Changing China

Giant on the move

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Adventures in Chinglish


Chinglish T-ShirtsWhatever happened to the exploding shrimp? Do you know the way to Racist Park?

The Beijing authorities have been working long and hard in the run-up to the Olympics to stamp out Chinglish — but examples still abound all round town of this unique mix of Mandarin and English.

It’s fun checking out the slogans on T-shirts to find the finest example of strangulated language.

Some Chinglish has even won the official stamp of approval.

Brokeback” — popularised from the movie “Brokeback Mountain” about two gay cowboys –  has passed the test with formal acceptance by Chinese scholars as Mandarin shorthand for gay.

But it would be hard to top the all-time favourite quintet of Chinglish entries picked by the U.S.-based Global Language Monitor:

The race is on — Bolt confirms he’ll run 100 metres


Powell beats Bolt in Stockholm

The big race is on for Beijing, after Usain Bolt’s coach confirmed to Reuters that the Jamaican 100 metres world record holder would run both the 100 and 200 metres at the Beijing Olympics.

As my colleague Gene Cherry reports, neither the coach, Glen Mills, nor Bolt had previously confirmed the Jamaican would run the 100.

Basketball gold would cap Spain’s superb sporting year


Nadal on his way to number oneSpanish sport is living a golden age, a magical year or a unique two months, depending on how long a view you’re taking. But will it continue on into Beijing?

Rafael Nadal’s victory over Nicolas Lapentti in Cincinnati means the 22-year-old is now certain to depose Roger Federer as world number one in tennis by August 18 at the latest.

The Olympic rings in noodles and cucumber


Perky pork

What connects deep-fried pork cutlets, black and pink noodles and the Beijing Olympics? An appeal to Japan’s ancient fighting spirit or a clever marketing trick, depending on how you look at it.

All Nippon Airways served what appeared to be an ordinary, tepid airplane lunch on its Tokyo-Beijing flight – “katsu” pork with curry, beefsteak with a cheesy crust, “somen” noodles. But a look at its in-flight magazine revealed that in fact, the aluminium trays contained a small homage to Japan’s athletes, and each ingredient had been carefully selected for its pun value.

Haze clears but doping cloud darkens


Baldini in a file photoI flew into Beijing today and was pretty surprised to find clear blue skies. Smog? What smog?

Maybe it will last, maybe not, but it’s clear that the issue of drugs in sport is not going away. Italian fencer Andrea Baldini became the latest athlete to fail a doping test in the run-up to the Games, as it was revealed on Friday that the gold medal hopeful had tested positive for the diuretic furosemide in Kiev last month.

Chinese bloggers see red at Olympic outfits – but do clothes matter?


China uniforms

With just over a week until the Olympics’ opening ceremony, athletes around the world are collecting their team outfits — and many Chinese bloggers are not happy with theirs, describing the red and yellow blazers, yellow and red shirts and multicoloured ties as resembling tomato scrambled egg, a popular Chinese dish.

When the uniforms were unveiled last week, designer Liu Ruiqi was quoted as saying: “When the Chinese delegation comes out, they will certainly catch the eyes of the audience.” That, it appears, is being achieved already.

Smogwatch (1)


After a promising start in the immediate aftermath of the “odd-even” car restrictions and factory closures on July 20th, the air quality in Beijing has slowly deteriorated, as this combination picture shows.

Beijing's polluted skies 

The Beijing Environmental Protection Bureau says data shows that improvements have been made, but this is surely not the backdrop that organisers had in mind for the Olympics.

Finally, to live the Olympic dream



You’d have to have a heart of stone not to feel for Dirk Nowitzki. After 12 years of spending his summer holidays playing basketball for Germany in the hope of one day making it to the Olympics, the Dallas Mavericks forward led his country into the tournament when they got third place — and the last ticket to Beijing — in a qualifying tournament on Sunday in Athens. 

Nowitzki cried tears of joy after Germany beat Puerto Rico 96-82 in the match for third place after they had lost to Croatia on Saturday night. He  buried his face in a towel while walking off the court after scoring 32 points and cried and then sat in the locker-room and wept  some more as journalists watched and waited for the chance to talk to him. “I needed to be alone for a bit at first,” Nowitzki said later.

Revealed: “The Panda Reporter”


fialapanda.jpgBy Mike Fiala

The biggest international sporting event Beijing and China hosted prior to the Olympics was the 1990 Asian Games. China dominated the medal count, winning almost twice as many as their nearest rival.

And Pan Pan, the game’s Panda mascot, was everywhere. One of the official sponsors distributed Pan Pan decals to the media showing the official mascot in various XI Asiad sporting poses such as boxing, archery, wrestling, etc. With a little imagination, and a pair of scissors, people would remove Pan Pan’s head and apply the mascot’s sporting themes to their credential photo.panpan21.jpg

Beijing’s moving artists


Du Yize, the founder and trainer of the Beijing Du Yize Parkour Club, shows his skills at the Forbidden City in Beijing

In the unlikely event Parkour ever becomes an Olympic sport, at least the hosts won’t have to build a venue.

“The art of moving” is an urban pastime that involves getting from one point to another as efficiently and quickly as possible and overcoming obstacles using only the human body.