Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Will Beijing 2008 be flawed?

The Olympic Games is no longer the same as before....

Due to current events in France, where people protest and "fly" high Tibetan, Olympic "handcuff" rings and its "Free Tibet", makes me wonder if Beijing 2008 is "cursed" by the year of the Rat? I don't know about you, but I think the Tibetans, human right groups, Reporters Without Borders etc has been waiting for this perfect timing; to protest or shall we say voice out their unhappiness towards China.

Let me 1st clarify that I in no way support these protests, any Free Tibet movement nor the Chinese government. The irony is I'm born Chinese!! Thank goodness I'm born in Malaysia!! muahahahaha.....

First of all there's always two sides of a story. For the Chinese side, they say that they are modernising Tibet. China has always "owned" Tibet it seems, dating from the Ching Dynasty (or was it beyond?!) . But it was during the Chinese Communist - led by Chairman Mao, that really took over Tibet in 1950s. Now during those times, land and economic reforms has to be done in order to free Tibetans from slavery and serfdom. Then came the Cultural Revolution, whereby Buddhist heritage has to be vandalised in order to free Tibetans from tides of beliefs. So all in all, can say that the Chinese claim to save or improve Tibetans from its pre-1950s feudalism-lar!

But from what I've seen (documentary on TV) and heard (from Chinese and Tibetan friends), they are merely tearing down old (and mostly traditional/monumental) buildings and make new ones, which is a a shame for tourists and future generations. Then they "move" Chinese people into Tibet to make sure that Tibetans "turn towards" the Chinese way of living, which is also a shame because Tibetans way of life and its culture being "washed off" from its people. Yes, there's Tibetan monks but they are sent in by the Chinese government, (so can say that they are NOT THE REAL monks) to make sure that the REAL monks don't plan or have any ideas about bringing in the Dalai Lama, free Tibet or revolt against the government. Can say that they are spy-lar! ;)

So enough about Tibet and Chinese history/feud etc. The point is, they get what they've asked for - what goes around comes around. The Chinese governement has long being known to oppress the rights of Tibetans and its fellow countrymen. Its widely known. So now Tibetans say that its not independance from China that they want but just to restore their rights for preserving religious beliefs and their way of life. I don't know if its going to happen with protests and boycott held before, during and after the Beijing Olympic 2008.

On the reasons why this Tibet issue is so widely supported, got publicity from inside and outside mar! Well let's face it, China is well known to throw its fellow countrymen from all walks of life; journalist, bloggers, farmers etc, into prisons or forced labour if and when they get fresh with the idea of exposing the injustice done to them or others. Remember Tiananmen Square bloodshed so many years ago? Its own citizens exposes it to the Western media while seeking refuge or are exiled there. There's so many books written on the subject of Chinese government injustice so on and so forth.

Has anyone seen how the Torch rely was handled in London and Paris? Well it was A MESS!! Chinese Olympic officials and other authorities are running the show like chicken without head. And yet they have to guts to say its the other authorities that is not well manned. But if this were to happened in China (or will it ever?), people will be thrown to jail or beaten to death. And it won't be made known also-ler!! Much like Malaysia imposing the ISA-lar.... Siapa tau?!? Siapa cakap kena mar! Mental note: better stop talking about M'sian gov. Otherwise kena ISA-ler! MATI liow.... :p

Yes, I agree that the protesters are opportunist and Tibetans are spreading propaganda, and trying to "smear and ridicule a country that will one day replace the Americans as the economic powerhouse". Let's face it, how come Aborigines in Australia (Sydney 2000) didn't protest? How many layman in western countries know about it? How about the FARC in Colombia? The Moro Liberation Front in Philippines-ler? How about the south of Thailand issues? The point is simple; no media coverage mar! Even if there is, will it be as interesting as China/Tibet issue? And besides, I don't think the Olympic Committee will ever vote for Indonesia, Thailand or any other SEA, Latin America (besides Mexico), Middle East, East Europe and central Asia countries for the games. Although I hope and wish they would consider us, but to them perhaps we're not as rich, as powerful, as democratic (in their terms) or even as developed as they are. Ever heard of India or even South Africa hosting the games? What about Brazil? Talking about "mixing a cocktail" of political and socio-economic with the "spirit of athletism", as the Chinese would say. By the way, China was criticised as well for their part in business dealings in Sudan (remember Darfur?), for the imprisonment of journalists (local and foreign) and perhaps the sudden death of a blogger (may be?). So its not only the Tibet issue.

The point is, even the International Olympic Committee practice double standards, taking bribes etc. The modern area of the Olympic Games seems to me no longer hold true to what it was eons ago. It has some what "lost" its meaning further with these protests, having barricades/enforcement people to block supporters/on lookers cheering on the Torch runners, Olympic officials changing the routes at the very last minute or switching "on/off" the Torch flame, the torch "running" in a bus (really ridiculous!) etc. From what I see now, even the rely has been flawed, I don't dare to say what's going to happen during the games itself. Anything could happen, no? We'll just have to wait and see then.

