Monday, August 25, 2008

From Beijing to London

The 2008 Beijing Olympic has come to an end.

This is the best Olympiad ever. It is near perfect, save for a number of controversies.

I have one minor gripe: the organizing committee has selected some of the most charming women in the country as ushers and cheerleaders. (Remember this is a nation with 1.3 billion populations.) As an avid photographer, I wish I could fly to Beijing to capture them with my camera. Nonetheless, I find their hand gestures to be too boring.

We have witnessed a very memorable opening ceremony on August 8, 2008, and an equally memorable closing ceremony on August 24, 2008. Former IOC president Juan Antonio Samaranch always, at the closing ceremony, praised the games as “the best ever”. The one exemption was Atlanta 1996. Following the dissolution of Soviet Union, the United States became the only superpower. The over-confident Americans made a lot of mistakes in Atlanta. Now, given the success of the Beijing Games, one wonders how London can do better. In fact, the organizing committee of London 2012 has already admitted that the Beijing Games is difficult to surpass.

As the Middle Kingdom rises from a hundred years of humiliation by foreign powers and the peril of Great Cultural Revolution, the Chinese are nearly as confident as the Americans were in 1996. The spectacular opening ceremony was not meant to welcome the visitors, but to showcase their new-found prowess. Do you still remember the fake “ethnic minority kids”? The Britons who performed in the closing ceremony were truly multi-racial.

London can never match Beijing in terms of sheer scale. (North Korea probably can.) However, sincerity was something lacking in Beijing 2008. This is an area London can do better.


  1. The fake minority ethnic groups.
    The fake voices.
    The fake fireworks.
    The "fake" image/etiquette that they tried to instill on the Chinese.

    Agree with you it was a visually great show that has many people glued to the google box.

    London may have the sincereity, but China has also set a high (and expensive) benchmark that will be hard to surpasssed in many Olympics to come.

    China Olympics alone deserves another world record, be it for the most beautiful Olmypics Opening, or the number of fakes.

  2. fake or not
    still impressive...

    but very disappointed with the closing... expected more than this :p

  3. Life itself is a stage so everything that happens in life is just a show. I would take things as they are instead of trying to read too much into it. My motto is enjoy the good and overlook the bad.

    These shows at the Beijing Olympics (Opening and Closing ceremonies) must surely be the greatest shows on earth thus far. Bravo China!!

  4. Thanks everyone for your input.

    Basically I agree that the Beijing Games is very good, but that doesn't mean it cannot be equaled.

    It also depends people's preference. If you watch the games in TV, and if you like visual effects, Beijing Games will be number 1 for many years. But if you flew to Beijing, you may be irritated by China's tight visa application control.

  5. no matter what, i will applause london for selecting an indian girl to represent their community.

  6. I also wonder how London can do better than China.

    Beijing Olympics, is the best one !

  7. Can't really blame China for her tight immigration. They are doing all this for the sake of security for all concerned. If I were visiting, I know I would be relieved to know that security is tight and that I am safe.

  8. zewt
    London's performers in the closing ceremony in Beijing were already multi-racial.

    Yes, difficult. As far as visual effects are concerned, Beijing is the best. But there are more to visual effects.

    I think the major threat to the games were the Xinjiang separatists, not foreigners who applied for visa.

  9. if they had not faked the little girl, i would think that it was a huge success

  10. xin
    I think the Beijing Games is a huge success even with the faking incidents. But London should not repeat the same mistake.

  11. I think it was a success. Let's not go into the controversies anymore. People just love to analyze (hehehe, including me).

    Let's look forward to the paralympics instead!

  12. 宝茹
    I am not denying that Beijing Games was a huge success. In fact I have made it clear from the beginning. What I am trying to say is that London can still match Beijing, but on other aspects.

    Eh... wondering how many of us are supporting the Paralympics...

  13. Beijing Olympics OC is grand in scale, but the one that wins my heart is Athens 2004. Just love their parades of the Classical Greek eras and the living statues!

  14. kyh
    China is the world's most populous nation, so it can do things in grand scale. But small can be beautiful.

  15. The Paralympics isn't that much hyped. But I think they're still worth supporting. :)