Saturday, August 14, 2004

Me and the Olympics

Me and the Olympics or Why-Can’t-I-Grab-a-Six-pack-and-Just-Enjoy-It

The Olympics has started. Can’t help becoming Mr. world-conscious and put myself above everybody else to judge the whole thing. So… I put on my usual critical, negative mood and just let go… ;-)

I haven’t completely decided whether I think the spectacle is a good thing or not. It is wonderful that almost all countries of the world has a chance to participate and that there is something we can celebrate together. I wonder if there is anything else that brings together so many people from all over the world. But it also badly tries to hide the incredible inequality and injustice that exists. Officially there is this polished surface that this is a fair, politically neutral, celebration of mankind. But even with all the money spend to polish this mega publicity event you can’t hide the vulgarity of it. The screaming fact that this is an utterly unequal, unfair world. The whole show is all about politics and power where the rich can shine and perpetuate an idea that we are richer because we are better. Rich countries where citizens don’t have to struggle for their daily bread have hundreds of participants. All trained with the best of drugs, the latest technology, and have been able to choose this activity because they wanted to. A county like India comes with a fraction of the participants of Denmark, and will probably score less in medals than for example Monaco. In China I think most athletes have been chosen when they were children and have been made to go through this with minimal actual choice. We celebrate a small privileged elite in each country that are good at… jumping, running, paddle a canoe, or throw a ball in a basket. Nonsense stuff that should be regarded for what it is: recreation and exercise. How can competition in these activities be of importance for anyone but the people that actually compete or themselves are doing or are interested in the sport? How can it become of national importance with a price tag of
10 billion. I’ve got nothing against people who spend their whole life running and jumping or even people who like to watch jumping and running. (Err… I mean, not much more than my prejudices that they are stupid and simpleminded.) But I think this in many ways regarded to be so much more. By many as a competition between countries. Between us and them. That leaves me with a bad taste. And more importantly, I think it’s boring to watch.

Olympics in China will make this even more vulgar. The facilities will be built with people who can’t read or write. Whose children probably won’t be able to attend class. They will be illegal workers with all their already limited rights stripped, since they probably won’t have resident permits in Beijing. It will be a tool for regime to distract its people from all the corruption and abuse of power. It will fuel an already unhealthy nationalism that is deliberately let taking the place of the previous failed ideology. Let’s hope it also makes the Chinese feel like they are part of the same world as the rest of us. I think the Olympics will make it take longer for the people in China to realize that a country is a way to organize a region in the benefit of the people that lives there. Not an entity of itself for which individuals could be sacrificed.

Thinking about it, I think the title of this text could have been: “Me and Life or Why-Can’t-I-Grab-a-Six-pack-and-Just-Enjoy-It”. ;-)


Anonymous said...

Speaking of which, today I saw the table tennis matches on tv mobile. It was NZ vs. Australia. And both teams (it was women's doubles)were obviously mainlander Chinese.

So, rich nations do have an advantage after all. They can afford to import talent. And guess what, even Singapore made a nice purchase in Susilo, who's going to represent us in badminton. Heh.

Well, Olympics..celebrating the elite? Satisfying the voyeuristic. Demand and supply.. everyone's happy. The athletes might be happy, cuz they might be getting a nice pay. Everything packaged with brotherhood and equality. Add a dose of nationalism and hey! you've something that sells. Life's good.

Well well.. grab that six pack and pass one will yah. I think I'm beginning to like beer. Shudder. Like.. omigod. first espressos, THEN beer. What is the world coming to?

Your beloved.

Johan said...

Anyway. Seems like everybody is happy. As long as it's not my tax-money getting waisted on giving fat IOK delegates a free lunch.