For all the talk about democracy leading up to the Olympics, perhaps it is time – in the wake of the Olympics – to take a step back and ponder about what democracy really is.
An interesting article appeared in the New Yorker earlier this month about the process of politics. Digging under the hood of democratic politics, it tries to explore two strains of forces that in real life can be di-opposed: rough and tumble democracy v. good governance and social policy.
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.
This is a happy China story that also happens to have some fun cultural elements in it.
When we moved into this neighbourhood a year and a half ago, we’d just begun language school and could hardly communicate at all (now we’re fluent in Chinglish). We picked this neighbourhood because it has a great outdoor community atmosphere and it seemed to be average (economically) for Tianjin: not the poorest hutong (some of which recently got bulldozed) but also not a newer development. It’s mostly danwei apartments. Continue reading »
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.
I thought I’d bring to people’s attention to a recent Op Ed from Tony Blair in the Wall Street Journal on the Rise of China and the Olympics. I think the piece is interesting as a genuine attempt by a Western Leader (or at least a former Western leader) to understand – in good faith – the Rise of China and the Olympics. Continue reading »
While news outlets such as NYT and Huffington Post were all too happy to “out” the Chinese government on misreporting and record errors, by citing unfavorable search engine results to bolster the “lie”, “cheat” conclusions – What our media doesn’t seem to care about, is the search engine results that are in support of the claim these girls are of age: Continue reading »
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.)
Overshadowed by the Olympics, the news of the passing away of a former supreme leader of China, Hua Guofeng 华国锋, on August 20, 2008 wasn’t particularly noticed by many. I would like to use this post to pay respect to Chairman Hua, as he was once called when I was in my childhood, and offer condolences to his family and friends. Continue reading »
It is said that the Beijing Olympics was a big draw, perhaps proving the adage that no publicity is bad publicity. Did the worldwide protests before the Olympics ironically serve as a big advertisement for the Beijing Olympics? And now that a record number of people have watched the Olympics, what have they learned about China? Continue reading »
I have just started reading your blog and have found it informative and interesting, especially as to the Olympics. In the interest of international cross-cultural exchange and helpfulness, I venture the following inquiry. Continue reading »
ChinaWatcher’s response to my last post has struck me as particularly thoughtful and reasonable. However, I have a different view on the following statement and feel the issue is important enough to write a separate post, to ensure sufficient attention. My writing is 99.9% dead serious and 0.1% over the top satire. The Olympics have been criticized for being uptight and lacking in fun. We need to make it up for Beijing. Continue reading »
This will probably make some people angry, or at least get people’s emotions fired up. But that’s not what I’m trying to do. This is a totally honest Western perspective from a Westerner who is usually very positive toward China (we are learning Chinese in China and want our kids to grow up here). I’m writing this hoping we can have a real conversation and understand one another better. Continue reading »
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 »