Watching the Chinese Olympics during the past 2 weeks, and especially the opening and closing ceremonies where Chinese art and culture were represented so impressively, I can’t help but feel a tinge of pride of being Chinese. Even though I’m two generations removed from my Chinese roots (born in Malaysia, transplated to Australia), culturally I’m Chinese even though by nationality, I’m Australian.
Like I’m sure how an Irish, Greek or Italian Australian would feel when something special happens in their motherlands, so it was that I felt pride by association. But of course, lest we forget there are still many problems within and outside of China. The issue of Tibet, the enormous gap between the rich and sophisticated urbanites and the poor and disenfranchised in the city slums and rural areas; cultural suppression of ethic minorities; indirect Chinese sponsorship of African dictatorships in exchange for steady supplies of raw materials and fuel.
So yeah, China has put on a great show for us during the past 16 days. But when the factories open tomorrow, and the roads clogged with vehicles and the air becomes murky with pollution again, let’s hope that China can create a clean and harmonious environment in and around itself, metaphorically and literally, without having to resort to a show to distract us from the reality.