picture above, on top of each pole are a reversed Chinese character. If you haven’t seen Movable Type by yourself, you can imagine it is a huge Chinese typewriter. English only have 26 letters with upper case, and lower case, and some symbols. An English typewriter may have less than 100 different types. A Chinese type writer that we use contains thousands of characters. The Movable Type technology was invented in Song Dynasty in the year of 1040.

Image credit: Wikipedia

This article continous here: The Chinese Elements in the Ceremony – Part II

Foreign Media’s Response to the Opening

I collected some report from foreign medias.

Reuters

World media hails Beijing’s perfect night

Beijing’s Olympic opening extravaganza drew rave reviews on Friday from media around the world awed by rich displays of Chinese culture that eclipsed controversy that has surrounded the city’s hosting of the Games.

For me, I wrote many article about the “negative” impact the Olympic brought to the people, including me. However, I found people are much more emotional than rational. Although the debate, and the concerns will get back, and it must for a really greater and better country, at least at the night of the opening ceremony, I feel very excited, and felt the same way as Reuters reporter.

BBC

BBC expressed the same opinion with this article: Spectators awed as Games begin

Beijing’s big moment has already been dogged with controversy about air pollution, China’s human rights record and media freedom.

But the arguments were briefly forgotten during a truly spectacular opening ceremony watched by millions around the globe.

Fair enough. Personally, as I said, the moment is just about happiness and everyone using the common language to communicate, more than anything else. The event cannot solve all the problem (it can hardly solve any) but it is the time for people to temporarily forget it for a while – maybe just 4 hours. It is already very precious gift for the world.

Edmonton Sun

I love the ceremony, but I didn’t get the point when people love it THAT much, and even claiming there will be no better thing than it. At the beginning of the columnist article, Olympic opening ceremonies the best ever, Terry Jones said:

BEIJING – If any future Olympic Games is ever credited with a more awesome, brilliant, inspired, powerful or original opening ceremonies it might have to be because everybody on the planet developed amnesia

I would say the ceremony is great, but I do expect someone to do it better in the future. Just like any memorable event or world record in the sports history, people once thought it is the highest, the strongest, or the fastest, but world record is always broken in the days to come. That is the spirit of Olympics, isn’t it?

Media

Media is just media. They have professional skills to report something in a way that is just too professional for people to get the real idea. I’d be more interested in what my readers view the event.

P.S. I didn’t read the Chinese media for it, since it is 100% sure that they say it is a great event.

Going to Shanghai Olympic Football Game

Ticketing Office

The ticketing office is not as crowded as I thought. Maybe it is because of the very long time of ticket selling. You can get there and take a ticket without lining up.

When I get to the ticket office, half of the tickets have been sold up. Most of the men’s football tickets have been sold out, and most of the women football tickets are still available.

Sign of the ticket counter, and entrance.

This is my ticket. It is not very expensive – 100 RMB per person. It is class D ticket, the cheapest ticket in that game. I am not a serious football fan. I just thought that I should experience at least one Olympic Game when the game is running in my city.

The game is on August 18th, 2008. It is women’s quarter-final.

I am Looking Forward It

I am looking forward to seeing the game 10 days later with Wendy, and my parents. I am still thinking about whether we should bring Yifan there. I tend to do it, but just thinking about how to solve the logistic problems, and whether Yifan will be scared by the game.

This is the venue – the Shanghai Stadium. Many soccer games happen here.

Interesting Comments on the Ceremony

I saw two interesting comments about the game. The first is from Charles Robinson on Yahoo!:

Maybe the only way to understand how fulfilling the 2008 Opening Ceremony was is to think four years in advance to the 2012 games, and pity the city of London. The planning committee from those Games was in attendance last night. And you can bet whoever is in charge of the ceremony there was sitting on a floor with his head in his hands.

No worries. When the Athens Olympic opened, it was the same worry for me. I thought the Athens 2004 Olympic Opening was wonderful and hard to be better. Last night’s show proved that it is even better (at least from my point of view).

The second note was from Stephen Orlins.

