interesting headlines

April 11th, 2008

So I’m trying to delay going to the office to mark tests- which desperately need to be got out of the way so I can focus on HSK prep (hahahahhahahhahahahahaha!) and I don’t get swamped with the next round of tests coming- oh, straight after HSK. Anyway, I thought I’d delay that by opening up the Southern Daily, and I came across two interesting headlines.

The first is quite provocative:

穷人再给富人让路?

Poor people are giving way to rich people again?

I don’t really want to try translating the whole article, because skimming through it would seem to require more local knowledge of Guangzhou than I possess. Yeah, I’ve been there. Once. Years ago. I spent all my time at either the East Station or main railway station or travelling between the two. No, twice. The first time was transferring from a flight from Changsha to a flight to Bangkok. Anyway, it’s about an apparent proposal to limit, if not ban, tricycles- judging from the picture, the taxi version of tricycles. “Giving way again” refers to the fact that electric bicycles and motorbikes have already been banned in Guangzhou. The subtitle tells us:

限令还在拟订中 三轮车已经被扣

Limit order is still being planned. Tricycles have already been confiscated.

Oh dear. It could be interesting to see how that pans out, although I’d have to leave it up to those who actually know Guangzhou to provide any intelligent commentary this issue may deserve.

The second is about an issue I’m very rapidly tiring of:

“在巴黎,我们护卫圣火” 西方媒体称圣火护卫队是暴徒

“In Paris we’re protecting the Olympic torch”. Western media call torch guards “thugs”.

 Well, I haven’t seen the word “thugs” used by any media in reference to those guarding the torch. I can think of others who deserve that title, but they’re the darlings of the Western liberal establishment, so they get a thoroughly undeserved free ride. I’m starting to think my village in Yanqing won’t be far enough away from the sick circus some people seem determined to turn the Olympics into, I’m starting to think about Mongolia. Far, far, outer Mongolia, somewhere out on the grasslands in a yurt herding sheep to pay my way… At least for the summer.

留法的中国学生自发组织守护圣火传递,与藏独分子拼口号、斗旗阵

Chinese students studying in France organise their own protection for the torch relay, match slogans and banners with T1b3t indie pen dance supporters.

And good on ’em, too.

Southern Daily’s Zhong Yuedong and interns Ma Yan and Yuan Ding report:

他们不是圣火护卫团的武警,也不是手擎火炬的一员。他们是中国在海外的留学生。在英国,他们自发地组织起来守护圣火;在法国,他们同样坚持。圣火在传递, 一个国家到另一个国家;留学生们也在传递,将守护圣火的任务从一国留学生传递给在另一国的留学生。当火炬在巴黎熄灭,留学英国的中国学生就生气地斥责留学 法国的中国学生“没有保护好圣火”,护卫圣火似乎成为他们的使命。

They’re not the armed police of the Olympic Torch Escort Squad, nor are they torch bearers. They’re Chinese students studying overseas. In the UK they organised themselves to protect the Olympic Torch, in France the continued the same way. As the torch relay moves from country to country, the overseas students are also relaying, shifting the duty to protect the torch from one country’s overseas students to the next country’s overseas students. When the torch was extinguished in France, the students in the UK denounced their French counterparts, saying they “had not protected the torch well enough”, as if protecting the torch has become their mission.

Yeah, alright, I’m being bad: I’m refusing to render “圣火” as “sacred flame” because it’s not sacred. The whole bloody torch relay is just some ridiculous neo-pagan ceremony invented by the Nazis, and it really, really disturbs me.

And I don’t really want to translate the whole thing, as the Beijing Olympics are turning, like I said, into a sick circus. It’s ridiculous, and I can’t think of any other Olympics that has become so stupidly, absurdly politicised. Berlin, 1936? Maybe- but then again, there was a damn good reason to politicise that one. Moscow, 1980 and LA, 1984? Just the usual Cold War bollocks. Beijing, 08, however, has been hijacked by every self-righteous wanker with a bone to pick with China, and I can’t help but feeling that China’s fenqing actually have a point when they claim it’s about Westerners feeling threatened by China’s rise and trying to keep the heathens in their place.

And yes, I am uncomfortable with the rather nationalistic undertone to these Olympics, but at the same time I can’t see how any reasonable person could blame China for seeing this as an opportunity to celebrate 30 years of successful reform, opening up, development, and spectacular achievement. When I look at how far China has come and how much the Chinese people have achieved these past 30 years, I can only congratulate them- and I do so wholeheartedly.

I can tell you this much, though: After March’s blatantly racist violence and their antics in London, Paris, and San Francisco, I have lost any residual sympathy I may have ever had with a certain indie pen dance movement in southwestern China, and I am thoroughly disgusted with said movement’s self-righteous, hypocritical Western supporters. They hear “China” and start frothing at the mouth and madly shouting “Hugh man writes! Hugh man writes!” but their “principles” don’t extend to China’s 55 other ethnicities, least of all Han, and apart from a handful of celebrity d1ss1d3nts, their sympathies don’t extend to the plight of your average Zhou.

Gah. Long rant short: I’m thoroughly sick and tired of it all. If I could fast-forward to September and skip this sick circus, I would. Sadly, like everybody else, I’m going to have to sit it out.

But, strange as it may sound, and it sure feels weird to write this: On this issue, my sympathies lie with the fenqing.

So I say: 中国,加油!(Go China!) And go the overseas students, and all other Chinese scattered abroad. Get out there waving your five-star red flags, sing your anthem, shout your slogans, and be proud! Don’t be aggressive, though, please, we’re seeing enough of that shit from the other side, and you’ll never find me condoning violence unless it is truly a last resort in a case of genuine self-defence.

Wow, I’m surprised that rant came out of me. Anyway, time to stop and be all responsible like and get to work.

2 Responses to “interesting headlines”

  1. Ji Village News Says:

    Check out this well-written article, 王博.

    I had a little rant of my own, for I was truly disgusted, no, outraged, by the overwhelming China-bashing, to the point of insanity.

    Regarding the torch guards, here is a pretty good article:

    http://www.spiked-online.com/index.php?/site/article/4963/

  2. wangbo Says:

    I bookmarked spiked-online a while ago, but haven’t had time to read as much of it as I would like. Thanks for the tip.