Saturday 9 August 2008


The Bird's Nest Stadium

China promised the most spectacular Olympic opening ceremony, and presented a lavish and dramatic display of fireworks, music and dancing to mark the opening of the Beijing Olympic Games in the fabulous Birds Nest stadium,which was designed by architects Herzog and de Meuron.

Some 10,000 performers took part in the ceremony, which was watched all over the world on TV by an estimated one billion people before athletes from all participating nations, except Brunei, who reportedly were late in registering, entered and walked around the Birds Nest stadium.

Security was very tight in the Beijing, three activists were arrested after holding a pro-Tibet protest.

Larger rallies were reported to have taken place in Nepal and India.

Analysts say it is the most politicised Games since the Cold War era.

The build-up to the event was overshadowed by worries over air pollution and criticism of China's human rights record.

Beijing has faced pressure to improve civil liberties, several world leaders have expressed concern over a crackdown on dissidents.

But is it possible to keep politics out of these Beijing Olymic Games?
Is it even right to do so, given China's poor human rights record?

After the controversy of the run-up, the opening ceremony certainly changed the focus of attention.

An estimated 91,000 spectators packed the brand new Olympic Stadium which is known as the ‘Bird's Nest’ because of its steel lattice construction looks somewhat like a bird's nest and they cheered the performers of the wonderfully choreographed and spectacular show, which took seven years of planing , and is estimated to have cost a record-breaking USD$40 billion (£20 billion) (RM 126 billion)

The opening ceremony started at 8 minutes past 8 on the evening of the 8th day of the 8th month of the year 2008, reflecting the belief widespread in Asia, especially with Chinese speakers, that eight is a lucky number.

More than three hours later, China's President Hu Jintao declared the 29th Olympiad officially open.

The grand finale to the evening's absolutely fabulous and lavish opening ceremony performances was when China's champion gymnast Li Ning was winched up to the rim of the stadium carrying the Olympic torch at the end of its journey around the world.

Then suspended, he ‘ran’ around the upper rim of the Bird’s Nest Stadium and used the torch to ignite the Olympic cauldron, which is a huge torch towering above the stadium; then immediately afterwards a fantastic display of fireworks rounded off an extravaganza extraordinaire

Meanwhile, security remained a serious concern for the Chinese authorities.

An additional 100,000 troops and police have been deployed in and around Beijing.

Several areas, including Tiananmen Square, which could provide foci and rallying points for protesters, were cordoned off.

The weather is hot and humid, these are conditions which may actually improve athletic performance, recent research suggests.

However any smog, or high concentrations of suspended particles could have the opposite effect.

Recent reports from the BBC state that the air quality is still not good in Beijing, so let us hope that it will improve, and that any air pollution will not have an adverse effect of the peak performance of the world athletes.

Come on Malaysia, we are eagerly awaiting your first 2008 Olympic medal!

Meanwhile back to reality, in the real wicked world.........


The smiles of the athletes walking around the Olympic stadium in Beijing may temporarily mask many varied political conflicts worldwide, for example:

In Zimbabwe, Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Afghanistan, and so forth ... but now in Georgia there is the likelihood of outright war!

The Georgian province of South Ossetia wants to break away from Georgia,
and has the support of Russia.

There has been fierce fighting overnight.

The Georgian President Saakasvili is reported to have said that:
some 150 Russian tanks and other military vehicles have entered South Ossetia.

President Saakasvili has vowed to restore Tbilis's rule over South Ossetia, he has angered Russian by seeking membership of NATO.

The fighting is intensifying and escalating.

There is a real fear of an all out fully fledged war

Dulce bellum inexpertis

- War is sweet for those who haven't experienced it.


Donplaypuks® said...

Sports can never be divorced from Politics. Only those who will not see can pretend so. After all, it was only circa 1984 that China itself was admitted to the Olympics.

Once USA boycotted the Moscow Olympics,Arab terrorists killed Israeli athletes in Munich and Hitler tried to promote Nazism and Blue-eyed Blonde Race Suptemacism.

Is Taiwan part of today's Olympics. They should be if politics does not figure!

Some things about the opening ceremony:

1. The fireworks was spectacular
2. Cultural and historical shows were superb
3. The theme song and music sucked. Just did not have the same impact (no gravitas)as say that in Spain, USA or Greece.
4. Can't understand why Sarah Brightman should be singing the theme song. Surely, China has at least 1 world-class opera singer?
5. Can't understand why there were no English sub-titles for Chinese PM's speech etc

This cliched approach to every f..king international games that it is 'the best ever' must stop. Let the viewers decide, not those with vested interests!!

mindful mariner said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mindful mariner said...

Thanks for dropping by and leaving your detailed comment Donplaypuks.

Overall the opening ceremony was fine , but do agree that the lack of subtitles / translations was a let down.

As was Sarah Brightman who sang the theme song English, in such a strange way that it was almost unintelligible even to native English speakers, perhaps that's why they chose her?

Just been watching the gymnastics, they didn't show a replay of an error a Chinese athlete made on the
apparatus, that clearly shows the level of openness and transparency existing in China.