Monday, August 25, 2008

Chinese or what?

The Olympics ended spectacularly last night. I still remember the auspicious date of 080808, also the momentous night of the opening. Needless to say, I was impressed. It wasn’t just the Olympics, it was China’s way of showing the world, if this was what she can do for sports, imagine what she could potentially do for everything else. It was her way of getting back at those who undermined her since the less than popular Cultural Revolution days which happened almost half a century ago. With pyrotechnics of equivalent scale, launched simultaneously at the Tiananmen Square last night's closing ceremony, I’m pretty sure Chairman Mao would have rolled over to catch a glimpse too.

Closer to home, ever since the eventful night of lighting the torch of hope in that impressive nest, I’ve been hearing Malaysians commenting on all sorts. Mainly it was about them feeling proud of China and to be more precise, they were proud to be Chinese. Hang on, didn’t I just say Malaysians? Well, Malaysian Chinese to be more precise. I can’t help but wonder where then do our roots begin and where do they end? Honestly. I couldn’t help but feel some for form of emotions stirring in me too when I saw what China did with flying athletes and super visual projections. Yea, I was proud too. Just that I wasn’t sure if it was because I was Chinese or because after my accidental interest in studying about the Little Red Country while in university and no one can deny, they had come far. If my friends and I were proud of being Chinese, would that be considered as being disloyal to our native land? I don’t know. If we grew up without having to identify our ethnicity or to be more exact, without having to be identified through checking the relevant racial boxes every time we had to fill up a form, would we have proclaimed that we are proud to be Chinese? Well, here’s to you, Mr. Government, who can you blame when we were (and still are) being constantly reminded that we’re Chinese?

Well, no need to blow things out of proportion. What we felt was certainly some form of emotional pride (wherever that strange feeling came from). But beyond that, I think the most poignant moment came from seeing badminton silver medalist, Lee Chong Wei repeatedly kissed the Malaysian flag on his baju when he won against South Korean Lee Hyun-il in the Olympics semi-final. I think for any Malaysians regardless of racial segregation, that was what it meant to be Malaysian. It certainly brought some of us back to the glorified Thomas-Cup-Sidek-brothers-Foo-Kok-Keong days. I remember what it was like to stay up that night, gripping with the nation to see them rose as champions. I remember because the next day was a declared national holiday, so there was no school. The perk aside, I just hope we needn’t wait for every 20 years to witness something like that.

*Sparks salutes Lee Chong Wei regardless if he’ll be given datukship in Penang and hopes that he stays true to himself – a great sportsman – and that he will be willing to carry the responsibility of inspiring the young and creating significant change in our sports industry which was inevitably bestowed upon him with that Olympic silver medal.

**Photos from Telegraph UK and NST Malaysia.

No comments:

Post a Comment