When I was a kid, I remember watching the Olympics on TV and thinking it was pretty boring. Then in 2004, I went to the Athens Olympics to visit all my friends. I think that’s when I finally got what the Olympics was all about! It was amazing! The atmosphere, the parties, produced by all these countries from all over the world coming together to compete. It didn’t matter what bull shit had happened before the games between all the countries, everyone was invited and everyone partied hard together! I’ll never forget the last night when a small crowd of Brazilians, high on winning their “best” Gold medal for the Mens beach Volleyball that day started a party in Monostiraki Square and ended up with people from all over the world joining in (along with all of us) and just marching up and down drumming and singing!
Now the Olympics has come to Beijing, and after watching the opening ceremony, it really brought back all those memories from the last Olympics. After Athens, we all swore to make it to Beijing, but without the money, and apparently the accommodation (hotels have been booked out for years!) which we didn’t have to worry about in Athens because we all lived there (and I just crashed with them!) we couldn’t make it, but I doubt we’ll have problems making it to London 2012! 😉 But after seeing the opening ceremony, I wish I had…it was spectacular! I don’t think any country before, and definitely not London in 2012 (sorry, but lets face it, we’re not good at being impressive like that!) has done a show like that before, the special effects were amazing! Running around a huge globe sideways, a huge dove created by hundreds of people moving around to flap its wings, over 20,000 fireworks, and I definitely wasn’t expecting the Olympic logo that “fell” on the floor like stardust to suddenly rise up and float in the center of the stadium!
This Olympics has been dogged with China’s human rights records and Tibet, but I think that for the next 16 days, just like all the other countries leave their BS behind, we should let China temporarily leave its behind. The Chinese people are proud and deserve this dramatic entrance onto the world stage! As much as we can criticise many aspects of China, we could do the same of America, especially its foreign policy the past 8 years, and many other countries. The fact is no country is perfect, no matter how “free” its population. I actually think that the Chinese style government has done more good for China than the democratic alternative that everyone seems to think we should force onto the rest of the world! After spending 2.5months in India, the worlds largest democracy, and similar in population size to China, I realised that democracy may not be the best solution for developing countries. While China has managed it population with one child policy, centralised government and expanding cities as needed to avoid slums, all for the “greater good” rather than individual liberty, it has built fantastic infrastructure, far less poverty and slums than other fast growing developing countries and “democracies” like India and Brazil. Democracy is great when you have a majority comfortable, educated middle class, but when you have basic issues such as giving people food, education and eradicating poverty, democracy slows progress down. Having to worry about your popularity when making decisions usually means you shy away from the hard decisions that need to be made, having to argue for every penny and change just to get things done, and then losing your budget when the next guy gets voted in…that’s what has happened in India and why it is years behind in development to China, and although I cannot justify on a moral basis another one child policy, after seeing the thousands of kids in India running around, its worrying how fast their population is growing when they haven’t even figured out basic standards for 60% of its population.
Anyway, this is not a rant on India, this is a rant on the critics of China who will surely be trying to taint the events over the next 16 days. While we should not forget the issues in this world and continue to fight them, China has every right to be proud of its achievements, more-so than some developed countries like America can be in recent years, and we should let the events be what they’re meant to be – a celebration of all countries achievements, especially China’s, so leave the bull shit at the back door.