Saturday, August 09, 2008

Happy Birthday Singapore (But Not Zorgy)!

OK, so my hopes for a national day baby are mostly dashed (unless I go into labour and deliver within the next three hours - I WISH!). So Zorgy hasn't arrived, and is still perfectly content imitating a lava lamp in my belly (who can blame him really, if he's anything like his mum, he wouldn't want to come out to this 33 deg humidity). Good news is that D and I took this quiet "calm before the storm" time to do some good ol couply things, like catch a morning movie today.

In the spirit of the Beijing Olympics (and wasn't the opening ceremony a stunner, I was so impressed with China and the visual spectacle they gifted to the world), we watched a most wonderful documentary by Singaporean broadcaster turned filmmaker Pek Siok Lian called Mad About English, which traced the country's obsession with learning English in time for the Olympic Games. The film profiled a few characters, from an earnest Beijing cabbie who was cramming for a conversational English test that would decide whether he would be allowed to drive his cab during the Olympics, to a spritely 74-year old retiree whose dream was to be a volunteer during the Olympic Games, to the language teacher equivalent of a TV evangelist who has been tasked with teaching over 1 million Chinese proper English.

What came through after watching this marvellous documentary was the sheer determination and grit of the Chinese people leading up to the Games, and how, despite whatever motivations they articulated for learning English, the one common thread that brought them together seemed to be their immense pride and loyalty to China, and a genuine desire to showcase their country to the world. I was actually very touched watching this - thinking how in Singapore, we're so cynical and almost embarassed by our country and countrymen. Guess with Singapore hosting the Youth Olympics in 2010, we have quite a lot to learn from the plucky Chinese.

Oh and did anyone else think that the only downer to the Beijing Olympics opening ceremony was the truly freakish sight of droopy and post-plastic surgery Sarah Brightman trying to reprise her Amigos Para Sempre glory? And what about the dude singing with her? What in the world was he thinking? Turning up in what looked like lounge-at-home clothing? Completely jarring when juxtaposed against the majesty of the 2,008 drummers chanting Confucius and that absolutely funky rolling scroll thing. My favourite bit? The lighting of the Olympic flame by the flying gymnast.

Oh and of course, the geek in me loved seeing all the countries come in one by one - Where or what is the Netherlands Antilles? I want to go there!

OK, I'm going back to what's left of our couple existence now. Will update all once junior makes an appearance and turns our lives upside down!

3 comments:

DT said...

Postscript: Jordan Ross Turner (Ye Jie) was born the next day, the day after National Day!

maree said...

...Hey everyone - guess what the next blogs will be about!!!! Can't wait!

uncle dick said...

Yes...confirmed he arrived at about 7 pm on 10th August. The call from DT came while I was eating delicious Hokkien mee at Dawn's place in Holland.
I saw him and carried him for the 1st time, the very next day, 11th August.