Stephen Orlins, President of the National Committee of US China Relationship since 2005 wrote on his postcard to the YLFers:

From the opening of the new U.S. Embassy compound this morning at 8:08 a.m. until leaving for the opening ceremony at 5:00 p.m., I witnessed a deserted Beijing. Pedestrians were missing, businesses were closed (even the local Pacific Coffee) and foreigners were nearly as numerous as Chinese. The lack of traffic reminded me of the Beijing of 1979, except that there were no bicycles and road closures abounded.

Beijing Olympic Games Opening Ceremony

I am still watching the opening ceremony of the Games. Now about 100 countries have entered the Bird’s Nest.

I Love it

I love the opening ceremony. It is full of imagination, and has deep culture roots. I specially enjoy the part with Chinese characters. I am happy to say, the opening ceremony is at least beyond my expectation.

Image Credit: AP via Yahoo!

Image Credit: AP via Yahoo!

Image Credit: AP via Yahoo!

Your Comments?

My friends, how do you feel about the opening ceremony? Which part do you like most?

The Day Before Olympic Games

Tomorrow, the Olympic Games will open in Beijing. It is such a big event that people start to count down from 1000 days ago. When it comes, I just have many ideas in my minds. Just list some of them.

Impact of the Games

One reporter from Newsweek asked me can we call these 5 years as the “Olympic Age” in China. I said no.

The impact of the Games has not show up too much yet. I would assume the 5 to 10 years after Olympic Games will reveal some of the impact (hopefully), and it is not too late to summarize the 10 years as “Olympic Age” after 10 years. Now? I didn’t feel too much change yet.

My Connection with Olympic Games

I am lucky to still remember the opening ceremony of the 1984 LA Olympic Games. At that time, I was just 7 years old. I remember my father and I and many other people were watching it in the only TV in the area at a fire station. Children are just children. My attention was not long enough for the whole ceremony. I was dragged back to the TV when the Chinese team appeared.

Yifan is only 14 months old, and he is too little to have any memory of the event. But I still insist that we need to watch the game together. Just as the LA game 24 years ago, he may hear about it again and again in the future.

Worries

It is just like any big event, I start to worry a lot these days. With the uncomfortably increasing of security measure everywhere, I am worrying about something bad may happen to the opening ceremony. Terrorist did reached one of their goals – people really worry about it.

The other thing is the weather. I believe many people are worrying the same thing. There are no blue sky in Beijing from the pictures, and there are may be rains. Beijing is not very lucky this time.

I told Wendy: “I really feel worried. I am afraid something goes wrong, although I know it is not my fault.”.. Wendy laughed at me.

Impact to this Country

Complains about the Games can be seen on many places. I just feel it does not like a party that people celebrate, it is just like the exam a student needs to “unwillingly” attend.

When I had my meal, I heard a short conversation like this on the table beside me:

A: “Why just an Olympic has completely put my life upside down?”

B: “Yes! It does”

A: “Even all the shops in all the metro stations were closed.”

B: “My friends just had its last working day today, and will be on vacation until Sept 19, because their factory is near the Shanghai Stadium”.

A: “It is still better than Beijing!”

Impact to the life of people in Beijing is tremendous. Normal life were put on a pause, and it is very hard for people in China to enter Beijing, so do those business people to the city. No wonder the price of hotels dropped dramatically one month before the Games. The Game did expose some of the weakest point of the current system to many people. I don’t think the change many happen, but awareness may push for some change.

Traffic Police Everywhere

The Shanghai Soccer Game venue – Shanghai Stadium – is just within walking distance away from our office. Last night, when I drive back home, I saw policeman along the roads. I drove onto the Tianyaoqiao Road, pickup Wendy and drove out – just to realize the road was blocked one minute ago. This is the major change I observed in Shanghai.

What I will Do Tomorrow

I will stay at home, watching TV with my family.

I will also open my laptop and write random thoughts about what I feel about opening ceremony.

I will consistently upload my thoughts on to this blog in real time.

In Beijing, Just Before Olympic Games

I am in Beijing now. I am here to attend a meeting. Today is July 30, 2008, just 9 days before the Olympic Games. As we waited for this date for more than 7 years, and we are really going to see it with our own eyes. What does Beijing look like these days? How do I feel as a unprofessional reporter who happen to be in this city? Here is my report.

