Giant on the move
Hop on the Olympics-mobile
Some have bordered on the bizarre.
One man stuck a couple of hundred mini flagpoles in his head to show his support. Another guy I saw walked down the sidewalk in front of the Bird’s Nest, in a red dress and high heels, with a crown crafted out of palm leaves on his head and a big Chinese flag draped over each shoulder (wish I’d had a camera with me!).
Then there’s the young man who was out in front of the Water Cube with the Olympic rings shaved into his hair, calling out “Go China!” from his rickshaw.
The 67-year-old retiree happily showed off his pride and joy, a decked-out motorised tricycle that he has converted into a sort of roving Olympics advertisement, covered in stickers of the Fuwa (the official mascots of the Games), official slogans like “One World, One Dream”, and a fair share of Cadillac emblems for good measure.
He told me, glowing, how his grandson enjoys being picked up from school in the mean machine, techno blaring on the speakers he’s installed on it; how it’s helped him meet many people, folks like me who were just curious; how he swaps ideas on new designs with other enthusiasts; how he plans to upgrade to an aluminium frame from the heavier steel.
I didn’t know quite what to think when I first saw him and his trike, the way it regurgitates the Games-related PR that the city government has been blanketing many neighbourhoods with. After all, I know thousands of Beijingers have been inconvenienced, at the very least, by the Games.
But then Hu read one of the slogans on his trike out to me. “I participate, I contribute, I’m happy,” he said with a smile, adding that the pleasure he gets out of tinkering with his Olympics-mobile will probably help him live a few more years.
PHOTO (top): Wei Shengchu, 58, a supporter of traditional Chinese medicine, inserts an acupuncture needle with a miniature Thai national flag attached to it into his head during a photo opportunity in Guangzhou, Guangdong province July 24, 2008. REUTERS/Joe Tan