Saturday, August 09, 2008

Olympic Opening

I only watched bits of the Olympic Opening Ceremonies last night. I have it on tape to watch in full tonight so that I can zip past commercials and "talking heads." But based on the bits I saw last night, WOW.

I was expecting wow. The Chinese do this sort of thing better than anyone in the world.

My wife's Aunt Ginny, whom I knew for years before I met my wife and who was responsible for us meeting, made several trips to China more than twenty years ago. She didn't stay in the cities, she went into the remote back country and stayed in small villages. She brought back amazing pictures and stories, and it was all about people. Really interesting people.

She hosted Chinese scholars in her home who were studying and/or guest teaching at the University of Arizona, and they were without exception gentle, courteous and very friendly. Getting to know them was a real treat. Their reverence of older generations is well known, but it is only part of a greater reverence of family in general. I recall Dr. Xia, who was living in her house when she died. He always offered me tea and the one time I declined he looked so crestfallen, so utterly devastated, that I promptly changed my mind and accepted his offer.

A nation is not its government. If it was I would have moved away from this nation five years ago. A nation is its people. When dealing with China we need to remember that we are dealing with a people who have a culture that is far older and far more deeply revered than ours.


  1. Anonymous2:01 PM

    I thought that the ceremonies were astounding. One thing, however, that was incredibly frustrating is that they'd break for a long line of commercials and, when they returned, the announcers would say "While you folks were away watching commercials, we saw a wonderful presentation on...". The danged thing was taped - the least they could have done was stopped the tape while they tried to get us to buy beer, overpriced clothing or second rate politicians.

  2. Anonymous6:55 PM

    I absolutely agree with Jayhawk on a nation is not is government. All psoples are concerned about the same things.. and thier family is right there at the top.

    Most cultures in the world are older or far older in many cases than the US is. Besides, most of our history is pretty cosmopolitan anyway.

    And we (I mean our government here) have no place on the high road talking about human rights.