the olympics are coming to beijing.

olympics games

we hear that sentence everyday.

you turn on the tv, and *pouf!* the new stadium is completed, the torch is now somewhere being carried by somebody else, the theme song is released. the logo itself is omnipresent in every advertisement, on every metro station, on the most unexpected places, including milk cartons and name cards.

(if you’re portuguese, you probably remember we went through the same thing when we had the expo98, or when we hosted the euro2004. )

and that would be ok, if things weren’t touching the surreal. examples:

* thousands of babies have been named “olympics”

* the air quality headache

* migrant workers being persuaded to return home during the games

* the the tickets fiasco

* breaking the spitting habit
* Smog and Mirrors: China’s Plan for a Green Olympics, on Wired

just to link a few headlines catching my attention. for me, the cherry on top of the cake is this movie from cctv (removed the video player because it seemed to be crashing in IE, weird).

and what is that, you might ask? it’s a sketch teaching “olympics etiquette” to chinese people, being regularly broadcasted in the state television. a sort of “how you should behave next year when all the foreigners flood the streets of our country”.
it seems quite inoffensive, but to us it’s very amusing because none of what is being taught there actually happens.

for instance, i’d still be at the crossroads if i were to wait for cars to stop to let me pass – even when the light is green for pedestrians! (try this video for the real picture of what happens at a crossroad in china).

and the other day i felt off my bike just at the entrance of my home complex – stuff in my bag all spread on the floor around me (luckily i got away without a scratch). do you think any of the guards standing 5 meters away came to help? right… i guess they haven’t seen the ad yet!

seriously, i believe people coming to china are in for a big eye-opening surprise… which is good.

ps – by the way, someone came up with a cartoon to explain the way the olympics logo was created :D


ps2 – i can’t wait for the 2010 world expo craziness here in shanghai! “better city, better life” being the theme. *insert pollution-induced-cough here*. how appropriate :)

(rant prompted by joão ‘s post on the 2008 olympic games’ other side).

one comment to “the olympics are coming to beijing.”

  • Sharyn says:

    I know I’m in for a big eye-opening surprise. I’m planning to visit Beijing, in 2008, to visit a friend…but well before the Olympics, and likely before any Olympics etiquette might’ve kicked in. Heh.

leave a reply