Watching the Opening Ceremony

aussies thanks to The West - click to read article[pronounced ceremonny you understand not ceremoany]

It is endless isn’t it, the parade of nations. Both Groover and Dippity are asleep – Hugamuga on a sleepover. I’m a bit over it myself but determined to stay up to watch the Australians walk in. They come in third last.

Plus, I’m curious to see how the Chinese light the cauldron. We’ll see just how curious if I make it to the end.

So far the majority of teams appear to be wearing white. Yawn. Thank goodness for those Caribbean and African teams who bring a bit of colour to the scene.

Oooh I like the Spanish – red and yellow as you’d expect. And New Zealand look pretty stylish in black. And sure the Italians look stylish – but grey. Boring. The French looked bizarre – the women with huge red belts over their shirts.

The Americans – with their enormous team – I thought looked good. I really liked the fact that both the men and women wore the same gear. It looked so much better than having different uniforms for the women. Classy. Nice stuff.

I don’t know what happened to Channel 7’s commentary. We were watching on HD and there was practically none. Terrible. So we switched the sound to 720 ABC Perth and listened to Glenn Mitchell and Tracey Holmes describe both the spectacle and the teams entering the arena. Great job. Really added to the coverage – and also filled us in on what was happening during the TV ad breaks. 🙂

Hmmmm the Mexican women looked nice didn’t you think?

Waiting waiting waiting for the Aussies.

The Opening Ceremony was pretty impressive wasn’t it. The unison in which the dancers moved was exquisite.

And getting the athletes to walk through the paint… neat.

Ah they are coming in…


They are wearing a shiny tracksuit top which is the palest of pale blue at the top fading down to navy at the bottom which blends into the trousers (held up by silver belts).

The tracksuit tops in close up don’t look like they fit terribly well, but I will say looking down on the stadium they do look rather nice.

Better en masse from a distance but … okay.

Phew. Always a heart in the mouth moment.

Gotta go now. A cauldron to light and a family to relocate to their beds.

Aussie Aussie Aussie Oi Oi Oi!

Updated to add: Oooh I like how they used the athletes footprints as the stage. Very neat.

(Xinhua Photo) Photo Gallery>>>

Updated again to say: The lighting of the cauldron? Rocked. London – you’ve got some work to do.

Are you doing the Beijing thang?

Creative Commons License photo credit: madiko83

I was listening to the radio today and I heard a woman talking about what she’s doing this Friday night.

She’s cooking Chinese food, dressing up in her cheongsam, and inviting a few friends around to watch the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games on her big screen.


I hadn’t even considered that.

Not even in passing.

And you know, it’s on at a great time for Perth. We’re on the same time zone so at 8 past 8 (or whatever) we’d be able to tune in.

I remember Athens… I was driving home when the ceremony started, going through the tunnel – it was pretty busy as I remember and I had to edge my way down the ramp while listening to the ceremony on the radio (ABC of course)… It sounded beautiful.

When I finally got home I’m asking Groover – oh what did the this look like? Oh and what about that?

I missed the first bit of the Sydney ceremony for some reason too…

Maybe this year I should make the effort. Maybe this year I should be there for the start in front of a screen somewhere.

Or maybe… I’ll just go to Dim Sum again on Saturday morning…


It’s a good excuse!

Sign me up for Dim Sum

Here’s an interesting statistic from this month’s Walkley magazine… Eric Ellis writes “Some time about 2025 but possible as soon as 2015, China will take over from the United States as the world’s largest economy.” Eric Ellis is a former China correspondent for the AFR who now writes for Fortune Magazine from south-east Asia.

Creative Commons License photo credit: j.fisher

They are very different economies, very different communities. As Eric asks, now I’m asking you, how will our world change with China as the dominant force?

We are moving from the known to the unknown so you’d expect some scaremongering. While some might scoff at Americans and lament the amount of Americanisms leaking into Australian culture – the whatevers, the baseball caps, even the spellings; will we look back on this time with nostalgic fondness?

I think we will. From the “over sexed, over paid and over here” mentality from the 40s to the ‘knickers over the top of low slung jeans” fashions of the noughties we will look back and think “ahhhh those were the days” and “we had so much in common”. Yeah like the ANZUS treaty.

So can you imagine a world with China as the world leader?

It is hard when we are so enmeshed in the status quo.

Will we look to China to sort out Iran?

Would the Australian Prime Minister dare question their choices when it comes to things like Tibet?

Will our teenagers start wearing cheongsams?

In the meantime I’m planning Yum Cha this Sunday for brunch.

The Iron-y of Karratha

Millstream Road
Tom Price to Karratha Road

I spent today in Karratha. A balmy 32C. My bones were warmed. The people there, friendly and welcoming.

