(Dedicated to seven-year-old Yang Peiyi, the little girl who has a chubby face and uneven teeth and was considered 'too ugly' to take part in the Olympic showpiece. A final decision to stage the event with Lin lip-synching to another girl's voice was taken by a senior member of China's ruling Communist Party politburo who attended the rehearsal.
Parts of the spectacular Beijing Olympics opening ceremony were faked, it has emerged.
The global television audience of more than three billion people watched in amazement as a series of giant footprints outlined in fireworks proceeded through the night sky from Tiananmen Square to the Bird's Nest stadium - except they were watching a computer animation. (Sky)
"But most of the audience thought it was filmed live - so that was mission accomplished."
I hate to put a spanner in the works of a commendable Olympics by a great Chinese nation, but sometimes super egos of the 'state manged despots' undo a lot of good will. The Olympics opening ceremony augmented with fake projections has been strongly criticized by architect Ai Weiwei, who helped design the Bird's Nest stadium. Mr Ai helped design the stadium alongside the Swiss architect firm, Herzog and de Meuron. . But since then, he has become a candid blogger against the Olympics and the Chinese government. Curiously, he has not been suppressed by the establishment.
Writing on his blog, Mr Ai described the ceremony as "a recycling of the rubbish of fake classical culture tradition; a sacrilegious visual garbage dump and an insult to the spirit of liberty; low class sound play that's just noise pollution". Even "the little girl" in a red dress, who starred at the Olympic opening ceremony was miming and only put on stage because the real singer was not considered attractive enough, the show's musical director has revealed. Pigtailed Lin Miaoke was selected to appear because of her cute appearance and did not sing a note, Chen Qigang, the general music designer of the ceremony, said in an interview with a state broadcaster aired Tuesday. But Chen said the girl whose voice was actually heard by the 91,000 capacity crowd at the Olympic stadium during the spectacular ceremony was in fact seven-year-old Yang Peiyi, who has a chubby face and uneven teeth. "The reason was for the national interest. The child on camera should be flawless in image, internal feelings, and expression," said Chen, a renowned contemporary composer and French citizen.
"Lin Miaoke is excellent in those aspects. But in terms of voice, Yang Peiyi is perfect, each member of our team agreed," he said.
He said the final decision to stage the event with Lin lip-synching to another girl's voice was taken after a senior member of China's ruling Communist Party politburo attended a rehearsal.
Ai Weiwei is not only an architect but one such thinker. Thinkers are conscious of mankind; they speak and lay to rest myths of grandiosity that totalitarians always wish to create. No one obliterates despotism more than intellectuals; one clear and commonsensical character is heavier over millions of guns. Take for example the latest episode where billions across the globe were feted on false fireworks display. He was directly critical of China's ruling communist party, characterizing the ceremony as "a showcase of the reincarnation of the Marxist imperialism; the ultimate paragon of an all embracing culture of fascist totalitarianism; an encyclopedia that encompasses total defeat in intellectual spirit."
I am a firm believer in grand opening and closing ceremonies of Olympics. In June 2006, the Duke of Edinburgh had described Olympic Games' opening and closing ceremonies as "bloody nuisances" and called for them to be banned. Opening and closing ceremonies destroy the spirit of the games; it is about competition and not extravaganza. "They ought to be banned. They are a pain in the neck," he added. The Duke also said that he hoped to do "as little as possible" during the 2012 Olympics in London by which time he would be 91 years old.
I wrote in response that ''shivers go down my spine as I think of Londoners following his suggestions! I think Olympics are neither about competition nor festivity; it is about the 'struggle' to weave a global culture as we nurture. The Olympic Creed reads: "The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well."
