In any case, I sat through all the athlete teams march past and whatever, all the way to the end when they lit the torch. I must say that the first hour was truly quite spectacular so hats off to Zhang Yimou, China, etc.
And yet, at the same time, watching the last part of the opening ceremony where they had people dressed in ethnic costumes flapping around on the stage was still uncomfortable. Despite the inevitable 'one world in peace and harmony' sentiment of the Olympics (which I did surprisingly feel a little, until I remembered...it's China), I still couldn't get over China's harsh assimilation policies, the insensitive way with which they deal with their many ethnic minorities, their nonchalance towards human rights, and how they're still not on the same page as the rest of the world (okay, the western world and those parts of the world that subscribe to western ideals, though I think it's debatable whether those ideals are truly "western" or not but let's not get into that) when it comes to serious, important issues like rights, individuality, freedom, democracy.
It's a love/hate thing with China. I felt pride when they displayed to the world - the world - all that ancient China has contributed to the world. The four great inventions - paper, printing, the compass, and I can't remember what the last one is. The Chinese culture - Peking opera, Chinese martial arts, taichi, things that are quite an integral part of the Chinese culture and tradition, that don't necessarily have anything to do with China - the People's Republic of China, to be precise - as a political entity. But are the two really separate? Can you separate the political body from its history and say that I choose to identity with the latter, but not the former?
Whatever it is, that's what I do. I'm proud of my ethnicity, I'm proud to be Chinese, but I cannot stand the PRC - and this isn't entirely due to Taiwan. (Chinese Taipei, by the way, is EPIC FAIL. Omfg WTF are you kidding me it's called TAIWAN. TAIWAN. And TAIWAN HAS A FREAKING FLAG OMG.) The depth and extent of Chinese nationalism scares the shit out of me because I think it borders on irrationality, and of course there's the usual problems with free speech, democracy, blah blah blah I think I don't have to repeat myself.
On the one hand, I felt strangely protective of all those Chinese faces I saw during the whole four hours and I know I'd be damn pissed and insulted if some foreign journalist writes negatively about the opening ceremony and makes snide comments about it. On the other hand, I'd root for Great freaking Britain over China because they are the People's Republic of China and I cannot get behind them no matter what. The sudden influx of PRCs in Singapore isn't exactly helping matters too.
And speaking of Singapore - our flag bearer was Li Jiawei. I was joking to my family about it before our contingent finally appeared, about how it'd be Li and how she'd be returning to her motherland...and it really was her. Sad, right? Our flag carried by someone who isn't Singaporean.
Honestly? I don't care that she's been a Singapore citizen for many years already; the fact still remains that she got her citizenship in exchange for her playing table tennis for the country. If she wins a gold or whatever, I still wouldn't give a shit. It's only when a true-blue Singaporean wins something at the Olympics that I'd sit up and pay attention. These foreign imports - colour me disinterested, even disdainful. Why don't we believe enough in our own people?
Then again, it's rather circular, isn't it? The prospect of Singapore emerging victorious in major international sporting events makes me laugh my ass off, and yet I'm complaining about the general consensus in this country that our own athletes are shit. I do want to be proud of our achievements, however small, because we are so puny and insignificant a country that the broadcast of the opening ceremony didn't even cut to Lee Kuan Yew, who was supposedly there (though I don't know this for sure), when the Singapore team finally appeared, and it's precisely because we're puny that any achievements, major or otherwise, is something to be proud of.
And yet, we have PRCs playing table tennis for us which I still can't get over, and the things we do, or try to do, don't seem to measure up to the standards set by other bigger, more established countries.
Oh well, I don't really know, and of course, I might be alone in this. Whatever this is. I'm literally just typing whatever's coming to my head right now and I want to watch ANTM so that's all.
Oh wait, Kenneth was late to meet me for coffee so I spent half an hour walking around Raffles City, during which I bought three basic tops from Dorothy Perkins for $33, and also a clutch/purse from DP for $23. It's all his fault that I spent even more money after the $211 I spent on my hair and the assorted items I bought in Vivo City after doing my hair. What else was I supposed to do while waiting for him, right? Only option was to shop. So it was his fault. Yup. Totally.