Over Impression – Bad

The Game has not started yet. I hope it will be better after August 8, 2008, and as I always hoped, the joy of the Games and the big economic boom after that will help Beijing and China a lot, but currently, what I felt is, bad.

Why?

Weather

The weather yesterday and today are still terrible. I am not talking about pollution since I don’t have any data – or to be more exact, I don’t have TRUSTED data. I am just talking about the weather itself. It is pretty foggy and visibility is very low. The sky is some kind of color between gray and brown – full of clouds. There is no blue sky at all. It is very humid and hot. Just now, heavy rain came and I hope this will help to drive the clouds and dirts away.

I was told the last week before I came was even terrible. People call it water-steam weather – it is just as being in the bath room and taking a bath.

How about the next few days? I don’t think anyone will report positively about this weather. To be fair, these are among the worst weather I saw in Beijing myself in the last few years. But it can be the first impression for many people, especially with the pre-caution of the bad pollution in Beijing. Anyway, weather is not such a big deal. Even it is reported 41% rain possibility at the opening ceremony, weather is just weather. To take it too seriously can be a problem.

Traffic Control

Beijing implemented traffic control. Cars can use the road alternatively. Cars with even number plates can only run on the road on even days, and so do the odd number cars.

I had dinner with my friends, and they really complained about it. They mentioned the Olympic Special Lane, which is the inner lane in many roads.

A: “Have you tried to use that lane?”

B: “I hate anyone who are on that lane, and I will be very embarrassed even if I have a permission to use that lane”

The reason is, many roads were reduced from 3 lanes to two, or from two to one just because of the special lane for Olympic. Although cars are reduced in half, roads are also reduced.

Hmmm.. Just one of the opinions people in Beijing have for the Olympics, despite of unified support voices.

Stopped Work

Many companies will be on vacation during the Olympic, and even for companies still work, there are not many thing to do. My friend at dinner who are in media industry told me they don’t need to report anything during this special time, and they have their personal vacations arranged in this time slot. One of them will fly to Europe, the other to Korea, and anther one I know will fly to Sri Lanka.

It sounds to me that it is very special time for many people. The excitement of Games have not arrived yet, but people’s life is completely taken up-side-down.

Volunteers

The two most visible thing in Beijing are 1) Banner of Olympic 2) Volunteers. There are volunteers everywhere with their unique blue T-shirt.

They are not on duty yet. I just find out they are hanging around on their way to the Olympic village, or just leaving. I didn’t try to go to that area, since it is a restricted area already.

Foreigners

Foreigners? Where are foreigners?

I didn’t see many – my impression is, I felt Beijing is more internationalized in my last few trips than this time.

It should because of the same reason – the game is not coming yet. Let’s be patient and wait.

However, hotels and rented apartment also show the same thing – they are still empty these days. I talked with a broker about the Olympic rental. They told me, the business is even worse than normal days. Many of them have closed office for vacation during the Olympic period since even normal business rental or residential rental were paused during the Olympic period but demand for Olympic Rental didn’t show up at all.

People’s Reaction

I talked with many people, including hotel servant, taxi driver, and my friend.

My over impression is, they feel depressed because of all the restrictions. They just feel the “interference” of the Game is beyond that line.

My Hope

I just record what I see and hear during my one day short stay. I hope it can be of some value. I never thought I can be a complete or even objective observer of anything, but at least the small part of world I see from my own perspective can help to add more information to pain the “Elephant” .

I just hope Olympic is successful. I will be very happy to see all the cost people paid for the game can get a wonderful game.

I also hope we can see blue sky during the game.

Crossing Over with Hong Huang

Today I joined Hong Huang on the talk show of Crossing Over on ICS, talking about Baixing.com for quite some time, and also talked about a topic I don’t have too much idea – sexual harassment.

Hong Huang is one of my favorite star – her movie Perpetual Motion was completely different from any movie I saw, and was astonishingly unique. To be more exact, Wendy is a bigger fan of her.

During side chat, Hong Huang’s comment on Baixing was confusing. I said: how come! It is such a simple business model and such a simple website. She mentioned she saw many painting ads in one of the category labeled “Home Delivery”. I said she was lucky (or unlucky) since we are doing the category change during the time, and she saw a very short window of category disorder. Sorry for that, and now it is OK.

