13 August 2008

Best Olympic Opening Ceremony ever....... NOT!

Two years ago when the missus and I were in Guilin China, we attended a stage performance called "Dreamlike Lijiang" which is a ballet-circus performance. I was very impressed by the way they used the effects of light, sound and LCD projections in the show which gave us all a very big Wow-effect. I remember telling MrsW that multiply this by a thousand times and we can imagine what is in store at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Opening Ceremony.

Fast forward to 8-8-2008... Beijing Olympics Opening Ceremony.

The 2008 drummers doing the countdown in the dark was really cool and spectacular. So is the subsequent performances and the fireworks display. The use of huge number of performers and the high tech tools used in the cinematic projections and sound achieved the desired wow-effect.

The lighting of the Olympic cauldron is not bad. Note that I say not bad. There is no uncertainty to rival the Flaming Arrow of Barcelona '92 thus it can never be the best flame lighting ever. It was all done with wires ala Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon style. I was quite impressed, probably due to the emotional effect of the music during Li Ning's final "run" around the stadium's rim while suspended on wires. 

Second best of all time, I rated it. Sydney 2000's flame lighting could have won second place outright if not for the 10 minute glitch when the "flying saucer" cauldron refused to travel upwards after Cathy Freemen lighted it.

Overall a very good opening ceremony, I told myself that night.

Until yesterday.

Read on the 'Net that the 29 Foot Prints fireworks we all saw on live TV during the opening ceremony is not really live after all. What we all saw was a 55 second long animated fireworks video inserted into the live TV feed showing the 29 foot prints walking from Tiananmen Square to the Bird nest stadium. The reason given was that it is not possible to film all the 29 fireworks explosions from the air in a helicopter due to safety reasons, thus they spent a year creating this animation of the same. The fireworks did happen that night. It is just that what we saw on TV was not the real thing. Hell, they could have filmed it from the ground. You are telling me China cannot afford 29 TV transmission trucks?

Ok, maybe, just maybe I can live with that. I was real impressed by what I saw on TV and when the news came out I was disappointed but I can live with it because it did happen. It is just a technicality.

Until this morning.

My good friend Rkaru text me that the little girl in the red dress who sang on stage when China's flag was brought in did not really sing the song. She lip-synced. Fine, I said. Maybe her voice is too weak to be heard in such a big stadium. Then he told me she did a Milli Vanili on us. Even the voice that we heard that night was not hers. Another girl sang it but she was not allowed to appear that night because she has crooked teeth!

What the hell?

Worse still, the opening ceremony music director actually said this"It was for the national interest. The child on camera should be flawless in image, internal feelings and expression."

Hello? I remember a certain country in Europe used to think like that too in the late 30s and early 40s. Does Nazi Germany ring any bells?

It is wrong! Absolutely morally wrong to do it that way. But then the organizers don't see it the way I did. They probably felt it is nothing wrong to fake a bit in their search for a perfect opening ceremony. To them I say they still have a lot to learn.

This Milli Vanili thingy left a bad taste. So what else is faked? Maybe there were no 2008 drummers? Maybe there was only 208, the rest were animations? Maybe their president who opened the Games is faked too? Athens 2004 was not really spectacular but at least there's no scams like these.

I don't know. I will still watch the Games, if only for the sporting performances. As for the closing ceremony, maybe I will watch it, maybe I won't. But if I do, a doubt will always exist in my mind : okay, is this part faked?

China, you have ruined my Olympic experience.

06 August 2008

Welcome to Zimlaysia


The moment they announce today the nomination/polling day for a certain area whose representative has vacated recently, immediate someone was told to appear in court to be charged for a certain matter tomorrow.

Is it because it has now become a Do-also-die-but don't-do-also-die situation, so might as well all die together? 

Coincidence? If it is a coincidence, I am still a 45 year old virgin.

Mugabe, you seem to have a lot of fans in high places over here.

02 August 2008

Best Olympic Flame Lighting Ceremony Ever!

Last night on satellite TV's "Reflections of Summer", Barcelona Olympics 1992...

Wombat : "Gather round kids, I want you to watch this."

Little Wombat (17 yrs) : "Watch what Daddy?"

Wombat : "How the Olympic Flame at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics was lit. You were only 1 year old then."

microWombie (7 yrs) : "What's an Olympic Flame Daddy?"

Wombat : "It is a huge cauldron at the stadium where the flame will burn throughout the whole Olympic festival. It will only be extinguished during the closing ceremony."

Little Wombat : "I have seen some of those. I remember the Sydney 2000 Olympics where Cathy Freeman lighted the flame around a pool of water and then the cauldron rose up to the top like a flying saucer. I also remember the Athens 2004 one where the cauldron is like a bowing giant cigar."

Wombat : "Those two, my children, are nothing compared to this one you are going to see."

microWombie : "What else can top the flying saucer and the bowing cigar?"

Wombat : "Aiya just watch lah. And don't blink. You will miss the magic moment."

As the last torch bearer, basketball player Juan Antonio San Epifanio lighted the arrow tip of Paralympic games archer Antonio Rebollo, who then turned and aimed the flaming arrow at the olympic cauldron located 100 meters high, the Wombats held their breath---


The flaming arrow shot upwards in a parabolic arc, pass over the cauldron and the Olympic flame is lighted.

Little Wombat/microWombie : "WOOOOOOOOOOOW!!!!! THAT WAS COOL!!"

Wombat : "What is so great about your flying saucer and bowing cigar now eh?"

microWombie : "Unbelievable!"

Little Wombat : "Mein gott! Woooooowee!"

Wombat (a tear well up in left eye) : "Listen up kids. Someday when Daddy is no longer around, and you two have kids of your own, you must promise me you will always show them this moment. Okay?"

LW/mW : "Yes Daddy. We will make it a tradition."