But you know, it’s not the most attractive place. Housing is at a critical shortage and it seems unless you know someone and that someone has a spare room – you can’t find anywhere affordable to rent. Certainly not on a government salary.

There is one shopping mall.

There is a hospital but if you’re pregnant – forget it – you either fly to Perth or travel two hours to Port Hedland.

It takes months to see a dentist – even if you have a toothache, there is one gynaecologist, there’s even a month long waiting list to get a haircut. And if you’re car breaks down… well I hope it doesn’t.

Casual labour is at a premium. Try and get a taxi driver or a cleaner. The teachers in the local high-school have been asked to clean their own classrooms (they are paid if they do). And don’t mention the basic cost of living. Food. Petrol.

Because the agreements the big companies struck with the government when they first developed the area 30+ years ago are still in place, Rio Tinto, Woodside, etc pay less in local taxes than small businesses.

And because the shire gets funding based on numbers of rate-paying residents and so many of the workers in the North west are Fly-in Fly-out workers – the shire cannot afford to improve many of the services.

This town, and many others in the area are sitting on a goldmine… or rather an iron ore mine and natural gas line. The government collects millions of dollars in royalties and yet a trickle gets back to the people that live there.

So when I hear the State Government whine about WA supporting the whole of Australia at the moment – about how the Commonwealth take more than their fair share of the taxes raised – I think about how the residents of Karratha must feel watching all that money roll out of town and watching a debate over a Ferris Wheel and whether or not it should be erected on the Perth foreshore.

At least they’ve got a nice road.

Another candidate for the Darwin Awards

Father Carli photo by Renita Pelissari/APNot heard of the Darwin Awards? These are for people who remove themselves from the gene pool voluntarily by accidentally killing themselves in stupid ways.

Now Father Carli has not been declared dead yet and as a Roman Catholic Priest you would have to say that he’s already voluntarily removed himself from the gene pool…

The last time he was spotted he was floating south east over the Atlantic… he did have a satellite phone and GPS with him. Unfortunately the batteries died as he admitted to potential rescuers that ah… he was having difficulty using his GPS. Problemo.

They have found some of the balloons.

Watch a video.

Lets hope he’s okay.

Finding out about Zimbabwe

What do I know of Zimbabwe? Not much.

I know Mugabe is corrupt. That hundreds of white farmers have relocated to Perth, that the elderly white people who can’t relocate are in dire need. That the recent election is a mess. (could that be the understatement of the year?)

I don’t know much about Zimbabwe.

But The Poshi does. And she urged me to follow this link. [Warning: some of the images are distressing]

And sent me this mp3 to listen to – a spoof from a south African radio station – It’s a must listen.

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Creative Commons License photo credit: sara.atkins

Would you run in the torch relay?

Groover asked me the other day: “If I’d been selected to run in the Olympic Torch Relay in Canberra – would I pull out?” and it’s a question that has been plaguing me all week.

I imagine the thrill of being asked. The honour. The excitement of representing my chosen field, my family, my country, my Olympic representatives – the athletes who have trained so hard and for so long – in such a public event.

Then the dilemma. Does running mean that I support China’s action in Tibet? And if it does, can I live with myself if I run?

And then the horror of watching the other relays – in London, in Paris, in San Franscisco – and the debacle they’ve turned into. Watching other runners being caught up in the protest. Being attacked.

Being shoved into a warehouse as organisers try and work out what to do next.

Being surrounded by a phalanx of secret service guards.

Where is the honour in that? Where is the glory? Where is the pride?

So imagine. You’re sitting at home watching the news on the telly. Your torch relay uniform, clean and sparkling new is in its box. Your brand new sandshoes gleam. And you, with your heart in your mouth, have to decide whether you’ll take part.

It’s easy to say “No I won’t take part” from your lounge room when you don’t have to make that decision but if you were actually in those gleaming new sandshoes… would you withdraw?

I am torn on this question.

What I will say on behalf of those who decided to run is that at least they have provided a very public platform for the protesters.

What about our athletes? Do they boycott? What difference would it really make? Did boycotting Moscow back in 1980 really achieve all that much? Could you turn your back on four years of training, of dreams?

Sport and politics should not mix. Is that possible in the real world?

So in summary: I think I would run in the relay as it is a great forum for the Tibetans to make their protest. I don’t think athletes should boycott the games, after all we don’t expect our companies to give up their trade contracts. And at this stage I think Kevin Rudd should consider not going to the Games although, I can’t imagine the Chinese would care if he were there or not.

Your thoughts?

Creative Commons License photo credit: Monster Pete