The talk show of about 1 hour will be on air sometimes during the Olympic on ICS.

“Are you the exclusive talk show guest for ICS?” Wendy asked.

“#$^%&$#&….”

Olympic Paranoid

Although no body claimed that, China, especially big cities like Shanghai, already entered into a special emergency period. The security of most of government buildings, including TV station, which is surely part of government, if not one of the most important one, has been dramatically tightened.

I reported the security measures in Radio and TV station before, but this time, it is far more than that. Instead of asking you to wait in the lobby of the building to wait to be “claimed” by someone working in the building, they stopped all visitors at the GATE of the whole area. It is not a pleasant experience to stand on the Weihai Road under the Sun and watching taxis running around.

Besides that, the photo ID is scanned using a old style scanner (which means it is really slow) at the gate. I thought it replaced the requirement at the service counter at the lobby. I was wrong. I still need to hand in my national ID to replace it with a badge, so I can use it to enter the building.

The last step is a scanner that was used in airports. You have to put all your belongs in the scanner, and enter the magnified gate by yourself. It is said that scanner is very tough to get in China these days since it is equipped everywhere.

I didn’t see a torch, and I don’t have plan to see an Olympic game, but I did feel the pressure everywhere because of the game. Hopefully, the joy and safety of game will compensate all the trouble.

Data Center “Sealed” During Olympic

Many days ago, I received an email from Hotsales, since I have a personal home page space with Hotsales, who hosted their servers in China Telecom data center.

The official order came from the above about the “sealing (or blocking) of all data centers”. The order reads like this:

Dear Customer,

Greetings!

According to regulations related to national Olympic logistics, the following “Network Blockage” will be implemented.

China telecome: August 1, 2008 to August 25, 2008

China Unicom: July 20, 2008 to August 25, 2008

China mobile: July 20, 2008 to August 25, 2008

Requirements:

1. Customer staff are not allowed to enter data center.

2. No equipments can be added or removed.

3. If during the “network blockage”, your website is hacked, or changed to anti-government content or has other security problems, the data center will cut off the network connection immediately, and inform the related people. Please cooperate with our further investigation. All servers shutdown must wait until the blockage period is over. During the period, it will not be resumed.

Many IDC (data center) has required their client to close BBS, or anything people can post information, and ask for indemnity if their client fail to do it.

My Two Cents

OK. I feel that Olympic is really coming! Welcome! I am super excited.

Monday, Tuesday, … Olympic

A normal Monday.

In the morning, when I wanted to turn right onto the Xianan Road at my residential area gate, it is already full of cars, and for the first time, a policeman stood there helping to guide the traffic.

This is due to the recent accident on the Jinxiu Road, where the metro construction or the Shanghai Expo Electricity Power Tunnel (who knows which project) caused the road to collaps. All the traffic to Jinxiu Road and Chengshan Road was detoured to the other side of the road, making it so hard for everyone. Roads are roads – they require maintainance and sometimes, collaps… :-(

It is just three weeks before the Oympics in Beijing, and people are counting down for it. However, the recently, most of the news is about restriction, instead of celebration.

In Shanghai, it is still OK. Just saw more policemen on the street, and the Shanghai Stadium Area was closed to public. Shanghai, as one of the co-host city for Olympic, does not have too much sign of the coming Games yet.

The only major thing I observed was the traffic signs.

On the elevated highway and expressways from the Pudong Airport to the Beijing 2008 Hotel – Huating Hotel, the big sign to Huating Hotel with “Beijing 2008” logo on top of the signs are along the away and are at all the key turning point. Besides the Huating Hotel, the Shanghai Railway Station, and the Pudong Airport are other two locations with similar signs everywhere.

Other than that, what is the difference? Let me think – think hard, and we really don’t have too many change so far.

Today is Monday. Tomorrow is Tuesday…. Soon, the Olympic will come. It really will come.

Is Olympic Really Coming?

Olympic Game is coming to Beijing in about one month. What does it mean to this country, to Beijing, and to Shanghai?

As the Game is coming closer, I didn’t personally feel too much difference so far. However, the key question is, what exactly do we expect for an Olympic?

Everything is very normal in Shanghai, except the strengthened security in Metro and in Visa application. There are many “new measures” around us, but not many of them are so exciting yet.

