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  • The Chinese have arrived, eh?

    by Sunny
    24th August, 2008 at 4:35 pm    

    Well… just in case you weren’t entirely aware of the economics of world trade, the Chinese government did a damn good job to tell the world they had arrived, through the Olympics opening and closing ceremonies.

    Not that they ever went away - the Chinese and Indian civilisations have always been big players on the global scene, except for the period of industrialisation. But now, China is back! (said in an American accent usually used for American film trailers). And you betta recognise foo’!
    No, I don’t have anything intelligent to say. I’m still in awe.

                  Post to

    Filed in: China,Current affairs

    21 Comments below   |  

    Reactions: Twitter, blogs

    1. Rumbold — on 24th August, 2008 at 5:26 pm  

      “No, I don’t have anything intelligent to say.”

      Don’t be so hard on yourself.

    2. muhamad — on 24th August, 2008 at 5:34 pm  

      I’m in awe of Usain Bolt. That man makes my early morning jog around my little town look like a child’s stroll around a playpark.

    3. Sunny — on 24th August, 2008 at 6:33 pm  

      Rumbold - just being honest. Heh.

    4. Kits Coty — on 24th August, 2008 at 10:18 pm  

      Awe - yes, certainly amazing but don’t you find anything about the opening and closing ceremonies just a little disturbing also?

    5. Sunny — on 24th August, 2008 at 10:41 pm  

      In what way?

    6. Amrit — on 24th August, 2008 at 10:42 pm  

      Awesome? I found it hilarious! The commentary from one of the female commentators was especially amusing, I can’t remember everything she said, unfortunately, but I DO recall her rather amusing gaffe when she talked about the Sydney Olympic ceremony (to celebrate getting the games) that showed their cheeky sense of humour and ‘Aussie irrelevan - IRREVERENCE’.

      Poor Australia! Mistaken for Iraq by a dumb American, with many ignorant of some of the brilliant comedy coming out of there and having to choose between the Labour and the Liberal Party (both in name only)…

      The bit about how the Chinese can work harder than anyone else if they have to was also faintly menacing, I’m not too sure why.

    7. Kits Coty — on 24th August, 2008 at 10:56 pm  

      Well much has been said that London cannot hope to emulate the scale of it which is true but it would be wrong I think to try. It struck me as a high tech version of those mass displays that only non-democracies can do. The sort of thing that North Korea could also do very well if it had a budget of £22 billion but the UK could not. So yes impressive and I enjoyed it but I also think a little dehumanizing.

    8. halima — on 25th August, 2008 at 5:49 am  

      I thought it was great - and the British shouldn’t try and emulate something that actually we won’t be good at.. though, in world of being environmental and so on, perhaps shouldn’t try and emulate, and not use this as a moral high ground to beat the non-democracies (look at us and look at them), but instead do something different. Use our comparative advantage. We shouldn’t try and be the same and a little better. We should go the other way and be different.

      In world where differentiation is what gives British economy its distinction - creativity and innovation is our thing and we should build on that - while not forgetting our grassroots.

      I loved the cool blue Britannia dress - vintage and modern.

    9. cjcjc — on 25th August, 2008 at 9:31 am  

      Totalitarian regimes always do spectacle rather well.

    10. Ravi Naik — on 25th August, 2008 at 11:14 am  

      Totalitarian regimes always do spectacle rather well.

      They do exceedingly well in propaganda to exert the qualities of their glorious leaders and their impeccable and flawless regime. Needless to say, China did a pretty good job in organising the Olympics, which India would never be able to pull this off.

      However, China is still a 3rd World country with abject poverty and great discontent in non-economic areas, and these displays of opulence and extravaganza are nothing more to hide that. I am counting that India will reach to China’s economic level in a century, but taking everybody aboard, not just the lucky few.

      I agree with Halima’s post in #8 that London should not try to emulate the opulence of the Chinese Olympics. There is no other city in the world that captures the spirit of the Olympics than London, and that should capitalise that.

    11. Zak — on 25th August, 2008 at 2:22 pm  

      Fareed Zakaria had a interesting interview on BBC parliaments booktalk, he listed how everything from the largest oil refinery to worlds largest ferris wheel were now in countries outside Western Europe and the US.

      Times are a’changing..

    12. Sunny — on 25th August, 2008 at 5:58 pm  

      Hey, the Americans also do propaganda quite well. Its just more subtle. Its all good though, I don’t condemn propaganda - its a fact of life that agents will try and promote their cause.

    13. Zak — on 25th August, 2008 at 6:04 pm  

      Absolutely Sunny…it’s not like the British establishment doesn’t plant and promote stuff.

    14. a very public sociologist — on 25th August, 2008 at 8:52 pm  

      It was a very good closing ceremony. But strangely disturbing in the same way the North Korean displays you find on youtube are. I’ve never seen the ceremonies for the Nazi olympics - were there any similarities?

    15. Zak — on 25th August, 2008 at 9:21 pm  

      the exact quote from Fareed Zakarias book

      “The tallest building in the world is now in Taipei, and it will soon be overtaken by one being built in Dubai. The world’s richest man is Mexican, and its largest publicly traded corporation is Chinese. The world’s biggest plane is built in Russia and Ukraine, its leading refinery is under construction in India, and its largest factories are all in China. By many measures, London is becoming the leading financial center, and the United Arab Emirates is home to the most richly endowed investment fund. Once quintessentially American icons have been appropriated by foreigners. The world’s largest Ferris wheel is in Singapore. Its number one casino is not in Las Vegas but in Macao, which has also overtaken Vegas in annual gambling revenues. The biggest movie industry, in terms of both movies made and tickets sold, is Bollywood, not Hollywood. Even shopping, America’s greatest sporting activity, has gone global. Of the top ten malls in the world, only one is in the United States; the world’s biggest is in Beijing. Such lists are arbitrary, but it is striking that only ten years ago, America was at the top in many, if not most, of these categories. “

    16. douglas clark — on 25th August, 2008 at 11:13 pm  


      Thanks for that.

      This is all extremely sad, is it not?

      Not one of these things is actually useful, is it?

      It is as if we’d become as stupid as your average Texan. “We’ve now got the largest arses in the world, overtaking NYC and London to be world champions in stupid records” or some such….

    17. cjcjc — on 26th August, 2008 at 11:26 am  

      “It is as if we’d become as stupid as your average Texan.”

      Have you ever been to Texas?

      I have been there maybe 10 times and have found them courteous and intelligent.

    18. douglas clark — on 26th August, 2008 at 11:42 am  


      Nope, pardner, I ain’t ever been to Texas, but if they’re as prickly as their cacti and you it ain’t a road movie I want to be in.

      Even if most Texans have IQ’s in the genius range, there is one resident that would pull the average way, way down, now wouldn’t there?

    19. cjcjc — on 26th August, 2008 at 1:37 pm  

      If responding courteously to an extremely sad student-ish (are you a student?) jibe at Texans counts as “prickly” heaven forfend you meet anyone who actually fits that description!

    20. douglas clark — on 26th August, 2008 at 1:51 pm  


      Lighten up. It was not a serious comment.

    21. The Common Humanist — on 27th August, 2008 at 12:23 am  

      2008 = 1936

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