The suggestion to prune down London Olympics opening and closing ceremonies is somewhat loaded coming from Price Philip. Maintaining tradition is a pet assignment of the 'Top out-of-sight: the super-rich, heirs to huge fortunes.' Royals are masters of pageantry and spectacle; no one puts on a better extravaganza for state occasions merrier or sad. From the crowning of the 'Queen' to marriages of Charles and heartbreaking funerals of Lady Diana, the world at large has joined the Royal family in their joys and aches. The world has become an ingredient of the Royal family's happiness and sorrow. In this interconnected world, more than life-size occasions are part of this new global civilization. Personality and celebrity cult has taken the entire world with a storm. The Duke described a ceremony at the 1972 Games in Munich as 'absolutely, appallingly awful'.
The Olympics has seen a plethora of eye-catching ceremonies. Los Angeles 1984 had a stunt man flying through the air on a jet-pack; the highlight of Barcelona 1992 was an archer lighting the flame with a blazing arrow; and in Atlanta the show was stolen by Mohammad Ali. The Australian organizers, with their colorful national history played out in song and dance. Some like the Duke of Edinburgh may think these ceremonies are an irrelevant distraction from the main event, simply a waste of time and money. But perhaps for the billions of people around the world, the common people, who have been denied such unique shows of peace and tranquility, these are the very embodiment of mankind coming in concert. This is rise of a new global culture, very untraditional, but very much in line with new population explosion from the turn of this century, and expression of a new class that enjoys such a spectacle beyond the 'classy dressage equestrian events' loved by the Prince.
The opening and closing ceremonies have become the spectacle of Olympics more than the sport itself. Opening and closing ceremonies are a demonstration of chipping in; they are the true joy of poor nations. Think of that flag bearer for Mongolia when he walks into the stadium, it is breathtaking! His undemanding attire and grand attitude balances the gaudy affluent moneyed nations who have no end of money to spare for sport. Congratulations to the Mongolians, Bhutanese and other small nations, for whom getting to the games are truly an Olympian feat. I'm astonished that anyone witnessing the great opening spectacles of Olympics could possibly think of those as 'bloody nuisances.' Has the world ever seen such a fantastic opening ceremonies as the ones in Barcelona , Sydney or Athens? And does the feeling of 'Unity' as one earth not move us? Albeit just for a few hours? Surely that is what the Olympics is all about? Surely even the hardest of critics felt something when Korea walked out as one nation in Sydney together for the first time in so many years clasping hands? It brought many close to tears. This is the power of Olympics, to cement nations and bring them together.
Pageantry and pomp bring calm to billions from pains and violence we witness every day. These global events, like next week's World cup football matches, bring a soothing effect to the chaotic life of more than 5.5 billion people. They are looking for some color and verve in their routine living, and these global events afford them some hope and some serenity. These global arenas and showmanship are the harbinger of greater understanding and unity amongst mankind. Much as the world is impacted by violent forces of nature like Tsunami and Earthquakes telecast right into our living areas, these synthetic non-traditional events bring some joy and happiness to billions of very ordinary folks whose only joy is watching these events.
Olympic spirit gives voice to the disenfranchised. The first Aboriginal athlete to compete for Australia, Cathy Freeman ignited the Olympic torch in the main stadium at the 2000 Sydney Games. Ten days later she literally ran for an entire continent when she won the gold in the 400-metre dash. The black power salute in Mexico will live in the memory of Olympians forever. It was the most popular medal ceremony of all time. The photographs of two black American sprinters standing on the medal podium with heads bowed and fists raised at the Mexico City Games in 1968 not only represent one of the most unforgettable moments in Olympic history but a landmark in America's civil rights movement.
What was in the past the luxury of 'royalty' has passed on to a common man. The luxury enjoyed by the very poor like that of 'iced water' was a luxury only an Emperor could have demanded. Indian Emperors used to get their ice to sweltering Delhi from the Himalayas. Traditions are great as they demand a lot of labor, a bunch of underclass to perform an act with minimal returns. This underclass today is vanishing and this is the underclass that enjoys the great opening and closing ceremonies in billions, like the World Cup shall be witnessed by 4 billion people, so will the Cricket World Cup. The merrier the openings, the better the sentiments for population at large would be. Why should the daily sick dosage of continual killings be the only legacy of this new age?
