More Thanh Words

"My name is Thanh and I'm a Blogger". Now that I have admitted to that, I can say that I'm a stereotypical "geeky" Engineer who enjoys sci-fi books and movies and into all things technological. I also love music and have a passion for FOOD. I'm a social person and like to talk to people. I hate people who are fake or overly aggressive. If you're also into some serious discussion, with a pinch of sarcasm and a dash of real emotion, then please read on.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Beijing Olympics - Opening Ceremony

I am a huge TV couch potato sports fan. So the Beijing Olympics 2008 is my ultimate indulgence. I will just sit in front of the TV for as many hours as possible in a day and watch every sport imaginable. I'll even watch the Equestrian dressage and Air Rifle shooting. Those aren't exactly the most high profile sports, but I only ever watch them four years.

For me, the Olympics are the epitome of sports. They may not be as pure as how they started out in Greece all those hundreds of years ago, but they still hold something magical for me. The endeavours of elite athletes working towards this ultimate goal is to be celebrated and enjoyed. There are always so many feel good stories that come out of the Olympics. Heroic stories of people's battle against the odds to pursue their dreams.

This year, 2008, the Olympics is being held in China. After so many years of shutting themselves from the rest of the world, these Olympics is likes China's debutant ball, annoucing themselves to a global audience of billions. There could be no larger debutant ball. No expenses have been spared in orgainising this massive party. China have gone all out to show their best face to the world. Planning for the stadiums finished before schedule, the city of Beijing was cleared of cars, smog, spitting, beggars etc.

The theme of grandeur of this whole Olympics was amazingly highlighted in the opening ceremony. No one watching the opening ceremony would have any doubts about the intentions of China in making this the biggest Olympics ever.

So on to the opening ceremony itself. I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed it, and there were so many moments where I just had to say "Wow". I would say that it is one of the best opening ceremonies ever, if not the best. The history of China was presented through the dynasties with spectacular visual dance routines.

Everything about the whole ceremony was massive, mirroring the current political, and economical situation that China is currently in. I think the fact that George Bush, the first American president to visit an Olympics outside of their own country in 30 years, proves the might that China now holds.

The ceremony kicked off in a dramatic countdown, using thousands of drummers performing in military precision. That military precision would be evident all night, with dancers portraying scholars, rural minorities, opera actors, kings and queens. At one stage, a large ancient Chinese typewriter device was bobbing up and down to create these wonderful patterns had me thinking a massive machine was being driven by a computer. Only when the dancers underneath it emerged did I realise it was all being done by man power. Again, this parallels with China current industrial boom, where almost all the worlds consumer devices are being made by millions of hands in Chinese factories.

The theme of using a paper scroll that kept being added to throughout the dynasties was a clever idea. The scroll sat within in the largest LCD screen I have ever seen. The LCD screen covered nearly the whole length of the field, a good 100 metres long. It showed beautiful images of paintings and Chinese art through the ages.

Needless to say, the fireworks display was beyond imagination. China does produce most of the worlds fireworks, so organising fireworks was surely the least of their worries. The firework was cleverly used in the lighting of the Olympic cauldron. A man did a horizontal walk across the whole lip of the stadium, which was used as a backdrop for the torch relay images. I don't know if the images were projected onto the stadium or if it was another huge LCD screen, but whatever the case, it was stunning. The man finally lit the tip of a firecracker, which blazed in a huge flame and went on to light the cauldron. Spectacular and so fundamentally Chinese. I'm sure every Chinese child has at one stage lit a firecracker and could totally relate to it.

Overall, it was a really great opening ceremony and I'm hoping for two weeks of great sport, mixed in with emotions of joy, laughter, sadness, anger, disappointment and love. Human kind will be on show for all the world to see.

One World, One Dream.