Monday, April 07, 2008

The weeks that was...

The Grimm Brothers, hubs, Julien my cousin and me

right before the Easter Holidays, we went to Hanau, Germany to visit my aunt (from my dad's side). It was just 6 hours drive there, well supposed to be but we took about 5 hours! When we arrived, my aunt was like "how come so fast? Speeding ler!?". Yup! Hubs was going about 180 to 200 kmh on certain parts of the German highway; famed for having no speed limit. I guess hubs was in heaven - speeding heaven that is. And believe it or not, there's been actually really rare cases of accidents there, which is a bit weird since speed kills as they say. But I guess when you're going a minimum of 170 kmh, you're on your toes all the time to be distracted.

The Würzburg Residence

Any ways, we spent a week at their place. Went visiting Frankfurt, Hanau and Würzburg. Didn't do much shopping or sight seeing besides the places mentioned earlier, this time around as the weather was horrid. But still, it didn't stop me from getting some books; PS, I Love You by Cecelia Ahern, Talk to the Snail by Stephen Clarke, 501 Must Visit Cities by Bounty Books and Guess How much I Love You by Sam McBratney & Anita Jeram with CD.

The main stairway of the Residence, notice the fresco above. Original by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo.

I really love the book Guess How Much I Love You. I've been reading it to Owen almost every night!! As for Talk to the Snail, I like the way Clarke writes about the French. So funny and entertaining. I haven't been reading PS, I Love You just yet as I still haven't finish The Other Side of the Story by Marian Keyes. And plus I'm eyeing another book recommended by NNC member, Nik or was it Margaret (??), The Friday Kniting Club by Kate Jacobs. Having eyes bigger than the purse! We'll see how it goes 1st. Or may be I could ask my girl friend in London to get them for me when she comes for a visit the next time? Books in the UK are far less pricey than here in the Land of Moos. Mental note; I'll even ask her to get me Ribena!! YAY!! hehehehehehe.... I LOVE RIBENA!

One of the weird scultures along the stairway. Reminds me of the devil....

OH! Did anyone know that the Grimm Brothers was born in Hanau? Well I didn't but now I know! :D There's not much old buildings in Frankfurt or most of Germany for the fact is that most was bombed by the Alliance during WWII. Some that was left standing, was left as it is as a monuments. Perhaps as a reminder for the younger generations.

The Festung Marienbreg fortress from the pedestrian bridge

One of the many sculptures along the bridge

My aunt was like; "Ya, but did you know that due to this consistent "reminder" that the laws with regards to sexual offenders, especially towards paedophiles, are so lax?. Only less than 4 years prison and fine, that's it! As parents in Germany, I'm constantly worried about the safety of my son." Well, which parents doesn't? We worry that bad things can and will happen to our kids; on the way to and from school, while they are playing outside etc. But I do agree that laws against these people are kinda lax here in Europe. They'd say "oh, because they are sick we have to help them" OR even worst "oh, we can't harm them because they are human as well" etc etc. I mean come on!! Paedophiles are every where, even in Malaysia. But there at least we have the cane ruling, which is I am all for it! If not castrate them (which I don't think will happen anywhere at all!), cane them to remind them of what horrors they've put a child through. Locking them up and throw aways the key or trying to "cure" them will not do any good, coz tax payers money can be put into good use else where.

A very striking church, no?

Würzburg is a town full of churches! Here's one of them....

Opps.. looks like I've wandered. So back to; Hanau. Its pretty much a small town. It has however a US army base here. My uncle told us that they are soon to be relocated to the East of Germany. As for Frankfurt, its a very metropolitan city. As do all cities but it still has its charms, although it did not impress me very much. Perhaps we didn't really try to discover it.. Hmmm.... But Würzburg was really pretty, even when it drizzles and its cold out! The bridge for pedestrians over the Main river, the Würzburg Residence and the Festung Marienberg fortress was really something. The Residence was actually heavily destroyed during WWII, but it now its fully restored with minor restoration work still on going. It was owned by a prince-bishop, don't the name though. They even have a miniature Hall of Mirrors - I'm comparing with Versailles Palace of course, which is really something to see. Sorry, no pictures as photography isn't allowed inside. As for the Festung Marienberg fortress, by the time we got there it was closing time for the museum. But still we took a walk around the grounds just before heading back to Hanau. The way back was getting a little bit dark and snowy - not good for driving.

Würzburg town viewed from the fortress

Any ways, it was all good fun catching up on the latest (or old) family gossips with my aunt and uncle. The week pasts so fast and its time to go home for we'd be expecting a house guest the following week - one of hub's friend from Nice, France. And they are traveling with their 2 month old girl!! She's adorable but from what I see, but her dad seems to be complaining all the time about her crying. Hmm.... New father getting use to the idea of having a colicky baby.... We went through the same experience, so I guess its time for him to find out as well! ;)