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When I'm not writing about my experiences in this journey called 'life', I'm singing and uploading my own interpretations of modern music. Click on "Cover Songs" to hear them, or on the YouTube logo on the right to see my YouTube channel.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Beijing Blues

We are bang in the middle of the month of August; and as expected, the gaze of the entire world has been on China for the Beijing Olympics. Well, not quite; our attention has been somewhat divided between the little crisis in Georgia (i.e. the war) and the fact that Madonna is now 50! But despite all this the air has been full of general camaraderie, sportsmanship, brotherly love and – smog.

Yes, smog. The IOC may consider themselves akin to the Greek gods of old, since they hold the power to designate the host country for each of the games. However, this time they must have had a bit o pot between them, because they seemingly dismissed the perpetual haze that hovers over Beijing as “smoker’s vision” and bestowed the honour of hosting the 2008 games to them. Little did they know that it wasn’t just the air that would give off a foul aroma during the games.

This edition of the summer Olympics has been full of controversy from day 1. In fact, it started well before the spectacular opening ceremony commenced, with athletes from several contingents expressing their concern about the air quality in Beijing. Using air filters and other technology, it was determined that the pollution was eleven times higher in Beijing than any other metropolitan city in the Europe or the Americas. One news reporter travelled to the Great Wall of China, some 40kms away from Beijing, and recorded the air quality there. It was found to me much better – it was only six times more polluted than London. Naturally, the Chinese authorities went into panic mode and shutdown most of the major power plants inside the city, as well as any other industrial zones. They even went so far as to limit the number of cars that could enter the city per day. Then, just to add extra oomph to their intentions, they issued a decree stating that each vehicle could only enter the city once every 48 hours.

This seemed to satisfy the IOC, who thought they could now relax. That was not to be, as bang on cue, the freedom of the press was put into question. Once again, several reporters complained of harassment by the Chinese authorities, who refused to allow them to video or interview any of the thousands of protesters that were demonstrating against the regime that was in power.

Once again, the government stepped in and allocated specific ‘protest areas’ where demonstrations could go on unheeded. However, to enter those areas one had to register themselves; mysteriously, those people would find themselves in jail the next day for jaywalking.

Oh but there’s more! The Spanish basketball team caused a stir by posing for a team photo while making what appeared to be a racial gesture. The fallout was somewhat muted, and the Spanish team didn’t seem to take it too seriously either, issuing a simple apology and not bothering to justify themselves further. And in keeping with national unity, another picture of the Spanish tennis team surfaced with them making the same gesture. Brilliant.

Could things get any worse? Definitely! A Swedish wrestler is controversially disqualified in a semi-final bout, and his opponent goes on to win the gold. He subsequently wins his bronze medal match, but throws his medal down on the podium as he receives it and walks away. Apparently, he “was aiming for the gold. Nothing else matters”. Sportsmanship at its peak. He was later stripped of his bronze medal too. A fitting punishment, considering he never took it in the first place, don’t you think?

But the crowning glory of Olympic cock-ups has to be the Chinese gymnastics team. It is a well known fact that younger girls are more supple and flexible, thus giving them an edge in gymnastic events. That’s why the IOC has set a minimum age of 16 for the games. Forcing anyone younger to compete would be deemed cruel and inhuman, as their bodies are not yet completely formed.

Enter the Chinese team, with girls that all look like they should still be playing with dolls and studying 8th grade math instead of competing for their country. Mysteriously though, they all have passports that show they are all 16 years old or older. Chinese girls obviously mature later – like around 30. (Click on the link, it makes for interesting reading)

A wise man once said that the world had gone mad. Well, actually he said it many times, and that man was me. But when the Olympics, of all things, cannot escape controversy and instead becomes a “bird’s nest” of unsportsmanlike behaviour, can you disagree with me, I mean, ‘him’?

Lets all look forward to London 2012, where Afghanistan wins gold in the shot putt by throwing a land mine 70 metres into the players tent and killing everyone. Perhaps the IOC will give him a stern warning and force him to shave his beard in apology.

1 comment:

krazykyd said...

neat! also.. wat about the lil gurl who sang the song at the opening ceremony, she was a replacement to the actual gurl who sang, since she was much "cuter" ... !!

p.s - why so serious? :P

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