Tag Archives: olympics

The nest is above

THE PIC above is of the Beijing “nest” – the main stadium of the Beijing Olympics which are now thankfully done. As we were frying around the world, we missed some major crap sporting events, including Wimbledon and the Olympics. We also missed endless golf tournaments no doubt! So there is a god.

It was taken last year at the Intel Developer Forum as was. The area then was pretty boring, but we’re sure by now all the excitement is over one year later and now it is even more superlatively boring.

Kind but officious officals were keen that we took the right track to IDF. We preferred to take the wrong track, but were kindly sent to the right track. Outside our hotel, the manager came out because we were sitting on precious marble and said: “Sir, we cannot have our guests sitting outside, and enjoying the sunshine.”

It was ever thus. Who invented sport? Was it the English? If so, damn their poxy games called cricket and rounders and netball!  Never mind croquet.  And “football” (soccer)

Four against 4,000 demonstrate for Tibet

A BIG DEMONSTRATION in New Zealand had 4,000 pro-Chinese demonstrators turn out against four folk holding Tibetan flags.

In other news, the People’s Republic is sending someone to meet the envoy of the Dalai Lama, although what they’ll say to each other no one really knows.

Mr Dalai has long said he’d like Tibet to be an autonomous area of China – there are many Tibetan Buddhists in Taiwan now, don’t you know. And quite a few in India. And even quite a lot in Scotland.

Of course, in all the hoohah about the useless concept called the Olympics, everyone seems to have totally forgotten the British expedition to Tibet in 1904, headed by a man called Younghusband.  A few squaddies under the command of this geezer shot their way through to Lhasa, it appears.

This book, on page x of the foreword, has the telling statement: “The [British] Government of India, however, despite its perceived geopolitical requirements, was never able to persuade its masters in London that Tibet was not in some way or other a part of the Chinese world… When, soon after the British had departed the Subcontinent in 1947, the Government of independent India was not slow in acknowledging the fact of a Chinese Tibet.”

The problem, of course, is not suzerainty, but religion. The PRC in 1951 was hardly secular, and a form of Buddhism has long been prevalent in Greater China and still has many adherents. It is all very complicated. The PRC does get its knickers in a twist over this however – religion is not the “opium of the masses” any more, capitalism is. And the Opium Wars are long over. 

Perhaps if the new Kuomintang government in Ole Taipei gave back or at least started talking about the treasures held in the CKS museum to mainland China, a new era of rapprochement between “autonomous regions” could kick off again.  After all, even Scotland has its own “parliament” these days, apparently from an Old French verb “parler”. And as Winston Churchill is said to have said, “better jaw jaw, than war war”. You don’t have to be a Buddhist to think that…  


What are the Olympics actually for?

IN ALL THE FUSS about people running around the world with torches, we have to ask ourself why we bother with the Olympics.

The weekend that Princess Diana was buried, I was in Geneva with Samsung, one of the Olympic sponsors, being shown around a museum which had all the torches that had ever been used since the whole damn thing started off again in 1896 by a bunch of nutty Victorians. The staff at the hotel I was staying at had many a tale of the debauches the old buggers of the various committees got up to.

Of course the whole original thing on Mount Olympus in Greece had  precious little to do with the so-called “ideals” that generate a gazillion dollar industry. On the “official Olympic website”, here,  there’s a shot of three chicks dressed in Ancient Greek garb, lighting the Olympic “flame”. There’s also lists of previous winners of the gongs, league tables and the like.

Were women allowed to attend the ancient Olympics? The answer is clearly no, under penalty of death, although “maidens”, that is to say little girls could come along.

As the same site says, the modern Olympics may be the world’s biggest display of athleticism and competition, but “they are also displays of nationalism, commerce and politics”. It can be fun kicking a ball around or running against other people, but introduce the lethal cocktail of nationalism, commerce and politics into what are supposed to be pleasurable activities, and it all gets rather out of hand.

Add religion, and it all adds up to a very toxic brew indeed.