What an invigorating way to start the new Year of the Tiger! I thoroughly enjoyed watching Shen and Zhao (after 18 Years of challenges and setbacks) finally win Olympic Gold! Of all the performers in the night, it was probably Pang and Tong who shined the brightest. But the crowd’s sentimental favorites Shen and Zhao did enough to make the the night theirs.
A few weeks ago, accusations and charges of fakery in the Opening Ceremony flew in the Western media like hotcakes when it was discovered that two Chinese girls had participated in performance of the “Hymn to the Motherland” in the Opening Ceremony. We had a discussion here a few weeks ago.
The Olympics are over (except for the Paralympics, that is) and people have trickled out of Beijing, but still in their heads and mine is probably this catchy (some say annoying) song that was sung by an ensemble of veritable who’s-who in today’s Chinese popular music world. Chinese people seem to really like this kind of qunxing (群星) or star-ensemble singing, where phrases are sung by their favorite stars.
Just watched the closing ceremoney, allow me to head off any potential criticisms:
– During the flag raising the 56 fake ethinic children are now being faked by 56 grown ups (I’m sure those children didn’t grow up in 2 weeks.) No doubt they are all Han (except a close up on a woman who appears to be ethinic, possibly CGI enhanced?) And they were again fake singing, no doubt using 56 other people’s voices.
– The king of the drums was not flying, rather hanging on wires – just like the moon goddess during the opening ceremoney.
– The perfectly synchronized fireworks aerial must be CGI. No doubt about it.
– The entire dance number was pirated from Circ De Sole, down to those giant drums that didn’t make a sound when the soundtrack was misqued (no doubt the drum sound were from a different drum, how cruel it is to the unseen drum.)
The International Olympics Committee (IOC) has found no proof that Chinese Gymnast He Kexin was underage. The issue was raised by the US gymnastic team based on their visual inspection; “they don’t look like 16, but a lot younger”. How much credit should be given to the subjective impression of the American competitors who have lost to Kexin and her teammates? Moreover, what can you do with your subjective impressions? Continue reading What you can do to verify He Kexin's age: On subjectivity and procedural justice.→
Even though Buxi isn’t back, why don’t we return to a fine tradition of this blog? This post from Niubo (牛博), a Chinese forum often filled with discontent with how things are, has something interesting to add about the age of Olympic gymnast He Kexin. Translation below:
On the question of the Chinese gymnast He Kexin’s age, one fact is certain, that is, there is an inconsistency between the local athletic bureau and the central athletic bureau. So, is it that:
1. The local athletic bureau is correct, and the central athletic bureau changed her age to older?
2. The local athletic bureau falsified, and changed her age to younger?
This belongs to the “random musing” category. What’s your take?
In some quarters, the Beijing Olympics were compared to the 1936 Berlin Olympics. During the debates of that IMHO ill-conceived moniker “Genocide Olympics”, Jesse Owens’ name was often used. A dominant narrative was that in 1936 the more progressive United States, sent in some black athletes such as Jesse Owens to the Nazi Germany. The fantastic performance of Jesse Owens gave a black eye to Hitler.
Was it the history as it really happened? Hardly. According to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jesse_Owens
“When I passed the Chancellor [Hitler] he arose, waved his hand at me, and I waved back at him. I think the writers showed bad taste in criticizing the man of the hour in Germany.”
He also stated: “Hitler didn’t snub me — it was FDR who snubbed me. The president didn’t even send me a telegram.” Jesse Owens was never invited to the White House nor bestowed any honors by Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR) or Harry S. Truman during their terms. In 1955, President Dwight D. Eisenhower acknowledged Owens’ accomplishments, naming him an “Ambassador of Sports.”
Owens was cheered enthusiastically by 110,000 people in Berlin’s Olympic Stadium and later ordinary Germans sought his autograph when they saw him in the streets. Owens was allowed to travel with and stay in the same hotels as whites, an irony at the time given that blacks in the United States were denied equal rights. After a New York ticker-tape parade in his honor, Owens had to ride the freight elevator to attend his own reception at the Waldorf-Astoria.
Last night after the women’s gymnastics team final, NBC announcer Bella Caroli commented that the Chinese team cheated with underage athletes, and their passports were doctored by the Chinese government.
After some digging, it seems the age allegation had surfaced some time ago, but was quelled after passports and birth certificates where produced to the satisfaction of the gymnasts federation in charge.
Have not seen much of this since, except the NBC commentator and some 2nd tier reporting from NYT.
Harold Meyerson at the Washington Post compares the Beijing Olympics with Russian involvement in Georgia and believes that the Olympics are a game-changing event in world history while Russia’s Georgian adventure is not. The theme of the Chinese model of development offering an alternative to Western democracy has been repeated by many in Western media. Continue reading From the Beijing Olympics, Come the Drums of Change→