Going for … silver
Just like our mother always used to say after we showed up to our science fair late and reeking of booze to see our Rube Goldberg machine finish in third place: “Life isn’t like the Special Olympics – not everyone can win.” Oh Mom, always so much tough love and Southern Comfort. Unfortunately, this is a lesson China never learned about the real Olympics. The Chinese Olympic team, finishing second in the gold medal count, also trailed in overall medals. Having progressed from the first stage of grief (denial) over the weekend to the second stage come the final count, Chinese sports fanatics turned the only place they could to whine anonymously – Sina Weibo. As one weibo’er, who surely netted himself 50 cents, put it: “We have lost what was ours to the imperialist power that is trying to contain China everywhere, but China will rise regardless!!!” Rest assured, they’ll ease up on those exclamation marks as they quickly progress through the next stages of grief: bargaining (“Hey US, how much do you want out of our current account surplus for a few of those golds?”) and then depression. Finally, they will arrive at acceptance. By that point, the Chinese will have remembered that their economy is growing five times faster than the US. I guess some things have changed from our mom’s time: Gold just ain’t worth what it used to be.
The art of hosting
Playing host can be a delicate task. On the one hand, you never want to make someone feel left out because you forgot to invite them. On the other hand, you occasionally have to tell guests they’ve overstayed their welcome and y’all city-slickers had best get outta this town, ‘cause you keep digging up the past an’ all you gonna get is dirty. This week China said it would play host to the good folk of Syria’s government, currently in need of a little R&R. To be polite, China also invited the Syrian rebels currently trying to kill them (just pretend everything’s cool and it should go fine). Meanwhile, Hong Kong decided that it would no longer host the “Occupy” protesters currently camped out at HSBC’s headquarters. Police moved in only to discover that some “protesters” were less interested in social justice than getting those pesos the bank promised them for running that package across the desert to el norte.
Others scampered onto a boat to go occupy the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands. That meant Japanese officials had to take a breather from bowing to a few war criminals to arrest the protestors. One of the detained activists, a Western male, employed a clever ruse that he was actually trying to leave China. “I have been in this land for many moons,” he lectured his captors. “I have learned the language and ways of these people.” Japanese officials didn’t take the bait. “The air of extreme self-importance with which he rattled off an unimaginative list of complaints about living in a developing country at first confused us,” said one official who asked not to be named. “Then he mentioned the possibility of a memoir. I mean, can you imagine?”