Friday, August 8, 2008

Let the Party Begin

There is exactly one more hour to go until the opening ceremonies of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

I have been waiting for this moment ever since China was awarded the Games in 2001 -- July 13, 2001 to be exact.

And in the past almost year and a half I have lived here, the Olympics has really defined the city. It has drastically improved the transportation system, cleaned up the city (whichever way you want to look at it) and encouraged millions of people to learn another language.

In some ways the government has responded to criticisms with its typical knee-jerk reaction, and in others have been surprisingly lenient, like the reporting on the Sichuan earthquake (that later returned to the usual self-censoring philosophy).

Many Beijingers are tired of the Games already and it's just barely begun. They are tired of the endless security checks and the billions of yuan spent on an event that doesn't have much of a direct impact on them.

But they need to realize the Olympics will always have a lasting legacy on the city. From now on everything will be related to 2008. The Beijing Games is a huge milestone that will be the new benchmark for the city and the country.

Yes, in a way China has arrived. But it also has a long way to go too. I'm not saying it needs to follow Western nations on the path to development. China definitely needs to find its own way.

But it needs to stop its insecurity and stand proud regardless of what others say.

Its battling with itself, not the world in trying to define what China is today.

1 comment:

ks said...

agree. china has to stand up on her own terms at her own pace. she has followed the western way too much too soon. at this juncture it will be nice if she can stop and redefine herself on the world stage.