On Wednesday I was reading a piece by Rowan Callick, the China correspondent for the Australian newspaper, about massive corruption surrounding the demolition of old homes in Beijing and how the Olympics are implicated. There was also this:
"The Beijing media carries stories about residents being roughed up and worse. Recently a couple of gang members associated with a developer were convicted of murdering a woman of 62 who refused to leave her home."
At that very moment my gal Cathy Pacific started to scream in the TV room at Neihu Towers.
"Dammit," I thought, "Cathy's lost another bundle on a home shopping network scam."
But no, she'd been watching CNN, and the trigger for her fit was a video of 133 Chinese pop stars and other losers promoting the Beijing Olympics with the music video We Are Ready.
Later I saw exactly what had caused the love of my life so much distress. Amid the execrable lyrics, cheesy music and largely talentless, tone-deaf schmaltz peddlers were at least two token Taiwanese: Elva Hsiao (
And now you, dear reader, can induce a violent, sluice-splitting response by watching it online at www.youtube.com/watch?v=1XOkYTzMHWc.
Apart from Taiwanese pawns, there's a production budget of 19 yuan, phony We Are the World mannerisms (pushing headphones against your ears while faking emotional engagement) and, best of all, the song title is spoken in English 39 times by participants before the music even starts.
But if you can't get enough of this phrase -- either a cappella or in the song's chorus -- then despair not. You can also hear it chanted over montage footage of Chinese athletes. By the time it's over, you know what it's like to undergo thought correction in the Chinese Gulag.
Oh, and there's some of the worst haircuts seen on men since the Qing Dynasty. And I kid you not, at least one of the turkeys erecting the minimal backdrop wears military fatigues.
Cui Jian (
I was reading up on Colonfucius' (
You thought it all started at Olympia amid the pomp and majesty of Ancient Greece, didn't you? Tsk tsk.
In Colonfucius' epic poem Five Rings of Fire, a contest is referred to in the region of present-day Xi'an during the Western Zhou Dynasty (predating the Hellenes' efforts by several centuries) in which criminals would be immobilized in five interlocking rings and have their nether orifices violated with wooden objects from various distances by the most accomplished archers, swordsmen and courtesans in the land.
The basic idea was to land the objects in their unmentionables in some spectacular fashion with the least amount of splash -- all for the entertainment of the imperial court and several thousand onlookers.
Colonfucius, ever-haughty, calls the games single-minded, but he approvingly points out how much Chinese culture came to owe the flexible responses of criminal sphincters -- and that they helped to drive an understanding of physiology in Chinese medical circles.
But back to the present. I can barely contain my excitement at the carnival of kitsch that we're going to be served at Beijing 2008. Now that Steven Spielberg is reeling from The Wrath Of Farrow and backing away from the event over Darfur (Tibet didn't register on the Spielberg Holocaustometer), expect to see Chinese director Zhang Yimou (