these are the posts tagged ‘olympics’:


“and so the games started and the country went wild, as expected. for some reason though, i’m not feeling it. shanghai is hot, the media seems to only focus on what they see fit… maybe all this preparation time spoiled the fun of it for me, and after the apotheosis that was the opening ceremony, things somewhat diluted themselves under the intensity at which we are daily bombarded… olympics olympics olympics. so i don’t feel like watching tv or reading tweets about it. hope the portuguese do well, and totally subscribe the idea of nationalizing michael phelps. pretty please?”

i wrote that in shanghai, four years ago, in a draft that never made it into the blog. was that really 4 years ago? funny how time flies. we’ve changed countries and jobs meanwhile, yet this indifference towards the olympics remained. plus we don’t even own a tv this time!

dear friends,

we’re fine, i’m calmer, so don’t worry. after some reasoning, i believe people in shanghai are more well informed than in other more rural places, not to mention simply too busy to be making any riots. and my window view of the beach themed carrefour assures me it is still in the same place.
i’ve read that the government has finally taken some action by enforcing restrictions to stop the access to sites that instigate riots and boycotts, as well as blocking sms that have sensible content.

how naive of them to let this anti-western sentiment spread this far on the eve of the olympic games (when thousands of foreigners are expected in china) and especially knowing that they went through a very similar situation with anti-japanese protests not so long ago.

few things are more stupid than a mob

shanghaiist published today the story of an american volunteer teacher that was attacked last sunday, when exiting carrefour on zhuzhou (hunan). below is the letter sent by one of his colleagues to the media:

Last night [Editor’s note: Sunday, Apr 20] around 7pm my friend was attacked by a mob of about 150 people outside the Carrefour in Zhuzhou, Hunan (near his placement site). When leaving Carrefour some of the crowd started shouting at him and he tried to say he didn’t have anything to do with the Olympics, but 3 men started to push him and then he was hit in the back of the head at least 3 times.
He started to run, and the mob chased him. He jumped into a cab, but the mob surrounded the car and started shaking and rocking it. The cab driver was shouting at him to get out. Then they started hitting the car. The crowd was shouting “kill him! kill the Frenchman.” He called the Field Director while in the back of the car. The cab driver abandon the car when he saw police coming.
Two police made there way though the mob and managed to drive the cab away. The Field Director alerted the Director Shu of the Hunan Department of Education. The police got him another cab and he took it from Zhuzhou to the field director’s home in Changsha. He spending the night here in Changsha and is likely leaving China as soon as possible.

[My colleague] is only 22, an American (not French), and a volunteer teacher. He graduated from Boston Collage less than 10 months ago. If he can be attacked anyone can be. The situation in central china is becoming much worse very quickly. James has been cut up pretty badly by the glass and the people trying to grab him.

I didn’t think the situation and protests were anything to worry about before now, but if the mob had gotten him outside of the cab he could have easily been killed.

Foreigners need to be more aware that this is a real danger and MUCH more careful around the protests here in central china.

Im also sending this letter to the embassy.
People need to be more much careful.

me too, i also hadn’t given these boycotts and protests much thought. now? honestly, as a caucasian-big-eyed-easy-to-spot foreigner, i feel threatened.

i find myself mentally rewinding stupid sentences in mandarin, such as “i’m not french, i’m portuguese, portugal gave macau to china, so we’re friends!”. as if i could tame the stupidity of a mob with my impressive mandarin skills. both sad and pathetic. *sigh*

here’s hoping the olympics come and go quickly. 125 days left.

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).