The world at large is hungry for occasions of state and shows of global peace that may show that we humans are one race and can celebrate. Times when we see growing divisions within civilization as a result of campaigns of abhorrence, occasions of global pomp aimed towards unity of mankind are great displays. Olympic opening and closing shows are just the kind of grand exhibitions of great coming together of man. Athens 2004 and Barcelona 1992 were the ceremonies that put new standards without doubt.
The Beijing Olympics have launched a global search campaign for ideas that would make the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2008 Games a spectacular and inspiring event. Organizers say they are looking for creative concepts that could turn the opening and closing ceremonies of the Beijing games, which are to emphasize technology, the environment and peace, into 'wonders'.The Opening ceremony on Beijing has a theme, to promote cultural development, and construct a socialist, spiritual civilization. The Olympic tenet of "Faster, Higher and Stronger" not only inspires athletes but also reflects the concept of advanced cultures. I pray that London develops a similar theme and will play its role aptly to do justice with the opening and closing ceremonies that befit the greatest show on the earth in the greatest cities of the earth.''
After a global search of creative concepts that would promote spiritual civilization, 3D introduction was a cruel joke. Astounded viewers thought they were watching the cord of fireworks filmed from above by a helicopter. But in reality they were watching a 3D graphics progression that took almost a year to produce. It even incorporated a 'camera shake' to mimic the consequence of filming from a helicopter. The trick was revealed by China's Beijing Times. Speaking to the paper, the man in charge for the simulation said he was delighted with the outcome.
"Seeing how it worked out, it was still a bit too bright compared to the actual fireworks," Gao Xiaolong told the newspaper."But most of the audience thought it was filmed live - so that was mission accomplished." The designers even added some vagueness to replicate the contaminated Beijing skyline.
Great occasions like the opening ceremony where human endeavour has been tested to its limit cannot be bastardized with charges of fake and sham. It is in bad taste and reflective of erroneous priorities of one individual who thought genuine fireworks could be complemented with fake additions. It does not need to be so. It was par excellence without any doubt and mankind could be proud of it without the intervention of 3 D and graphic design, were we watching the real thing or a scene from Russell Crowe's 'Gladiators' in the old amphitheatre of Rome?
Organizers reject the notion of artificial graphic manipulation and say that the footprint fireworks were there for real, but thought it unsafe to try to film them - so they recreated them instead.
Let me give 'Gao Xiaolong' a piece of advice contrary to his belief that "...most of the audience thought it was filmed live - so that was mission accomplished." His mission remains unaccomplished. We the billions still remember 'Moussambani, who only started swimming in January, 2000 in the little 20-metre pool with no lanes a kilometre from his house, a little pool whose custodians wouldn't let him in unless he was accompanied by the president of the country's swim federation.The janitors were probably afraid he'd drown if left on his own. The Sydney Internation Aquatic Centre has been the scene of the most dramatic events of these Games so far. Aussie ace Ian (Thorpedo) Thorpe has added to his lustre as a nation hero here, sparking the 17,500 that jam the swimming facility with two gold medal swims and his incredible duel with flying Dutchman Pieter van den Hoogenband Monday night in which Thorpe lost the gold in the 200m freestyle by a fingernail.
It is Olympic competition at the summit.
And then there was Moussambani
But he kept going. "I never saw a crowd like that," he said, "I was a little scared. There is no crowd like that in my country. After 50 metres, I wanted to quit. My arms were tired.
"But I couldn't stop. The crowd. Thanks to the crowd, I had the strength to finish. The crowd gave me power."
Sometimes we love to be what we are; let's be original at least, you did a great job but unfortunately this bucket of milk has some unnecessary droppings. We all could do without it. Let's revive the spirit of 'Moussambani.'
it needs no billions, only endurance and love.