Monday, July 30, 2012

London Olympics: A Competition?

I have been hard pushed to write anything sensible nowadays, given that the world economy, it seems to me, is going steadily down the tube. As I am only interested in identifying turning points, I have not been writing because I see none.

I left London a week earlier in order to avoid the Olympic road traffic standstill. But it didn't mean I wasn't interested or curiously over the opening ceremony which I stayed up to watch.

I liked it because it was so very British. Understated, but impressive. Snippets, but you understand. Bits hanging together, to tell the whole story. If anything, but to impressive.

Of course, we shall not forgive British for giving us the Industrial Revolution which is now polluting the whole world with its fossil-intensive mechanical devices which we have now all taken for granted as modern conveniences - of which we all pitched against the backwards of indigenous tribes whom we all pretend to sympathise.

My greatest delight was the honouring of Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the world wide web. He is the Bill Gates who makes billionaires, but he gives his innovation free to the world - This Is For Everyone. What a marvelous gesture from one person to the whole world! It is this generosity which I think lies at the heart of the British creativity and innovation which of course Danny Boyle (is this why he included the song "Danny Boy") tried to show so spectacularly.

Did the London opening ceremony rival that of Beijing's? I think this is a silly question. London couldn't do what Beijing did, But I doubt Beijing could have done what London did - in the best sense of both. Beijing boosted its ancient history and technological advances, while London entertained with wit. I thought both brought out their cultural best - in the things they show, and in the way they did them. Enough.

You shall not be surprised if I were to tell you that the rest of my family didn't bother - that evening or the morning after. I guess my enthusiasm is not as universal as I would have hoped.

This sense of the "Britishness" of things could be a passing notion - where one cheers the underdog and celebrates serious amateurishness. To appear to be too clever is a no-no. Who doesn't love Mr. Bean, played by a first-class engineering student with a masters. But the very down-to-earth way of looking at massive change which points to nothing more than an emphasis on giving children a good education with a good reading habit encouraged by fantastic stories which fire up their imagination (and ours before) without forgetting the need to take care of their physical health - points to the essence of the soul and future of a nation. If only Malaysia understands one bit of this.

It could a passing notion, alas, because probably Danny Boyle and I are too similar in our experiences for me to enjoy his effort - with the support of (almost) the whole nation's talent. I am a bit peeved to now realise that he is even fifty days younger than me. Damn! Good job, Danny Boyle - the pipes are calling.


walla said...

walla said...