What They Want!
for submitting this article is very near, and I have written nothing. To
be strictly correct, I have already written something. I initially
intended to write “Sunshine on Chaobai River” in which I would talk
about boisterous events surrounding land reform in Huajia Village in
Tongzhou. But I stopped after writing only half.
attempted to continue with the essay published two issues ago, on
“Movement”. I gave up again. During this lack of focus, an old friend
brought several officials form the International Olympic Committee (IOC)
to my studio. They wanted to talk about many irrelevant things, and
ordered several of my ink and wash paintings made by silkscreen.
hearted, humane, beautiful woman in the party heard that I was worrying
about writing an article. As she left, she told me that I should write
something relaxing. And all of a sudden, I knew what to write.
when I go to downtown Beijing, I will drive the Beijing-Chengde highway.
When the Africans came to Beijing last time for the Sino-African Summit,
they stopped non-Beijing lorries with odd or even plates from driving
the highway on alternate days. A narrow breach the width of two Jettas
was left open beside the toll gates, and many suburban and non-Beijing
cars swarms towards this gap like waters in the upper reaches of the
Three Gorges Dam. My God!
A passage fee
of ten, twenty, thirty yuan was paid in order to save time, which had
been completely destroyed by the jam at the toll gate. All the beautiful
dreams of speeding along the highway vanished like burst soap bubbles.
phenomenon visited a few days ago when the “Good Luck Beijing” Olympic
trial events were held in Beijing. The only difference this time was
that all vehicles - not just suburban ones - were regulated by the
odd/even license plate system. For the African Summit, it was only
official cars that were taken off the road, with private car owners
invited to voluntarily participate.
extracted my car from the clogged road exist, I drove onto a bridge. An
electronic screen bore the words “One World, One Dream”. In, this screen
was intended to warn drivers about the condition of the road ahead, but
this cheery message had never been replaced before, forcing drivers to
hesitate about which route would serve them best.
I can’t work
out who created this slogan. In a crosstalk routine by Hou Baolin, there
was a riddle that went something like this: What is something that
everyone can have, but cannot have together, and only one person can
have individually, but not have by looking to one side? The answer is “a
dream”. This slogan constantly reminds me of the riddle. “One World” is
quite reasonable, but “One Dream” sounds quite frightening. In China,
there are 1.3 billion people, and if all of us dream about eating pig
shanks or fantasize about the same girl, it would have devastating
consequences. On the highway, there is one toll gate for us all to
squeeze through, and every day we see drivers throw open their doors to
argue with another driver. They throw plastic bottles at each other.
After such an incident, will they simply cheer up as they arrive at the
site of the opening ceremony? If he can turn to cheer so quickly, then
he is no more than an animal.
the Olympic Games is a good thing - and this activity is certainly
better than war. I agree with it coming to Beijing from the bottom of my
heart. But I desperately hope that it will be held in a leisurely and
pleasant manner. Only when the majority of Chinese people feel glad can
the event afford general satisfaction.
It is not
easy to hold the Olympics, because the entire society needs to be
motivated, so everyone can join in. Fatigue is quite natural, and
boredom is unavoidable. The US has held the Olympics twice recently, in
1984 and 1996, but otherwise, countries become tired by the end, and
host it only once. But if the people can enjoy themselves to the full
and feel happy, then the Games were worthwhile.
other slogans are following in the wake of “New Beijing, New Olympics”.
They are: “New Beijing, New Haidian”, “New Beijing, New Chaoyang,” “New
Beijing, New Shunyi,” “New Beijing, New Huoshenying”, and so on. The
original English is not actually this, but “New Beijing, Great
Olympics”. The change implies that time is urgent, pressing, and running
out. After winning the bid, it became imperative that a new Beijing,
Haidian, Shunyi, and Huoshenying be built up in the next seven years.
Just look at
everything that sits outside those areas under national protection, such
as the Forbidden City, Summer Palace, and Yuanming Gardens. Everything
else has been destroyed and rebuilt. A seven-year timeline is not enough
for the mobilization of people caused by destroying the houses, as well
as the excavation, destruction, decoration, and support facilities. The
present-day Beijing was developed over 800 years.
Olympics” sounds even stranger than “New Beijing”. Which Olympics does
this refer to? Which country is the organizing committee in? Who leads
it? How often does it happen? What are its rules? Will martial arts be
included? How about tug-of-war? These final two will benefit China, as
they will be included this time.
first outing in Athens 1896, there have been 29 Games, held regularly
except for during World Wars I and II. In 1984, China rejoined the
Games, and in the last two Games took a place in the top three of the
gold medal table.
Games has a history of 112 years, and they are not a new event in any
respect. But they do have fair and set rules, plus human vitality and
strong humanistic color. They can mobilize people from all over the
world. I wonder where “New Olympics” fits with this idea.
I have heard
that the Beijing International Biennale Art Exhibition hopes to be the
best in the world. I also hear that many exhibitions will time their
openings for 2008 because of this New Olympics. This puzzles me, because
the Venice Biennale has only been affected by the onset of World War II.
All activities are promoted as a movement of some kind, and maybe this
is part of our national character. (To be continued)
September 17, 2007