The Olympics are over and in what style. This is the best closing ceremony I have seen ever and even London managed to put in a good eight minutes. The party then continued here in London and even the sun came out to party. I now have a hangover and I can’t believe that there are no Olympics on in the telly. There is no synchronised swimming, no taekwondo and no show jumping. There is no Usain Bolt teaching me how to dance to reggae music or Michael Phelps talking about how it was all about a 12000 calorie diet.  There are no spectators on TV screaming China or even my long standing favourite, the Brazilian women beach volleyball team.  There is no tension between the American and the Chinese gymnasts which reminded me of the Cold war days. I am afraid that I will never know how old are those Chinese gymnast babies. They will be no more of Aussies grudging the British team of their spectacular performance. There are no more of these insanely talented sportsmen and women making it look all so easy.

I can’t remember ever following the Olympics so closely. This time was folowing it on the TV, radio, blogs, podcasts, newspaper and ofcourse the betting sites. The betters had Usain down for the new 200m world record even before his first apperance in the competition.  The Olympics was to me a perfect party. There was politics, sporting achievements, gossip, conspiracy theories and the ever hanging threat of something will happen that will spoil China’s party. And to top it all of it could be watched,listened as read without much effort. What else does a man need ? Even India which usually spoils my Olympics managed to win 3 medals and this is the first time ever we have done it. I don’t know whether to be happy or to be sad. I’ll take happy, thank you.

The Olympics turned out to be much better than I had expected. I had thought given the very exciting run up the actual Olympics would be quite boring. The opening and closing ceremonies were brilliant. However, everything was a bit too perfect. I was waiting for one performer to be out of line, or forget his move, or sing out of tune. Not one wrinkle in the entire operation. London’s 8 minute capsule was refreshingly different and my employer got a reference which made me very happy. It focused more on individualism, and therein lies the difference between 2 cultures, thought streams and even value system. We can talk forever about which is superior and better.I don’t see why there has to be one which is better. Can it all not just co-exist ?

Isn’t that what the Olympics are all about ?

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The run up to the Olympics has been the most interesting to me. I have been waiting for the run up to unfold itself , more than the games itself. China has been put under the scanner like never before and everything from air quality to human rights have been discussed threadbare. The media has been full of programs about China right from Sichuan cooking to chinese kids learning to be acrobats and gymnasts. Journalists of all shapes and types are travelling all over China and fiing stories like never before.

This immediately brings 2 analogies to my head: One, of an old house which was always out of bound for kids has suddenly been opened and the kids are now all over it and find every aspect of it supremely interesting. Two, of a beauty contestant coming up in the front of the stage to let herself be judged begins to blink in front of the popping flash bulbs, only to be marked down for blinking.

China is like that beauty contestant and the whole world is almost like waiting for her to blink. The world is waiting for China to take one false step. I am no fan of Chinese politics although I do admire their ancient culture. And yet I feel this magnifying glass that China is being put through is too much. Most countries in the world subject to this kind of scrutiny will blink and bite back. China in an earlier time would have closed in like it did around the Tianammen square incident, but this time it can’t because it has the Olympics to host.That in a way encourages the world to push even more.

While the world is ready to do business with China and let it be among their largest trading partner without caring about its human rights and politics but when it comes to the Olympics, China is expected to be on its best behaviour. It is allright for us to go to the high street and buy Chinese made good because they are cheap and help us save more and after we are well clothed we like to talk about how China is trampling on the human rights of its people.

I am no fan of Chinese politics, i am also no fan of hypocrisy.

We woke up to white sunday today. Typically weird weather to cap what has been a weird week so far. As I write this, the Olympic torch makes its way through the snowy streets of London with the odd demonstrator trying to hijack the torch. Both the Chinese and Tibetan supporters are out in full force. I have not seen so much security for a long time. Its been interesting watching this entire anti-Chinese demonstration play itself out, hearing why the protestors are right or wrong and yet at the end the right to protest is held paramount.

This is probably the first time since China has crept up to world dominance, that the anti-Chinese voices of the world have got a platform to bring out their grieviances. Its one thing being the world’s back office and completely another thing being the world’s factory. As India has become the world back office its been under constant media scrutiny, what with people calling their banks and finding a strange accent speak back to them. But China has become the factory under much less scrutinty. How many people bother to look at the ‘Made in’ label, as long as the product looks allright, its cheap and is of the expected quality and if you don’t like it then you can always return it. Easier to boycott the call centres and much more difficult to boycott the cheap clothes and laptops. I regularly see banks advertising British call centres, I hardly ever see apparel and computer brands advertise British factories.

So China has crept up to world dominance with very little or no scruitny. It has actually been responsible in a large way of the economic boom of the past 10 years with incomes rising and lot of supermarket prices remaining almost stagnant. There is now talk of boycotting Chinese goods to teach a lesson to China. I think it is a bit late in the day for us to do that. China has arrived and is here to stay. Olympics are its coming of age party. No one can deny it that. The best the world can do is to engage in a dialogue with China to open up its civil society.

Boycotting the Olympics, or threatening to boycott it, is not the best way to start a dialogue.