Saturday, August 09, 2008
That about sums up what I thought of the 2008 Opening Ceremonies at the Beijing Olympics. The amount of creativity, artistry, and imagination was off the charts. This seriously might have been some of the best blending of art and technology that the world has ever seen. The ceremony itself was just beautiful. The costumes, the performances, and the props were all outstanding. The highlight, for me, was most definitely the movable type performance where they simulated blocks of Chinese characters making up a movable type system. I thought it was amazing before I saw the ending, and then when it was shown that it was all human driven, it drove the whole thing off the charts.
But in reality, I'm not at all surprised that this was easily the best Opening Ceremonies of all time and probably will be for quite some time. Being Asian, and Chinese specifically, I learned one indelible truth growing up, face is everything.
"Face" in Asian culture is quite difficult to understand unless you grew up in it. While Western civilization also takes how others perceive you to be important, the Asian culture takes it to a whole other level. It is often why certain stereotypes exist for Asian people. You have your children do well in school because it is a reflection of what a good parent you are. It is why being a hospitable host is so crucial to the culture.
So the Chinese, with the rest of the world watching, went over the top. They made sure that others would look at these games, and remember it as the best ever. They spent $300 million on the opening ceremonies alone. They practiced it for years and every detail was thought of. They wanted to be sure that everyone else in the world knew what an amazing country China was, is, and will someday become. Boy did they deliver.