Mood: It's Hot
Listening to: Counting Crows - Mr. Jones
Reading: The Time Machine
Watching: Stargate Atlantis
Playing: DOW 4K Soulstorm
Eating: Hot Pot
Drinking: Strawberry Yougurt
So finally the Olympics are over, there was so much noise before them, then they came, things calmed down significantly, then they were over. The first night during the opening everything stopped and people all watched the opening. Every day during the Olympics the front page of the newspapers were about China's accomplishments during the games, though I was surprised to see that after the opening day not many people seemed to be watching the Olympics, rather just going back to work and life went on, they read about what happened the day after or saw it on the TV late at night but things did not stop very much and for the most part you could not tell that a major international event was going on. Of course we are a little distance away from Beijing but the solid resolve of the Chinese people before the games could be felt everywhere, then they came, and it fizzled out and people went back to work.
For a while here we were worried about some sort of terrorist activity that would happen during the games, a friend of mine mentioned that if it happened during the opening it would be a catastrophe especially with so many heads of state sitting in one place. Luckily nothing happened and things went over smoothly.
I thought the opening was pretty great, certainly a great feat of choreographed performance and was for the most part impressed by the things I saw. I saw both the CCTV and NBC versions of the opening and thought it was interesting to compare the general attitude of both.
Then of course a couple days later people started bitching about fireworks and stuff without bothering to find out why it was done the way it was, which is typical and reminds me of something John McCain said, and the only thing that he and I seem to agree on, America has become a nation of whiners. That is exactly what many people here think too, while the Chinese have opened up with these games to the world as a gesture of progress and developing continued good will abroad it is a slap in the face for them to get the reaction from people who are looking for trouble and just want to slander China. I wont even bother to mention all the details that could be said about similar things going on in America or Europe because I find it too ironic.
When I grew up in America I heard the same propaganda against China and all of that and then I came here and saw so many things were not the way it was said to be, then started to do research into things that both sides were saying. I think that is important, trying to understand what both sides are actually trying to say and where they come from. I may not agree with something, or follow that line of thinking but it is at least important to try to understand things from the other sides perspective, something I have learned from my documentary work in photography. What I have learned most about my research is that China and the west have very very different ways of thinking about things. Living here and the social complexity of being in a place you did not grow up in makes every little detail of life become something you can think about with excruciating detail. Why things happen here and why they happen in America are significantly different and it is absolutely mind boggling to try and comprehend especially since Chinese history and culture and language is supremely complex and as they say here, America is still young and had a lot to learn about getting along with others.
When the Olympic opening came around I was thinking about how far China had come in the last 30 years. It really is amazing if you take a quick trip back in history to see that not long ago this was a starving country and very closed and prude especially to outsiders. In the last 5 years so many things have changed here and you can literally see social advancements in huge jumps for the people here. For instance not more then a couple years ago were the first advertisements for condoms, for a long time here sex was a taboo subject and many people 40-50 and up are still very reserved about such things, for instance the thought of a 20 something person in a relationship is still something that has to be very carefully dealt with, not because they are embarrassed to tell their parents or anything like that, but because many parents are still stuck in an old way of thinking about relationships between two people and there are many cultural strings attached that younger generations are trying to break away from. In a city like Chongqing you can still see many things they way they used to be coexisting with things the way they are now and its one of the things I find most interesting about this city, another situation where so much change has happened so fast here, not everyone will change with it at the same pace as history has shown so many times.
Now with the Olympics over I wonder what will happen here, China is already on the path to become the next big player in the grand scheme of things. The Olympics have opened a door for everyone and it's up to those in the west to decide if they will welcome an invitation in or be stubborn in blind misunderstanding of another culture. There is a saying, "you don't kick the dog in someone else's house" meaning you should respect the way things are when entering another persons domain, I think its important for people coming here to remember that because so much of what you see here is different and it is not your business to change it.
Yes things here have changed a lot, and fast, and maybe it has taken the rest of the world by surprise and they are intimidated by this elephant who has just walked up to their fence but it is not such a bad thing really. A stable and prosperous China is in everyone's best interests and if the Olympics is the first large coming out for this country in this modern age, then my goodness they sure did it with style and I hope that the outside world can embrace tolerance and change, who things the outside world is notoriously bad at embracing.