Today three of my colleagues and I had lunch together.
We somehow started talking about the burned-out building next to the new CCTV tower, probably because our office is really close to it.
The latest news is that the police have arrested the owner of the factory that made the fireworks that the CCTV officials set off on February 9 next to the new Mandarin Oriental hotel that was engulfed in flames.
They all commented that the investigation was not moving forward by catching the fireworks boss, as he was not the one who set off the high-quality fireworks that were the same ones used in the Olympics last year.
Chinese media have been told to stay away from the story, which is a pity as so far it's a fascinating tale of corruption, ineptness and stupidity. There must be some serious backroom political deals going on as progress of the investigation going so slowly. How can it be so difficult to figure out who gave the green light for the fireworks to be set off on CCTV property when it's completely illegal to set them off in such a densely-populated area?
Then came the same rant of how much of their taxpayer dollars went to build the giant and expensive complex that was promptly burned down by CCTV officials themselves.
It's interesting to see how people here are beginning to acknowledge that their hard-earned money is going to these grandiose architectural projects that are now a source of shame or waste, like the Bird's Nest that seems to be neglected in terms of maintenance.
I heard a person who had worked at the Olympics last summer said she couldn't bear visiting the National Stadium as she had heard garbage was everywhere and no staff were around to keep the area clean.
We talked about how although the investigation on the burned out building was finished, it was still standing there, though it is probably structurally not safe to use even if it was renovated.
One coworker pointed out to me that everyone nicknames the CCTV as da kouchar or "big pants", while the building that was supposed to house the five-star hotel is sarcastically named a male organ, as it sort of looks like an uneven "W".
But as it is burned to a crisp, the male organ has now been castrated.
So much for national pride.