Maybe I have too high expectation for Olympic. It is just the day on New Year Eve – it should be very different, but why the Sun still raises at 6:00 AM, and there are still traffic jam every where?

Photo Needed for Olympic Ceremonies

According to the official web site of Beijing Olympics 2008, Photo ID and personal information needed for Olympic ceremonies ticket buyers.

image
Credit: Beijing 2008

 

Below is the information ticket owners have to fill:

It seems gender, birth date, mobile, telephone, email, mail address all all other personal information IS very important for the committee to host a successful Olympic.

 image

If the ticket buyer fail to go to the designated places to submit their forms in person or via a trustee, they may not be able to attend the ticket. Mail is not accepted. It takes too much time to get a ticket for Olympic.

My 2 cents

It is hard for me to tell my reaction to this requirement.

On the negative side, it is a simple solution to complicated problems again. They may also require you do all kinds of silly things, as long as this can make their job easier. It is just as many easy solutions to complicated system, the inconvenience of ticket buyers is not considered at all.

On the positive side, they are at least doing something to fight against speculative ticket reselling, or many other problems. Although this may not be the best solution, it is at least a solution. Any way, unlike Hukou System, it is not mandatory. Then it is OK, that people still have the freedom to give up the ticket if they really don’t want to go…

On privacy, even if I trust the authority to have the good intention to protect the personal data, I do doubt their ability. Well. It is not just for Olympic Ticket Office. To enforce protection to the sensitive data is a big challenge many commercial companies facing. Typically, governments are often even slower than commercial companies.

BTW, Beijing Olympic is going to open on August 8, this year.

Beijing Olympics 2008 Schedule

Since Beijing Olympics is coming, let me post the schedule for the Olympics in Beijing. Hope you like it. Credit goes to Wikipedia.

 ●  Opening ceremony  ●  Event competitions  ●  Event finals  ●  Closing ceremony
August 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23rd 24 T
Ceremonies
Archery 1 1 1 1 4
Athletics 2 4 6 6 5 3 6 7 7 1 47
Badminton 1 2 2 5
Baseball 1 1
Basketball 1 1 2
Boxing 5 6 11
Canoeing 2 2 6 6 16
Cycling 1 1 2 1 3 1 2 3 2 1 1 18
Diving 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 8
Equestrian 2 1 1 1 1 6
Fencing 1 1 1 1 2 1 1 1 1 10
Field hockey 1 1 2
Football (soccer) 1 1 2
Gymnastics 1 1 1 1 4 4 4 1 1 18
Handball 1 1 2
Judo 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 14
Modern pentathlon 1 1 2
Rowing 7 7 14
Sailing 2 1 2 2 2 2 11
Shooting 2 2 2 2 1 2 1 2 1 15
Softball 1 1
Swimming 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 1 1 34
Synchronized swimming 1 1 2
Table tennis 1 1 1 1 4
Taekwondo 2 2 2 2 8
Tennis 2 2 4
Triathlon 1 1 2
Volleyball 1 1 1 1 4
Water polo 1 1 2
Weightlifting 1 2 2 2 2 2 1 1 1 1 15
Wrestling 2 2 3 2 2 2 2 3 18
August 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23rd 24 302

Source: Wikipedia.org

One Year to Beijing Olympics

Today is 366 days to August 8, 2008, the date of Beijing Olympics. (The reason it is 366 days instead of 365 is, 2008 has extra day of February 29, 2008).

The celebration party at Tiananmen Square in Beijing was casted in real time last night.

This is good thing. If you plan to participant in the Olympics, it is the right time to start preparing.

Olympics Impact to TV Commericals

Olympics is closer. I didn’t feel too much difference yet, but the business men – or to be more exact, the marketing managers – has smelled the opportunity and started to move faster than average people.

When I watch TV today (very seldom recently), and I found many TV commericals are directly connected with Olympics or sports. For example, Coca-Cola is featuring the swimming team, and P&G is featuring the other team (I don’t know how to describe it – it is the movement or dance on the surface – 体操?)…

Olympics is closers…

P.S. The other day, I was asked whether I still listen to VOA (Voice of America). I said, I listened to the program frequently, 17 years ago…