Monday, August 06, 2007

Dance on a Volcano

I tend to view the current Chinese leadership group in a positive light, believing that Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao are making a best effort at preventing the molten lava of China's myriad frustrations and contradictions from spilling out, burning all in its path.

However, after watching footage from Friday's Battle of Shenyang, I have to worry that Hu & Wen's best efforts are not going to be enough to prevent a PR disaster (or even a series of PR disasters) at the 2008 Summer Olympic Games.

Nice crowd response during the playing of the Kimigayo. Very respectful. Very sporting.

As for the non-performance of the purported referees at this "friendly tournament", it reminds me of the umpire in Field of Dreams replying to the complaint of player who had nearly been drilled by another.

Player: "Hey Ump, how about a warning?"

Umpire: "Sure out you don't get killed."
As for the cool of the Japanese players, I do not know whether to credit it to the insouciance of youth or an appreciation of the absurd danger of their predicament. From the replays, the young men of Japan responded to potentially disabling hackdowns by the Chinese side, ridiculous refereeing and a hostile crowd with little more than grins of disbelief.

1 comment:

Garrett said...

The Japanese team did show remarkable maturity. The Chinese team acted badly enough and reacted to everything badly enough to shame a nation.

I'll quote myself from an earlier response to the same incident:

This brings so many all-too-true stereotypes, or shall I call them accurate generalizations, together in one place:

1. Political freedom and racism or bigotry have a directly inverse relationship. China is one of the most insanely racist places I have ever been - one of those places that’s so outrageously racist that no one even realizes there’s any racism and just takes everything as fact. The only place I’ve seen that can rival China is Russia.

2. Anything with even a tangential relationship to the Chinese government, such as a national soccer team, is going to be filled primarily with people who have no regard for rules or fair play.

3. China, and pretty much all other totalitarian societies, is all about home cooking. I expect the Beijing Olympics to show us Chinese officials under pressure to cheat in favor of the home team whenever possible, producing at least one scandal, probably more.

4. China is completely out of touch with reality. The “Japanese are physically small” thing is a pretty commonly spouted sentiment, despite overwhelming empirical evidence that, if not exactly your average Swede, your average Japanese is larger than your average Chinese - makes sense when you consider nutrition, etc.

5. Soccer, at a competitive level, rewards bad sportsmanship, foul play, and dishonesty. “The Beautiful Game” is a less appropriate apellation for soccer than any other sport except maybe dog fighting.