Saturday, August 9, 2008


"Friends have come from afar, how happy we are." - Confucious

Lucky for me I was close to the border Friday morning. The Mexican TV station broadcast the Beijing Olympics Opening Ceremonies live from start to finish - without one single commercial. Later I watched the NBC version which chopped up the brilliant vision with crass American commercial breaks. Buy, buy, buy, without a thought of the artful story being told, the value of witnessing its historical importance, the beauty as it was meant to be seen as a whole. Nope, NBC has no artistic credibility, only money, money, money. What was I thinking?

The numbers alone are mind numbing:
  • 15,000 performers
  • 15,000 costumes
  • 22,000 people took part in the gala
  • 43,000 fireworks lit
  • 91,000 in the audience
  • 1/4 mile LED scrim around the top of the stadium
  • 2,008 tai chi masters
  • 2,008 Fou band members
  • 2,008 Musicians
  • 224 Chorus members dressed in 56 traditional Chinese ethnic costumes
  • 201 member Military Band
  • 56 children representing each of the 56 Chinese ethnic groups
  • 29 colossal burning footprints
  • 20 graceful fairies
  • 8 flag bearers
  • 3 taikonauts
  • 8 months training for the harness work on the globe
  • 100 times more difficult than making a movie according to Zhang
  • Security force of 100,000
  • US Olympic team 600
  • Chinese Olympic team 639
  • 90 degrees
  • 62% humidity
  • Less than 180 million U.S. dollars to produce according to Zhang
  • Millions of eyes watching
The vision of director, Zhang Yimou, whose films were once banned in China, is a beautiful, artistically moving testament to the power of chi.

BEIJING, Aug. 9 (Xinhua) -- "I regret many things, many details of this performance, many things that I could have done better," said Zhang Yimou, director of the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympic Games, at a press conference here on Saturday.

After planning and carrying out a spectacular event that reflected the ancient and modern images of China to the world, Zhang remained humble and reflective.

"For example, there are performers who were injured. I blame myself for that. It might well have been avoided if I had given more detailed instructions," he said.

"We had many difficulties. I do not like complaining, but sometimes there are obstacles you can not overcome, that you and your team have to face," he said. "What everyone cares about is the final result. We all know this, so we don't explain."

Sharply contrasting the elegance and mirror-perfect choreography, the entrance of the athletes carrying cameras and cellphones was a bit jolting, but their excitement and exuberance was nearly palpable through the TV screen.

Better we compete through artistic imagery and playing games than weaponry IMHO.

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