Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Olympic 2012 Opening Ceremony

The Olympic 2012 was officiated on the 27th of July in London, United Kingdom but 3am on the 28th here. When there was a sports event like that, most of us would want to watch the games that we adored or athletes we had known. But nonetheless, there are still some highlights on such an international event, which is the opening ceremony. This is usually the event that will mark a lot of the host country’s reputation and just give us some excuse to stay up late and watch the show. This time, it was in the same year that the Queen (of England, of course) is having Her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee. So, this could be said to be an important year for Great Britain. In fact, with these two big events, the attention of the world could be said to be fall upon one of the oldest monarch in the world. Great Britain will at the same time have their share of opportunity for thousands and thousands of tourists will be pouring into the country from all over the world.

Now, back to the opening ceremony, we shall. There were talks about comparing this ceremony to the opening ceremony during Beijing 2008. I would say, there was nothing to be compared because the two opening ceremony are showing two different things. Beijing 2008 was showcasing their talent and national identity, through an exhibition style of ceremony, while London did a great job in telling tale – which in itself, showcasing their history of making really good plays. It was actually directed by the well known Danny Boyle. I would say, as a storytelling type of person, I find London 2012 opening ceremony for appealing. However, that does not mean the whole ceremony was good – that would be over-summarizing. The ceremony started from an older timeline, with nice happy lives, relaxing with games and wild. The sets showed the people farming for their lives and then industrial came kicking in. The moment they showed the ‘stage’, it was circular. The industrial revolution that brought all those factories into Britain was shown, for example Manchester. It did sound a bit chaotic at first, as the scene was compared to the previous serenity. But it was quite true. That was the time when the people were introduced to new ideas and new things and wonders. Not that all these popped up suddenly at the same time, but the frequency was tremendous. Later, we could see middle class started to strive as they overlook their industries prosper and working class people were working on the Olympics ring. When the ring combined, it was spectacular. And of course, there was this small hill/bump with a tree on top, which reminded me much about the Shire in Lord of the Rings – which was good!

Later, it was the two Great War time. They were sensible enough not to have some bloody showdown for the war – or that will create panic and uneasiness among the spectators. Instead, they gave it a brief intro and commemorating the fallen, which was quite meaningful.

The show continued till the modern days when there are showcasing of modern culture of Great Britain, which of course included the Beatles. There was a short period of TARDIS materializing sound and many more. I would want to summarize it by saying British Invasion but it was more than that. I basically get to spot some familiar elements, such as J. K. Rowling reading from Shakespeare, with a gigantic Voldemort balloon. There were Child Catcher, creation of Roald Dahl and also Marry Poppins! And of course, how could be forget about Science and Technology when it was the greater effect of the industrial revolution in one way and another? Yes, we had several of Science side, especially the introduction of Tim Berners-Lee, the British founder of the World Wide Web. He was waving to the audience with his desk of really big computer, the computer when you have a CPU, a monitor and a keyboard!

Another thing that would have caught my friends/ housemates’ attention would be that conversation by the host right before they started with the usual English commenting with the programmes, which included some background explanation or introduction. Of course, if you are someone who had heard about this language before or bothered to even look that up, it won’t take you long to realize it was actually French! Yes, people, they speak French before English in the Olympic. Why? That was the second question I always get right after they ask ‘What language was that?’ and I would smirk and say ‘French, it’s français!’ then they would get rather puzzled of why was that language even appear on an international; event like the Olympics. Obviously, of someone started to ask about this, this should tell you around two things about this person. First, that person has no slightest idea about the language French; the second point was, this person might not have a slightest idea about the history or the culture of the Olympics. Okay, enough of the ranting or discriminating people who did not know about this and wanted to learn now, because I always welcome people to learn, no matter how late you are in your age or the stage in life about all kind of things. It is never too late to learn, as I always said. So, yes, French is one of the Olympic languages. In fact, French was sort of the internationally recognized language before English took on the place till today, till the world you and I are familiar now. I used to think ‘wow!’ but after learning more and more in the course of history, I realize it was all about time passes by and history taking on, because before French, we have Italian and Latin which was widely used too. There were so many wonderful legacy and civilization that was once admired and inspired so many amazing things that has and will happen to us! It would be silly to call others Others when in actual, all of us were actually intertwined in terms of our history, culture and everything, good or bad, happy or sad – and I would say these had already make a good excuse to celebrate our existence, for real!

Right, let’s get back to our opening ceremony instead of some philosophical discussion. In the middle of the ceremony, the Queen made his entrance with her video with Daniel Craig. It was quite cool to be introduced to the Buckingham palace with the two dogs. But of course, when the ‘Queen’ hopped off the helicopter, I had my housemates screaming because it was quite a traumatic scene if you do really think she was the Queen. For a moment, I thought I would believe it was Her Majesty, but I had learned somewhere that important royals like Her Majesty were normally tied down with several restrictions, especially dangerous activities – and hopping off a helicopter, to me, was considered to be one of them. Alas, that helicopter hopping was just a video and the pink gowned person who actually parachuted down the stadium was just a dummy. The entrance of Her Majesty was truly majestic and surprising instead of the usual ‘welcome blah blah’ and clapping. Next up was the playing of ‘Chariots of Fire’ by London Symphony Orchestra which was awesome and much more awesome when the camera showed us who had sneaked into the team. Sir Rowan Atkinson had finally found his role in entertaining the crowd with his Mr Bean acts which truly brought much entertainment.

After everything, with the athletes in, the speeches started. The speech was about the usual encourages yet not as boring as usual. But the highlight was ‘When out time came, we did it right’. The ceremony continued with some milder entertainment after this, which made sense of why some comments were about the ‘Part Two problem’. However, I would like to congratulate Britain for putting up a splendid show that did not focus too much on fireworks like what people normally do and I like that!

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