Bloggers’ Conversation About the Rehearsal of the Opening Ceremony

Shanghai-based blogger Fan posted the following conversation she had with a friend over Instant Messenger on her blog, translated by CDT:

r : I just watched the rehearsal of the Opening Ceremony of the Olympics last night.

fwb: How was it? Was it very tacky? Very Zhang Yimou?

r : I thought it was all right. Very Chinese. Very Zhang Yimou. But from the perspective of the Olympic theme, it’s problematic.

fwb: It must have been all bright red and purple. It must have been very tense, very excited, very ceremonial. It must have been pretentious, with a mission of spreading Chinese culture. Was it?

r : Yes. It basically was all in ancient costumes. I did not see that much high-tech anything. Foreigners may not understand some of it. But some programs put in lots of thought. Many equipment problems. Many bugs. I am worried about the organization.

fwb : Don’t worry too much. This is the real China. It is not a great power, so it won’t have a relaxing, fun and festive attitude like a great power. Beijing is too heavy, too tiresome this time. It is understandable. One more question, aren’t there lots of huge mass gymnastics performances? Very North Korean?

r : It is all depends on an ocean of people. Hehe, most of them are collective acts.

fwb : hehe. That’s what I thought. The performance of the government and people really changed (or reinforced) my understanding of China. To put it plainly, we have the isolated mentality of a small country: We cannot take criticism. We care about face too much. We really just talk to ourselves. We especially do not know how to communicate with others on an equal footing.

r : So what’s your thought now?

fwb: We are not a great power, so don’t cheat ourselves by saying we are a great power. And don’t cheat people. Otherwise we will lose our mental balance. Instead, we mix arrogance and inferiority, get all confused, and cannot do anything in a normal way.

[...] We have to admit we still have lots of shortcomings. We are not open enough. We should be courageous enough to expose our faults, to learn with a calm attitude. What is there to be afraid of? If one has real confidence, why is he so sensitive when his mistake is pointed out by others?

I hope we Chinese people can first really understand how our country is really perceived in others’ eyes. If we like it this way, we can just continue it. If we do not like it, we should make efforts to change it. If we cannot change the whole system, at least we can change ourselves. Just don’t live in the illusion.

r : You are right. Do you still want to come to Beijing?

fwb: No way.